I met with a founder of a startup that recently got several PR mentioning in a few tier 2 tech blogs.
He got great coverage, positive feedback, respect among colleges, but only a couple of inexperienced investors showed interest.
The usual advice, the straight-forward advice for a case like that would be to use content discovery platforms such as Outbrain or Taboola and run a media campaign to increase the traffic to the PR piece.
The problem with this method is that it can only benefit startups who are already engaged with a user acquisition performance process.
It means that your product needs to have a lot of marketing funnels stuff in place. For example, a retargeting pixel, Google Analytics user events, sign up landing page A/B test, etc.
So if you’re not there yet, the only beneficiary from this media buying would be the publication that will get free traffic and will monetize it with ads.
What I advice to pre-seed startups that get some nice PR is to run Linkedin ads against people who work in VCs.
If you ever hear that Linkedin advertising is super expensive, don’t listen to that because “expensive” is a relative term, and it has nothing to do with what I’m going to show you.
Yes, Linkedin’s ad spaces are expensive if you run an acquisition campaign and spend thousands of dollars per week.
But the upside of Linkedin’s advertising platform is that it allows you to target people by their workplace more accurately than any other ad platform.
If you map all the venture capital firms in your area/industry or just VCs that you’re trying to reach, you’d be able to run a campaign to the people who work there or own it.
And what should be on those ads?
Exactly, the press coverage you’ve received.
It can be a written article or a video interview. By targeting precisely VCs on the Linkedin ads platform, you’ll be sure that you’ll pay only for the relevant people to see your ads.
It doesn’t matter how much budget you have to spend on ads. Fifty bucks or a thousand. Each penny will exclusively serve your objective and nothing else.
How to accurately target VCs with Linkedin ads
1. Sign up for the 30 days trial of the Linkedin Sales Navigator (free for the first 30 days).
2. Install the Instant Data Scraper Chrome extension on your laptop.
3. Go back to Linkedin and open the Sales Navigator tool.
4. In the Sales Navigator go to advanced search and choose “accounts”.
5. Insert the next search criteria:
industry: Venture Capital & Private
Company headcount: 1-10, 11-50, 51-200
6. Open the Instant Data Scraper.
7. On the Data Scraper click the “Locate ‘Next’ button,” and locate it on the “next” button of the search results page on the Sales nav.
8. When the scraper is done, download the CSV.
9. Go to your Linkedin ads account and open:
Account Assets > Matched Audience > Upload list audiences
10. Click on “Upload a list.”
11. Download the “account template.”
12. Open the account template you’ve just downloaded and copy to column A (companyname) all the VCs from column C (name-link) on the Instant Data Scraper CSV.
13. Go back to the Linkedin Ads “Matched Audiences” page and upload the CSV.
14. Now it can take 24-72 hours for the Linkedin to process the list.
Alternative method to target VCs with Linkedin ads:
Instead of uploading the Matched Audience list, or in case your list is too small, or if Linkedin didn’t process the list properly, you could manually target all the VCs from column C of the Instant Data Scraper CSV file.
It takes some time with the copy & paste, but all the VCs names in the CSV are a 100% match on Linkedin’s campaign targeting.
To do that:
1. Set up a Linkedin ads campaigns
2. When you get to the “audience” setup, just copy & paste the VCs from column C to the “What companies do you want to target” section.
That’s it for now,