I recently tried out LinkedIn’s polling function, using a hastily written survey. The first hurdle encountered was the character limit on the answer options, and when I condensed the answers they were not as well balanced as the original ones.
Learning #1: Plan for short responses
As this was just an experiment to try out the polling feature, I forged on ahead to see what would happen. The first 5 responses came in the first few minutes. After that, it slowed, so I added a comment and sent a note out to a few connections to stimulate interest. Even then, after a week the poll only had 20 votes out of 431 views, a 4.6% response rate.
Learning #2: Expect a low response rate
Since no one chose the “Something else” option, if I were to do this again, I’d use five balanced answers with a neutral one in the center. I also learned that the poll was only seen by first degree connections, so might not be a representative sample of the LinkedIn population.
But despite the flaws, the poll did seem to indicate a trend (20% option 2 vs. 80% option 3), which is in line with the advice from leading marketing blogs -- for brands to emphasize messaging that shows support for their customers and the community during the current crisis.
Learning #3 Though visibility on LinkedIn is important to your personal (and company) brand, not all exposure is positive. It’s a good idea to think about your target audience’s perceptions before you click that post button.
Thanks for reading!
Do you agree? Disagree? Have an additional thought?
Please post in the comments.
As we noted in our last blog, virtual platforms offer many positive aspects for sponsoring/hosting business events. They can showcase your strengths and connect with prospects and customers -- even when you can't physically be in the same place.
Just like face to face events, you’ll get the best results when you plan ahead, provide useful information and build relationships with prospective customers.
Four tips to make your event or sponsorship more successful:
When events that your organization normally sponsor go virtual, try these tip to increase your ROI:
1) Get the lay of the “land”
If possible, attend an event similar to the one you’ll be sponsoring.
Ask questions. This could be a new format for the event organizers, so ask about the opportunities, specs and requirements. If you see something that could be improved, go ahead and suggest it, as their format may be evolving from event to event.
Explore the format. Like live events, virtual events have booth sizes and display requirements; graphic specifications that need to be followed. Also check out how the elements will be displayed – for example, where will the event management place video links? You'll want to check to make sure they don't interfere with your graphics.
Ask about the speakers and attendees. Due to the virtual format, speakers and audience demographics might be different than previous years. Does the event organizer have a list of who is expected to attend so you can gear your information to the right audience?
2) Plan for key elements to reinforce your brand and value proposition.
A virtual booth usually will include a main graphic with brand identity. Like a physical booth, you’ll want to include the main points of your product or organization's value proposition – usually 3 to 5 at most so they are easily readable. To save time, you might be able to use the graphic you created for your trade show display.
When possible, add a video with a personal welcome message and introduction from a key team member or officer that a customer would normally meet. It doesn't replace a handshake, but will give your booth a more personal touch.
Some sponsorships will have places where visitors to your virtual booth can download documents. Carefully consider what information would be useful to someone interested in your company. Depending on your industry, useful content for your target market could include company overviews, FAQs, capabilities outlines, white papers or product brochures. It’s best to limit the content list 3 to 5, so you don’t overwhelm the visitor. Have them clearly named so the visitor can identify what they are once they have downloaded them (and hopefully remember why they wanted to read them!).
3) If you are presenting, plan to insure a pleasant and enjoyable experience for your audience free from distractions like overactive backgrounds or intrusive noises. Plan for interaction -- become familiar with the interactive tools the event organizers provide. It's also helpful to have someone help you watch for questions and audience reactions while you are speaking.
4) Build relationships -- before, during and after the conference.
If the event organizer has an email list, request it. Due to GDMP laws, many organizers will no longer share lists but some offer messages services. If you do this, make sure you have an interesting message with a call to action. Or you (or your business development team) could use LinkedIn (or another prospecting tool ) to build a list of five to ten key prospects you’d like to connect with. See if you can find something you have in common that might make them interested in meeting you. Send a message on LinkedIn saying something like, “Are you planning to attend [conference] this year? I had been hoping to meet you there, as we’re both [common interest], I thought it might be interesting to chat. Since the event is going virtual, I thought I’d reach out to see if you were interested meeting [via zoom or using the conference's virtual rooms].”
If a Chat function is an option, don’t miss out on the opportunity during the conference -- plan to have it staffed, at least during prime hours. Even if it’s not busy you don’t want to miss that live person who would like to make an inquiry.
Follow up with the individuals who visited your booth. Use your CRM and depending on the size of your list, segment or prioritize your follow up emails. Personalize your high priority prospects with any information you gained from the event or other sources.
Thanks for reading!
How is your organization adapting their event strategy? If you have comments or additional tips, please leave them in the comments.
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The pandemic has impacted our lifestyles and the way we do business. One of the areas where it has had a significant impact is on conferences, trade shows, and live events.
People attend business events to learn, meet new people, and nurture relationships. Businesses use them to build awareness, educate attendees, generate leads, and establish thought leadership.
When it was not possible to have face-to-face events, some were canceled and some went virtual.
