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Stakeholder interviews are a crucial part of our strategy design process at Uproer, as they help us understand the needs, motivations, and goals of the people we will be partnering with for the foreseeable future. Stakeholder interviews should be conducted as early as possible in the strategy development phase to give the strategist ample time to contextualize the client's core business, industry landscape, and desired outcomes.
We typically schedule a 60-90 meeting with a client to accomplish the following:
- Assess their experience and knowledge with SEO/SEM
- Determine their desired qualities in an ideal agency partner
- Understand the reasons for seeking an agency partner
- Gather context about their business and industry
- Identify business goals
- Establish a shared vision
- Develop a collaborative partnership
In this article, we will discuss the reasons in which stakeholder interviews should be conducted as well as sharing a few vital tactics for effective interviewing.
Why Conduct a Stakeholder Interview?
As an outcome-driven search agency, conducting stakeholder interviews is crucial because it allows us to gather valuable insights and feedback from key client stakeholders about previous SEO/SEM strategies and initiatives, along with setting expectations for new initiatives. This helps us to better understand the needs and preferences of our target audience, which in turn allows us to create more effective and relevant search marketing content.
Stakeholder interviews can also help us to identify potential challenges or areas for improvement in our SEO strategy early on, which ultimately leads to better outcomes and quicker results for our clients.
Benefits of Stakeholder Interviews:
Set expectations from the start
To be a great agency partner, it is important to ask the client how we can best support them. Their responses provide valuable guidance and context for building a long-term partnership. It is also important to understand the client's level of experience with search marketing, as this will inform how we communicate and frame strategy initiatives. With this information, we can ensure that the expected outcomes of our strategies are attainable and that the client understands the capabilities and limitations of SEO/SEM investment.
Gather Context And History
Stakeholder interviews provide valuable insights into a client's business, including its personnel structure, strengths and weaknesses, and goals and objectives. This information helps to understand the context and history of the business and its industry. In addition, we can assess previous search marketing efforts to gather historical data to inform our upcoming search strategies.
Identify Business Goals
By engaging with key stakeholders and asking the right questions, we can learn a lot about the client's business goals and objectives. Laying the groundwork for what an ideal partnership with our agency looks like sets everyone up for success now that we know precisely where the goalposts are placed for the engagement. This helps us to align our search marketing efforts, and project-level communications, with the client's desired outcomes, and ensure that we are working towards a shared vision.
Align On A Shared Vision Of Success
Stakeholder interviews are a chance for us and the client to work together to create a shared vision for the search strategy. This shared vision is crucial because it ensures that all parties are working towards the same goals, and that the marketing efforts are tailored to the client's needs and expectations.
Without a shared vision, it can feel like previous agencies or contractors were doing "random acts of SEO" without a clear strategy in place. Stakeholder interviews provide an opportunity to establish a shared vision of success and take action on it from the start.
Increase Buy-in, Communication And Collaboration
By engaging with key stakeholders and gathering their feedback and insights, we not only increase client buy-in and collaboration from the outset of our partnership, but we also create a collaborative setting where all parties are working towards a common goal. When stakeholders feel that their needs and desires are being heard and that they have a partner they can rely on, they are more likely to be fully invested in the success of the strategy. This can lead to a stronger working relationship and better outcomes for the campaign.
By fostering a collaborative environment, we can ensure that all parties are working together towards a shared vision and that everyone is committed to the success of the strategy execution.
When Should A Stakeholder Interview Take Place?
Before conducting stakeholder interviews, the strategist should review existing landing pages, blog content, and social media content to gather context for deeper, more informed questions during the interview.
Stakeholder interviews should be conducted within the first 1-2 weeks of starting a strategy development project to gather the less obvious business information, meet key stakeholders, and establish a regular meeting cadence. This helps the agency stay connected to the business and deliver a meaningful onboarding experience for the client, showing the immediate effectiveness of their investment in the agency.
How To Conduct A Stakeholder Interview
Step 1: Identify Stakeholders
- Determine who the key stakeholders are for the search strategy
- Consider the various perspectives and roles that these stakeholders have within the organization
Step 2: Prepare Questions
- Research and answer the obvious surface level questions as you educate yourself on the clients business and industry
- Prepare a list of educated questions to dive as deep as possible in a 60-90 minute interview. (See list below)
- Develop a list of questions that will help you understand the needs, goals, and challenges of the business
- Consider the information that you need to gather in order to develop an effective strategy
- Customize your questions based on the specific stakeholder you will be interviewing
Here are a few examples of questions that will help you drill deeper:
- Which customers are the easiest to close? (i.e., shortest sales cycle)
- Tell us about your largest deals this past year
- Who are the decision-makers involved in the purchase? What are their job titles?
- Which customers have the highest retention? Which ones pay the most?
- Who gets the most value out of using your product/service?
- What makes someone more likely to become a repeat customer?
What are your customers’ biggest pain points?
- What challenges do your customers face prior to buying from you?
- What holds them back from buying?
- What problems do your products/services solve for them?
- What aspect of the product or service do clients derive the most value from?
- If you could wave a magic wand, how would you improve your products/services for your customers?
Step 3: Document Conversation Or Record Meeting
- It is important to keep a record of the stakeholder interview in order to capture key insights and feedback
- You can do this by taking notes during the conversation or by recording the meeting
- Make sure to get permission from the stakeholder before recording the conversation
Step 4: Synthesize How This Affects Strategy Development
- After conducting the stakeholder interview, take the time to review and analyze the information that you gathered
- Consider how the insights and feedback from the stakeholder will impact the development of the marketing strategy
- Use this information to inform your decisions and adjust the strategy as needed
Conducting stakeholder interviews is a vital step in the strategy development process at Uproer, as they help us better understand the needs and goals of our clients and create more effective and relevant marketing content.
By conducting stakeholder interviews early on in the process, we are able to gather valuable insights, identify potential challenges or areas for improvement, and work towards a shared vision with our clients. These interviews increase buy-in, communication, and collaboration among all parties involved, leading to better outcomes and quicker results for our clients.
If you are interested in partnering with Uproer for your search marketing needs, drop us a line for a free discovery call.