You’ve probably tested LinkedIn ads, but not like this…
We’re speaking with a true expert on them this week. And as usual, we’ve zero’ed in on someone who’s being helpful with their expert content!
Justin Rowe takes us through his thoughts on how to make LinkedIn ads a success for any business, by thinking about it as an amplifier of your marketing ecosystem and not just another channel.
Who knows, you might just find that scale we’re all after these days!
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Transcript[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the B2B Playbook Podcast. Each week we discuss strategies and tactics to help B2B businesses grow online. We’re your host, Kevin and George, a couple of digital marketing professionals. We’ve waited through the noise and made the mistakes so you don’t have to. The B2B world has changed, and you need to put your customers at the heart of your.
We’ll cover how you can use our framework, the five Bs to create a brand that customers are ready to buy from, love and advocate for. We’ll get insights from successful people in the industry and cover the latest trends to keep you on the cutting edge of the B2B world. If you are interested in B2B marketing strategies and tactics that work, then this podcast is for you.
Subscribe to get the latest from the B2B playbook first. Remember, successful B2B marketing starts with the buyer.
George Coudounaris: Welcome back to the B2B Playbook. This week’s interview is with [00:01:00] Justin Rowe. Justin is the founder and C m O of Impactable, a seven figure B2B LinkedIn ads agency that grew from working as an Upwork freelancer. This guy is an expert now. Some of the key things that Justin shared with us. The first one is just how big an opportunity LinkedIn ads is mostly due to the different targeting options and formats available there.
In particular, a big one that very few other platforms have is company size targeting.
Kevin Chen: Yeah, it was a great episode where he also shared how great it. As a remarketing channel and an amplifier for the rest of your marketing and sales ecosystem. Don’t look at it as just a siloed channel, that you can get more leads from. It is an
excellent channel for remarketing And also
for amplifying the
results from other channels in your marketing ecosystem.
George Coudounaris: And care for those listeners who love the nitty gritty. The conversation goes deep into how to do all of this yourself if you are so inclined. So it’s a super practical [00:02:00] episode. Another great episode with a truly helpful expert and if nothing else, Kev, I’m just so stoked that we get to meet and shine a small light and some of these awesome people out there who are really share our helping ethos.
Kevin Chen: you do a lot of the heavy lifting there, George, in finding these truly helpful experts and we’re very privileged to have them on the show. Listeners, we hope he enjoyed this conversation with.
George Coudounaris: Welcome back to the B2B Playbook. Listeners, as you know, we rarely have guests on our show. Instead, we select a few experts who align with our view that B2B marketing is more about people, not platforms.
But today our special guest is a platform expert, but is also one hell of a marketer, and his name is Justin Rowe.
Justin is the king of LinkedIn ads. He’s the founder and CMO of Impactable at B2B LinkedIn ads. He started out as an Upwork freelancer and now he runs a seven figure [00:03:00] agency. Justin’s known for giving away insane amounts of value on LinkedIn and his growing YouTube channel, and I know that he’s gonna share some absolute gold with us today.
Justin, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Justin Rowe: Yeah. Thank you for having me. It’s definitely a pleasure and an honor, especially since you don’t normally have guests.
George Coudounaris: Yeah, you were one of the few Justin and , we connected a while back and ever since I’ve been following you, I just thought we absolutely had to get you on the show. So we had your earmarked for a while and I’m so glad that we could make it happen.
Justin Rowe: Yeah, I’m happy to be here.
George Coudounaris: Awesome. Justin, look, we got so much to get into when it comes to the LinkedIn ads, but I actually wanna start with a fun fact about you, Justin. You are the owner of four Potbelly restaurants. I lived off Potbelly when I was an exchange student in Austin, Texas. How on earth did that come about?
Justin Rowe: um, actually through LinkedIn. That’s part of my like little origin story of how I started the outreach agency. I came onto LinkedIn as a, I [00:04:00] was a restaurant manager. That was my first career and I wanted more opportunities. So I came to LinkedIn. I was sending. 50 invites a day. Um, Introducing myself, posting content about my journey as a manager and a people person.
And I actually stumbled into some investment opportunities where investors were looking for operating partners. And so because I had accidentally made myself a visible restaurant operator in my city, it opened me up to those opportunities. And we actually opened the pot Billy Sandwich shop in Indiana, and then I convinced him a year later to buy three existing ones in Louis.
Uh, So then I had part ownership before restaurants without having to put up the cash. And that’s actually what gave me the idea for LinkedIn Outreach as an agency , and kind of influenced a lot of those and gave me the time and flexibility to start building that on the side.
George Coudounaris: Wow, that is incredible. . I mean, What a great start that it really comes down to, two really key things there. People like building relationships and [00:05:00] LinkedIn, and you start up with LinkedIn outreach, but now Justin, your focus is more on LinkedIn ads. If I’m not. How did you make that transition? How did you get into this world of LinkedIn?
Justin Rowe: Yeah, so I was really deep into the outreach side. And it came from that beginning, how I got started. And then the pivot into ads was more of a, I saw the writing on the wall. LinkedIn outreach was getting more and more regulated. They were coming out with all these rules and regulations.
And, scary language. So instead of doubling down and figuring out ways around it, which a lot of our competitors of did, I took, I, I kind of took a look at our business and I said we have a dominating presence. We’re known on LinkedIn and we’re known for LinkedIn expertise.
We have clients who want to run ads with us. It would be a legitimate pivot to pivot into LinkedIn ads. And so I kind of ran a test. I personally took on about [00:06:00] 20 ad clients myself. And then, solidified the pricing, the process, and then when the time was right, ruled that out to our team.
But the crazy thing is around that time that I had 25 ad accounts and we were going through the acquisition is when LinkedIn slapped the biggest regulation ever. And so then we made the hard choice to say, S pull all marketing dollars from outreach put LinkedIn ads as our primary focus and just lean everything we have into that.
And for a whole year we made that transition into that. And then after about 12 months, that was our primary source of income and outreach dropped off the map for us a lot.
George Coudounaris: Wow. Very smart. Very cool. I mean, First of all, 25 ad accounts, you are a lunatic. How on earth were you managing 25 ad accounts?
You couldn’t have been sleeping that much.
