Full-funnel marketing on LinkedIn involves broad top-of-the-funnel content, niche-specific content for the middle-funnel, and persuasive bottom-of-the-funnel deal closers to capture leads at every stage.

Here, you’ll find: 

  1. What full-funnel marketing is
  2. Why LinkedIn is an ideal full-funnel marketing channel
  3. How to create LinkedIn campaigns for every stage of the funnel
  4. Ways to make your full-funnel strategy budget-friendly

Ever wish you could replace the serial browsers and window shoppers with paying customers? We hear you.

But those online window shoppers are just as important as end-of-funnel customers in your marketing strategy. As advertising spending ramps up for most brands in 2024, full-funnel marketing becomes more accessible and vital for conversions. A great platform to target every type of customer? LinkedIn. 

With the help of HawkSEM Lead Strategist Chloe Derse, we’ll share how to take advantage of full-funnel marketing on LinkedIn. We’ll also suggest budgeting tips to help you keep costs feasible while targeting every stage of the funnel. 

Hand sketching sales or revenue funnel marketing concept with white marker on transparent wipe board.

(Image: Adobe Stock)

 What is full-funnel marketing?

Full-funnel marketing involves content and campaigns that target customers at every stage of the customer journey:

  • Top-of-the-funnel (Awareness): The customer isn’t familiar with your brand yet but might peep a lighthearted social media ad or recommended LinkedIn post that sparks their interest. 
  • Middle-of-the-funnel (Consideration): The customer considers your brand and product by visiting your LinkedIn profile to learn more about your company, as well as scoping out competitors with similar products. 
  • Bottom-of-the-funnel (Decision/Purchase): The customer is familiar with your brand and trusts your authority enough to make a purchase, sign up for a demo, or other similar actions and conversions. 

We know what you’re thinking: Why bother investing in campaigns for top-of-funnel audiences? Isn’t it more effective to target conversion-ready buyers? 

According to Derse, you need a solid foundation to nurture top-of-the-funnel customers into bottom-ones: 

“Brand trust is critical, and this is something that can be built with the messaging at each stage of the funnel,” she explains. And guess which marketing channel is ideal for brand trust?

 The power of LinkedIn for full-funnel marketing

Full-funnel marketing is ideal for any biz, but it’s especially beneficial for SaaS and B2B marketing brands. This is because they have longer buyer’s journeys. 

For instance, an account manager at a Fortune 500 needs a lot of stakeholder buy-in before they can commit to a software subscription. Plus, industry tech experts within a company want to make absolutely sure your brand is reputable before investing. 

LinkedIn is a great platform to achieve precisely that. 

Gartner’s B2B Buying Journey report shows that audience sentiments around LinkedIn ads are less negative than other platforms, citing descriptors like “safety,” “least annoying,” and “less deceptive.”

Pair that with the fact that LinkedIn is the number-one social media channel for business decision-makers and B2B brands? You’ve got a gold mine for full-funnel marketing.

Derse points out that the platform also gives you the audience targeting specs to actually cater to each stage of the funnel:

“The main benefit of creating a full-funnel strategy on LinkedIn is that you can customize the ads that people are seeing based on previous actions they have taken, such as whether or not they have ever visited a brand’s website,” says Derse. 

In this case, someone who has visited your brand website would be considered a middle-funnel audience. LinkedIn helps you identify these segments, thus making it easier to target them with custom messaging. 

As for how to actually target each funnel and craft tailor-made content? Keep reading.

 How to conduct full-funnel marketing on LinkedIn

Ready to convert audiences at every stage of the sales funnel? Here’s HawkSEM’s step-by-step guide for a full-funnel marketing strategy on LinkedIn. 

Step one? Set up bulletproof audience targeting. 

1. Target audiences at each stage of the funnel

What if you shared a marketing campaign that featured competitor comparisons and limited-time offers to people who have never heard of your brand?

That’s a recipe for wasted ad spend, and a big no-no in full-funnel marketing. You risk mismatching content with the wrong audience, which diminishes your chances for higher conversion rates and engagement. 

This is why it’s vital to tailor your LinkedIn audience by each stage of the funnel. Here are a few tips for getting started:

Go broad for top-of-the-funnel audiences

Say a potential customer has never heard of you. No matter how good your PR is, chances are this is your biggest audience pool on LinkedIn. Naturally, top-of-the-funnel audiences will also be your largest target when you set up your specs on LinkedIn ads. 

“This is where you are trying to create awareness,” says Derse. “The pool of potential people that could benefit from your product is the largest.”

For example, you might target a broad audience based on different job titles related to your niche. Broad audience targeting might cast a wide net, but with a little more tweaking in the consideration stage, you’re bound to catch a few fish. 

Pro tip: Top-of-the-funnel content can be super broad. You might feel tempted to narrow down your audience to seniority, specific employers, or location on top of job titles, but that can drive costs up. At this stage, job title targets are perfectly sufficient to drive brand awareness and get qualified leads to check out your brand. 

