Welcome to the new world order. Thanks Covid-19.
Remote marketing is the new norm for us marketing professionals. You’re probably reading this from home, in your new office with your new colleagues (aka children hanging from your neck/screaming downstairs/pets wrapped around your legs/underfoot).
I for one can say it isn’t easy getting used to the remote working life we’ve found ourselves thrown into. Our colleagues are on a screen, voices are heard through headphones and words are typed. Nor is it easy to balance home life: checking the news constantly; trying to do some form of exercise that fails to combat my new obsession with the food cupboards, and work that seems to be taking up more brain power than ever.
But we are doing it. That’s what’s important.
Businesses are trying their best to operate and even if it is largely virtually, services and products are still vital. Here at GCD, we’ve been lucky, custom software development offers a unique opportunity to help other businesses innovate and continue operating in these strange times through the use of our custom software. Digital workflows have never been so important. Our team is well practiced at working from home so it’s business as usual, the magical software development is on-going and our marketing team is actively promoting that great work.
But how does remote marketing fit into this Covid-19 business model? How we promote our services and products has had to change rapidly. Let’s take a look at that new landscape and some tactics you can employ to maximise benefit during this uncertain time and beyond.
The New Marketing Landscape
Events are cancelled, customers are indoors, meetings are online. It’s a whole new world, to use a favourite Disney track. In fact as a newly remote marketer it may feel as though your world has imploded a bit. The usual marketing tactics that you’d rely on for lead generation and promoting brand awareness are gone or have slowed dramatically, e.g. events, conferences, outdoor advertising, PPC.
Now more than ever an integrated marketing approach is essential, combining the promotion of products and services to the public, both using traditional marketing methods and digital, with internal communications which plays an important role in informing the team. Promoting your brand both inside and outside of our business is more important than ever.
Now the challenge is to quickly adjust to a new landscape, use what tools we have and pivot our focus. In fact, you might find yourself juggling multiple roles…
- The Communicator – the person telling all your customers and potential customers that the business is still open and doing great things.
- The Internal Comms Preacher – sharing content constantly, encouraging new content generation, asking staff to share on social media, asking for awkward photos to share.
- The Morale Booster – profusely thanking everyone for helping and telling them what a big impact it has for the brand.
- The Spokesperson – championing the business and being on the frontline of the digital frontier to engage and interact with target audiences.
Typically, marketers focus on planning, executing and the results of campaigns, events and digital marketing. Now, however, the focus can feel like it is still on all of these things but also to come up with great new ideas that keep both your customer audiences and your internal stakeholders entertained and informed during this unprecedented time.
Social media is filled with cute, funny, weird, etc, videos, images, blogs and staff interactions. It’s hard to think of something original/interesting/doesn’t seem like a sales pitch but at the same time showcases the fact you are still open/have great products and services/your team are the best! I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
It’s perfectly normal to feel a bit lost and not really know where to start. But the silver lining is that now you have time, time to focus on some marketing areas that may have fallen to the wayside.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Also no one expects you to move mountains, you do your best with the time that is given to you (thanks Gandalf!). But here are some strategic ideas that you could begin with during this chaotic time.
Remote Marketing Tactics
Keep the team up-to-date with what the business is doing during this time, it’s easy for individuals to become siloed and unaware of what each team is doing or the wider business as a whole.
Inform the team about what marketing is up to, ask for help sharing social media posts. Take the opportunity to create fun activities and interactions and promote a feeling of community, even if we are all miles apart.
Share the Good News
Try to keep some sense of normalcy when marketing, promote the current status of the business, is it operating as normal online, or limited hours, or open as it’s an essential service? Clear communication is needed. Emphasise how the business can support customers, promote the products and services that can really help people in this time.
Engage with Customers
Time to do some social listening, you can use tools to listen on keywords and brands but it’s simple to search for relevant keywords and get involved in the discussion.
There are many people in need right now so get engaged with the local community and see how your brand can make a real impact. Depending on your industry, look at what would work within current restrictions, can you deliver groceries, offer collection services to the vulnerable, donate items or perhaps provide online training or software solutions that will help businesses operate?
Showcase content from the team
There is so much knowledge within any team, it’s time to tap into it and ask for some engaging and informative content. Whether it’s technical blogs, ‘A Day in Life of…’ series, humorous meet the new co-workers (kids and pets) post. Use your imagination and run with it. Having regular content that shows personality but also provides value will help keep the brand in front of the right audiences and provide lasting engagement.
Try new things
Always wanted to try video, vlogs or email marketing? Maybe you’ve wanted to try a new stream of content. Now is your chance, as we all sit at home we are tuned into the internet and everything that is going on. A prime audience that desperately wants to see a friendly face and read/learn something new and interesting.
You also have the time, no more excuses.
Clean up your PPC
It’s time to stop putting this one off. Review your keywords, audit audit audit. See exactly what the results are of all campaigns and decide if any are having zero effect or a negative effect. Cut them. Redirect that budget into what is working.
SEO the Max out of your website
Use a tool like Screaming Frog or SemRush to audit your site, find out where the big issues are and start working through them. Keywords are gold dust if you use them right, establish which represent your business and services and are achievable. Go for them. Start by assessing your website content, rewrite to include relevant keywords. An audit will also highlight any issues with missing pages, you may need some technical help with these aspects or maybe you are up for the challenge of becoming an SEO expert yourself!
Remote Marketing Tools
Whether you are new to digital marketing, a practiced expert or more interested in offline tactics, here are some of the tools that I use everyday in my remote marketing role.
- SEMrush – it’s my SEO, keyword, site audit lifeline. This gives me a clear picture of what is happening with the brand in terms of ranking and in the market place in general.
- Google Suite – Google has a host of applications that make marketing simpler.
- Google Analytics & Google Ads – Track your website traffic, where it comes from and ensure your advertising is performing as it should with these tools.
- Social Media Management – This can be done directly on the social channels, but if you have lots and want to save time by scheduling them, Buffer is a great starting place.
- Asana – I organise my life in here, with lists, boards or timeline view you can stay on top of all your tasks.
- Slack – Keeping in touch with the wider team is super important, Slack is our internal chat platform and works well for keeping things organised and easily accessible.
- Last but not least is Hubspot, not only is it a fantastic CRM but it is also a hub of knowledge and additional qualifications, perfect for doing some extra learning at home!
Hopefully this has been of some help, looking at the new landscape of remote marketing can be daunting, but we’re all in this together. It’s not forever, in the meantime let’s make use of the time we have to reassess, readjust and deliver marketing that matters.