Like most companies in this day and age, you know the value of social media and have most likely tried various types of social media ad strategies in an attempt to drive new leads and sales.

If that’s the case, you might be seeing mixed results from your current campaigns and are interested in lowering your cost per appointment (and increasing the ROI on your ad spend). 

If you haven’t yet tried paid social media, you’re reading this because you’re thinking about it. 

Either way, this post will help. 

As a lead generation and sales development agency, our purpose in writing this is to give you a rundown of the exact ad strategies that we turn to time and time again because they keep our clients’ pipelines full, plus some insight into why we run them and some common mistakes you can avoid.

You’ll get the most out of this post if you:

  1. Currently have an offer that you know you can sell
  2. You have revenue to reinvest
  3. And you have a desire to grow your lead volume and increase revenue

In this post you’ll learn:

  • Why social media advertising is a reliable way to drive consistent quality appointments and sales.
  • Various social media ad strategies we use to deliver quality appointments to our clients every single month
  • How we use either the LinkedIn or the Facebook ad platform to target, connect with, and get your ideal prospects in your marketing funnels
  • How to know if your company is suited for LinkedIn ads or Facebook ads (and what kind of ROI to expect)
  • The marketing funnels we use to build trust and open the door to real business conversations (HINT: your backend funnel is what will set you up for success)
  • And even our top tips on what kinds of ads and ad creatives to test and why they work so well.

Ready to dive in? Let’s go…

Insert Thrive Leads Shortcode
Insert Thrive Leads Shortcode
Insert Thrive Leads Shortcode

Start Here: Simplify Your Lead Generation

The first hurdle to any successful ad campaign is to recognize what your goal actually is. Is it awareness? Or is it to actually get leads and create sales opportunities?

Too many ad campaigns forget what they’re main goal is and they make it way too complex. One reason why we have so much success with our clients is that we create ad campaigns, and the back end funnels to support them are simple.

K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple, Smarty-pants!

Too many companies struggle to get cost effective results simply because they overcomplicate the funnels. They include sign-ups and extra pages and do this and do that… and soon, your lead doesn’t know what they want, what you can do for them or why they clicked on your ad first place!

A funnel that actually generates leads and sales should look something like this:

NOW, that’s a VERY simplified 3-step funnel. Here’s how we look at it from a bird’s eye view:

STEP 1: Your traffic source can be anything
STEP 2: You capture the lead information
STEP 3: You follow-up with them with either social media messaging, email, AND OR phone calling

What’s the goal here? 

To get QUALITY prospects on the phone consistently (at a cost-effective rate, leading to a positive ROI)

Another hurdle is that many companies turn to ads looking to scale their lead volume – and because they know exactly who they want to target (see here for why this is crucial) they really dial in on their targeting. On the surface that’s great! Even encouraged. We always say that knowing your prospect and identifying your prospect profile is really a prerequisite for any marketing or lead generation endeavor (ads included). However…

Companies often make a mistake when they niche down TOO MUCH when running ad campaigns. It’s a fine line between finding that niche target audience and throwing a net wide enough to both capture quality leads and do it at scale, while maintaining cost-effective appointments. This is an important reason to consider working with an expert who can help you find and optimize the right targeting for both your sales objectives and for a positive ROI.

Now let’s dive into the top three different ad campaigns and approaches that do just that for our clients…

Top 4 Ad Campaign Formats We See Working Now:

PDF / CONTENT DOWNLOAD

What the campaign looks like:

Step 1: Your target audience sees your ad for content 

Step 2: They provide their information in exchange for the content

Step 3: If they don’t book an appointment immediately, we follow-up with email and phone calling

These are ads that attract your targeted audience with a pdf report, eBooks, whitepaper, checklist, or other valuable download that helps solve an immediate pain for them. From there, the follow up emails you send them after they opt-in to receive the download will encourage them to book an appointment.

