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5 Quick & Easy Ways to Get More Referral Traffic (+Examples)

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5 Quick Tips to Increase Referral Traffic

Search engines (mostly Google) are still the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to generating clicks to your website. But ignoring referral traffic from other sources like directories, social media, and other websites would be a huge mistake.

This is especially true as younger audiences increasingly search for businesses on social media and as referral traffic increased from 3% to over 10% of total traffic for the average website in 2022.

referral traffic growth year over year

In this guide, you’ll learn the most popular sources of referral traffic, how it helps your business grow, and what you can do to get more clicks from places outside of search engines.

Table of contents

What is referral traffic?

Referral traffic refers to traffic coming from a link on a site that’s not your own. If you clicked the link we added to the introduction of this guide, the website you landed on would count your visit as referral traffic.

By comparison, the other common website traffic sources are search and direct traffic. Search traffic comes from visitors clicking on search engine results. Direct traffic is from visitors that go directly to your website, like if they type your URL into their browser.

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Examples of referral traffic sources can include:

  • Social media apps like Facebook or X (formerly known as Twitter)
  • Online directories like Yelp or Angi
  • Just about any non-search engine website like a blog post

👋 Need to get more website visitors? These 25 ways to increase traffic to your website will help you attract interested buyers in droves!

Why is referral traffic beneficial?

If you want to grow your business, attracting more referral traffic is an important step. Here are three reasons why.

Generate more potential leads

At the most basic level, increasing referral traffic means increasing the number of potential customers who visit your website.

But it’s not just more people coming in through your virtual door. It’s people that found you by actively clicking a link that interested them. So if the backlink they clicked is relevant to your website, those visitors have a high intent to learn about, and maybe purchase, what you sell.

Get more traffic from search engines

Backlinks from high-quality websites are a signal to search engines that your website is trustworthy.

Referral traffic - Graphic showing main SEO ranking factorsReferral traffic - Graphic showing main SEO ranking factors

Backlinks are still an influential search engine ranking factor, as shown in this graph from FirstPageSage.

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As your backlink profile and referral traffic grow, you’ll land on more search engine results pages and generate more traffic from them.

Reduce your reliance on Google

Google is a fantastic source of traffic. But relying too much on a single source is dangerous—especially as Google’s constant updates can greatly affect your traffic overnight.

Referral traffic - Headline from search engine journal about Google volitilityReferral traffic - Headline from search engine journal about Google volitility

Headlines like this one from Search Engine Journal show why it’s important to diversify your website traffic sources.

As you diversify your sources of referral traffic, you gain more control over the success of your site. If one source, like search, takes a hit, you can buffer the dip with more traffic from another source like directories.

5 ways to get more referral traffic

So generating more referral traffic is important. But how do we go about getting more of it? Let’s dive in.

1. Get listed in online directories

Online directories are like the phonebooks of the digital age. People look to websites like Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, and Angi (formerly Angi’s List) to find the services and business they need.

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Referral traffic - screenshot from YelpReferral traffic - screenshot from Yelp

Yelp is one of the most popular business directories, but there are dozens of others that will help increase your online footprint.

Ideally, you want exposure on as many directories as possible. But you also want to make sure that your information is current, so no one gets frustrated trying to reach you. You can even optimize your listings with things like images, service descriptions, and reviews.

🚨 Not sure if your directory listings are up to par? Use our free Listings Grader to instantly check your listing information across 20+ top online directories.

2. Submit guest posts

Guest posts are a great way to build up referral traffic. The idea is to reach out to websites that want content, and offer to write a blog post in exchange for the backlinks they provide.

It’s best to focus your guest posting efforts on sites that are related to your business, which means your content will be in front of a relevant audience providing top-notch referral traffic. If you can set up a regular guest posting schedule, all the better, because that allows you to keep your referral traffic from those sources steady over time and increase traffic to your website.

3. Write press releases

Press releases are a quick and easy way to get a wave of fresh traffic from referring URLs. It’s a great idea to do a press release for an event you’ll be hosting or to announce milestones like executive changes, earnings releases, acquisitions, and product launches.

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Referral traffic - Press release from a breweryReferral traffic - Press release from a brewery

A press release is great for promoting new products or events while generating valuable referral traffic from the publications that pick it up.

But to be honest, if you are paying for a press release, you can write about pretty much anything and pretend it’s newsworthy. Some businesses even send out press releases whenever they get a new client.

4. Get active on social media

Social media sites are also natural contenders for bringing in referral traffic. Plus, there are several options to fit your brand and audience.

Facebook, for example, is fantastic for an older audience and organizing events. TikTok caters to a younger crowd and lets you show off your video flair. And of course, there’s LinkedIn, if your target customer is of a professional mindset.

No matter which social media platforms you choose, make sure your posts have a clear call to action that leads people to your website. That’s how you drive referral traffic from social media apps.

Referral traffic - Instagram post from Accessible Community Referral traffic - Instagram post from Accessible Community

Depending on the platform, you can add CTA links, buttons, or text in the caption.

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5. Create link-worthy content

If you want to catch backlinks and increase the traffic you get from other websites, you need the right bait. In this case, we’re talking about content that other websites want to link to.

Here are a few types of content that writers and marketers love to link to:

  • Original data: Statistics from a survey or data your app captures
  • Infographics: A roundup of statistics or a visual presentation of a process
  • Opinionated blog posts: A fresh take on a common question in your industry

Once you’ve created your backlink magnet, share it with publications and thought leaders in your industry so they can link back to your site.

Referral traffic the easy way

Referral traffic is an important source of new potential customers. As search engines get more finicky, and more people search social media platforms, referrals will be an even bigger factor in your success online.

As you think about how to get more website visitors from more places, remember these five quick and easy ways to get more referral traffic:

  1. Get listed in online directories
  2. Submit guest posts
  3. Write press releases
  4. Get active on social media
  5. Create link-worthy content

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18 AI Tools for Your Marketing Agency to Try in 2024

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18 AI Tools for Your Marketing Agency to Try in 2024

Efficiency is the key to running a profitable marketing agency. AI tools for marketing agencies help increase efficiency while maintaining—or increasing—the quantity and quality of work your team produces.

