Livability: 200+ qualified leads below
target CPL with LinkedIn ads

b2b social media, lead generation

DSL employed a continuous LinkedIn ad campaign to generate hundreds of hard-to-reach leads for the Livability sales team.

 

Background

Livability, a division of Journal Communications, is a niche media and content company serving economic development organizations (EDO). Their flagship Livability.com generates millions of pageviews on their original research and articles exploring the best small to mid-sized cities for work, play, and quality of life. 

brief

Livability won clients through the strength of their brand and the hustle of their business development team. Their BDs organized by geography and made their presence known through tried-and-true, face-to-face relationship building. Then 2020 happened. When Zoom became the norm, it was time for a digital-first approach to amplify thought leadership content, attract new leads, AND nurture existing ones. That’s when Sculpt came in.

challenge

Livability works with a niche audience: Decision makers at Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development Organizations. While paid social platforms offer a wealth of targeting options, none of them fall into these two categories.

approach

We knew LinkedIn would be the best platform to reach our audience on so we got to work audience building. Rather than relying on broad targeting types, we employed Matched Audiences. We built a custom list of organization names, LinkedIn Company Pages, websites, and locations that fit their ideal client profile parameters. This source audience of 123,000 members could then be broken down by role, location, and industry for deeper segmentation. 

campaign plan

DSL employed a continuous improvement and testing plan to find the winning combinations of ads and audience month-over-month.

Content Offer Testing

Livability had built strong research content that was previously used in sales conversations. Rather than assuming which would work best for LinkedIn, we tested them all. Our top-of-funnel paid strategy revolved around repurposing each with a variety of creative positions and formats. We drove each to a native Lead Form with matching fields so we could compare performance across campaigns seamlessly.

Creative Testing

We knew static thumbnail ads performed best for our Sponsored Content campaigns. The question was — what kind? In the end, we deployed a wide variety of ad styles, colors, and copy angles to allow LinkedIn room to do its thing (pairing the right creative with the right person).

HubSpot Implementation

The Livability team wasn’t using HubSpot to its full potential. We helped implement Marketing Professional to unlock better automation, provide custom team notifications for new leads, and sync up audiences for precise retargeting.

Content Offer Testing

Livability had built strong research content that was previously used in sales conversations. Rather than assuming which would work best for LinkedIn, we tested them all. Our top-of-funnel paid strategy revolved around repurposing each with a variety of creative positions and formats. We drove each to a native Lead Form with matching fields so we could compare performance across campaigns seamlessly.

Creative Testing

We knew static thumbnail ads performed best for our Sponsored Content campaigns. The question was — what kind? In the end, we deployed a wide variety of ad styles, colors, and copy angles to allow LinkedIn room to do its thing (pairing the right creative with the right person).

HubSpot Implementation

The Livability team wasn’t using HubSpot to its full potential. We helped implement Marketing Professional to unlock better automation, provide custom team notifications for new leads, and sync up audiences for precise retargeting.

Our results

LinkedIn is misperceived as an expensive channel with low conversion rate for high LTV businesses. We proved otherwise. Before we launched, we established a $120 cost-per-lead target to hit our goals. When the ads launched in June 2021, the campaign generated four leads at a $103.62 CPL during its first week live.

Our Campaign Managers made constant optimizations throughout the first six months to bring in a total of 218 leads at a $47.19 cost per lead average, -61% under the target CPL. That made for an overall click-to-conversion rate of 18.55%. Importantly, the campaign boasted a 92% email open rate in HubSpot. And these numbers continued to grow in 2022.

Our impact

The campaign opened the dialogue with multiple statewide organizations — who have historically been harder to meet with in the past.

“This campaign has opened the dialogue with multiple
statewide organizations — who have historically been
harder to meet with in the past. In fact, I just met with
North Carolina earlier this week. The people we meet with
from the leads are super motivated and the campaign just
builds on itself,”

Ready to grow? We’re ready to go.