PPC budgeting might not be the sexiest topic, but being a good steward of your budget can have major impacts on your PPC performance. Budget considerations usually go by the wayside when there are lots of other new, trendy topics to focus on, like a new ad format, targeting type, or new channel. But staying on top of your budget can be more impactful—and more profitable—than trying out any of these new tactics.
That’s why in 2020, I’d love for one of your PPC resolutions to be centered around your budgeting.
It doesn’t have to take up a bunch of time. A quick check in at the beginning of each month or quarter can go a long way in making sure you’re treating your budgets with the care they deserve.
At this point, you might be thinking, “That sounds great, but what can I do to pay more attention to my budget?” Here are five simple things you can do to take better care of your budgets in 2020.
1. Start forecasting
I’ll be the first to admit it: I hate forecasting.
In a number of ways, forecasting feels like guessing as to what performance is going to be—-and it is, but hopefully it’s an educated guess that can help you make smart decisions about where you spend your advertising dollars.
There are a handful of data points you can use to forecast performance for upcoming months:
- Google Keyword Planner traffic estimates.
- External news organizations.
- Month over month or year over year performance trends.
Google Keyword Planner traffic estimates.
Overall, the biggest takeaway for forecasting isn’t to be exactly right and predict the future, but to have some sort of realistic expectation of performance so you can plan ahead.
Is traffic estimated to double next month? Or will it drop significantly? Is there an expected turn in the market for the second half of the year that suggests you should front load 2020? Or hold your cards for a boom in Q3?
Spend a little time to think ahead and know what’s coming. Then check back in after a month or quarter and see how far off you were and what you can learn and adjust for next time to be a bit more accurate.
2. Create projection sheets
Forecasting gives you a long term look at potential performance, but using a projections sheet can help you understand where you’re pacing to end the current calendar month (or any custom date range for that matter).
The table above is from one of my client’s projections sheets. Here’s how the data breaks down:
- P7D: Past seven days performance.
- MTD: Performance this month to date.
- Projected: Projected stats based on the most recent seven days extrapolated for the remaining days of the month plus the performance so far.
Here’s how the formula works:
(P7D / 7 * No of days left in the month) + MTD Stats = Projected Performance
If you want a walk-through of this, here’s a video showing how to set up a projections sheet.
Granted, this won’t be a guarantee of where your month will end up performance wise, but it can give you an educated guess on where you’re heading based on what has happened recently and the performance you’ve already seen that month.
3. Be flexible
If you’re putting together forecasts, you’ve likely also started to assign budgets to different channels or campaign groups based on what your forecasting is telling you. This is great, but don’t have this be set in stone.
Being inflexible with budgets can get in the way of maximizing performance.
You’ll notice that the projections sheet I have above doesn’t only include spend. There are other metrics like clicks, conversions, and CPA included as well. You can add any metrics you want to this formula depending on what’s important to you.
In this same projections sheet, I have different charts created for each channel: Google, Bing, etc.
Let’s say my budget for the month is $345k. I might have started the month wanting to spend $300k on Google and $45k on Bing, but given the performance we’re seeing this month and the difference in CPA, I’ve shifted my spend to maximize available volume on Bing and then spend the remaining budget on Google.
This flexibility based on performance is more apparent when you forecast what performance would be like if I would have stuck to our original budgets vs the current projections.
With just a simple shift in budget, we were able to save $1k in spend, gain 99 more conversions and lower overall CPA by $0.74. Now, these might not be hugely groundbreaking stats, but I’ve never met someone who doesn’t want to save money AND drive more conversions at the same time.
4. Choose the best budget type for your account
Getting a bit more into the nitty-gritty of campaign management, it’s important to make sure you’re using the right budget types for your needs.
Each platform has its own budget setups and they all seem to operate differently.
Facebook budgets work differently if you’re trying to use daily or lifetime budgets.
Google Ads has campaign level or shared budgets.
This is likely a quarterly check in item, but be sure you’re using the right budget settings depending on your goals. As your campaigns evolved and initiatives are switched out as the year goes on, it’s important to take a step back and ensure you’re setting yourself up for success and not choosing the same budget options because that’s what you did last time.
5. Know what you can afford
My last thought is for new advertisers or initiatives in 2020.
Although PPC has a great reputation for “immediate” results, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be profitable right away on anything brand new. There are those rare cases where a campaign begins to pay for itself within the first hours or days of launch, but this is pretty rare.
More than likely, there will need to be a period of testing, learning, and optimizing before you see your campaign be profitable. This is why it’s important to know what you can and can’t afford to spend.
I’ve had a number of companies ask me in the past couple of years what budget it takes to be successful with PPC; unfortunately, there’s not really an answer to that question. But there are some things I suggest you keep in mind:
- Again, results aren’t immediate, so you’ll likely be spending more than you’re making for a period of time. Just because it’s not profitable right away doesn’t mean that the initiative won’t ever turn a profit.