Justin Rowe: yeah. I did it for a couple of reasons. A, I was actually looking to sell, or I wasn’t looking to sell, but I was going, I was starting to have people put fuelers out there and it was on my radar, and I had [00:07:00] this weird idea that I would sell the outreach. and I would pivot myself into an ads, a ads agency.
So I was actually gonna keep that from the company and that was gonna be what I do after I sell. But then after LinkedIn, during that process and it became abundantly clear, my actual original agency would not survive without ads. So yeah, I selfishly had that as like my fallback plan, which is, you know why I didn’t mind, because that was about to be all my.
My new job. So I, I kind of had all that going on and then I said, you know what? My agency won’t survive without ads as an offering. I’m gonna throw that up on the website. It’s gonna be our flagship offer, and I’m gonna lean into it. And then, yeah, at that point I stopped taking on new accounts. Um, But it took like a whole year for all of these original accounts that I took on to finally drop off my plate.
And about six to eight months before I felt like I had enough time to get back to like actually running our marketing and doing a lot of the stuff I needed. So it was learn learning experience.
George Coudounaris: Yeah. It takes so [00:08:00] much system and process to get that stuff off your plate, doesn’t it? And to be able to get someone else to handle it so you can continue to work on the business. Justin, when we have guests on, we try and pinpoint a moment. That they felt that their expertise just really clicked for them and made sense for you.
Was there a moment that you realized that LinkedIn ads would be a game changer for you or your business? I know that it was important in terms of the service that clients needed for you, and it was something you wanted to expand to because outbound was getting more difficult. But was there a moment where you were like, holy crap, this stuff really.
When Justin Realised LinkedIn Ads Potential
Justin Rowe: Yeah, I think there was a moment early on when, part of what I didn’t like about our outreach agency was that we had a lower cost and it was, it felt like a churn and burn operation. Like people were coming to us cuz the low price and because the expectation of outreach, they had unrealistic expectations when I first started dabbling with my 25 accounts. There was such a dramatic shift in the type [00:09:00] of clients, how they approached it, their expectations, the maturity level of the businesses. So I think there was a huge aha moment even in that initial, where it was like, This is a whole different, it’s not just a different offering. Like this is a whole different thing for us.
The churn’s gonna be better, the quality of clients is gonna be better. The experience our team has working with clients is gonna be better. The margins are better. Almost everything about it, as an offering for us was better. and then I dove deep into LinkedIn ads for us during this time as well because I wanted to lead by example and hammer out the strategies.
And it started becoming a major, a growing revenue source for us. So I think for us and for these clients I think probably the biggest one was a serious funded startup early on had grabbed me to do their LinkedIn ads, and I realized like what a huge gap there is in the market. These mature companies, and they have mature marketing agencies running marketing, but when it came to LinkedIn, [00:10:00] they didn’t have a clue about the basics.
So I saw that as a huge opportunity and somehow I also, as I’m researching, couldn’t find more than five legitimate LinkedIn ads agencies. So huge opportunity in the market. I saw, as a really big opportunity.
George Coudounaris: I can just speak anecdotally to that. I was at an agency with just largely b2c and they were really good performance marketers and they had a big range of accounts. But when it came to B2B and when it came to using LinkedIn, like there was just no documented system, no documented process.
People didn’t really fully understand it. So that gap definitely existed here. And it sounds like it was an issue where you are to Justin. look, LinkedIn ads is an incredible channel. You’ve shared that I guess through your LinkedIn post, you’ve really shared, I think, hey, you’ve used it for your business and how you’ve deconstructed for other businesses.
Why is it that LinkedIn ads work so well, particularly for b2b?
Why LinkedIn Ads work so well for B2B
Justin Rowe: I think [00:11:00] initially it’s the targeting. So The reason that even our outreach agency on LinkedIn was a decent idea is because the level of targeting that you can do through sales navigator is phenomenal. And so that’s the big driver of that. And then you cross over to the paid ad side.
The targeting’s also a really big deal. You can almost all the other platforms. So I consider myself like a well-rounded marketer like I do our Google ads, our Facebook, our programmatic display, ctv. So me, I can speak from experience. like compared to other channels, the ability to target like precisely your client without having to go and buy huge lists and import them into Facebook is really nice.
So yeah, on Facebook it’s like they followed Gary V and they have this title and they’re in America. And then you trust that the algorithm like does its thing and it’s a mature algorithm. It will, but LinkedIn you can. These position titles in these five industries that I serve, and company sizes of 50, [00:12:00] to 500 who have budgets.
So you’re targeting the exact decision makers of companies in your industries of sizes that have budget. That’s really powerful. And then I think the biggest thing for me that was a huge aha moment and why I latched onto the retargeting like framework is that. Initially all, most of our traffic or conversions were coming from Google search.
We Google search cold outreach. We were, we had good traffic coming to our website. But then LinkedIn Insights tag can actually improve the conversions of all of the other channels. It can say, Hey, all this Google ad traffic, let’s qualify it with all those filters I just said, and only retarget Qualified prospects who visit your website. Whereas Facebook and everything else is 90 day visitors, will retarget them, but they all get thrown together because we can’t qualify them with those extra filters. So that was game changer to me too.
George Coudounaris: So those photographic details that you can target, that they’re incredible, right? Like I, and I really haven’t seen it anywhere else. And they [00:13:00] also, they don’t even give, they don’t only give you the firmographic qualities, but. , they can track things that you can use as triggers as to whether or not you want to target someone too, and add them to your audience. If, for example, I mean for us, like we target small marketing teams, so we can see on LinkedIn if someone has like a small marketing team of like less than three people and maybe it grows by one person. And then for us, that can be a trigger. We’re like, Hey, they need our services.
And I just dunno, any other platforms that can do something like,
Justin Rowe: Yeah. And I guess the other thing that I really love about LinkedIn is the different like formats and ways you can stay in front of them. So like Google’s pretty, pretty important, but it’s also, it feels very one-dimensional. It’s like they search for these terms and Facebook, there’s a handful of ways you can use the platform to advertise.
But with LinkedIn, like the arsenal of formats you have as well is. Single image text spotlight sponsored in mailed straight to their inbox. [00:14:00] There’s video and lead gen form and document ads now, and there’s so there’s a plethora of ways that you can stay in front of them, show ’em different angles, different formats.
