47 digital marketing tools to help you be more productive

One of the biggest challenges digital marketers face is finding the right set of digital marketing tools. I rounded up some of the best digital marketing tools out there to maximize your efforts when it comes to Twitter; day-to-day work tasks; search engine optimization (SEO) and keyword research; and your personal brand and online reputation.

12 Twitter tools to help you maximize your tweets

Some of the top questions when it comes to Twitter: How do your tweets noticed? How do you get them retweeted and liked? And how do you grow your followers? The key is to optimize your tweets. These tools can help you ensure you maximize every tweet.

15 helpful tools to increase your productivity in the workplace

Time-saving tools are critical I today’s world where it seems like we always have pressing deadlines. These tools can help you be more productive at work, ranging from converting PDFs to PowerPoint slides, discovering how much time you spend time working on certain things to creating cool graphics for your social media and blog posts.

10 free keyword research tools for writing compelling headlines

What keywords does your audience type into search to find your company or your competitors? Keyword research is the foundation of a good SEO strategy and a key component of your content marketing strategy. To write more compelling and better headlines for your articles, blog posts, landing pages, news releases, and overall website, these tools can help you increase your website traffic, improve visibility in search engines such as Google and Bing, improve your odds of others your sharing your content via their social network, and genetate ideas for future creation and curation of content.

10 free tools to manage your personal brand and online reputation

Do you Google yourself and find someone else with your same name? Want attract recruiters and future employers to contact you? Want to land that perfect job? If your answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you should take a more proactive approach to managing your personal brand and online reputation. It is not an easy task but these free tools can help you.

What tools do you find helpful as a digital marketer?


The A to Z guide to digital marketing

Whether you are just starting out or you understand the topic well, it is important to master the fundamentals. That is why I wrote the A to Z guide to content marketing and the A to Z guide to social media blog posts so people could better understand the fundamentals of content marketing and social media.

Now, the term digital marketing is being used everywhere. But what does digital marketing really mean? Digital marketing is an umbrella term for your online or digital marketing efforts. It is where companies use digital channels such as websites, Google search, social media, email and other digital channels to connect online with clients and prospects.

Here is your A to Z guide to digital marketing:


Marketing automation tools like Marketo, Hubspot, and Eloqua help automate, streamline and measure marketing tasks, actions, and workflows such as emails, social media and other website actions like landing pages.


An Internet bot or also called a web robot is a software application that performs an automated task over the Internet such as setting you an alarm, telling you the weather, or searching online. It is like ordering something via text and having it delivered to you without every talking to a human. Bots are used on the Internet where the emulation of human activity is required such as a chatbot. For example, a simple question and answer exchange could occur online and it may seem like you are interacting with another person but it is simply a bot you are talking to. Read why bots are like email but better.


A conversion is where someone online responds to your call to action on your website, on your social media channels, on your application or on your landing pages. This metric does not necessarily indicate sales but rather that people are engaged and interested in your call to actions and what you have to say. Read the importance of conversion.


How do you manage all it? In today’s world, we are swimming in data ranging from website visits to personal customer data. A lot of people talk about the importance of big data but small data is just important. Whether it is big or small data, what you need as a digital marketer is the right data.


Even with the growth of social media and content marketing, email is still one of the most effective ways to market digitally to your database of clients and prospects on a regular basis. Email has grown into a complex and sophisticated tool where 82 percent of consumers open emails from companies, according to Litmus. Read 25 mind-blowing email marketing stats.


The purchase funnel is also referred to as customer funnel, the marketing funnel, the sales funnel or the conversion funnel. The funnel is a consumer-focused marketing model to illustrate the theoretical customer journey toward purchasing a product or service. With digital marketing, the traditional stages of the funnel have changed. What used to be a theoretical linear path from leads to converting those leads into customers, the path is now a multi-faceted process that can start and stop in various parts of the funnel. The funnel has to come to a point where many are now re-thinking the digital funnel and to some people, the funnel has evolved into a digital ecosystem.


In order to measure your digital marketing performance, you need to set goals. Your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time bound. Your goals should cover a range of different measures to help you set, review and manage your performance across all of your digital marketing activities. Goals should be something like: increase your organic search traffic year over year, increase your click through rate on social ads, improve your email open rates by 10 percent this quarter, or grow social shares by 5 percent this year.


Everything starts with a hook. A hook is a tease, a sample, and a mental appetizer to give your clients and prospects just enough to leave them wanting more so they take action on your digital marketing call to actions. Your hooks bring people to your website, get them to read your content, and encourage them to click on your call to actions. Withholding some information is a great hook because developing the hook doesn’t cost much. When people take the hook, they give you permission to follow up and market to them more. Some examples of hooks are coupons, contests, free downloads, and free consultations. Read tips for creating a memorable marketing hook.


Interactive content is like a survey, a calculator, or an interactive infographic that engages participants in an activity such as answering questions, making choices, and/or exploring scenarios. Read the 5 forms of interactive content. Overall, the interactive content provides the participants with some useful answers or results. Interactive content helps enhance the level of user experience on your website. Read 5 B2B examples of interactive content and 15 tools to create interactive content.


Marketing is going through a transformation with the shift toward companies becoming digital businesses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says employment in the marketing field is expected to rise 7 percent by 2024 and job security is strong because marketing is important to most companies bottom line. In today’s world, you have no choice but to get involved in the digital marketing if you want to continue to grow your career and be employable in the future. To have a job in digital marketing, professionals need to be agile, learn quickly, and be team-oriented.


Keyword research is an important aspect of any digital marketing or search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. Search engines help users find content based on links and keywords. To make your content easier to find with the users you want to attract, it is important to understand what SEO keywords you want to rank for in the search engines and put the keywords in the title, URL, and headings of your content. But be careful not to overuse keywords. That is called keyword stuffing. Read Moz’s Beginner Guide to SEO.

Landing Page

A landing page is any website page that you create that is designed to get traffic from different sources and prompt users to take an action such as download something, sign up for something via email, or join something. Read 16 of the best landing page design examples and 31 call-to-action examples you can’t help but click.


