When it comes to marketing your company, you are probably quite familiar with external marketing — marketing that is targeted toward consumers.
You probably don’t think much about internal marketing (you may not even be familiar with it) as part of your digital marketing strategy, but it is just as important and valuable as external marketing.
Internal marketing is a necessity, especially in this day and age. If employees don’t understand their employer’s values, it becomes more difficult for them to work hard and care about what they’re doing.
And, since your employees are your company’s biggest assets, you need to ensure they’re happy.
Internal marketing can improve both customer and employee satisfaction while also reducing employee turnover.
You’ll also be creating some of your company’s strongest brand ambassadors.
Below, we will dive into everything you need to know about effective internal marketing, including some examples of this strategy.
What is Internal Marketing?
Simply put, internal marketing is when your company opts to “sell” itself to its employees, who are considered a company’s largest group of stakeholders/assets.
So, you are promoting from within the company. By investing in internal marketing, your employees become more aware of the brand and more knowledgeable about your company as a whole.
Basically, you are trying to convince your employees that your company mission and values are something to live by and believe in.
As a result, this improves productivity, since employees are more engaged and happier with the work they do and the company they work for.
Research shows that employees who work for a company that they trust are eight times as likely to let others know their place of employment, reposts social media posts, share company blog posts, and more.
Who Implements Internal Marketing?
When it comes to implementing internal marketing, your first thought may be the Human Resources department.
After all, the HR department is well known for sharing important information company-wide. They are simply some of the best communicators you have in your organization, as they play an important role in employee engagement.
Now, while it is indeed important for HR to be on board, they are not the only ones who should be involved in connecting employees to the brand.
Instead, there should be involvement from employees and leaders from varying levels of the company. Ideally, you should identify one leader for every department.
In addition, an employee communications team should be created, which can help encourage coordinated efforts when it comes to communication throughout the organization.
Regardless of who you choose to involve in your own internal marketing strategy, the goal is to create a team of employees and leaders of different levels from across the board.
The Role of Internal Communication in Internal Marketing
Internal communication is key to your overall internal marketing strategy.
The way you choose to communicate with your staff will have a direct impact on employee engagement and how they perceive your brand.
The lack of sufficient communication between employees and departments can be detrimental to the organization as a whole.
Internal communication needs to be more than simply offering your employees a place to review company policies, see job openings, and browse through company photos.
Internal communication should also be able to get your employees together and energized about what makes your company so special.
Internal communication can be shared verbally, electronically (intranet), or by paper. Further, it can consist of face-to-face interactions, informal chats between colleagues, and more.
With effective internal communication, you can rest assured that all members of the organization are on the same page.
The goal of internal communication is to keep employees current on the latest happenings of the company and to work together more efficiently.
How to Develop an Internal Marketing Plan
Your internal marketing team is going to be responsible for the development and implementation of your internal marketing plan.
First and foremost, you must identify a goal — a goal that consists of promoting improved employment engagement and more positive relations.
Next, you must develop a solid team, if you haven’t already. This team should consist of individuals who you feel will be successful at building up your brand and in communication.
In other words, they already need to be incredibly familiar with your brand, since they’ll be “selling” your brand and company as a whole to the other employees.
Once, you’ve identified your goals and created your team, it’s time to get down and dirty.
1. Assess Your Current Internal Marketing Strategy
Even if you do not have an actual strategy in place, there is probably some level of internal marketing occurring within your company.
However, the lack of a proper strategy can result in ineffective results.
Take the time to identify and assess what may be considered an internal marketing technique.
You may even want to send out a survey to your employees to see what they may or may not know, which can give you some insight as to where they currently stand in terms of how they view your organization.
This first and very important step will help you determine what is and isn’t working and how you can create a more personalized approach.
2. Align Your Marketing Efforts
Once you have assessed current marketing efforts and collected information from your employees to help you identify your next steps, you will want to revive and realign your marketing messages.
It is important for both your internal and external marketing to align with one another. This is because everyone needs to receive the same message.
This helps to avoid any kind of mixed messages about your brand.
By aligning your efforts, you will strengthen both employee engagement and customer satisfaction.
3. Get Everyone on the Same Page
Now, even with your efforts aligned, it is imperative that your leaders are supportive and fully comprehend the goals and objectives of the internal marketing plan.
Otherwise, your strategy will quickly derail.
However, don’t focus only on a top-down initiative. All levels of employees from all departments should be able to work together as a team to truly make internal marketing work.
You can promote voluntary training sessions and create a forum where employees can ask questions, share ideas, and more.
This will help increase the chances of everyone understanding the message that is to be relayed.
4. Create an Employee Feedback System
Even though you may be the leader of the company, it is important to be able to receive constructive criticism from your employees.
This is especially true as you are moving forward with an internal marketing campaign.
Feedback from your employees can help you identify gaps in your messaging and clear up any misconceptions before things get out of control.
It also gives your employees a much-needed voice, allowing them to feel valued as a member of your company.
Employee feedback can be collected through an intranet program, surveys, meetings, or any other form of a digital communication system.
Examples of Internal Marketing Strategies
There are numerous ways in which you can put an internal marketing strategy in place. In many cases, you have probably already started and didn’t realize it.
#1: Brand Education
If your employees are going to help you run the show, they need to understand the mission and story behind your company.
This also helps to create an improved company culture.
One of the best times to educate employees about the brand is at the onboarding stage. However, a brand education plan should be in place to keep current employees current on the brand and company goals.
#2: Employee Recognition Programs
Employees want to feel special, cared for, and valued.
By implementing a recognition program, your employees will know that they, along with their hard work, are being seen, heard, and appreciated.
There are many ways to go about recognizing employees, and it will all boil down to personal preference and your industry.
But some common ideas are handwritten notes, employee awards, and seasonal parties.
You may even consider an incentive program, which will have employees working toward something, such as tickets to a sporting event, weekend getaway, etc.
Research shows that there is a 22% higher performance rate among employees when an incentive program is in place.
#3: Employee Roundtables
You may not realize it, but your employees may not feel comfortable expressing their personal opinions on company-related matters. This is more often than not the case.
Since your employees play an integral role in your internal marketing efforts, it is important they feel safe to share feedback — positive or constructive. Roundtable discussions offer this.
In a roundtable discussion, employees can agree to disagree while remaining respectful.
Not only do your employees feel safe in voicing their opinions, but you will gain valuable insight into what’s going on and potentially capture light of the next big thing for your marketing strategy.
Keep in mind that transparency is always key in these matters.
Higher ups should minimize their interactions in these situations and instead put more of a focus on listening to what the employees want to share.
One thing to note: it is never too late to create and implement an effective internal marketing strategy for your company.
Right now is also the time to create new advocates for your brand, and the best ones come from within your organization.
An effective internal marketing strategy can have a direct and positive impact on your external marketing efforts.
Looking for more ways to increase employee engagement?
Consider implementing employee spotlights, the focus of this special blog post!