LinkedIn is still one of the most expensive advertising mediums out there, and it’s expensive for a good reason: it works!

The reason LinkedIn PPC works so well is because it is the only place online where you can laser-target business professionals in the C-suite, presidential, or managerial level in a way the advertising in question is actually sought out by the recipients! Do you believe it?

But you don’t really have to pay the $6-$7 a click to get in on the action …

By using the steps laid out in this article, you can very quickly generate a gigantic list of qualified prospects for your sales team to follow up with, ones who are familiar with your company before you ever contact them and ones who will close at a very high rate when contacted.

It is possible for you to make as much as three to 10 times more than the average LinkedIn PPC advertiser using the advanced techniques laid out in this article. Everything I have covered here has been tested, refined, and found by myself to simply be the best way to make money with LinkedIn ads.

If you would like for me to tell you what a lead should cost to make money on LinkedIN, regardless of what your selling, then you can request that from me here


LinkedIn Campaign Types That Work

While there are several types of PPC campaign types on LinkedIn to pick from, it is the “sponsored updates” campaign type that by far works the best to generate new business via LinkedIn PPC and the only one I can recommend and will be speaking about in this article.

Example Sponsored Update Ad

Example Sponsored Update Ad


How to Make Money With Sponsored Stories

To make LinkedIn sponsored updates pay well for your business, what you must do is simple: provide more value to your intended prospects than the rest of the advertisers on LinkedIn competing for your prospects’ time, so your company is the one your prospects remember.

I know what you are thinking:

Content views do not put money in the bank.

Even though content itself won’t generate sales on its own, it is your intended sales prospects’ experience with that content that will enable your sales staff to make their outbound sales efforts highly effective.

By putting your company’s impressive and branded content in front of your desired prospects now, your sales staff will be able to reach out to these same prospects later and not automatically be shut down for being categorized as just another “cold caller.”

The difference in cold calling someone who has read and has been impressed by your shared content on LinkedIn and one who has not is clearly apparent by looking at the numbers on one of my recent campaigns.


Results from LinkedIn And Online Campaign

Results From My LinkedIn & Offline Campaign


Successful update campaign stories on LinkedIn always have two things in common:

  • An attractive ad copy that markets the “story” you are sharing as both irresistible and unambiguous
  • A great story that actually delivers, or even over-delivers, on the sponsored ad claims

Example of How to Content Should be Presented (1)

Example of How Content Should Be Presented


Example of How to Content Should be Presented (2)

Control How Your Content Looks on LinkedIn When You Advertise It


With this said and when executed correctly:

  • The better sponsored update ad copy used for your campaign, the cheaper the qualified prospect you will generate will be.
  • The better the content you use and deliver with, the more of an effect it will have on your sales staff’s contact and close rates when your sales staff eventually contact on them later on.


The basic formula you will follow to build your successful sponsored update campaign is as follows:

  1. Decide where your targeted audience is and determine how exactly you can reach them on LinkedIn.
  2. Find out the type of content your prospects want to read, so you know how to impact them.
  3. Follow up with everyone who has likely read your promoted content in a timely manner, so you can sell them.



Before building a sponsored updates campaign on LinkedIn, the first thing you have to figure out is how big your preferred target audience on LinkedIn really is. If you target too broad of an audience on LinkedIn, your content will be ineffective in gaining any interest, and by targeting too limited of an audience, you will lack ROI due to an inability to properly leverage the campaign.

In my opinion, a good policy is to strive for is a target audience of between five to 50K of people ongoing, to keep your sales people busy and new prospects coming in.

Estimating Intended Audience Size for Campaign

Estimate Your Intended Audience Size for Your Campaign


As far as how to reach the intended group of people you have selected once you have found an appropriate focus group to target, I recommend targeting your audience at both the LinkedIn group member level (to find people in targeted industries that we want), as well as by title to properly match the content we create with the exact people who would be most affected by it.

Target LinkedIn Members by Group

Target LinkedIn Members by Group


Target LinkedIn Members by Title for Best Results

Also by Title for Best Results


Targeting by group on LinkedIn not only allows us to build a clear list of prospects list after the campaign has run using LinkedIn’s sales navigator, but it also ensures that people who we are going after have the highest possible chance of seeing it, as group members are statistically more likely to be active on the site.