Those are all great outcomes. But with new AI tools sprouting like weeds, where do you start?

Here, you’ll find a brief overview of what AI tools can do for your marketing agency and a list of 18 AI tools to try. We’ve grouped the list by use case, so you can start with the ones that’ll have the greatest impact.

Table of contents

❓ Want to know what 300 agencies think about pricing, services, and challenges? Download our free State of the Digital Marketing Agency report.

What are the benefits of an AI tool for your marketing agency?

Every marketing agency can use AI to its advantage. Here are a few ways it can help yours.

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Brainstorm ideas

AI writing tools and search engines can spark new ideas for your marketing content and campaigns.

Prompt an AI tool with questions like, “What are 20 B2B pain points companies face in the [input] industry?”. Or try, “Give me 50 campaign ideas to attract new customers in the [input] industry.”

While you have to verify accuracy and weigh different ideas, it’s a great starting point to get in a creative flow.

AI tools for marketing agency: Screenshot of a prompt and response from ChatGPT.

In this example, I type a question into ChatGPT, and it gives me 20 blog topic ideas to help brainstorm future articles.

Automate repetitive tasks

AI marketing agency tools help reduce predictable tasks. Whether hitting publish or transferring an inbound marketing piece to WordPress, you can save hours with efficient automation.

You can save precious hours you would have spent doing grunt work and instead use them to strengthen your marketing strategy and produce more materials.

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Reach new markets

AI platforms can identify audience segments you hadn’t thought of before. You can also reach more markets by automating your process and easily repurposing different content mediums for new platforms.

Many opportunities exist to reach new markets with impressive research and content creation tools.

Reduce avoidable human error

Using the power of machine learning and AI, marketing AI tools can identify and correct errors before your clients see them.

A tool like Grammarly, for example, can correct grammar and spelling errors and improve phrasing automatically. AI is a great option that helps the marketing team be more productive while avoiding common issues.

Save on costs

Whether you need to save on production value with videos or crank out first drafts of social media content, there are plenty of areas where you can save time, labor, and money on daily marketing tasks.

That gives you and your team more time and energy to focus on the most essential, important tasks.

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Now that we know the benefits of AI marketing agency tools, let’s review some of the best ones.

💡 Want more? Get your free guide to AI in marketing and see how you should and shouldn’t use this revolutionary technology.

Top AI tools for your marketing agency

Most AI marketing tools are built for a specific purpose, like writing new copy or automating a workflow. That’s how we’ve categorized this list, based on the primary challenge each tool tackles.

AI tools for content creation

AI copywriting tools have received the most spotlight in recent years. That’s helped fuel the creation of innovative generative AI tools with a growing list of useful features.

Since content isn’t all copy, we’ve included platforms that help you create and edit video and image assets, too.

1. ChatGPT

ChatGPT-3.5 and ChatGPT-4 (Open AI continues to create new versions) have led the AI writing craze by offering one of the most accessible copywriting tools.

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AI tools for marketing agency - ChatGPT homescreen. AI tools for marketing agency - ChatGPT homescreen.

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The platform is excellent for brainstorming. If you’re working on an email newsletter, social media campaign, or blog article, you can ask for ideas, outlines, lists, and many other starter materials to help you save time.

Some marketing agencies use it for content development, though there are risks in trusting its accuracy. Plus, the output often feels “AI-written.” But it’s a great trusty sidekick to get projects started and boost your marketing efforts.

Pricing: ChatGPT-3.5 is free to use, ChatGPT-4 starts at $20 per month.

2. Jasper

Jasper is another great AI writing solution built for teams and creative workflows.

AI tools for marketing agency - Jasper homescreen.AI tools for marketing agency - Jasper homescreen.

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You can efficiently work with the platform for quick project creation and execution. The tool offers prompts and automates the “human” part of AI writing by incorporating your brand voice.

The tool also helps you write more factually (compared to ChatGPT) and on-brand.

Pricing: Plans start at $59 a month (billed annually).

3. Copy.ai

An alternative to Jasper, Copy.ai helps marketing teams automate blog briefs, create copy (like scraping URLs for AI ad copy), and accelerate other writing tasks.

AI tools for marketing agency - Copy.ai homescreen.AI tools for marketing agency - Copy.ai homescreen.

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Copy.ai has many prompts and tools to help guide your writing queries for better results.

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Pricing: Copy.ai is free to use with limited words. Upgrade to unlimited words for $36 monthly (annual plan).

4. Typeframes

This clever AI tool creates videos in just a few minutes. If you want to advertise a new product or create buzz for an event, Typeframes is the platform for you.

AI tools for marketing agency - Typeframes homescreen.AI tools for marketing agency - Typeframes homescreen.

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Easily type a few words, and the tool automatically makes a video. You can add music, animations, images, and other effects. It’s a great way to ship new ideas and campaigns with a fraction of the time and money you’ve spent in the past.

Pricing: Typeframes starts at $24 monthly (on the annual plan).

5. Midjourney

Midjourney is designed to make image creation easy.

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AI tools for marketing agency - Midjourney homescreen.AI tools for marketing agency - Midjourney homescreen.

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Using Midjourney, marketing agencies can make stunning, cinematic-style artwork that looks detailed and eye-catching. You can generate any style image in seconds. Whether it’s a realistic photo of customers enjoying your client’s offering with emotional benefits, a painting, or cartoon-style artwork, Midjourney will spin it up with a couple of prompts.

Midjourney can help save on specific stock photo needs or even give your design team a head start on a campaign.

Pricing: The platform starts at $8 monthly (billed annually).

6. Grammarly

Grammarly is an editing tool that spots and corrects your grammar and spelling errors. And its AI additions help you create content, too.

AI tools for marketing agency - Grammarly home screen. AI tools for marketing agency - Grammarly home screen.

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Use Grammarly to find awkward phrasings and passive sentences. It’ll also help you reword copy for a better read. The addition of generative AI gives Grammarly the power to suggest new ways to write existing text or help you start writing something completely new.

The platform is a must, and it will save you lots of time (and embarrassing moments like that one time you spelled “expresso” instead of “espresso”).

Pricing: Grammarly is free to use (with upgraded plans available).

