You know SEO works, but your boss doesn’t. What does it take to convince your superiors of its value?
I’ve put together 11 ways to help you sell your superiors on investing more resources in organic search.
1. Highlight the Value of Cumulative Growth
The greatest selling point of SEO is something that it shares with most of the broader world of inbound marketing: it allows for the possibility of cumulative growth.
Most marketing efforts, especially outbound ones, lead to temporary results. A PPC campaign produces results quickly, but the second you stop investing in PPC, you will lose your source of leads.
This isn’t the case with SEO. The rankings might degrade over time with more competitors entering the field, there is some truth to the idea that once you earn a front page listing for a given keyword, you can expect to hold that position for quite some time; without any further investment.
Of course, selling the idea in terms of rankings would be the wrong way to go, if you’re trying to get buy-in.
What you can sell them on, though, is the idea of spending $1 now, to add 10 cents to their monthly income. Explain to them how after one year, that dollar will have an ROI of 1.2, that the ROI will be 2.4 after two years, 3.6 after three years, and so on.
Make this a focal point of your buy-in strategy, using real data to support your argument. It will quickly become obvious that investing in SEO is a smart strategy for maximizing ROI.
2. Dispel Myths About SEO
It’s not uncommon for business professionals to approach the subject of SEO with some misconceptions.
Keep these misconceptions in mind and be ready to address them, ideally before they even bring that up:
- SEO isn’t an inherently spammy or unethical form of marketing. In fact, SEO strategies are more effective if you follow the guidelines set out by search engines.
- SEO is marketing. It’s important that it be presented and treated as such, no matter how important a technical foundation is to the discipline.
- Sound SEO strategies aren’t susceptible to the whims of Google and the other search engines and depend far less on them than might be assumed.
3. Warn Them About Things That May Get Them Penalized
It might sound cynical, but there is definitely a lot of truth to the idea that people tend to pay more attention to threat than an opportunity.
Ignorance of SEO can cause an e-commerce brand to stumble headlong into a manual action. This can happen because of paying for links, creating duplicate content, allowing the site to be hacked, allowing user-generated content to drag down the quality of the content, and making similar stumbles.
While manual actions usually occur only in cases of deliberate attempts to manipulate the search result, algorithmic filters can hit sites, which were merely ignorant of search engine guidelines.
These cases are relatively rare, but by warning against the dangers of duplicate content, paid links, and similar issues, you highlight the values of applying SEO knowledge.
4. Point to Existing Organic Search Data
A great way to get an executive’s attention in an e-commerce business is to point out just how much money the search engines are already making a company.
It isn’t uncommon in financial reports for a business to attribute all income to current marketing efforts, to view the mechanisms themselves as a black box, and focus only on the ROI in terms of dollars in and dollars out.
If you unpack the channels for them and show them just how much of their income is coming from search, which they may not even be investing in at all, you can draw attention to the true ROI of their current marketing efforts. It is bound to be quite a bit lower than a black box approach would make it look.
You can then use this as an opportunity to recommend investing more in organic search, which is already earning them money without investment.
5. Estimate Competitor Search Performance
We all hate getting beat by the competition. While it’s impossible to measure exactly how much value a competitor is extracting from organic search traffic, there certainly are ways to estimate it.
You can estimate how much traffic a competitor is earning for given keywords using a tool such as SEMrush. It will also estimate the financial value of that traffic.
On top of that, you can point to conspicuous efforts, such as link building and keyword use, to demonstrate that your competitors are using SEO knowledge to achieve these results.
Competitive research of this type makes it clearer that SEO is a legitimate practice that produces real results.
6. Describe the Side Benefits
One of the main reasons a business professional might reject investing in SEO is because it seems to be highly dependent on the behavior of a search engine; they have no control over. It’s natural, and wise, for executives to avoid investing in business strategies that make them dependent on external forces.
This is why it’s so important to stress what the processes of SEO actually look like.
- Keyword research is also market research.
- Link building is also spreading brand awareness and capturing referral traffic.
- Producing content for search engines is also content marketing, list building, and relationship marketing.
Highlight the cohesive value of SEO and stress its benefits outside of the search itself.
7. Explain That SEO Involves the Entire Funnel
An e-commerce executive who isn’t especially familiar with SEO might be under the impression that there is no need to invest in organic search if they are already ranking for their brand name.
This is not all that uncommon, and it highlights just how ingrained the concept of the sales funnel is in the SEO’s mind. SEO allows you to capture demand when a searcher may not even be familiar with your brand name. It can also be used to help leads transfer through the stages of the funnel.
Make it clear just how many opportunities there are, to capture demand, and that these have nothing to do with whether consumers can find a site by searching for the brand name.
8. Use A Highly Specific Game Plan
Executives won’t respond to promises about the value of SEO unless you approach them with a rigorous and well thought-out plan. Getting buy-in isn’t just about preaching the value of SEO, it’s about explaining what resources you need and exactly why.
Your game plan should have extremely specific goals, deliverables, required resources, and tasks. I’m not saying you should be using the “waterfall model,” only that you should speak to management in their own language and be clear about what the steps will be as you move forward.
9. Don’t Neglect The Sales Team
A game plan that fully incorporates the needs of the sales team is a plan that is more likely to be taken seriously.
Getting in touch with sales and communicating with them while you develop your game plan is a good investment of your time.
10. Draw Attention to SEO Mistakes That Have Hurt Performance
As with warning them about penalties, pointing to real life missteps and their consequences is a solid way to get attention.
Keep an eye on organic search and watch out for drops in search performance, attribute those drops to specific actions, and develop a game plan for recovery and beyond.
This takes SEO from the realm of the abstract into a realm where the practical implications are extremely clear.
11. Show Them a Proof of Concept
Nothing turns heads like results.
Implement the cheapest, smallest version of your SEO strategy to demonstrate what can be done with limited resources.
Show them what you’ve done instead of asking for permission. This is the best way to get buy-in.
To prove your value and make the most of your SEO knowledge, you need to sell management on the idea of investing in it. Use these tips and they will start paying attention.
More SEO Resources Here:
- 3 Reasons SEO Is Incredibly Valuable to Your Company
- The Epic Rise of SEO: How, Why & Where to Invest
- 6 Agency-Client Retention Strategies That Work