Almost every career professional uses LinkedIn to establish connections, but very few realize the site’s potential as an advertising platform. Yes, you heard that right: Anyone in business can use LinkedIn to their advantage. AJ Wilcox, founder of B2Linked.com, a LinkedIn ads-specific ad agency, says that you should remember your AMO; Audience, Message, Offer. Most clients seem to know, “This is my target audience. This is the message I want to bring to them.” People are busy and they’re on the platform for a reason. They didn’t just open up LinkedIn and sitting there saying, “What app can I click on?” The offer has to be an offer that does grab their attention. It also works really well for white collar recruiting and higher education placement. If you’re in business to do business, you have a pretty defined persona of getting a high-value conversion. That means that you stand to make $15,000 or more from the life of a customer! AJ also says that once you engage them, then LinkedIn ads is a perfect platform for you.
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The Future Of LinkedIn Advertising With AJ Wilcox
I teach quite a bit about Facebook, but the thing that I don’t know much about is LinkedIn. I heard from so many of you that you want to know about LinkedIn. You are in for a real treat. With me is AJ Wilcox. He is a LinkedIn ads pro. He founded B2Linked.com, a LinkedIn ads-specific ad agency, and he founded it in 2014. That is so smart because the world is booming and so is LinkedIn. As official LinkedIn partners, they manage among the world’s most sophisticated advertising accounts worldwide. He’s a triathlete, and I just found out that he also calls himself a ginger, which is a red head. I love that. He and his wife live in Utah with their four kids and his company car is a wicked fast go cart. As a professional Formula Dodge race car driver, I’m like, “Bring it.” AJ, it’s great to have you here.
Terri, thank you so much. I’m stoked to be here as well.
First, I want to know how did you even in 2014 decide that it was LinkedIn and it was going to be LinkedIn ads. What led you down that path?
It started back in 2011. I was working for a highly funded tech startup and stumbled into LinkedIn advertising. I ended up having a ton of success with it. Over the course of about three years working with it going, “Every time I Google, how do you do X with LinkedIn ads?” No one was out there talking about it, no one was teaching, no one was training, and I went, “Maybe that should be me.” Three years into that, I went off and started to B2Linked. As you say, it was a great time to start because the interest around LinkedIn has just been booming. We’re having a lot of fun.
I get asked questions all the time about LinkedIn. People say, “If I’m picking one social media platform, should it be Twitter, should it be Facebook, should it be LinkedIn?” Who can make the best use of LinkedIn?
Anyone in business can use LinkedIn to their advantage. LinkedIn is a great place to simply have a profile. If you’re working for other people, it’s a great place to put up your expertise and let other people come find you. If you want to be out on your own, it’s a great place to hang out your shingle and say, “This is what I’m best in the world at. You can contact me for consulting.” If you’re an entrepreneur like you and I, we can use this to connect to other entrepreneurs that we want to interview or have a relationship with. It’s a great platform overall and it’s a good to use for everyone.
I find that a lot of clients have been on Facebook and LinkedIn. In Facebook, they’ve done a lot of ads with, but they haven’t done LinkedIn ads. Do you find that people are not yet using LinkedIn ads? What’s the missing key to LinkedIn ads?
It all goes back to Google AdWords back in the late ‘90s. That was the first place that everyone started in digital marketing and also search engine optimization around the same time. That became the platform that because your clicks all started at five seconds and there was no competition, everyone who went on was just killing it. Facebook is the new version of that. Everyone goes out and has success because it’s so incredibly cheap. They tell all their friends and everyone gets on. LinkedIn never had that moment in the spotlight. Its ads platform, every click started at $2 and it already felt fairly competitive at that time. The targeting is by far the best that you can get for businesses. I would submit that the business to business marketing professionals out there aren’t doing a whole lot of sharing, “This is working for me.” They tended to be a little bit more cloak and dagger about what they’re doing and what works. LinkedIn has been in the shadows for a while.
