The advent of COVID-19 means all companies need to change the way they do their marketing. The way we work has fundamentally changed. Companies will need to adapt to the changing climate and change what they do. This blog post will show you how to change your marketing in response to the coronavirus. With the strategies below you will have every chance of securing customers should we go into a recession.
For B2B companies, one of the best way to get leads is through events. But because of social distancing these can no longer take place physically. However, there are lots of ways you can be getting active online to have meaningful conversations and encourage prospects to become customers.
Build an inbound marketing strategy
An inbound marketing strategy is one whereby you are attracting visitors to your website and encouraging them to take actions in the customer journey. The key to achieving this is through content.
Identify the pain and construct customer personas
However, you need to create content that addresses customer pains and attracts interest. You will need to understand everything about your potential customers and construct customer personas. You will need to understand your target audience’s job aspirations and typical difficulties they have in their day to day professional lives.
Once you have a content marketing plan you can repurpose that content across various marketing mediums. Analysing what is working is crucial to change your marketing in response to the coronavirus. That way you can produce more of the most popular content.
Build an online community
As sales and marketing teams can no longer get out physically to see customers, building and maintaining an online community is essential right now. This is to ensure that you have a base to come back to once the Coronavirus crisis ends.
You can join groups on LinkedIn and Facebook to connect with customers and influencers in your community. It is an opportunity to listen to what people are talking about and identify hot topics. It gives you an opportunity to think about how you can add value with your content or offers of help. Groups and hashtags are a great way to see what is being shared and to reach people interested in a specific topic. The vibe attracts the tribe, so they say.
If you don’t engage with your target audience personally someone else will do. Influencers have already built the trust in communities. You can look for them and connect with them. It is important then to start sharing their content. If they then follow you it is a perfect opportunity to start building a relationship.
You can be liking and commenting on people’s posts, then afterwards, you can reach out to them. When commenting on people’s posts you can congratulate them on a job well done. Everyone likes a compliment.
Check what platforms your customers are on
It’s important to check what platforms your customers are on. If you have done your personna research, you will know that millennials are more likely to be on Instagram. Older people are more likely to be on LinkedIn and Twitter. You can then put your focus into the platforms where your customers are most likely to be hanging out.
The 4cs to building your online community
According to Krissy Buck of The Digital Neighbourhood, you need 4 Cs to build your online community. These are:
Create – go online and find interests, hashtags, join groups, invite people to connect with you on LinkedIn, engage with content and find people who follow your followers.
Connect – Imagine someone asking you for dinner and they have other plans and then you don’t hear from them again. That’s what it’s like everyday, if you make a connection and then don’t actually engage with that person. Therefore you need to practice engaging with them. This means answering every single comment they leave you. It means thanking someone for following you or leaving a Twitter reply.
Celebrate – what others are saying about you. If anyone talks about your brand online, you can repost that to celebrate it. You can share user content and celebrate other users’ content.
Collaborate – You can collaborate with influencers and other entrepreneurs. You can join the conversation in their communities and invite your community to join along. Try and do a collaboration every week.
Take your events online
Many B2B events have been cancelled or postponed. However, these can be taken online and there are many benefits to running an online event:
- It reduces carbon footprint
- It allows people in locations all over the world to take part
- Engagement from the audience works better as everyone can ask questions. Only a few can at a physical event
- You can make it interactive and get smarter statistics on the answers to poll questions. With a physical event you, you just go by a show of hands
- It’s cheaper – there are no travel costs, venue costs or food costs
- You don’t need to necessarily be there to on the day. You can listen to the recording afterwards if the time of the webinar is when you are looking after kids
Even trade shows can be taken online. One that took place for the first time last year was the Virtual Island Summit.
This was a zero carbon conference with some great presentations on how islands could respond to climate change. The conference was also designed to help islands address 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The sessions were interactive in a variety of formats. The goal was to create an online community.
Free training about how to run a successful online an event is available on the Virtual Island Summit website.
Show that you are helping the people who count
Showing how you are helping our health staff, carers and equipment suppliers is a great way to show your company cares. Humanity is something everyone is looking for in a brand especially as society becomes more open about mental health issues. As Mark Schaeffer says in his book Marketing Rebellion .
”Today the customers are the marketing department. We can’t buy our way into these conversations. We have to earn our way in with a new business approach that appeals to constant human truths.”
Indeed, says Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, Procter & Gamble Company:
”Nine of ten consumers say they have a more positive image of a brand or a company when it supports a social or environmental cause and half say they make purchase decisions based on shared beliefs with the brand”
Don’t reduce your ad spend
In a webinar delivered organised by Marketing Week, Mark Ritson explained that now is not the time to be cutting ad spend. This is because a brand’s share of voice correlates with its market share. This is known as Excess Share of Voice ESOV. In times of recession companies have two things – brand equity and ads. Press ads are known to be effective. Advertising has helped the powerful brands of today get to be the most recognisable brands in the world.
For help with your marketing in these challenging times, do feel free to get in touch.