AI tools for social media management

Social media is one of the fastest-moving components of marketing. Your clients need you to publish often, engage with their followers, and listen for trends and consumer needs. It’s not an easy job, so AI tools are pivotal to helping automatize and strengthen your agency’s strategy.

These tools automate repetitive social media marketing tasks so you can achieve greater returns for your clients.

7. FeedHive

FeedHive started as a scheduling and publication tool, but has since invested in powerful AI features to make social media content creation better and easier.

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AI tools for marketing agency -FeeHive home screen. AI tools for marketing agency -FeeHive home screen.

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Now the platform helps you create new posts and get them published faster.

FeedHive’s AI collects analytics so you can get more information on your results. The platform also provides an AI chat assistant built on GPT technology. It helps with social media performance predictions and suggestions (like suggesting the best time to post).

Pricing: FeedHive offers an agency plan for multiple clients at $239 a month (billed annually).

8. Hootsuite OwlyWriter AI

Hootsuite is an early entrant in the social media management space, and it’s recently evolved to add AI capabilities.

AI tools for marketing agency - OwlyWriter AI home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - OwlyWriter AI home screen.

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For example, Hootsuite’s OwlyWriter AI is designed to quickly create captions and generate post ideas for all your accounts and segments. It’s a great way to utilize Hootsuite’s winning social media technology with a built-in writer—all in one place.

Pricing: OwlyWriter AI is free for a limited time to Hootsuite users.

9. Lately.ai

Lately.ai creates social media posts from your existing content.

AI tools for marketing agency - Lately.ai home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - Lately.ai home screen.

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It’s hard to develop great social media content consistently. But what if I were to say you and your clients already have hundreds of social media posts hiding in the middle of all the other content you’ve created?

Lately.ai pulls all that dormant content from existing web pages, articles, documents, and ebooks. Then it uses AI to turn long-form assets into social media copy so you can publish more relevant and valuable posts with less effort.

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Pricing: Lately.ai offers plans based on your number of social channels, with its first package starting at $49 monthly.

AI tools for automation

One of the best use cases for AI is streamlining operational tasks. Below are a few great platforms to improve key parts of your process.

10. Wordable

Transferring content from Google Docs to a CMS like WordPress can take thousands of hours and dollars. Between formatting posts and optimizing them for SEO, publishing content is a huge time sink. Wordable does it in one click.

AI tools for marketing agency - Wordable home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - Wordable home screen.

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The platform takes your Google Docs to WordPress, HubSpot, and Medium. It retains your format, headers, and HTML elements. The app saves you time, so you can focus on publishing more content.

Pricing: Wordable offers a limited plan for free. The paid plan is $50 a month.

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11. Zapier

Zapier is a no-code solution that automates almost any repetitive task.

AI tools for marketing agency - Zapier home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - Zapier home screen.

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It works by connecting different platforms with APIs so they work together. If you start a new Word doc for each client project, then create an event in Asana, and generate a bill in an accounting tool, Zapier will link those platforms so it all happens as soon as you create the Word doc.

It’s a great platform for building your own AI solution as you face many predictable actions in your marketing agency.

Pricing: Zapier has a limited free plan with the option to upgrade, starting at $19.99 monthly (billed annually).

12. Taskade AI

If you need a great marketing project management tool, this might be for you. Taskade AI generates task lists and mind maps. It also helps you set up agendas and workflows—all with AI.

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AI tools for marketing agency - Taskade home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - Taskade home screen.

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You can collaborate in your workplace and even utilize in-app AI assistance. It’s project management and strategy empowered by AI technology.

Pricing: The platform starts at $19 monthly (billed annually).

AI tools for chatbots

If you’re looking for a way to connect with clients on your agency website or onboard them for your app or portal, these AI solutions will help.

13. Drift

The Drift app is great for communicating with your clients and prospects 24/7. The B2B chatbot uses Drift technology called Conversational AI, which automates conversations.

AI tools for marketing agency - Drift home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - Drift home screen.

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The platform is designed to improve your sales pipeline to get more clients. The one downside is that it can be costly, but if it benefits your clients directly (or your agency), the revenue it generates might be worth it.

Pricing: Drift starts at $2,500 monthly.

14. HelpHub by CommandBar

HelpHub is another AI chat solution that learns from your resources, marketing website, content, and more to answer visitor queries on your agency website.

AI tools for marketing agency - HelpHub home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - HelpHub home screen.

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You can equip your clients and prospects with 24/7 assistance powered by AI technology and trained by your documentation.

Pricing: The starter plan is $249 monthly.

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15. Perplexity

The Perplexity AI search platform is handy for content marketing research. You can get it as a browser extension and ask questions as you work on a piece.

AI tools for marketing agency - perplexity home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - perplexity home screen.

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The bot answers you with multiple citations so you can verify the information, dig deeper, and link to sources if necessary (that’s a big win for AI writing!).

The app offers unique answers and resources that help you save time and escape a jam.

Price: Perplexity is free to use. Users can also upgrade to the Pro plan at $20 a month.

AI tools for SEO research

Research is the foundation of any successful SEO strategy. Here are the top tools you can use for your agency.

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👋 Finding the perfect keywords is a snap with our free Keyword Tool.

16. Keyword Insights

Keyword Insights’ AI technology identifies thousands of keyword ideas, puts them into topic clusters, and helps you create content.

AI tools for marketing agency - Keyword Insights home page.AI tools for marketing agency - Keyword Insights home page.

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It’s a great automated tool for research, but it also helps you plan and outline your strategy. When you are ready to produce content, you click a button, and the information and brief go right to your content writer.

Pricing: The basic plan starts at $58 a month.

17. Clearscope

Clearscope uses AI technology to identify competing website pages and their common keywords, then analyzes your content for comparison. This can shave hours off the time you spend on each piece.

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AI tools for marketing agency - Clearscope home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - Clearscope home screen.

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With Clearscope, you input your content and improve your chance of showing up on search engines by adding the suggested keywords and enhancing the piece using a graded scale.

Pricing: Plans start at $199 monthly.

18. Frase.io

Frase does a great job combining SEO research with AI writing. In short, you can do everything in one place to research, outline, write, and optimize your content.