“You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” the old management adage goes. In digital marketing, it is important to measure and track the performance of your marketing efforts. Read 10 simple and reliable digital marketing metrics and track only the digital marketing metrics that matter to your CEO. These metrics could include cost per lead per channel, conversion rates for sales or leads.

Native Advertising

Native advertising is an umbrella term to label advertisements that are content-led and are featured on a website alongside other non-paid editorial content in the form of an article or video. One of the best examples of native advertising is BuzzFeed. Others consider media advertising on social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram as native advertising. Read why the digital advertising ecosystem loves native.


Optimization is the process of improving your marketing efforts of your company. In digital marketing, it is optimizing content, landing pages, emails, applications, web browsers, mobile devices, and ads to increase traffic, clicks, and conversions.  Optimization has become required for successful digital marketers who want to reduce costs and increase sales. Read 5 digital marketing optimization lessons from the top performers.

Pay per click (PPC)

Pay per click is a model of digital marketing where advertisers pay a fee for a click. Each time an ad is clicked on it takes users to your specific landing page, and you are charged a specific rate per click. Pay per click is a way of buying visits to your websites instead of earning them organically with non-paid clicks. Search engine advertising or search engine marketing such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads is one of the most popular forms of pay per click.


The best digital marketing is where your digital presence is used to answer your client or potential client’s questions. Read a revolutionary marketing strategy: answer customers’ questions featuring Marcus Sheridan. When you use search using Google or Bing, you are looking for answers to a specific question. By answering questions about how your company can help people, search engines will serve up your content to people looking for answers to those questions.


Remarketing or also known as retargeting is a form of digital advertising that uses a cookie-based technology to anonymously follow your audience around the web. The cookie then helps digital marketers target users through paid search and display ads as they go around to different websites. The effort can help you keep your company top of mind after leaving your website. Only 2 percent of web traffic converts on the first visit so remarketing is a tool to help companies reach users who don’t convert right away.


Your digital marketing strategy is a series of actions based on your specific goals, targets, budget, and timeframe. In other words, a strategy is a plan of action to achieve your desired goals. One of your goals may be to generate 10 percent more traffic to your website this year compared to last year. Read the complete guide to creating a digital marketing strategy that works. According to Smart Insights, 46 percent of companies don’t have a defined digital marketing strategy. That is shocking since an effective digital marketing strategy will help you make the right decisions and make sure your company successful with digital marketing.


The optimal structure of your digital marketing team varies from company to company but there are some common activities that need to be managed. That is why you need to have the right team with the right skill sets. It is important to hire specialists in specific areas with a broad understanding of the digital marketing landscape. Read 5 people you need on your digital marketing team, the CMO guide to digital marketing organization structures and the anatomy of a digital marketing dream team.

User Experience

User experience (UX) is the feeling that a user takes away with him or her after an experience in a digital environment. UX is one the most important things for developing and executing a modern digital marketing strategy. User experience should be customized and personalization. According to Experience Dynamics, 96 percent of smartphone users have encountered websites that weren’t designed for their mobile devices and if content is not properly optimized, 79 percent of users will leave the respective page and search for another website to help them. Read 6 tips to improve user experience and 4 things digital marketers should know about user experience.


Content with relevant images gets 94 percent more views than content without relevant images, according to Kiss Metrics. People engage better with visual content. Visual content can be stand-alone images, videos, infographics, animated GIFs, and images in blog or articles. In fact, 35 percent of marketers selected visual assets as their most important content and 65 percent of senior marketing executives believed visual assets is core to how their brand story was communicated.


According to the recent Gartner CMO spend survey, 52 percent of marketers surveyed expect to increase spending on their websites. Your websites reflect your brand and should offer high-quality content and should be easy to navigate. Read how to make your website more effective. Not all website pages are created equal. Your home page should be the front door of your home, your content pages should tell your stories, and your landing pages should turn visitors into leads or get them to do more on your website. Read what’s difference between a home page and a landing page? To take it a step further, there are two types of landing pages: click-through landing pages and lead generation landing pages. Your websites are one of the most critical parts of your digital marketing efforts because all of your other digital marketing activities should lead your users eventually back to your websites for conversion.


A x-factor is a special quality, especially one that is essential for success and is difficult to describe. For example, the X factor in better content marketing is agile marketing. Companies and people need to be ready for x-factors that influence the success of their digital marketing efforts.


The word yield, as it relates to digital marketing, is giving up or surrendering the power to your buyers. It is not the word yield, as it relates to finance, where an investment yields a good return. In today’s world, more of the buying process is done online so it is critical you excel in digital marketing in both the B2B and B2C worlds. For example, 94 percent of B2B buyers research online for purchase decisions and 81 percent of shoppers/consumers conduct online research before making a purchase. Are your digital marketing efforts helping your current or potential buyers when they are researching?


Taking an approach that differs from everyone else can help you stand out. As Brian Clark from Copyblogger says: “when I see everyone doing something, I know it is time to do something else. In other words, when everyone is zigging, it’s time to zag.” Are you zagging when it comes to digital marketing?

Now it is your turn, what would you add?

What words did you like or not like in this A to Z guide? What would you add? What letters would you replace? What other popular digital marketing terms would you add to this list?

welcome guest

How to be a guest contributor on 10 popular websites

Becoming a guest contributor on a popular website is a great way to build your personal brand. Publications are always looking for new contributors. However, pitching guest blogging proposals and becoming a guest contributor at popular websites can be time-consuming for you.

Each website has different requirements and instructions. Some require topic pitches, some full articles and some require abstracts.

To help you save time on sorting through the requirements and gathering information, we scoured the top websites for their submission guidelines and instructions on how to be a guest contributor.

Remember, it is important you submit an authentic and original article on a topic that is relevant to each of these website’s readership. And before you submit anything, make sure you spend time reading the website’s articles so you understand what the website likes to publish.

Make sure that your articles are well written and well researched. The better you write, the less work it is for editors. Ensure you have a firm grasp of your topic. You may want to follow up in a firm but polite way with a brief follow-up email if you haven’t heard back in a week or so.

Here is a quick overview of the publications and how to contribute to the website with instructions and guidelines:

1. Forbes

About: is a website that focuses on news and information about business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership and affluent lifestyles.

