April 7, 2020 - Marketing Strategy

The importance of including digital media and technology in a marketing plan

The world has gone mad. Totally mad, I mean.

We’re no longer enjoying brunch in a cafe around the corner, we’re no longer leaving the door without hand sanitiser in our bag and we’re no longer allowed to share a beer with our loved ones.

Instead, we order our toast avo through an app, we get our groceries delivered to our doorstep and we organise e-drinks through apps such as Houseparty. We shifted our life online – and that comes with its challenges.

That’s why now, it’s more important than ever, that your business is online too. There’s no doubt that this is going to have an ongoing impact on our society. People might get used to the ease of ordering their necessities online. Big companies will see more productivity in employees that can work from home. Software and technology will make it easier for a variety of businesses to efficiently work remotely. We might not even go back to the ‘way things use to be’. So it’s time for you to jump on board too, and prepare for a shift to digital media and technology.

Online Workspace Operations

First of all, let’s keep your business running while you can’t go to the office. Whether you’re a one-man-team or you have 100s of employees who are working from home now, you’re going to need some organisation to ensure smooth sailing.

Luckily, there are a few tools that will make your life easier.

Communication

No worries – even while you’re working from home there are ways to share a laugh with your colleague, ask questions to your supervisor or get feedback from your peers. Next to traditional media such as your phone or email, there are a few communication tools that are worth checking out.

  • Slack: communicate with your team through the Slack channel. It offers group chats and private chats and has some nifty functionalities for developers
  • Teams: use the Microsoft Teams app to stay in touch with your colleagues. Similar to Slack it offers the functionality to chat, but you can also join a group call and share your screen
  • Zoom: a great tool for video conferences. It offers you the possibility to share your screen and multiple people can join the conference. During these times, the 40-min limit has been lifted
  • Loom: if you want to send quick messages, you can record a video of your screen through Loom. We can ensure you it will go easier than trying to explain where to find the button with settings over the phone

Organisation

Who’s doing what? What has been finished? How do I keep track of the process? Enter: Project Management Systems. They are great tools to keep your day and week organised – not just during lockdown. These tools offer you the option to create to-do lists, assign tasks and mark off what has been done. My personal favourites are the following:

  • Asana
  • Trello
  • Monday.com

Collaboration

Now let’s work together. Instead of emailing back and forward, your company will benefit from moving everything to a cloud. This means that documents that have been saved to the Drive or Cloud by you, will be accessible for your coworkers. They can then make their edits that will immediately show to you. These Clouds are not only great for sharing documents and files but also to keep track of Calendars for example.

Running your business online

Now we’ve covered the operational side of your business – and how you and your coworkers will survive without your daily catch-up at the coffee machine – we’ll discuss how you can run your business entirely online.

For some businesses, this might be more challenging than others. A hairdresser, for example, might struggle to offer her services online, however, a Dropshipping e-commerce store, might not have had a physical location in the first place.

That’s why the first step should be defining your objectives and requirements for your business. Do you have a brick and mortar store and you’re looking at selling your products online? Then you probably need a webshop these days. Do you have a restaurant and did you have to shut your doors? Then you might want to launch an app or platform where your customers can order take away and delivery.

Let’s have a look at your marketing plan, and see how we can implement digital solutions.

Selling your products

Up until now, you might have been entirely dependent on people coming to your store to actually buy the products. However, e-commerce has been growing fast in recent years, and it is estimated that there will be 2.05 billion global digital buyers in 2020.

That’s a lot of potential customers. Now, and after COVID.

So how do we reach those potential customers? Well, a first step would be by having a webshop. Showcasing your collection online gives customers the possibility to browse through your products as if they were in store. Of course, they can’t touch the products – so detailed product descriptions are key. Fitting will be another issue, so ensure flexible return policies until we have our virtual reality-fittings on point.

Webshops can range from simple one-page websites to complex webshops with different department and categories. Webshops can be created on Shopify, WooCommerce or Squarespace, depending on your product catalogue and needs. Every platform comes with its pros and cons, so it’s important to get advice from a marketer or developer to ensure a perfect fit.

Reaching your audience

An a-frame on the street. A happy customer who tells the neighbours. A discount card handed out to you on the main square. However, all effective marketing techniques – they won’t get you any new customers during Corona-times.

So how are we going to reach new people? Let’s talk digital advertising & marketing tactics.

Moving your marketing plan online obviously means you will not only need an online platform to represent your business, but you’re also going to have to guide your potential customers to that platform. Luckily, there’s a wide range of marketing channels available to do so.

  • Social media: my personal screentime went up with 40% over the past few weeks, and I’m pretty confident I’m not the only one spending the majority of the day scrolling through social feeds. Your customers are there – and so should you. Invest in a (Corona-proof) social media plan to stay on top of their minds
  • PPC-marketing: People are looking for all sorts of products they would never buy online before. Ran out of vacuum cleaner bags? Need a new razor? Petfood is running low? They will jump on Google and try to find out which stores offer these products online. And that’s exactly where you want to be. This is the best time to be investing in SEA, since you’re reaching potential customers who are actively looking for you.
  • SEO: a long-term strategy, but perfect timing to plant the seeds. Similar to the above, you want your pages to rank for these results organically, which means you can start optimising your pages now.

It’s all about finding the place where your customers hang out. Finding what they need during these times. Learning about their challenges and obstacles. Try to engage with them and find a way to connect. Ask them about their fears and problems through social media polls, surveys and calls. And let them know you’re still available.

And for your business, it will be painful shifting to an entirely online corporation. It will include many video conferences where your boss can’t figure out how to unmute themselves. It will include occasions where somebody deleted that spreadsheet from the Drive since they didn’t’ realise it was accessible to everyone. It will include slow running web shops or poor organisation with food delivery. But together we will learn. And once this is all over, you will have a online business to last.

If I can help with anything at all during these stressful times, feel free to reach out.