Tag Archive | "Selling"

Selling SEO to the C-Suite: How to Convince Company Executives to Support SEO

Posted by rMaynes1

The implementation of a solid SEO strategy often gets put on the back burner — behind website redesigns, behind client work, behind almost everything — and even when it is taken seriously, you have to fight for every resource for implementation. SEO must be a priority. However, convincing the company executives to prioritize it and allocate budget to SEO initiatives can feel like scaling a mountain.

Sound familiar?

Convincing company executives that SEO is one of the most critical elements of a holistic digital marketing strategy to increase website traffic (and therefore customers, sales, and revenue) won’t be easy, but these steps can increase the chances of your program being taken seriously, and getting the budget needed to make it a success.

Before you start: Put yourself in the shoes of the C-Suite and be ready to answer their questions.

While it’s no doubt frustrating that your executives don’t understand the importance of SEO, put yourself in their shoes and consider what is important to them. Have solid answers ready to questions.

CEOs are decision-makers, not problem-solvers. They are going to ask:

  • Why should we invest in SEO vs. ?
  • Is this going to be profitable?
  • Do you have proven results?
  • What does success look like? What are your KPIS?

CIOs and CFOs will fixate on cost reductions. They are going to ask:

  • What will this cost us?
  • Can similar results be achieved at a reduced cost?
  • What level of spend will maximize ROI?

CMOs want to ensure the organization’s message is distributed to targeted audiences in order to meet sales objectives. They will ask:

  • How many more qualified leads will this bring us?
  • What will this do to increase our brand exposure?
  • What is our competition doing?

CEOs are unbelievably busy. In the nicest way, they don’t care about details, and they don’t care about tactics (because they simply do not have time to care). What do they care about? Results.

For example, the CEO of a large insurance broker sits in his office and Googles the term “Seattle insurance.” Success for him is seeing his company listed at #1 in the organic results. He doesn’t want to know how it was achieved, but for as long as that’s the result, he’s happy to invest.

Getting the support you need for your SEO strategy can be tough, to say the least, especially if there is no understanding, no interest, and no funding from the C-level executives in your company — and unfortunately, without these, your SEO plans will never get off the ground.

However, executive-level buy-in is crucial for a successful SEO campaign, so don’t give up!

Educate your stakeholders

1. Start at the beginning: Define what SEO is, and what it isn’t

It might sound like a no-brainer, but before you even start, find out your C-Suite’s SEO expertise level. Bizarre as it may sound, some might not even really fully understand what SEO is, and the concept of keywords might be entirely alien.

Start from the very beginning with examples of what SEO is, and what it isn’t.

Include:

  • How people search for your business online with non-branded industry keywords. Use analytics to show that this is what people are actually searching for.
  • Show what happens when you conduct a simple search for a related keyword. Where does your business rank and where do your competitors rank?

If you want to go into a bit more detail, you can show things like where keywords appear in your page content, or what meta-data in the titles and description fields look like. Gather as much valuable insight as you can from the CMO to help tailor your presentation to fit the style the CEO is used to. It will vary from CEO to CEO. Same story — but a different approach to getting the message across.

Remember, keep it high-level. When talking to your C-Suite about SEO, it’s important to talk to them in a language they’ll understand. If your presentation includes references to “schema,” “link audits,” or “domain authority,” start again, scrapping the technical jargon. Instead, talk about how SEO helps businesses connect directly with people who are searching online for the products and services that are being offered by the company. Highlight how it’s a powerful business development tool that aligns your business with customer intent, one that targets potential customers further down the sales funnel because it attracts traffic mostly from people who are in the market to convert. Focus on the purpose of an SEO program being to build a sustainable base of monthly quality potential customers by generating additional traffic to the website.

Use hard facts to support your points. For example:

  • 72% of marketers say relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
  • 71% of B2B researchers start with a generic search. (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
  • Conversion rates are 10 times higher on search than from social on desktops, on average. (Source: GoDaddy 2016)
  • Half of search queries are four words or longer. Not including long-tail keywords could mean losing potential leads. (Source: Propecta 2017).
  • Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published 0–4 monthly posts. (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

2. The meat of your presentation: Why SEO is so important

Once you’ve shown what SEO is, you can move onto why it’s so important to the organizational goals. Sounds simple, but this is probably the most difficult part of convincing your executives of the need for an SEO strategy.

C-Suite executives are not interested in the how of SEO. They want to know the why (the value, the return on investment), and the when (how long it will take to see the results and the ROI of this endeavor). It’s almost guaranteed that they’re not going to want to know the minute details and tactics of your proposed strategy.