- You need data to optimize. There’s a temptation to set very low daily budgets to start. While being conservative can be a good thing, it can also hurt you if you’re not gaining enough insights to optimize from. Don’t shoot for the moon, but don’t restrict your campaigns too much either. Both can result in lots of dollars spent with nothing gained and, almost worse, nothing learned.
- If your budget is restricted, do some of the forecasting and projecting mentioned above and prioritize the most likely avenue for success first. Just like with initial results, if this channel does or doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean that others will follow suit. It’s beneficial to test many different paths, but if you only have a set amount of budget available for a new test, focus on the most likely to perform first.
Focus on your PPC budget in 2020
Budgeting isn’t going to be the hot topic of PPC in 2020, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t have a major impact on your success. Spend some time getting organized for the year this month and set up a cadence of checking in on performance, flexibility, best practices, and new tests to ensure you’re not ignoring this optimization path in the new year.
47 Creative February Marketing Ideas (Beyond Valentine’s Day!)
February is home to the most romantic holiday of the year:
Just kidding (shouldn’t that be in March anyway?). But there is so much more to February than Branch’s Conversation Hearts and #sharethelove. So today, I’m showering you with over 50 creative and February marketing ideas and examples to help you connect with customers and build your brand.
Table of contents
February awareness causes
Below is a list of awareness causes recognized in February that can help you with cause-related marketing.
- American History Month
- American Heart Month (heart disease)
- Bake for Family Fun Month
- Black History Month
- Cancer Prevention Month
- Children’s Dental Health Month
- Embroidery Month
- Free and Open-Source Software Month
- Library Lover’s Month
- Self-Check Month
- Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
- Wedding Month
Some of these are general while others are highly specific, so depending on your business, your trade, or your niche, you may or may not be able to apply these to your February social media and marketing campaigns (National Embroidery Month isn’t exactly versatile, for example).
February national days
There’s a full list of February national days and dates at the bottom of this post, but here are some highlights:
- Known: Groundhog Day, President’s Day, Valentine’s Day (Valentine’s Day marketing ideas here), Galentine’s Day.
- Fun: Day the Music Died Day, Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day, Make a Friend Day, Do A Grouch a Favor Day, Comfy Day, Optimist Day.
- Meaningful: Freedom Day, Girls and Women in Sports Day, Wear Red Day, Safer Internet Day, Random Acts of Kindness Day, Shut-In Visitation Day, Set a Good Example Day, Skip the Straw Day.
- Industry-specific: Toothache Day, Dog Biscuit Day, Love Your Pet Day, Spay Day, Clean Out Your Computer Day, Caregivers Day, Lash Day, Home Warranty Day, Women Physicians Day.
- Well alright: Public Sleeping Day.
February diversity, equity & inclusion
Alright, now it’s time to get into the marketing ideas. Let’s start with important dates and observances that can help you in your diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
- Black History Month: Your Black History-related content should not actually be a marketing ploy but a genuine initiative to raise awareness and promote civil rights.
Here are some things you can do.
- Highlight prominent Black leaders in your industry—lawyers, politicians, scientists, artists, educators, and athletes who have shaped or are shaping American society or your industry.
- Interview or feature Black business owners, influencers, or members of your community who are helping to make history.
- Share quotes, little-known facts, and eye-opening stats about Black History—especially those related to your industry or niche.
- Tammy Baldwin’s birthday (Feb 11): Tammy Baldwin is the first openly LGBT woman elected to both houses of Congress. Post an inspiring quote from her on Instagram or Facebook.
- Susan B. Anthony’s birthday (Feb 15): This famous female is a leader of the women’s suffrage movement who advocated for abolition, labor rights, equal pay and more. On this day, share an eye-opening statistic or inspirational quote to raise awareness.
Meaningful February marketing ideas
In addition to inclusivity, there are plenty of other themes during February that can help you with meaningful marketing. Showing your support for causes you care about is a great way to connect with your audience and express your core values. Here are some ideas and examples.
Heart Health Awareness Month
So February isn’t all about that $1 pink balloon heart but also that invaluable organ inside of you that makes you tick. If your business is focused on health and wellness, this is a great marketing opportunity for you.
- Fitness centers and gyms can partner with a local health center for heart disease awareness or screenings.
- Host special classes focusing on cardiovascular activity.
- Write informative blog posts about heart health and risk factors. Use this time to market your business by educating your customers on leading healthy lives.
- Give out a free heart-healthy gift with purchases or registrations.
In the example below, this fitness center is giving out free heart rate monitors to those who join in the month of February.
If you’re not a health or fitness business, no problem.
- Any business can sponsor a Healing Heart 5k, or donate a portion of their profits to a heart health-related nonprofit.
- Think outside the box—pet hearts, artichoke hearts, hearts of remain, website health (the heart of a business marketing strategy, for example).
Children’s Dental Health Month
Dentists can certainly have a field day with this one, but other businesses can use this opportunity to teach parents and students about the importance of dental health.