To contribute: To be a regular contributor, you need to fill out this Google Docs form. The form will ask you for your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, the concept for your “Forbes page” such as overall theme and story ideas. It will also ask you why you are expert on the topic, and you will need to provide samples of your work.

2. Huffington Post

About: Huffington Post is a publication that covers news, blogs and original content about U.S. politics, entertainment, style, world news, technology, and comedy.

To contribute: According to their contact page, visit this Google Doc page to submit your blog idea and your bio. They are looking for succinct, shareable and satisfying articles. Here is a helpful blog post on how to become a regular contributor. If you are a current contributor to Huffington Post, read this article.

3. Fast Company

About: Fast Company is a popular online business publication that covers technology, ethical economics, leadership and design. It says it is written for progressive business leaders to inspire readers and users ‘to think beyond traditional boundaries, lead conversations, and create the future of business,” according to their About page.

To contribute: According to their guidelines for submitting articles, your articles should be between 750 and 900 words and be exclusive for Fast Company. They need to be complete and unpolished articles that are intended for Fast Company’s audience. Articles should have a tone appropriate to Fast Company and be written by a person, not a PR department. They are only accepting articles for their leadership section. Articles should be submitted to Associate Editor Rich Bellis at They don’t want pitches, abstracts, outlines, press releases, or interview offers.

4. Entrepreneur

About: is a publication geared toward business owners who are starting and growing their businesses. They cover actionable information and practical tips for startups.

To contribute: To become a contributor, fill out the form on their contributor page. It is almost identical to the Forbes contributor form in that they want to know your contact information, your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, themes, story ideas, why you are expert on the topic, and samples of your work.


About: is an online publication that writes articles for small businesses. They provide entrepreneurs with advice and tools.

To contribute: Visit their contact page to learn more and under “contributing to Inc.” they say to be a regular columnist, email They don’t clarify on what they are looking for but your email should follow what Forbes contributor form and Entrepreneur contributor page are looking for with submissions.

6. Business Insider

About: Business Insider is a business publication that covers industry topics such as financial, media and technology.

To contribute: According to their contact page, you should email According to how to contribute to Business Insider page, you should send a final draft of your article, a proposed headline, a brief bio, and links to other articles you have published. You may want to review their authors’ page to get an idea about what other contributors are writing about.

7. Business2Community

About: Business2Community is a publication that covers breaking news and top trends in social media, digital marketing, content marketing, social selling and social business.

To contribute: To contribute, visit their become a contributor page. You will then need to read their contributor guidelines and fill out their online application form that includes your contact information, your website, and three writing samples that show that you know the topic and you have quality blog posts.

8. Social Media Today

About: Social Media Today provides news, trends and best practices on social media and digital marketing.

To contribute: To contribute, there are two ways. You can register with the website to create posts that go directly to the website. They are looking for bloggers who want to provide exclusive posts that meet Social Media Today’s standards. You can also set up your account to take in posts from the RSS feed of your blog. Social Media Today can pick from those posts to post on their blog. To learn more, visit their blogger approval and posting page.

9. Mashable

About: Mashable is a publication that prides itself on being the “go-to source” for technology, digital culture and entertainment content.

To contribute: To contribute, visit their submit news page. Fill out the form on the page to submit a pitch, tip or article. They will ask you what type of submission: exclusive story, a news update, a hot tip, an editorial suggestion or other.

10. and

About: PR Daily is a daily news website that delivers news and advice about the PR, marketing, social media and traditional media worlds. delivers practice advice, real-world solutions and field-tested strategies for today’s communicator.

To contribute: To become a contributor to and, visit the submit news page. They are looking for basic contact information, topic and your article. They will want to know if it is an aggregated news story, original story or column, a previously published blog post, a tip or other.

What other popular websites would you add to this list?

Business Case

How to build the business case for social selling

Below is my interview with Patricia Stamas-Jacoby, Publications Editor, at Frost & Sullivan in their Digital Marketing eBulletin. Part 2 of 2. Read part 1.

Frost & Sullivan: Energized by his participation at the 17th Annual Digital Marketing: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange event in Asheville, North Carolina this summer, Matthew Royse answered a few more timely questions about digital marketing.

We began by asking him to share his top two social selling tips from his presentation at the event, The Social Selling Revolution: 10 Tips to a Successful Social Selling Program That Drives Business Results.

Matthew Royse: My top two social selling tips are: 1) Start small with a pilot to get C-suite buy-in and 2) have a plan for follow-up and reinforcement.

For example, to get C-suite buy-in and build the business case for social selling, it is critical that your initiative starts small with a pilot. The pilot should be long enough to collect information but short enough so that it doesn’t take up too many resources.

There are five ways to get C-suite to buy-in on a social selling program: 

  1. Set a vision and establish a strategy.
  2. Find an internal social selling champion who can help you show the value and importance of social selling.
  3. Provide use cases or case studies on how other companies are taking advantage of social selling.
  4. The C-suite takes notice when competitors are doing something that your company is not doing. Find out what your competitors’ plans are for social selling.
  5. Build the business case during the pilot with documentation through a charter that explains the scope of the initiative, identifying an executive sponsor or sponsors and a timeline to show what is or what is not working.
How to Get C-Suite Buy-In

There are five ways to get C-suite buy-in for social selling: paint your vision and strategy, highlight success stories, provide case studies, present competitor activities, and document the business case with a charter.

To make your social selling program successful, it needs to stick so reinforcement and follow-up are critical.  Research shows companies that reinforce post-training activities achieve better business results. Ongoing education and reinforcement are vital to the long-term success of your program.

Your sales team needs a partner like marketing or sales enablement team to keep them up-to-date with the ever-changing landscape of social media and LinkedIn. For example, are we ready for potential LinkedIn changes as a result of the Microsoft buying LinkedIn?

Establishing a feedback loop with the sales team is critical for marketing and sales enablement teams who are leading this initiative. To help with reinforcement, explore some social selling tools like  LinkedIn Sales Navigator, PeopleLinx, and TrapIt. Also, it is important to provide your team with social selling resources with helpful blogs like Sales for Life and HubSpot.