Like it just feels like a higher level of complexity that you could build. And I think that just exploited the gap too. Like for all these marketing agencies who just have service level of linked. They’re just like using as another distribution channel, and they’re not touching like any of the complexities you could actually dive into, but the range and maturity is growing quickly on there, which creates a big skill gap for us, which is nice.
George Coudounaris: I was gonna get to this bit later, but since you’ve brought it up, you said that LinkedIn has so many different ad formats that you can play around with. Do you have some favorite go-tos that you always use? Does it kind of depend on the client? Can you talk us through that at all?
Justin Rowe: , I mean, most run with single image ads in feed and they’re showing like that. I would say that’s pretty standard, some of my, that I would advise anyone that should be using text ads for retargeting, spotlight ads for retargeting. . And they seem [00:15:00] innocent enough and honestly maybe underwhelming to the normal person who’s looking.
But if you, because they’re usually people are judging them by cost per click and click through eight. Those are usually terrible. They’re gonna underperform in that aspect, but there’s another aspect where if that’s what you’re looking at, you would miss out. Most of the tech adss I run it’ll be something like 10, 20, 30,000, impress.
And it’ll be like $10 spent. So sure when people aren’t like clicking them as much and the amount of placements to click, so the click click through rate is gonna be terrible. But if I can get 40,000 impressions for practically free, like how is that bad? I don’t even care if people are clicking them.
It’s basically like free billboard displays on desktop. So that’s how I view. And I think it’s hard to prove, but I think that constant showing of your logo and some taglines, sure that’s not gonna convert, but I think it improves the conversion rates of your infeed. So when they do see another infeed ad that they might interact and convert from, I [00:16:00] think the text ads and spotlight ads and follower ads like soften those up.
But it’s really hard to prove that. But those are my main theories.
George Coudounaris: Hey. Yeah, look I tend to agree. I think that display gets such a bad rap because it’s typically used. On the Google network where you don’t necessarily have that firmographic data. So that’s what I love about LinkedIn, like if what you’re putting out is on brand, on message and it’s helpful, I just don’t believe that there’s a lot of waste in that because you can guarantee that you are actually reaching the right people in the right accounts that you want to do business with.
And so that’s why I wouldn’t necessarily say if display is weaker through the Google network, then that means that’s the same case with something like the Spotlight Ads on LinkedIn,
Justin Rowe: Yeah,
that’s a good, that’s a good point. Like the Google Display Network and those display retargeting like at some point, and that’s at some point you have to trust your gut and you have to make some decisions. because they’ll want to take credit. They’ll take what’s called view conversion like that, that it was placed on their screen and then they [00:17:00] ended up converting.
But did it play a role? And, we do experiments, like we cut it off for a month or so. I’ve, I played around with cutting off Google display and then it’s almost a matter of I can’t prove that it has a ton of power. But I do think it’s important to show up as many places as you can. I wouldn’t sink a lot of money into some.
Retargeting displays like Google Display Network. But I do think some budget, especially if you can qualify it. But yeah, some of that should you run it if you if you can’t directly attribute it, and if it’s only view conversions, that can be tough and sometimes you just gotta make a gut call with what you think is an important part of their journey.
George Coudounaris: It probably comes back to the stage that your business is at. We’ve gone into the details quite quickly here, Justin, and I want to pull us back for a second, and I just want to go and ask, look for our listeners, when really is the right time for a business to start using LinkedIn ads? When should they start testing the water?
When to start testing LinkedIn Ads?
Justin Rowe: honestly and I’m I really do think I’m being unbiased here in this in this assessment, but [00:18:00] I think there’s two different, there’s two different questions. When should you start LinkedIn retargeting? And the answer to that is if you. Traffic going to your webs. If your website is converting, if you have traffic going to your website and that traffic is converting, which means you know who your audience is and you have a landing page that can.
LinkedIn retargeting should be a pretty early foundational aspect of your flow. I’m not gonna tell startups they should start with cold LinkedIn ads. I think Google a search ads and Bing and G2 and K clutch listings are way more like early foundational, but then you can retarget that traffic with LinkedIn qualify it and improve the conversion rates.
So I do think retargeting on LinkedIn. Early foundational thing if you’re running paid traffic of any other sources. I do think LinkedIn retargeting has a place in that ecosystem. Now, at what point should you run cold LinkedIn ads? I would first say I would exhaust those initial ones.
It, I would exhaust your paid ads that are capturing [00:19:00] demand that’s already in market. before looking to carve out expensive cold prospects who haven’t shown any indicator that they’re in market. So once you’re Google, bing and clutch and G2 listings or whatever else hits a plateau, I would then look to LinkedIn to scale that next like cold outreach or that cold segment probably.
George Coudounaris: Okay, well listeners, there you have it. If you’ve got some business coming through, you’ve got your office sorted, you really should be looking into LinkedIn, at least for retargeting to begin with. And just to really hook our listeners, Justin, I wanna ask, what can LinkedIn ads do for your business?
I saw one of your LinkedIn posts that I saw it actually played a key role for you guys in generating number was huge. It was 1,543 inbound meetings with a 25 to 35% close rate. That’s pretty wild. I know that you have a wall holistic marketing strategy to go along with that, but can you give us some kind of indication as to what LinkedIn ads can do for.
What can LinkedIn Ads unlock for your business?
Justin Rowe: yeah, so [00:20:00] honestly, like the biggest thing is to me the quality of traffic that it can produce is ridiculous. And so for us, I would say yeah, a good 20 or 30% of our pipeline is generated by LinkedIn ads. It improved the ROI of our other ad channels, so our Google ads was already tapped out.
It was getting harder and harder to scale that more effectively, but we noticed that LinkedIn was converting that traffic. It was converting our other. And that’s spider-Man , outside my office door, if you can see him. My, my four year old likes to really dress up as Spider-Man, and that sees, says he wants to be Spider-Man when he grows up.
George Coudounaris: That is awesome. That’s a great, that’s a great goal. I think every kid should dream to be a superhero. Very
Justin Rowe: but yeah, for us it, it allowed it’s a scale. It’s a more scalable platform than some of these others. Like I said, Google and these listing sites, there’s only so much demand that can be captured in market right now before you have to go out and find. Um, And so that was the big thing that [00:21:00] LinkedIn unlocked for us is we almost have an endless supply cuz we have a pretty big, sure, we have a pretty narrow like ICP that’s maybe our dream clients, but we have a pretty large total addressable market and I think Google or LinkedIn’s really good.