AI tools for marketing agency - Frase home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - Frase home screen.

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Pricing: Subscribers pay $12.66 monthly (billed annually) with options to upgrade packages.

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Choosing the right AI marketing agency tools in 2024

Effective marketing AI tools help you save resources and increase productivity to build better campaigns and strategies. You just have to find the right fit.

It’s best to start with a challenge and work backward. Where are the workflow bottlenecks? What repetitive busywork is a creative contributor constantly bogged down by? Then, look for AI tools that address those challenges. Do that regularly, and you’ll run an even more efficient marketing agency.

Here are the best AI tools for marketing agencies:

  1. ChatGPT
  2. Jasper
  3. Copy.ai
  4. Typeframes
  5. Midjourney
  6. Grammarly
  7. FeeHive
  8. Hootsuite OwlyWriter AI
  9. Lately.ai
  10. Wordable
  11. Zapier
  12. Taskade AI
  13. Drift
  14. HelpHub
  15. Perplexity
  16. Keyword Insights
  17. Clearscope
  18. Frase.io

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How to Do a PPC Audit in 8 Simple Steps

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How to Do a PPC Audit in 8 Simple Steps

My computer’s desktop, to most, appears to be cluttered and disorganized. My teammates are constantly begging me to clean it up. To me, there’s a method to my madness. But if someone else tried to use my desktop, they’d spend weeks trying to decode my scattered thought process.

The same can be said for many PPC accounts. Oftentimes, the original owner creates and manages the account in their own, unique way. When someone new takes over, they have to navigate the existing account without fully understanding its historical background and why it’s been organized the way it is.

The best way to overcome this gap is to do a PPC audit any time you take on an existing Google Ads account. And that’s just one reason you might want to perform a PPC audit. From time to time, it’s just good hygiene to make sure your pay-per-click accounts are in healthy shape.

But how do you actually do a PPC audit? What’s the right process to audit your Google Ads account? That’s exactly what we’re going to cover in this step-by-step PPC audit guide. These are the steps I follow when I dive into a newly acquired search ads account. You can use this checklist as a handy tool for all future account audits.

🚨 Fast-track your PPC audit! Use the Google Ads Grader to automatically audit your account for free.🚨

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Table of contents

Click to jump to each step of my PPC audit guide:

  1. Check your conversion tracking
  2. Review your targeting
  3. Assess your ad group relevancy
  4. Check how many ads are in each ad group
  5. Dive into ad assets
  6. Review your keyword match types
  7. QA your negative keywords
  8. Create a game plan

First, let’s get clear on what a PPC audit is. A PPC audit is an evaluation of the structure and performance of your paid ad accounts in platforms such as Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, and Facebook Ads. A PPC audit looks at the setup of key account components like ad groups, campaigns, ads, and more. Regularly auditing your PPC accounts can help you stay ahead of performance trends and optimization opportunities to maximize your marketing ROI. Let’s look at the steps that go into a PPC audit next.

1. Be sure conversions are being tracked (properly)

Are you tracking conversions properly? This is an essential question to ask in any PPC audit. Neglecting to track conversions is one of the biggest mistakes a PPC manager can make. Without this data, it’s impossible to understand whether all of your hard work is paying off! While this should be one of the very first tasks completed after setting up an account, a report from Disruptive Advertising found that only 58% of the 2,000 accounts featured in their study had at least one conversion registered.

ppc audit - google ads conversion tracking screenshot

Google has made this setup easier and easier through the years. Use it!

That’s bad, but this is worse—of this group, only half of the accounts that were “tracking conversions” had the code implemented correctly. Meaning, only 29% of all accounts reviewed passed muster when it came to tracking conversions.

Be sure that your newly acquired account doesn’t fall into this group. If conversions are registered in the account, be watchful for these tell-tale signs that the tracking has been set up improperly:

  • Your click count and conversion count are identical. If this is the case, you either have the most amazing products in the world or your conversion tracking code was added to your landing pages, rather than your thank you/order confirmation page.
  • Your conversion rates are super-high, despite low sales numbers. If so, your conversion tracking may be measuring visits to a product page or home page, rather than an order confirmation.
  • Your conversion count is suspiciously low, suggesting that you’re missing conversions. In this case, the former account manager neglected to track phone call conversions or forgot to add tracking codes to new landing pages.

If no conversions are registered on the account, generating and implementing conversion tracking code should be your first order of business! With this first PPC audit step conquered, your Google Ads conversion rate optimization is off to a good start.

🌱Get more tips on how to grow your PPC strategy with our free guide to hacking Google Ads!

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2. Review campaign-level settings

Setting your campaign targeting settings is a simple activity that takes five minutes, tops, but one small misstep in this section can have a profound impact on your account performance. (You can see how some of our clients learned this the hard way here.) Dive into each of your newly-acquired campaigns to review the previous owner’s targeting settings and ensure they make sense for the business.

Google Ads account setting updatesGoogle Ads account setting updates
Key items to check in on are:

  • Network Settings: The goals, expectations, and overall performance of ads on the Search Network are significantly different than those running on the GDN (get the low-down on each network here). The audit/optimization process that you follow will be dependent on the network you’re targeting.
  • Mobile Bid Adjustments: Do you want to show on mobile devices? If so, make sure that your bid modifiers are high enough to score you visibility for mobile searches. To determine this, segment your performance by device to assess the effectiveness of your existing mobile bids. Is your new company not quite ready for mobile traffic? Set the bids to -100%, until you get your mobile-preferred ads and mobile landing pages up to snuff. I recommend prioritizing this, given the ever-growing percentage of searches occurring on mobile devices.
  • Target Locations: Check to ensure that your company services the regions that your account has opted into. Then, take this one step further and review your geo-reports. You may find that a particular area performs ridiculously well (or ridiculously poorly) and can fine-tune the account to prioritize that location.

Congrats! Another step your PPC optimization checklist knocked out.

3. Assess your ad groups

The general rule of thumb is that an ad group should never contain more than 15-20 keywords and, for auditing purposes, I think this is a good jumping-off point. Scan your newly inherited account to find ad groups that hold more than about 20 keywords. These are likely the groups that will require the most clean-up.

