10 reasons agencies and consultancies battle over data 0

Posted on May 23, 2016 by Rob Petersen


agencies and consultancies

An agency is an organization established to provide a particular service. A consultancy is a professional practice that gives expert advice within a particular field. Agencies and consultancies have always tried to do what the other does. But it’s accelerating at a more rapid pace these days.

Consultancies like Deloitte, Accenture, KPMG and PwC. Even McKinsey are building agency arms. Tech companies like Adobe, Oracle and Epsilon have added a service component in the form of an agency to their core product offering. Publicis bought technology consultancy and agency services network Sapient a few years ago.

What’s behind the activity? Why?

Here are 10 reasons the battle between agencies and consultancies is over data from 10 experts.

  1. MARKETING AND BUSINESS PERFORMANCE CAN NOW BE CONNECTED: “Agencies have never had a bigger opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition via high-value, strategic services. Digital provides hard-wired connectivity between marketing activity and business performance. As a consequence, it enables agencies to assume an absolutely integral role in the fabric of their clients’ businesses.” – Damian Burns, Director of Global Agency Sales, Google
  2. DATA REQUIRES SOMEONE TO DIGEST IT: “There’s so much more information available about business performance, consumers, what’s happening with marketing campaigns. The expectation is that [marketers] would be able to digest all that and be able to know what to do next and do that very quickly. That is incredibly complicated.” – Jason Harrison, CEO, Gain Theory
  3. DATA ESTABLISHES RESULTS-ORIENTATION: “Previously, a consulting services firm would be hired based on their reputation and relationship. While older agency directors and C-suite executives still hire consultants and government contractors according to legacy criteria, Millennial (and Millennial-minded) leaders will pass over these candidates in favor of more results-oriented professional advisers.” – John Diller, President, Big Sky
  4. DATA ANALYTICS IS COMPETITVE ADVANTAGE: “Many agencies are now beginning to consider consolidating with businesses that offer consulting capabilities. data and the rise of multi-channel media consumption have completely disrupted the way businesses deliver marketing messages. Emerging digital marketing challenges have also spurred a ‘data analytics arms race,’ where whoever has the most robust business intelligence solution is thought to have a competitive advantage.” – Jay Sampson, Vice President of Partner Sales, Adobe
  5. DATA BREAKS DOWN SILOS WITH STRATEGY THAT IMPACTS SALES: “Companies have been talking about customer-centricity forever but with the emergence of roles like the chief data officer and the chief customer officer they finally have someone internally who can work across divisions and truly break down those silos. They now need a new type of service provider that can help create an integrated strategy that will impact sales and market share.” – Gene Hartman, Managing Director, Accenture
  6. BRAND PREFERENCE HAPPENS WITH A CLICK: “The time between consumption of a brand story through mass media to the actual experiencing of the brand has shrunk to a single click. It is not difficult to understand what is attracting management consultants into marketing services.” – Avi Dan, CEO, Avidan Strategies
  7. DISRUPTION OF CLASSIC STRATEGY: “New competitors with new business models arrive. Although these upstarts are as yet nowhere near the size and influence of big-name consultancies like McKinsey, Bain, and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the incumbents are showing vulnerability. For example, at traditional strategy-consulting firms, the share of work that is classic strategy has been steadily decreasing and is now about 20%, down from 60% to 70% some 30 years ago.” – Tom Rodenhauser, Managing Director, Kennedy Consulting Research & Advisory
  8. STRATEGY REQUIRES DELIVERY CAPABILITIES: “It is no coincidence that management consultancies are acquiring the more technically skilled digital agencies – they are coming from the other direction and want to be able to determine the strategy and deliver the higher margin activities that flow from it. They need to prove delivery capability but will not be interested in the lower margin activities – they can simply buy these in as needs be.” – Green Square, Corporate Financial Advisors
  9. CMO IS NEW CIO: By 2017, Gartner, the technology research company, estimates that the largest portion of a company’s IT spend will be controlled by the CMO instead of the CIO, from data and analytics to front and back-end IT spend.” – Avi Dan, CEO, Avidan Strategies
  10. AGENCIES AND CONSULTANCIES HAVE TO BE DATA DRIVEN: “Agencies are more responsible for marketing and customer management data, but as data becomes more of a driver, agencies need to be more savvy data analysts and integrators. Clients need to hold consultancies to the same standards as agencies. But agencies shouldn’t try to become consulting companies. Instead, they should continue to do what they do best: Specialize and encourage a culture that breeds smart marketing people.” – Peter Figueredo, Head of Client Services, Kaizen

Do these reasons show you why agencies and consultancies battle over data? Does your organization need a data-driven company working in your behalf?

