How to sell digital marketing to your boss

How to sell digital marketing to your boss

Digital marketing effort for your business can be as large or as small as you need it to be. It encompases all things digital, from blogs to SEO, social media, email marketing, and more. In short, there’s a lot of terrain to cover. As such, many business owners and managers new to the world of digital marketing find themselves daunted by the volume of knowledge to consume and areas to work on, and the following questions invariably come up: 


  1. Why do we need digital marketing to grow the business? 

  1. How will we manage the workload? 

  1. Where do we start? 

  1. What are the costs – and the estimated return? 


Don’t worry – these questions are far more common than you might think. Many businesses with small marketing teams and budgets find those resources stretch thin pretty quickly, given the scope of digital marketing. Leading Australian business strategist, Kerwin Rae once suggested that a consumer needs to see a brand 20 times for brand recall. With that in mind, it’s clear that digital marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to do this, and should be a key part of any marketing efforts. So, whether you need to build your in-house resources or sell a digital marketing plan to your boss, here are the key questions to address to help you get your proposal over the line. 

Why digital marketing?

Even if your business doesn’t offer e-comm services, potential customers are searching online for services and products such as yours thousands of times a day. This is where a few stats may come in handy to state your case:  

The first thing to do is to audit your business’ current online presence. How accessible is your business information online? Is your site easy to find (and is it user friendly)? Do you have social media presence on key channels? Does your business come up in first-page results when you search using certain keywords? It might be that you’re missing valuable customers because you haven’t invested enough time and energy into optimising your site and nurturing the right digital marketing channels.  

Another key play here is to look at the competition. Check out what other brands and businesses are doing with their own digital platforms. What sort of content are they showcasing? What competitors come up in search before your business? Look at social follower counts, channels and ads (Facebook Ad Library is great for this). Nothing fuels a fire quite like a drive to dominate over the competition!

How do we manage the workload?

Digital marketing is one of those very underestimated areas, in that there is always so much more involved than what is first assumed. Consider marketing across one social media channel as an example. That in itself can comprise: 

  • – Organic content strategy 

  • – Paid ads  

  • – Ongoing ad optimisation 

  • – Ideating and creating content  

  • – Publishing and moderating content 

  • – Community engagement and management 

  • – Managing ad budgets 

  • – Conducting ad testing 

  • – Reporting on channel activity  


And, of course, the hours of learning that happens behind the scenes as new channel features are implemented or there are changes in the algorithms (which often come without much warning!). Don’t forget, we haven’t even considered other channels, let alone email marketing and website optimisation yet! 


Digital marketing is a necessity for businesses in some shape or form, so how much you get out of it depends on how much you invest in it. And we don’t necessarily mean ad spend – so much can be achieved with dedicated time and care placed in creating organic content and building up a community of highly engaged followers.  


It’s best to start by creating a wishlist of digital marketing needs then assessing whether it’s more practical to employ in-house resourcing or outsource to an agency. If you need a sounding board to talk through your marketing needs, we can help! The benefit of an agency is that you can have the benefit of several creative marketing brains at your disposal to pool knowledge and work with you on an ongoing or project basis.  

Where do we start?

All effective digital marketing efforts start with a strategy, and the sooner you put one together, the better. You might find that you will need an agency to come on board to facilitate a strategy session and help you formulate an omnichannel marketing plan that meets your core business needs. Outsourcing to an agency also means tapping into the expertise of people who have worked with many brands on varying digital channels, so you’re best placed for an efficient analysis of your current digital marketing and recommendations on where to take it based on your industry.  


The key benefits to outsourcing your digital marketing:

  • Time – as in, a team that is dedicating their time to manage your digital marketing, giving you more time to focus on the bigger picture.
  • Expertise – having creative expert minds on call to offer advice and implement strategies with a wealth of experience behind them.
  • Diverse skill sets – engaging an agency means engaging the services of a team of experts with a range of skill sets. 
  • Speedy execution and reporting – with expertise comes efficiency
  • An ‘outsider’ perspective – when projects and ideas are too close to home, it can help to get an outsider’s opinion.

What are the costs and the ROI?

This is surely the most important factor to address in a pitch, namely as managers typically have eyes squarely on end results, be they sales, an increase in followers or enquiries, etc.  Not only are you tasked with identifying the support you need, but you also need to add a value to it – even before anything has been executed.  


  • Working hours 

Adding estimated days/hours to a project or campaign execution will help your manager see just how much time is involved. For example, managing three social channels (including paid ads) may seem manageable at 10-15 hours a week, but that equates to over 500 hours a year. If you don’t have the time to spare to take things on, chances are you won’t further down the track either. It could be that paid ads or developing strategies aren’t your areas of expertise, so trying to manage these things yourself may take much longer than necessary.  


A formula for potential sales value 

  • With a little research you can even estimate potential value of new business leads based on conversion rates, your current close rate on leads and the average value of each sale. Say for example you want to spend $10,000 on a website overhaul including optimisation. You set a target for 50,000 monthly visitors, with a 3% conversion rate, which means 1,500 leads. If your current close rate is 50% and the average sale is $1,000, you’re looking at $750,000 in potential return based on a $10,000 investment. Not bad! 


Like buying any product or service, it’s important to remember that the cheapest isn’t necessarily the best option. Engage with a couple of different agencies and freelancers, ask what skills they can bring to the table and make a judgement based on the value – which is workload and experience. You may find that it’s worth investing in a slightly more expensive option as the work will be done efficiently and effectively. 

Feature image: vectorjuice/

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