As told by 80’s songs…
SEO is that one thing everybody needs, but doesn’t necessarily know that they want. I saw this when I was an in-house digital marketing manager and see it all the time at the agency level. It’s worse when you hit that wall where one person understands the importance but a crucial decision maker doesn’t see the point. The reason why is often largely irrelevant – whether it’s lack of budget, lack of resources, thinking it’s just “Weird Science”, or lack of belief that it will actually work, essentially “Money for Nothing” –the fact remains that for many of us, there is a major block that hinders our progress to SEO acceptance – it’s “Human Nature.”
So take a “Sledgehammmer” to that wall and understand that this moment is where our job as educators and thought leaders comes into play: it is our job to ensure that people understand why SEO is important and why other teams need to consider integrating a consciousness about SEO into their activities.
#1. “Talk Money to Me.”
Talk in the language everyone in business speaks – money. Talk about how SEO will impact revenue goals. This means research, numbers, and actual financial estimates. For many SEO’s this isn’t our natural home with the numbers, facts, and figures, but it’s one of the single most effective strategies to convincing C-Levels and decision makers to support SEO initiatives. How many new customers will it bring in? What percent of leads convert on average? What is the value of a conversion on your site? Does branding play a role or taking over new business from competitors?
#2. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”
Deep down, most of us are somewhat selfish (“You’re So Vain”), each believing our department is the most important in the company. Appeal to different people’s egos and talk about how an SEO campaign will ultimately help their own department the most. Sales, finance, c-level, PR, HR, all have a vested interest in an effective SEO campaign and they all stand to gain. Explain that. Don’t play people against each other, but appeal to our own egos.
#3. “We are the World.”
Involve everyone. It’s important to use all the different departments (for medium and large businesses) or all the different roles team members play (in small businesses) from PR to IT to C-level to finance to sales. Everyone has a role to play in SEO. You don’t “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” by making teams combative, but rather allowing them to understand that they each have a role to play and that everyone working together will do “More than Words” alone could. For example:
- The PR department is the public face of the business. If they use certain buzzwords, these are great keywords to target for SEO. Press releases should also be optimized for digital release, meaning they need to understand certain SEO strategies.
- Web Team – Super important to SEO, they often need to implement pieces like place tracking code, build landing pages, add meta descriptions or rich snippets. Their importance in SEO is very strong, but even they can need guidance on the design, UX, and marketing side of things. I’ve met many a web developer who struggled in the communications department but could code beautifully. Being a developer does not make one an SEO expert or vice versa.
- Finance – If you’re employing an agency for SEO purposes or investing tools or software or even employee time, you need to make sure finance is on board with your plans. What budget do you need and what do you have to work with? Where is the break-even point for revenue? At what level can you deliver a profit? These questions your finance officer can help you answer. It also helps convince the decision makers if finance is on board with your plans.
- HR – If you hire for SEO or digital marketing positions, what experience should they have? Do they need to provide a writing sample? Code snippet? Portfolio of designs? Work closely with HR on what to look for, what to request, and how they can help the talent search. The biggest problem with digital marketing currently is a lack of qualified talent so if you can help HR find and hire the best people available, your efforts will be infinitely more successful.
- C-Level – They drive the message of the company, so it’s imperative to make sure they are aware in the campaign specifics, know the purpose, goal, and revenue plans, along with making sure they understand why it is important. If they aren’t on board yet, you’re fighting an uphill battle.
#4. “Don’t Stop Believing.”
“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and you’re going to have non-believers. It’s important to stay on task. Maybe you can’t get a manager to believe in the importance of SEO, but you can get the rest of your team and other team members, possibly even other influencers to believe. When everyone understands the importance of SEO, it’s much easier to convince the main decision makers. When you use all these strategies – and even others “Like a Prayer” – you can convince even the most ardent naysayer.
Follow this path and you’ll be able to get your SEO campaign off the ground – “Sweet Dreams are Made of These.”