How First Finance Institute is Scoring High by Using LinkedIn to Engage Prospective Learners

September 4, 2019

FFI finds advertising success on LinkedIn

First Finance Institute (FFI) came online in 2014 to offer busy professionals around the world an anywhere, anytime opportunity to upskill themselves and earn a career-boosting finance certificate from the likes of Columbia Business School, The Wharton School, UNC Kenan-Flagler and HEC Paris. As more people embrace lifelong learning, interest runs high, but the challenge for FFI is converting this general interest into actual enrollment.

Che Mok, Chief Marketing Officer who leads FFI’s digital marketing efforts for programs delivered by US business schools, relies heavily on LinkedIn to drive enrollment. "LinkedIn is a perfect match for us on several levels,” he said. “Demographically, its members are the career-oriented professionals that make up a significant portion of our target audience. But perhaps more important is the opportunity to market to the right mindset. We find that LinkedIn members tend to be ambitious and motivated. They use the platform to achieve their goals, whether through knowledge or opportunities, and that makes LinkedIn prime ground for us to demonstrate how our Executive Online Certificates can add value to their lives.”

For this reason, and by leveraging LinkedIn’s precise targeting capabilities, FFI has achieved sales and marketing success in the form of an impressive 10-15% conversion rate on its landing page. While this cannot be solely attributed to LinkedIn, Che Mok agrees that the platform has strongly impacted every stage of its marketing funnel.

Objectives

  • To fast-track the entire marketing funnel from awareness to consideration and conversion
  • To build and engage a community of lifelong learners in order to increase the lifetime value of each student

Why LinkedIn?

  • Access to the world’s largest professional network with more than 610 million users in 200 countries
  • Opportunity to market to an ambitious, intent-driven professional audience
  • Precise targeting capabilities
  • Variety of marketing solutions to engage prospective learners at different stages of the buyer journey

Solutions

  • LinkedIn Sponsored Content
  • LinkedIn Video Ads
  • LinkedIn Text Ads
  • LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms

Results

  • 10-15% conversion rate, with contribution from LinkedIn
  • 46% lower cost per lead from LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, compared to other channels
  • 40% lower cost per lead from LinkedIn Text Ads, compared to other channels

From Engagement to Enrollment

“We use a wide range of LinkedIn marketing solutions and each plays a specific role. For example, to create awareness in the minds of our target audience, we would use Text Ads and Sponsored Content to drive the audience to our landing page. To generate leads, we typically combine Video Ads or Sponsored Content with Lead Gen Forms. To nurture and drive consideration, we retarget audiences by serving them with relevant content,” he explained.

According to Che Mok, LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms play a central role in FFI’s digital marketing strategy. The ability to directly generate leads from the LinkedIn newsfeed and seamlessly integrate this with its own CRM system and marketing automation program is a boon, especially for marketers managing a longer sale process. Adding to this is the fact that FFI enjoys, on average, a 46% lower cost per qualified lead from LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms compared to other sales channels.

“We typically see the highest conversion rates from retargeting, so it’s great that LinkedIn syncs with our CRM system to automatically populate our lead database. This allows us to combine our own target email list with LinkedIn leads to easily and effectively retarget our audiences,” he said.

FFI’s disciplined approach to digital marketing, which includes ongoing performance tracking, testing and optimization, has enabled it to enjoy positive return on investment on LinkedIn.

Elaborating, Che Mok said, “In terms of results, I must add that Text Ads have been producing unexpectedly good conversion rates for us. We didn’t expect Text Ads to do much more than create awareness, so it was a pleasant surprise to earn enrolments at a relatively low cost per lead and cost per sale. In fact, our average cost per lead from Text Ads is 40% lower than other channels.”

He added: “LinkedIn enables us to make data-driven marketing decisions. It ensures that we
target the right message to the right people in a cost-effective manner, and that’s really the only way we can pull ahead of the competition in a saturated sector like education. I’m happy to share that our efforts on LinkedIn have contributed strongly to the 10-15% conversion rate that we are currently enjoying.”

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