LinkedIn for Manufacturers: The Underutilized Yet Highly Effective Tool

By Momentum |
linkedin for manufacturers

LinkedIn is a highly underutilized marketing tool for manufacturers, but quite possibly one of the most effective. That said, before you take our word for it, you should first understand why LinkedIn is so useful for manufacturers, how LinkedIn ads work and what you can do to generate the most significant ROI for your efforts.

The Old Way of Marketing: Is it Working for You?

Manufacturers are great at developing sophisticated processes that yield impressive results. However, the development of these processes is slow going and often requires much trial and error. Because of this, once they find a method that works, they stick with it. Changes typically only arise when something breaks or when it’s time to change up the product or solution.

While this dedication to tried-and-true processes may work for the manufacturing processes themselves, it does not work for advertising, which is ever-evolving. Unfortunately, just like they do with their processes, manufacturers tend to find a marketing tactic they like and stick with it, even when it stops producing results. Some forms of advertising manufacturers routinely favor include the following:

  • Trade Shows: Before you get up in arms, note that we’re not saying that trade shows are ineffective. They can be very effective when done right. However, trade shows alone cannot help your firm reach its full potential.
  • PPC Campaigns: Like trade shows, PPC campaigns can work for you. However, PPC can get expensive, and, being in such a niche industry, you may find it challenging to target your exact audience.
  • Direct Mail Advertising: This may be the easiest and most cost-effective form of advertising, but there’s a reasonable probability your flyer will end up in the trash before it gets before the key decision-maker for which you intended it.
  • Print Advertising: Though you should continue to publish in publications OEMs read, this tactic is slow to yield results and, like PPC campaigns, can get expensive.

Not only do manufacturers tend to favor dated practices, but also, many turn to firms that have little to no experience in marketing for manufacturers. Though well-meaning, these agencies fail to properly direct industrials to channels where the potential for ROI is enormous.

If, after reading this section, you feel that sense of, “Oh, they’re talking about me,” it’s time to ask yourself, Are my current advertising tactics working? The fact that you’re here should be indicative of the fact that they’re not, and that it may be time to try something new, such as LinkedIn advertising for manufacturers.

The Evolution of LinkedIn Ads and How It’s Benefited Manufacturers

Initially, to qualify for LinkedIn’s sponsored posts (which we will touch on below), companies had to pay at least $20,000 a quarter as a total budget. As you can imagine, this made it impossible for most companies to use the platform for advertising, and even those that could afford it were unwilling to gamble that much money on an untested tactic.

In early 2016, however, LinkedIn got smart and changed its advertising platform to a “self-serve” one, meaning companies could use it irrespective of what they planned to spend. Now, companies have access to sponsored posts, in-mail and advertising, whether they spend $3 or $30,000. They also have full control of their campaigns and can pause and end them at will, select their bid budgets and devise bit strategies for a very targeted demographic.

That said, though LinkedIn did away with the $20,000 a quarter minimum, it’s still not a cheap platform on which to advertise — which actually works in favor of manufacturers. Though advertisers can set their costs-per-click to as low as $2 or $3, doing so would be a waste of money.

LinkedIn offers the most precise targeting of any platform, which is how it can justify average costs-per-click of between $8 and $15. At these prices, it’s almost a guarantee that your ad will appear at the top of the desired target’s feed. However, at $2 to $5 per click, your targets would have to scroll down their feeds a decent amount before reaching your ad, rendering the money you spent a waste.

How, you may wonder, does this help you? Good question.

Most companies cannot justify an $8 to $15 cost-per-click, as, after just a handful of clicks, any potential for profit is lost. However, manufacturers’ products sell for tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even after a couple of hundred clicks and one sale, most manufacturers could still justify the high cost of ads.

