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How To Get Your Company Message To Click This Year

Marketing in a time of virtual fatigue

Erica LaCentra headshot
Insider
Erica LaCentra
A man covers his head with his laptop, a sign of virtual fatigue.
Even though virtual fatigue is a real problem, that doesn’t mean you should count out all virtual marketing channels.

With 2020 finally over and 2021 just kicking off, your marketing strategy for the new year should be top of mind. However, contrary to what some may think or hope, COVID isn’t just going to disappear right away in the new year, meaning in-person events are still a big question mark for many companies.

If you’re like me, the thought of potentially having another quarter or more of all major networking happening virtually seems bleak. Not because virtual options don’t offer a decent alternative, but because even after a break for the holidays, the industry is overloaded with virtual events, webinars, and zoom call after zoom call and the virtual fatigue is real. This poses significant challenges for MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE marketers that are trying to fight for customers’ attention through the virtual clutter. So how do you cut through the noise and effectively market in a time when virtual options have lost their luster?

Be Strategic

Even though virtual fatigue is a real problem, that doesn’t mean you should count out all virtual marketing channels. It just means that you have to be more strategic in your efforts. Long gone are the days of plastering your banner ads on every industry publication website and waiting for the clicks to roll in.

First, your best bet is to figure out a layered marketing strategy, one that ties together your print and digital marketing efforts to reinforce your messaging. For instance, if you purchased a full-page ad in an industry publication, for the month that its running, look into what digital marketing offerings the publication also offers that you could run in conjunction with your print ad.

You are going to make much more of an impression on your potential customers if they see your print advertisement, then a banner advertisement in the publication’s weekly e-newsletter a week later, and then also see your banner ad on the publication’s website after that. You stand out from your competitors because you are making sure your company and product offering is top of mind.

The important thing to keep in mind with a strategy like this is that all marketing assets you are running, in both print and digital forms, need to have consistent messaging and branding. This ensures you will have a cohesive campaign that will increase your ad recall with potential customers.

Content Is Still King

Regardless of the virtual clutter, relevant and actionable content will continue to be an area you’ll want to devote marketing resources to in 2021. Webinars can still be a good avenue to generate business this year as long as you can provide your audience with solid content. Hosting a webinar that is just shameless self-promotion is not going to cut it. Determine the different customer groups you want to target with your webinars and start mapping out different topics that will provide true value for each of them.

Think about what pain points current or potential customers have, and what information you could share that can remedy those issues. Presentations with broad topics are going to get lost in the shuffle because potential attendees may not be able to immediately see how they are relevant to them. Tailoring your topics so that they have a clear, actionable benefit for attendees is one of the best ways to have successful webinars throughout the year.

If you’re struggling to develop content on your own, reach out to partners who may be able to provide added benefits for your current and future customers. For example, hosting a panel-style webinar with partners who offer services that compliment your company’s offerings are a good way to give attendees access to trusted vendors that can alleviate areas of stress in their businesses. This will not only draw a good audience, but it gives you the ability to incorporate some self-promotion into the webinar without making it obvious.

Get Creative

Much like 2020, 2021 is also going to require some creativity when it comes to getting your marketing plan just right. Virtual events were a creative solution for not being able to host events in person, but they have quickly lost their appeal because many lack the ability to have the same interactions you could have face-to-face. Virtual speed networking events seem to be filling that void and are increasing in popularity.

These shorter events, usually 1-hour max, allow you to have short 5 to 10-minute interactions with folks that are also looking to make new connections and expand their networks. I’ve even seen platforms that allow you to create your networking profile ahead of time, list what type of products or services you are looking to speak with people about, and even add or remove other attendees to your networking lineup based on matching information to ensure you will be talking to the right people.

Another way to make virtual events feel more personal is to add a physical component when possible. Many virtual events have started sending their attendees a small pre-event box with things like vendor swag items, gift cards for DoorDash or Grubhub so they can get a “conference lunch”, cocktail recipes to go along with a virtual happy hour and more.

The real opportunity is that most of these items need companies to sponsor them to help cover the expense. While it may not seem like much, a recipient is much more likely to remember the company that provided a free lunch delivery while they attend the virtual event from the comfort of their couch over the company that had a big banner on the virtual tradeshow floor.

Look Ahead, But Not Too Far

Just like 2020 required marketers to think fast on their feet, it appears that 2021 will follow a similar course until we are able to get back to a sense of normalcy. Instead of hoping for what’s to come, make sure your marketing plan has been adapted for the current reality too. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have numerous events on the schedule for this year, but I’ve also crafted my marketing plan with many new initiatives that I wouldn’t have even considered if a pandemic hadn’t thrown a wrench into things. All we can do now is hope for the best, while being prepared for the worst.

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This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine January 2021 issue.
Erica LaCentra headshot
Erica LaCentra

Erica LaCentra is director of marketing for RCN Capital.

Published on
Jan 14, 2021
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