Outline the project at a high level, and don’t get bogged down in the details. If the CEO is well-educated in other channels (like paid search, offline marketing, print marketing, or display advertising), try to use SEO examples that can be understood in a relative way to how these other channels perform.

Note: To sell SEO to the C-suite doesn’t necessarily mean you’re committing to doing all of this work yourself. You might be pitching for the budget to use an SEO agency to do all of this for you.

Break out the proposed project into 4 sections, each with a “what” and a “why.”

1. SEO audit:

Your website is a business development tool, and so the SEO audit is focused on assessing how well the site is performing currently. Talk about how you’ll assess the website in several areas to understand any problems impacting site performance and identify any potential optimization opportunities to make it more search engine-friendly, and to align it to business objectives both from a technical and content perspective.

2. Recommendations:

From the audit, determine what needs to be done and when. Not all tactics will work for all organizations, and as an SEO expert, you’ll be able to review the business and draw on your past experience to determine what’s going to earn the highest ROI. Prioritize recommendations and have a case to present for each, proving how it’s more important than another recommendation, and how it will impact the overall business if implemented. Ensure that those critical SEO components that will expedite the results are implemented first. Be sure to address these questions:

  • What combination of tactics is going to work best for this organization?
  • What is going to have the biggest impact now, and what can wait?
  • What should be a top organizational priority?
  • Do you have access to the internal resources and knowledge to be able to implement the recommendations, or do you need to consider using an external agency?

3. Implementation:

Whether this is an internal project or you’re engaging an SEO agency, the project lead should be very hands-on, making SEO recommendations and guiding the IT team through the successful implementation of as many of them as possible so as to have the biggest impact on organic search. At times it can feel like you have to jump through hoops to get the smallest recommendation implemented, and that’s understandable. However, if you endeavor to understand the internal IT processes, you can customize recommendations to fit the IT team’s schedule. You’ll see more success that way.

This is one of the biggest obstacles that Mediative, as an agency, runs into. We conduct SEO audits and provide recommendations for success, in priority order — but getting access to internal IT resources and getting your SEO recommendations into the implementation queue can be incredibly challenging.

We worked with a Fortune 500 company for four years on SEO, covering the major areas of site architecture and site content, with the ultimate goal of increasing site traffic. At any given time, there were 40+ active SEO initiatives — open tickets with the client’s IT department — all of which had an impact on the SEO of the client’s website. However, they represented only about 20% of the total open tickets for all IT service requests in this client’s IT department; as a result, vying for precious IT resources became a huge challenge. A great SEO agency will learn to adapt tactics to fit in with whatever sort of IT procedures your company already has in place.

4. Goals and measurement of results:

HubSpot has presented the core metrics that CEOs care about the most; you should address these metrics with benchmarks and informed predictions (not vague guesses) for how SEO can improve them. Unlike channels such as paid search, it can be difficult to give the exact cost and the exact number of leads or revenue SEO can generate. The key here is to get the understanding of the CMO to help present your case to the CEO. SEO or organic search traffic (when measured properly with analytics) can be the biggest driver of low-cost traffic and quality visitors to your website.

  1. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – This is the total cost of acquiring a customer in the organization. If you can show how SEO acquires customers below the company average, you’re already winning.
  2. Time to Payback CAC – This is the number of months it takes you to earn back the CAC you spent to get a new customer. Again, if you can show that SEO reduces this number, it will increase the likelihood of your program getting the thumbs up.
  3. Marketing Originated Customer % – This ratio shows what percentage of your new business is driven by marketing efforts, a sure-fire way to secure more SEO budget if you can prove exactly how many new customers it’s driving.

Look at simpler metrics as well, such as:

  • Traffic to your website.
  • Number of leads generated.
  • Decreased bounce rates.

Inform your executives that you’ll be measuring these metrics in conjunction with other metrics, such as average ranking position, to see the overall impact of your SEO efforts.

