The Struggle Within – Selling SEO Inside Your Own Organization

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  • September 24, 2007

We had a client approach us recently who was very interested in natural search optimization and search engine marketing. They are a mid-level marketing manager who recognizes the benefits and advantages of implementing an SEO strategy. However, they also recognize their own limitations in knowledge and time. Knowing they couldn’t effectively manage this internally, they began seeking our help. The problem was they needed to sell our services to the C-level execs. More than that we needed to sell SEO to the C-level execs.

We knew we could go in there with all the facts, figures, and evidence to support what we do, but we also knew it wouldn’t benefit us and it wouldn’t benefit our contact. We would be seen as an outside source with just another pitch and the contact would be seen as inept by their supervisors. Prior to meeting the executives we worked closely with the marketing manager to help them sell SEO as a critical marketing initiative to the executives. What we provided them with is more or less included in the following boiled down list.

Do Your Research (or have someone do it for you)
You’ve got to be able to talk the game if you have any hope of selling it. Even though it is time consuming, find as many authoritative SEO sites as possible and do your reading. Visit forums and blogs to find other people in situations similar to yours. Put yourself out there and ask questions.

Show and Tell
Within your organization get out there and talk to people about SEO. Some times people’s eyes glaze over when they hear that term so soften it up by talking about internet or search marketing. Talk to the people that matter outside of a formal meeting – water coolers, coffee makers, all the usual places they might hang out.

List the Advantages
Create a list of all the advantages a search marketing campaign can give your organization over your competitors. Initially you will use this list for your own information, however later you will use this in formal meetings with your execs. There are numerous benefits of SEO, but keep your list under five items.

Understand Management’s Pain Points
Do every thing you can to understand management’s objectives and find the pain points that relate to the advantages list you created previously. They probably will not talk about those points in the same way you might so listen carefully. Where applicable interject with the benefits of SEO as they relate to those pain points.

Don’t Give Up
People are resistant to change and fear the things they don’t know. Through education and repeated discussion you can break through their fears and show them the benefits of a strong SEO strategy so by the time you bring in an outside company to manage your search engine optimization campaign the execs are comfortable making an informed decision.