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The events of the past year forced many enterprises to focus more heavily on digital marketing, but there’s a big difference between doing it and doing it well, writes ActiveCampaign founder and CEO, Jason VandeBoom
Forced to postpone or scrap your entire program of marketing events for 2020 after COVID hit? You and almost every other enterprise operating in the business-to-business sphere. All over Australia, companies that had previously relied on trade shows, round tables and other in-person events to connect with customers suddenly found themselves unable to do so.
‘Pivot to digital’ was a common response. Webinars, Zoom-based forums, online wine and cheese tasting events and the like quickly replaced their real-life equivalents, as businesses amped up their efforts to communicate with prospects and customers via digital means.
But how effective were those efforts? At ActiveCampaign, we’ve seen plenty of the good, the bad and the ugly, when it comes to delivering online customer experiences. These are our top tips for getting it right, if you’re marketing to customers digitally.
Embrace automation confidently
Automating elements of the marketing process can amplify your reach exponentially, without impacting your budget. But does that mean your messaging must become impersonal, irrelevant or unappealingly vanilla? The short answer is no, not anymore. Today’s martech platforms are infinitely more refined than the solutions that preceded them. With expert (human) input at the programming stage, they can be harnessed to analyse customer signals and respond to requests in ways that are natural and meaningful.
Personalise or perish
In 2021, the science is settled. Studies consistently show that personalising your marketing helps to advance customer relationships. It’s important in the consumer sphere and doubly so in the business to business market, where customers put a premium on surety of supply and consistency of service. Using data to craft personal, relevant communications that resonate with businesses at every stage of their journey will help you convert prospects into sales and one-time buyers into loyal, repeat customers.
Understand your audience
Getting a handle on your audience’s level of expertise – and interest – is an important aspect of that personalisation process. If your messaging is aimed squarely at a specialised, deeply technical audience, by all means go for a deep dive into how your product or service works. If prospective buyers are likely to be less well informed or invested, an excess of nitty gritty may be more off-putting than engaging.
Clock the vibe
Your business customers don’t operate in a vacuum. Political and economic factors have a big impact on the way they do business with their customers. It’s important your digital messaging reflects the commercial pressures affecting them and their modus operandi and calls out ways in which your products and services can address the challenges they’re facing. For example, an email touting new software to streamline your project management would probably not have been read by those residing on coastal New South Wales during last month’s floods.
Cut to the chase
Business customers are always time poor. In today’s times, they’re also likely to be swamped by an avalanche of digital communications, from other businesses following a similar marketing strategy to your own. That’s why it’s vital to make your interactions all about them and their business, not your company and the superiority of its product offering. Focus on the positive outcomes using your products and services can deliver and keep your messaging simple, straight to the point and as brief as possible.
Driving engagement and sales in the post COVID era
Embracing digital marketing on the fly has not been without its challenges for Australian companies but all signs suggest it will remain a significant component of the business-to-business marketing mix, even as the economy continues to reopen and in-person events resume in earnest. Optimising your strategy and improving the way you deal with business customers digitally will help your company differentiate itself and drive engagement and sales in the competitive post-COVID era.