10 ways to get killer insights from Google Analytics 0

Posted on May 16, 2016 by Rob Petersen


google analytics

Google Analytics is the most popular web analytics tool in the world.

Google Analytics has been installed on over 10,000,000 websites. It is used by 64% of the Top 500 US Retailers, 45% of Fortune 500 companies, and 55.9% of the top 1 million domains as identified by Alexa.

But what good is the data if you don’t know what to do with it.

Here are 10 ways to get killer insights from Google Analytics with video tutorials.

  • SET DATE RANGES LONG ENOUGH TO SHOW TRENDS: The date range selector is at the top right of every page. It shows the last 30 days by default. But 30-days often isn’t long enough to show trends. Establish a time frame long enough to allow you to tell a story. 90 days, year to date or the last year is a longer and often more effective date range for showing trends, seasonality and the impact of key events. Here is how to use the date range selector.

  • USE BOUNCE RATE EARLY AND RATE: Bounce Rate is the percent of visitors to a website who leave after viewing only one page – the lower the percent, the better the Bounce Rate. It is a key web metrics for website relevance because if your site is interesting to visitors, they’re likely to view more than one page. Google Analytics shows Bounce Rate for many measures. The more often you use Bounce Rate, the more insightful are your conclusions. Here’s how to know Bounce Rate for all your pages.

  • UNDERSTAND ACCESS FROM SMARTPHONES: According to SimilarWeb’s State of Mobile Web US 2015 report, roughly 56% of consumer traffic to the leading US websites is now from mobile devices. There are many sources that report traffic from mobile devices by industries like financial services, auto and retail. Knowing mobile traffic to your site is an important way to look at traffic. It’s likely to already be a large percentage and it’s definitely going to go up.

  • IDENTIFY KEY LOCATIONS AND GEOGRAPHY: Let’s say your company’s operations are organized around specific geographical sales regions: East, Central, and West. By default, Analytics only reports on default geographical regions. Unless, by using the geographical type in Data Import, you create a mapping between the specific regions you use for your business. You then see your data organized around these custom sales regions. In the US, the data is available by state, metro area and city. And the maps are very telling.

  • KNOW WHERE VISITORS COME FROM: In web analytics, traffic sources are different kinds of sources that send traffic to your web site. The metrics you find are: 1) Direct Traffic: All those people showing up to your website by typing in the URL of your Web site or from a bookmark, 2) Organic Search: Search engines – Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask and other, 3) Paid Search: Paid ads on search engines from services like Google Adwords and Bing Ads, 4) Referral: Other Web sites sending traffic to you. These could be as a result of your banner ads or campaigns or blogs or affiliates who link to you and 5) Other: These include campaigns you have run, e-mail and direct marketing.

  • LOOK FOR INNOVATIONS WITH SITE SEARCH: If you have a search engine on your website which visitors can use to search the site, you can measure the usage of this feature. The results you can find under the Site Search category in Google Analytics. In the overview, you see the percentage of visits with and without site search. Also some other metrics such as % search exits, % search refinements, time after search and search depth. But the real nuggets come for the words visitors use to search. For example, we work with a scissors company and the #1 word in Site Search is “left-handed.” Imagine that. A new product idea is handed to you through Site Search on Google Analytics.

  • FIND MOST VALUABLE PAGES IN SITE CONTENT: Site content reports consist of: 1) Pages, 2) Content Drill Down, 3) Landing Pages and 4) Exit Pages. Pages report displays the top pages on your website based on traffic, as well as each page’s page views, unique page views, average time on page, entrances, bounce rate, % exit and page value.  Content Drill Down is helpful for websites that have sub-folders such as and or something similar. The Landing Pages report lets you see the top pages where visitors enter. Exit Pages show the last pages people visit before exiting your website. These are the pages you want to look at to see what you can do to keep visitors on your website longer.

  • ANALYZE ACTIONS WITH EVENTS: Events are user interactions with content that can be tracked independently from a web page or a screen load. Downloads, mobile ad clicks, gadgets, Flash elements, AJAX embedded elements, and video plays are all examples of actions you might want to track as Events. Using Event Tracking to measure interaction and conversions on your website is really beneficial for getting a better understanding of how your users are engaging with the content and features of your website in a much more advanced way than the standard reports can manage.

