The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Ads

Posted by LinkedSelling in B2B Lead Generation & Sales Development, LinkedIn Marketing Insights

The core of any company is its client base. If you want to grow you need more quality sales appointments where you can close more clients. Of course, to successfully accomplish that, you need high-quality prospects booking sales appointments with your team consistently.

This provides predictability, scalability, and fuels business growth.

 The Social Selling System we use is designed to convert quality prospects to appointments and sales. This guide will show you:

  • Why LinkedIn advertising is a reliable way to drive consistent quality appointments and sales.
  • The “Social Selling System” that our team uses to deliver quality appointments to our clients every single month
  • How we use the LinkedIn ad platform to target, connect with, and get your ideal prospects in your marketing funnels
  • How to know if your company is suited for LinkedIn ads
  • The marketing funnels we use to build trust and open the door to real business conversations
  • And even our top tips on what kinds of ads and ad creatives to test and why they work so well.
  • And much more!

Our hope with this guide is to shortcut your learning curve, to the point where you can roll out your own social selling system quickly and effectively. Before any of that can take place though, let’s lay the groundwork by answering this question:

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How B2B Companies Increase Control Over Their Lead Generation & Sales Pipeline

How Do You Know if LinkedIn Ads Would Be A Viable Lead Generation & Sales Development Option to Consider?

It’s pretty simple. After years of testing and working with hundreds of businesses, we’ve found that there are a few things that must be in place before a campaign like this can work.

You should consider using LinkedIn ads as a quality traffic source IF you meet the following qualifications:

  • Your prospects are on LinkedIn

Admittedly, this is a tongue-in-cheek statement because it’s highly likely that your prospects are definitely on LinkedIn. Just to give you an idea…

  • You have an offer - You need a proven track record of people who’ll buy your service offer in order to expect a positive ROI. You need to know that you, or your sales team, can actually sell your offer. The LinkedIn ads system in this guide works best with businesses who typically have an offer they’ve been selling for quite some time.
  • You have revenue to reinvest - You need to be prepared to have a budget for ad spend.
  • You have a desire to grow - To work through the ad systems you’ll learn about in this guide, you need a desire to grow, and you need to understand that it will likely involve several reiterations of testing in order to optimize your ads and get the most out of your ad spend. This is how you’ll open that flood gate of quality prospects booking appointments with your team.

Now that you know whether or not you “pre-qualify” for LinkedIn ads success, let’s give a mile-high overview of what you need to understand about the strategy behind successful LinkedIn ad campaigns.

Understanding The “Marketing Triad” On LinkedIn

The Marketing Triad is relevant for any type of marketing campaign, not just for LinkedIn ads, and it’s the perfect place to start. This guide will cover all the three aspects of the Marketing Triad as they relate to LinkedIn.

  1. Your Message/Solution. What your content and messaging needs to look like on LinkedIn in order to attract quality prospects.
  2. The Right Prospect. You need to know who your target market is and who you’re going after. You need to make sure your message gets in front of the right audience.
  3. Media. Choose the platform to bring your message to the right audience. In this guide, we’re focusing solely on LinkedIn ads.

We’ll get into more detail on each of these below. Just know that once you have the three parts of the Marketing Triad dialed in, you can then move on building your marketing funnel.

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How B2B Companies Increase Control Over Their Lead Generation & Sales Pipeline

Understanding The Marketing Funnel

A marketing funnel describes the prospect’s sales journey, also called the “buyer journey.” It’s what moves your prospects from Point A (just getting to know you) to Point B (the final sale).

Unbounce has an excellent definition:

Our goal is to teach you to use LinkedIn ads to move people through your marketing funnel, not only create awareness, but to get your prospects to take action to learn more about your message, to book a call with your team, and to purchase your offer. 

The key of an effective marketing funnel is to produce consistent results, which means acquiring consistent prospects when you put the right message in front of the right people. That’s why we use a system designed to convert leads to appointments and sales.

