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Exit Five Newsletter #56

Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of the Exit Five Weekly Email, a weekly note with B2B marketing lessons & observations, fueled by the community at Exit Five (a private community of ~3,500 marketing pros and you can join us at exitfive.com if you're not already a member).


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LinkedIn Ads and Organic Audiences

There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding LinkedIn as a way to drive growth in the community this week. For B2B marketers, LinkedIn has magical targeting capabilities and the most up-to-date information about our audiences, but it can be a lot to take in. Today we’ll dive into building up your audience on LinkedIn, and some tactical ways to make LinkedIn Ads work.


Building an audience on LinkedIn

On social - your “perfect ICP” audience can be broken into two simple buckets: they follow you, or they don’t. This means, they’ll see your updates (and possibly convert), or they don’t even know you exist.


In order for organic social to work as a lead gen channel, you need a (large enough) audience of social followers to nurture over time. When they’re ready, they’ll convert on the offer that compels them. 


Building an audience is a long game - and the most important tactic is creating consistently high quality content that people want to engage with. This podcast episode goes in depth on creating an audience on LinkedIn, and it’s worth two listens, Devin tells it like it is.


There are some tactical ways to get in front of new people on social, and convert them into followers:

  • Paid ads are highly targeted, and can get your content in front of the bucket of ICP contacts who don’t already follow you - it’s a short-cut when you don’t have an owned audience built yet.
Reach with ads
  • Influencers can help you get more reach as well, though that tactic doesn’t make you a success on its own 
Reach with influencers
  • Internal SME promotion
    • Many LinkedIn company accounts underperform in terms of engagement (especially while they’re still slowly building an audience) 
    • Having internal SMEs promote company content is one way to increase reach (if they are the authors, that’s a no-brainer)
    • Going deep on the Founder Brand concept is effective with the right founder - what are founders, if not the strongest subject matter expert in the business? 
    • Employee sharing across the org - in the early days of Gong, marketing ran lunch-and-learns to educate people on how to share company content on social - the sales team are your best friends here, because they’ll have more success building trust with buyers if they are active in this way

Build a Mini-funnel with LinkedIn Ads to Get More Efficient Spend

More people are talking about this today than last summer - though it’s by no means common knowledge. 


LinkedIn gives marketers the ability to create a mini marketing funnel on the platform. When done well, this drives more success and increased efficiency of spend. 


The cold audience gets a top-of funnel offer (thought leadership or tactical case study that can teach your audience something), and the retargeting audience will be set up to drive the most engaged people to demo requests.


The funnel exists for a reason. You provide value first (at the cold layer) to get value in return (at the retargeting layer). 


Asking someone who’s never heard of you to take a demo just isn’t a compelling ask. And you’d waste thousands in program spend convincing a cold audience to enter a sales cycle.


Companies need to introduce themselves and provide value before they pop the question. 


The best way to do this on LinkedIn Ads is: 


Cold audience (start w 60% spend, optimize over time):

  • Target them with multiple different (top-of-funnel!!) offers to see what performs best 
  • Can use a target account list, or various firmographic filtering options 
    • If target account list - make sure you only have the right titles in there - otherwise one account can soak up all your spend
  • Either push them to your site, share a video they can watch, or promote thought leadership with lead gen forms 
    • Engagements here can all be used for retargeting later 
  • With any of these cold engagements, make sure your sales team is following up with an offer that’s aligned with the action they’ve taken

Retargeting audience (the rest of the spend): 

  • These folks are more primed to get the demo request CTA 
  • People who visited your website or company Linkedin page
  • People who watched video ads or clicked into/filled the LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms

As always, it can be infinitely more complicated than this. Throw a layer in the middle, etc. 


The most important takeaways here are:

  1. Build layers into your LinkedIn ad strategy based on level of engagement, and make sure the offers at each layer are appropriate for the level of engagement you’ve had with the person behind the screen. And
  2. The best long term strategy is to build an audience of your own through really great content.
Years of consistency and high quality content

Have a great week, 



🎧 New Exit Five Podcast: The Path to CMO - With Lindsay Bayuk, CMO, Pluralsight


Lindsay Bayuk is Chief Marketing Officer at Pluralsight. We talk about the path to becoming CMO, what it takes to be a high performing CMO, going from VP Product Marketing to CMO, her marketing scorecard, doing internal marketing, what it means to think and operate like an executive, the importance of hiring/talent scouting, why org. design is so important, and more. As always you can find the Exit Five podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere you listen.


⚠️ New HEAD OF MARKETING Job Alert! ⚠️


Tesorio is looking for a Head of Marketing (Remote) Their mission is to build financial management technologies that enable the world’s most important companies to grow more quickly in a sustainable way that’s good for people, the planet, and business. 

Tesorio checks a lot of boxes: 

  • Excellent investors including First Round Capital 
  • A great book of business 
  • Tenured C-suite 
  • Accolades from analysts 
Apply here

Join the Exit Five Community

Please join us in the new home for Exit Five (and our dedicated iOS + Android app). We have officially moved our community to Circle - our own private community on the web, with a dedicated mobile app for iOS and Android. It's bumping over there already and I've been loving the feedback from members so far.

Here's a video overview from me breaking down the new Exit Five community. You can join the community right now for free with a 7 day free trial and then choose monthly or annual billing (or to not join) after your trial. Hope to see you in there.

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Thanks to the 2023 Exit Five presenting sponsors Demandwell (SEO) and Zapier (Automation).

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