Do you think there are any organizations that have successfully figured out how to leverage social media marketing effectively or profitably? Examples?

There are three brands that are using social media marketing effectively: Oreo, Dove and

Oreo is constantly producing fresh, relevant content on their social media websites. Oreo really made its name for itself on social media with the Super Bowl tweet “you can still dunk in the dark.”

Dove is always creating content aimed at making women feel good about themselves. Dove’s “Speak Beautiful” campaign encouraged women to be more positive when tweeting about beauty and body image. They teamed up with Twitter to measure how positive or negative women’s tweets are. People retweet a post on Dove’s Twitter account that has the hashtag #speakbeautiful and then Dove automatically responds to them with a link to a custom microsite that displays personalized Twitter data as a chart and how their tweets stack up against other women.

Domino’s is helping their customers order pizza in an easier way. They are also taking advantage of a trend of emoji’s on social media. Customers just need to tweet a pizza emoji to the Domino’s Twitter account or use the hashtag #easyorder.

Your key takeaway(s) from the 17th Annual Digital Marketing: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange event?

There were two big event takeaways for me:

  1. We, as marketers, need to shift toward agile marketing. Agile marketing helps large enterprises more quickly respond to change. It values rapid iterations over big campaigns; uses data and testing to drive modifications in executing the strategy; values small pilots over a few large bets; and encourages collaboration over silos and hierarchy.
  2. Be remarkable. Do something truly exceptional that stands out in a world of noise. What makes our company different than our competitors?. We need to constantly ask ourselves: Why are creating this piece of content? Why are we posting this to social media? If it doesn’t add value, why are we doing this? It is important that we, as marketers, constantly question things and try new things. It is ok to fail.

How about a recent digital marketing success story? Anything you would like to share that other marketers can learn from? 

A recent successful digital marketing story that stands out the most is the creation of our first eBook: Are You Ready for Data Center Facility of the Future? We created it for our new subsidiary, Forsythe Data Centers, a colocation data center outside of Chicago. The goal of the eBook was position Forsythe Technology as a thought leader on how the data center is changing and how to prepare for the future data center.

To provide well-rounded content, we teamed up with our partners, Emerson Network Power and Anixter. We interviewed their thought leaders. As a result of their participation, they agreed to help promote the eBook. More than 400 people have downloaded it. It has led to numerous opportunities for our sales team. Our sales team liked it so much they wanted the eBook printed so they could personally hand deliver it to their clients. It helped them have conversations with their clients about how companies can get ready for the future of the data center.

The eBook has helped us refine our content marketing strategy. Our strategy has evolved so we now create heavyweight and strategic content first with an eBook. Then, we repurpose and repackage the content from an eBook into different formats such as articles, infographics, webinars, and SlideShare presentations. We also promote the eBook in our email marketing programs. This strategy has been so successful that we are in the midst of our creating our next eBooks that will follow this similar framework.

Modern marketing is inextricably linked to technology…any technologies that you are particularly excited about?

Right now there are a lot of new and exciting marketing technologies at our fingertips, but with the never-ending options, it sometimes feels like navigating a transit map. Whether you jump in as an early adopter or ease into new technologies, the key is to understand these marketing technologies personally so you can advise your company on how it can work for you professionally. Right now, I am exploring wearables. It worked out well that I won a Fitbit at the Frost and Sullivan conference.

Any final marketing insights or observations? 

I am seeing a strong shift toward influencer marketing. Developing content with influencers has become a standard best practice for your content marketing and social media efforts. You may be asking: what is influencer marketing? Influence marketing is when a company works with key influencers to co-write content and the influencers would share that content with their networks. A great example is our data center eBook I mentioned earlier and LinkedIn’s Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide. In this series of guides, LinkedIn has created guides for content marketing and thought leadership. The influencers who co-create content for guides share the content online with their communities. Influencer marketing has become a more effective method for reaching a company’s target audiences at a more affordable price than advertising.

Speaking of advertising, advertising is not dead. It has just evolved, in large part because of digital marketing. According to a recent report, social media has captured a quarter of all digital ad spending.

Read the original “Discussing Digital Marketing” article.

Social selling from desk

10 tips to a successful social selling program that drives business results

Social selling is all the buzz in the B2B world. Social selling is revolutionizing sales like digital marketing changed marketing. With more B2B decision makers using social media and companies completing more of their buying cycle before they approach a supplier, social selling has become your company’s best bet. Research has shown that salespeople who use social media outperform those who don’t and exceed quota more often. But is it worth the effort?  How can you activate social media and content best practices into a powerful sales tool?

With highly-informed buyers needing salespeople who can provide relevant knowledge and help them tackle their business challenges, this blog post explores how to empower your sales team to meet these heightening customer demands. Learn what it takes to become the social selling expert at your company, including lessons learned and pitfalls to avoid when launching a social selling initiative. Learn about a framework for tackling social selling at your organization—including getting C-suite buy-in. And discover how social selling can help provide insights into your content marketing efforts.

Let’s first start with the definition of social selling.

What is Social Selling?

Social selling is when salespeople use social media to interact directly with clients and prospects. Social selling defined in 100 words.

Why Social Selling is Important

Social selling is a revolution for sales. Cold calls, qualifying leads, and sales demos are no longer effective as they once were. The new sales model is now about education, social media networks, and engagement. According to the Corporate Executive Board and OgilyOne, 60 percent of B2B customer research is conducted before contacting sales and 71 percent of salespeople believe their role will be radically different in five years.

The sales team is looking for a partner to help with this transition. Marketing is in a great spot to help since marketing is looking for more insight from sales on what content is being used and shared. According to Sirius Decisions, 60 to 70 percent of all company content goes unused. What content should marketing create more or less of?

Social selling is an evolution for marketing.

At its core, social selling is half social media and half content marketing.

Half Social Media - Half Content Marketing

Social selling is half social media, half content marketing. Marketing is in a great position to provide social media and content marketing advice to sales.

Content marketing and social media are two areas of marketing that have become too important for companies today to just stay within the marketing department.

Social selling is the next evolution of content marketing and social media.