  • Use industry research to put a monetary value on ranking higher. For example, the fictional company Acme Shoes sells shoes online. The company website recently ranked #4 on a desktop Google search for [women’s shoes].
    • A #4 ranking sends the website 20,000 unique visitors per month.
    • The average value of a website visitor has been calculated at $ 20, therefore ranking at #4 is valued at $ 400,000/month.
    • Research has shown that, on average, the #4 ranking gets 7.3% of Google results page clicks, and the #1 ranking gets 32.8% of page clicks — 4.5x more. Therefore, it can be estimated that increasing ranking to #1 will lead to 90,000 monthly unique visitors.
    • The estimated revenue from ranking #1 for [women’s shoes]: $ 1.8m/month.
  • Present different scenarios. For example, what would happen if no SEO efforts are made over the next 12 months? Now in contrast, what do you predict will happen with $ X of investment, and how that would increase even further if doubled? Be sure to have a few options available, not just all-or-nothing.
  • Be very specific about the goals at each level of investment. Find examples of SEO strategies that have had great results. Best case would be results from your own tests in preparation for a larger project, but sometimes even small SEO tests are not approved until the C-suite has bought in. In this case, find case studies from your industry, or research/results of similar tactics to those that you want to implement. The C-Suite want tangible, real-world solutions that are proven to work, not vague ideas.

Tip: A lot of SEO is “free” — it just takes time, knowledge, and resources (which is where it gets expensive) to make it successful. Use the word “free” as much as you can. For example, an online listings component of an SEO strategy may utilize free directory listings.

In summary, an SEO project may address all 4 sections listed above very well, but the key is communication. Great SEO agencies are strong communicators with all stakeholders involved — the marketing team, IT teams, content writers, designers, code developers, etc. It’s important to remember that following best practices, executing SEO tactics in a timely manner, and measuring the results all require clear and concise communication at different levels of the organization.

Congratulations! You’ve perfectly pitched SEO to your C-Suite. You’re almost guaranteed to get the green light! So what now?

Manage expectations from day one.

Basketball player Michael Jordan was once quoted as saying: “Be true to the game, because the game will be true to you. If you try to shortcut the game, then the game will shortcut you. If you put forth the effort, good things will be bestowed upon you. That’s truly about the game, and in some ways that’s about life, too.”

He could have been talking about SEO.

SEO is a commitment. To reap the long-term benefits, you have to put in the effort with minimal gains at first. Make sure your C-Suite knows this. They might get frustrated that after 3 months of effort, the results are not prominent. But that’s how SEO goes. SEO isn’t a “set it and forget it” tactic. It’s an ongoing program that builds successes with time and consistency.

By setting realistic expectations that it will take several months before results are seen, there won’t be pressure to try other tactics, like paid search or display advertising, at the expense of SEO. Of course, these tactics can complement your SEO efforts and can provide a short-term benefit that SEO can’t, but don’t be swayed from SEO as a core strategy. Stay the course, and keep focused on the long-term benefits of what you’re doing. It will be worth it!

Continually measure and track performance

You should be ready at the drop of a hat to provide up-to-date results with performance measured to key metrics (to the last month) of how your SEO efforts are stacking up. You never know when cost-cutting measures might be implemented, and if you’re not ready with solid results, it might be your program that gets cut.

Show how your SEO efforts compare to other programs in the company, such as social media marketing or paid search. Search is always evolving, so keep up and be seen keeping up. 
Never stop selling!

In the case of our Fortune 500 client, we were able to implement all of the key SEO initiatives by prioritizing and building cases for implementation. After several months, organic search traffic and revenue was leading all other digital marketing channels for this client — more than PPC and email marketing. 
Organic search generated approximately 30% of all visits to the client’s site, while maintaining year-over-year growth of 20–25%. This increase was not simply from branded traffic, however — year-over-year non-branded traffic had increased approximately 50%.

These are the kind of results that are going to make the company executives sit up and take SEO seriously.

To conclude:


As the proponent for SEO in your organization, you play a critical role in ensuring that the strategies with the quickest and biggest impact on results are implemented and prioritized first. There’s no magic bullet with SEO – no one thing that works. A solid SEO strategy — and one that will convince stakeholders of its worth — is made up of a myriad of components from audits to content development, from link building to site architecture. The trick is picking what is going to work for your organization and what isn’t, and this is no mean feat!


For more SEO tips from Mediative, download our new e-book, The Digital Marketer’s Guide to Google’s Search Engine Results Page.

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Which Business Model Is Best: Selling Services, Software, Information Or Physical Products?