LinkedIn’s Targeting Makes It One of the Most Effective Platforms for Manufacturers

As a manufacturer, you don’t need to be told that you sell to a very specific clientele. You don’t just sell to CEOs and key decision-makers — you sell to the CEOs and key decision-makers in the trash and recycling business, aerospace and automotive industries, agricultural sector or appliance manufacturing. Moreover, you may not offer entire pieces of equipment — instead, you provide specific components and solutions, such as spindles, steel heat treatment, coordinate measuring machines and automation repair. Not only do you need to pinpoint your exact target but also, you need to ensure your ad goes before the target at the precise moment he or she needs your product or solution.

Other platforms, such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, do not offer precise targeting. LinkedIn, however, does.

When you use LinkedIn sponsored posts, you have 100% control over who sees your posts, how often and where. In fact, with sponsored posts, you can identify the exact company you wish to target. LinkedIn allows advertisers to target up to 100 companies per campaign. Not only that but if you’re worried that your ad will go before a low-level employee with zero decision-making capabilities, don’t be.

With sponsored posts, you can narrow down your target demographic by specifying the accurate profiles of specific individuals who work within the company. For instance, you may wish to target those in engineering and purchasing who work for the 100 companies you choose.

If you choose not to specify individual companies, you can still ensure your ad gets before the right person by defining the specific industry or industries you want to target. For instance, if you want to target VPs, commodity managers and product development engineers within the aerospace, medical device and agricultural industries, you can. Not only can you narrow your search as much as you want but also, once you set your specifications, LinkedIn will tell you precisely how many people will see your ad based on your criteria.

Your Audience Lives on LinkedIn 

That is all well and good, you may say, but do people use LinkedIn? As it turns out, they do, and here are some stats to prove it:

  • LinkedIn has over 500 million members, more than half of which are active monthly users.
  • 40% of the 260 million active monthly users use LinkedIn daily.
  • 61 million LinkedIn users hold senior-level positions, while another 40 million are in a position to make essential business decisions.
  • LinkedIn is the most used social media platform for Fortune 500 companies.
  • Approximately 75% of companies manufacturers want to target are either on LinkedIn or have high-level employees on LinkedIn.
  • 87 million of the 2 billion millennials worldwide are on LinkedIn. (This is noteworthy because, like it or not, millennials are the decision-makers of the future. 11 million of those 87 million millennials are already in decision-making positions.)

Your audience is on LinkedIn, which means you need to be, too.

Tips for Advertising on LinkedIn

Now that you’re convinced that LinkedIn advertising for manufacturers is essential, you may wish to get started. Before you do, keep these following tips for LinkedIn advertising success in mind:

  • Narrow Your Target: The magic of LinkedIn ads lies in your ability to narrow down your target to exact companies and individuals. Take advantage of this by using the filters to narrow your audience to key decision-makers to yield the most results.
  • Develop Specific Content: The content you use must be relevant to your audience’s needs and capture its attention. Generic content and imagery will not convince them to click.
  • Keep Your Ad Short and Sweet: Though LinkedIn offers advertisers the ability to exceed 130 characters, your ad shouldn’t. Once you exceed 130 characters, your audience will be given the option to “See More,” but they have to click to do so. This leads to accidental clicks, which can add up to serious cash for you.  
  • Direct Your Audience to a Landing Page: Direct your audience to a landing page with a specific call to action instead of dumping them on your homepage. If you direct them to your homepage, they won’t know what action you want them to take and may click away, thereby increasing your ad spend and your bounce rate.
  • Start With Four Ads: Using four ads benefits you in two main ways. One, it prevents ad blindness, which occurs when a target sees the same ad over and over again. Two, it allows you to test various ads to see what works and what doesn’t. With four ads in rotation, you can test various graphics, copy and even ad shape.

LinkedIn can be one of your most effective advertising tools. However, you must approach ad development in the right way and with a strategic mindset. Momentum has extensive experience with LinkedIn advertising for manufacturers, and we are prepared to help you develop a campaign that delivers unremitting results. Contact our digital marketing team today to learn more.