How to stay connected with your customers (from afar)

17th March 2020

For B2B marketers, ‘face to face’ time has always been invaluable. At the Pod we love nothing more than big hugs before meetings with our lovely clients, and facilitating events like breakfast briefings, round tables, exhibitions, conferences and client workshops. They’re usually a brilliant way to increase brand awareness, generate new leads, drive conversion and maintain solid customer relationships - but unfortunately, they’re just not viable right now. 

While we all need to be travelling less, we also need to be engaging with each other more. Thankfully, the digital world we live in means it’s never been easier to stay connected with our friends, family, colleagues and customers. With just a little imagination and innovation, B2B businesses can continue to engage their workforce and their customers alike. Here’s how:

Move events online 

If your inbox is being flooded with event cancellations, you’re not alone - key industry events across all sectors are being postponed for the foreseeable future. Our advice? While you wait for events to be rescheduled, stay connected to your audience by shifting your events online - could you replace your workshops with webinars, for example, or your breakfast briefings with video panels? With a vast proportion of the UK workforce facing weeks of working from home, it’s likely many will appreciate the opportunity to engage with their peers, so you could find that your attendance rates soar. 

Think about: carrying out live polls during your online, live events to help attendees feel involved - by connecting these polls to your CRM, you can gain real insight into your customers.  

Go live

For many businesses, the launch of new products and services will be postponed until more certain times. But if you have a product that could help your customers to continue to thrive during the slowdown, it’s worth considering a live stream product launch or live demo. Like any B2B marketing event or campaign, this will have to be well-timed and carefully positioned - so be prepared by testing it out on a section of your audience before taking the plunge. Then get ready for a surge in sign-ups, as people are likely to welcome the introduction of any new solutions that can help them to turn the challenges they’re facing into opportunities.

Think about: using WorkCast Simulive to combine pre-recorded demos with live interaction.

Get vocal on social

If your social media accounts have always been low on the priority list, now’s the time to up the ante. During times of enforced isolation, it’s likely that many of those within your audience will be flocking to join an online community - so make sure you have an active social presence. Social media is about much more than LinkedIn, so think outside the box - could you lead the conversation by setting up a group chat with key clients or a message board for your industry? The options really are endless and you may find that people are more receptive to new ways of keeping in touch while they’re unable to connect with their usual work communities.

Think about: using a range of platforms, from WhatsApp to GoToMeeting, to keep colleagues and clients connected during social distancing.

Stay front of mind

While we’re all going to have to make significant changes to the way we live and work for the foreseeable future, we’re fortunate in that there are numerous digital ways to stay in touch with clients and prospects while face to face meetings are out of bounds. As well as video conference calls or Google Hangouts, make sure your marketing automation is set up and optimised to reduce dependency on key staff - and never forget the power of the Google ad. A carefully tailored strategic digital campaign can complement anything else you’re doing to stay in touch and keep you in the minds of your customers, even when you can’t be in their presence.

Quality over quantity

In the B2B world, account-based marketing (ABM) has the power to deliver incredible value. And while networking events are on hold, it’s the perfect time to narrow the focus to key targets and smaller numbers of higher value customers. Consider sending attention-grabbing InMail campaigns or personalised video content to make an impact on the people you most want to reach. It’s also more important than ever to remember the person beyond the business, as many organisations are facing new challenges and pain points. If you can empathise with them and offer your support in overcoming them, you could build new relationships. 

Think about: sending out a personalised email inviting key clients to subscribe to a serialised, on-demand video. 

In the current climate, businesses that think beyond the usual could find there are opportunities for them to thrive, not just survive. If your full attention is focused on business continuity - which is totally understandable - working with a B2B marketing agency can help to ensure you’re still reaching your customers. The Marketing Pod is an integrated, full service B2B specialist agency - if we can provide you with any support in moving your physical events to the digital realm, please email us at hello@themarketingpod.co.uk.