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Digital Marketing and the Coronavirus Threat

We have been thinking about how the world is changing and how it impacts our work at Intuitive Websites. Here’s an update on a few significant areas of digital marketing and the impact of the coronavirus. These are strategies and recommendations to think about in the next 30 to 60 days. This blog post was posted on March 20, 2020.

Digital Marketing Changes in 2020

The coronavirus is changing how businesses operate in 2020. It’s not clear how long this will continue, but it will certainly change how companies market and sell in the future. There is no going back, because the virus has introduced a new way of looking at human interactions and communications.

It’s impacting how people research online for goods and services and will change how they choose to interact with sales teams when they are ready to buy. This forces digital marketers to be better at their jobs and consider several new factors in generating leads and growing their sales.

Let’s take a look at a few fundamental marketing and sales changes you will need to make and how digital marketing strategies and tactics will help you get through the new realities we are facing today.

How Digital Marketing Planning is Changing

The biggest challenge of the coronavirus is moving to a remote workforce, which includes most sales and marketing activities. Many of the offline activities that brought you leads and sales in the past will now be conducted virtually.

How people become sales leads will be almost 100% virtual. Your prospects will now research like never before and look to experience your product and service in great detail before they meet with a sales rep. The good news is this is very doable for most companies and may turn out to be a blessing in disguise!

This can work in your favor as sales meetings become more efficient, require less travel and sharpen the focus of your your discussions. This meetings will require a new set of skills for sales and marketing teams around how to conduct virtual meetings, seminars, conferences and more. The biggest challenge will be the cultural shift at your company and getting acceptance from people who struggle with change. It will also force your company to be better at digital marketing and to produce content of great value. This also improves efficiencies at your company.

Integrate Digital Marketing with Sales

It’s more important than ever for sales and marketing teams to remove silos and work closely together to retain customers and continue to grow sales. Egos must be set aside and efforts should be coordinated. This includes getting the sales team involved in content creation, content marketing and getting the marketing team talking to customers and prospects. Both groups must place more value on quality content in various forms. They can do this better by working together.

Zoom Etiquette

Zoom is a video conference company experiencing growth in this new business climate. How you make use of Zoom, or related tools, can strengthen relationships with prospects and clients or push them away.

Building trust is key to success in sales and you can build trust with Zoom. For example, using your video camera in Zoom meetings builds trust because people want to make eye contact. It is something we do when we meet in-person. Being on a Zoom call means you will need to clean-up the space behind you, take care of your personal appearance and have the right equipment for the call. Zoom is going to bring the world into your home through your home office, so make your home office presentable. Also, be on time and join the meeting 2-3 minutes early in case there is a technical issue. Don’t worry so much about how you think you look, it’s more important for people to “meet you” on video in these virtual environments.

The Digital Funnel Is Now Virtual

The digital funnel is now a completely virtual funnel as contact with sales reps moves to video conferencing. It’s best to think of the funnel as virtual and then add offline funnel milestones in the future. Middle of funnel content will be needed to replace in-person contact at meetings, events, seminars, conferences and more. Get to work on this right away to make your funnel stronger and more tailored to your target market during the virus outbreak.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation, through apps like Hubspot, allows you to reach many people and respond to their interactions with your brand. Once your contact database reaches 1000 contacts or more and you have an average lifetime sales order over $500, then it is time to plan, invest and implement marketing automation. If you don’t, your competitors will take away market share. Email marketing and marketing automation efforts must be of high value and involve intelligent follow-up.

Social Media

Much of social media is focused on events and activities involving groups of people. This has changed. Content hitting social media should focus more on value and benefits, with personalized, content-rich videos leading the way. Visit your social media calendar and find ways to up the value of the content. Remove all references to offline events coming in the future. Focus on how you can add value virtually.

Call-to-Actions (CTAs) and Digital Conversion Points

Change any CTAs on your website to be virtual and if people can pay for your services online, then set-up the appropriate methods for them to pay online. Conversion points should offer people options in how they connect with you. Allow for several types of virtual interactions at various levels of engagement with your brand. This includes consultations with experts, virtual webinars and seminars, workshops and more.

Blogging and Content Marketing

You must put time into writing about how your industry and company is adapting to the new realities around the coronavirus. This will go on for at least 30-60 days or more. Make sure to include the key benefits people get from these new ways of doing business with your company. For example, they will save time, travel less, be more efficient and still get your attention and excellent service.

Video and YouTube

The coronavirus social distancing will increase the need for video. Not just through Zoom, but in brief video content spots through YouTube. We have written several blog posts on optimizing YouTube video content to be found in searches. You can read by clicking on the links below.

Questions to Ask

Here are a few key questions to ask in upcoming digital marketing meetings of your internal and external marketing and sales team members.

  • How does the coronavirus impact our digital marketing strategies?
  • How do we move our in-person events to virtual events and meetings?
  • What technology is needed for virtual sales calls?
  • How do we change the culture of our sales and marketing teams to work together and make use of virtual sales and marketing meetings?

Now is the Time

This is the time to find the upside in our new business climate. Develop a plan to communicate the positive impact you can make with your customers and prospects because of the coronavirus. This message will almost certainly be communicated through a digital channel, like social media, email, a blog post or on your website. Make sure this content adds value and explains how you can help and make a difference.

Your customers and prospects are waiting to hear from you.

Coronavirus Digital Marketing Action Plan – Let’s Get to Work

    1. Re-visit your current digital marketing plan and find ways to improve upon it. If you don’t have a digital marketing plan, write one.
    2. Develop a virtual sales training program so sales reps learn how to sell through Zoom and other virtual methods.
    3. Schedule a meeting and bring together your sales and marketing team to coordinate their efforts.
    4. Modify all your CTAs to be virtual meetings and events.
    5. Update references and links to live events on your website or you may look like you are out of touch with the new reality.
    6. Bring your sales and marketing teams together to review content marketing plans for email, blogs and social media.
    7. Develop content for the middle of funnel to replace offline marketing.
    8. Write a blog and email announcement about what your industry and company is doing during the coronavirus response time and in the future.
    9. Research and implement marketing automation using a tool like MailChimp or Hubspot.

We are here to help.

Click here to reach out directly to Kerianne Leffew or Tom Young for a free consultation and more information.

Thomas Young

Thomas Young is the CEO and Founder of Intuitive Websites. He is a consultant, award winning Vistage speaker and author of “Winning the Website War” and “Sales and Marketing Alignment.” Tom has helped thousands of companies succeed online and has over 25 years digital marketing experience.