I’m getting old, at least in internet years. It’s almost 20 years now that I have been online and had some kind of website of my own. During this time I’ve played with all kinds of different business models, all kinds of different ways to make money online. Nearly every technique I’ve used…

The post Which Business Model Is Best: Selling Services, Software, Information Or Physical Products? appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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Gideon Shalwick: Founder Of Splasheo And Veeroll Explains How To Grow Million Dollar Businesses Selling Services Online

[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] Gideon Shalwick is my long-time friend and one-time business partner. More recently, Gideon founded two companies: Splasheo – A video intro production service that Gideon has turned into a passive income stream Veeroll – A video advertising…

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Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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New Course Open: How You Can Start A Business Selling Services Online (Services Arbitrage)

I’m excited to announce I have opened the doors to the Laptop Lifestyle Academy, which includes my new Services Arbitrage course. I’m teaching Part 1 of Services Arbitrage and taking questions live on February 1st, and Part 2 with another live coaching session on February 15th, 2017. As an Academy member you can…

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7 Steps To Launch A Passive Income Business Selling Services Online

Welcome to a complete overview of the steps to launch what I call a Services Arbitrage business. If you’re not sure what this is, read my introduction here: Services Arbitrage: The Perfect New Business For Non-Experts Looking For A Laptop Lifestyle Income Stream The following seven steps represent the key phases…

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Hal Elrod: From Selling Knives, To An Incredible Car Accident Survival, Then Emerging From Financial Crisis During The GFC To Become The Best Selling Author Of The Miracle Morning

[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] I was invited to speak at a Chris Ducker and Pat Flynn workshop in San Diego in 2015. I arrived early and sat at the back of the room waiting for my turn on stage. Sitting on…

The post Hal Elrod: From Selling Knives, To An Incredible Car Accident Survival, Then Emerging From Financial Crisis During The GFC To Become The Best Selling Author Of The Miracle Morning appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

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How To Apply The Same Powerful Selling Techniques Big Retailers Use During The Holidays

Why We Can't Say No To Buying Things During This Time Of Year… Yesterday was Boxing Day in Australia, the day after Christmas.   For you non-commonwealth country readers, here is how Wikipedia defines boxing day – Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would…

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LinkedIn is Just a Starting Point When Selling to CXOs

Sharon Gillenwater, Founder of Boardroom Insiders and their CXO Engagement Strategy Expert posted an article today on the Saleforce blog making the point that LinkedIn should just be a starting point for sales people selling to CXOs. You can make the case that her article is self promotional since what she says to do, learn more about the CXOs you are selling to, is exactly what her company Boardroom Insiders brings to the table, but her point is spot on and should be written big and bold on posters of all sales team offices.

“If you are an enterprise sales or marketing pro focused on C-suite selling, LinkedIn is not a silver bullet,” said Gillenwater. “It simply does not provide the insight required to engage a Fortune 500 key decision maker. In fact, LinkedIn can give you a false sense of security going into important meetings. You think you have done your due diligence by looking at a few LinkedIn profiles, but halfway through the meeting it can become painfully apparent that you don’t know what you don’t know.”

The idea is simple enough, don’t put your foot in your mouth by NOT KNOWING what is easily knowable. Has the company recently been acquired? Did the Chief Marketing Officer that you are meeting with write a company blog post last week where she blasted a competitor that you were going to reference as similar to them? Did the Germany based IT Manager that you were planning to lunch with to discuss your company’s tech solution post a YouTube conference presentation where he mocked the unprofessional state of tieless tech guys?

You might just wear a tie to that lunch meeting! It’s important to know your potential customer before you speak to them and even before you email them. The more you know, the more likely you will be to sell them. As Gillenwater says, “An executive is not going to write in her LinkedIn profile: “I hate jargon, so don’t use it when you meet with me.””

“You’ll need everything available publicly online, from media interviews and Twitter posts to the latest quarterly earnings call transcripts, industry news, and corporate press releases,” says Gillenwater. “Selling to CXOs requires a commitment to knowing what’s on their minds and guiding their decisions—and keeping up with that as it changes.”

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Unique Selling Proposition (USP) Defined in 60 Seconds [Animated Video]

content marketing glossary - what are unique selling propositions?

Like David Ogilvy, mid-20th-century ad man Rosser Reeves promoted a hard-sell approach and thought advertising should do one thing: sell.

And sell he did.

Campaigns for Viceroy cigarettes, Carter’s Little Liver Pills, Listerine mouthwash, and Colgate toothpaste boosted sales and put these brands on the map.

His goal was to get customers to recognize a specific brand proposition — what has become known as a unique selling proposition (USP).

But what exactly is a unique selling proposition? And why is it so important?

Watch our 60-second video about unique selling propositions

With help from our friends at The Draw Shop, we whipped up 12 definitions from our new Content Marketing Glossary into short, fun whiteboard animated videos.

Check out our video for the definition of USP:

Animation by The Draw Shop

And for those of you who would prefer to read, here’s the transcript:

In essence, a unique selling proposition (USP) is something that you offer customers or clients that your competitors do not offer.

