For many B2B companies, tradeshows are the sales team’s bread and butter. For good reasons, of course. Nothing can compete with the face to face networking opportunities with prospects and renewing existing relationships with clients, all on a single platform. However, now that most offline events around the world are rescheduled or cancelled, what can you do to ensure continuity of your company’s presence?
With strict travel restrictions, mandatory quarantine periods, and a complete lockdown in some countries in Asia, the online behaviour of consumers is forced to change. According to the Coronavirus Impact Survey distributed on 20 March 2020 by AdColony, one prominent behavioral shift is that there is a 75% increase in ad impression volumes among Singaporeans.
Right now, digital channels may well be your brand’s best defence against this time of uncertainty. Here are some ways you can optimise your brand’s visibility online.
Enhance your website
Because of the recent shift in buying behaviour, optimising your website content and search engines with relevant keywords is critical. Audit your website from a user's perspective and funnel out communication message about the business operations or special customer services during this difficult time. This ensures them a peace of mind that you, their supplier or manufacturer, are putting the right measures in place to mitigate the situation and are still accessible to them.
Pivot your content strategy but don’t abandon it
Right now, B2B customers are looking for content that can help them make sense of the disruptions going on around them. Though it may be lucrative to create content solely to cater to this crisis, consider if they are relevant to your brand message.
Don't shift your content strategy or disregard your evergreen content completely; keep the foundation as it is what will sustain your brand in the long run. Instead, develop content that is most applicable now to your customers or the industry you are in.
As for your existing content pipeline, relook at your content calendar and make adjustments to better fit the current sentiment.
De-prioritise certain content to a later time of the year because the material may be irrelevant at present.
Be personal in your content. As people are craving for human interaction more than ever, being more personal or relatable in your messaging can leave a lasting impact.
Maintain high quality. With everyone doubling up in content quantity, you should focus on publishing relevant, useful information to keep content quality high and add value to readers.
Promote your content across media. Push out content on your website, blog page, and social media channels. To generate leads, consider promoting content using paid media, such as LinkedIn Sponsored Content and InMails.
Nurture your stakeholders
If you are not already communicating with your customers regularly, this is the time to roll out email marketing campaigns to build engagement and nurture your existing leads. Why?
Firstly, email marketing is proven to be one of the most successful B2B tactics with a 4,400% ROI and $44 for every $1 spent. Second, it’s been shown that companies that excel at lead nurturing via email generate 50% more leads at 33% lower cost.
As a tool for your inbound marketing, keeping your customers engaged through targeted and personalised content is essential. To run a great email campaign, segmenting your leads is crucial as it allows you to provide hyper-relevant content to your specific audiences, ensuring that they are more likely to engage and move further down the sales funnel. How you segment your leads depends on the campaign’s goal, so take your time to decide what kind of action you want your leads to take: Subscribe to your blog? Download the whitepaper? Have the goal clearly in mind before you prepare the content.
Don’t stop listening (and engaging)
Now more than ever, you should listen and engage in conversations with your customers, and one of the most effective channels to gather insights is social media. Here you can take note of the types of content your target audience is engaging with or sharing about.
Don’t just listen. Once you spot your customers’ interests, join the conversation by adding values based on your industry expertise. Consider pushing out short-form content such as short blogs or social media posts to relay the message. Make sure to keep adjusting your content by aligning to what customers are interested in.
Physical to virtual meeting and event
Many have found creative ways to stay virtually connected, and that’s the same for event organisers. Even Microsoft decided to turn its biggest event of the year, the Build developer conference, into a virtual one, making it accessible for a higher number of people.
Regardless of the platforms you are using, to make virtual events and meetings work, the basics still apply. Before the session, send out the agenda with clear objectives laid out and if possible, send pre-read materials. During the session, appoint a facilitator to keep track of time and set ground rules, take breaks, and jot down the notes.
Testing mindset - we are all flying the ship while we are building it
During this climate of uncertainty, there is no time for metrics checks or research on case studies to back up your decisions on marketing activities. Have a testing mindset and be willing to experiment and learn from available digital channels and media. Remember that no business has experienced a pandemic with such a worldwide disruption like the Coronavirus, hence it is a new experience for everyone overall. Keep testing and re-evaluating your efforts.
Listen, adjust and adapt
Though we can’t change the situation we are in, take the opportunity to increase your brand space and win new audience groups, laying the long-term digital foundation for the post-coronavirus era. What matters is that you keep listening, adjusting and adapting your B2B marketing strategies to the ever-evolving climate.
Don’t know how to get started? Contact us to find more about how we can help you navigate your efforts during this uncertain time.