Our lives are forever changed. More than a year into this global pandemic, marketers are still wrestling with how to effectively create and execute marketing programs that will build pipeline and close more deals. Gone are the days of in-person conferences and seminars, group demonstrations and client dinners. Handshakes have been retired, live events are now webinars, and client dinners have morphed into Zoom meetings. As we grieve the loss of our frequent traveler rewards, there is a way to re-frame our approach to virtual marketing and maintain a vital personal connection with our customers.
One of the biggest misconceptions about moving to a virtual marketing approach is that everything we do in real life can be replicated exactly the same using digital marketing tactics. It can’t. People have shorter attention spans, consume content differently online, and require more interactions to make a decision. Fortunately, you can apply the following best practices to bridge the gap successfully.
Know your customer. In my last OPN Blog, Customer-centric Partnering, I discussed the importance of knowing your customer and understanding their needs and how they get information. In the virtual world, this is even more important. You need to know where and how your customers prefer to receive information. Once you know how to reach them, create and package your content appropriately for each channel. For example, no one wants to attend an all-day seminar online. Instead, consider packaging your messaging in digestible chunks and offer replays so prospects can watch on their schedule. For social channels, consider creating GIFs, short teaser videos or animated infographics with links to additional resources. Engage influencers in your market segment to support and amplify your messages. Create a variety of assets to communicate your message in different ways, such as podcasts, infographics, blog articles, videos, ebooks, banners, case studies and white papers. Include links to other assets that provide more detail or a different perspective on your message. These cross-links will not only help get your message across, but they will help your SEO ranking.
Connect with your customer. Even though we are currently unable to meet face to face in most cases, you can still stay connected with your customers. Don’t just talk TO them. Give your customers options to provide feedback or ask questions. There are various ways to do this, including surveys, live chat, discussion forums, social comments, email aliases, web forms, and telephone hotlines. Make it easy for your customers to engage with you and get the answers they need in a timely manner to make a decision. Every asset or activity should include an invitation to your customers to connect with you.
Use the right tool for the job. Several years ago, I embarked on a major remodel of my home. There were many projects and I learned quickly that if I wanted a good outcome, I needed the right tool for the job. The same thing applies to marketing. Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions out there to help marketers build and execute great digital marketing programs. Oracle Marketing offers a full suite of tools to enable effective digital marketing. It is the most comprehensive, integrated marketing solution available to launch cross-channel marketing programs. If you want to host an online conference there are great options such as Zoom and Cisco’s Webex. Here’s an article that highlights various options for video conferencing so you can choose the solution that is the best fit for your business. If you want to up your game in social media, here is a great article from the Content Marketing Institute that lists the 50 top social media tools by marketers. If you don’t have the right staffing, consider leveraging an agency that specializes in digital marketing. The Manifest recently published a list of the top agencies for digital marketing. By taking the time to assess your goals and apply the right resources and tools, you can build a winning virtual marketing strategy to grow your business.
If you’re an Oracle partner and member of the Oracle PartnerNetwork, you have direct access to a wide variety of resources to help you market and sell your solutions. From marketing best practices to our Oracle Digital Marketing Center, you have everything you need to plan, create and execute virtual marketing programs to build pipeline and achieve your revenue goals. Check out our latest infographic: 4 Steps to Marketing Success for partners to get started today.