Harness retargeting for middle-of-the-funnel audiences

Has an audience visited your website or clicked on your ad? Chances are, these were previously top-of-the-funnel audiences that moved to the middle funnel. You can adjust those criteria within LinkedIn’s targeting features. 

Retargeting to this funnel also means changing the type of content you share with them since they’re already familiar with your brand, but more on that in a bit. 

Pro tip: Mid-funnel audiences will require more of your budget to target them on LinkedIn. Instead of targeting various behavioral criteria (e.g. multiple web page visits or ad clicks), focus on one at a time. Measure success with metrics like return on ad spend (ROAS) or website traffic before adding more targets. 

Get granular with bottom-of-the-funnel audiences

If your middle-of-the-funnel audience clicked your ad or visited your home page, your bottom-of-the-funnel audience may have gone even deeper. Perhaps they visited your “Contact Us” page or landing page, and saw your lead generation form, but they weren’t convinced enough to complete it. 

Derse says this audience may be smaller but still packs a punch in conversion potential: 

“You can deliver a very tailored ad to them on LinkedIn that may help ease any lingering concerns they have before they submit the contact form,” Derse tells us. 

Pro tip: Bottom-funnel audiences are the most expensive to target. Stick with one ad campaign at a time to keep costs low at this stage. And if you don’t see results? Switch up your targeting criteria before introducing another ad campaign. 

Targeting? Check. Next, we’ll walk through how to create content that reaches audiences at the various stages of your LinkedIn sales funnel.

2. Create a content strategy for each stage of the funnel

Content and ad formats offer endless ideas for topics and visuals, but you need to tailor every choice to the funnel you’re targeting. 

Make an introduction with top-of-funnel content (awareness)

Keep top-of-funnel content lighthearted and introductory since you’re making first acquaintances with your prospects. 

Remember, your top-of-the-funnel content might be your audience’s first exposure to your brand. This isn’t the time to engage them with deep dives into your product features or company culture. This audience also isn’t ready for pushy, persuasive ads that link to your sales demo either. 

In this case, Derse says to ease your audience into your brand with introductory content to drive brand awareness:

“At the top of the funnel, people are just getting to know the brand,” says Derse. “So anything that informs them of what you do and why you do it well will start to build trust.”

The idea is to pique interest without overwhelming them with information. Grammarly does a good job introducing their product with this ad: 

Other ideas for top-of-the-funnel content include:

    • Blog posts: Publish informative topics that help solve their needs and pain points. How-to posts lend well to top-of-funnel content because the article contains relevant information that your target audiences type into Google Search.
    • Infographics: Share insider statistics and findings. For example, you could share a list of industry trends if you’re in the retail or housing markets.
    • Webinars: Create educational videos where you teach your audience helpful tips and provide valuable insights that help them solve a problem. 
    • Video ads: No matter where your audience spends time online, they’re going to see videos. Capture their attention with catchy, high-quality video ads that profess them through your funnel.

Dive deeper into your industry with middle-of-funnel content (consideration)

Now that your audience has had an introductory taste of your brand, you can tease their interest further with your industry knowledge via middle-of-funnel content. One great way to do that? 

“Messaging that includes educational e-books, guides, or other downloads will be most helpful,” says Derse. 

McKinsey & Co. shares exclusive access to a helpful guide in this sponsored LinkedIn post:

full funnel marketing linkedin ad example

Another great mid-funnel-content strategy? 

Retargeting content for mid-funnel audiences 

Retargeting content appeals to audiences who have already seen a few of your ads. Here, you want to elevate the ad copy and visuals, and add personalized elements to not only remind this audience that they’ve heard of your brand, but invite them to learn more about you. 

“You can tailor the messaging to people that you know are familiar with the brand and have previously visited the brand’s website,” Derse shares.

LinkedIn offers targeting to capture audiences that have visited certain websites or seen your ad, but you can also use this strategy on other social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook:

For example, consider an audience that’s already seen an ecommerce brand’s top-funnel ad about their focus on sustainable clothing on Instagram. Retargeted content might look like a new carousel ad campaign with different products and sustainability highlights, with an invitation to those specific product pages.  

After a bit more time in the middle funnel? Your audience is primed for more convincing content.

Seal the deal with bottom-of-the-funnel content (decision/purchase)

Ready to ramp up your horsepower? This is your moment to put your most persuasive foot forward with bottom-of-the-funnel content.

“Messaging that includes demos, competitor comparison charts, customer stories, case studies, and testimonials will be most helpful here for building trust,” Derse says. 

You want to stand out from competitors because this audience is inches away from converting. An enticing testimonial or case study might just be the social proof you need to get your audience to choose you over your rivals. 

For example, you can share your stand-out features compared to competitors or other plans like Shopify does: 

full funnel marketing linkedin carousel ad

We love this carousel ad because it gives Shopify multiple opportunities to speak to their audience’s pain points. 

