Marketing Executive, Alison, is a former Forensic Scientist who moved into professional services marketing in 2008 and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MCIM).
Virtual Marketing and the New Normal
In the professional services world, there seems to be a definite air of optimism, with new enquiries on the increase and home workers either gradually returning to their offices or now fully set up at home ready to carry on working remotely. So, what have we learnt from the last 12 weeks since the country went into lockdown? In terms of marketing, here are some of our top takeaways:
Everything went online, practically overnight
All the face to face events we were arranging, planning to attend or speak at, got cancelled. We looked to social media, email and websites for important updates on when, or if, they would be rescheduled. Events then started popping up as webinars instead, and trainers jumped on the opportunity to teach us more about online meetings, including the pros and cons of the vast array of available video conferencing platforms.
Our favourite shops and supermarkets sent email updates on what they were doing to stay open and keep us safe; and they altered their TV commercials to suit the ‘unprecedented times’. The emphasis was on caring and safety, rather than offers and discounts.
In short, ‘virtual’ marketing came to life.
The past few months have introduced new words like ‘furlough’ and ‘zoom-bombing’. Many accountants, HR professionals and employment lawyers have been inundated with work, with a raft of loans, grants and funds to navigate and the finer points of training, annual leave, and health and safety to manage.
Many explainer videos and animations have been created to help explain complex subjects in an engaging way and much of this work-related content will remain relevant long after we all return to our ‘new normal’.
People have demonstrated adaptability
More people than ever are now comfortable in front of a webcam (even The Queen), both at work and at home. Family quizzes, singalongs or exercise classes delivered on Teams and Zoom have increased confidence in using these platforms, without us realising it. Online team meetings helped everyone working from home feel more connected with their colleagues.
Businesses with traditional shop fronts have sprung up online, offering takeaway services promoted through the likes of Facebook and Instagram. And others have completely changed their offering, such as switching to manufacturing PPE for frontline keyworkers.
Professional services might have closed their offices, but many have still been able to offer most of their usual range of services remotely. The lockdown has triggered a raft of innovation, moving ideas forward in a matter of weeks that otherwise would have taken years.
Why is virtual marketing important?
Being online allows you to reach a wider or different customer base. You can use a range of techniques to attract people at different stages of their customer journey – from providing information and free resources to build brand awareness, demonstrate thought leadership and expertise, to building engagement and followers through authentic content, and making it easy for customers to buy from you through clear calls to action. This content can be created affordably and distributed through a range of different channels, tailored to the target audience, be it social media, blogs, articles, webinars, videos, animations, infographics, podcasts, new web pages or micro-sites.
The new normal
Social media marketing and content marketing remain valuable and cost-effective means with which to grow your business. Concentrate on one or two of the most relevant social media platforms – where your audience will be. Use podcasts, blogs, videos, animations, webinars and your website to really stand out from the competition. Don’t forget customer reviews and keeping your website up to date.
Given the economic challenges ahead and as we enter the ‘new normal’, it is more important than ever to keep the momentum going and maintain the useful habits and skills developed during lockdown.
Cal Partners is an award-winning digital marketing agency working exclusively with professional services firms. We can help with virtual marketing strategies and plans, to get your business noticed online. Contact us by calling 0333 050 6015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.