  • MEASURE METRICS MOST IMPORTANT TO SUCCESS WITH GOALS: Google Analytics doesn’t tell you how your business is doing without some additional setup. You have to tell Google Analytics to keep track of what’s critical to your business – and you do this with goals. In Google Analytics, you have four ways to track goals: 1) URLs, 2) time, 3) pages/visit and 4) events. Here’s how to set up Goals.

  • “SHOW ME THE MONEY” WITH CONVERSIONS: Most of the time Conversion Rate is thought of in terms of e-commerce websites. But increasingly tools are making it ever more easy for you to track conversions of any kind. Form submissions (leads). Trial signups. Content consumption. Download Software. View support FAQ. And more. No matter what your website, you can start measuring “conversion rate”. It is the fastest way to the heart of why your website mostly exists.

Did this teach you how to use Google Analytics for killer insights? Are you ready to put analytics to work on your business?

What is a meta description? 3 reasons it matters to know 1

Posted on May 08, 2016 by Rob Petersen




By Matt Press

A meta description is an extremely powerful marketing weapon that you’re almost certainly not utilizing.

Imagine this:

You’ve got a website that’s regularly showing up in online searches and yet you still aren’t getting any fresh leads.

Sound familiar?

It’s gutting.

After all, competition on the internet is tough.

And if getting noticed is hard, when you do top the rankings, surely you should be entitled to a constant flow of new customers?

That phone should be ringing off the hook…

… except it isn’t.


Meta Description tumblewee


Something’s not right.

  • You’ve optimized your website.
  • You’ve created some quality content.
  • You’ve been busy promoting your brand.
  • You’re ranking highly for loads of great keywords.

You’ve done it.

You’ve fought off the competition. And you’ve sweated blood and tears for months in the process.

However, despite a strong digital presence, nothing’s happening.



I can feel your pain.

But… hold on.

Don’t throw in the towel.

The chances are, you just need to look at your meta descriptions.

I’m not sure how familiar you are with meta descriptions, but they’re really important [especially these days].

They can build or bust a business.

So today, help is at hand.

In this post, I’m going to do 3 things:

  1. Explain what a meta descriptions is.
  2. Reveal just how important meta descriptions are.
  3. Show you how to write them [by way of a demo and some tips].


BONUS: click here  to download the meta descriptions for the 100 most powerful brands in the world [from Forbes’ 2015 list].


And if all that wasn’t enough, I’m also offering some FREE help.

That’s right, if you get in quick, I’ll write the meta description for your website’s home page for nothing and get you well on the way to increasing your marketing ROI.

[More on that at the bottom of this post.]


1. What are meta descriptions?

A meta description probably sounds like it’s going to be something overly technical, but in reality, it isn’t.

It’s simply the little snippet of information that displays in a search result:


Meta Description example #1


Sometimes, a meta description is known as a meta tag. The copy doesn’t actually exist on the page in question; instead, it’s ‘tagged’ onto it.

They can be created for most types of content.

From normal web pages to blog posts, case studies to ebooks, if it’s published on a website, you can write a meta description for it.

The purpose of a meta description or meta tag is quite simple.

Google cares deeply about user experience, so meta descriptions exist to give anyone using a search engine a better understanding of the content they’ll see if they click on the link in question.

In other words, they’re there to help users work out which search result best suits their needs.

Ideally, then, a meta description should be descriptive and appealing [through persuasive language or some sort of clever hook].

By way of an example, let’s look at my post on copywriting tips.

On a set of search results, Google displays this:


Meta Description example #2


My meta description for this blog post contains:

  • the number of tips, demonstrating that this is an in-depth guide not a flimsy opinion piece.
  • how the tips will help a website and business, addressing popular pain points such as traffic generation.

Can you start to see the importance of this meta description?

It’s my marketing ammo.

If someone is searching for ‘copywriting tips’, those 2 lines are all I have to convince them that I’m their best option.

If I don’t make the most of them and no one clicks on my link, from an SEO point of view, the entire post is a complete waste of time.

Get it right and I could have a potential new customer arrive on my site.

Do it wrong and they’ll head to a rival.

Are you ready to make the most out of your search presence?