You’re probably thinking, why the heck does the number of keywords matter so much? Realistically, your ad groups’ keyword count won’t impact performance. However, keep in mind that you’re serving the same set of ads for every keyword in a given ad group. If your keyword list is huge, it is likely includes various themes, meaning you’re forced to write generic ad copy.

Instead, your goal should be to populate each ad group with a list of super-granular keywords that all share the same semantic theme. You can then create hyper-specific ads for each ad group that are truly reflective of what the searcher is looking for.

keyword groupingskeyword groupings

I think we can agree that it’d be way easier to write an ad for the second keyword group than the first!

Despite the best of intentions, it’s easy to wind up with a few big ad groups in your account. Even if you start with small, tightly-knit keyword combinations, as more and more terms are added, your ad groups can grow to an unwieldy size. It’s important to QA them regularly and move terms that aren’t a good fit into new ad groups.

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💡Find more ways to clean up your campaigns during your PPC audit using our free guide to Google Ads Account Structure.

4. Check how many ads are in each ad group

If the account you inherit only has one active ad in each ad group, it’s an indication that the previous manager was not testing ad variations, which severely limits account optimization. On the flip side, having multiple active ads per ad group can also be detrimental. Likely, the previous owner was a testing zealot who dreamt up plenty of ad creative and tried to test it all at once (fail) or he just never bothered to end any of his tests (double fail).

The sweet spot you should be shooting for is two to three ad variations per ad group. This is a manageable number of ads to run tests with. Once you’ve identified your winner, pause the losing ad and try testing a new variation.

5. Dive into ad assets

If your Google Ads account doesn’t have any ad assets (formerly known as ad extensions) set up, hop to it! In this day and age, ad assets are not a nice to have, they’re a must for creating competitive ad copy.

ppc audit - google ads asset examplesppc audit - google ads asset examples

Ray-Bans has the right idea. This ad features callout and sitelink assets.

Luckily, since Google’s announcement that assets officially do impact ad rank, most advertisers have gotten their act together and implemented them. However, just because these asstess exist, doesn’t mean you can cross them off of your to-do list.

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Confirm that the assets running are appropriate fits for the business itself. For example, if you’re using call assets, be sure that your company’s phone lines are staffed to handle incoming call volume. If you don’t have someone to answer incoming calls around the clock, schedule the assetss to only appear during your hours of business. If you’re advertising for an e-commerce company with no physical storefront, be sure to eliminate any location assets so your ads don’t appear in Google Maps. Finally, check to ensure that your sitelinks, callouts and structured snippets are truly representative of your offerings and not overly repetitive.

Don’t forget about automated assets! You can view the performance of any automated assets that Google has served alongside your ads from the assets section of Google Ads. Typically, we see that these yield positive performance but, if any appear to be negatively impacting the account, stop the bleed by opting out of them in the advanced extension options settings!

6. Review keyword match type settings

A well-run Google Ads account typically includes keywords set to a variety of match types. Each serves a unique purpose, for example broad match is great for keyword research, while exact helps to ensure you’re only connecting with the most highly-qualified searchers.

ppc audit tools - keyword match type guideppc audit tools - keyword match type guide
One of the most common (and dangerous) account faux-pas is running all keywords on the same match type. We see this most commonly with broad match (since it is Google’s default). Although these broad-match keywords yield plenty of traffic, many of their impressions are from people searching terms that are loosely related to the business, resulting in disastrous click-through and conversion rates and poor Quality Scores. Although broad match is usually the culprit for this problem, using all phrase or exact match can be just as damaging, as they may limit volume considerably.

If the account you’ve inherited is already using mixed match types, it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Take the time to dive in and understand the previous owner’s strategy and ensure that it was implemented correctly. Just because they’ve attempted to enact an advanced strategy, like tiered bidding per match type, doesn’t mean they did it right!

🔍 Perfect your keyword strategy using our Free Keyword Tool!

7. QA your negative keyword lists

Negative keywords are your best defense against impressions and clicks from unqualified searchers. If the previous account manager was not utilizing negatives, your work is cut out for you. You can proactively set negatives by doing some guesswork, but with an active account, I like to take more of a reactive approach. Try heading to your query reports to understand exactly what terms have been triggering your ads. Be on the lookout for terms that you do not want to continue showing for and set them as negatives.

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Google Ads master negative keyword listGoogle Ads master negative keyword list

As you can see, we have a robust “master list” of negatives that we use for all campaigns!

If the former account manager added negatives already, review the list with a fine-toothed comb. Confirm that all of the negative terms are genuinely a good fit for the business and are not blocking impressions for any of your keywords. In addition, check your negative keywords’ match type settings to ensure that they are operating as anticipated. I can’t tell you how many accounts I’ve seen with negatives set to “exact” match that are doing absolutely nothing for them. These settings can drastically affect the impact of your negatives.

8. Create your game plan

Now that you have all the groundwork done, you know exactly what you need to do to whip the account into tip-top shape. It’s time to start optimizing! Once you’ve cleaned it up, the real fun begins. Happy auditing! If you try the tips in this PPC audit guide but still want to squeeze more out of your accounts, see how our solutions can help you maximize your PPC success!

Looking for a PPC audit tool?

If you’re tight on time and resources, let a PPC audit tool do the work for you. Get a free, instant account audit with our Google Ads Grader.

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What is Social Selling? (+How to Sell on Social Media)

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What is Social Selling? (+How to Sell on Social Media)

If you sell things to people who spend time on social media, you need to learn about social selling.

Social selling lets you use social media to find perfect prospects, build a genuine connection with them, and become the automatic choice when it’s time to buy.

It’s not rocket science. But you can’t go in guns blazing with the hard sales tactics. There’s more nuance required.

In this extensive guide, you’ll get a complete plan to launch your own social selling strategy. What to post, when to connect, and how to get more conversions with less pitching.

Table of contents

What is social selling?

Social selling is a lead generation strategy where you find, qualify, and connect with new prospects on social networks. The strategy includes using social listening to know what topics are important to prospects and then joining or generating conversations to build relationships with them.

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Let’s say you work for a commercial contractor. Someone on X (formerly Twitter) talks about expanding their business in your area and has a question about building codes. You give an answer with some helpful links. You’re at the top of the list when they ask for a bid to upgrade their new building.

