Often, a company's top decision-makers are busy people who only have minutes to evaluate a proposal. For those in charge of marketing a business, getting buy-in from the owners can sometimes feel like an uphill climb.
At times, it's because the company isn't set up for digital marketing, and the owners are reluctant to invest in it. Other times, it's because they haven't seen results despite having adopted online methods in the past.
Often, a company's leaders have a vision for their branding and messaging. However, they might not fully understand why paid ads or search engine optimization should be part of their content marketing plans. If you're marketing a small business or a startup, here are tips for securing executive buy-in for SEO.
Convince with Numbers
Get the owners' attention with data about their current website. Show them how an increase in traffic or other metrics would benefit their bottom line. If they don't have an online presence at all, present a case study of a similar business and their results after bringing their company online.
Talk in terms of results: quantify what the company will gain and put a timeframe on it. Business owners love data, so you should show how content marketing will help introduce their product to customers. That said, don't go into the meeting underprepared. You have to be clear on several things:
1. What Are You Trying to Achieve?
You have to show what you want for the business; is it about increasing your market, getting more subscriptions, or generating more leads? Also, you need an action plan, a set of steps you can take based on the goals you're presenting. You can't bring just your vision to the owner.
2. Why Focus on Content Marketing?
Identify what their buy-in will mean to the marketing team. Are you looking for financial support, a cultural shift, or equipment and software? Also, make sure you have data and research to support your claims. If your executives understand how their contributions fit into your proposal, they'll say yes.
3. Who Else Thinks This is a Good Idea?
Another thing that could convince the owner is if you already have buy-in from other managers. Try to get as much support as possible from middle management before bringing your proposal to the C-suite.
Know Your Weaknesses
You have to know what isn't working in your current strategy. You should have data about different media and messages you send your audience and have a way to track and evaluate the changes you will implement.
Also, review the different ways you distribute your messages, like Google AdWords, your website, Pinterest pins, and more. Consider as well offline channels like direct mail and print ads. Which ones perform the best, and which ones lag? Where do you lack data, and why?
Besides reviewing the channels, you also have to evaluate the content you create. Do you primarily use flyers and announcements outside your store? Then you probably have a large untapped online audience. If you already have a digital presence, are your blog posts, videos, and social media updates performing well? Don't settle for knowing your areas of improvement; be familiar with the statistics as well.
Lastly, consider the tone and appearance of your message on your marketing materials. Conduct frequent A/B tests, especially on email or direct marketing. Which letter gets the most replies or clicks? If you can pinpoint your marketing materials' strengths and weaknesses and show how you will remedy these, executives will be more willing to try things your way and give SEO a shot.
Integrate Marketing and Recruitment
Most content campaigns aim to create new customers. Whether you're doing a soft sell and pushing brand awareness or delivering a more powerful message further down in the funnel, your goal is to get someone to buy or subscribe.
However, you can also use content marketing in recruitment. Show executives how your brand and marketing can help you find the best employees. For example, good branding lets potential recruits understand immediately what your company is about. It helps them self-qualify and ensures that whoever does apply has the necessary skills and disposition.
It will also be easier to conduct interviews when your branding materials are on point. Recruiters will easily spot candidates who have done their research if you have plenty of information about the company on your official channels.
If you're a SaaS provider, you can include your software in the recruitment process. Encourage or require applicants to sign up for a free version of your software. This gives them an idea of what they'll be working with when employed. If they don't get in, at least they have a free account with you, and you can continue your relationship differently.
Allay Your Boss's Fears
Sometimes, business owners will have more misgivings about SEO because of erroneous beliefs regarding the industry. Here are some common misconceptions and how you can address them.
"SEO Doesn't Really Work"
It's natural to be wary of marketing methods that don't work. There are plenty of SEO services that over-promise and underdeliver, so it's normal for bosses to hesitate about it.
You can help them warm up to the idea of using search optimization on your website by being honest. Acknowledge the fact that many SEO companies use shady tactics for advertising their services. Others use techniques that Google frowns upon. However, you can also emphasize the benefits that white-hat SEO brings and assure them that you're only using best practices in optimization.
"SEO Takes Too Long"
You can tackle this notion in two steps. First, agree with them; SEO really won't take one week or one month. It's not a quick fix. However, try to reframe their notion of what takes too long to do. Assure them that most websites see results in six to 12 months, so they would have to manage their expectations.
With a bit of work, you can earn your boss' trust and buy-in for SEO. Make sure you quantify your results, present a detailed plan, know your business's strengths and weaknesses, and convince your boss of the benefits of content marketing.
Team up with Ranked if you want to secure a sound SEO strategy for your business. We are an SEO platform and service helping agencies and enterprises build a sustainable digital presence. Activate your free trial today!