2. Why you dare not ignore your meta descriptions.

A meta description is the last stop on a search journey.


Meta Description saloon


If you don’t create a good meta description then you’re wasting a golden marketing opportunity.

Someone has found your site.

A new lead.

Do you want them to start getting to know you… or someone else?

It’s a bit like being a second-hand car salesman, spending hours talking with a customer trying to sell them a car…

… and then walking away just as they’re ready to buy.

This guy would never do that:


Bad Meta Description


[And let’s face it, who doesn’t aspire to be like Swiss Toni?]

You’ve got to clinch the deal.

The vast majority of descriptions are of extremely poor quality.

Businesses tend to fall into one of 2 camps…

Scenario 1:

Most people are completely oblivious as to what meta descriptions are.

They aren’t aware of the critical part they play in your online success and they completely ignore them.

But here’s the thing:

Google WILL display something as a description or tag.

So if you don’t provide a meta description for them, they’ll just extract any old copy from the content and essentially make what amounts to nothing more than an automated guess.

If that happens to you then you could end up with a meta description that’s completely useless, like this:


Meta Description example #3


This is how NOT to do it.

Who is going to be drawn to this search result?

No one.

Why would you want to leave your marketing success in the hands of a machine?

It even happens to the big boys [this one is pure gibberish]:


Meta Description Example #4


Scenario 2:

The other common scenario sees meta descriptions just bunged in as a lazy after thought.

This gives a really sloppy feel to the search result:


Meta Description example #5


This description has no hook or incentive, and no specific information about the web page in question. I don’t see any reason for visiting this page at all.

[The copy doesn’t even make grammatical sense.]

Also, poor meta descriptions won’t fit in the given space properly.

Google requires a meta tag to be 150-160 characters. If you write more, the copy will just trail off:


Meta Description example #6


Again, this will greatly reduce the impact of anything you’re saying.

As further proof of their importance, don’t forget that social media platforms use meta descriptions when a web page is shared on their site:


Meta Description example #7


Did you catch Google’s latest announcement?

The need to create good meta descriptions gets even more apparent when you consider Google engineer Paul Haahr’s recent talk.

In what is groundbreaking news, Haahr confirmed that Google now uses click-through rate (CTA) data as a ranking signal.

Technically speaking, meta descriptions have nothing to do with SEO.

As Google announced in 2009, meta descriptions aren’t part of Google’s ranking algorithm.

[Perhaps that’s why they get ignored?]

However, Google’s latest announcement makes meta descriptions the very last piece of your SEO jigsaw.

Not only are they your FINAL opportunity to convince someone to click through to your website, they’re also something that will indirectly affect your ranking position.

Let’s use an example.

Suppose one of your web pages is ranked in first place on page one of Google:


Meta Description example #8


Google is saying that it’ll constantly monitor how many people click on your link.

If no one clicks on your link, Google will think your page isn’t relevant and the ranking position of your page in the search results will start to drop:


Meta Description example #9


However, let’s assume you had a web page in second position.

If you think of a brilliant marketing hook and create a great meta tag that hoovers up all the clicks, Google will think your page is a big hit with people.

As a result, it’s likely to get a bump up the search rankings:


Meta Description example #10


This process is happening continually, across every web page and every piece of content all over the internet.

To be fair, I guess this is a pretty logical path for Google to take.

If a web page was to rank in the top position for a keyword and no one ever clicked on it, why would Google want to showcase it in a set of search results?


3. How do I create a meta description?

Meta descriptions live and work behind the scenes of a web page, so they need to be entered into your content management system (CMS) for every page on your website.

[Please note: for completeness, it’s worth pointing out that no one can guarantee that Google will use the meta description you provide. But they usually will.]

Unfortunately, there are so many different types of websites that it’s impossible to give you a one-size-fits-all guide to entering your copy.

However, I’m going to show you how I write mine because even though I have a bespoke system, you’ll probably have something fairly similar.

In addition, because of the popularity or WordPress, I’m also going to demonstrate how to find the meta description field for a WordPress site.

[Please note: if neither guide helps and you need still can’t locate the meta description field in your CMS, just leave a comment at the end of this post.]

After that, I’m going to give you some great tips for writing meta descriptions that are based on real-life data.

Firstly, when I create a new blog post in my CMS, I have a field for meta descriptions under the ‘SEO’ tab:



For a WordPress site, it’s just as easy.

