Guide: LinkedIn Ads - How to hack your ads for crazy ROI (aka The Pinpoint Technique)

cpnfnz

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I will start this post with full disclosure - I built one of the apps we use in this process BUT this can all be done for free (it’ll just take longer!), or with a competitor (shudder). If you're handy enough with Javascript you can code your own, but beware it takes a LOT of maintenance as LinkedIn change their page layouts etc. regularly. With the money being spent on LinkedIn ads, it's worth paying for a LinkedIn search export tool imo.


We’re currently using The Pinpoint Technique along with a bunch of testers and the returns are incredible. If you run LinkedIn ads jump on this before they turn this feature off!


The real value of LinkedIn is in its data. Among the 800m users are an estimated 30 million decision makers. All neatly listed with their name, title, company and a wealth of other data points to dig into. This is why LinkedIn raked in $3 billion in ad revenue last year. The problem is, that level of data detail hasn't been totally available for use in LinkedIn ads.


As you will probably know, LinkedIn's Campaign Manager can be restrictive. You need to create a large enough audience size to show your ads to before they will go live. The targeting options, while improved, can still be loose. So many of us find ourselves ticking boxes and selecting options that don't exactly match our target personas, in order to reach our audience size goals.


If you're running ads for a cosmetics company, looking to reach C-Suite individuals in the beauty sector, you'll be selecting a box marked 'retail' and showing that (very expensive) advertisement to thousands of completely irrelevant users. It's a waste of time and money. ROI down the tubes.


The Pinpoint Technique enables you to search LinkedIn for your ideal personas, sort and filter the results to find the exact people you are looking for and then advertise to those people only! Before we get into the process, really think about this for a second. Using this technique, you can personally choose the individuals that see your ads in advance of making them live.

That means not a single penny of your ad spend is wasted. Even if they don't convert immediately, you have placed your brand in front of relevant industry professionals, rather than unrelated individuals who happen to fit into LinkedIn's tickbox.


If you're ready to hack your LinkedIn ads, let's begin...



The Pinpoint Technique


The aim of the Pinpoint Technique is to build a list of hand-picked individuals that exactly match your desired personas. Then, you upload that list to your LinkedIn Campaign Manager. This can be done in two ways, one that you pay for (faster and more efficient) and one that is free (possible, but slower). You will likely recoup the costs of the paid method in your first campaign. If you're a small business or PPC freelancer and those costs are prohibitive, take your time and use the free option (if you're a freelancer or PPC project worker I would just factor that cost into your price, though!).



Step 1. LinkedIn search

There are a ton of filters built into the LinkedIn search that can really help you get granular here.

It helps at this point if you have LinkedIn Sales Navigator, as this will allow you to access more results from each search. Standard LinkedIn lets you view the first 1,000 search results, Sales Navigator shows you the first 5,000. As we're aiming to build a list of 10,000 individuals, Sales Navigator is a real shortcut.



Step 2. Export the results

For this step, you will need to use a LinkedIn search export tool, like Lix. Again, there is a free option and a paid option here, depending on your budget and how quickly you want to move. Lix freemium allows you to export 1,000 search results every month. It would take a while to build your complete list, but it's possible.

Lix's Data Miner package will set you back $100 for a month, but that allows you unlimited search exports (up to 10,00 per day!). You will almost certainly make that back in your first campaign. If you are already running LinkedIn ads, I would definitely advise that you carve that $100 out of your budget so you can hit the ground running.

One of the added benefits of using Lix for this, is Lix's 'lists' feature. Instead of exporting each search into an individual CSV file, then combining and deduplicating them yourself (snore), Lix can do this for you automatically in the cloud. You can export your searches from LinkedIn into a project, Lix will then deduplicate multiple searches for you - leaving you with one, clean list of names ready for export.



Step 3. Contact targeting template

To upload your results ready for use in your ads, you'll need to copy the data over into one of LinkedIn's Contact Targeting templates.

Contact targeting template

This is just a simple copy & paste job!

If you're not using Lix lists, you can perform multiple exports and then copy the data into the template until you've reached the 10k goal. When that's done, you're almost ready to start those ads...



Step 4. Upload your list

Once you’re happy with your audience, head over to the LinkedIn Campaign Manager and select 'Matched Audiences' under the 'Account Assets' tab. Click ‘Create Audience’ and select ‘Upload Company/Contact List’.

Once you’ve uploaded your CSV you’ll need to wait up to 48 hours for LinkedIn to build your audience. Sometimes the Campaign Manager can't match the names in your CSV to a profile, and not all of the people on your list make it through. If that's the case, don't panic, simply top-up your list by repeating steps 1-3.

When the green light appears next to your audience, it's go time. You're ready to send your LinkedIn ads out to your hand-picked list.



There you have it, The Pinpoint Technique. This will supercharge your LinkedIn advertising and maximise your ROI.
 

Panther28

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This sounds like a great way for me to target specific managers of certain companies when I'm ready to start freelancing as a developer. Thanks for all the great info, didn't know about most of these things.
 

cpnfnz

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This sounds like a great way for me to target specific managers of certain companies when I'm ready to start freelancing as a developer. Thanks for all the great info, didn't know about most of these things.

Exactly! You're totally welcome.

The ability to upload individuals as an audience is very new to LinkedIn ads so hardly anybody is doing this yet, especially not on this scale. Also if you use Lix (or a similar tool) you can get the email address of anyone you search for too, so you can hit them up with the ad and an email to follow up. We're testing this method right now and it's working great so far.

I hope it goes well for you! Good luck with freelancing - I did it for years and absolutely loved it. The market has never been so prime for it, either.
 

startfleet

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Exactly! You're totally welcome.

The ability to upload individuals as an audience is very new to LinkedIn ads so hardly anybody is doing this yet, especially not on this scale. Also if you use Lix (or a similar tool) you can get the email address of anyone you search for too, so you can hit them up with the ad and an email to follow up. We're testing this method right now and it's working great so far.

I hope it goes well for you! Good luck with freelancing - I did it for years and absolutely loved it. The market has never been so prime for it, either.
Nice share! Can we only have few hundred in the contact list uploaded to LinkedIn? Or it must be at least 10k
 

cpnfnz

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Nice share! Can we only have few hundred in the contact list uploaded to LinkedIn? Or it must be at least 10k

Some of our users have had success with a just a few thousand - I haven’t tried less than that!10k is what LinkedIn suggest as a minimum but it’s by no means set.
 

cpnfnz

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What kind of costs does Linkedin ads average...?

That's a tough question - they're usually the most expensive social ads to run, as space is limited and competition is high, they also know the value of their audience. They advise starting with something like 2k min investment, how much traction you get from that is down to targeting (which this method helps) and the quality of your product / service. Personally I think you can work with less investment as a test, but be prepared to spend on these campaigns.
 
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