You Need Client Buy In for Marketing to Work

A handshake in neon lights provides a symbol of trust and acceptance like the buy in you get from your client.

I don’t like using buzz words. I don’t even like using typical business jargon, and “buy in” is one of those words. However, I was reminded just recently how important it really is, especially if you’re an agency looking to hire someone like me.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Ever heard that phrase? It’s because it’s true. I can’t do my job without you and you can’t do your job without me. It’s synergy (another one of those jargon words. ugh.) And that’s absolutely 100% true when you want to hire a social media marketer to come in and partner with you, but it’s just as accurate for any type of marketing. A client reminded me of how important it really is just this past month when we were discussing an overhauled campaign. I had been managing their Facebook and Twitter to mostly promote their business and events they were hosting, with the only goal to be increasing organic engagement on their Facebook page. They didn’t request my help with sales. They weren’t thinking about my being able to help them with advertising. Nope. They just wanted increased engagement. Okay. Within the first month, I had achieved that. But now we were back at the table to discuss a new campaign with the partners because they wanted new customers.

Great! I brainstormed plenty of ideas that we could easily accomplish, with their help, I needed permission, of course, as well as budget. And even though everyone loved the ideas I had brainstormed, none of them could agree on how to move forward with earning new business using both traditional marketing tactics as well as additional social media marketing. There were problems with risk that some of the board members just couldn’t get behind, and so the meeting ended with my proposal being sort of “left on the table”.

What does this mean? It means we’re stuck. I can’t move forward with any new plans without a budget and they can’t move forward without all members on board. It means I have no buy-in from these clients. They appreciate my work on their social media and love the results, but can’t seem to come together about taking any risk, AKA spending more money that would most definitely increase their bottom line and they have some members who have other full time (if not more) jobs, which encroaches on their ability to spend time on more for this business. This hurts me and them. It hurts me because I know they have tons of potential, but without all the members doing their part for this business, we can’t do more. How sad.

Getting Client Buy-In for Marketing

While many if not most of my clients have already bought into the idea of using social media marketing for their sales or exposure, there are plenty of times I have to convince them. How do I do that? Well, for one, I create badass proposals. A lead recently told me that the proposal I had sent to him blew others “out of the water” and he was very impressed. But secondly, I explain to them, very clearly, how I am going to earn them more of something. More money, more customers, more engagement, whatever it is they are looking for. I lay out my plan in an easy and detailed explanation and even go so far as EITMLI5 (explain it to me like I’m 5) when necessary. It’s not often that my ideas are met with anything other than “Well, we can’t do this whole proposal, but can we start with a portion of it?” before they end up buying into the entire quote because they like what they see in the beginning. Sometimes, you just have to earn trust first.

So How Do We Earn Buy In?

We earn buy in with the first steps of trust. Sometimes, we already have that built and once we’re ready to move forward with new ideas, the client trusts us to do the work and get the results. But sometimes, they are still reluctant, like my clients above. For this, a partner of mine, a graphic designer and SEO, recently proposed a trial period for a bit of work we wanted to do for one of his clients. He knew that they absolutely had to start creating their own content and that it had to be better than what they had been giving us (or not giving us, as it were) in order for their website to rank higher in the SERPs (search engine results pages). Because he had let them go a full year not being able to give us what we needed, he clearly had the data of what doing nothing was doing for their website. With a redesign and his small SEO tweaks and monthly analyzing, he was able to get them somewhere but no where near what they had potential for. In his proposal, we were to write 4 well researched and long form articles for them for one month. He suggested that if we didn’t see any change from doing this one trial, he would gladly back off and never bother them about writing articles for him — and their website — again.

We did it. And literally after the first two articles were published to the website, he started seeing results. After the last two were written and published, we waited one more month for data to come in and then he made the ask again: Because the data showed that they made about a 78% increase in ranking keywords and the website was doing just what we needed it to.

Because we were able to show them a taste of what we could do together, we managed to get their buy in when he asked and we’re working on a monthly writing campaign.

There are other ways to earn buy in from your clients, such as previous results in your portfolio, because everyone knows “the proof is in the pudding”. I’ve earned buy in because I know someone else the client has worked with in the past and they recommend me (trust). I’ve earned buy in because the client is so excited by other work I’ve done for them and they want more of my ideas. But what I’ve seen over and over again is if you don’t get them to buy into your ideas, if you don’t get their cooperation, you are sunk. Marketing only works for them if they let it, and you can’t simply expect them to let you do the work or expect them to trust what you say because you say you’re an expert or you’ve “done this before”. The best way to get client buy in is to show them what you can do or what you’ve done before. Then we can all work together happily ever after. 😉


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