Let’s say someone is considering a job offer from your company.
So they get in touch with one of your current employees to learn more about the organization.
Before deciding on your job offer, the potential employee will probably have questions such as:
- What kind of brand reputation does your business have in the industry?
- What’s the workplace culture like?
- How’s the business doing — is it growing or struggling?
Now, answer this honestly.
Do you think your current employees know the answers to these questions?
If yes, will those answers align with the narrative that you have in mind for your business?
When your employees interact with a potential customer or a job seeker, they need to have faith in your brand.
They should believe in your products, services, and culture themselves first, before they could convince anyone else.
That’s where proper internal marketing fills the gap. And that’s exactly what we’re going to help you understand in this guide.
So let’s get started!
What is internal marketing?
Internal marketing is the process of making your employees aware of your business’s inner workings and offerings. You treat your employees as your “internal customers”.
As a result, they become champions of your brand and feel better connected to your company.
Employees aren’t just driven by money. They also want to feel proud of where they work, and how their work contributes to the success of their organization.
Like your customers, they need to be convinced of your mission, work culture, and value proposition.
That’s because having your employees buy into what your business is doing has a powerful impact. Once they believe in your brand, they’ll be more engaged, productive, and more likely to spread the word in their interactions with friends, family members, customers, and even social media followers. This is the perfect time for you to ask for referrals from your employees. They will definitely be willing to do so.
So as a business leader, keeping your employees in the loop about your organization’s goals, values, and brand is essential.
Why is internal marketing important?
It’s hard to hire talented people and get employees to care about their duties if they aren’t clear on the value of your business. This makes internal marketing essential for talent acquisition, employee engagement, retention, and productivity.
It helps employees have a stronger emotional connection with your business goals and values.
When employees have a clear, better understanding of your company’s products and culture, they’re in a better position to endorse your brand to your target audience and upsell to customers.
Not just that, they deliver better job performance as they know their role in accomplishing your company’s vision.
Benefits of internal marketing
Your employees are among the key assets of your company. By helping them understand what drives your organization, you can reduce turnover and turn them into powerful advocates of your brand.
Here are the most prominent advantages of internal marketing:
1. Boost employee engagement and retention
Internal marketing keeps employees in the loop with regard to company updates and information. It makes them realize that there’s a bigger purpose to their jobs, and that they are a valuable part of the organization.
Since they are consistently informed about the benefits and growth opportunities your organization has to offer, they have a sense of pride and vision for their growth. This keeps them engaged and encourages them to stay with your company longer.
2. Strengthen company culture
Having a strong company culture can lead to 33 percent higher revenue. In a survey of 27 asset managers by the Thinking Ahead Institute, 89 percent rated work culture as important or very important. So that’s another area where internal marketing can make a difference.
Internal marketing helps you reiterate information related to your company’s mission and values on a regular basis. This serves as a reminder to everyone on the behaviors that are expected from them to shape the company’s culture.
Finally, a study of 635 employees in higher education institutions revealed that organizational culture and internal marketing can help boost employees’ perception of organizational support.
3. Improve talent acquisition
As Valamis explains in an article, “how a business presents itself to prospects and how it’s viewed makes a big difference between attracting or losing qualified hires.”
When it comes to growing any business, half the battle is won when you have access to a large talent pool and you can hire skilled people for different roles.
A good internal marketing program spreads the word about your job openings and helps turn your business into a brand where job seekers flock to work.
How to create an effective internal marketing strategy
If you’re planning to get your internal marketing right, it’s essential to have a strategy in place.
Here are the 5 main steps to building an internal marketing strategy.
Step 1: Identify major stakeholders
Getting leaders involved early is essential to establish plans and processes to communicate with employees.
These should ideally be the people who deeply know the ins and outs of your brand. They can help define the work culture, articulate your brand vision, convey the company’s mission, and send out organizational announcements.
In addition, your internal marketing may need to be tailored to some extent for each department within your company.
So you will need to appoint a main point of contact corresponding to each division. This person can weigh in to determine the best way to roll out your messages to the associated department.
Step 2: Lay the basic foundation
Now that you have brought the key stakeholders together, the next step is to identify and agree on the company’s marketing messages.
Of course, you can’t control the whole message, and your employees will have their personal touch when sharing information. But you can have a central theme that keeps everyone on the same page. A document outlining your brand guidelines is a good example.
Later, as you choose to send SMS reminders or emails, start a social media campaign, or host a webinar, this guideline will help your audience resonate better with your brand.
Mick Griffin, Chief Growth Officer at Traffit, describes this tactic succinctly in an interview about the power of storytelling in employer branding.
“Decide on your messaging. What I mean by that is try not to switch it around too much. What we might have in some companies is like this: you can have one job description that sounds very cool and you’re using the right words and you have great graphics. But then, in the very same company, there could be another job description that is very formal because they are recruiting for the legal department.
We have a Head of People and Culture here at Traffit now, Anika, and she’s amazing. Every job description runs through her so she can look and say, “Okay, I’ve got to balance these out”.
