We have found that marketing staffers are almost always open to a little educa-
tion about how the search engines work, as long as the information is provided on a
need-to-know basis. For example, whenever we brainstorm for keywords with a mar-
keting manager, inevitably their list contains terms that are extremely vague (“quality”)
or so specific that nobody is searching for them (“geometric specifications of duckpin
bowling balls”). When we trim down that list, we always explain the basic concept of
vs. relevance. But when it comes to educating the team, a little bit of
information at a time is key; you don’t want to drown your colleagues in too many
But what if you’re not working in such a receptive environment? Maybe you are
the only one convinced of the positive powers of SEO. Perhaps, for reasons of budget
or time, you don’t have the buy-in you need to move forward. Perhaps other marketing
programs are taking precedence or the department can’t seem to make the leap from
offline to online marketing. If that’s the case, it’s time to convince the marketing man-
ager of the importance of your SEO project!
Here’s one way to approach it: Focus on the needs of the marketing depart-
ment. Yes, it’s time for you to go into therapist mode and do a whole lot of listening.
Is there something that they’ve been dying to get done? A new tagline, perhaps?
Maybe some changes to the corporate website? Are they feeling overworked? Do
they secretly want to drop one segment—say, billboard advertising—out of the mar-
keting mix? Are they having trouble getting help from the IT department? Tell them
SEO can help.
SEO can provide the trackability that they’ve been waiting for. It may provide
justification for dropping less-successful advertising venues. It can forge new alliances
between Marketing and IT. On the “warm and fuzzy” side, it may provide an outlet
for a creative soul who feels trapped in marketingspeak and wants to do more cre-
ative writing. And SEO is an extremely telecommuting-friendly enterprise. Is there a
new dad in the department who would love to spend a portion of his week working
Once you’ve found some common ground and the enthusiasm is starting to
grow, look through your conversion goals from Chapter 1, “Clarify Your Goals,” and
consider starting Your SEO Plan with a a pilot project that you can focus your SEO
efforts on together. Pick something close to the hearts of the marketing staff: a recent
or upcoming launch, a section of your site devoted to a special event, a promotion, or
a product line that’s down in the dumps. Cherry-pick if you can! It’s important that
these early experiences be positive ones.
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