Marketing has a great opportunity to provide their digital marketing expertise to the sales team who needs help in this area. Sales is looking for help with social media and their online presence. According to the Sales Management Association, two in three companies don’t have a social media strategy for sales, but 80 percent of sales teams would be more productive with a greater social media presence.

Most marketers, especially those at B2B companies, are tasked with better aligning with sales teams and enabling their sales teams with content and social media tips to better interact online with current customers and future ones.

The Rise of the Term “SMarketing”

With the growth of digital marketing and marketing taking on more of the sales or buying journey, the term SMarketing is rising in importance. SMarketing is the process of integrating the sales and marketing processes of a business.


Companies who have an integrated approach to sales and marketing are in a position to drive more growth and better target the ideal customers and retain current clients.

Now that you understand the importance of social selling, how does one create a social selling program? Here are 10 tips to launching a social selling program:

1. Explain Why Your Company Needs Social Selling

Buyers have more power in today’s world, thanks to the Internet and the rise of social media networks. As a result, their habits have changed because they can do more research online before interacting with someone. They can also ask more people about the products and services they are going to buy before interacting with sales. According to LinkedIn, 5.4 people are now involved in the average B2B buying decision; 75 percent of B2B buyers now use social media to be more informed on vendors; and 90 percent of decision makers say they never respond to cold outreach.

The Reality of the New Buyer

Buyers are self-educating before they make purchases, especially large ones. When was the last time you went to buy a car or TV at a store without knowing what type of car or TV you wanted? Did you know what types of “bells and whistles” you wanted?

Of course, you did.

You did all your research online before going to the store. And you may do more research on your smartphone while in the store.

Buyers are consuming more and more content before they buy online or in a store. Search engines like Google and Bing have created an “era of self-serve information.” Google’s Zero Moment of Truth study shows that consumers digest more than 10 pieces of online information before making a purchase decision. Therefore, companies today need to provide content that informs, educates, persuades, and retains customers or clients.

Buyers are changing the landscape for sales and marketing. Buyers have new knowledge expectations. They want advisors, not ready-made solutions. And they are including more people in decision-making process.

As a result, most buying cycles or sales cycles are getting longer.

The Corporate Executive Board has published excellent research about how the sales process or buying process has changed. They found that high-performing sales people are Challengers and the reason salespeople are successful is because it is all about how a sales person sells, not what he or she sells. They also published research on the key factors to create consensus in buying groups.

Frustration is occurring internally at many organizations. Conversations at companies today may be along the lines of something like this: “we’re losing deals to unlikely competitors” or  “our sales team is being engaged so far late in a buyers purchasing cycle, resulting in conversations about price and fulfillment” or “prospects are asking us ‘late funnel’ questions much earlier in the sales process.”

As a result, there is a shift at many companies where social selling is becoming more of the sales process since a majority of the self-educating is done before the first meeting with sales. Marketing and sales can no long take the “spray and pray” method or approach to finding new customers or clients. The new approach to selling and marketing is summed up well by Seth Godin in this quote.

Selling to People Who Want to Hear from You

Sales professionals, sales leadership, marketing leadership, sales enablement leaders, and C-suite executives will want to know what the outcome of social selling is at your organization.

Social Selling Outcomes

It is important to communicate the four main outcomes of social selling. They are:

  1. Thought leadership. Buyers choose sales rep that add value and insight.
  2. Brand. Build it over time so you become a trusted expert and are knowledgeable in certain topics.
  3. Competitive differentiation. Insights help differentiate you versus your competitors.
  4. Business conversations, not sales pitches. People don’t trust companies who cold call and are perceived as “spammy.”

Companies that provide value and insights are winning their customers or clients over. According to Corporate Visions, 74 percent of buyers choose the sales rep that was first to bring value and insight and according to Forrester, 82 percent of buyers viewed at least five pieces of content from the winning vendor. Check out these 107 mind-blowing sales stats.

The Social Seller Wins

Research has shown the sales person who uses social selling performs better than the sales person who doesn’t. According to LinkedIn, social sellers create 45 percent more opportunities; social sellers are 51 percent more likely to achieve quota and 78 percent of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media.

Now that you understand the value and outcomes of social selling, let’s talk about how you should begin.

2. Start Small With a Pilot to Get C-Suite Buy-In

To get C-suite buy-in, it is important to start small with a pilot. The pilot should be long enough to collect enough data to build your business case but short enough that it doesn’t take too many resources.

There are five key ways to get C-suite to buy-in on social selling. They are:

  1. Vision and strategy. It is important to demonstrate where you are now, and where you want to go or need to go with this initiative. Creating a maturity model, outlining your strategy for social selling, and communicating the business value of the initiative on a page can help paint your vision and strategy.
  1. Success stories. It is critical to have social selling champions internally who can help you show the value of social selling to your business.
  1. Case studies. It is important to see how other companies are taking advantage of social selling. LinkedIn and Sales for Life have good case studies for social selling.
  1. Competitors. One of the best ways to get the C-suite attention about your initiative is to look at your competitor’s plans and show them that your company is behind because our competitors have already launched this social selling initiative.
  1. Business case. It is vital to make your business case for social selling, not in promising immediate return on investment, but in documenting the process with a charter, what is in scope or out of scope for this initiative, who are the executive sponsors are, and what the timeline is for certain short-term activities. Executives at your company will want to know how well social selling can scale with a certain budget.

Following these five above tips and launching a small pilot can help you show some early results.

3. Show How Social Selling Integrates Internally

To ensure that your social selling program gets buy-in from key stakeholders, it is important to partner with others internally, especially leadership from departments such as sales, sales enablement, solution/product/services, human resources, and training.

Once you have identified the key departments internally, you should take the time to learn about how each department’s priorities and goals intersect with social selling. For example, at Forsythe Technology, we partner with our thought leaders in our pre-sales organization. We first started with our FOCUS Magazine authors. We also partnered with our pre-sales organization and select members of our human resource department to show them how social selling can help hiring managers and recruiters find candidates through social selling platforms like LinkedIn.

By getting input and partnering with other departments internally, you can share the budget. Here are five tips for justifying your social selling budgets. Sometimes other departments will contribute funds while some departments will just support the initiative. Social selling requires time and is an investment that will deliver more business benefits over time.