- Daycares, fitness centers, and churches can host special classes about the importance of dental hygiene.
- If you’re a dentist, you may offer to teach such classes. Or spruce up your dentist website with some extra decorations or promotions.
- Ecommerce businesses can promote their oral hygiene products.
- If you’re not a dentist, a simple social media post to bring your target audience’s attention to the cause can go a long way.
Cancer Awareness Month
In addition to having World Cancer Day, the whole month of February is dedicated to cancer awareness. Show your support on Facebook with a purple-themed post or initiative. You can encourage your followers to “purple” their profile, promote your purple products, or run a purple-themed contest.
Wear Red Day
National Wear Red Day is focused on raising awareness for heart disease. On this day, you could:
- Host an event in support of cardiovascular health and promote it on Instagram.
- Promote your red products or give your social media profiles or homepage a red theme for the day.
- Post an applicable picture to Instagram with an eye-opening stat. This is a great way to increase Instagram engagement.
World Cancer Day
You may also want to run a special promotion on World Cancer Day itself, especially if you’re in the health and fitness industry.
Fun February marketing ideas
Some of these are well-known, others not so much. Take a look and see which ones align with your brand voice and values.
Federal holidays like these are always versatile. Any industry can run a Presidents Day sale—for the day, the weekend, or the whole dang month. Here are some ideas:
- Run a presidential trivia night at your restaurant or even on social media.
- Run a Presidents Day giveaway on Instagram or Facebook.
- Create a Facebook event for your sale.
Ice Cream for Breakfast Day
Ironically, in the middle of Children’s Dental Health Month is Ice Cream for Breakfast Day…oops? But who says you can’t use this quirky holiday to market your business?
Held on the first Saturday of February, this is an opportunity for bakeries, ice cream shops, or restaurants to run special promotions.
Fat (mardi) Tuesday (Gras) is held on the last Tuesday before Ash Wednesday every year. It’s a celebration of life before the more somber Ash Wednesday and following period of Lent. Here are some Mardi Gras marketing ideas:
- Write a blog post with a “celebration of life” theme.
- Promote your purple, green, and gold products.
- Run a Mardi Gras Instagram giveaway.
- Enter customers on that day into a drawing for a gift card or discount.
- Offer a discount to those who wear Mardi Gras beads to your store, event, or classes. Promote the sale ahead of time with a post and encourage followers throughout the day by posting pictures of customers wearing their beads.
Love Your Pet Day
Love Your Pet Day is February’s opportunity for you to shamelessly post about your pet. But here are some additional ideas to consider:
- Write a blog post about what your pet can teach you about [topic relevant to your industry].
- Have your employees share photos of their pets and put the montage on social media or in your February newsletter.
- Come up with a pet-themed incentive. For example, Select Hotels invited its followers to comment on its post with their favorite moments with their pets, and that if they did, “A surprise awaits the two of you on your next visit.”
Make a Friend Day
This day gives you lots of opportunities for creative marketing.
- Send out a review request email themed around asking your customers to be your friend. (Use these February email subjet lines for inspiration!)
- Partner with a neighboring or complementary business and run a joint friends promotion.
- Remind people of your referral program or run a one-day special where referrals result in a discount or gift.
Groundhog Day Contest
This superstitious day happens on February 2 every year. For the uninitiated, if the groundhog sees its shadow, winter will last six more weeks. If it does not see its shadow, spring will arrive early. Plenty of fun marketing material to work with here.
- Run a sale where the offer is contingent upon the outcome of the day.
- Create content inspired by the Groundhog Day movie, sharing tips to break up the monotony or avoid repeating mistakes.
- On Groundhog Day, you can run a contest, share a question or poll with your audience, or simply share a fun fact about the day.
The Super Bowl is one of the most watched programs on television. How does your target audience relate to football? Are they football fans? Spouses or parents of football fans? Athletes? Is your business located near a Superbowl venue? Run a special during Superbowl weekend, create Superbowl-themed products, or share a helpful tip relevant to what their Superbowl experience will be like.
February hashtag marketing ideas
Hashtags can expand your reach and add some personality to your posts. Here are some basic February hashtags to play around with.
If you’re just getting started with your Instagram marketing, start basic with something as simple as a #Febsale. In the below example, the small business Mexicali took a snapshot of their ready-to-ship orders to promote their February sale and encourage people to buy.
They didn’t use a photo shoot or fancy Photoshop graphics; just a simple behind-the-scenes sneak peek and a caption that closes with a question.
#FebruaryFeels for mood
You don’t need to have a sale for a February-friendly Instagram post. How about just appealing to your audience’s mood during this time of year?
Just make sure you’re appealing to the mood of your specific audience in February as it relates to your business. Is your audience…
- Filing tax forms?
- Returning back to school after break?
- Reading love stories and seeking positive vibes?
- Totally embracing singledom?
