With COVID-19 now recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, many conferences, expos, meet-ups, and festivals have been cancelled or postponed until further notice. Not only is the health of our world citizens being affected but so is the health of business. Oil prices plunging, the stock market is up and down, down and up and down, you get the picture. Nothing is as it was just a few months ago. As society adjusts to limit the reach of the pandemic, businesses need to adjust to expand theirs.
For many, the events are key for maintaining business relationships and making new opportunities to fill the pipeline. It’s an opportunity to showcase new products or services and show how the company is meeting the needs of their customers. The absence of the events will leave a huge sales and marketing hole for many. Unfortunately, like all of us faced with this pandemic, we can not sit back and take a wait and see approach. As people buy supplies and clean at home, businesses must take steps for the challenges they face.
So, what can your business do to take a proactive approach with this situation to make sure your pipeline is staying healthy? What can you do to fill the need that events have filled in the past? There is no one answer, it must be a multi-pronged approach to be effective. Let's take a look at a strategy and how it can fill the gap to maintain relationships and build new opportunities for continued growth.
1. Recognition & Awards
Recognizing top customers and milestones are a great way to strengthen and build upon a business relationship. It shows you value the customer and appreciate the partnership. Establishing tiers, such as bronze, silver, gold and platinum also provides an incentive to increase their business to get to the next level, especially if there is a symbol such as a Platinum level award. Everyone wants to be the top dog. The same is true for employees. Not only is recognizing employee(s) good for morale, it also establishes friendly competition, a happier work environment and better service for customers. It's a win win win all the way around.
When it comes to trade shows and events, branded swag is everywhere and I bet it was part of your show budget. T-shirts, bags, pens, power banks, caps, stickers, notebooks, you name it, you will find them at the show. So now there is no show, this doesn't mean you should not move forward that cool swag. Maybe rethink what and how you are going to use it. Everyone loves free stuff, especially if it is useful and relevant to the message. Promotional products create an emotional response and engagement with your brand that lasts. 88% of people can remember the advertiser of a promotional product they received. 47% of those who receive one of these items say that they have kept them for at least 12 months. That is a lot of impressions and good feels! Promotional items cause 79% of recipients to research the brand after receiving an item.
3. Direct Mail Campaign
I know what you are thinking, no more junk mail, but have you noticed your mailbox lately? It's not teaming with with throw-away waste of paper anymore. Sure occasionally you get some junk mail, but what if it was relevant to your business? Is it junk anymore? Think about how you are going to reach all of those show attendees who are no longer a potential business opportunity because the event was cancelled. This is where a direct mail campaign can help mitigate that loss. There is an opening in the physical mailbox and if you incorporate that with the recognition and/or a promotional item, it becomes a powerful lasting message that people can't wait to receive.
Imagine this; A company you may do business with sends you a package in the mail. There is a newsletter that highlights updates in the company, products and services, how they are coping with the epidemic, the awards for current customers (you see your competitors doing business with this company and being recognized) and employee recognition. Also included is a thoughtfully chosen promotional product that you will keep and use for at least 12 months. Research shows you will have a likelihood to do business with that company.
4. Email Campaign
Email campaigns are the norm these days in converting customers, keeping current ones informed and measuring results. It's time to tie it all together. Now that we have reached out to the customer and prospects through a targeted direct mail campaign with cool swag, while recognizing employees and customers, it's time to send those emails with a call to action. Bring them to the website, setup calls, schedule visits, get feedback, etc. The email campaign will tie all the effort together and drive the message and engagement you are missing from those cancelled trade shows and conferences, filling your pipeline.
Now that is customer engagement that can be measured and ensure the health of your business through the pandemic, and perhaps change the way you reach out to current and potential customers. The cancelled event is no longer a blow to your business growth but has created an opportunity to do something different. While your competition may be taking the wait and see approach or not, you took action as a nimble, ever evolving company that is innovative and thoughtful. Stay well.
If you would like to learn how Proforma Albrecht can assist you with a successful campaign, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit mink-albrechtco.com.