Over the past several months, many businesses have focused on honing their digital strategy to help them get through the ups and downs that sheltering in place and changing regulations have brought on.
As we move into 2021, businesses will become even more reliant on digital marketing. For many, it will be the key to survival in what is becoming a new era of doing business.
The Loss of Live Events and the Manifestation of New Opportunities
One of the most striking developments of the year has been the total wipeout of almost any and all live events. From conferences and trade shows to exhibitions, these types of events have been a crucial part of networking, image building, and customer relations for many years.
B2B companies and industries that have not traditionally needed to have a foothold in the digital world may find that without the annual circuit of live events, they need to discover new ways to strengthen their reputation and expand their customer base.
The only way forward is clear. Social media marketing, content marketing, SEO campaigns, and influencer partnerships are an effective method for building brands and finding new customers.
For companies that have been slow to embrace digital marketing making the switch almost overnight will be a challenge. However, those who are flexible and ready to adapt will find many opportunities just waiting to be discovered.
Taking the Steps to Go Digital
What could this look like for your business? If you’re used to doing business face-to-face, meeting potential customers before they’ve been converted, you will need to focus on adapting relationship building strategies to a virtual setting.
For example, you could look at opening new channels or social media platforms for your brand that would provide the introductory experience you typically offer in person. These platforms can also be used to foster and maintain relationships, no handshakes needed.
There’s another silver lining of this situation to consider. While your marketing team was usually on the road, at live events or making sales visits, they’re now stuck at home or in the office. Although this isn’t ideal or typical, it does open up time to develop new digital marketing strategies.
If you’re building a digital marketing campaign from scratch, this will include researching how to find your customers online and assessing which types of tactics are going to be most effective for your business.
If you already have a nominal digital presence, now’s the time to revamp it. Depending on your goals, this process could consist of:
- Updating and optimizing your website
- Refreshing your social media pages
- Improving customer experience
- Incorporating new forms of communication into your workflow
Using Digital for the Long Run
If you’ve traditionally spent a large portion of your marketing budget on the conference circuit, you’ll find you have plenty of resources to play with as you experiment with your digital marketing strategy. Most likely, you’ll quickly observe that you’ve been missing out on many of the benefits and opportunities that can only be taken advantage of through digital channels.
Even when live events are once again possible, it won’t come as a surprise to anyone if you choose to set aside a chunk of your marketing budget to maintain and amplify your company’s digital presence.
Still think you’ll miss that “live” element? Plenty of social media sites these days offer a live component, including Facebook and LinkedIn. Tinkering with these innovations can help you better understand how the live element truly fits into your customer relations and how you can continue to achieve your goals while remaining virtual.
The next several months will continue to be a suboptimal time for most companies. While it’s easy to focus on the opportunities lost due to the pandemic, it’s important to look at the flip side. How can you replace those opportunities by adapting and innovating? After all, isn’t that what business is all about?