Does Your CEO Know About Inbound Marketing?
For most small and medium sized businesses, the buck stops with the CEO or founder of the company, even if the company is big enough to have a C-Suite and a CMO. This is why it’s so important to educate the CEO and get buy-in from the CMO and the marketing team before you implement an inbound marketing plan. Here are a few ways to educate your CEO on the various aspects of inbound marketing.
As inbound marketers, we understand the value and power of inbound marketing, but we also know there is a tremendous time commitment and level of knowledge that must be in place for inbound to be effective. This is why you must obtain buy-in from all channels, from your marketing team to the entire leadership team.
Rallying the troops is a tough task, but this needs to be your first step. Start with the CMO or person in charge of marketing, and use a couple of well-defined case studies to identify past successes; don’t forget to include one or two failures so you can showcase the lessons learned and how quickly you were able to improve.
Bandwidth and Skill Sets
It’s critical that you quickly identify both the bandwidth and skill sets of your team members, as you must have the time and ability to implement, distribute, track, and learn new methods on an ongoing basis.
All too often, we see companies jumping into inbound marketing without being truly aware of whether or not they have the resources to be effective. These resources should be broken down based on the channels that will be utilized within the campaigns. Be sure to include the estimated time that will be required for each component, which we recommend breaking down on a weekly basis.
Here are a few skills you will need:
Graphic designer – this person will create eBooks, white papers, social media content, infographics, images, web content, etc.
Writer – Your writer will need to do much more than write. When assessing the bandwidth and skill of a writer, ask yourself the following questions: does this writer know your business well enough to position your value proposition, be conversational, and utilize the tone you have set for the company? Also, how efficient is the writer? How much time do they spend researching, writing, editing and posting a 1,000-word article?
Manager – Do you have someone that can manage the processes, tasks, and strategies? This doesn’t have to be a project manager, but it needs to someone with great organizational skills and inbound marketing experience.
Social Media – It is very important that you have someone that knows how to use social channels for business purposes, not just for personal use.
It’s critical that you identify these basic channels if you want buy-in from your CEO; he or she will want to see a solid plan and also to be aware of how much time will be allocated to this newfound world of inbound marketing.
Now that you have identified the necessary resources, you’ll need to prepare a plan to present to your CEO.
One of the main responsibilities of this presentation is to clearly identify the individual tasks that will be required each week and who will be doing them.
Example 1: Katie will be creating three 1,000-word blog articles per week that will be posted on Mon, Wed, and Fri at 8:00am.
Example 2: Bob will be managing 3 social media accounts (Facebook – 3 posts per day / Twitter – 10 posts per day / LinkedIn- company page posts, 5 Group posts per day).
Include the estimated time allocation for each person and project, and be sure to overestimate the time by 20%, as tasks will take longer when you first implement the system.
Your CEO will want to know the benefits of your plan more than the granular features you plan to implement, as he or she will likely be unaware of tools like Quora or Reddit or how to use them. Because your primary goal is to attract more website visitors and convert them to leads and then customers, you must explain these unique benefits and how they will help your company in the long run.
Explain how blogging three times per week and targeting more long-tailed keywords will broaden your digital reach and increase leads. Focus on the new qualified leads and how you will integrate the sales team with a seamless handoff of these leads. Your focus should lie with the increased efficiency of your plan and how that efficiency will result in greater productivity. Additionally, you should outline how the new leads you’ll gain will affect the company’s ROI.
Now that you have a plan in place, you must consider your execution and how to get the full support of your team for your inbound initiative.
You might not have the time to sit everyone down in meetings to watch relevant webinars and view presentations on the benefits of inbound marketing, but it is important that you assemble your team and start the introductory process before you present your plan.
Begin with a simple conversation about inbound marketing. Test your team’s knowledge base. Try not to overwhelm them with books and links to websites; instead, subscribe the decision makers to an inbound marketing blog so they can consume the content on their own time. Our inbound marketing blog or HubSpot’s blog are both tremendous resources to offer your team for education on a number of inbound marketing topics.
Give yourself a couple of months to implement this education strategy. If you don’t have that much time available, include the education period in your presented plan and ask your decision-makers how much time they will require to educate your team.
Keep in mind that your C-Suite or CEO is running the company and doesn’t have time to keep up with the latest trends in marketing, so keep your plan simple, but detailed enough to impress them. Remember: educating them is the first step. If you have access to design tools to help illustrate your plan, use them. Doing so will make it easier for them to digest and show them how blogging, SEO, and social media engagement will drive qualified leads.
If you’re still not sure where to start, or need a little extra help with your inbound marketing, download our Beginner’s Guide to Inbound Marketing.
photo credit: Oberazzi via photopin cc