In many cases, we also have our sales development rep (SDR) team call these prospects as soon as possible after they download the pdf. This is just one way we take advantage of both key timing and multiple channels; we talk to prospects when they show interest (or as soon afterwards as possible) and encourage them to make an appointment with our clients’ sales calendars (or at least to take that next step in the sales cycle). 

Why it works:

If the singular goal is to book appointments and we want to keep it as simple as possible, why are we offering content first? Won’t that confuse the lead by providing more hurdles before they can book an appointment?

That’s a valid question and concern. The reason this approach often works is two-fold:

  1. You’re building trust first. You are providing content that not only helps them solve an immediate problem, you’re showing your expertise and positioning yourself as an expert in the market. No one will book an appointment right away if they don’t trust you first.
  2. In many cases, the ad costs for these types of ad campaigns are lower. Besides building immediate trust and enhancing your positioning in the marketplace, lower ad costs can contribute to a higher ROI.

ASSESSMENT REQUESTS. (EXAMPLE “GET YOUR FREE MARKETING ANALYSIS TO ENSURE YOU’RE MEETING INDUSTRY BENCHMARKS, REGISTER HERE”)

What the campaign looks like:

Step 1: Your target audience sees your ad for an assessment/ free audit / free consultation / etc…

Step 2: They provide their information and schedule the call

Step 3: If they don’t book an appointment immediately, we follow-up with email and phone calling. If they did book an appointment for the free assessment, we send out reminder emails and call in order to increase show-up rates for the calls.

So, here, instead of downloading a PDF or some other content, we’re offering value (and building trust) in a different way: an assessment. This can also take the form of something like an audit or strategy call. On the back end, after a prospect signs up for their assessment, similar to the pdf download campaigns, we use email and our sales development rep team to continue providing value, stay top of mind, qualify the prospect, and encourage them to take the next step.

Why it works:

This campaign works for the same reason the campaign above works:

You’re building trust and offering value FIRST.

DIRECT TO APPOINTMENT OR CONSULTATION

Unlike the previous two campaigns, the ads in these campaigns encourage the prospect to book an appointment directly.

What the campaign looks like:

Step 1: Your target audience sees your ad for a call with your company (your sales team) about your offer

Step 2: They provide their information and schedule the call

Step 3: If they don’t book an appointment immediately, we follow-up with email and phone calling. If they did book an appointment for the free assessment, we send out reminder emails and call in order to increase show-up rates for the calls.

Similar to the campaign above, in this ad campaign, you are more straightforward about the offer.

Why it works:

What happened to building trust first? Good question.

In some cases, depending on the market and your targeting, these prove to be efficient campaigns because your audience already knows about you and trusts you. This usually happens in conjunction when ads are incorporated within a multichannel lead generation strategy.

This is THE most simplified ad campaign because these campaigns are certainly more direct, immediately pushing for a call instead of offering content or value in some way.


Insert Image

WEBINARS / ONLINE EVENTS

Webinar and online event campaigns are similar to the rest of the campaigns in that you provide a lot of value before you go for the sale. The key here is education, positioning, and trust building.

What the campaign looks like:

Step 1: Your target audience sees your ad for the webinar or online event 

Step 2: They provide their information and receive the information for how to log in and receive a series of emails to remind them to show-up for the webinar.

Step 3: If they don’t book an appointment, sign-up for a trial, or book a call immediately on the webinar itself (whatever your goal is for the webinar), we follow-up with email, messaging, and phone calling to increase your conversion rate.

Why it works:

Webinars and online event campaigns work especially well for SaaS companies to get demos and sign-ups for their product, associations/networking, for sales teams generate appointments for high ticket offers, and to fill online programs. 

Webinar and online event campaigns are similar to the rest of the campaigns in that you provide a lot of value. The key here is education and trust building, but it goes deeper than that. You’ve got content that you’re presenting in a multi-sensory way with a webinar. They see you and hear you, and if you’re running it live, you’re providing an opportunity for them to ask direct questions. 