For kind of going out and getting those first touches, bringing quality traffic to your website, and then converting the existing traffic or other sources you have. So for us, it really allowed us to scale. It wasn’t until we got into LinkedIn that we scaled into seven figure agency.
And the, I guess the biggest thing for us too was it wasn’t just the number of call bookings, like when we. Call booking sourced by LinkedIn. The quality of those call bookings, the close rates of those call bookings and the deal sizes of those deals was a lot bigger than a lot, most of our other platforms that we were doing.
The amount of revenue sourced from those calls is actually a lot bigger pound for pound than the call bookings from other sources,
George Coudounaris: that’s so interesting. Do you put that down to like the targeting that you use when you started running your ads and the fact that. [00:22:00] They were more bought in because there were people who were on LinkedIn more. They saw your message more, they understood your offering more. What do you put it down to?
Justin Rowe: I honestly, I think a big part of it is the the targeting, the fact that we were able to target companies of a certain size I think was big because we moved from smaller companies that we were serving to to actual. F you more funded startups, people with budget, like when you are able to qualify the filters and ensure that who you’re targeting the most with your ad spend are people with budget.
I think that’s a game changer. So the people that were then booking calls like budget was already pre-qualified based on those targeting criteria that we were staying in front of them with. And I think that made a big difference. Like we, we saw a huge shift in the quality of people booking.
Yeah, from that targeting. And I think company size was a really big one because even other platforms kind of let you, I think, pick industry and some position titles, but that company size was a really big qualifying factor for us.
George Coudounaris: It [00:23:00] can tell you so much about where a business is at and would help you identify more clearly if they’re the kind of business that is ready for your services and perhaps a better product market fit. Now, before we get into your own framework for linking nads, and I really want to get into that first, I want to go through what are the most common things that people are doing wrong when they’re starting out with LinkedIn Ads
Common Mistakes People Make With LinkedIn Ads
Justin Rowe: probably the biggest one, like some of the big red flag checklist kind of thing would be turn off audience network LinkedIn, Audi, or either turn it off LinkedIn audience network, which is like a Google display. Or limit it and turn off LinkedIn audience expansion. Basically both of those LinkedIn Audience Network allows LinkedIn to send your, it’s of like a display network, but you don’t really have the control over it.
Whereas expansion is basically. It gives LinkedIn permission to just ignore your criteria and kind of anyone who fuzzily looks like it to show [00:24:00] your ads. And there can be a lot of waste there. And again, like LinkedIn’s algorithm is not as mature as Facebook, so you don’t want to trust its algorithm.
You want to trust its targeting criteria. And so I would turn those off and then don’t, I mean get into retargeting as fast as possible. Like If you already. The third big one is if you already have traffic going to your website, don’t think of LinkedIn as this new platform you need to carve out from scratch.
And it’s siloed and it needs to hold its own. Get the insights tag installed on your website. Start build those retargeting audiences so they can start collecting. And you could start your LinkedIn ads journey with retargeting. And that makes sense for a lot of. And don’t think of it as a silo, like it should be improving the ROI of your other channels.
And if you think of it like that, like it’s a lot easier to get to a positive ROI spa ROI space when you’re not making it, completely in a silo and sending all your traffic to some siloed landing page that isn’t connected to your website. There’s a lot of, I think, amateur stuff people do when they’re starting their LinkedIn ads journey. Marketing or their CEO makes them want, really [00:25:00] wanna prove that in a silo and it really holds them back.
George Coudounaris: And I hate it when I see marketers being duped by those recommendations from the platforms to spend more, to expand their network, all that kind of stuff. Like these platforms are never going to tell you to spend less, more efficiently. That’s just not what they’re gonna do, . So I would be very wary before taking on any of their recommendations.
And that, to be honest, goes for half the account managers that these different platforms have as well. Most of them have never run the platform themselves. Their KPIs are normally getting you to spend more. So please take all their recommendations with a very heavy grain of.
Justin Rowe: Yeah, I think that’s a solid kind of assessment for most of these ad. I honestly, pretty much ignore most of our reps that try to reach out because yeah, their main goal is to get you to spend more. And they’re not like platform experts so to speak. So take those with a grain of salt or with a kind of a red flag.
Maybe consult someone before you start implementing those.
George Coudounaris: [00:26:00] great advice. Okay, now I want to get into your own frank work for running LinkedIn ads and it’s something that you really detail a lot on your LinkedIn in some post if highlighted. So we’re gonna direct our listeners there, but I would love for you to run through some of it as well for us. If you’re a business and you’re testing the waters for the first time, let’s say you have a budget of a thousand dollars, 1500 a month, where should we begin with LinkedIn at?
Justin Rowe: Again if, if you have quality traffic going to your website, I would say, and if possible, start with retargeting. And yeah, if I had a, if I had a thousand or 1500, I would probably try to carve out retargeting first, and I would, my, my whole objective with LinkedIn retargeting is, don’t just stay in front of them.
There’s usually two main objections or three. One is just timing. So yes, retargeting works, but if you just stay in front of them with anything any kind of ad you put in front of them will overcome that objection. So the second one, usually the biggest one is [00:27:00] they don’t know you or they don’t trust you yet.
They’re assessing, especially if they come in from Google. Like they’ve looked at five other products or competitors and they don’t know you or trust you or review you as the expert yet as they’re making these comparisons over the next 90 days. So I would spend the vast majority of my marketing dollars trying to overcome that objection.
And then, yeah, anything you put in front of them is gonna overcome the timing objection. So start with retargeting and then from there, like I wouldn’t get too lost in the formats because, different companies have different assets. If you have video, Great. But really if you have that mindset of, I’m going to start with retargeting cuz I have quality traffic and I only have $1,500 a month.
Cuz with $1,500 a month, you could spend a thousand dollars on the cold layer and then 500 retargeting. It’s gonna be hard and probably five months or so to get into a profitable roi. But if you have, Google Ads, traffic and seo and you just use 1500 for retar. You could be profitable on LinkedIn in 45 [00:28:00] days.
