Targeting 101

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So you’ve successfully identified what types of clients you want to be targeting on LinkedIn. Now it’s time to actually go out and start building a list of them on LinkedIn. Linkedin gives you a ton of options to help you find exactly the types of prospects you’re looking for, but it’s not always so easy to figure out exactly how to use each one, to get your desired result.

For any campaign there are a few main things to keep in mind:

Less is more - A more targeted list of less prospects is going to beat a large list of less targeted people every time. We generally don’t recommend reaching out to lists of over 5,000 people. If the group you’re going after has over 5k contacts available, think of how you can narrow things down even further and adjust your messaging to better speak to these people directly.

Revenue - There is no revenue filter on LinkedIn. It sucks, but it’s the way things are. We get around this by using the company headcount filter to search for companies with a specific revenue. More on that in the “Company Headcount” section below.

LinkedIn doesn’t verify this data  - Anyone with a LinkedIn account or access to their company’s page can edit and update any of the info we are about to use as criteria here. For the most part, things are accurate - more accurate than some old, never updated B2B database some marketers may try to use. But at the same time, there’s nothing stopping someone from setting their company headcount at over 100, when they are really a one-man operation.

Active in the last 30 days - This isn’t part of the criteria itself, but it’s an option you can select after setting your criteria. The 30 days doesn’t mean they have signed in during the last 30 days, but that they have posted something on LinkedIn or taken a similar action. This option won’t last forever as you get deep into your campaigns, but it’s a good low hanging fruit option when you start out, since it’s likely these are the people who take the LinkedIn platform most seriously.

With those 4 things in mind, let’s break down each section of the filters, using our own example of targeting B2B marketing agencies.

Top Filters

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Keywords - Depending on how many people show up in your initial search, you may or may not need to use this filter. We generally don’t start with this one for clients, preferring to use it if our other filters still produce too many leads. For our own purposes though, simply choosing marketing and advertising as an industry doesn’t only bring us agencies, so we use the keyword filter to ensure these marketing companies are actually B2B agencies.

Include/Exclude - We always use this filter. At minimum you’ll want to exclude contacted leads, so you aren’t contacting the same person more than once. Excluding saved leads also accomplishes this same purpose.

Geography - Pretty simple - allows you to target people from certain regions. We generally start with a nationwide focus, unless our clients have specifically asked us to focus on a certain region of the country. This filter is also a great one to use if you’ve set all your other filters to have laser targeted your perfect client, but there’s still more than 5,000 available. You can easily segment them by state for better targeting.

Relationship - This will be the same for every campaign. It will always be set to 2nd Degree Connections. LinkedIn frowns upon members who do lots of outreach to 3rd Degree Connections. With 1st Degree Connections, there’s no need to use this method to get in touch with them. As such, you should only be doing outreach to 2nd Degree connections. The good news is the longer you run your campaigns and make 1st Degree Connections, the more 2nd Degree Connections you'll have as a result.

Industry - Also fairly straightforward. We generally recommend focusing on one industry per search, to keep things as targeted as possible. In some cases, the industry options provided by LinkedIn will be too broad, in which case you’ll want to use the keywords section to filter things down further.

School - We don’t usually use this filter. For the most part, it’s not really so useful in most B2B outreach campaigns. Exceptions would be if the prospect attending a certain school is relevant to their criteria of what makes a good prospect. Another example is if you want to mention the school they went to in your messaging - but this sort of personalization really only works if you went there too or have another compelling reason to bring it up.

Profile Language - We normally set this to English or leave it blank. If you have a need to use this filter, you’ll know it based on the language your ideal client type is likely to speak.

First Name and Last Name - Combining these into one section, since you won’t really use them. This filter is useful if you’re looking for a specific person or person(s). The aim of our campaigns is to not be doing one-off things. If you have the need to reach out to a specific person, just reach out to them. There’s no need for these filters in our automated campaigns.

Role and Tenure Filters

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Seniority Level - For most campaigns, you’ll want to be going high up here - the highest you can go and still have it be reasonable for that person to be a decision maker. Most people think they want to be talking with the CEO, but in a company with 1,000+ employees, the CEO is unlikely to be the one making the buying decisions. We like to target CEO/Owner/Founder in companies below 50 employees, and start targeting managers and similar above that level.

Years in Current Position - You can often leave this blank if this doesn’t matter to you. For some campaigns, you might want want someone brand new in their role. For others, you’ll want people who have been doing it forever. This part is very campaign specific, but should be fairly straightforward which one is appropriate.

Years at Current Company - Same as above. Might matter to your campaign, might not. Can be left blank if not needed.

Function - Different than the title, this breaks down things into the actual role each person’s title is a part of. We normally focus on people in business development and sales. Sometimes marketing can work also, though we’ve noticed people in marketing tend to be wary of outside marketing people - an outside marketer who does a good job can potentially put their job at risk.

Title - Depending on how many search results we have, we may or may not leave this blank. Different companies hand out titles to their employees in different ways - so it’s often enough to target just the seniority and function to get the people we are after. If your search results are still too high though, set this filter to narrow down even more.

Years of Experience - We almost always leave this field blank, though you could certainly play around with it if you have the right use case.

Company Filters

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Company - Unless you’re running a campaign to a huge company and only targeting people from within that company, you’ll want to leave this one blank.

Company Headcount - As mentioned above, this is the section where you’re going to set your “revenue filters”. LinkedIn offers the following employee headcount ranges: 1-10, 11-50, 51-200, 201-500, 501-1000, 1001-5000 and finally 5001-10000. Our main algorithm for determining a company’s revenue is to apply an annual salary of $75,000 per employee. This accounts for management getting paid above $75k and lower level employees being paid below that, as well as some margin left over for profit. It is NOT a perfect system though - certain industries have higher or lower salaries on average and need to have the $75k figure adjusted. We recommend starting with $75k and adjusting up or down based on your findings.

Company Type - We often leave this part blank. As LinkedIn’s information is sourced by the owner of the individual accounts, this one often gets skipped. It’s best used if you’re going after huge companies (public) or if you’re specifically targeting non-profits or government agencies.

Past Company - Skip this one entirely, we've never used it in our campaigns.

Other Filters


Became a Member - We generally never use this filter. It’s also pretty restrictive, only giving you a drop-down set of options, with the farthest back date they joined LinkedIn only being 3 months ago.

Groups - If you know your best prospects hang out in certain groups on LinkedIn, this is a great way to target them. In fact, depending on the group, you could even get away with a campaign where this is the one and only filter you set.

Tags - Not really useful except for tags you’ve already applied to people in Sales Navigator. Since we are excluding saved leads, this isn’t relevant.

Posted Content Keywords - This one can be highly useful in the right situations, to target people who have recently posted on LinkedIn about a topic that’s related to the solution your business helps solve.

Feeling Stuck? Targeting is the most important element of a successful campaign.

Do you need some help getting your campaigns set up or just want us to run them for you entirely? Set up a free 30 minute consultation and let’s discuss what your best options are.