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Is digital marketing the answer to lockdown business restrictions?

By Daniel O’Connor, Co-Founder

As a passionate advocate for digital marketing, one thing I’ve asked many potential clients is, “What would it take for you to concentrate more time and resources on digital marketing?”

Of all the effects this pandemic’s had on businesses, the worst is the barrier to networking. Important connections and introductions were always made at industry exhibitions, conferences and other live events. The circuit of trade shows was especially important to SMEs and service providers. For businesses who depended on word of mouth or referrals to win new business, COVID-19 has been particularly cruel. Even larger businesses, who invest big sums in their presence at live events have been hit hard.

I’m always keen to point out that the key to resilience in business is the ability to change and adapt to new business climates both swiftly and effectively. That’s why the businesses who’ve performed best, when it comes to marketing in 2020, have pivoted to digital. In a recent article on the Forbes website, Ratnesh Singh, head of global business at events technology agency Buzznation, said, “With our corporate clients, events often consume 50 to 60 per cent of their marketing budgets. They still want to spend that money and they are open to trying something new.” For many of those corporate companies, ‘something new’ means digital.

hand holding an iphone with purple background

Why Digital

The main rule of marketing is you need to be where your customers are, and you need to be seen by them. This is why conferences and networking events were so important. Even though these events are offline for the foreseeable future, you still need to be where your customer are – and that’s online. If you’re going to maintain your market share, and even grow your business in these extraordinary times, you’re going to have to innovate to capture the attention you need in the digital arena.

How can you improve your Digital Marketing?

The first step you can take is quite simple – give your website a comprehensive overhaul. Update your blog and site content, update the plugins and road test your navigation to make sure it’s ergonomically synched. Finally, make certain your search engine optimisation is working at full capacity. So the right people know where to find you online.

More steps

Time to brush up your social media presence. This doesn’t mean you have to start tweeting about Arsenal vs Newcastle or posting videos of your cat to Instagram. It means, once again, going where your clients and customers are on social media and making certain they notice and engage with you.

Update your blog regularly and get key personnel to engage with company social media to attain the widest possible exposure – whether this is LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

little badges on a table with facebook logos and like symbols

LinkedIn

LinkedIn remains the single best social media platform on which to do business. An effective social media campaign will always take the most advantage of this platform.

You’ll need to do more than just update your posts and share content to be truly effective though. LinkedIn Groups are an often overlooked method of networking and engaging with potential clients, because they are based around themes and key areas of interest that attract participants from every area of your industry.

As well as maintaining an active presence in the key groups in your field, you might even consider starting your own group. It’s best to avoid naming it after your organisation, instead pick a key topic that’s relevant to the work you do and concentrate on exploring that. In this way you can post regularly about your business and the challenges and opportunities everyone in your sector is facing. Initially you can share the group with your LinkedIn contacts and invite them to join. As the group grows in popularity you’ll attract more members from further afield who are interested in the ideas you’re discussing and may well be looking for the services or goods you provide.

The LinkedIn Live feature allows you to broadcast live video content to your LinkedIn network in real time. You simply apply to become a broadcaster by filling in an application form on the site. Once approved, you can hold regular webinars and live broadcasts to engage with everyone you’re connected to on the app, using either your phone, a webcam or any other equipment you have access to. With a tiny bit of tactical pre-publicity you can generate a respectable audience for these live events.

a laptop, ipad, iphone and watch on a wooden table hosting a zoom meeting

Host Your Own Online Event

If you can’t get out to conferences, then you can at least bring the conference experience to your online network. You don’t have to charge for the events but you can use ticketing sites like Eventbrite to get an idea of the numbers who’ll be attending and to follow-up with them afterwards.

You don’t need to have professional presentation skills, or even be a polished public speaker. You just need to have something to say about the industry you work in to engage with the people who ought to hear about what you do.

If you’d like to discuss any of the ideas I’ve outlined. Or chat about how we can build these into your digital marketing strategy, then drop me a line or give me a bell so we can help you gain the attention your company deserves.

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