Realize also that a webinar is a much bigger commitment than downloading a pdf for example, and as such, it’s also an excellent way to qualify and filter those who are really interested. It’s also an excellent positioning tool – you’re not only positioning yourself as the expert on the subject you’re presenting, you’ve become a trusted resource… and it’s a no-pressure way for your prospect to get to know you and your company.

Facebook vs. LinkedIn ads?

Earlier, in our bird’s eye view, we mentioned that with this strategy, it doesn’t matter what the traffic source is, the strategy is still the same and (assuming you have the right message and the right targeting), these campaigns will attract quality leads that will book appointments with you.

However, that being said, the traffic source does make a difference in terms of quality and cost effectiveness. 

Both platforms have their pros and cons. What’s most important when deciding what platform to test first is deciding on your objectives and KPIs (your Key Performance Indicators). 

If you need a high volume of opt-ins at a cost low enough to make your campaign viable, Facebook is a great place to start since the traffic is cheaper and will allow you to test faster.

*Pro Tip:  Make sure to use Facebook’s Business Manager and upload past lists of buyers to create an “LTV Lookalike” list. These lists are some of the most potent targeting groups you can run on Facebook. 

On the other hand, LinkedIn is hands down the single most effective platform for B2B campaigns. With over 560 million active users, 61million are of senior-level influence or in decision-making positions and able to make the final call on your product or service. Whether you’re promoting a case study or white paper, or your ads go “direct to appointment”, LinkedIn makes it easy to get in front of businesses who want and need your services.

The thing to keep in mind here is that traffic from LinkedIn is going to cost you 3-4x more than traffic from Facebook. We recommend no less than a $1,500-$3,000/month budget for LinkedIn to gather the needed data to optimize and perfect your ads. 

*Pro Tip: Right now there is a blue ocean opportunity on the LinkedIn ad platform that LinkedIn’s own data shows that only 1% of companies are taking advantage right now. Click here to learn about The Biggest Missed Opportunity On LinkedIn For Businesses Today.

Here’s a rundown of some of the differences to keep in mind when it comes to running ad campaigns on either Facebook or LinkedIn:

Are Social Media Ads Worth The Investment?

Again, a very valid question. Our answer:

When you know the average Lifetime Value of each client you close from these appointments, you can determine whether or not this is an investment that has a high ROI every time. 

You’ll notice that ad spend and appointment costs vary. That depends on LinkedIn or Facebook’s algorithm (how often your ad is shown to your targeted audience), time of year, and other factors. 

What’s important here is that you want to get to a point where you build a formula that gives you ROI – and it takes some time to get there. 

You need to optimize ad copy (your message), the creative (the ad graphics), the targeting, the follow-up, and even your sales process. Over time, the ROI gets better and better, and you’ll get to a point where you can plan ahead and create [pretty solid forecasts.

So, with time, you should be able to tell your team something like this…

Conclusion

To sum up, there are four ad strategies we use for our clients to get prospects on their sales calendar consistently.

These strategies are not just about throwing out an ad and seeing what comes from it. It is a systematized process that only starts with the initial ad (which includes the set-up of dialing in on the targeting, the message, the ad copy, and ad creative. 

All of this involves testing over time.) It’s after the lead exchanges their information that the rest of the system kicks in on the back-end with follow-up messaging via email or social media and phone calling. This is how we optimize ad campaigns and cantilever quality appointments, instead of doing what many others do…

Which is to set up an ad campaign and leave it at that. 

If you have any questions about which ad campaign would work best for you or are interested in how you can optimize your ads for lead generation, let’s talk! Schedule an appointment with our Director of Client Strategy at the link below and they can discuss your options – and the results you might expect – with you at no cost.

Insert Thrive Leads Shortcode
Insert Thrive Leads Shortcode

Insert Image
Insert Thrive Leads Shortcode

The post Social Media Ad Strategies That Drive Leads and Sales appeared first on LinkedSelling.