Notice that social selling focuses on generating new leads rather than quick conversions. You want to build trust through genuine connection, not complete an impersonal transaction.

The best part of social selling is that it’s like a free, always-on networking event you don’t have to fly to. You get to generate and nurture 1:1 relationships at a scale you never could with in-person networking or cold calls.

💡 Want more oomph in your outreach? Download this huge list of emotionally charged marketing words and phrases.

Social selling vs. traditional selling

Social selling differs from traditional sales strategies by where it happens, who you target, and how you connect.

Social selling - differences between social selling and traditional selling

Social selling happens on social media platforms. Traditional selling often takes place in person or via cold calls.

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With social selling, you directly target product users or decision-makers. Traditional sales strategies usually start with engaging a gatekeeper before you speak with the person writing the checks.

Social selling uses warm introductions and personalized conversations to engage with targeted prospects. Traditional sales tactics rely on generic scripts and shotgun outreach.

Social selling vs. social media marketing

Social media marketing is usually a one-to-many broadcast. In contrast, social selling is more about building relationships with one-to-one conversations.

Social media marketing can also be conversion-focused and even include social shopping, where people can buy right from the social media platform. With social selling, you’re meeting and interacting with prospects, but the conversion happens outside the social network.

While they have differences, social media marketing and social selling do support each other. You may write some generally helpful social media posts as part of your social media marketing strategy, but when a prospect comments, they move into your social selling funnel.

Who is social selling for?

Social selling is for any company that sells products to people who spend time on social media. That is to say, it’s for just about every company since over 62% of the global population (and over 90% of the US population) is on social media.

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Any size business can use social selling. A Fortune 500 software company might interact with chief technology officers who make million-dollar purchasing decisions. A local physical therapist can provide health tips to weekend warrior athletes in their network.

What are the benefits of social selling?

Social selling isn’t hard (we think it’s fun), but it takes some time. Are you on the fence about trying it? Let’s see if these social selling benefits convince you.

You connect with people where they’re comfortable

The average person spends about 2.5 hours each day scrolling social media platforms. Many are there to catch up with friends and family. But a large percentage of people head to social networks to learn about products and get content from brands.

Social selling - Graphic showing the reasons people use social mediaSocial selling - Graphic showing the reasons people use social media

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That audience of information seekers presents a perfect opportunity to jump in and be the helpful authority when they need you most.

Builds trust through conversation

An older study from HubSpot showed that a dismal 3% of consumers consider salespeople trustworthy. Ouch!

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Social selling - LinkedIn post about rude salespeople.Social selling - LinkedIn post about rude salespeople.

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You’re unlikely to overcome the trust gap in the first few seconds of a cold call. But on social media, it’s possible to create relationships that generate trust over time.

Think about it this way. Say you need to hire more people. Would you be more likely to use a recruiting company that’s answered several hiring questions for you on LinkedIn or the company that cold-called you?

Lets you time outreach perfectly

In general, success on social media means posting at the right time. And that’s why social selling is so great. You use social listening to tell you when someone’s talking about your brand, your competitors, or some aspect of your business. Then, you can connect with them at the exact right time.

Social selling - Tweet from BiothermSocial selling - Tweet from Biotherm

Every major social media platform has a search bar. You can use it to search for hashtags, company names, or job titles that lead you to excellent prospects.

Plus, social media bios often hold lots of information about the people they represent. With a quick glance, you might learn where someone works, their job title, and what types of things they’re interested in.

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You’d have to buy one heck of a cold-calling list to get all of that!

It’s a proven technique

LinkedIn data shows that sales teams who use social selling are more successful.

According to the research, social selling leaders:

  • Create more opportunities
  • Are more likely to reach quota
  • Outsell peers who don’t use social media

Social selling - stats from LinkedIn graphciSocial selling - stats from LinkedIn graphci

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What’s more, your competitors are already taking advantage of social selling. Compared to 2015, sales reps spend 12% more time connecting with prospects and customers virtually.

EveryoneSocial, a brand advocacy software provider, says that social sellers close 48% larger deals than their nonsocial seller counterparts.

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Delivers a fantastic ROI

All you need to get started with social selling is a free social media account, a little time, and a strategy. There’s no significant initial investment, ads to buy, or travel to pay for.

As you start to generate quality leads from social media, you can invest in tools that make you more efficient, which we’ll cover in a bit.

What are the four pillars of social selling?

There are four concepts that, when taken together, form the foundation of a social selling strategy.

Social selling - Four pillars of social selling in a graphicSocial selling - Four pillars of social selling in a graphic

  1. Establish your brand on social media: Before connecting with prospects, create an engaging profile and publish relevant content that cements your brand as the expert in your space.
  2. Fill out your network: Identify your current customers, future potential customers, thought leaders, and influencers that you’d like to connect with.
  3. Engage them with insights: Become the go-to source for information by sharing thought-provoking directly with your prospects right when they need it.
  4. Build relationships: Strengthen your connections by establishing trust with the people who make decisions and influence others.

Which social selling platforms are best?

The best social selling platform for you depends a lot on the things you sell and where your audience hangs out.

That said, LinkedIn and Twitter are more geared towards social selling. People go to those networks more often for professional conversations. Plus, those platforms have some great tools to make creating a sales network easier.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B social selling. Not only does the platform have more than 1 billion users, but most of them are also there to talk shop. That means your conversations about professional topics will fit right in.

LinkedIn makes it really easy to grow your professional network. You can use the search bar at the top of the page to look for specific job titles or people working for a company. Then, you can refine the list to only show people connected with your current network. Hello, warm introductions!

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There’s also a really powerful tool called LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Use it to prioritize your prospects, find advocates who’ll help you connect, and even surface accounts showing high buying intent.

And the pièce de rèsistance is LinkedIn’s social selling index (SSI).

Social selling - LinkedIn SSI dashboardSocial selling - LinkedIn SSI dashboard

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The SSI is a metric from LinkedIn that measures your success against the four pillars of social selling. Just log into your account and head to your Social Selling Index dashboard. You’ll get an overall score and see how you fare against others in your industry.