You’ll need an SEO plug-in like Yoast installed. Assuming that’s been done, here’s how you’d enter a meta description:

1. Go to an existing page or add a new post:


Meta Description - Plug-in #1


2. Scroll down and, immediately under the section that will contain the main body of your post, you’ll find the Yoast SEO options (or the equivalent):


Meta Description - Plug-in #2


3. Locate the section for the meta description:



4. Craft a great description:


Meta Description - Plug-in #3


5. Either save, publish or update (depending on what you’re doing):


Meta Description - Plug-in #1


Now let’s move onto the writing tips…

15 techniques for writing great meta descriptions.

What better way to get to grips with meta descriptions than by learning from those of the biggest companies around?

I’ve taken Forbes’ 2015 list of the 100 most valuable brands in the world and analysed their meta descriptions.

Take a look them – you’ll be surprised.


BONUS: click here  to download the meta descriptions for the 100 most powerful brands in the world [from Forbes’ 2015 list].

Some aren’t as good at marketing themselves as you might think.

A few meta descriptions in the list are great.

The vast majority are pretty mediocre.

Some, believe or not, are absolutely terrible.

Regardless, there’s much to learn.

Your marketing approach will differ depending on what your meta description is to be used for. For instance, a meta description for a home page will be very different than that of a product page.

Regardless, here are 15 tips to help you create some killer copy.


Tip 1: Make your descriptions fit.

As I mentioned earlier, a meta description needs to be 150-160 characters long.

Here’s a less-than-optimal effort from Nescafe:


Meta Description example #11


From that first sip of coffee to what?

You might be tempted to think that Nescafe as so big and successful that they don’t need a good meta tag. But compare that to the tag for Disney’s homepage:


Meta Description example #12


Point is, as the saying goes, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. And that’s certainly true with search marketing.


Tip 2: Make your descriptions unique.

All the meta descriptions on your website need to be different.

This is the description for Gillette’s homepage:


Meta Description example #13


I really like how they’ve highlighted their core mission, but they’ll have to be careful that they don’t duplicate this sales-style copy across their product pages.

On a related note, Google doesn’t care about the keywords you use in a meta description. In this sense, your meta tag won’t contribute to your search success at all.

Always write your meta descriptions for humans, not search engines.

Avoid the temptation to wedge a keyword into your copy.

If it makes sense to have a keyword in your meta tag, then by all means include it. But it’s got to be natural. Because cramming in keywords won’t get us the results we want.


Tip 3: Use power words in a search snippet.

Like all good copy, the best meta descriptions are impactful.

This effort from Cisco is pretty bold, mentioning how they’re a ‘worldwide leader’ who have a range of services that ‘transform’ our lives:


Meta Description example #14


Likewise, AT&T’s marketing strategy is to call our popular products like the iPhone 6 and talk about ‘special offers’ and ‘incredible deals’:


Meta Description example #15


Tip 4: Make the most of your meta title.

A meta title sits on top of a meta description (or meta tag) in a search result:


Meta Description example #16


A good title can sometimes really add to the effectiveness of a description. They can work in tandem to reinforce a key message:


Meta Description example #17


A meta title is inserted into your CMS [the field for a meta title is normally right next to where you’d enter a meta description].

Titles need to be much shorter than a meta description if they are to fit.

They to be 50-60 characters or the copy will truncate:


Meta Description example #18


So if your blog post headline is more than 60 characters [like the one you’re reading], you’ll need a slightly different meta title.


Tip 5: Embrace your brand identity.

A meta description is a great place to reaffirm an ethos or some kind of brand promise [especially for home pages]:


Meta Description example #19

Here, Santander are showing marketing consistency.


Tip 6: Showcase what you do.

There’s no need to be shy (since when is being shy in marketing a good thing?).

If possible, work on a description that gives an overview of your business.

Check this example out:



If I knew nothing about MTV, I can instantly know everything about this website from this description alone. One search and I’m clued up.


Tip 7: Flag up any special offers.

A meta description is a great place to advertise any discounts or offers you’ve got going on.

Basically, the bigger the incentive, the better:


Meta Description example #19


Tip 8: Have a clear call-to-action (CTA).

Whether we like to admit it or not, consumers like to be told what to do.

There are far too many options available to us these days, so you can’t risk a potential visitor skimming past your site.

If you want a searcher to do something, tell them:


Meta Description example #20


Tip 9: Proofread your description.