Let’s just say that I want to start with LinkedIn ads. What’s the first thing that I would need to know or I need to do?
My favorite little phrase to remember here is remember your AMO. It stands for your Audience, your Message, and your Offer. Your audience is pretty easy to nail down. Most of our clients come to us and say, “We do business with people who have this job title, or work with this type of software, or are in this level of seniority in this type of company.” Your audience isn’t too hard to nail down. Your message also isn’t too hard to nail down. It’s whatever’s on your landing page. You’re going to distill that down into something that makes it seem attractive if you want to get someone there. The big kicker here is your offer.
This is what you’re going to offer to someone to encourage them to disrupt what they’re doing already. They’re connecting with a colleague. They’re checking on what family member went to go work for what company. You said you want to divert their attention over onto your website, you have to do this with something that’s really attractive and really valuable. Most often with valuable offers, it’s going to be a piece of gated content. It’s got to be something that I’m going to answer a really difficult pain point for you or I’m going to satisfy curiosity you have, and you’re going to get me your email address in exchange for that, and then we’re going to start that relationship.
Remember your AMO; Audience, Message, Offer. Most clients seem to know, “This is my target audience. This is the message I want to bring to them.” I agree completely that they seem to have trouble with coming up with the offer. That’s where I feel that they need help. I also love another thing that you said. We have to remember that people are busy and they’re on the platform for a reason. They didn’t just open up LinkedIn and they’re not just sitting there saying, “What app can I click on?” The offer has to be an offer that does grab their attention and they say, “This is worth me looking at that.” What kind of offers have you seen work? Any favorites?
What we’ve done a lot of testing around is if clients come to us and they say, “Should we make a cheat sheet? Should we make an eBook? Should we do a webinar?” What we found is that it almost doesn’t matter what format your offer takes, it’s is it sufficient to answer the question? The more important thing is find out what the pain point of your prospects are and how you can solve it. If that happens to be a one-page cheat sheet that they can put up in their cubicle, great. If that happens to be a six-page guide or a 48-page eBook or an hour long webinar, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s sufficient to satisfy that pain.
[Tweet “Any mistake you make is exacerbated and becomes an expensive mistake.”]
If a client wants to work with B2Linked.com, what are the best type of clients so that if someone’s listening and they want to do LinkedIn ads, they know if they’re right to connect with you?
The best people for us to work with are the people who are best suited for LinkedIn ads. What that is if you’re in business to business, you have a pretty defined persona of who it is they’re going after by job title or whatever, and you have a high-value conversion. That means that you stand to make $15,000 or more from the life of a customer. Once you engage them, then LinkedIn ads is a perfect platform for you. It also works really well for white collar recruiting and higher education placement.
I remember many moons ago people were like, “LinkedIn, that’s all recruiting.” Over time, it’s like, no. LinkedIn is really where you connect B2B. Facebook has some awesome qualities and I’m a big fan of Facebook and a big advocate. However, if you’re a B2B business, I definitely recommend LinkedIn. AJ said some really important things that I want you to remember. You’ve got to know your target audience. How can you be in business if you don’t know the classification of people that you want to speak with demographically as well as their job title?
The more sociographics like the graphics, the better. I believe all ads, whether you’re going to do Facebook, LinkedIn, whatever, you do have to understand the lifetime value of your customer. You have to figure out if a customer comes in and they spent $5,000 with me right now, how much more are they going to spend over the course of their life with me? That’s really important. This is awesome. This is great. I’m curious, do you use any other social media platforms at all other than LinkedIn?
Personally, I come from the background that I ran all different types of platforms. My experience early on was I was an SEO guy. I did search engine optimization and Google AdWords, and more recently Facebook ads and Twitter ads. I’ve done all of them, I encourage my employees to learn all of them, but we don’t publicly offer to any of our clients anything but LinkedIn. We are 100% niched. We know what we’re best in the world at and we’re keeping to that for now.
