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Ultimate Guide to Dominating Black Friday PPC in 2023

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Ultimate Guide to Dominating Black Friday PPC in 2023

Black Friday is a special day for PPC. Normally, we’re able to launch new campaigns and carefully mold them into perfection so we can reap the rewards for months, if not years to come.

Black Friday in Google Ads is different. You have a very short time to make the absolute most out of what you do. The wrong ad, bid, or settings can ruin your results.

No matter your strategy, the tips below will help you maximize your potential. We’ll be covering exactly what you need to do to adjust your bids and budgets, ad text and extensions, display and remarketing ads, keyword strategy, Shopping campaigns, and more.

Quick note: Whenever I refer to Black Friday, I’m actually talking about the entire Black Friday weekend. Some advertisers treat Black Friday differently from the rest of the weekend, while others see it as a five-day sale, starting on Thanksgiving and ending with Cyber Monday.

Table of contents

How to prepare your Google Ads campaigns for Black Friday

In order to prepare for Black Friday, it’s essential to understand what promotions you’ll be running. It’s taking it back to ecommerce 101, but defining what promotions you’ll run will make a lot of sense as I go through the rest of the tips.

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So first of all, find out:

  • What will your offers be?
  • Will you have enough stock?

If you don’t have a large stock, consider being less aggressive in your bidding or just pushing the product via Shopping or Search – whatever works best for you.

If you’re not sure you’ll have enough stock for a specific promotion, make sure you have a backup offer ready for your more generic keywords.

🎁 Get more holiday marketing tips here!

Review last year’s performance

I’ve written extensively about getting more success with PPC during seasonal swings, so I won’t dig too much into looking at historic performance.

The gist is that it’s crucial not to pretend this year is a single event. Despite the changing landscape in PPC, there are several areas that you can learn from based on historic performance. Some of these are:

  • What did you learn from the ads you ran? Did any generic messaging perform better than others?
  • Did ads that described the product benefits/features do better than the ads with price, shipping, and other specific info?
  • What bid did it take you to get into the first position?
  • Did any keywords or product categories turn out to be hard to advertise in?
  • How did the sections of your account that didn’t have a promotion do?
  • How big of an increase in spend did you experience? (Note, if you were capped out by your budget, then this is an important step for you to review)
  • Was your Display Remarketing a bust or did it succeed on the day itself?
  • What happened in the days after Black Friday and Cyber Monday? How much do you need to lower your bids in the immediate days after the promotion to avoid losing money?

And so on. Learn from what happened last year and you’ll be able to get more out of this year.

Define your rules of engagement

Before we get into the nitty-gritty I want to touch on one more non-PPC matter.

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Chances are you’re not the boss. And even if you’re the boss, then this section will be healthy for you to prepare in advance.

Consider the following scenario: You’re expecting to spend $5,000 on Black Friday and aiming for an 800% ROAS.

However, Black Friday comes along and by 1 p.m. you’ve spent the entire $5,000 and have a ROAS of 1,100%. What do you do?

All the PPC managers yell: INCREASE THE BUDGET. But how much? What can the business afford? How much stock is left? And what if the ROAS was 700%? Should you still increase the budget? If you don’t have any stock left, do you have a backup promotion ready?

Having your rules of engagement set for the day can be incredibly powerful. You might think you’ll deal with that dream scenario if it happens, but what if on that same day your site starts loading slowly because of the high traffic AND your boss needs to pick up his sick daughter from school?

All of a sudden, you can’t get an answer until it’s too late.

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Rules of engagement have the potential to save you a huge headache and give you a better opportunity to get the most out of the sale weekend.

Budget and bidding tips for Black Friday PPC

Bidding is one of the trickiest areas to work with. Not necessarily on Black Friday itself, but afterward. If you run any type of automated bidding, you’ll have to run bids manually for at least 1-2 weeks after Black Friday due to the influx of data.