Make sure your copy makes sense, otherwise you end up with something like this:


Meta Description example #21


Tip 10: Be creative and have fun.

This description tells me that if I click on this link, I’m probably going to have quite a boring experience:


Meta Description example #22


However, although it doesn’t use the amount of characters at their disposal, the Frito-Lay description gives me the exact opposite feeling:


Meta Description example #23


Tip 11: Offer a solution to a problem.

Searchers have found your website because they’re looking for something.

Let’s suppose I want to buy a new Kia car. Their description tells me everything I need to know:


Meta Description example #24


Do they sell second-hand cars? Yes.

Can I book a test drive? Yes?

Is there a dealer near me? I can use their tool to find out.

Plus, I like the use of the word ‘browse’.

It implies that they won’t be pushy. I feel that I could go onto their website or visit a dealer and have a good look around without being hounded.

Being pounced on when looking around a garage for a car is a huge pain point for most people. I haven’t engaged with them yet – my mind is eased from one simple search.


Tip 12: Show empathy.

To put it bluntly, emotion sells.

Does this meta description stir up any emotion in you? Does it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?


Meta Description example #25


Thought not.

Well, what about this one:


Meta Description example #26


Not amazing, but a bit better, isn’t it?

While the phrase ‘for your driving pleasure’ is old-fashioned and quite jarring, I like the principle of what they’re trying to achieve.

Basically, they’ve got a bunch of really great cars that are just waiting for a test drive. Sounds like fun!


Tip 13: Have self-awareness: it’s not all about you.

Point is, someone is reading your meta description for a particular reason.

This isn’t the time to map out the structure of your business. What a waste of a search result this is:


Meta Description example #28


Tip 14: Don’t try to say too much.

When you know you’ve only got a certain amount of words to play with in a search description, it’s sometimes easy to try and cram in too many points.

Chanel say so much that they end up saying nothing at all:


Meta Description example #29


And sometimes, you can say so much that you completely lose sight of what your business is all about:


Meta Description example #30


Am I missing something or isn’t Subway a place where you can make your own [great] sandwiches?

You wouldn’t have guessed so from this meta description.


Tip 15: Preview your meta description first.

Check out this tool.

It will let you play around with your copy and preview what your meta description will look like [for free].

Here’s how I used it to come up with the meta title and meta description for my copywriting post:


Meta Description example #31


Now it’s your turn.

Without meta descriptions, you invariably weaken your ability to drive consumers to your website.

That could be an expensive mistake.

Don’t be one of those business who are rolling the dice with their digital futures.

Take the time to analyse how the big boys do it.

Learn from their successes…

… and failures.

Then you can put your feet up safe in the knowledge that you’re doing all you can to market you business effectively in the digital age.


BONUS: click here to download the meta descriptions for the 100 most powerful brands in the world [from Forbes’ 2015 list].


FREE help with your meta descriptions.

Want assistance from a professional copywriter?

I’m offering to write a meta description for your home page only.

All I ask in return is that you do 2 things:

Thing #1:

Download the meta descriptions from the world’s top 100 brands.

It’s going to be important to analyse these in your own time, so that you’ll be able to write the meta descriptions for the rest of your site.

Thing #2:

Leave a comment for this post directly under this message, telling me “I’m in” or something similar.

When I’ve been notified that you’ve downloaded the pdf and left a comment, I’ll get in touch.

Please understand that some of my posts have earned 1000s of shares.

For that reason, don’t panic if I take a while to contact you. I’ll do this on a first come, first served basis.

Equally, I also reserve the right to stop this offer at any stage.

[This post was written in collaboration with SEO expert Nikolay Stoyanov.]


Matt Press is the founder, owner and Director of Splash Copywriters. He’s an experienced UK copywriter who worked for Sky for 11 years.

10 top social selling best practices from 10 experts 0

Posted on May 01, 2016 by Rob Petersen


Social Selling best practices

  • 74% of B2B Buyer conduct more than half of their research online (source: Accenture)
  • 72% of salespeople using social media outperform their peers (source: Forbes)
  • 65% of buyer feel that the vendor’s content had an impact on their final purchase decision (source: Macalister Bali and Co.)

Social Selling is the process of researching, connecting, and interacting with prospects and customers on social media networks to provide value by answering questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.

Social Selling best practices are the methods and techniques that consistently show superior results and are used as a benchmark.

