Your company’s employees are one of its most valuable assets. Internal marketing strategies can stimulate significant efforts such as reducing staff turnover. By helping your employees better understand your organization’s mission, you can help them become powerful brand advocates online and offline.
What is internal marketing?
Internal marketing represents the set of activities that promote the mission and objectives of an organization to its employees. These practices are driven by goals such as increasing employee engagement and retention. Additionally, internal marketing efforts can help employees become brand ambassadors and advocates.
You will need to approach internal marketing differently from your external marketing efforts, but the two strategies must align with each other. Ultimately, internal and external efforts should promote a holistic view of your organization and its mission.
Benefits of internal marketing
Employees who feel deeply connected to their work and their company’s overall mission are more likely to portray your brand in a positive light. Employee advocacy begins with employee education and engagement.
When employees feel disconnected from their jobs, they are more likely to seek other opportunities. And they certainly won’t go out of their way to speak positively about the company or the work they do.
The benefits of internal marketing extend to many aspects of the business. Some of the main benefits include:
- Reduced employee attrition. When employees feel valued – and see their work as important – they are less likely to seek greener pastures.
- Reduced rental costs. Organizations perceived as great places to work don’t have to spend that much money to attract top talent.
- Greater productivity. Employees are more likely to focus on producing great work when they feel they are contributing to a worthy mission.
- Improved employee satisfaction. Recognizing the hard work of employees helps them feel proud of their accomplishments.
5 internal marketing strategies to increase brand promotion
Internal marketing tactics encourage a positive work environment. Whenever you engage your employees in the following activities, make sure they have the time and resources to participate fully. Forcing employees to participate in internal marketing activities when they have more important responsibilities, such as serving customers, can have the opposite of the intended impact.
1. Brand education
Helping your employees understand the history and mission of your business is an essential component of your internal marketing strategy. It is also an important step in building an inclusive corporate culture. By helping your employees feel like they are part of something bigger, they can be more likely to participate in branding.
Onboarding is a great time to introduce new employees to your company and your corporate culture. This may include presentations, videos or graphics explaining how the business has grown and evolved since its inception. These efforts may also include providing freebies like branded sweatshirts, water bottles, and the like. Even if the employees in your company don’t wear uniforms, these gifts can help them feel more like a member of the team.
Beyond the onboarding experience, brand education can help employees stay on top of the current embodiment of your brand. As your organization reacts to market changes and evolves with your external market, your internal marketing campaigns can keep employees abreast of these broader concepts.
2. Employee recognition programs
An effective employee recognition program can be the central pillar of an internal marketing campaign. This is especially true for small organizations with fewer employees. Recognition helps team members know that management sees and appreciates their hard work.
Your recognition program can take a wide variety of forms. For example, managers can write thank you letters to employees. A handwritten note offers a personal touch that rewards like small gifts just can’t touch. Alternatively, the recognition can come in the form of a fun board game such as an employee rewards show.
On the other end of the spectrum, large organizations have achieved great results with managed incentive programs. These types of programs provide employees with experiential rewards such as afternoon trips to a local sporting event or longer trips to exciting destinations. According to a study by the Bersin group, companies that offer incentive programs see 14% higher employee performance than organizations without incentive programs.
3. Integrated communication applications
As more teams operate remotely, internal communication applications have become increasingly essential to employee engagement efforts. Apps like Slack make it easy for employees to share information with each other while reducing meeting dependency.
Communication with employees is a basic use case for communication applications. Internal marketing campaigns can use this technology to deliver branding information and keep everyone on track with larger business goals. For example, you can use applications to announce the deployment of new products or services.
Additionally, apps can offer powerful ways to measure engagement. You can easily see who has adopted the app and who uses it most frequently. This data can show you which employees are the best advocates for your brand. You can also take advantage of app usage reports to support future internal marketing campaigns.
4. Employee round tables
Do your employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions? Employee roundtables can provide a safe and constructive place for employees to meet with management and share their ideas. Round tables should allow individuals to disagree with one another while remaining courteous and respectful.
This is a great opportunity for collaboration between your human resources department and your marketing department. Information from discussions can inform new HR initiatives and help the marketing team understand what employees like and dislike about the company. Transparency is essential. Managers should minimize their own interactions and focus on listening to what their employees have to say.
5. Liaison activities
Your internal marketing plan should include activities that are entirely aimed at helping your employees feel like part of the team. In other words, not all activities should be about promoting your brand to your employees. Sometimes people just need to relax and have fun.
Inviting your team over to lunch is a fun way for employees to get to know each other in an informal setting. By increasing employee comfort levels, it becomes easier for team members to share ideas, ask questions, and even drive innovation.
Three internal marketing KPIs to track your progress
Effective internal marketing experiences will positively impact a number of areas within your organization. The following key performance indicators can help you develop a sustainable and successful internal marketing program:
1. Employee productivity
Taking benchmarks of employee performance before and after implementing your internal marketing program can show you the impact it has on tangible deliverables. For example, let’s say your campaign includes sharing sales strategies with other departments. You should see that your marketing team is in sync with the sales process.
Or say you’re trying to reduce the number of internal tickets in your company’s IT department. Tracking the adoption of your internal communications application can show you whether your employees are communicating with each other about technology troubleshooting.
2. Employee retention
Ultimately, effective communication enables employees to perform their jobs according to expectations. Internal communications should make employees feel more involved in the overall mission of the organization. Tracking retention and turnover rates can help you understand how your employees feel about the work they do. In addition to monitoring turnover rates, you should also look at exit interviews to see if there are any trends in the reasons employees cite for moving on to other opportunities.
3. Online interactions
Do your employees communicate with each other? Do they share brand stories on their personal social networks? While it can be difficult to monitor these digital interactions, they can show you exactly what your employees think about the company’s mission. Engaged and satisfied employees are more likely to share their experiences and accomplishments with their personal networks, for example. Likewise, a high level of engagement with your organization’s internal chat apps can show you how your teams are collaborating with each other.
Successful internal marketing campaigns can turn employees into effective brand ambassadors. This in turn can have a positive impact on your external marketing efforts. To learn more about how to align advocacy marketing with your organization’s broader content marketing strategy, see our comprehensive guide.