The Social Selling System That Drives Consistency In Your Business

The system itself is pretty simple. Here’s the 10-thousand foot view:

There are of course several automated parts that we help our clients with, but the simple breakdown looks like this:

  1. Traffic to ad. First you have your traffic source, in this case it's LinkedIn ads.
  2. Offer a Lead Magnet. The ad takes the prospect to a landing page where you give them something free to build trust.
  3. Follow-up and nurture via email, calls.
  4. Offer a consult or appointment. On the lead magnet thank you page (after the prospect downloads the lead magnet), offer an opportunity to speak to you or your team in the form of a consult, strategy call, discovery call, etc.
  5. Offer a scheduling link to your sales calendar. 
  6. Hold the meeting with your prospect, where you have the opportunity to close them.

Download our Executive Brief

How B2B Companies Increase Control Over Their Lead Generation & Sales Pipeline

OK, now that we’ve covered the strategy and some foundational items you need to know, let’s start building your LinkedIn ads.

We start with targeting, and getting your market right.

Targeting: If you Speak to Everybody, You’re Speaking to Nobody

Do you know what’s at the root of any successful sales development strategy?

It’s not just about “getting prospects or opt-ins.”

It’s about getting the right prospects booking sales appointments for your business. The bottom-line, It’s about quality.

LinkedIn is really the next wave when it comes to professional B2B targeting.  Which is why we’re so excited that LinkedIn now allows you to target specific prospects based on:

Job Experience
...and Your Audience (Lists)

LinkedIn has really invested in their targeting capabilities and it’s exciting how granular you can actually get when it comes down to choosing who to put these ads in front of. We’ve gotten several questions about what these new targeting capabilities are and exactly how specific you can get. If that’s you too and you’re looking to get in front of a specific type of prospect, you’re in the right place!

Keep reading to see a complete breakdown of all the different targeting options you have at your fingertips with LinkedIn ads along with the estimated audience size…

  • Demographics
  • Company
  • Job Experience
  • Education
  • Interests
  • Matched Audiences


You have to always set targeting based on a minimum of one location. You can do that based on:

  • Continent
  • Country
  • State
  • City
  • Town


You can target prospects specifically based on the language their profile is in.

Member Age

There are 4 categories that you can target your prospects based on the members age. LinkedIn estimates the age based on profile information.

  • 18-24 = 50 million+ users
  • 25-34 = 76 million+ users
  • 35-54 = 55 million+ users
  • 55+ = 16 million+ users

Member Gender

Another targeting criteria under Audience Attributes -> Demographics is to target based on the gender of the LinkedIn member.

  • Female -> 200 million+ users
  • Male -> 270 million+ users

What To Do With All These Targeting Options

As you can see, you can get pretty granular with your targeting. LinkedIn has drastically advanced their ad capabilities, allowing businesses like yours to target and reach very specific people. But it’s more than just that…

Because when you can be specific to the person you really want to talk to, you have a better chance at piquing their interest with the copy and image choices you make in your ad, which allows you to convert more targets into prospects and eventually sales appointments or customers.

TIP #1: Notice that you can target based in groups and even on interests. This will help you find people who have the same interest that your message will provide them.

TIP #2: LinkedIn is a game of quality. The platform right now prefers a smaller targeting pool of about 600K or less. So cast a smaller net, but expect higher quality prospects.

TIP #3: Use a free tool, called the LinkedIn Pixel, that LinkedIn provides to capture data about the people who visit your website so that when it’s time for you to write your message, you can dial in your targeting so that your message resonates with the right people. (Do this EVEN IF you never run a single ad!)

Here’s an example of LinkedIn targeting that we’ve set up for a client, in only a specific number of industries, in the C-Suite or the owner, and over the age of 35 years old:

You can see that we were able to target prospects based on industry, job title, size of the company, and age.* (Although, note that with age, LinkedIn’s algorithm may not be entirely correct. LinkedIn assumes that you’re around 21 when you graduate college and calculates your age range from there.)

The quality of the prospects we get from LinkedIn is like no other. This is a major part of how we’ve been able to use LinkedIn Ads to not only bring our clients a flood of prospects, but to bring them high-quality, in-market prospects, actively looking for YOUR solution.

Download our Executive Brief

How B2B Companies Increase Control Over Their Lead Generation & Sales Pipeline

Your Message: What to Say and How to Say It

The Lead Magnet

Part of your message needs to be something that will attract attention and get your prospects to raise their hand and say, “I want that!"