And so I would just take that mindset of building trust and credibility and showcasing anything you have that could position you as an expert in your space and use the ads to guarantee that distribution.
George Coudounaris: So is that then about pushing helpful content? Is it showing off case studies? What kind of content are we trying to push?
Justin Rowe: so some of the basics that most companies have access to would be like testimonials. So you show back up with your company logo and it has testimonials, success, stories of people with you. Case studies, like we took company company so and so from A to B, or this was their problem.
Little snippets of. We’ve worked with people like you before, we’ve helped companies like in your industry before, and then some of them would be like thought leadership ideas where you know, I, the way I do my LinkedIn organic content is very similar to way I run my LinkedIn ads.
I give away basically the whole playbook. Like I’ll show people exactly how you do it. Step by step. I’ll put guides out there, [00:29:00] I’ll put how to videos, how to optimize. So I essentially, I target my prospects and then I tell them exactly how to do things without us. And then, because there’s usually only two scenarios.
Either they have the time to do it, the. And they don’t have the budget, in which case they’ll take my playbook and they’ll run with it. They’ll be very appreciative. And then when they do have budget, they might then come back and hire us because they’re already running our playbook and who better to take it over than us?
The second scenario is they have budget and they don’t have the time. And my content has positioned us as an expert and they come back, they hire us. So I think giving away your playbook, teaching people how to solve the problem that people pay you to solve is an abundance mindset and brings leads in.
And so that kind of content in the thought leadership aspect, I think does really, really well.
George Coudounaris: I think that’s a really smart play, and as you said, people worry about, oh, if we give it all away they’re just gonna do it themselves. They’ll never use our service, they’ll never use our product, but. There’s gonna be some people who do it themselves, [00:30:00] and there’s gonna be others who just need an expert to do it for them. And listeners, there’s always gonna be people who need you to do it for ’em. It’s a really really great strategy. Information is becoming more and more commoditized, so I would just encourage you to get yours out there before the others do, and put a face and a brand and name to it. I think that the more people can associate.
A face with that information, the more they’re going to trust it and the more it’s gonna separate you from your competitors moving forward. I don’t know if you have any thoughts about that, Justin.
Justin Rowe: yeah, I would agree with that. I had mixed feelings about that at first. But now that I’m on the other side of the acquisition, I think I’m back to I think it is good to humanize your brand and push a face at, I was trying to separate myself from the brand during that phase where I was where we’re going through that process.
And cuz I was worried about. How that would work if too much of our pipeline was tied to like my personality and then I wasn’t there anymore. So I think that would be the one consideration to think if you’re putting a face of the brand [00:31:00] out there if you are planning an exit or a sale, or if that person leaves, like what would that look like?
But I do think humanizing your brand in general is a really good idea. So maybe it’s multiple faces or maybe it’s one lead person who isn’t gonna go. Um, But I, I think humanizing brands and putting a person or multiple people in ads and in distribution, I think is really helpful. Because I don’t really like the saying people buy from people because I don’t know if I’ve ever really bought specifically because it was a person, like it’s usually the company, their price point, their offering that I really enjoy.
But I have seen a lot of success with us and others like humanizing the brand is probably a good.
George Coudounaris: It’s something that at least when you’re testing the waters early on, it’s gonna help you get that cutthroat. It’s a lot easier to create that scroll stopping moment. I think when you have humanized brand, when there is a recognizable face that people know and trust to get back into the weeds again.
Justin you. I don’t really like your retargeting strategy. [00:32:00] I think it’s really efficient. You have basically different buckets from what I understand, I dunno how detailed it gets. 30, 60, 90, 1, 80 days and you’re doing different things with people based on those buckets. Can you go into that a little more?
Details of LinkedIn Ads set up
Justin Rowe: yeah, so the basic premise of the framework is we start with cold traffic. We send it to the landing page, and I, I don’t like to send it to some siloed landing page. I like to send them to the full website, let ’em get a first look. The idea isn’t a convert because the first touch conversions are pretty terrible.
My whole strategy with that is to just get on the. And make a good first impression on the prospect. Cuz to me that’s where the work starts. And then I have these three main buckets. The first bucket after that is 90 day retargeting. So after they take some interaction, they watch a video, they visit the company page, they visit the website, they interact with our cold ads, we retarget them with 90 days.
That’s where the majority other than the cold, that’s where the majority of the retargeting ad spend is gonna. . And the main, like I said, the main objective [00:33:00] there is build trust, credibility, position ourself as experts, give away value. And I’ll use an arsenal of ad formats there if they make it through that 90 day window without.
Taking additional steps so they don’t visit the company page again, they don’t visit the website again, they don’t interact with any ads in that retargeting layer. Cuz each of those would probably refresh them back into the be the 90 day all over again and they would just stay in there if they make it through the 90 days without interacting or taking any additional steps.
I drop, I have this 90 to 180 day phase. I drop all the expensive ads. So all the in feed stuff, all the videos, all the lead gen forms, I drop all of that. And I stay in front of them from 90 to 180 days with just what I call light nurturing. So it’s follower ads, text ads, spotlight ads, super inexpensive.
But we have placements. We keep our logo on their screen for the next three months after that. And try to, just stay top of mind without spending much money. If they actually engage with that layer, if they [00:34:00] click on a follow ad, visit the company page again, we jog their memory, so they visit the website again.
They’re back in the 90 day. And then I have one additional layer that’s cuz most of this is, I built a whole funnel and I don’t have strong calls to action in my funnel. Usually it’s, I want to educate them, position ourselves, and if and when they’re. They know where to find us and how to book a call.
Like that part isn’t like why prospects aren’t booking calls. It’s not because you didn’t make it easy enough or you didn’t have, a big flashing button or you didn’t run enough lead gen forms. It’s because you didn’t move the needle on trust usually. So if they do though, if they actually engage with ads in the 90 day retargeting window, I have one additional layer that this 30, 30 day campaign that just targets those.
So they’ve already interacted with us on some. and got into the retargeting, and then they further interacted with the retargeting layer and we target that group with a 30 day campaign that has a stronger call to action. So that group, maybe they do need a nudge, maybe they do need a reminder of where to find us or make, [00:35:00] remove some friction from signing up for the demo.
