Director of Inbound / Content Services, Consultant, Host of Creator's Block Podcast, 10+ Years of Project Management Experience
March 14th, 2017
In late 2016, LinkedIn announced that Sponsored InMail is now available to all advertisers. This ad format allows you to send personalized messages to a targeted audience within LinkedIn’s platform. So, B2B marketers, perk up -- this one’s for you.
While traditional email marketing is still one of the most effective inbound strategies, it has become a saturated market where your message can get quickly lost in user inboxes.
Use the message as a way to drum up excitement and educate the recipient on what he or she will get out of the event, then link them to the landing page to register or get more information.
Giving Users Special Promotions of Your Product or Service
Did your software recently update to solve a critical pain point for your primary buyer? Send a Sponsored InMail campaign sharing that information and it can help the user.
Because you’re handpicking the audience receiving the message, you can offer them an exclusive VIP invitation to learn more. This exclusivity will make the offer more intriguing and encourage more clicks, if not immediate conversions.
You can also stress a limited-time offer promotion or discount to help encourage the user to take action and sign up for a demo or offer then and there. Time limits help FOMO kick in.
In addition to these two examples, here are some other ideas you can consider:
General brand awareness and education
Customer loyalty offers
Program or certification enrollment announcements
Virtual networking to grow organization members
2. Cater Your Message to Your Target Audience
Like segmenting and targeting your message for email, you should do the same for InMail, and there are several steps involved in crafting the perfect message for your target audience.
With InMail ads, you automatically increase your chance of user engagement because the message is only delivered to those actively using the platform at that moment, whether on desktop or through the mobile app.
In addition to your subject line, you can also add Summary text similar to “preview” text in emails. This is an additional 60 characters that desktop users will see beneath the subject line for insight on what the full message entails.
3. Add Personalization
The message text of your InMail ad is the heart of it all, so you will definitely want to humanize it as much as possible. No one wants another generic sales-y message.
If your target audience includes people in the same industry or who have the same job title, bring up those specifics in your copy. These details will resonate better with the user and help keep their interest and attention.
4. Have a Clear Call-to-Action
Like an email, your InMail should have one clear call-to-action. Luckily, Sponsored InMail’s calls-to-action are designed to stand out in your message as a blue button.
In additional to your blue button, be sure to include a contextual link to your call-to-action or offer in your message. You can hyperlink a part of your text that relates directly to the offer or has a strong statement on the next step the user should take.
This will increase your chance for click-through rates as there is now more opportunities to drive the user to your landing page.
Though all steps in the article are important, selecting the right target audience is critical. This is where you are choosing exactly who will be receiving your ad. Make sure they are aligned with your primary buyer persona to increase the value of your message will be providing.
A/B (All-the-Way-to-Z) Test Your Messages
Sponsored InMail allows you to craft up to 100 ad variations. I’m going to let that sink in real quick. 100 ad variations.
With so much room to experiment, don’t be afraid to test different combinations of offers, copy, images, and more to see which resonates and performs best with your target audience.
For everyone investing in conversion rate optimization, this is huge. It means you can keep all of your data in one campaign to better track the ads’ performance and results.
Now, just because you can test 100 things doesn’t mean you should. Start off by creating 2-3 different ads and limiting what you change to one item in each ad (e.g. the subject line).
Then, see which ad received the highest open rates and use that as your base to test the next piece of your campaign, i.e. the message content or offer.
You can continue testing and tweaking your ads over time to keep the better-performing ones active and save on wasted ad spend for ones not getting results.
Bonus Tip! Make Sure Your Landing Page is Optimized for Mobile
This isn’t something you can set up when creating a LinkedIn Sponsored InMail campaign, but it needs to be noted nonetheless. The landing page used in the campaign needs to be responsive for mobile devices.
The last thing you want is to deter a lead because the user has a terrible experience on a hard-to-read site once driven to the landing page. The Sponsored InMail ad is already responsive so having your landing page also be responsive will aid inconsistent user experience and increase your conversion opportunity.
Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to increasing your conversions through LinkedIn Sponsored InMail ads. Remember, it all starts with a plan. Map out what you want to promote and who you want to send it to before even logging in to LinkedIn. You’ll have more clarity when setting up your campaign and be able to see quality results.
Have you seen results from your Sponsored InMail campaigns? Let me know in the comments below!