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How to leverage LinkedIn’s Sponsored InMail

January 12, 2017 -  By

One of the most challenging aspects of bidding on commercial work—or learning about those potential projects before RFPs go out—is developing relationships with the right people. It’s a combination of networking and relationship management, plus a bit of luck. LinkedIn, the B2B social media network, has always been an effective way to find people to network with; however, it hadn’t solved the problem of determining if your contact is the decision maker on the project or automating the process of nurturing those relationships. Until now. LinkedIn’s newest advertising tool, Sponsored InMail, takes a step in that direction, allowing you to create custom messages with interactive calls-to-action delivered to an individual’s mailbox.

Right people, right message

With LinkedIn Sponsored Advertising, you can choose from a wide variety of different options to target the right people. Geographic targeting is an option, but LinkedIn’s B2B nature allows you to target individuals based on company name, industry, job title, job function, seniority and even schools. The more options you use to target your audience, the more relevant your message becomes to your intended audience, and therefore, the better it will perform.

While there is no “sweet spot” for the size of your audience, you’ll want to make sure it’s big enough to help you achieve your campaign initiatives, while not being so large that it drives up costs. An audience that’s too large could result in your message being shown to irrelevant people, causing you to see little return on investment. But be careful; small audience sizes can drive up the cost per sent email. I try to keep my audience size between 2,000 to 5,000 people when targeting using LinkedIn.

Custom messages, calls to action

Another key feature to LinkedIn Sponsored InMail is the ability to create personalized messages on a mass scale. Like an email service, you can customize each message with the recipient’s first or last name. However, unlike an email, you can display a colorful, visual ad with your message to entice the reader to take action. Within the message itself, you can use attractive call-to-action buttons to help convert leads into sales opportunities.

The key to leveraging these features within Sponsored InMail is to create a relevant message that speaks directly to the clientele you’re targeting. For the best results, the offer must be in line with the level of association you have with your target audience. For example, if you’re targeting LinkedIn members who don’t know you, your brand or products, a helpful guide or introduction to your services may be the best conversion opportunity. However, if the audience has had some interaction with your brand, a message that promotes a sales opportunity may be effective.

Budgeting and Ideas for an InMail campaign

LinkedIn’s other ad formats charge on a “cost per click” or “cost per thousand” impressions format. InMail is priced on a “cost per send” basis, meaning you are charged for every InMail successfully delivered to a recipient’s inbox.

Keep in mind there are a few rules that affect who receives your InMail. First, it’s an “auction” style system that rewards those who bid the most and are most relevant to their target audience. Additionally, every LinkedIn member receives only one Sponsored InMail message every several days. Therefore, you may target a certain number of individuals, but some members of your target audience may not receive your InMail based on the amount you bid and if they have received a Sponsored InMail in the past few days.

The key to developing an effective campaign that reaches the largest share of your audience is leveraging InMail’s “cost per send” bid suggestion while running a campaign spread out over several days to ensure majority of your target audience receives it.

While InMail may not be the perfect solution for every situation, it shows promise for landscape companies. A possible application for InMail is to develop customized messages based on job titles. For example, you can create a message for property managers within a geographic area discussing the benefits of your maintenance program or one sharing the benefits of a sports field aeration for athletic directors.

LinkedIn’s new InMail service may be the edge your company is seeking in an ultra-competitive market. Additionally, the precise digital ad features allow you to target people and manage costs efficiently, measuring your return on investment down to the penny. Plus, the ability to create dynamic, customized messages that position your products and services perfectly make this ad platform a tool that just may increase your bottom line.

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