LinkedInDo you use LinkedIn advertising? Or do you use another form of online advertising? Or perhaps you haven’t gone down the road of paid-for advertising yet.

LinkedIn, Facebook and Google all have their positives and negatives in terms of advertising. Ultimately it depends on what your objective is that will help determine where you should advertise.

But here’s why I think LinkedIn advertising is an extremely powerful tool for Virtual Assistants.

According to LinkedIn, it operates the world’s largest professional network online, with over 187 million members in over 200 countries and territories. So it seems like it should be a pretty good tool for advertising your VA business.

But with it being so vast, surely it’s tricky to target your advertising so it displays in front of the people you need it to? Not so. With LinkedIn ads, as with Google and Facebook, you are able to select your criteria to better target your audience. You can target by company size, industry type, seniority within the company, location, and more, and because LinkedIn is aimed at professionals primarily using it for business networking, many feel that it gets your business in front of the right people at the right time. Whereas with Facebook and even Google, people will be using it for both work and personal purposes, so it can be harder to see the results you’d like.

You may have been fortunate enough to receive a code entitling you to free advertising on LinkedIn. If so, did you use it? Or completely disregard it because you’re not too sure of what to do, or because you think there may be some hidden costs? I’ve received a couple of these codes in the past and must admit that I did disregard them, mainly because I was quite busy when the email pinged in and then forgot all about it. However, recently I was sent another code entitling me to free advertising which I decided to take advantage of, and within 24 hours I saw results.

So if you’d like to get your business in front of more people, LinkedIn ads may be the right choice for you. With this type of advertising you are completely in control. You set the amount you want to spend per bid and how much you want to spend each day.

Below are a few pointers to help you start a LinkedIn ad campaign:

The first 3 steps are relatively straight forward:

  • Choose your campaign name – this is just for your reference i.e. VMB Display Ads Spring 13
  • Choose your language
  • Choose your media type – basic (straight forward text adverts) or video

The next 3 steps require a little more thought:

1. Write your ad copy.

Include a headline (within 25 characters) and main body text (within 75 characters). Make it relevant to your target audience and include a strong call to action. You can include up to 15 variations of your advert, so test different ones to see which get the most amount of impressions and clicks. This way you make sure your campaign is as strong as it can be.

2. Target your ad.

By location, job title, industry, company (if relevant), skills, groups, gender, age. Here you can decide to be extremely focused in your advertising, but by doing so reduce the amount of people your advert will appear in front of. Or you can go wider and target multiple industry groups increasing the amount of people your appear will appear in front of. There are pros and cons to each. I’ve always elected to target more precisely than many experts advise, because I feel it works better for me. However which one you decide is entirely dependent on your main objective.

3. Bidding.

You can opt for CPC (Cost Per Click) or CPM (Pay Per 1,000 Impressions). CPC means you’ll be charged every time someone clicks on your ad. CPM means you’ll be charged a certain amount each time your ad is shown to 1,000 people on LinkedIn. To decide which is best for you think of it this way:

  • To reach as many people as possible via your ad, CPM would probably work best.
  • If you want people to click on your ad to drive traffic to your website or build new business, CPC would probably be better.

Once you’ve decided on which type of campaign, you need to set your bid rate and your daily limit.

Bid rate: The minimum CPC LinkedIn allows is $2, but they actually provide a suggested bid range depending on your budget and the competition for you ads.

Bid range

Basically the more advertisers bidding on a similar campaign the higher you bid needs to be in order for your ad to ‘win’ the bid and appear. The bid is the maximum that you’ll be charged, so if the current rate is lower (due to time of day for example) then you will only be charged the current rate, not your bid rate.

Daily limit: This is how you remain in complete control of the amount you wish to spend, and once that limit has been reached your ad will no longer appear that day.

Daily budget
So as in the examples above, the daily limit is 12€ and the CPC is €3, so this campaign will only support 3 clicks per day.

It’s wise to continually log into your LinkedIn advertising to review what’s going on and make any adjustments that you feel is necessary. You may want to up your bids, your daily limit, edit the ads, or put a hold on the whole campaign once you’ve got enough new business!

Do you use LinkedIn advertising? If so, how has it worked for you? Or do you use another form of advertising? If so, what and what kind of return have you seen? We’d love to hear from you, so please leave your comments below.