#FebruaryFeels for a testimonial
#FebruaryFavorites to promote other content
This is a good way to surface seasonal content or products or even to bring to light some of the forgotten ones. Share a roundup of your most popular products or services, or even your favorite tips, tools, products, or resources related to your audience’s goals and needs.
#FebruaryFeature to promote products
Whether the product you’re promoting is February-themed or not, you can make it so by using the hashtag #Februaryfeature. Pick something you’d like to promote in February and see if #Februaryfeature can help increase sales and engagement related to it.
#FebruaryFeature to feature an employee
You could also feature an employee, student, or customer. These types of feature posts can get your employees, customers, and fans excited about your business. Plus, they’ll want to share their “celebrity” post with their network, which can help increase your reach.
Another theme you can take advantage of in your February Instagram marketing is #FreshStartFebruary. This is especially applicable for businesses in the health and wellness industry.
As you can see, there is much more to February than Valentine’s Day (but we have plenty of Valentine’s Day marketing ideas here). Use the ideas above for creative and quality engagement with your audience—the best way to market your business. And don’t forget about March! If you have events or promotions planned for Saint Patrick’s Day or other holidays, get your audience in the know.
For more monthly marketing ideas, here’s our full list:
P.S. For marketing ideas for the whole year, check out LocaliQ’s always-updated marketing calendar.
Full list of February national days & dates
Thanks, as always, to National Day Calendar.
- Baked Alaska Day
- Dark Chocolate Day
- Freedom Day (Freedom From Slavery)
- Get Up Day
- Serpent Day
- Texas Day
- Heavenly Hash Day
- Tater Tot Day
- Groundhog Day
- Girls and Women in Sports Day – Changes Annually
- Carrot Cake Day
- Day the Music Died Day
- Missing Persons Day
- Women Physicians Day
- Optimist Day – First Thursday in February
- Create a Vacuum day
- Hemp Day
- Homemade Soup Day
- Thank a Mail Carrier Day
- Wear Red Day – First Friday in February
- Bubble Gum Day – First Friday in February
- Weatherperson’s Day
- World Nutella Day
- Ice Cream for Breakfast Day – First Saturday in February
- Play Outside Day – First Saturday of Every Month
- Frozen Yogurt Day
- Lame Duck Day
- Chopsticks Day
- Fettuccine Alfredo Day
- Periodic Table Day
- Send a Card to a Friend Day
- Boy Scouts Day
- Kite Flying Day
- Iowa Day
- Safer Internet Day U.S. – changes annually
- Cut the Cord Day
- Bagel and Lox Day
- Pizza Day
- Toothache Day
- Cream Cheese Brownie Day
- Home Warranty Day
- Umbrella Day
- Giving Hearts Day – Second Thursday in February
- Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day
- Inventors’ Day
- Make a Friend Day
- Peppermint Patty Day
- Shut-In Visitation Day
- White Shirt Day
- Plum Pudding Day
- Global Movie Day – Second Saturday in February
- Galentine’s Day
- Cheddar Day
- Tortellini Day
- Pork Rind Day – Day of the Big Game
- Cream-Filled Chocolates Day
- Ferris Wheel Day
- Organ Donor Day
- Valentine’s Day
- Football Hangover Day – day after the Superbowl
- Clean Out Your Computer Day – Second Monday
- Gumdrop Day
- Singles Awareness Day
- Wisconsin Day
- Almond Day
- Do A Grouch a Favor Day
- Pancake Day (IHOP) – changes annually
- Random Acts of Kindness Day
- Cabbage Day
- Battery Day
- Crab Stuffed Flounder Day
- Drink Wine Day
- No One Eats Alone Day – Changes annually
- Caregivers Day – Third Friday
- Arabian Horse Day *
- Red Sock Day * – Third Saturday in February
- Chocolate Mint Day
- Lash Day
- Vet Girls RISE Day
- Comfy Day
- Cherry Pie Day
- Love Your Pet Day
- Muffin Day
- Grain-Free Day
- Sticky Bun Day
- Presidents Day – Third Monday
- Supermarket Employee Day *
- California Day
- Cook a Sweet Potato Day
- Margarita Day
- World Spay Day – Last Tuesday in February
- Banana Bread Day
- Dog Biscuit Day
- Tile Day
- Tortilla Chip Day
- Toast Day – Last Thursday
- Chili Day – Fourth Thursday
- Chocolate Covered Nut Day
- Clam Chowder Day
- Skip the Straw Day – Fourth Friday
- Set a Good Example Day *
- Pistachio Day
- Tell a Fairy Tale Day
- Anosmia Awareness Day
- Kahlua Day
- Retro Day
- Strawberry Day
- Polar Bear Day
- Chocolate Souffle Day
- Floral Design Day
- Public Sleeping Day
- Tooth Fairy Day
- Rare Disease Day USA – Last Day in February
February 29 (Every Four Years)
7 Ways to Optimize Your LinkedIn Ads for Peak Performance
LinkedIn has become the go-to resource for businesses looking to advertise to a specific targeted audience of professionals.