And so for that group, I would use lead gen forms or let’s book a call now, send them straight to the Calendly or have ’em just fill out a form and we get in touch with. And then again, if they make it through that 30 days without interacting anymore, that phase drops off. They’re still in the 90. If they make it through that, everything expensive drops off, and then we nurture them for three months.
And it’s like this epicenter, like the more actions they take, the higher frequency and more intense all the ads are, and then the further they get away from taking action, the more ads drop off, the lighter it becomes, the more nurturing it focuses. And so that’s the basics of the framework.
George Coudounaris: That’s a way more efficient way to run your ads and use that valuable ad spend and look to some, it might be common sense, but often people just don’t have time to think about this. And you’ve got that framework, which is why I just really encourage our listeners to go and check out that framework on your LinkedIn profile.
Justin, how. [00:36:00] Does it take for LinkedIn ads to work?
How long before LinkedIn ads work?
Justin Rowe: that’s a huge, it depends, but since I’ve gotten that question a lot, I’ve, I came up with a couple scenarios to streamline it. Scenario a the perfect ideal scenario, you have lots of healthy traffic. You have other ad paid ad channels funneling quality traffic to your website that’s already.
In that scenario, in that dream scenario you could start with some light cold and get into retargeting. You don’t have to spend that much. You could be spending a couple grand a month. It could be profitable on, in under 60 days, and maybe even in the first 30 days if you’re starting with retargeting.
In scenario two you have some traffic. It’s not a. In a, it’s weaker traffic or it’s converting at a lower rate, so you need LinkedIn cold to he help add to that traffic. And then yes, converting some of that other traffic and the LinkedIn traffic that, that’s a more common scenario.
That would take about 90 days, probably about two to $3,000 a month on LinkedIn and maybe about 90 days to. And then scenario [00:37:00] three, if you have, no, you don’t have a ton of quality traffic to your website, you’re, you not, don’t have another healthy cold source like a healthy Google Ads channel or nice SEO or paid listings or your, you have some of that, but your website isn’t. Really optimize and converting, and you’re hoping that LinkedIn in a silo can find prospects and convert them. That’s gonna be like four or $5,000 a month and maybe four or five months to carve out a profitable ROI from LinkedIn in a silo without a ton of assistance from your, the rest of your ecosystem,
George Coudounaris: That is an awesome answer. I knew that was gonna be a terrible question. That’s a, it’s a question that I hate answering as well, . So I really appreciate you giving us this three scenarios and breaking it down, and I
think you’ve done that so nicely. And look, when it comes to measuring whether or not it is working or has.
We normally like to break things down into leading indicators of success. So indicators that, hey, we’re on our way to this, really working for us in [00:38:00] our business and lagging indicators of success. Indicators that we can look back on and go look at the outcome that LinkedIn ads actually got for us.
Do you have some leading indicators and lagging indicators that you look at to determine whether or not you’re
How to measure success?
George Coudounaris: on the right?
Justin Rowe: Yeah, initially, like if we’re just getting started with LinkedIn, it might be. It might be cost per clicks and click through rates. That gives me an indicator of, how all the, either the creatives are doing or how active that, how reachable that target audience is. We also usually set up some, what I call micro conversions, which would be like key page views If they visited the contact us page or the book, a demo page or the the pricing page, if it’s a separate one, like those, and I might assign ’em like a $1 value, but it helps tell us that we’re on the right track.
So early on it’s those as leading indicators. And then, yeah, once we actually start getting like more traffic to the book, a call page. Then it’s, okay, let’s actually, okay, we’re on the right track and we should start seeing some actual booked calls. And then, [00:39:00] yeah, once we actually get into deep in there and we have conversion data, it focuses from now I don’t really care what the cost per click is, or the clickthrough rate.
If this ecosystem is producing booked calls and actual conversions at. Yeah. Better and better rate and a higher quality than, that’s what we want.
George Coudounaris: That makes a lot of sense. Do you also look at self-reported attribution? I know that you’re a hardcore on trying to measure. As possible and as someone who, like my background is in performance marketing, I really agree to, but do you look at self-reported attribution as.
Justin Rowe: Yeah. So I, I do, so I, and in our ecosystem, like I, and I think that’s probably like one of my taglines that I fight like hell for attribution on every channel because I’m a data nerd and I’m I want to see and track as much as I can. And then I did really I did really love the push for self attribution.
I had been doing it on ours for five years just because it made sense to me and it gave me an extra layer of. And then I do find myself giving more [00:40:00] weight to self attribution data as like a qualitative measure. Okay, because the ad channels like all separately they’ll fight over attribution.
If a Google ad brought the initial click and then LinkedIn converts it, they both show attribution and you have to pay a lot of money. To actually see the whole journey. And I’ve paid really expensive software or Rebi. I’m currently using Hockey Stack which we do recommend from our agency.
Shout out to Hockey Stack but I usually drop those software because it’s usually telling me what my gut already knows is that it’s a multi-channel effort. I don’t really. Which one gets weighted? It touched that one. It touched that one. That’s what I care about. And then the prospect is telling me this was the most meaningful touch.
I put a lot of weight on that. So get to me. It’s all data points that help end my gut. That helps paint the picture of where we should put spend and what’s not working.
George Coudounaris: And that’s marketing, isn’t it? We try and gather as much data as possible, either through tools that we have or telling the people, telling us how it is. They heard about us, what marketing was impactful on them, and you just gotta go with your [00:41:00] gut. And at the end of the day, if marketing is bringing in enough revenue to justify its.
Keep doing that thing. Keep doing that
thing. Justin, when it comes to creative, how big of a role does creative play in the success of your ads? Do you need to spend big budgets? Like how does the whole creative thing work?
Justin Rowe: I feel like it’s a sliding scale. If you have a killer website brand, if you have a really good offer, creative might be less important because you, if you can get people curious about the problem you solve and you know exactly who you need to target and your website is and the rest of your strategy of giving advice I feel like the creatives could be crappy.
But it definitely never hurts. And I think the big one is there’s so many levers in a good B2B marketing. Like the best creative in the world won’t work if you’re targeting the wrong person or if you don’t have the right offer, if you’re at a terrible price point or if you don’t have other factors in there.