Another example? Intuit Quickbooks stands out from the competition with this campaign that highlights relatable customer stories: 

And if you want to double down on visibility? Don’t forget to sprinkle in some search engine optimization (SEO) to satisfy Google.

3. Make sure SEO puts you on Google’s radar

Imagine a potential customer sees your ad on LinkedIn. Once intrigued, they follow up with a Google search of your company, but find nada. Your brand isn’t ranking at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). Now what?

That’s precisely why SEO is vital in your marketing efforts, even on LinkedIn. 

Derse elaborates:

“Brands’ websites have to be discoverable in order for other channels like LinkedIn to be effective,” she says. 

If not, your entire full-funnel marketing strategy on LinkedIn could fall flat. Here are a few ideas to get an SEO strategy going on a budget: 

  • Use free keyword research tools: Moz and Semrush are a couple of our favorite SEO platforms, but they also offer free tools within their software suite. Use them to get a headstart on keyword research and identify keywords to optimize your blog and web content. 
  • Research Google’s algorithm updates: You can access the latest updates to Google’s ranking factors with a close eye on the search engine giant’s news releases and industry mentions. Conduct your own research to avoid hefty consulting fees while in beginner business stages or when you’re simply on a budget. 
  • Start a realistic, consistent content calendar: You might not have the bandwidth for a daily blog post and social media story, but you can get into Google’s good books with consistency, even if you start small. Prioritize a weekly blog post to start ranking for your audience’s search queries.   

Of course, an SEO content calendar with updated keyword research and algorithm awareness isn’t easy to maintain. HawkSEM’s industry-leading SEO services can lighten the load and optimize your strategy.

4. Complement LinkedIn with paid search and other social media platforms

Earlier we touched on the power of retargeting for middle- and bottom-of-the-funnel audiences. Why not increase those chances even more with reinforcement from other platforms?

Derse says additional marketing channels (especially paid search) are a great way to boost your full-funnel LinkedIn strategy:

“Paid search compliments LinkedIn well because you can pass along audience insights from LinkedIn that can be used for paid search targeting,” shares Derse. 

Take those insights and use them to find similar audiences across Google’s more populated channel. 

You can also join forces with each platform’s keyword strategy, as search terms from paid search can also be incorporated into LinkedIn messaging.

But doesn’t all this get expensive? Our PPC strategists have managed enough campaigns to know how to stick to your budget while soaring your revenue.

And remember: you don’t need to focus solely on PPC campaigns to reinforce your LinkedIn strategy. No matter the stage in the customer journey, you have various platforms you can harness to reach your audience.

Instagram and Facebook are budget-friendly channels 

LinkedIn Ads will cost you over $5 per click, but Facebook ads cost a fraction of the price at under $1 per click. Plus, you might have a wider audience on Instagram and Facebook than LinkedIn if any of this rings true for your brand: 

  • You sell ecommerce products
  • You’re a clothing retailer
  • You have a younger audience
  • Your industry isn’t overly technical

On top of that? You can keep organic social media marketing in-house and budget-friendly with regular posts and stories about your products. Organic posts are lighter on the budget since you aren’t paying the platform per click. 

And finally?

 5. Keep an eye on your budget

LinkedIn is one of the more expensive PPC platforms out there. This makes it easy to blow through your marketing dollars with high cost per clicks (CPCs) and multiple funnel campaigns. But Derse offers a few insights to keep your costs low, even with a full-funnel strategy: 

“One campaign for each stage of the funnel is typically all you need for a lower budget scenario,” says Derse. 

While you could add more campaigns if you feel necessary, sticking to one per funnel stage helps you avoid your budget being spread too thin.

Derse also suggests that smaller, more customized audience sizes tend to be costlier in terms of CPC. So you might consider starting with a larger audience size to keep costs low on LinkedIn. 

 The takeaway

Full-funnel marketing captures the human element of marketing. After all, human beings aren’t automatic credit cards that buy on demand. Your audience needs nurturing, and a full-funnel marketing strategy on LinkedIn is a great way to build the trust and engagement they demand before they buy from you. 

But how do you stay on top of fluid audience research, algorithm updates, and endless content and ad formats for each funnel stage? That’s where support from a top-3% digital marketing agency comes in. 

HawkSEM generates an average of 4.5X ROI for our clients. This comes from decades of experience producing high-quality paid search, LinkedIn campaigns, and content marketing strategies across every platform. 

Plus, we’re backed by ConversionIQ, our seamless marketing tech that links ad, channel, and audience details directly with metrics and performance across every branch of your strategy. 

Ready to reach your full ROI potential with full-funnel LinkedIn marketing? 

We’ve got the juice to make it happen. Let’s create a LinkedIn strategy that brings you leads, conversions, and epic sales. 

Contact HawkSEM for Free Consultation