As marketers we all know that SEO important. Afterall, if done right it can see a 14.6% conversion rate. But when you’re dealing with management who are lacking even the most basic knowledge of marketing, how do you explain the importance of SEO? And most importantly, how do you persuade them to give you that all important budget?
Education, education, education
If you don’t understand something, you’re not going to see its full potential. This is why educating management as to what SEO is and how it works is so important. We’d suggest putting together a short training session, where you can explain how SEO works, what you do in your role, why it’s important, and what sort of results can be expected. You can also summarize where your website is right now and where you want to be so that your boss gets the bigger picture. Plus, another powerful way of getting buy-in is to show what your competitors are up to and why you need to keep up with them.
Set realistic expectations
We know that SEO doesn’t happen overnight. But management don’t. That’s why step 1, education, is so important: give senior stakeholders the basic knowledge to understand what you’re trying to do with your SEO strategy. But that’s sometimes not enough. If you’ve never tried SEO yourself, you’re not going to understand the ins and outs of getting results, and this can lead to some people thinking that SEO can somehow be sped up.
We understand – you want to please your stakeholders and give them what they want, so you might be inclined to agree to their demand of “if I give you budget, I want 10 page 1 keywords in 2 months”. However, long-term, that’s not for the best. If you agree to something you know isn’t realistic, you’ll not only put yourself under a high amount of stress. You’ll disappoint when you don’t deliver and put your future budget and buy-in at risk. Plus you could even put your reputation on the line as your boss might not understand how much pain-staking work you’ve actually put in. So, while it might be scary to say no to your boss’s expectations, in the long run, education and setting realistic expectations really do pay off.
Put yourself in C-level shoes
When it comes to marketing, what bosses look for and what us marketers take into account are sometimes a completely different kettle of fish. We have lots of marketing metrics we can use to define success, whereas bosses are looking at one thing, and one thing only – the bottom line. It’s all well and good saying that you increased your keyword rankings by x this year, or that your site health increased, but if you’re not getting conversions and making sales, you’re going to have trouble getting more budget. So, when putting together your budget request, make sure that you clearly state how you’re going to increase sales, leads, or whatever’s important to your business, and what kind of increase can be expected.
You should also try and prepare in advance for the kind of questions bosses tend to ask, which could include:
- How much budget do you need?
- Why is SEO important?
- When will see ROI?
- What will success look like?
- Are you setting KPIs?
- If we spend less, can we expect the same results?
- What are our competitors doing?
- How many leads or sales can we expect, and when?
Share your plan
Every successful SEO strategy needs a plan, so make sure you share that when you’re looking for buy-in. Seeing everything written down will help bosses to visualise what’s going on, and what you’re planning on doing. You should include a list of actions so that it’s clear who you’ll be expecting to what, which is especially important if you’re trying to pitch for an agency.
In the plan, or during this stage, you can also include some case studies and previous results so that your boss knows whoever you’re trying to get involved is trustworthy, and that they get results.
Keep management in the loop
Finally, make sure that you’re keeping management in the loop. Once you’ve started with your SEO, schedule monthly or quarterly meetings with the budget owner so you can talk them through what you’ve done, what you’ve got planned, and most importantly – what results you’ve been getting. This will give everything the chance to ask questions and feel like they’re involved. Plus, if you do find you need some extra budget next quarter, they’ll be more inclined to help because they know what it’s for and that you’re busy getting on with things.
Get in touch!
As you can see, asking for SEO budget isn’t all that scary, and if you do it right, you’ll be fine! Plus, if you’re a Searchmetrics customer, our customer success team is here to help! And if you’re not, how about getting in touch