Here are 10 top Social Selling best practices from 10 experts.

  1. APPROACH AS MICRO-MARKETING: The biggest mistake people make is being afraid to move out of their comfort zone.  Just because you’ve been selling moderately well for the late 10 years, doesn’t mean that can change.  Trust me, the buyer has changed.  For the first time in human history, a buyer can gather information on nearly anything, without human interaction.  But they need human assistance to finish the purchase. – Jamie Shanks, CEO at Sales for Life
  2. MAKE YOUR BRAND EASY TO FIND THROUGH SOCIAL: When prospects start their purchasing cycle, having an established, highly visible social presence ups your chances of being in the right place at the right time—when they’re ready to buy. That accessibility also goes a long way to ensuring you’ll make their short list when decision time arrives. There are myriad ways to strengthen your social visibility. Don’t neglect the obvious ones, like including links to your social accounts in your email signature, updating your social profiles regularly, and staying engaged in the major prospect forums. – Gerry Moran, Global Head of Social Media, Cognizant Technology Solutions
  3. DO INTELLIGENT RESEARCH TO FIND THE RIGHT PEOPLE: Gone are the days when LinkedIn was ‘only’ a recruiting platform. A right search will lead you to the right person, therefore increasing your return on investment (ROI) considerably. The added advantage of knowing the right person in the circle of influence, will influence the decision-making process of the buyer. There are an average of 5.4 buyers in the B2B sales process. And if the influencers are included, there are an estimate of 10 people influencing the decision making. Connecting with the director and key influencing people in the company will provide you leverage among other sellers. – Mike Derezin, VP Sales Solutions, LinkedIn
  4. START A CONVERSATION BY SHARING VALUABLE EXPERTISE: Don’t only monitor your lists, connections, and groups. Actually share valuable expertise. Top executives know a generic marketing message when they see it, so you need to set yourself apart from the rest. The key to doing this is authenticity. Share your real opinions on specific sales matters. Comment on highly viewed LinkedIn publishing posts. Start a polite conversation with someone on Twitter about their viewpoint. Agree or disagree, but take a stance, and interact with others. – Megan Tonzi, Director of Marketing, AG Saleswork
  5. DEMONSTRATE VALIDITY AND TRUSTWORTHINESS: Social media plays a critical role in gaining credibility; everyone uses it, and if you aren’t using it, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of social data. So stay professional, use tact and remember to let connections happen organically. – Koka Sexton, Head of Social Media, LinkedIn
  6. GET REALLY GOOD AT CREATING RELEVANT CONTENT: Social selling has a strong streak of education to it. And while us buyers do want to control the sales process now, we love information. It’s just got to be relevant information. Send me irrelevant information, and you fall into the background noise. Send relevant information that’s just what I need to know right now and… well, I might just like you so much I’d get on the phone with you. – Pam Neely, Author at Act-On
  7. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOCIAL SELLING AND SOCIAL MEDIA: Revenue creation is the only differentiator between social selling and social media marketing. What is your goal? Is your goal to make a sale? Are you trying to generate interest in your product or service that will lead to an offline conversation? If yes, you are engaging in social selling. On the other hand, if your goal is to simply generate vanity metrics—followers, likes, shares, comments, etc.—with no actionable conversion metrics like SQLs created, accounts created, opportunities created, or revenue generating metrics like appointments, sales demos, conversations, closed deals and revenue, then you are engaging in social media marketing. – Lolly Spindler, Content Marketing Manager at xoombi
  8. MEASURE SOCIAL SELLING PROGRESS FROM LIKES TO LEADS: One of the challenges for social selling is that it does not operate like the traditional sales funnel. Sales leads and nurturing can jump across platforms and networks, and they can increasingly enter the funnel not just at the top, but much further down. Social teams now sit at a crux of sales and marketing that opens a huge and opportunity for them, but also requires those teams to understand the unique metrics and KPIs for sales and marketing, and how they intersect and overlap. – Henry Nofthaft Jr., Founder and CEO, Trapit
  9. KNOW THE NUMBER OF TOUCH POINTS IT TAKES TO CONVERT: Each company should analyze how many touch points they need to be trusted, to get a lead, to get a demo presentation, and to close a sale. At our company, we’ve discovered it takes 22 touch points to get a demo appointment scheduled (combination of digital and traditional prospecting). Of the 22 touch points, 13-15 are through social media. – Gabe Villamizar, Director of Social Selling, HireVue
  10. WORK AT IT CONTINUALLY: Social Selling is hard work performed over significant elapsed time. You must build a formidable, digitally based, personal brand that projects your unique promise of value. Then researching and connecting with executives, decision makers and influencers on ‘social’ takes time and skill. Nurturing social relationships with those executives by sharing content that is of relevance and value takes significant work, time and skill. However the rewards can be outstanding. Good social sellers can achieve over 90% success rate when making an approach to set up that first face to face meeting with a connection they have nurtured.  I see salespeople achieve it every day. – John Smibert, Manager and Facilitator, Strategic Selling Group

