It’s the week of Thanksgiving, which means you are without a doubt being bombarded with “Thankful” posts. And that’s ok. We should all take some time to think about what we are thankful for.
I personally am thankful for so many things that I could write a novel. But we don’t have time for that and you don’t want to read that. So, I’m not going to cop-out and tell you about the tools I’m grateful for, or the people I’m grateful for, or tell you how I’ve already had two Thanksgiving dinners this week and its only Tuesday. Nope. Not gonna do it.
Instead, I’m what I’m going to do is this. See, you are likely going to be spending the next few weeks planning for 2017. You’ll think about client goals, personal goals, business goals, etc. You will also be thinking about your team goals and how you can ensure your SEO team evolves, grows, and continues to improve. That’s where I come in.
Instead of discussing what I’m thankful for, I’m going to give you 10 awesome team training ideas that you will be thankful for. See what I did there? Let’s get into it.
1. Client Role Play
One of my favorite trainings this year, client role play challenges the team to think on their feet and learn how to answer potentially difficult questions they may receive from clients in real time. The training is simple:
- Create a list of SEO-related questions (enough to ensure one for every team member).
- Have each team member pair off with another.
- Have each team member draw a question.
- Each person will then read the question to their partner.
- Give each person 5 minutes to answer their question.
- Recap as a group.
The nice thing about this is the conversation it starts amongst everyone. We all face similar questions and it can be educational to hear how others answer.
2. Getting Up to Speed on New Clients/Industries
If you’ve been in the agency world for any length of time, you know how it works: A new program starts and you spend a significant amount of time learning about their business, their industry, their brand, messaging, etc.
But if you haven’t been in the agency world and/or you’ve never done it before, where do you even start?
During this training, ask each member of the team to talk about how they get up to speed:
- Where do they start?
- What do they look for?
- Who do they talk to?
- Do they have any shortcuts?
At KoMarketing, we are fortunate to work with clients whose spaces tend to overlap. For example, we have manufacturing clients who don’t manufacture the same thing, but they deal with similar clientele. This makes the learning curve a bit easier but there is still a curve.
3. Client Communication: Power Words, Fillers & Being Direct
“Is that what I sound like?” If you’ve ever heard yourself recorded, you’ve asked that question (FWIW, there’s a reason). But have you ever listened to yourself and thought “Is that what I said?” If not, you should.
Client communication is one of the most challenging and important aspects of agency life. Whether it’s email, phone, text, or chat, how you communicate with your counterparts is key. It builds the relationship, ensures you get things pushed through, helps set expectations, and so much more.
You can outline the training as you wish but we asked the team to read a few articles ahead of time and then walked through words to avoid and how to structure emails.
Words to Avoid
- Kind of
- Strong subject line
- Include action item near top
- Call out next steps
4. A Day in the Life…
What would you say you do here? It’s a fair question when each person has different clients, different responsibilities, and different skill sets.
The day in the life training helps give perspective on what each member of the team is doing, how they manage their day, and what they find important.
It also can help give you some insights into what people do outside of work. As there are no real rules for what individuals should talk about, many talked about their commute to work. For example, part of Nancy’s day is taking a boat ride into work. That’s really cool and something others might not have known.
5. Tools We Use
Every day I get 5-10 emails about a new tool or piece of software that I have to try. Usually they aren’t applicable to my job and I just delete the email. Sometimes though, they may be applicable and I just don’t have time to try them.
For the Tools We Use training, ask each team member to select 3-5 tools they use on a regular basis and also ask them to discuss unique ways in which they use them. For example, we all know how to use keyword planner but are you doing anything cool with it?
You may find your team is using tools you’ve never heard of or doing something that could make your life much easier.
6. Marketing Lingo Bingo
At KoMarketing, we try to mix up our team training’s to be both educational and fun. Sometimes they learn more toward the fun side and that’s ok.
Back in May, Kristen put together a fun training that helped address some of the marketing jargon we hear every day.
Here are the rules:
- Each person will get a unique bingo board with marketing related terms
- The bingo master will start drawing terms
- When you get Bingo, you have to explain what each term in the pattern means.
There are certainly a number of ways you can structure it but the goal is to ensure the terms themselves are explained and understood in context.
7. Cool Facts About Our Client’s Businesses
How much do you know about the accounts you aren’t involved with? You may know what the client sells or the names of the contacts but you likely don’t know much beyond that. We have our own things to worry about, am I right?
The thing is, as an account manager, you spend your days immersed in a client’s business, learning about the organization, the brand, and the culture. You learn about the funny video they made or the lip sync contest they held, where their holiday party was, or that they have a comprehensive charity program. Those are fun things that add a human element to the company itself!
This training gives the team an opportunity to share some fun, non-marketing things about their clients with the rest of the group.
8. Online Marketing Family Feud
I wish I could take credit for this but unfortunately I can’t. Regardless, add it to your list of team training ideas.
Phoebe and Justina put this together in August using a Family Feud PPT template that not only looks like the game but plays the Family Feud music! They customized it with questions around the search industry, the KoMarketing team, the B2B space, and more.
9. Creating Better Reports
In the past three years, I have attended ~20 conferences and, at every one, I try to sit in on reporting sessions. Why? Because creating efficient but effective client reports is challenging. Yes, there are tools out there (some we use) but they don’t necessarily convey the story you need to tell.
At the beginning of the year, Derek presented to the team on how to both analyze the data and create better reports for clients. This included where to focus, how to sell your points, how to avoid 100 slide presentations, etc.
How you showcase this is up to you but the key is helping your team better understand what they are looking at, how to interpret it, and how to talk about it.
10. Google Analytics Training
Last but not least, one of my favorite topics…Google Analytics. With its ever-changing interface and rabbit-hole type navigation, unless you spend a lot of time in GA, it can be tricky. Thankfully for me, I both spend a lot of time in there and have Matt Diehl, the GA wizard, to help me.
One of our first trainings of the year, the Intermediate’s Guide to the Google Analytics Galaxy, focused on creating segments, setting up dashboards, and also featured a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy theme.
This is another training you can take in any direction and it’s also one we covered on more than one occasion this year. Whether it’s Omniture, GA, Piwik, or another analytics platform being utilized by your company or client’s, make sure the team understands how to use it.
Every six months I ask the team to send in suggestions for upcoming team trainings and am always surprised at the feedback. Things I assume people don’t want to know, they often do and things I assume people already know, they sometimes don’t. Be sure to ask your team what it is they want to learn and go from there.
Oh, in case you missed it, here is the first set, 10 Team Training Ideas to Keep Your SEO Team Rockin.