I haven’t personally found a bidding system where I can tell the system to ignore data generated in a specific time frame when it runs its algorithms. This poses an issue, as you’ll convert much better on Black Friday than in the weeks after. Depending on your industry, this might be a big issue.

To solve this, I typically do the following:

Download your bids the week before Black Friday

If you’re running automated bidding in Google, then remove the bids and look in Google Ads interface to see what the bids are. There are a few issues you should watch for, though.

Depending on the day and time you download your bids, you might get a different bid than the one that’s running the rest of the time. Especially with Google’s own ROAS and CPA bidding, automation changes dynamically based on day of the week and time of day (amongst other factors).

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Therefore, there is a chance you might not get the actual bid you should reinstate after Black Friday, but it’s the best chance you have. It’s much better to reinstate a previous bid that might be 20-30% off than continue running the bids you had for the Black Friday weekend.

Increase your budget, significantly

It goes without saying that you have to increase your budget quite a bit on Black Friday.

For example, searches for smartphone deals go up 10X.

black friday ppc - google trends smartphone search volume example

While searches for toys increased by 50%:

black friday ppc - google ads trends results for toys

Ad writing tips for Black Friday

Writing ads for Black Friday is similar to writing ads for promotions throughout the year. Make sure they are relevant to the sale and use an adequate amount of ad space so users are aware of the promotion you’re running.

There are some specific factors you need to take into account for Black Friday, though.

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I’ve split up the tactics in Mandatory and Recommended. If you’re new or this is your first Black Friday you can choose to just follow the mandatory tactics. But if you’ve been around the block, make sure you invest the extra time to do the additional Recommended tactics.

Mandatory for all:

  • Set up a Promotion asset
  • Add Black Friday references in your ads

Recommended for intermediates:

  • Consider changing your sitelinks to specific products that will be in high demand.
  • Consider adding Inventory References

How to set up Google Ads promotion assets

The promotion asset should be an essential part of your ad writing strategy moving forward. Your ads for Black Friday are no exception.

Promotion assets look like this:

black friday ppc - google ads black friday promotion assets 1697840763 370 Ultimate Guide to Dominating Black Friday PPC in 2023

The extra line of ad text can really help set your ads apart from your competitors. The fact that it highlights a Black Friday sale is just the icing on the cake.

On top of this, you should also set your promotion to only run in a specific time frame. For Black Friday, this might be from Friday to Sunday.

This will give your ad additional space and add a sense of urgency to your offer.

Just remember, all ad assets aren’t necessarily guaranteed to show. It’s not enough to solely rely on the promotion asset to highlight your promotions.

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Add Black Friday references in your ads

One of the oldest best practices is to make sure your ads are relevant, and one of the best ways to do that is to reference current events like Black Friday.

You can keep it simple, for example:

black friday google ads - search ad with black friday copy

If you want the biggest impact for the least amount of effort, you can just change the second headline in all your ads to text referencing your Black Friday offer. This can be done super quick in the Google Ads interface.

For a higher CTR, better conversion rate, and ROI, I do recommend spending the time to write more specific ad copy for your most important products and categories.

Remember, Black Friday is a high-volume day. Any time you invest in writing better ads will pay off more than any other time of the year (with the exception of the Christmas season) – even if the ads only run for that day.

Change your sitelinks to specific, high-demand products [recommended]

Sitelinks are usually not the biggest focus area when writing ads. Most advertisers just take a minute or so to put in a couple of random sitelinks.

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On Black Friday, it might be worthwhile to add a bit of extra finesse to your sitelinks. One idea is to include the specific products you run promotions for in your sitelinks.

So, let’s say you are running a campaign for Bluetooth speakers. Normally, you might have sitelinks like these:

  • Most popular BT speakers
  • Newest BT speakers
  • BT speakers on sale
  • All BT speakers

On Black Friday, consider adding sitelinks that are more specific to the offers you’re running:

  • Soundlink: 33% Off Now
  • 20% Off All Bose
  • 25% Off Bose Headphones
  • All Black Friday Sales

The reason why I advise going a bit broader than normal is because during Black Friday you are more likely to convince consumers to buy something they weren’t really out to get.

