AJ Wilcox: Advanced LinkedIn Ads

In this Inbound Speaks interview, we chat with AJ Wilcox about advanced LinkedIn ads. He shares who should be in the room and why. He also gives a tip or two along the way as well as debunks a myth and points out a hurdle to watch out for in the future.

Advanced LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn ads feature the best business targeting on the planet, but they're also expensive which means you're punished by every inefficiency. AJ Wilcox walks you through the pitfalls you've missed and the advanced concepts you need to know to perform at the highest level.


About the Expert

AJ Wilcox

AJ Wilcox is a LinkedIn Ads pro who founded B2Linked.com, a LinkedIn Ads-specific ad agency, in 2014. He's an official LinkedIn partner, host of the LinkedIn Ads Show podcast, and has managed among the world’s largest LinkedIn Ads accounts worldwide. He's a ginger & triathlete. He & his wife live in Utah, with their 4 kids, and his company car is a wicked-fast gokart.
Website: b2linked.com | Blog: b2linked.com/blog/

Full Transcript

George Thomas 0:00
inbound attendees. It's your boy George B. Thomas. And we're back with another episode of inbound speaks where we speak to speakers who speak it. Anyway, I love that part. And you know, I love that part. And you know, I'm always excited because I get to talk to really cool people. Really cool people, which by the way happens to be on the screen. AJ Wilcox, we're going to talk to you. But before we get into the good stuff, let's run that bumper. All right, AJ. So we're gonna talk about your topic, which is advanced, not just LinkedIn ads, but advanced LinkedIn ads. But before we get into talking all of that good stuff, why don't you talk to the inbound attendees, the viewers, the listeners, if you will, kind of who you are, and what the heck makes you tick?

AJ Wilcox 0:44
Sure. So I'm a I'm a LinkedIn ads expert, I run an ad agency called b2b linked, and all we do is just LinkedIn ads. But outside of that, you know, I've been a digital marketer for 13 plus years used to be really heavy into SEO and I really love data, the stuff that's been really tickling my brain lately has been deep data analysis and business intelligence kinds of stuff. So that's what I'm getting excited about. And I live in the state of Utah in the US with my wife and four kiddos. And I know it's been nice not being on a plane this year. So I'm not taking it too bad with COVID.

George Thomas 1:22
Yeah, I'll agree with you. It's been interesting. When it first hit. I was like, Well, what about my trips? And now I'm like, okay, it's all good. Now, here's the thing, one of the things we like to take care of right out of the gate, is this fact of helping people build their inbound 2020 agenda or any year of inbound, because we did this last year as well. But the idea is, how do people know what rooms virtual or not they should be in? So when you think of this, like who should be in your session for inbound 2020 and why should they be in your session?

AJ Wilcox 1:56
Yeah, I love this question because as a young like, growing Up digital marketer, I got a lot of value out of even if I if stuff went over my head, I would still go to the advanced sessions and I would still kind of partake in those things simply to just see what was possible. Because I may not be able to understand advanced topics yet. But I want to see like how deep does this topic go? Is there anything I should be watching on the on the horizon? So the topic is advanced LinkedIn ads, and I think you should have at least managed some LinkedIn ad spend before you come in. But even if you haven't, it could be a really good opportunity just to see how deep the topic goes. And see if there's any tricks or tips that you can get when you're just getting started that might only be known to the advanced marketers.

George Thomas 2:44
I love that pushing the edge of the unknown, really seeing if I was going to become a master of set thing. What are the masters doing? I love that mindset. And you mentioned like tips, tricks, hacks, is there and of course we don't want to give away the whole Because the idea is that they attend your session. But is there one tip that you would give folks who are thinking about or are running LinkedIn ads that they could start to leverage now and use in between now and your inbound 2020? session?

AJ Wilcox 3:13
Yeah, one thing that I've really been focusing on the last six months that I'm starting to make available to everyone is this concept of LinkedIn doesn't have scheduling or day parting like the other ad networks do. But we have found very specific times of the day where certain audiences are less expensive, more active, higher converting. And so what I would say is in preparation for the talk, I mean, definitely attend. But in preparation for the talk, pay attention, go and run that that report inside of Google Analytics or Adobe analytics of conversions by hour and start to build a model for when is my audience most active and should I consider maybe only advertising during the prime hours of the day and saving my budget for those times rather than waiting In the middle of the night, where you're advertising to insomniacs,

George Thomas 4:03
as you can tell, you're gonna be able to get into the nitty gritties during this session. So one thing is I like to hit upon people who are like, Ah, that's not for me, meaning they probably have bought into some type of myth when it comes to the topic. And of course, in our topic, we're talking LinkedIn ads. Is there any myths that we need to debunk right now so that it might open somebody's mind to like, okay, I wasn't thinking that I wanted to do a LinkedIn ads session. But now maybe I should do that.