Advance Search Feature in LinkedIn

Look for Who You Advertised to by Doing an Advanced Search


Layer Target Option to Find Exact Audience Needed

And Layer Target Options to Find the Exact Audience You Need


Content Planning

Instead of limiting yourself in promoting content your company already has on hand, such as whitepapers, etc., create a unique piece of content for your LinkedIn campaign so it actually influences the exact prospects you are after.

If, for instance, you are in the business safety compliance business and need building managers to sell what you offer, a great piece of content you could use would include something like a foolproof guide on how to prevent OSHA raids and subsequent fines as authored by an actual OHSA employee.

With a topic in mind, ratchet that topic idea down further so it has an even greater impact on your intended audience, such as for manufacturers only, storage companies, etc., to accomplish your end goal of maximizing response with your intended prospects.

Example Content Cover for Target Manufacturers

Example Content Cover for Targeting Manufacturers


As you progress with your LinkedIn PPC campaign, however, modifying your campaign copy to target different interest groups gets easier and easier as you reuse most of the same elements you use from previous campaigns.

Example Content Cover for Target Storage Companies

Then Tweak That Content to Target Storage Companies, For Example


Campaign Objective Setting

Important: Set up your LinkedIn sponsored story campaigns with the objective of paying per impression, not by click, to take advantage of the ultra-low cost per click your amazing content will generate.

Cost Per Impression (CPM) Bidding Feature

Choose CPM Bidding For Best Results

Bid more than Minimum Recommended Bid

Then Bid Just More Than the Minimum Recommended Bid


Tip: Bid just a few cents more than the minimum recommended CPM to generate the cheapest possible clicks you can.


Don’t turn a good story into a self-centered company plug.

The most important thing to remember when planning your content strategy is that your content should exclusively focus on triggering an emotional response from your readers to get them to remember your brand when you contact them later on.

If you can build aspects of what you are selling into a story you are telling, then great! However, the actual goal of this campaign is to establish the importance of the problem your company solves in the content itself and thus the minds of the prospects after they read it. If the prospects know they have a serious problem they need to take immediate action on, then your sales staff can easily sell that solution to your prospects later on, as you have already been established as an expert on this subject.

Example Ad to Run

Example Ad to Run


Example Landing Page Content

Example Landing Page Content to Take Your Audience to


Run a few sponsored story campaigns in succession to the same prospect audience, such as customer testimonials, to maximize brand recognition and authority with your audience.

By running these covert social proof ads, group members you feature can be encouraged to comment on the stories themselves, giving the ads significant weight and credibility to what is being said.

Follow up Credibility Boosting Ad With Testimonials (1)

Follow Up Credibility Boosting Ad With Testimonials


Follow up Credibility Boosting Ad With Testimonials (2)

And Get People Who You Reviewed to Comment If Possible


Campaign Length

When advertising on LinkedIn, you likely want to keep marketing your content to your targeted audience for a significant period of time to give everyone an adequate chance to see and read it.

While around 13 percent of LinkedIn users come back to their site daily, there are many more LinkedIn users who will come back to the site once a month or less, which makes running the campaign for an extended period of time a good idea.

In addition to this typical varying user behavior, your audience will often also not notice the sponsored stories you advertise the first or even the second time they are presented it, due to all the other distractions on your prospects’ LinkedIn group news feeds.

As a result of these things, I have found it ideal to present your ads to the average prospect on LinkedIn a minimum of seven times per user for maximum content penetration. A simple calculation will tell you your exposure per group member and determine how much ad frequency you have at any point in running your campaign.

Impression Tab

 Keep Tabs on How Many Impressions You Have Generated


Calculating Estimated Ad Frequency

And Divide That by Your Total Audience Size to Calculate Your Estimated Ad Frequency


Build a List

Now that your targeted audience has read, respected, and been thoroughly influenced by the content your brand has shared, you are now ready to build a list of prospects your sales staff can follow up with.