Many of us will just start searching for various products to see what deals are out there. Just because someone specifically searches for Bluetooth speakers it doesn’t mean they can’t be interested in headphones or other types of speakers if there is a good deal to be had.

Add inventory references [recommended]

Let’s say you create a killer promotion for Bose speakers. It’s right in the middle of being a sought-after product, at the right price with an exceptional promotion.

You start selling it and you can see that it’ll sell out by noon. Boom!

But you could have taken advantage of this in your ads. By indicating how many products are left, you can create even more scarcity.

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Just make sure you have backup promotions for when you run out of a specific product.

Tag your current ads with the label “evergreen”

Running PPC for clients always makes you think of ways to do things more efficiently. Especially in eCommerce, as there are times of the year when the workload increases significantly.

Black Friday is that day.

Before you start your Black Friday ads, you should take all the ads in the ad groups where you will be adding the Black Friday promotion and add the label Evergreen.

That way you can easily pause the ads and reactivate them again when the sale is over.

The same way, you should label all your Black Friday ads with BF. You should probably add the year to your label as well. So for 2023, you’d add the tag BF-2023. That way you don’t accidentally activate last year’s ads next year.

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black friday ppc - google ads label feature

Write your ads at least a week in advance

You know those annoying emails you get from Google Ads about your paused ads being disapproved?

There’s a reason behind the madness, and it’s for days like Black Friday.

When you prepare your ads in advance (and upload to your Google Ads account) you’ll make sure that they get approved, or disapproved, well in advance of you actually needing them to run.

It’s a common mistake to write, or upload, your ads the same day that you need them. You’ll lose valuable time.

Use an automatic rule to pause and activate ads

The exact way you should build the rule is like this:

automated rules for black friday

Just in case, I recommend checking the ads in your account and live in the search results. Even though I’m a big fan of automation, I’ve seen these things go wrong for the stupidest reasons.

While it’s not fun, you can normally live with ads not being live for half a day or even a couple of days, but on Black Friday you can’t afford to lose out on one hour of downtime.

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How to maximize your Black Friday Google Shopping returns

Shopping campaigns are tricky when it comes to Black Friday. You have a lot less control than your regular Search campaigns, but Shopping campaigns still account for more than 50% of the revenue in most e-commerce Google Ads accounts, so you need to get this part right.

Create a new Shopping campaign

There are a couple of angles you can take with Google Shopping campaigns on Black Friday, but my go-to approach is the following:

  • Create a new Shopping campaign for your most important products
  • Use a “SPAG” structure (single product ad groups)
  • Start it at least one week in advance, preferably two weeks

Depending on how many products you have, it can be super easy for individual products to slip through the cracks in your Shopping campaign.

By creating a new campaign, you’ll be able to keep an eye on the specific products you’re expecting will perform very well on Black Friday.

Just remember that if you’re using a tactic like segmenting your Shopping campaigns based on search query, then you should continue this with this campaign. You can quickly get in trouble with your ROI if you change that strategy for your key products all of a sudden.

Add storewide promotions to your new Shopping campaign

Okay. So you have a promotion that runs storewide with 20%. I get it.

It still doesn’t mean that all your products are equally important. If you look at your orders from the last 60 days, you must have a list of 10, 20, 50 products that vastly outsell the rest of your products.

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Add these to the new Shopping campaign.

How to prepare your Shopping feed for Black Friday

This is where you need to make a decision. Do you run with a promotion that requires a coupon code (as listed above), or do you lower pricing in your feed and see it reflected in the ads?

Often, this decision will be made for you either by the strategy you take as a business (coupon or no coupon) or by the restraints of your platform.