But as with any ad platform, you are paying to play, so you need to make sure you’re taking advantage of every feature, setting and strategy to get the most out of your budget. Lucky for you, that’s what I’ll be covering in today’s post.
Read on to learn why LinkedIn advertising is a top B2B strategy and how to optimize your campaigns to get the highest return on your investment.
Why should every B2B strategy include LinkedIn ads?
LinkedIn advertising is an effective platform for anyone looking to drive leads and sales. Before we get into the optimizations, let’s cover a few of the reasons why it’s so effective.
Reach a highly targeted audience
LinkedIn allows you to target your ads based on job title, company size, industry, location, interests, groups, company growth rate, and more.
This means that you can easily “hunt” for the right prospects that are most likely to be interested in your service or product. How could you pass on that!?
Boost brand awareness
Yes I know, PPC is geared toward getting actual leads and not just increasing brand awareness. But increased awareness is a great by-product of a well-targeted campaign.
LinkedIn is an extremely popular platform with a huge user base, making it an unmissable channel to reach a wider audience and boost brand awareness.
Well, this one is just stating the obvious.
LinkedIn ads are designed to drive traffic to your website or landing pages, which can help you generate leads and sales. LinkedIn also offers lead generation forms, which allow users to sign up for more information or download either a whitepaper or some other resource directly from the ad.
Keep in mind, lead gen forms will get you more leads, but at a lower intent than those who will actually sign up directly on your website.
Data is everything. LinkedIn provides invaluable analytics and tracking tools to help you measure the effectiveness of your ads.
You can track:
- How many people have seen your ad
- How many have clicked on it
- How many have taken a specific action, such as visiting your website or filling out a form.
While these are the basics of any advertising platform, with LinkedIn you can slice it by company size, job title, industry and other accurate targets that LinkedIn offers—which we will go through in this post!
Multiple ad formats
LinkedIn offers a variety of ad formats to choose from, including sponsored content, sponsored InMail, display ads, and sponsored job postings. This allows you to choose the format that best fits your business needs and goals, which depend on your product and target market.
How to optimize your LinkedIn ads
Bottom line? LinkedIn’s targeting capabilities, brand awareness potential, lead generation forms, and analytics make it a valuable tool for any business looking to grow and succeed.
Well now that we have that settled, the question remains: How to make this advertising platform successful?
Here are seven bulletproof ways to hack your LinkedIn campaigns for success.
1. Define and regularly update your target audience
Having a target audience is crucial for creating ad content that resonates and drives conversions. Here are some steps to define your target audience:
- Identify your target market: Who is your product or service for? Consider factors such as age, gender, location, job title, and industry.
- Define your buyer personas: Create detailed profiles of your ideal customers, including their needs, goals, and challenges.
- Analyze your current customer base: Look at your current customer data to understand who is already using your product or service, why, and how.
- Consider your value proposition: What makes your product or service unique and valuable to your target audience? And what keeps them coming back?
Don’t forget to regularly review and update your target audience to ensure that your ad campaigns stay relevant and effective.
2. Create great ads (and I mean really great ads)
LinkedIn is a crowded network, filled with recruiters, salespeople, and advertisers. So you’d better make sure you’ve got winning ads!
Your ads need to stand out for all the right reasons, or they just won’t cut it.
Use compelling headlines and visuals as an effective way to capture the attention of your target audience and improve the performance of your LinkedIn Ads.
Here are some tips for creating great ads:
- Use responsive design: Make sure your ad looks good on both desktop and mobile devices. LinkedIn offers responsive ad formats that automatically adjust to the size of your screen, so your ad will look great no matter how it’s viewed.
- Use eye-catching visuals: Visuals are an important part of any ad, and they are especially important on mobile where people are more likely to scroll quickly through their feed.
- Keep the ad copy short and to the point: Mobile users tend to have shorter attention spans, so use clear, concise language that gets your message across fast.
- Make sure the ad is easy to read: Use a clear, easy-to-read font and make sure there is enough contrast between the text and the background.
- Test your ad on different devices: Before you launch your ad, make sure to test it on a variety of mobile devices to ensure it’s readable and looks good.
Don’t forget to regularly review and optimize your headlines and visuals to make sure they’re effective at driving conversions.
Here’s a great example of an ad by Superlegal:
Why is this ad successful?
- Eye-catching visuals: The creative captures the user’s eye while quickly browsing through their feed.
- Concise copy: The messaging is to the point and keeps details on how it works to a minimum, generating interest. Less is more.
- Benefit-focused: The messaging immediately tells the user what’s in it for them, and focuses on the why, not the what.
3. Test, test, and then test some more
Testing different ad variations allows you to make data-driven decisions and optimize your LinkedIn ad performance. Here are some things to test:
- Ad copy: Try testing different versions of your ad copy to see which ones resonate most with your audience. You can test different headlines, descriptions, and calls to action to see which ones perform the best.
