Remote marketing: Getting them to come to you

Over shoulder someone using laptop

As summer starts turning to fall, it is clear we’re heading into the long haul of the COVID-19 crisis for marketers. The summer allowed most to get used to working remotely, pivot their business models and gauge who their (new?) customers are. As we roll towards Labor Day and realize the regular touch-points (meetings, conventions, sales calls, etc.) still won’t exist for at least several months, the challenge now is how to find, gauge interest, connect and sell.

Most marketers are naturally turning to “digital,” or more like online, channels as the best way to reach their audiences or personas. Here are some steps to take to make sure you are ready to engage.

Refine your personas, offers and culture

If you haven’t done this already, now is the time to refine who your customers are and make sure your product offerings, whether old or newly refined match up with their needs. You may want to quickly survey your customers to validate. Once validated make sure your associates understand the approach and can serve as ambassadors for your efforts.

Clean your online “house”

Make sure your website and social media channels reflect your new approach. They are your remote storefronts for products and information so updating them with new approaches and offerings are critical right now.

Create a thought leadership platform

Some call it a blog, others call it a news center. But whatever you call it, do it. The best way to get people to “come to you” is to share your subject matter expertise. Don’t use your thinking to sell them something, use it to provide information or value. And create a special place for it on your website that is prominently featured and easily found.

Build a content approach around that thought leadership base

Once you create that thought leadership base, you can make it the centerpiece of a broader content plan. That blog and its images, infographics, videos and posts allow you to create an ongoing conversation on social media channels that drive customers to your website. (Did I mention all this needs to drive people back to your website?)

Add some money to the mix

Writing and posting the content is half of the equation. The other half is adding some social media advertising to ensure the content is seen by your targets. Write a blog. Post the blog link on social channel. Advertise the blog link targeting right customers. Customers click and read the blog on your website.

Don’t forget earned media

It always helps when others tell your story for you. Look for opportunities to share your thought leadership with key media. You can then leverage those quotes and stories in your content plan. Having media include you in their stories or write about your company helps spread the word and validates what you are doing to your target customers.

Create a call to action

Once you build the content machine and start driving traffic to your website and blog, you can then offer more sophisticated content like white papers, reports, etc. You can “charge” targets for downloading these by requiring them to give you their name, email address, title, etc. That way you can start building your database to continue the conversation with them through email newsletters, personal emails, etc., for eventual handoffs to business development and sales folks.

I know there’s a lot to do and digest. But the beauty of what I described above is you can do it all from home, on Zoom, over the phone, in your sweatpants or shorts with just your laptop. In a world that will keep us from in-person networking, conferences, meetings and coffees, this approach will drive traffic to your website, start those conversations and ultimately create those relationships critical to your business.

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Jon Newman

In 2002 Jon cofounded The Hodges Partnership and has helped to grow it into one of the country’s largest public relations firms (based on O’Dwyer’s annual rankings). Jon has taught communications as an adjunct professor at VCU, speaks regularly at conferences and meetings and blogs and tweets about public relations and marketing issues.

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