If you run with the coupon code, then it’s crucial that you set up Promotions in the Merchant Center. Otherwise, your price in your Google Shopping ads will not reflect the actual lower price and it will undoubtedly decrease your CTR.

Lowered prices need to be reflected in your feed

It’s crucial that your feed contains the same price as on your website for each individual product. For two reasons:

  1. If your price isn’t lower in your feed, then your ads will show your original price, which will severely cripple your success on a day like Black Friday.
  2. There is a strong likelihood that Google will catch the price discrepancy and disapprove your product.

Again, from the time you catch this to the time the product gets approved by Google might take 4-6 hours. This is time that you can’t afford to lose. And that’s if you catch it at all!

I recommend regenerating/updating your feed and sending it to the Merchant Center right after you update the prices on your website. This might be midnight or it might be the day before. The second the prices on your website are updated, you should update your feed.

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This is especially important as products go out of stock throughout the day.

Update your feed more frequently on Black Friday

Usually, you set your shopping feed to update every 24 hours. Typically at night.

On Black Friday I highly recommend you update it more frequently. Especially as products go out of stock or as you change your promotions.

Black Friday tips for remarketing

Most ecommerce stores run Dynamic Remarketing, but on Black Friday sending generic messages will not break through the digital noise.

I advise creating a new audience list solely for Black Friday. This means you’ll create a brand new audience the day before Black Friday that doesn’t include previous visitors:

remarketing on black friday

This way you can set a more aggressive bid for the people who’ve visited your site on Black Friday and another bid for the people who visited your site before Black Friday.

Bonus tip: decrease remarketing bids after Black Friday

Lower your remarketing efforts in the days after Black Friday. Most users will have bought what they needed, or they simply weren’t interested in the first place.

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Consider static image ads for your remarketing

I would highly recommend some sort of static images in your remarketing mix on Black Friday. Your regular dynamic display remarketing ads most likely look something like this:

black friday display ads

Again, usually, this works great. But on Black Friday you’ll want something that pushes through the noise and delivers a message that adequately reflects the scarcity of the day.

Having some banners designed in the most popular sizes can be an easy win, and it shouldn’t cost you much if you use a site like Upwork to find a designer. If your store has an in-house designer, then spending some time on the designs in exchange for a pizza is well-worth the results you’ll most likely get.

The only thing I will add, which will complicate things, is to try to segment your retargeting when you do this. Meaning if a user visits the speaker section, then you’ll show a Black Friday display ad that contains your speaker promotion, etc.

You can try a general, generic banner, but it’ll be more effective if you put in the extra effort and create better-targeted ads.

Again, if your store is beyond a certain size this might prove impossible to do in practice. When you work at scale, you have to somehow limit your efficiency with hands-on tactics for the sake of getting out to as many people as possible.

Black Friday PPC keyword strategy tips

Your keywords should more or less stay the same for Black Friday.

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I would highly recommend adding or reactivating keywords that have previously been paused for products you’re running promotions for. On Black Friday, most of your keyword portfolio will convert better than it will the rest of the year, which means you can afford to re-enable those keywords you paused due to low performance.

The exact opposite is also true. With keywords increasing three to four times in search volume, you want to consider pausing parts of your Google Ads account that you are not running promotions for.

Here’s an example of a search term that increased significantly when comparing to the same day a week before Black Friday:

black friday ppc - google trends in november screenshot

With the added volume and the fact that your competitors will run promotions, which consumers are likely chasing, then your standard pricing will most likely not do anything to incite them to buy from you instead.

Advertise for “black friday + my keyword

Yes, definitely.

You’ll already show up when someone searches for your keyword, so you might as well control the search by adding black friday to some of your keywords.

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However, it will not make or break your success. In big markets, though, you want to be able to control it better. Let’s say that you’re selling Bose speakers, and you show up fine for searches on the keyword bose speakers, but you’re in position six for bose speakers black friday deal.

This search term might convert much higher than your regular keywords, so if your market is big enough it’s an excellent tactic to add black friday to your keywords.