4. One Size Doesn’t Fit All

It is critical that your training for social selling is personalized and customized because each individual sales representative is different in terms of how much they know and understand about social selling. They also may be more of less digital savvy in terms of how much social media they use in their personal lives.


Since one size doesn’t fit all, that is why I scheduled one on one classes via a Cisco WebEx with our entire sales team. It was important to personalize the social selling class to the skill level of the sales professional. It is important to show them the value of LinkedIn in a one-on-one setting rather than have them listen to an online course. While it doesn’t scale quickly, it provided more value to the sales team and helps spread the word about the value of using LinkedIn in meeting their goals. I summarized my 1 on 1 social selling class in this LinkedIn blog post. You should create content about your social selling class so your sale team can go back later and refresh what they learned.

One of the mistakes I made early on when I launched the social selling initiative at my company, Forsythe Technology, was to teach the sales professionals about all of the different social platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in a group setting. However, I quickly realized that our sales account managers needed focus on one social media platform to gain momentum. So I concentrated the social selling class on LinkedIn. It provided them with the most value and could show them how they could use the tool to be more productive in their daily activities and help them accomplish their sales goals. I walked them through how they could optimize their LinkedIn profile and how to take advantage of the tool. I also explain how LinkedIn inMails need to be customized and tailored to be successful. They also need to be helpful and not “salesy.” I also showed them how their connection requests should be customized to get noticed and so the other person who got the invitation accepts them quicker.


It is important that your class is customized so you can show your sales Tana how to play what I call six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Just like Kevin Bacon is connected with any actor or actress in Hollywood, a sales person is connected with anyone at any company. When I take them through the exercise of showing them how their network can be connected to any company by a 1st, 2nd or 3rd-degree connection, they instantly see the value.

I also walk through how you should check “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” on LinkedIn and how they should join certain LinkedIn Groups where their clients and prospects hang out. I emphasize that they should develop a social selling routine that works for them and enables them with tools like Google Alerts, If This then That, Newsle (now LinkedIn Connections in the News), Crystal Knows, and Charlie App.

5. Show the Power of Personal Branding

The next tip for a successful social selling program is to show your sales team the power of personal branding. If you look up the word branding on Google Trends, you can see the tremendous growth of the term. It has become more important in today’s social media world. Tom Peters in Fast Company quote sums it up the power of the power of personal branding:

Marketer for Brand Called You

Social networks like LinkedIn can help frontline employees such as sales professionals build their personal brand. By optimizing your LinkedIn profile, sharing relevant content about your industry, commenting with thoughtful insights to conversations in LinkedIn Groups, and liking or sharing other people’s content can help you grow your reputation and establish trust.

During my one on one class, I show them why a successful personal brand is important to our company brand. I reference my 10 steps to a successful personal brand. I explain how the profile is the first thing that a prospective client will see and that it important to make a good first impression with a professional image on a white background (we provided free professional headshots during our annual sales kickoff meetings).

I explain that they should add a summary section and that their summary should be written in first person, not third person. During my follow-up email, I provide them with helpful articles such as how to write a LinkedIn summary, 3 brilliant LinkedIn summaries and 4 highly effective LinkedIn summary templates for sales reps.

If we have time during the first call or follow-up calls, we discuss LinkedIn’s new social selling index (SSI) and what that means for them. I provide them with the link to get their SSI score and how there are four ways, according to LinkedIn, to improve your social selling index:

  1. Establish your professional brand 
  2. Find the right people
  3. Engage with Insights
  4. Build relationships

For sales professionals that have LinkedIn Sales Navigator, I show them that LinkedIn has included the SSI on their home dashboard. I encourage our sales professionals to explore LinkedIn Sales Navigator to see if they think it is worthy to upgrade.

6. Have a Plan for Follow Up and Reinforcement

A class is a great start but reinforcement is the key to making your social selling program successful and making the program stick over the long haul. According to Aberdeen Group research, companies that reinforce post-training achieve better business results. Ongoing education and reinforcement is critical to long-term success and keeping your sales team up-to-date with the ever-changing landscape of social media and LinkedIn. For example, what will Microsoft do with LinkedIn after acquiring them?

During the one-on-one class, I explain how the participant should set up calendar reminders in their Microsoft Outlook to share articles or block out time for LinkedIn. I tell each person that they may want to build in some time for these tasks when they are working on sales administrative tasks like filling out their weekly timecards or updating opportunities in

I also make sure that I have a follow-up email ready to send out immediately following the class that provides them with helpful links so they complete their “homework” that I assigned them during the class such as adding a summary section or adding their certifications or adding their professional headshot. In the follow-up email, I include an eBook from LinkedIn about the power of social selling in the buyer process, my personal blog post of the social selling class in article format, and 101 proven power words article may be helpful to reference for keywords in their summary and experience sections.

Once the class is done, it is important to establish a feedback loop with the team to learn how they are doing with their social selling. For example, I have participated in our new sales rep training classes and I schedule follow-up classes with sales reps who are interested in learning more about social selling. For example, two sales representatives want to meet with me monthly to give them the latest and greatest info on social selling.

To help with reinforcement, some social selling tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, PeopleLinx and TrapIt can help with these efforts. To find other social selling tools, you can check out some of the top social selling tools.

It is critical to have milestones and timelines in place as well. This could be included in your charter or strategy on a page we discussed earlier. They help with ongoing goal tracking and reinforcement so your program doesn’t lose its momentum.

7. Establish the Requirements for Success

Forrester Research recommends organizations shouldn’t rush into metrics since these metrics could create unintended consequences and pressure on your sales team. Once your social selling program is up and running, you can understand what types of metrics are working and then create some more sophisticated measurements when your organization social selling program has matured. However, I would recommend establishing some type of criteria for success. There are four important metrics worth examining from the beginning. They are sales, training, network (in terms of the growth of the sales team’s network on LinkedIn) and sharing (in terms of content).


There are four key metrics of a successful social selling program: sales growth, training goals, network growth and content sharing.

