Pivoting to digital:
How to avoid “mad dash” marketing
It’s Week 85 of #StayTheHeckHome.
If you haven’t found yourself cringing while watching a train wreck of a livestream event, what have you been doing with your quarantine free time???
I know, I know. We’re all doing our best. I should be kind and have compassion for those pivoting to digital who haven’t had experience streaming events before.
Technology is fickle.
Mercury might be in retrograde! (It’s not, actually.)
Newbies don’t know they should mute themselves when not speaking…
But you fine readers of this blog know that with a liiiiittle bit more planning, these new virtual services, programs and events could go so much smoother!
So, as Captain of Planning & Preparation, I want to lay down some ground rules for your next virtual offering…
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Consider the following while pivoting to digital:
Take a beat
The general assumption right now is that we need to create, produce and share on a constant basis to rise above the noise and maintain our relevance. This is panic talking. This is not true. If you take a deep breath and consider your idea for a moment longer, you’ll realize you have more time to plan and produce it than you thought you did when it first occurred to you. It’s OK to spend time planning. Quantity does not beat quality. Even now.
Consider who this new idea is for
Just because everyone is stuck at home and on their devices doesn’t mean they’re all dying to see your next online offering. You are now competing with more online content than ever before! Audience still matters. Segmentation still matters. Ask yourself who you’re making this for and why should they care? If you can’t answer those questions, go back to step one.
Consider why you’re doing it
I wrote a few weeks ago about defining your brand values. Is this virtual program in line with your values as a company? Does it make sense coming from you? Are you equipped with the expertise and connections to pull it off? And most importantly, do you have an actual objective for this virtual offering? It can be something as conceptual as gaining visibility for your thought leadership or something as transactional as acquiring new email subscribers or encouraging donations.
Consider who can help
You may be hosting your digital offer alone, but I bet there are folks in your inner circle who would love to share and promote it. Are there partners or collaborators you want to invite into the process? Are their friends and family who would refer your digital offer to others? There’s a lot happening right now, so you can’t count on the algorithm letting them know. Ask for help early and ask for help directly!
Test your tech!!
You have to leave more room than you think for setting up your tech or testing your offer. Let me repeat that: You have to leave more room than you think for setting up your tech or testing your offer. Do you understand the tech options before you? Why are you choosing one streaming platform over another? Is your website equipped to handle registrations and can you create new landing pages specific to your event? Are you remembering to set up automations if you need them? Link third party systems? Has anyone done a test run? What could improve?
Remember, marketing takes time!
If you’re banking on a “if you build it, they will come” situation, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. I highly suggest making a task-oriented marketing plan for your virtual event. What graphics or imagery will you need to promote your online event? Have you done some copywriting? Watch Parties might take 20 minutes to set up on Facebook, but properly marketing your Watch Party will still take at least a week! Your audience may be captive at home, but they still need announcements and reminders via email, social media posts and direct messaging.
If you haven’t been doing much in the digital landscape until now, it’s likely you’re going to experience hiccups when you pivot to virtual programming.
But if you take these steps before jumping in, you’re sure to gain a more engaged audience, produce a higher quality offer, and experience greater forgiveness when something goes awry.
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I strategize, consult and manage digital marketing and communications for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. I’m based in Brooklyn, because I have a thing for exposed brick, cozy, local coffee shops and the can’t stop, won’t stop energy of New York.
Because I work with small companies, I get the chance to really know my clients – what makes them tick and how and why they should stand out in a crowded marketplace. A lot of my clients have a smaller staff, a limited budget and are already stretched thin for time. This leads us to tailor marketing strategies and solutions to each company’s unique needs and actual capacity.