It’s also known as a “remarkable benefit.”

In the late 1970s, FedEx effectively branded itself as the fastest, most reliable shipping service with its tagline: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”

That was the remarkable benefit no other company could claim.

And once you identify that unique element for your business, you’ll know exactly what the theme of your content marketing should be, which will eventually become the big story of your business.

Share this video

Click here to check out this definition on YouTube and share it with your audience. You’ll also find 11 additional Content Marketing Glossary videos.

Additional USP resources

For more information about unique selling propositions, visit these three resources:

Learn more from the Content Marketing Glossary

Ready to master content marketing essentials? Watch all of our animated whiteboard videos right now by going directly to the Content Marketing Glossary.

By the way, let us know if there are any definitions you’d like us to add to the glossary! Just drop your responses in the comments below.

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Gawker Files Bankruptcy, Selling To Ziff Davis

Gawker announced today that it has filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors in order to safeguard its assets and keep publishing while it appeals the $ 130 million Hulk Hogan verdict. Gawker also said that it has an agreement with Ziff Davis to sell all 7 of it’s brands including presumably Gawker.com. Recode is reporting that Gawker has told its employees the price is somewhat less than $ 100 million. The Wall Street Journal added, “The sale auction will begin with an opening bid of $ 90 million from the digital media company and publisher Ziff Davis LLC, according to a person familiar with the matter.” The Gawker network reportedly has 6 million readers each weekday.

In a memo to staff, Ziff Davis chief executive Vivek Shah said the auction will likely take place at the end of July and that he expected the bankruptcy court to set a schedule to take other bids soon. “There’s a tremendous fit between the two organizations, from brands to audience to monetization. We look forward to the possibility of adding these great brands—and the talented people who support them—to the Ziff Davis family,” he said. (WSJ.com)

Gawker founder and CEO Nick Denton tweeted about the bankruptcy filing and took a direct stab at Peter Thiel who funded Hogan’s legal team:

Felix Salmon, Senior Editor of @fusion tweeted that Ziff Davis intends to shut down Gawker.com and focus on its other brands such as Gizmodo.

Gawker founder and CEO Nick Denton commented in the release, “We are encouraged by the agreement with Ziff Davis, one of the most rigorously managed and profitable companies in digital media. A combination would marry Ziff Davis’ strength in e-commerce, licensing and video with GMG’s premium media brands.”

Bankruptcy is necessary in order for Gawker to sell the business free and clear of legal liabilities at its maximum value:

Gawker Media Group is putting its properties up for sale after a coordinated barrage of lawsuits intended to put the company out of business and deter its writers from offering critical coverage.
The protection afforded by the bankruptcy filing will allow GMG to exercise its rights to due process. The company is confident it will ultimately prevail in the Hogan lawsuit, but was not able today to obtain from the trial court even a brief stay without onerous conditions to seek relief from the appeals court.

The Wall Street Journal added that, “Gawker will sell its business at a bankruptcy court-supervised auction. It has arranged a $ 22 million bankruptcy loan to stay open pending the sale. The company listed Mr. Bollea as its largest creditor with a $ 130 million claim. (He was also awarded an additional $ 10 million in damages from Mr. Denton himself.)”

Gawker’s release went on to recap its accomplishments over the years:

With a distinctive commitment to journalism as an honest conversation between writers and readers, GMG is the only interactive media group to have achieved scale and profitability without outside capital. The company is a leader in online commerce, native advertising and online discussion software, but the driving force is its distinctive editorial mission.

Writer for writer, GMG has broken more important and interesting stories than any other digital news venture.
Gizmodo, the company’s technology flagship, has energized the debate about Facebook’s control of the news, for example. Deadspin, which provides sports news without access, has exposed the cover-up by the NFL of domestic abuse allegations against players. Lifehacker is the smartest how-to site on the web. Jezebel has defined modern feminist thinking. Jalopnik and Kotaku are among the web’s leading sources for news and reviews of cars and video games. And the flagship site itself has shone light on powerful figures from Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to the new industrialists and investors of Silicon Valley.

“Authentic writing, whether it takes the form of honest reviews of technology, video games and entertainment, or revelations about the way the system works, is more important than ever,” says Nick Denton, the founder of GMG. “We have been forced by this litigation to give up our longstanding independence, but our writers remain committed to telling the true stories that underpin credibility with our millions of readers. With stronger backing and disentangled from litigation, they can perform their vital work on more platforms and in different forms.”

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