Anissa Ladd, CASE
Sales Ninja. Sassy Coffee Queen. Meetings Guru. Destination Expert.
Does your company rely on tradeshows, conferences, and conventions to market your product or service to your target audience? If so, the effects COVID-19 shutting down many large gathering spaces around the world may have your marketing and sales team scrambling to find alternative marketing methods.
It may seem like an impossible task to replicate the one-on-one interactions your company has with potential clients during conferences and tradeshows. However, today’s technology makes it easier than ever to reach your target audience, build relationships with customers, and generate leads. This can all be done online through digital marketing.
Digital marketing offers many of the same ways to interact with clients as you would at a tradeshow or convention. However, it’s important to have a well-planned digital marketing strategy to make sure you get the best ROI for your marketing efforts.
Digital marketing provides many ways to maintain your brand identity, even if you can’t meet your customers face-to-face. Brand identity, at its core, is the cultural elements of your brand. It includes visual assets like your logo and colors but is also the overall atmosphere of your company. Here are some ways your company can leverage digital marketing to maintain brand identity and reach your target audience online.
Use inbound marketing
Inbound marketing is the process of enticing customers to your brand through relevant and engaging online content. The intent is to provide useful information through a variety of resources to help solve your customers’ problems and help them achieve their goals—with your company’s help.
With inbound marketing, the last thing you want to do spam sales-y pitches to the masses or shove advertisements down your customers’ throats. With an effective inbound marketing strategy, customers learn to trust your brand and will come to you when they’re ready to make a purchase.
Creating engaging, useful content that is targeted to each step of the customer journey makes all the difference to use inbound marketing effectively. According to HubSpot, the customer journey is made up of three components:
- Attract—these customers probably haven’t heard of your brand before. Content should relate to building awareness for your brand by providing useful information. A company blog is one example of great content for this stage in the customer journey.
- Engage—entice customers to take the next step in creating a relationship with your brand: sign up for an email newsletter, follow you on social media, come to a webinar, or download a free resource.
- Delight—develop a product your customers will love and provide a great customer experience before, during, and after a purchase. Then, your customers will tell all their friends about your product or service, growing your audience instantly!
Grow your audience with digital advertising
With over one billion users with active accounts and three million companies advertising on Facebook alone, it’s no wonder why digital advertising is one of the most effective ways to market your product or service today. Gone are the days where your company could attend a tradeshow or convention to engage with target audiences. Your company simply must be active on social media, even in times of crisis, to stay relevant.
The great news is that digital advertising is an affordable option compared to traditional marketing. You have the potential to grow your audience exponentially and reach even more customers online if you reallocated even a small portion of the dollars you’d normally spend to attend a tradeshow on digital advertising.
The average cost per action (CPA) is $49 for paid search and $75 for display ads
Unlike outbound marketing, where you create sales pitches for the masses, you have more control over who sees your content with digital advertising. You can set the budget for your ad and select a tailored target audience so the right people will see your ad at the right time. Most social platforms allow you to set parameters on who will see your ad based on target demographics. You can even retarget ads to reach customers who’ve already visited your website or placed items in their shopping cart but never completed a purchase.
Craft and display your message
With inbound marketing and digital advertising being the leading forms of marketing in the digital age, messaging has never been more important. Crafting your brand’s messaging is an essential part of maintaining your brand identity online.
Defining your brand’s message should relate back to the demographics of your target audience. Are they young professionals in the law industry? Or retired couples looking for their next big adventure? The way you create content for each of these audiences is completely different, so it’s important to understand exactly who you’re trying to reach.
Your brand’s messaging should be consistent throughout all the content you produce. It may be helpful to make a list of the key phrases and words you’d like your marketing team to use when creating content.
Once you’ve identified your brand’s voice, create and promote content that is consistent with this messaging through blogs, videos, social media posts, and web content.
Videos tend to perform well on various social media platforms, so utilizing video effectively in your digital marketing efforts will pay off. Video is a powerful tool that helps customers identify with your brand on a personal level. Video is also the place to have some fun and show off your brand’s personality! There are many ways to utilize videos in digital marketing including Facebook live, YouTube channels, webinars, and more. What should your videos be about? Here are a few ideas:
- Provide stats and product information through explainer videos
- Reviews from real customers
- Product unboxings
- Behind-the-scenes footage
- Staff profiles
- Questions and answer sessions
Build a community
A vital part of maintaining your brand identity is to engage your target audience through social media networks, email marketing campaigns, blogs, and other online resources. When you build your online community, you’re fostering partnerships with your target audience in a way traditional marketing methods never could. Unlike the interactions your company may be used to experiencing at a convention or tradeshow, building an online community is an on-going task.
Building your online community may seem daunting, especially if you’re trying to do it from scratch. However, building your community is all about forming partnerships with organizations and influencers in your target market. After all, community is all about involving and strengthening others! You can partner with another like-minded business with a more established online presence to help grow your audience in an authentic way. Or, reach out to influential members of your target audience like bloggers, complementary businesses, and influencers to help build your online community.
Other ideas to get started building your online community include creating a Facebook group, liking and commenting on target audience posts, and utilizing direct messaging features on various social media platforms.
Share user-generated content
Sharing user-generated content helps your audience connect with you and feel like they are a part of your brand story. Sharing user content is another way to make your brand more personal with your target audience. It shows real people engaging, visiting, or using your products and services. If your brand shares a picture, post, or blog that a member of your target audience wrote, they are more likely to think favorably of your brand—and they’ll share the post with their friends.
Social media makes sharing user-generated content easy. If a follower tags your business in a post or checks-in to the location, make sure you share or retweet the post onto your business profile. There are also apps like Repost that help your business share user-generated content while crediting the original poster. Similarly, if you get a five-star review on a social media platform, share it and thank the customer for taking the time to leave a review. Your target audience wants to know your brand is authentic, so when they see real people using your products and services it makes your brand more trustworthy.
Pro tip: When sharing user-generated content, get permission first. A quick message to say, “We loved your post, do you mind if we share it on our company’s page?” will go a long way. Plus, it’s rare that you’ll be told no. More than likely, the poster will check back to your page to see if their content has been posted, and will share it with their friends. This gets your brand in front of even more potential customers!
Maintain brand identity with inbound marketing services
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to maintaining your brand identity online, especially if you’re used to marketing in person at tradeshows, conventions, and conferences. That’s why hiring an inbound marketing service is beneficial. Set up a free consultation with Nifty Method to see how inbound marketing can work for your business.