X (formerly Twitter)

X is built for public discussions, which makes it a perfect place to jump into conversations and establish your brand’s expertise.

Finding those conversations is easy since many users add hashtags to their tweets. Search for hashtags using the bar at the top or click a hashtag from someone you already follow and see who else is using it.

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Say one of your customers uses the hashtag #HRIssues on their Tweets. Click it, and you’ll likely find a host of other prospects who need your human resources software.

But what’s really cool about X is the List feature. With Lists, you can quickly find whole groups of people in your field.

Social selling - A list on Twitter XSocial selling - A list on Twitter X

Follow existing lists to grow your network. Or create your own private lists to keep tabs on competitors or customers.

Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram

Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram are popular social marketing platforms. But they’re less hospitable to social selling since people gravitate to them to get away from work. You can still see some benefits there, depending on what you sell.

Social selling on Facebook

The challenge with Facebook is that its privacy controls make it more difficult to engage with new people. Unless someone has made their post public, you won’t be able to interact with it. One potential workaround is Facebook groups. Look for existing groups that align with what you do, or build your own Facebook group.

Social selling - A group on FacebookSocial selling - A group on Facebook

Once you’re in the group, remember to be friendly and helpful. Most groups have admins that will boot you out if you get all salesy.

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👀 Speaking of Facebook…Want to know how your ads compare to the competition? Download our latest Facebook ads benchmarks!

Social selling on TikTok

TikTok is growing as a sales channel because more people now use it to find new products and services. But it’s a very visual platform that kind of buries comments. So, it’s not ideal for generating conversations.

Your best bet is to post entertaining videos that follow trends on TikTok and build awareness of your brand.

Social selling on Instagram

It isn’t easy to find individuals to connect with on Instagram unless they’re a celebrity or you know their handle. Plus, starting an organic conversation there is hard, especially since it’s such a visual platform.

Like TikTok, your social selling play here is to post helpful content that attracts people who would eventually use what you sell. You could also try following complementary brands (think of cosmetics companies if you’re a fashion brand) and reply to the comments you see there. Just don’t go too hard. No brand wants another company harassing its followers.

9 tips to become a pro-level social seller

We’ve got the pillars down and seen how they work on different social media platforms. Now, let’s look at nine ways to accelerate your program.

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1. Provide value and prove your expertise first

Before trying to make direct connections, you’ll need to build a foundation of credibility. Remember, you don’t want to be the person who meets someone new and instantly starts blurting out a sales pitch.

The easiest way to start is simply posting helpful, insightful content. Make it a mix of new content and posts you’ve shared from others.

Social selling - Real estate agent's helpful post.Social selling - Real estate agent's helpful post.

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Social sharing is built on two-way, mutually beneficial relationships. Before you ask for something like scheduling a demo or booking an appointment, give something first to keep the scales even.

2. Be an active social listener

Social listening gives you the superpower of knowing what people are talking about online. That way, you can get in on the conversation and engage with prospects organically.

On LinkedIn, you can set alerts to notify you when an account posts. Over on X, you can be notified anytime someone uses a specific hashtag.

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For more robust social listening, use a social media management tool. They’ll let you monitor:

  • Brand mentions
  • Product mentions
  • Competitor mentions
  • Trending keywords
  • Branded keywords
  • Relevant hashtags

3. Optimize your profiles

    What’s the first thing people do when they see your social media account pop up for the first time? Many of them head right to your profile.

    That’s why a professional and complete profile is critical.

    Social selling - Jabil LinkedIn profile.Social selling - Jabil LinkedIn profile.

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    Each social network has different profile styles, but in general:

    If you’re connecting through your personal LinkedIn account, gather some recommendations. In fact, it’s a good practice to trade LinkedIn recommendations with people you work with.

    4. Personalize connection requests

    After you’ve built a rapport by sharing content and conversing in the comments section, it’s time to formalize the relationship with a connection request. The best introduction messages are specific and relevant to the recipient. That’s true in social selling since you’ve done so much to create a personal connection.

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    Here are a few ways to personalize your connection requests:

    • Mention people you’re both connected with
    • Call back to a recent interaction you’ve had
    • Provide something of additional value (like a link to a relevant article)
    • Use their name and reference their company or job title

    5. Continuously grow your network

      Social selling isn’t a one-and-done strategy. It’s a long-term play that gains steam over time. Set weekly goals for the number of posts, comments, and replies you publish. Block out time dedicated only to tending to your social media network.

      And most of all, don’t rush it. Many of your new connections won’t need what you sell right now. But they will eventually. And even if they don’t, they could offer a warm introduction to other people in the future.

      6. Be active in comments and replies

      This is a foundational tactic of social selling. A well-timed, relevant comment is your first foot in the door with a new prospect. You are adding to the conversation, and your engagement helps boost the post with the platform’s algorithm.

      Don’t forget to listen out for people who’ve already bought, too.

      Social selling - Post reply from Away brand.Social selling - Post reply from Away brand.

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      Jumping in to save the day is the ultimate social selling tactic.

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      7. Strike up conversations in your posts

      You don’t always have to seek out people to converse with on social media. You can bring them to your posts with questions and polls.

      Social selling - LinkedIn post with a pollSocial selling - LinkedIn post with a poll

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      Whether they’re funny or serious, questions get people talking. Make a note of who shows up and what their opinions are. And always reply to keep the discussion going.

      8. Engage with influencers

      Influencers in your industry can be beneficial allies in your social selling campaign. They have an audience of people that you’d like to know. Plus, the topics they discuss could be great fodder for your posts and outreach.

      Social selling - TikTok from Shopify with an influencerSocial selling - TikTok from Shopify with an influencer

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      You don’t need a formal agreement to engage with influencers. Just start liking and commenting on their posts. Reference and link to them in your own posts. Mine their comments sections to take the pulse of your industry and get new ideas. And invite them to collaborate on content.

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      9. Find communities to join

      There are loads of online communities, both on social networks and elsewhere, just waiting for you to join. These groups are ideal for social selling since they’re all about conversing and providing mutual support.

      Social selling - A helpful post in the Maverick Truck ClubSocial selling - A helpful post in the Maverick Truck Club

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      You can learn much about your target audience by observing what happens in an online group. But the real magic happens when you jump in, answer questions, and celebrate successes with the other members.