AJ Wilcox 4:33
Yeah, I've been monitoring all mentions of LinkedIn ads on the internet since 2011. And so I'm very keenly aware that there are two complaints that people generally have about LinkedIn ads. One is it's too expensive, and two is it doesn't work. And so I will tell you, yes, definitely. It is an expensive network, but it's expensive if you're looking at your cost per lead, and comparing that to Facebook. But if you are a sophisticated marketer, and you're tracking that deeper into your CRM, you'll notice that because your targeting is so good on LinkedIn, you're not targeting people who can't afford you or don't have the decision making power to work with you. And so, as you start looking in your funnel, you'll see a LinkedIn traffic converts at a much higher rate from SQL to SQL, SQL to proposal proposal to close. So yeah, I think that's my, my only real debunk is like, yeah, sure, it's expensive, but only if you're not paying attention and watching all the way through.

George Thomas 5:32
And I mean, come on, if you're not paying attention, like well, first of all, that's links back into becoming a master of the thing and the nitty gritty that we've already talked about. So AJ, as I kind of think about this conversation that's going to be had during your session, we've talked about who should be in the room. We've talked about a tip that they can kind of start to focus in on we've talked about a myth that they may believe you've helped a lot of people like that is what you do. That's your thing. What's maybe the number one hurdle that you see that people face when they actually dive in? Because here's my thing. They're going to attend your session, they're going to start to believe Okay, yes, this is the way we want to try this. What do you want to help them watch out for before they even get started? Oh, such

AJ Wilcox 6:17
a valuable question. The one stumbling block that the majority of marketers face when they go to test out LinkedIn ads is their offer. And it really is the make or break of whether or not this campaign is going to be a success. So to give you a concrete example, here, if you go to LinkedIn ads, and you're hoping to put together an ad that just says, here's what we do, click here to talk to sales, or click here for a demo, or to start a free trial. People are not on LinkedIn to go and do business with a vendor they're not looking to to throw their cash at places. And unless they were already considering a product in what you do, they're not ready for a demo or a trial. So the best thing that you can do for LinkedIn This make or break is come up with. Usually one or two really good offers things like join this free webinar or download this free guide, ebook checklist or some kind of helpful content. And it really does have to be helpful because people are going to be giving their personal information in exchange for it. But if you can nail this, if you can figure out here is an offer that is people are so hungry for that 15% or more of the people who hit it are going to download it. You've got a lead generating machine on your

George Thomas 7:31
hands. Alright, so I need to make sure that people heard what you said people did you hear the fact that you're looking for what they're hungry for, and then be a healthful human. If you're a healthful human for that hungry that desire that thing. It's a win win situation versus just a average everyday sales pitch. So AJ, here's the thing. Last year, I used to have fun with this, because I'd be like, hey, you get done with your talk. The audience stands out there's a raving round of applause. That's not really happening this year. As a matter of fact, I've gotten an applause button that's coming from Amazon that after my session, I'm just going to hit it over and over again. And then like, Yay, all right, they loved it. But with every speaker, me being a speaker, I know that you deal with this, we usually have this one thing, this big thought. And so for you, even though you're talking about advanced LinkedIn ads, it probably digs into something deeper. So what is the big thing? what's the takeaway that you hope after your session, people grab hold of and kind of run with?

AJ Wilcox 8:33
Well, I this is a very tactical session, I walk you through exactly. Here's how to get the lowest costs from an expensive network, which is very much in your favor, but I hope people get that away from any any talk that I give. The I think the biggest thing that people can take away is most people go to LinkedIn ads because they want to generate leads. And that makes sense. That's what the platform's for, on my mind really heavily for the last six months, I've been thinking about how because Lincoln's targeting is so good, we can create these very specific sub segments and groups of people and treat them like a focus group. So imagine if you can figure out wow managers are more plentiful, but don't convert as much. And wow, it's actually really cheap for me to acquire VPS. If you segment things out by something you want to learn about, it's a focus group. And now you're learning things that you can take into the whole rest of your marketing. Any other channel you advertise on, you can find out what is the messaging that drives my audience? What do they care about? What are they hungry for? And I don't know any other platform that lets you run those kinds of tests, which obviously, as a marketer, it's going to be more work for you to have four campaigns set up instead of one, but man, the data is so incredible. Treat it like market research and lead gen

George Thomas 9:54
inbound attendees. Think about specifics. Think about segments. Think about And think about attending AJ session advanced LinkedIn ads an inbound 2020 and while you're doing all that thinking cuz man whoo that's a lot of thinking. We'll be here waiting for you in the next episode.