- Visuals: Try testing different visuals, such as images or videos, to see which ones are most effective. You can also experiment with different image sizes and aspect ratios to see which ones perform the best.
- Targeting: Test different targeting options, such as job titles, industries, or locations to see which ones perform the best for your business.
- Audience sizes: You can also test different audience sizes to see if targeting a smaller, more specific audience performs better than targeting a larger, more general audience.
- Ad format: LinkedIn offers a variety of ad formats, including sponsored content, sponsored InMail, display ads, and sponsored events. It’s important to test different formats to see which ones perform the best for your business.
Pro Tip: When launching a new campaign, make sure to set your campaign to rotate ads evenly to begin with, as this will give each ad a fair chance.
It’s important to regularly review and analyze the results of your ad variations to identify areas for improvement and don’t forget to keep optimizing your ads over time to maximize your chances.
4. Use LinkedIn’s targeting options
LinkedIn’s audience targeting options allow you to narrow down your audience and show your ads to specific groups of people on the platform. This can be an incredibly effective way to reach the right audience and improve the performance of your ads.
Here are some examples of LinkedIn’s audience targeting options:
- Company growth rate: This one is actually very interesting. You can target your campaign to be shown exclusively to prospects who work at companies with a positive growth rate. So, if you provide recruiting services, you’d want to target the companies with a (very) positive growth rate and exclude the ones with a negative growth rate.
- Job title: This one is probably the most basic targeting method on LinkedIn. Target specific job titles or job functions, such as marketing managers or sales executives. This can be especially useful if your product or service is only relevant to certain professions or job roles.
- Company size: You can target specific company sizes, such as small businesses or large enterprises. This can be useful if your product or service is more suited to a particular size of company.
- Industry: You can target specific industries, such as finance or healthcare. This can be useful if your product or service is specifically relevant to a particular industry for example insurance or tech.
- Location: You can target specific locations, such as a specific city or country. This is useful for those whose product or service is available only in certain areas or if you are trying to reach a local audience.
- Group: Target prospects who are members of specific groups on LinkedIn. This is a great one if you know your target audience is likely to have specific interests, passions, and hobbies.
Pro Tip: Make sure to always disable the LinkedIn audience expansion from your campaigns. It will show your ads to a mostly irrelevant audience in most cases.
By using LinkedIn’s Audience Targeting options, you’ll make sure that your ads are being shown to the right people and maximize your chances of getting conversions.
Not to sound like a broken record, but keep reviewing and adjusting your targeting to make sure you’re reaching your ideal customer.
5. Use LinkedIn’s conversion tracking
To set up conversion tracking on LinkedIn, you’ll need to install a small piece of code, called the LinkedIn Insight Tag, on your site. This will allow you to track a variety of conversion actions like form submissions (like contact us or ebook download), page views (like for your product pages), clicks on a specific link, and more.
This will allow you to see which of your ads are driving the most conversions so you can optimize your campaigns accordingly.
For example, if one ad is generating a lot of clicks but very few conversions, you may want to consider changing either the ad copy or the targeting to improve performance. On the other hand, if an ad is generating a high number of conversions, consider either increasing your budget for that ad or creating similar ads to capitalize on its success.
Overall, LinkedIn’s conversion tracking is a brilliant tool for optimizing your LinkedIn Ads. By regularly tracking and analyzing your conversions, you can make data-driven decisions to improve the effectiveness of your campaigns.
6. Use LinkedIn’s insights & analytics
In addition to standard metrics, LinkedIn offers advanced analytics such as demographic data, interests, and job functions. This data is extremely useful to help you understand who is interacting with your ads and how they are engaging with your content.
To access LinkedIn’s insights and analytics, you’ll need to have a LinkedIn Ads account. From the dashboard, you can view a range of data and metrics including impressions, clicks, conversions, and cost per action (CPA). You can also view data by specific campaigns, ad groups, and ads to get a more granular understanding of your performance.
By using LinkedIn’s insights and analytics, you can identify areas for improvement and optimize your campaigns. If you notice that an ad is generating a high number of clicks but a low number of conversions, you may want to consider changing the ad copy or targeting to improve its performance. On the other hand, if an ad is generating a high number of conversions at a low cost, you may want to consider increasing your budget for that ad or creating similar ads.
LinkedIn insights are another great tool to get the most out of your LinkedIn campaign. Track, track, and track your data over time to get the most out of your LinkedIn budget!
7. Optimize for mobile
Most people use LinkedIn on their mobile devices and spend significantly more time on LinkedIn while using their mobiles, so make sure your ads and landing pages look great on mobile!
Optimize your LinkedIn campaigns
So there you have it: seven bulletproof ways to optimize your LinkedIn ad campaigns and get the most for your budget.
- Define and regularly update your target audience
- Create great ads
- Test, test, and then test some more
- Use LinkedIn’s targeting options
- Use LinkedIn’s conversion tracking
- Use LinkedIn’s insights and analytics
- Optimize for mobile
All that’s left for you to do now is start implementing these tips and tricks on your LinkedIn campaigns and get ready for higher ROI!