Since social selling program is an investment, it will take time for your program to pay off and your metrics may change. However, the social selling program should have a baseline for initial metrics so you can see how the social selling program is performing. The metrics should be aligned with what we discussed earlier about how the program integrates internally. There should be at least one of the metrics that the departments mentioned earlier care about.

8. Help Sales Become Students of the Game

One way marketers can help sales is to help them become “students of the game.” When I mean student of the game, I mean being a perpetual student that reads, thinks and writes about their industry and profession. To help sales, marketing can show sales how they can follow their ecosystem of companies important to them on LinkedIn. I recommend the ecosystem consist of the following:

  1. Partners
  2. Competitors
  3. Analysts
  4. Clients and Prospects

There are also helpful resources for sales to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in social selling, sales and their industry. I recommend resources such as Sales for Life, HubSpot Blogs, SmartBrief, and LinkedIn Sales Solutions.

9. Serve Up Great Content To Share

Your content marketing efforts are critical to the success of your social selling program. Jill Rowley, a social selling evangelist, sums up the importance of great content for sales professionals today:

Content New Currency for Sales

To ensure that you serve up great content to share with sales, it important that your sales team and subject matter experts tell your marketing organizations what questions clients are asking them so marketing can create content to address those questions. To understand the power of answering questions, you should learn from Marcus Sheridan. The New York Times wrote a great article about how he increased sales by answering customer questions.

Marcus Sheridan sums up the importance of content marketing well and how important it is to sales.

Marcus Sheridan Content Sales Tool v2

This quote from Marcus Sheridan explains how content marketing helps your company establish trust with your clients and future clients:

Content Marketing Date Around

To create great content, you should think about your content marketing efforts in how much effort it takes to produce your content. For example, there is heavyweight content, middleweight content, and lightweight content. To learn the difference, you should read is your content marketing worth its weight in gold?

We created our recent data center eBook in the mode of this heavyweight-middleweight-lightweight content model and it has helped us refine and improve our content marketing strategies and tactics. For example, we created teasers for the eBook in the forms of teaser articles, SlideShare eBook promotion, SlideShare data center tips, infographic, and excerpt articles to promote downloads of the eBook.

For middleweight content, we follow the rule of thumb that the ideal length of an article should be 7 minutes or 1600 words. All of our articles on Forsythe FOCUS Magazine website are around 1600 words. These guidelines and other best practices have helped Forsythe Technology strive toward being a media company and operate like a newsroom. To help your organization figure out how to best organize itself for content marketing, you should explore ideas presented by Altimeter.

Altimer Content Marketing Organization

The Altimeter group shows companies how they can organize for content marketing.

You may also want to think about content marketing like Progressive CMO Jeff Charney thinks about content marketing. He says that Progressive’s content marketing should have, “the breadth of ESPN, the innovation of Netflix, and the original content programming of HBO.” As the world of owned media (websites and blogs) becomes more important with the rise of content marketing, earned (press coverage and word of mouth) and paid media (pay per click or banner ads) are still critical to a successful marketing strategy.

10.  Provide the Best Curated Content

The last tip for creating a successful social selling program is to curate the best content in your industry like a museum curator finds the best art for his or her museum. To help you create a culture of content curation, you should explore resources like this to help save you time.

Museum Curator

Companies should think about their content curation like museum curators think about their art curation.

According to research that explored the curation vs. creation sweet spot, the optimal balance for companies is a 60/40 ratio of content curation vs. content creation. 60 percent should be content curation and 40 percent should be content creation. This research was based on analyzing 150,000 social media posts.

Sweet Spot of Content

Research has shown that the content curation-creation “sweet spot” is a 60-40 ratio. 60 percent of content should be curated while 40 percent of content should be created.

At Forsythe Technology, we launched our content curation efforts by developing the inFOCUS e-newsletter, similar to SmartBrief e-newsletters, that provides an executive summary of noteworthy articles for business and technology professionals. To create this monthly e-newsletter, we work with a company that used to curate content for the President of the United States. The company’s editorial staff monitors 12,000 newspapers, business publications, websites, national and international wire services, and other periodicals, to compile one easy-to-read monthly summary.

In summary, we have found that finding and sharing heavyweight-middleweight-lightweight content establishes Forsythe Technology as a trusted adviser and our sales professionals as value creators who provide helpful ideas. We realized that we didn’t have to create our own content every day to help our clients and future ones. Our content curation has helped our content marketing efforts.

Bringing it all Together

Launching a social selling program is just like launching other initiatives. It is important to start small, go slow and start building the business case internally. It is a great time to be a marketer since social selling is an evolution of your social media and content marketing strategies so it is critical to incorporate social selling into your existing strategies and tactics. Determine a social selling leader and core team to lead the initiative, create training, determine the internal requirements for success, and explore social selling tools to help you with reinforcement. By knowing your end goal and what you are trying to achieve with your social selling program, you can launch a successful program. Remember, content marketing and social media have become too important to organizations today to stay within the marketing department. Marketing is in a great position to enable sales with their digital marketing expertise and take the lead in successfully launching a social selling program.

What tips would you add to this list? How did you launch a successful social selling program at your company?

Bridge into woods

Why social selling is the next evolution of content marketing and social media

Below is my interview with Patricia Stamas-Jacoby, Publications Editor, at Frost & Sullivan in their Digital Marketing eBulletin. Part 1 of 2. Read part 2.

Matthew Royse will be presenting The Social Selling Revolution: 10 Tips to a Successful Social Selling Program That Drives Business Results at the 17th Annual Digital Marketing: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange in July. In anticipation of the event, we posed the following questions about the state of B2B Digital Marketing today.

A key takeaway: Marketing is no longer just a cost center, but can drive business transformation.

Frost & Sullivan: What is your working definition of digital marketing? 

Matthew Royse: Digital marketing is an umbrella term that is used in many different ways, depending on the context. Simply put, it is the shift in the “value prop” of marketing to digital. By taking advantage of digital technologies such as websites, email, social media, online ads, e-commerce and other forms of digital media, marketing can better reach its target audiences.

As the world becomes digitized, the value for businesses lies in using digital to its competitive advantage to grow and better serve customers or clients. The marketing team should be leading the charge to digital because marketing has become such a critical part of today’s business model. The most successful companies today are the ones that are so useful to their target audiences with their products and services that they will become a part of daily life of their customers.