So all things being equal, I would [00:42:00] say Quality, creative can definitely improve a campaign, improve the click through rate, reduce the cost per clicks. But it is, one of many factors and I wouldn’t put it too much higher above some of the things like targeting and offer and retargeting and structure and things like that, but it’s definitely another lever that can really elevate you to another game.
George Coudounaris: So don’t get caught up on it initially, focus on your targeting strategy or retargeting wherever it is that you’re starting and just get something. Of course, that’s on brand, on message. It can’t be overly boring, but you don’t need to go and spend a whole lot of money on some fancy.
Justin Rowe: Yeah, and to give context we scaled from, nothing to. To seven figure agency, and I made all of our ads in Canva and used screenshots and wrote the copy and I am not an artist. And now could I have done that faster, more efficiently if someone if I had partnered with someone who actually had an eye for design, I am sure I could have. But yeah there’s some people that really get [00:43:00] so hung.
On spending $10,000 plus on these creative packages and then they like run a shit strategy like they, those are bad priorities.
George Coudounaris: Oh, I couldn’t agree more. Get your priorities in order. And that leads me to my next question, Justin, which is, what work does the client really need to do at their end? First to get the most out of LinkedIn?
What does a business need to do first to get the most out of LinkedIn Ads?
Justin Rowe: I think the big thing is, Be as clear as you can about your targeting. Have your website in order, because again, like you the whole thing about LinkedIn is the quality of the traffic, but the quality of the traffic is gonna be lost if the website isn’t navigatable, if it’s not converting, if the offer isn’t clear and compelling.
And then and I would also say really don’t put LinkedIn in a silo. Like usually mature companies that are looking at LinkedIn, they have another, they have a whole ecosystem. They have SEO and organic and Google Ads and G2 and all these things like, but then for some reason they just [00:44:00] think of LinkedIn as a silo.
So the big thing is, how can we leverage LinkedIn to improve the ROI of our existing ecosystem? And then how can we use LinkedIn to qualify and guarantee distribution to our highest icp? And what story do we want to tell? So really getting just like the strategy.
And how the ecosystem, and I like that word for marketing, like how your e how this fits into your whole ecosystem. Get clear on that because I think that’ll affect like what you do there, what you push for, fight for the strategy you use and you know the results you’re gonna get ultimately.
George Coudounaris: Makes a lot of sense. You’ve gotta be really really firm on who it is that you’re targeting. As you said, you’ve gotta know what role it plays in your ecosystem. For us, we go really. On organic. We of course have our podcast, but we had to have organic LinkedIn for distribution. We finally started repurposing all that into YouTube stuff.
And already we’ve had a couple of inquiries for our incubator because there’s that halo effect. And they told us basically that they found us on LinkedIn [00:45:00] because again, like that is the number one place where we can reach our targeted audience. They got that content there. They listened to a couple episodes of the podcast, and then they were on a YouTube.
And we’ve been out for a couple of weeks and we’re already able to see that halo effect. So you’re absolutely right. You’ve gotta think about it at the role that it plays in that ecosystem.
Justin Rowe: YouTube is legit. I think especially
George Coudounaris: Let’s talk about, let’s talk about YouTube.
What About YouTube
Justin Rowe: like Yeah, you want their, because we hear that too. W YouTube isn’t how we get an initial touch. Usually it’s not how we get an initial touch. But if they discover us, they’re on our website, and then they discover the YouTube channel and they mentioned like that’s part, that was part of their journey.
Like I think YouTube is an amazing way and I had a decision tree. At one point at the beginning of last year, do I dive into YouTube or the podcast? I was trying to do both and I had to decide, and for me, YouTube made sense cuz I like to do screen shares, I like to show people. And so instead of just talking about the points, I could show them the strategies.
So YouTube made a lot of sense and that was, I think where, I [00:46:00] mean it’s hard to go from zero to a thousand subscribers. Like it’s hard to grow on there. I think we’re at like 1.3 K subscribers now, like we’re still little. It’s a meaningful touchpoint in a decent chunk of our prospect’s journey.
And in, I’m doubling down on video and YouTube this year because I really believe in it.
George Coudounaris: I think it’s really smart and I think you’re right. It’s such a good touch point. I think the people on. are the ones who are a little more ready perhaps to take action. Particularly if they’ve come to you from another channel already. They want to get like much deeper and so they’re willing to go through longer formats and then they become more associated with your framework, with your face, what you can do for them.
And that trust really builds from there. For us, we were creating so much content and yes, it was going on our website, but. . If we put it on YouTube all of a sudden, like it’s way more evergreen. We can collect views from that and post once, all our LinkedIn posts just get lost to the ether every 36 hours or whatever it is.
Justin Rowe: Yeah. And that was the idea I really liked about it too. So [00:47:00] yeah, I’ve been, I’m obviously active on LinkedIn, but the idea of creating a evergreen resource and I even created like a beginner’s playlist for LinkedIn ads, so I methodically like, Instead of just putting out like different things in a hodgepodge, I actually went through it’s basically like an e-learning course, like from zero to 10, like what are the basics of LinkedIn?
I made that into a YouTube playlist and it’s the beginner’s playlist. And so it’s an evergreen resource and and people go into there or we, our sales team actually follows. On calls and gives them, Hey, if you need some additional resources, here’s this and here’s this. Here’s the beginner’s guide to YouTube.
If you think you’re gonna do it on your own, best of luck. And when they dive into that yeah, it’s a really meaningful touch and I love that it’s an evergreen resource and it’s really good. Like it’s searchability, like if people search, it’s so e it’s way easier to rank a video to show up on Google than it is like to get a blog or something to rank on Google.
And so that was really attractive to me too. Dug more [00:48:00] into SEO and how can we show up on better results? Video and YouTube I think, is a really good place to be for that.
George Coudounaris: Yeah it’s a great strategy. Did you say that you are like to people who inquire about your services or is it like more of a softer lead that you’re sending that YouTube playlist to like, you know, here’s had a go ahead and do it.
Justin Rowe: it is different prospects. So some of our smaller prospects or if they seem like they have a do-it-yourself or maybe we get the vibe. And I think also just in general, like. Um, our sales team really, they’ve really seen that people who mention the YouTube channel tend to come back and close at a faster rate and have more trust with us.