That is what I advise for everyone, to know your niche, stick to your niche, to be in your niche and not try to be a jack of all trades to everyone. That is just awesome. That’s phenomenal. I don’t even know because I haven’t done LinkedIn ads yet, what might be the average cost of getting started with some LinkedIn ads? Is there an average?
Yeah, there is. It comes down to two different things. Number one, what you’re willing to pay for an initial pilot test, and number two, what you’re going to end up paying per click. To go with the first, I recommend spending somewhere between about $3,000 and $5,000 in your first month to test. If you spend too much less than that, you’re not going to have enough data to know whether or not it’s working. If you spend any more than that, there’s a good chance that you’ll have some waste. I like to stay in that $3,000 and $5,000 range to see if it’s going to be fruitful, if it’s worth a second month of a test. Then how much you’re paying per click, the average on LinkedIn is somewhere between about $6 and $9 per click. Not that you have to pay that much, if you start out bidding low, you’ll probably end up paying between about $4.50 and $5.50 for small amounts of traffic. Be aware that it can be costly and because of that, any mistake you make is exacerbated and becomes an expensive mistake.
I’m glad you mentioned that too because I tell clients that with Facebook ads, they’re going to need to invest roughly the same amount, $3,000 and $5,000 a month. I also tell them, I advocate that they hire a professional to run their ads, somebody who is really knowledgeable, because not only have I made some mistakes with Facebook ads, lots of my clients have spent a ton of money doing the ads incorrectly, not really understanding exactly how to do the ads, what kind of ads to whom, etc. Then you can end up spending a lot of money without results.
Every time I have found somebody who is a specialist in a niche category who can run ads, they have been able to produce really successful ads. I am so glad that B2Linked.com exists because first of all, LinkedIn is the platform that we need to be watching doing B2B. Second of all, we shouldn’t be just not understanding it going, “I’m going to run some ads.” If you’re going to spend that money, make sure that you have a specialist. AJ, how can people connect with you? How can they find out more if they want to do some LinkedIn advertising?
Anyone who wants to talk to us, feel free to go to B2Linked.com and fill out the form at the bottom of the page. That’ll get you right to my inbox. I’m not a sales guy. I just seek to provide value. Any question you’ve got, that’s great. If you want to start advertising on LinkedIn without us, then if you go to B2Linked.com/Checklist, you can download our free eight-point checklist of everything you need in order to get started. That will contain all of the AMO that we talked about at the beginning of the interview and everything else you need to have so you’re going to hit the ground right.
Thank you so much for being here. You have added so much value. I can tell that anyone who reaches out to you will get more value. I highly recommend that we all grab the checklist. AJ, thank you so much for joining me. I feel much more educated about LinkedIn. I appreciate you being here.
You are most welcome. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share with your tribe.
My pleasure. For the audience, make sure you actually subscribe to the podcast, because if you don’t, you might miss one of the episodes. You could’ve missed AJ Wilcox. I have to tell you, I learned a heck of a lot. I’m actually pretty excited about what I learned. If you dig the show, we love when you write us reviews, so please do that. As heartrepreneurs, share the show, pass it on, let other people know we exist. If you’re not yet part of our Facebook group, it’s Heartrepreneurs with Terri Levine. It’s a Facebook group with a ton of content. Thank you again for tuning in today here at Heartrepreneur Radio.
About AJ Wilcox
AJ Wilcox began advertising on LinkedIn in 2011, he quickly discovered its powerful potential for business to business (B2B) advertisers. AJ was so passionate about the results he was seeing, he left his job to start B2Linked in 2014.
B2Linked’s mission and vision is to share the value of LinkedIn advertising with other B2B marketers and help individuals and companies realize the value of LinkedIn as a lead generation channel, and extract more value from that channel.
The B2Linked team is uniquely positioned to help bring you success. AJ has extensive and comprehensive knowledge and experience managing LinkedIn advertising campaigns for the full range of company sizes from the large and complex to the small and straightforward. Each team member is hand picked by AJ and undergoes deep, intensive training.