What is your organization’s working definition of digital marketing?

The definition of digital marketing is different for every company. At Forsythe Technology, we documented our digital marketing strategy on one page in order to clearly communicate our perspective internally and with our partners.  As I will briefly discuss during my upcoming presentation, The Social Selling Revolution: 10 Tips to a Successful Social Selling Program That Drives Business Results, we outlined the following in one page: our digital marketing strategy summary statement, the current and future state of our digital marketing, our strategy timeline, our top five digital marketing initiatives and our underlying beliefs and assumptions about digital marketing. We treat the one-pager as a living document to be updated as our digital marketing strategy evolves and as our people, processes and technologies change.

What are your thoughts on where digital marketing is heading?

Digital marketing will become part of everyone’s job, just like social media. Social media was initially a separate area with social media specialists and strategists. Now, social media has become part of everyone’s job description. The same will happen for digital marketing. Digital marketing will just become marketing because successful marketing today requires marketers to be hybrid or T-shape professionals. Marketers should specialize in one area such as social media or content marketing but should know enough about search engine optimization, online advertising, influencer marketing, marketing programs and other marketing functions so they can understand the holistic view of marketing.

Marketing is becoming more data-driven and automated but marketing still needs the human element and the creative part of telling great stories. Companies that position themselves in the minds of customers as being helpful and useful are the ones that stay top of mind with them. One of the ways to stay top of mind with customers is through social selling.

Can you share your insights on how B2B (as opposed to B2C) organizations should leverage “social selling?” 

Contrary to popular opinion, B2B organizations have a bigger opportunity to utilize social selling than B2C for the following reasons: there are more decision makers in a purchase decision, the purchasing process takes longer, more money is involved in a purchase and the buyers are typically more informed with tons of research.

In my upcoming presentation, I will talk about how social selling is the next evolution of content marketing and social media. Social media and content marketing have become critical to sales. Social selling is a hybrid of these two important functions.

Social selling is a revolution for sales. The old sales model used to be about cold calls, qualifying leads and sales demos. The new sales model is about education, social networks, and engagement. According to the Corporate Executive Board and OgilyOne, 60 percent of B2B customer research is conducted before contacting sales and 71 percent of salespeople believe their role will be radically different in five years.

Sales is looking for a partner in marketing to help with this transition, and marketing is looking for more insight from sales on what works and what doesn’t. According to the Sales Management Association, two in three companies don’t have a social media strategy for sales, but 80 percent of sales teams would be more productive with a greater social media presence. And, according to Sirius Decisions, 60 to 70 percent of all company content goes unused. Social selling can help your company better understand what content your sales team is sharing with clients and prospects online and via social media. As marketing learns more and more about what content sales is using successfully, they can create better and more targeted content.

Can you outline the next phase of mobile marketing? 

The next phase of mobile marketing is where a company puts its mobile experience first, which is a challenge for many companies due to legacy thinking, systems and organizing the data so it is real-time and easier for consumers. Brands understand the importance of transforming to a mobile-first, digital strategy but they are not prepared for how quickly they need to adapt to make this happen. There are a lot of changes that need to be made to people, processes and technologies at large companies in a short amount of time. That is why smaller companies have a competitive advantage—they don’t have the legacy technology and processes in place. As a result, larger companies are moving toward creating their own enterprise “app store” so they can more quickly adapt to changes in the marketplace.

Your insights on moving from multi-channel marketing to omni-channel marketing? 

People can now engage with a company in a physical store, via the website or mobile app or through social media, fueling the shift toward omni-channel marketing to provide a seamless customer experience across all interactions. Where companies often go wrong with the customer experience is a lack of integration between teams. Bad marketing experiences occur at the consumer/end-user level when it becomes apparent that the company’s technology, people, and processes are not well integrated.

Your thoughts and good or bad experiences on integrating marketing across the organization? 

Yes, marketing should be definitely be integrated. That is one of the most important aspects of marketing today but often the most difficult. Marketing needs to ensure their department is integrated first and then work on improving integration across the organization. For example, contact centers have a wealth of information for marketers on the types of questions that they are being asked by customers. Do the contact centers record that information so that marketing can create helpful content to answer those questions? It sounds so simple. Yet, it is rarely done. Another example: Are marketing/PR teams prepared if the company gets hacked? Do they have a crisis communications and disaster recovery plan if it occurs? If so, can the company communicate it quickly?

The key for digital marketing and good customer experiences will be integration, strategy and a shift in mindset that marketing is more than a support function. Marketing is no longer a cost center but drives business transformation. As a result, marketing organizations should consistently have a seat the business table (and at the C-suite and board level) to drive digital transformation conversations, its value proposition to the company, and why its budget should grow.

To sum up, digital marketing and heightened customer expectations are changing how the modern marketing organization is structured. Marketing has become more holistic, aligns more closely with the business strategy, and is responsible for the overall customer experience. One company to learn from is Target. They built successful digital marketing department. They did not put their marketing teams into groups or silos. Instead, they brought everyone together as one big marketing team. This helped Target tell a cohesive brand story and attract top talent. An example we can all learn from.

Read the original “Discussing Digital Marketing” article.

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10 inspirational quotes to make you a better marketer

Who doesn’t love a great quote?

I culled together 10 inspirational quotes for marketing and public relations professionals to get us excited. Today is a great time to be a marketer. Hopefully, these quotes will help guide you through today’s social media and content marketing world.

Marketing doesn't feel like marketing

Follow Tom Fishburne on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Marketing stories

Follow Seth Godin on Twitter.


Tell don't sell

Follow Beth Comstock on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Google answers

Follow Cyrus Shepard on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 Conflict or challenge equals story

Follow Tom Kellner on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Marketing helpful

Follow Jay Baer on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Don't sell anything

Follow Rand Fishkin on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Why you do it

Follow Simon Sinek on Twitter.


Don't beg the media, be the media

Follow Mark Ragan on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Good content marketing

Follow Joe Pulizzi on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Content marketing and dating

Follow Marcus Sheridan on LinkedIn and Twitter.


What quotes would you add to this list?