Like the rest of the marketing world, we had to make significant budget cuts when the pandemic hit last year.
Except these budget cuts actually led to a game-changing discovery for us.
Our monthly advertising budget was cut by 60% so we only had $17,000 to play with each month.
We weren’t seeing a whole lot of results from our email campaigns and our website wasn’t converting. We needed to find new (and cheaper) channels to generate qualified demos for our Sales team.
I came across LinkedIn Conversation Ads within my own network and decided to try them out.
If you don’t know much about conversation ads – think Drift chatbot meets LinkedIn InMail. They’re short, sponsored messages that can be sent to a targeted inbox on LinkedIn.
After a quick introduction, each message usually offers a demo, webinar or case study with call-to-action buttons (“Yes I’m interested”, “Tell me more”) that link to your landing pages. As well as pre-populated responses that you create.
In April 2020, we delivered our highest number of demo requests ever (by 230%), and spent 60% less than the prior month.
This was NOT beginner’s luck. Here we are a year later and I can tell you our success with conversation ads has only grown.
Conversation ads are a viable long-term strategy for B2B marketers. And you’re missing out by not including them in your demand gen strategy.
The dangling carrot of our initial conversation ad campaign was a $100 DoorDash gift card to get people to take a demo with us.
We’ve kept the $100 gift consistent over the past year and tried out several different offers.
Given we’ve needed to account for the advertising spend and the gift card for each demo request, we made sure our audiences were laser focused.
We target primary buyers in very tight industries and company sizes, ending up with an audience size of about 50,000.
With that in mind, here are performance metrics for our conversation ads, from April 2020 through April 2021:
That 5X ROI on our campaign has been so strong that our sales team asked us to slow down inbound marketing because they were inundated with demo requests.
How often does that happen???
The message should come from the right person
Conversation ad messages are “sponsored.”
Because there’s a stigma with the word “sponsored”, make sure the message has a conversational tone and comes from someone the target relates to and would take advice from.
If the target is the VP of marketing the message should come from your VP of marketing.
Note: A conversation ad should NOT come from a salesperson.
Make your offer visible in the pre-header
You only have one message to get the target’s attention, so the first sentence is crucial.
The key detail — in our case the $100 — must be clearly seen.
The pre-header shows most of your first sentence so get the $100, or whatever your hook is, in the pre-header. As in: “Hi Jason, I’d like to send you a $100 gift card.”
Show social proof in your intro
Prove your worth in your introduction by listing well-known companies using your product.
Winning over the recipient’s trust is half the battle, especially if you are a startup.
They may say to themselves, ‘I’ve never heard of this company. But these two other companies I like are working with them, so I’ll give it a chance.’
Establish you understand their problem and how to solve it
LinkedIn Conversation Ads only allow 500 characters per message.
So indicate as soon as possible that you empathize with the recipient. This part is the heart of your message.
Let them know you’ve been in their shoes. Something like: “I’m a marketer like you, with the same pressures and goals.” Then quickly describe how you’ll help them increase ROI.
The gift card should be $100, or more
I believe $100 — not $50 or $75 — is the right offer amount for a low-funnel offer like a demo.
A hundred dollars is affordable for you but still enough to convince the recipient you’re serious about targeting them. After all, you wouldn’t just offer $100 to anyone.
Have a plan for people agreeing to the demo just to get the $100
To combat money grabbers, I stress in the ad message to only book the demo if:
LinkedIn Conversation Ads have been so successful for us that we’re adding them as a new feature in our own platform.
That’s right, Metadata is one of the first LinkedIn partners to offer conversation ads in its own product!
To learn more about how you can use Metadata to run LinkedIn Conversation Ads, click here.