How to Create an Editorial Calendar (+Free Template!)
Being a content creator can be overwhelming. Keeping up with blog posts, guides, and everything else on the agenda is hard work!
Now, imagine a system that keeps track of all the content you want to create, all the steps you have to take when creating it, and where each piece of content is at in its creation process.
Sound like a distant dream? Well, it’s not. It’s called an editorial calendar and in this post, I’m going to show you exactly how to create one, with a free template too!
If you’re looking for a way to streamline and speed up your work flow, read on.
Table of contents
What is an editorial calendar?
An editorial calendar is more than just a schedule of your content. It’s a visual tool that lets one person or an entire team to plan, create, schedule, and promote content—for the next week, month, or even year. It includes the tasks, team members, and due dates involved at every stage.
Why use an editorial calendar?
The benefits of using an editorial calendar are many, but here are a few:
- More cohesive content. When you plan out your content in advance, you can organize it into themes and create pieces that support one another each month.
- Save time. You always know exactly what content to work on next, taking writers block out of the equation. Plus, all of your tasks are prioritized and streamlined. Some editorial calendar tools even have integrations where you can publish and promote across multiple platforms at once.
- Stay on track. An editorial calendar ensures that you and every team member can progress along with the timeline of a project, and make sure no task is left undone or delayed.
- Store ideas. Combining an idea bank with your content calendar is very effective idea capturing on the go, especially if you can access your calendar on mobile.
In my experience, using an editorial calendar has made a tremendous difference in the way I work and I have never looked back. Procrastination often occurs when we don’t know what to do next, and so we delay the work at hand.
But for me at least, when I know that all I need to do is conduct the different tasks listed in my specific checklists, I am more productive and I procrastinate much less. Now, I hope it can do the same for you!
How to create an editorial calendar
Here are some foundational principles to guide you in the process.
1. Establish a loose content strategy
While an editorial calendar can help you to refine your content strategy, you do need to have an initial framework to begin with. You can use our guide to creating a content strategy for a deeper dive, but here are some basic questions to start with.
- What are your goals? Are you looking to increase organic traffic with blog posts, generate leads with gated content, produce sales enablement materials? This will help you answer the next question…
- What type(s) of content are you making? For organic traffic, you’ll need SEO blog posts. For gated content, you’ll need to produce PDF ebooks. For sales enablement, you’ll need to create one-sheets and slide decks. For brand awareness and link building, you’ll likely need to write guest posts.
- How much content do you want to publish? Based on the content type and team size, you should have some realistic goals and objectives for how much content you want to publish each week, month, and year.
2. Lay out your work flow
Once you have an idea of what content you want to produce and how much of it, you can lay out your workflow. This includes:
- Your ideation process. How do you find, store, and manage your content ideas?
- SEO optimizations. You’ll want to include keyword research and on-site and off-site tasks.
- Lay out the different stages and specific activities of your workflow, and assign any tags, color codes, or labels that are important to visualize and maintain production timelines.
3. Choose an editorial calendar software
With an understanding of your strategy, workflow, and team size, now you’ll need to find out which software is most suitable for you and/or your team. Which is what this next section will cover.
Editorial calendar tools
There are several different approaches and tools you can use to create your own editorial calendar for free.
Project management software
Project management software like Asana and Trello are often the go-to for editorial calendars. My coworkers and I use the free version of Trello and we love it! With Trello, you have a workspace and within your workspace you can create boards. Within boards are cards where you can add descriptions, checklists, labels, due dates, attachments, and more. This makes it simple to keep track of various aspects of the content creation process.
You can also invite others to work on your boards. This is great for collaboration, but not the best for large teams since it can become quite messy with too many cards and labels.
You can upgrade to the paid version for more power-ups and powerful integration features.
Keep reading to download our Trello editorial calendar template.
Spreadsheet software like Excel and Google Sheets can be used for editorial calendars if you don’t have the time to learn new software, but they are more manual and not as visual. I have made an example in a spreadsheet to demonstrate what an editorial calendar in Excel/Google docs might look like. Feel free to make your own based on this suggestion.
Regular calendars like Outlook or Google Calendar can be good choices for visualizing and scheduling tasks fast and easy—plus you’ll get built-in reminders. Furthermore, you can create checklist templates with specific tasks across the different stages of the workflow, and paste them into the calendar note field to keep track of what you have done and what’s remaining.
Nevertheless, regular calendars might not be the best if you want to keep track of status in an orderly manner and see everything in one glance. Here’s a simple overview of how a month’s worth of planned content might look like in Google Calendar, with color codes used to identify the type of content and status.
Free Trello editorial calendar template
Ok! Let me share with you my Trello editorial calendar template. It works wonders for me in building out my content marketing funnel, so I want to share it with you!