We call this a lead magnet. The primary purpose is to provide value to your prospects, and help build their trust in you before you ask for an appointment or ask them to take the next step in their buyer journey. In fact, like our Tanner Stolte, our ad and paid media expert at LinkedSelling says,

“If you can offer them something free that’s gonna help them solve a problem today - you got it!”

Many businesses get bottlenecked when it comes to creating a lead magnet because they think that it needs to be something like a professional, video or in-depth white, or original research. That’s not the case at all. While lead magnets do not need to be lengthy pieces of content, they do need to be tailored directly to your audience. They can take several formats as shown below:

Here are some example of lead magnets - 

Your Ad Creative

First, if you’re not familiar with the term, ad creative refers to the text (the ad copy) and the graphics of your ad.

The ad creative is the thing that can really make or break your campaign because if it’s not really resonating, your campaign will putter out before you really get started.

The main key is to TEST, TEST, TEST. You may have an idea of what will work well, but the ultimate say in what message will resonate best is your market.

Here are some tips to optimize your ad creative on LinkedIn:

  1. On LinkedIn, keep your ad copy strong, punchy, short, and outcome focused. (Ie - focus on the ultimate benefits of whatever action you want them to take in your ad).

    For LinkedIn specifically, short copy works well. Remember that you have 150 before the “See More” link cuts off the rest of your text. From all the testing we've done, we’ve found that shorter copy works better on LinkedIn. This means you’ll want the real “meat” of your copy in the first 150 and characters.

  2. Make sure the ad is mobile optimized; so look at the size of your graphics and make sure your copy follows the tip above.
  3. Because LinkedIn ads are more expensive, we don’t want to stretch the budget too thin across too many pieces of creative, so we test only 3-4 variations at one time.
  4. Use video ads in the newsfeed. LinkedIn ads are more expensive than other social media platforms, like Facebook, so we want to get as much value information in the newsfeed as possible, which creates a great opportunity for video.
  5. Video gets higher engagement rates, better click through rates, and gives the chance to provide more information about your offer or your lead magnet right there in the newsfeed on a platform your prospect trusts.

Here are some examples, one of a video ad, and one of a still image:

The biggest key in both of these examples is that they call out the audience and are extremely tailored to that audience.

Baseline Costs: Quality Matters

As mentioned above, expect LinkedIn ads to be a little pricier than Facebook, but we’re ok with that because the quality that we get from LinkedIn ads saves money and time in vetting and qualifying prospects after the fact. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

TIP: Use lead forms! If you and your staff haven’t tested Lead Forms on the LinkedIn ad platform yet, definitely try it. The reason is that LinkedIn absolutely rewards you for keeping users in their platform, as opposed to sending them off site to a landing page. Any time we’ve tested a lead form, it outperforms the landing page ad every single time.

What Results Can You Expect from A Social Selling System Using LinkedIn Ads?

The biggest two benefits are:

  1. Consistency - Expect prospects to make appointments with you consistently, filling your sales calendar year round.
  2. Quality - Expect LinkedIn to deliver quality prospects, putting your message in front of the exact people you’d love to work with.

Here’s an example of one of the ads we run, asking potential prospects to download a report:

This is one of our best performing ads - it’s a machine! You can see the engagement rate from the number of opt-ins and appointments booked, and that’s what ad social platforms really love (and reward)... something that people will respond to.

It’s a Wrap: Time to Execute

We’ve shared our best tips on which LinkedIn ads to run and what ad creative to test because our goal with this guide is to give you an idea of whether or not the LinkedIn ads platform would be a viable way to help you:

  • Create consistent sales opportunities
  • Book quality appointments on your sales calendar
  • Achieve a positive ROI
  • And to help you get the most out of your ad spend

However, you may still have questions, about ROI, whether or not LinkedIn ads are suited for your company and budget, or what the best strategy for your marketing funnel should be…

OR you may be interested in implementing these ideas but just don’t have the time.

If either of those are the case, please do yourself a favor and book a call with an expert on my team. 

You will save your company time (and wasted ad spend) when you cut your learning curve short and get insight into these questions from a team who’s worked with hundreds of companies executing and managing social media ad campaigns - all strategically designed with ONE goal in mind:

To consistently fill your team’s sales calendar with quality sales appointments.

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