Below is an infographic from Sales for Life that details the state of Social Selling in 2016.

Do these social selling best practices help you see how social selling can work for you? And your company? Are you interesting in having a conversation about it?


6 studies why Facebook organic reach is declining so fast 0

Posted on April 25, 2016 by Rob Petersen


Facebook Organic Reach Insanity

  • 50,000,000+ businesses have a Facebook page
  • 1.48 is the average number of times these brands post each day
  • 2% is their Facebook organic reach and it’s declining (source: DMR)

50,000,000 businesses post 1.5 times a day to reach a 2%, a small and shrinking percentage of their audience. Does this fulfill the definition of insanity?

Why is Facebook organic reach declining so fast? What can business do? Here are 6 studies to explain.

  • TOO MANY POSTS, TOO LITTLE SPACE (FACEBOOK): Facebook studied the average user to find 1,500 posts appear in their feed each day. But if someone has lots of friends and Likes lots of pages, that number could balloon to 15,000. Because Facebook’s goal is to show people the most engaging posts, all posts are not created equal. It built a News Feed sorting algorithm, known as EdgeRank, analyzing 100,000 different indicators. Essentially, everyone has to earn their space in News Feed. But do businesses that pay for Facebook ads have an advantage? Here’s how the Facebook algorithm is determined:

Facebook Organic Reach TechCrunch


  • SPIRAL STARTS (EDGERANK): EdgeRank chronicled the decline.  From 2012 to 2014, it went from 16.00% to 6.51%, a 60% decline. The studies showed brands that struggled to engage their audience, when measured against brands with “Social DNA” were hit the hardest. Here’s the trend:

Facebook Organic Reach EdgeRank


  • LARGER THE FAN BASE, LOWER THE REACH (OGILVY): According to a Social@Ogilvy analysis of more than 100 brand pages, they also concluded Facebook organic reach hovered at 6%. For large brand pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach hit 2%. Facebook sources were unofficially advising community managers to expect it to approach zero in the future. All of the detailed data, analysis and practical recommendations are in the full white paper.

Facebook Organic Reach Ogilvy


  • PAY TO PLAY (CONVINCE AND CONVERT): Follow the money. Convince and Convert put together a chart showing  Facebook’s declining organic reach charted against Facebook’s rising stock price during the same period. As organic reach dropped from approximately 12% to 6%, Facebook’s stock price moved from nearly $50 to nearly $70. Advertising is Facebook’s primary source of revenue. For those relying on Facebook organic reach and using Facebook as their social hub, Jay Baer asked: Why build a house on rented land?

Facebook Organic Reach Pay to Play


  • CONSIDER YOUR CONTENT (SOCIALBAKERS): According to Socialbakers, which analyzed 4,445 brand pages and 670,000 posts, video is the most effective way to reach an audience with an average Facebook organic reach of 8.7%, followed by Links and Text only posts at 5.3% and 5.8%, respectively Facebook Organic Reach by Media Type


  • CAN’T BEAT ‘EM; JOIN ‘EM – COMBINE ORGANIC AND PAID (CONTENTLY): In a case study for Castrol Motorcycle Oil, the first phase involved an organic social media marketing campaign for six months. It delivered 5,000 fans, a good level of organic growth and 26,000 social interactions showing great engagement potential. But Castrol was focusing on North America. Facebook is a global network and organic reach can’t be controlled by region. When Paid Social Media was added, this hiked up the number of new fans. Plus, it could be controlled with a significantly high number coming  from the region the company was really going after – the United States. The study showed that combining paid with organic increased reach and engagement.

Facebook Organic Reach Case Study

Did you know Facebook organic reach is declining this fast? Do these studies help explain why? Do you agree with what you can do?

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