Here’s the link:
Here’s what it looks like:
And here are its three components:
- Lists: The lists are used to represent the different stages of content, from ideation to promotion.
- Checklists: The checklists are used to add tasks to cards.
- Labels: Colored labels represent statuses, for example “Pending review”.
When you decide to make content on one of your ideas, simply move the card into the “date assigned” list and set a date for it.
This Trello editorial calendar board consists of 6 lists:
- Guest post ideas: Stores all your ideas for guest content
- In-house post ideas – Stores all your ideas for own content
- Date assigned – Content ideas that you have scheduled
- In progress – Content that are in the making
- Published – Published content
- Resources – Checklist templates and other resources.
As mentioned above, each list consists of cards, which are your content ideas. You can add checklists, labels, and dates to each card.
This editorial calendar has several different checklists, each relevant to different stages of the content creation process. Alright, but what kind of checklist am I talking about here? Well, in fact, checklists for helping you along every step of the process!
- Keyword research – This is the very first checklist you conduct when creating a piece of content. Here you can choose between the free approach, or the paid approach using Ahrefs. I use both methods. I have made a post on how to do free keyword research.
- Review draft checklist: Title, content structure, call to action, images identified.
- Review checklist. Relevant when editing your first draft and getting it ready for publication. It’s basically on-site SEO stuff, optimizing for social media sharing, quality check etc.
- Publishing and initial promotion checklist. For publishing and promoting your content. It’s a list of several different channels to promote your content in.
- Follow-up promo checklist. Promotion activities one year after publication.
- Pinterest publishing checklist: Step-by-step checklist on how to make pins and schedule them for post promotion on Pinterest.
To import any of these checklists into a card:
- Go to the card in which you want to import a checklist
- Click the “Checklist” option on the card’s right-hand side.
- Choose “Copy items from…” and choose your intended checklist from the menu.
In this template, I use labels for content type as well as status. This is great for staying organized and in control of your schedule.
You can add new labels as well to customize it as you wish. Here are the labels I use for content types:
- Blog post
- Email newsletter
- Guest post
- Podcast episode
- Passive income products
Here are the labels I use for content status:
- Draft in progress
- Pending review
- Scheduled (publish date)
How to get this free editorial calendar template
Here’s how you get your copy of the board:
- If you don’t have a Trello account already, go sign up for Trello at Trello.com
- Log in to your Trello account
- Once signed up / logged in, click here
- Now you should be inside the board. Click the icon with the 3 dots on it at the top right, and choose “More”.
- Click on the “copy board” option
- Now go back to your workspace overview in Trello. You should be able to access your new editorial calendar from there!
Pro tips for this editorial calendar
Now I’ll leave you with some final tips for getting the most out of this template!
1. Customize to your liking
Note that this editorial calendar is a template, and you can edit it the way you want. The more detailed customization is added to it, the better. If it suits your needs as it is, great!
2. Get Trello for mobile
Download the Trello app on your mobile phone and use the widget to capture ideas quickly when you’re out and about. Here’s how
- First, download and install the Trello app from Appstore or Google Play
- Second, add the widget to your phone’s widget area
- Then, wait until you’re hit with a content idea. Now, quickly get your phone out and click the widget’s “Add card” button
- Choose the Trello board and the list that you want the card to be added to. This would be one of your idea lists. Like this:
- Finally, click the “Add” button, and that’s it! Your new idea has been saved to your idea list.
3. Use the calendar power-up
When the calendar power-up is activated in Trello you will see the scheduled posts in the Trello calendar making up to a month’s worth of content visible at a glance. Simply click the calendar power-up located at the top of your board.
Now you’ll see a calendar with all your cards visible at the assigned date, with its labels. I have done some demo scheduling with cards in all the different lists to show you how it looks like in the Trello calendar
In the calendar view you may click on the cards and view them directly from the calendar interface. Notice that all the status labels are also showing, which gives you a good overview of status of all the scheduled posts. The labels are explained in more detail below together with the other features of the board.
4. Use Mammoth
If you have a WordPress site and write your content in Microsoft Word or in Google Docs, you can use a plugin called Mammoth .docx converter to import a post from your writing client easily into WordPress!
5. Use Yoast
Now you can just do the tasks in this checklist and get the stuff done! The YOAST SEO plugin is very helpful when working through this list.
Start building out your editorial calendar
Using some form of an editorial calendar is a must for every content creator. I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and that it has provided you with some constructive value.
Enjoy this editorial calendar! I hope it makes a difference in your workflow efficiency. Please leave a comment if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to answer them the best I can!
About the author
René Frydson is a 33-year-old passionate digital marketer, blogger, and productivity enthusiast from a small city called Forde in Western Norway. Alongside his formal education in marketing management with a specialty in digital marketing, Renè has 6+ years of experience from his own ventures online. He has hands-on experience from his employment in the marketing department of a large energy company in Norway. Join him over at themarketingonion.com where he publishes interesting and informative content within the digital marketing and productivity space.
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