So they’re just proactively sharing either videos or the channel in general with prospects in their. Three or four week follow up, like somewhere in their sequence. It’s part of their just flow to share the YouTube channel, to share my personal LinkedIn profile. So they have like different touchpoints through, a six month process.
And I know the YouTube one is when they decided they want to start pushing. And that made me happy cuz I’m [00:49:00] over to here just building the YouTube, not sure how it’s gonna fit into the journey. And then the sales team is actually saying, Hey, another one mentioned YouTube we’re gonna start sharing your YouTube as part of ours.
Follow up. And I’m like, okay, now we’re getting somewhere They believe.
George Coudounaris: That’s awesome. That’s so good. When you start hearing that qualitative feedback from the sales team and they’re telling you, Hey, people are actually watching this through drawing it, they’re getting a lot from it and it’s progressing them to that next step and listeners. This is something that everyone could do.
You should have some kind of expertise in your business. There should be a subject matter expert. Otherwise I don’t know what it is that you guys do, so there is a way to get that information onto YouTube, so maybe that’s something to consider as well.
Justin Rowe: yeah, and you don’t need so many people get hung up on wanting it to be perfect. Like you look at my , you look at like the qual, the low quality of stuff I’m not afraid to put out there. And maybe that’s not normal, but most of my YouTube channel is loom is a free, a loom screen share of me showing how to do something and talking.
And then I [00:50:00] found clip Scribe, which is $20 a month. You can throw a video in there, it’ll subtitle it and throw headers on it for you. There’s like easy to use software. It’s easier now to. Something that’s better than nothing, or a step above just utter crap. But just get the qu, get the stuff out there, get some reps in your quality can improve.
Don’t wait until you think like you have some studio production quality thing to get out. Get started now and improve as you go, would be my advice for most things.
George Coudounaris: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. That’s our approach to, and look, that the barrier to entry could not be lower and the upside is huge for. Who are prepared to invest and commit. So really encourage everyone to check that out. Justin, you’ve been so generous with your time. This was absolutely jam-packed with Practical Gold for our listeners, which is what I expected, but you absolutely delivered.
I really love how transparent you are with your approach, ,
that’s great. For anyone who’s watching on our YouTube, Justin’s just showing off his OBS skills. He [00:51:00] put up a little.
Justin Rowe: Yeah, I’m only three weeks in, so still a noob.
George Coudounaris: Fantastic. I’ve gotta get one of those stream
decks. Justin, look, I love how transparent you are with your approach. Look, it’s not overly complex, but it’s super actionable and it really works. Now, before we round out the conversation, is there anything that you’d like to add or direct our audience’s attention?
Justin Rowe: I think we actually covered a lot of really good stuff. So I would just say I know I plugged our YouTube channel. Definitely. It’s a free resource. It’s essentially like I made it so that essentially we probably will package it into a paid course. Check out the Impactable YouTube channel.
Check me out on on LinkedIn, Justin Rowe, and our website is impactable.com. LinkedIn ads is our specialty. But I’m also pretty open and transparent, so if you add me on LinkedIn, if you have questions as much as humanly possible, I actually do try to answer, respond. I’m happy to jump on calls to some degree if it, if it loosely makes sense.
But yeah I’m very [00:52:00] transparent. My journey, my information, especially like the acquisition process, people, I’d never had any resources around that, so happy to answer questions around that as well. But yeah.
George Coudounaris: Fantastic listeners, please go and follow his LinkedIn. Please go and follow his YouTube channel. They’re absolutely worth it. It’s not a waste that make sure you do it. Justin, thank you so much for your time.
Justin Rowe: Awesome. I appreciate it, ma’am.
Kevin Chen: George, what a privilege it is for us to be doing this. To go on this journey and meet and shine a little light on
these awesome people out there in our industry. True,
helpful experts who buck the trend and the stereotypes
that come with us marketers in being a little bit tricky.
George Coudounaris: Yeah, was so lucky to be connected with these people and very lucky that we’re the ones who get to have those conversations and hopefully pass on that knowledge To our listeners, Kev, a few key points from Justin that I really loved. The first one was just how LinkedIn ads work so well For b2b, [00:53:00] because of the targeting in particular, company size is a huge lever.
Now, we should also remember, as Justin said, that remarketing in particular is very powerful on LinkedIn because it can actually layer information. On top of your remarketing to make them qualified prospects so you can use those firmographic details available in the targeting so you’re not just retargeting to absolutely everyone who visited your website, for example.
I also love Kev, how we spoke about the different formats on LinkedIn ads and how they allow you to stay in front of your target audience in a bunch of different ways and with different angles and perspectives and all that kind of good.
Kevin Chen: Yeah, and he also have mentioned that you should really be spending your money on remarketing to overcome the objection that they don’t know or trust you yet. So that listeners is something that you’ll be very familiar with here. We really talk about, in the BC stage, amplifying your helpful content, which is in a very similar vein.
Make sure that you’re spending your dollars [00:54:00] to make sure. Your dream customers are starting to trust you and starting to see you as an expert in your field. And also be very clear about your targeting, as clear as possible and have your website in order before you start. I think that was a great point as well.
It’s the things that we talk about in be ready at the first stage of our framework.
and it’s true here when we specifically talk about LinkedIn with Justin as well. So
a great point there.
George Coudounaris: And finally, Kev, don’t put LinkedIn in a silo. All these channels, they all work together and think about how can you use it to actually improve ROI with it as part of your overall ecosystem. So very important to not just let it do the heavy lifting on its own. All right, listeners, as always, we’re absolutely stoked that more and more of you joining us each Monday by listening to the podcast or watching us on YouTube.
And if we can ask just one thing, it would be to please pass on the podcast or the show to someone who might get value from it or [00:55:00] leave us a short review or a comment on our YouTube channel. We’d really, really appreciate it. It’s a huge help to us and our future listeners. Thank you so much, Kev. A big thanks to Justin.
Take care and catch you next.
Kevin Chen: Thank you George. Thank you, Justin. And of course you listeners, see you next week.
A quick note before you go listeners, you can find more great content and get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to subscribe to this podcast and our newsletter while you’re there to get the latest news, tips and resources from our playbook. We’ll be back the same day and same time with another episode next week.
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