Another essential part of establishing communication is a centralized medium separate from the standard channels such as instant messaging or an internal marketing newsletter.
Step 3: Prioritize your internal marketing tactics
As with external marketing, there are many proven tactics to follow in your internal marketing efforts. These include:
- Consistent repetition of your company’s mission, vision, and values. You don’t want to have your goals just hung on a wall. You have to communicate them often to fully drill them into your employee’s minds. From weekly meetings and quarterly performance reviews to town halls and conferences, take every opportunity to do so.
Pro tip: Elaborate on your company’s core values, vision statement, and statement of mission by creating an infographic list using the vision and mission template below.
- Documentation of an annual plan. While a big-picture vision is vital, it doesn’t cover the plan for the near term. In fact, one study of 20 corporations in Australia with “clearly articulated public strategies” revealed that only 29 percent of employees can clearly identify their company’s strategy.
Having clarity on the immediate 12 months helps employees feel stable and hopeful. So document a short-term plan and communicate it often within the organization. Each employee needs to understand the plan and how they are a part of it. For example, Booking.com uses infographics to update their employees on what is happening in the company.
- Get employee feedback. 2 in 3 employees say it’s “very important” that their employers hear their feedback. Taking employee feedback shows them that their opinions are valued, even if you can’t implement all of them. You can pick from a number of tools available to create a survey form and gather feedback, such as Google Forms.
- Leverage social media. 8 in 10 workers are using social media at work. Let’s face it: Your employees are already active on social media and they often talk about you. So work with this tide rather than against it to ensure your employee’s social media activities support your business. You can begin by setting up a social media policy that outlines your expectations about employees’ social media behavior.
Pro tip: Share your social media recommendations with employees through an infographic! It’s easier if you use the social media infographic template below.
- Use your product in-house. Give employees complete or limited access to your products. It helps them understand and empathize with other customers. Plus, it brings them closer to what you’re selling and allows them to be a better brand advocate.
- Host employee roundtables. Another key tactic is to give your employees the freedom to express their opinions. Employee roundtables and focus groups provide a constructive and safe avenue for employees to share their ideas with upper management.
You can use the insights extracted from the roundtables to inform your HR campaigns, marketing initiatives, and job advertisements.
We have covered many tactics, but you don’t have to implement all these tactics at once!
It’s best to start small and roll out with one tactic. Also, make sure that your employees have the time and resources to immerse themselves in your chosen tactics.
Pushing employees to participate in internal marketing when they are already swamped with other high-priority tasks can have the opposite outcome. Focus on something relatively easy and cost-effective for your company to implement and expand from there.
Step 4: Make communication easy
A big part of internal marketing is making it easy for employees to get involved and spread the word about your brand.
An employee communication platform is a great way to achieve this. According to Maaike Klein of Blink, an internal communication platform:
“You can just have an intranet platform but an employee communication app has the potential to deliver a better experience. It gives your workers a voice, and access to a variety of communication tools and data. The result is improved employee engagement and satisfaction.”
Employee communication apps let employees share information easily while minimizing the need for meetings. So internal marketing campaigns can also use this technology to distribute brand information and keep employees aligned with company goals. It can be a centralized location for sharing annual reports, marketing materials, data from 3rd-party sources, and company updates.
Moreover, such an app offers powerful analytics reporting to measure adoption and engagement. You can easily track how many employees are using the app and how frequently they use it. Plus, the data can reveal which employees are your biggest brand advocates.
Step 5: Analyze results and refine your internal marketing strategy
The final piece of your internal marketing strategy is a system to track your progress and success.
How would you know if your plan is really working without tracking and analyzing relevant data and metrics?
Is your work culture improving and is employee productivity rising? Are there new trends in employee behavior?
So based on the goals behind your internal marketing strategy, you should define and track key performance indicators. These may include:
- Hiring metrics (offer acceptance rate, time to hire, etc.)
- Marketing data (social media engagement, reach, etc.)
- Client satisfaction (churn rate, Net Promoter Score, etc.)
This data will inform you about what you need to work on to troubleshoot issues or improve your tactics. In addition, you can re-evaluate your chosen metrics regularly to see if everything’s on track.
Step up your internal marketing efforts with Piktochart
It’s no secret that when employees are prioritized and satisfied, they go the extra mile to perform their work, help promote brand awareness, and deliver exceptional customer experience.
Effective internal marketing goes beyond just the HR and marketing communications programs.
With the rise of social media and user-generated content, organizations can help employees build influence, participate in online conversations, and become brand ambassadors.
If you’re looking to inspire this kind of work culture, it’s not too late to set internal marketing goals within your organization.
A successful internal marketing strategy can cultivate a unified identity and work culture and boost employee loyalty when done right.
Ultimately, it can contribute to your company’s bottom line in terms of growth and customer satisfaction.
Create your Piktochart account today and take the first step in sharing your organization’s unique story through visual storytelling.
Not confident about visual storytelling? We made this free course on the fundamentals of visual storytelling for you!