      If you don’t see a group you like, build your own brand community.

      What are the best social selling tools?

      Social media management tools help you to become more efficient and effective at selling online. Here are a few such tools to consider.

      LinkedIn Sales Navigator

      It’s not surprising that LinkedIn would offer one of the best tools for social selling. What’s unexpected is just how robust LinkedIn Sales Navigator is.

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      Social selling - Screenshot of LinkedIn Navigator.Social selling - Screenshot of LinkedIn Navigator.

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      One of the best features on Sales Navigator is the Relationship Explorer. With this tool, you’ll quickly find people who can help you get “in” with an organization—like people who share connections with you. It also helps you find the most relevant people to target and notifies you of important events like a change in management.

      Meltwater

      Meltwater is a leader in the social listening space for good reason. Its purpose-built tool lets you track brand, product, or audience mentions across all your social media accounts. You get audience sentiment data, and it can even recognize images.

      Social selling - Meltwater dashboard.Social selling - Meltwater dashboard.

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      The social listening alerts on Meltwater are worth noting. Set an alert for your brand, and you’ll get a notification when it’s mentioned. That’ll help you respond while the conversation is hot.

      EveryoneSocial

      EveryoneSocial is a brand advocacy platform that makes it easy for employees and executives to plan, post, and share content about their business. The tool has features designed to help sales professionals grow their pipeline on social media channels.

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      Social selling - Screenshot from everyonesocial websiteSocial selling - Screenshot from everyonesocial website

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      With EveryoneSocial, you get a hub of content anyone on your team can share through their social channels. You also get an analytics dashboard that shows the team’s engagement, reach, clicks, and more from all the accounts linked to your plan.

      3 stellar social selling examples

      Here are a few real-world examples of businesses big and small selling on social media with flair.

      TruMotion Therapy

      Here’s an example that proves social selling isn’t just for the Fortune 500. TruMotion Therapy is a local physical therapy practice that regularly posts on Instagram. They’ve built a loyal following of people looking for solutions to aches and pains.

      Social selling - Social media replies from TruMotion Therapy.Social selling - Social media replies from TruMotion Therapy.

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      The activity after the post is published transforms this strategy from social media marketing to social selling. TruMotion Docs take time to continue the conversation with individual commenters. Many of the replies are personalized advice and answers. And when it’s called for, the TruMotion team will take the chat to DMs, moving the new connection further down the funnel towards becoming a client.

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      Starbucks

      You may not think of chain restaurants or consumer brands as social sellers, but some are really good at it.

      Scroll through Starbucks’ feed on X, and you’ll see an endless stream of interactions the brand has with its fans. Most are simple “cheers,” while others are more personal.

      Social selling - Starbucks TweetSocial selling - Starbucks Tweet

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      Either way, social media lets Starbucks connect with a singular customer one-on-one in a way other marketing and advertising strategies don’t.

      Zoetis CEO

      Kristin Peck is the CEO of Zoetis, a pharmaceutical company specializing in pet care. She regularly comments on posts from people in her industry, especially when they mention animals.

      Social selling - LinkedIn post from the Zoetis CEOSocial selling - LinkedIn post from the Zoetis CEO

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      It’s a quick and easy way to generate camaraderie among people in your network. Plus, you can use your comments to inspire future posts to help establish your brand on social media.

      The 30-day social selling launch plan

      Let’s bring all of this down to ground level. Follow this step-by-step plan for the next 30 days to have a fully functioning social selling strategy.

      Day 1 to 5: Get set up

      The first week is about picking the tools you’ll use, setting them up, and creating the rules for your social selling strategy. Some of this may already be done if you’re marketing on social media.

      To get set up:

      • Decide which social media platforms you’ll use
      • Create a social media style guide
      • Find relevant hashtags
      • Create and optimize your social media profiles
      • Pick your social selling tools
      • Set up social listening for brand, competitor, and industry mentions
      • Review five competitor social media accounts

      Day 6 to 15: Establishing credibility

      Now, it’s time to lay the groundwork with your audience. Go into this phase looking for ways to help and show off your expertise (without bragging, of course).

      To establish credibility:

      Day 15 to 25: Begin outreach

      We’re getting more proactive here. Let’s find some people and social media accounts to lightly engage with.

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      To begin outreach:

      • Search for people in your industry that post often
      • Narrow the list to 10 targets
      • Reply to 2 to 3 posts from each account
      • Go beyond agreeing and add to the conversation
      • Repost or retweet content from at least one of those posts and tag the account

      Day 26 to 30: Make contact and analyze

      For this last phase, you’ll connect directly with one new contact and check the results of your efforts so far.

      To make contact and analyze:

      • Send a connection request to one new contact
      • Review the metrics on your social selling tool of choice
      • Note which posts, comments, and replies get the most engagement
      • Use the data to plan out month two

      Now, keep growing your network!

      👋 Plan out your entire year’s marketing strategy with this free must-have marketing calendar.

      Social selling FAQs

      Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about social selling.

      Does social selling really work?

      The data proves social selling helps you fill your sales pipeline and close bigger deals more often.

      For example:

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      • Instagram found that 78% of social sellers outperform peers who don’t use social media
      • EveryoneSocial says a lead generated through social selling is 7x more likely to close than leads from other tactics.
      • 51% of Baby Boomers, 69% of Gen X, and 86% of Gen Z have interacted with a company on social media.

      What is social selling the inbound way?

      An inbound marketing strategy attracts new buyers to you instead of chasing them through ads and cold outreach. Social selling is inbound by nature. So, “social selling the inbound way” is another way of saying social selling.

      Is social selling creepy?

      Social selling is not creepy if you do it the right way. That means engaging at appropriate times and offering help instead of leading with a sales pitch.

      Grow your business with social selling

      The days of knocking on doors and cold-calling prospects are numbered. Generic sales scripts turn buyers off. And impersonal outreach gets ignored in the inbox. Replacing these old-school sales techniques are genuine connections and authentic relationships built on social media.

      It doesn’t take a considerable effort to give social selling a try. Just start reading posts that interest you and add your two cents. People will notice, and you’ll be off and running.



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