More than any other event in our lifetimes, the COVID-19 Pandemic has both fundamentally altered the way that companies market to and communicate with their important stakeholders, and dramatically accelerated three digital marketing trends:
- Webinars – Working from home has increased reliance on webinars and other virtual meetings in place of physical events.
- Websites as Proactive Marketing Hubs – The primary means of communicating to all audiences, “passive” company websites are being replaced with “proactive” digital marketing hubs that offer relevant customer-centric content, multiple conversion opportunities, and new engagement tools such as chatbots and live chat.
- Targeted Email and Marketing Automation – While already a fundamental means of communicating to business audiences, email marketing is rapidly moving from “batching and blasting” a single message across all audiences to utilizing marketing automation for dynamic content and workflows that can distribute, at scale, the right message at the right time to defined audience personas.
Webinars at Forefront of Virtual Events
Perhaps the first marketing channel to react to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the events and exhibition industry has been furiously rescheduling, canceling, or converting most in-person events in 2020 to virtual events or webinars. Many organizers have sought creative ways to continue their events through online channels.
Webinars remain the online event of choice and have experienced dramatic growth since the pandemic began. Webinars for March 2020 increased 66% over the same month in 2019, and webinar attendance has doubled so far this year. Platforms such as GoToWebinar, Demio and WebEx have experienced similar growth rates in the past few months.
Sheltering-in-place has made online events one of the only ways for workers to communicate both internally and externally. It is this familiarity with online meetings, training sessions and team collaboration tools used internally that has also increased the level of comfort with participating in online events.
While it may seem simple to produce a webinar, strategic missteps and technical glitches can make it difficult for your brand to recover from a failed online event. At The Quell Group, we’ve produced and promoted hundreds of online events and can ensure the success of your online event with the selection of the correct platform, format (live, on-demand, simulated live), content, presenters, timing, and promotion.
Websites as Frontline, Proactive Communications
With employees instructed to work from home, the company website has taken on a primary role of communicating to all audiences – including employees, customers, and other stakeholders. While the tactics may differ from website to website, the strategy is the same – keep audiences engaged and informed about the company’s response to this unprecedented crisis.
For many companies, this increased importance has highlighted shortcomings in their websites that may have been easy to overlook in the past. Difficult-to-use content management systems or inflexible internal processes for updating website navigation or messaging may have been tolerable for static “brochureware” sites. Now, up-to-date technologies and agile processes that provide for responsive websites, both in design and in content, are required.
Website features such as chatbots and live chat provide a means for a distributed workforce to engage with website visitors and provide answers and a human connection that may not otherwise be available.
Quell has assisted many of our clients with COVID-19 website responses, such as:
- Temporary navigation changes
- Covid-19 updates
- New resource pages
- Crisis messaging
- New home page carousel items
- Implementation of chatbots and live chat resources
Targeted Email and Marketing Automation
While the trend towards marketing automation has been unmistakable for years, the case for making the switch now is overwhelming. Lean marketing staffs and limited resources have made it difficult to manage multiple campaigns across different market segments and channels, including email marketing, organic and paid search, social media, and online advertising.
Quell’s Marketing Automation Platform (QMAP) provides a cost-effective marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) system that is shared between ourselves and our clients.
Rather than “batch and blast” email marketing that sends the same message to all audiences, marketing automation provides a variety of tools to send the right message to the right audience at the right time, including:
- Personalized and dynamic emails
- Ability to establish different buyer personas
- Account management tools to address all influencers and decision-makers
- Triggered and time-based workflows
- Ability to effectively manage nurture and “drip” campaigns
- Customer-centric landing pages with gated content
- Progressive customer profiling to improve conversion rates
- Prospect tracking across all digital engagement touchpoints
At The Quell Group, we are experts at creating great online user experiences and putting customer-centric websites to work for our clients. Contact us using the form below and let us give you some ideas that can keep your employees and customers engaged and help your organization emerge stronger.