To build your sales prospect list, enter LinkedIn’s sales navigator tool and make a list of every member of the group we were advertising to previously, then work to reverse engineer each member’s telephone and email addresses using tools such as Manta and for those who will not accept your LinkedIn request.

Looking for Prospect's Info on Google

Look for Prospect’s Info on Google


Looking for Prospect's Info on Manta

Look for Prospect’s Info On Manta


Checking out Prospect's Contact Info by doing Who's Lookup on their Site

Check out the Prospect’s Contact Info By Doing a WhoIs Lookup on Their Site


Buying Prospect's Info Directly From

Or Buy Your Prospect’s Info Directly From



Even though it is easier to get a prospect’s contacts info if they become linked with you, you cannot effectively do this at scale, as LinkedIn will shut you down eventually if you try this. I would at most send a few link requests out to the most desired prospects on your list if you have some commonality with them, such as being in the same city.


Sending LinkedIn Request to Someone you do not know properly

Sending LinkedIn Request to Someone You Do Not Know Properly


The Sales Pitch

Now that you have built a list of people for your sales staff to reach out to, your sales staff is now ready to start making some sales.

The first place you may consider approaching your pre-warmed audience is on LinkedIn itself as a part of their internal direct message system.

Contact Info in Sales Pitching (1)

Once You Are Linked, Simply Click on “Contact Info”


Contact Info in Sales Pitching (2)

To Reveal Their Contact Info


If you were not already aware, you can e-mail anyone you wish on LinkedIn who are in the same groups as you without need of an in-mail.

Since most LinkedIn users do not check their LinkedIn inbox often or won’t take what you have to say via LinkedIn by itself all that seriously, a follow-up cold call is also in order for maximum prospect list penetration and campaign ROI.

To make your sales campaign work as designed, you need to make a mention of the content itself upon initial contact to break ice with the prospect upon connecting. You will, however, be pleasantly surprised how many people actually remember your content if you have done your job setting up the campaign correctly!

The fact of the matter is, every time I have run a campaign like this, it was always easy going for me from this point on, where the potential client said they were familiar with the content in question and what made all the difference in myself actually selling that person. Going into the call knowing the main objective is to simply get them to recognize and remember the content at hand so I can finish our story, my job in cold calling got a heck of a lot easier.

Easily 30 percent of the people I would call on remembered my content.



If you are doing your job correctly by choosing the proper content for your targeted audience, your cost per click costs should be in the $2-$3 range each.

$2 CPC on Sponsors Updates

It’s Possible to Get $2 CPCs on Sponsored Updates


Using Opt In Gate on Your Landing Page

For those of you who are wondering why I do not recommend using an opt-in gate, which forces users to input their personal contact information to gain access to the content I am promoting, the reasoning is simple. By putting up a opt-in gate to access your content, I am automatically restricting up to 85 percent of my total audience, as only 15 percent typically convert on a landing page like that. In addition, I feel people who have read your content feeling though as it was a true organic share are more perceptive to the content itself.

Using an Opt-In Gate Hurts Campaign ROI

Using an Opt-In Gate Hurts Campaign ROI


I have tried both gated and non-gated content using a similar follow-up strategy; the non-gated content has produced much greater ROI overall than the gated content every time I have tested them concurrently.


Cold Calling Alternatives

The only alternative to cold calling your engaged prospect list would be to run a direct mail campaign with your same cold call pitch on it, at a minimum frequency of seven times per prospect, which makes the cost of running the direct mail campaign per person around $10 per prospect.


Much Better ROI

The Results:  While Direct Mail Is Higher Barrier to Entry & More Expensive, The ROI Is Much Better


If you have more sales staff time than money, then cold calling is the more economical way to do things — unless of course, you hate cold calling like I do, and would rather pay more to avoid phone prospecting time.



While your sales staff may have been able to effectively to cold sell their lead lists previously without needing to use LinkedIn PPC ads, by warming up your prospects first, you will easily five times their normal productivity rate, as they spend a whole lot less time dialing and a whole lot more time talking to their prospects on their prospecting calls.


Corey Zieman

Paid Search Strategist

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