Marketing during COVID-19 can be challenging. I've seen so many vapid pleas of "we're in this together" I can't see straight! And yes, "Black Lives Matter" but I don't need another email from some random company telling me what that means to them. As a marketer in these times, what can you do? How do you pivot?
Let's address the elephant in the room: we're living a new normal. With COVID-19 most of us are either afraid or cautious of leaving our homes. So, if live events have been integral to your marketing strategies, you may be wondering: now what?
Not to worry. With the right messaging and approach, now is the perfect time to launch an event. You just need to rethink it a little.
I've identified three P's to a winning event strategy: Pivot. Plan. And Personalize.
Gone are the days of live conventions, trade shows, or seminars. Even in smaller venues, the travel and expense of trying to pull one off a live event may not be worth the small turnout or exposure — for your staff or your prospects. But online events are a great alternative if you can quickly adjust your approach. With a little imagination and forethought, you can fill your event room with live bodies, even when they won't leave their homes.
Pivoting requires adjusting your goals, tactics, message and delivery. Online events can be hosted in several ways. Let's consider each so you can determine which might be best for your marketing strategy.
Now that you've considered which online tactics best meet your marketing goals, you need to plan and launch quickly. The marketing timeline for these types of events versus large live events is often much shorter. Once you nail the topic, speaker and times for your event, you want to be able to pull the trigger quickly and seamlessly. Your planning-to-launch timeline should fall within 2-5 weeks. The more you can template your efforts with ready-made themes, graphics and tools for emails, registration, agendas, presentations, social media, etc. the better equipped you will be to plan, launch and reiterate FAST.
Making an event successful, especially in these turbulent and stressful times, requires a little more personal touch on your part. Put your audience first. Make your event about them, not you. Businesses that are here to serve and support (not sell) are those that will succeed in times like these. So be sure to offer tips and insights that are helpful to your prospects. Provide tools, services or products that are free to those in need if possible. Be empathetic, warm and personable.
This goes for your event marketing and follow-up, as well as all your marketing efforts. Now is the time to engage with individuals via email or social media, not in an automated way, but with individual and personal messages. Reach out to folks you've done business with or contacts in your LinkedIn account and just ask how they are doing. No agenda. No sales pitch. Make connections that are authentic and sincere. These efforts will strengthen your relationships and carry you through this challenging time.
So, despite the elephant in the room — the fear and anxiety that has become our new normal — you can get everyone in the room of your choice and build some positive, helpful connections that will strengthen your business.
Hi. I'm Barbara Bogue. The name [double b] came from my initials. Here I share tips and advice on marketing, design and copywriting.
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