Don’t advertise for the keyword “black friday

It’s too broad for you to target effectively.

The exception is to create a campaign only targeting your remarketing lists that target the word Black Friday. Find your largest list. Say, anyone who’s visited your site in the last 6 months. Anyone who’s bought from you, well, ever. Add all of them to a remarketing list for search ads campaign with the Targeting targeting setting:

using rlsa on black friday

By doing this, you’ll show an ad to anyone who has ever visited your site and searches for Black Friday deals.

Since they’ve already visited your site once before, or possibly even bought from you, we can assume that they have some interest in the products you’re offering, despite them not showing any intent outright. (Remember–brand affinity dramatically increases CTR and conversion rates.)

Black Friday scenarios to be prepared for

Here are some considerations you’ll want to be ready for on Black Friday in Google Ads:

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Scenario #1: Low average position on key products

Make sure you review the early stats when it comes to your average position on Black Friday. If you’re coming in low for some of your key products, consider increasing your bids.

Throughout the day you can decrease or increase as you normally would based on ROAS, but you need to make sure your keywords have a fighting chance in a proper position.

Your position should preferably be in the 2-3 average position range. This will depend a lot on your ROAS, but the higher position your get, the more ad extensions and CTR you’ll get–which all results in more sales.

Scenario #2: No sales of key products

You need to be ruthless about admitting to yourself if you’ve been beat. It might not even be related to your Google Ads efforts.

Does your competitor run a better offer than you?

If so, then you might want to mimic their promotion or cut your losses. It’s incredibly difficult to beat a competitor that’s severely beating you on price under normal conditions.

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On Black Friday with zombie-like consumers chasing deals like that kid on the Walking Dead, it’s almost impossible.

If you’re not getting anything out of your Black Friday efforts in some of your campaigns, consider solely focusing on remarketing. That way you’ll only show your ads to people who’ve visited your site before. With this strategy, you’ll bank on the fact that these consumers know who you are, which has been proven to impact your conversions significantly.

Scenario #3: Budget maxed out

You should routinely check in on your budget. Make sure that you’re not maxed out, or about to max out. If you are maxed out, consider adding more budget based on your rules of engagement that you’ve established.

What to do after Black Friday?

Make sure you do the following in your PPC account once the Black Friday madness is over:

  • Reinstate your old bids
  • Pause Black Friday ads
  • Re-enable your evergreen ads
  • Do an after-action report
  • Have a beer and enjoy sending out all those orders!

When you review your performance in the days after Black Friday, make sure you don’t take these days into account. For many advertisers, the days after Black Friday can be a time to lose a lot of money.

Wow, Black Friday PPC is… a lot…

If this was more than you could handle, I don’t blame you. It was a bit of a brain dump.

I created a checklist version of this article that you can print out or save for later. Get your simplified Black Friday checklist here.

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I’ve also summarized the most actionable Black Friday PPC tips below:

For Bids

  • Download your bids a week in advance, so you can reinstate them after Black Friday
  • Increase your budget, significantly

For Ads:

  • Set up the promotion extension
  • Add Black Friday references to your ads
  • Consider changing sitelinks
  • Consider adding inventory references

For Shopping

  • Add a new campaign with your most important products (or the products you run promotions for)
  • Use Merchant Center promotions, OR include sale_price in your feed
  • Upload your updated prices in your feed around midnight

Remarketing

  • Focus your bids around your most recent visitors
  • Decrease your bids significantly in the days after Black Friday, or exclude Black Friday

Keywords

  • Add previously paused keywords that cover products that are on sale
  • Increase bids for low-position keywords that cover products that are on sale

Whatever you do, it’s crucial that you set yourself up for success on Black Friday. Take the time and acknowledge that you can’t just be in maintenance mode.

Get out of your comfort zone and start making some changes in your account.

Want more Black Friday tips? Find out how to drive results from your Black Friday Facebook ads!

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PPC

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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PPC

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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