How well do virtual events work?
Are virtual events the way of the future?
To add to my research and observations, I asked a group of experts – individuals that frequently attend or host events -- to provide their perspectives and experiences with the virtual format.
Overall, there are many positive aspects of virtual events:
1) The potential audience is expanded
The ability to reach a wider audience was a positive aspect I heard most frequently – virtual events are not restrained by geography – opening up a wider world for both presenters and attendees.
Speakers could present from their home offices (or anywhere where there is a strong internet connection) and attendees faced lower barriers to participation. Online events typically cost less to produce and attend (some even waived the ticket price), and there are no travel costs, which is good for start-ups, small companies, or any organization with a tight budget.
2) More Efficient
Because you have the convenience of participating from home or office, virtual events are less disruptive of regular work schedules as even local events require travel time. And for events with more than one speaker, it is easy to "zoom" in and out, viewing just the most relevant sessions to attend.
3) Networking is different but better in some ways
Networking was still possible via breakout rooms or chat functions. For many events, it is easy to see who is attending and to message another attendee that you want to meet. For some, this is easier than walking across a room and striking up a conversation.
Virtual events can also have an equalizing effect – people who are smaller in stature or who have softer voices sometimes struggle to be heard, especially at an event or meeting with many people or ambient noise. Since there is no sound in a chatbox, and you can position yourself the way you want in front of the camera, everyone is equal. And for some people it is easier to ask questions in a chatbox than in front of a group, helping to increase interaction between audience and presenters and enrich the learning experience.
What is Missing from Virtual Events?
1) Social interactions
Not surprisingly, those who mentioned they were extroverts missed the casual exchanges, happy hours, and lunch/dinners after the event.
2) Spontaneous interactions and humor
It’s hard to have those chance encounters in the hallway at a virtual event as well as there is less opportunity for spontaneous ideas to hatch when having a casual conversation during meeting breaks. Additionally, spontaneous humor and comments that add to meetings and lightens presentations may not be picked up (or the participants are on mute).
Are virtual events more or less rewarding?
Most of the respondents thought that the virtual events were either as rewarding or more rewarding as face-to-face events.
How do you think the current situation will impact the future?
For forward-thinking organizations, it already has – for example, PMMI, who produces Pack Expo and Healthcare Packaging Expo, is incorporating virtual technology to accommodate individuals who will not travel to their November 2020 show. And if conditions are not safe, they have plans to convert to a fully virtual format.
The people I asked agreed with this:
To sum it up:
For both now and in the foreseeable future, virtual platforms offer many positive aspects for hosting your business events, showcasing your strengths and connecting with your target audience.
And it appears from all of the positive feedback that even when it is safe again to hold in-person events, they most likely will take a hybrid form that uses virtual technology to enhance and customize the attendee’s experience.
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Social Media - it's everywhere!
Both large and small organizations use social media. Large companies are most visible and usually use multiple channels, but small businesses are active as well – in fact, over 41% of small businesses use Facebook to support their marketing efforts.
And no wonder -- social media can be used for both outgoing and inbound communications. Organizations can listen and monitor for customer service and public relations feedback as well as communicate and engage their target market.
But you may have noticed that some organizations get more out of their efforts than others. Their audience likes, shares and comments more often, resulting in greater awareness and better connections.
What are the keys to these successful social media programs?
1) Specific Goals
First, these organizations are not just "doing" social media. They start with objectives that are aligned with organizational goals and values. Social media is often used to support specific objectives, like growing awareness for a new offering, communicating brand and organizational values, or supporting recruitment.
2) Audience Knowledge
The program is built on knowledge of the target customer and what interests them.
3) Offers Value
Social media should include information and topics of interest to engage. Posting information that is entertaining, or that customers might not find elsewhere (like exclusive notices of sales or coupons), and encouraging interaction is key. These organizations think of social media as a conversation with their followers rather than a sales announcement tool. With social media, you have to earn your following, so any sales messages have to be subtle and sprinkled through the other messages – less than 20% of the content.
4) Prioritized Tactics
Successful social media programs take time and consistent effort to build a following. To maximize resources, efforts are focused on channels that appeal most to the target market and fit the organization’s content. They try to be where the potential market is, but don’t try to be everywhere! Better to excel at two channels than have a scattered presence on five.
5) Team Effort and Coordination
Coordination helps get the best out of social media. For small business as well as larger ones, a designated team and coordinated calendar are essential. Planning consistent messaging across platforms, knowing in advance of events and other initiatives, leveraging the following on one channel to point to content on another, and having a reliable source of fresh content are benefits of a well-coordinated team.
6) Clear Guidelines
Many industries have regulations and restrictions on what can be made public. In addition, it is a good idea to have ground rules that employees may refer to when posting or re-posting/retweeting information about the organization.
7) Measurements, Analysis and Adjustments
Success social media efforts are tracked and measured so they can be continually improved. Simple measures like shares, likes, retweets and comments can indicate engagement. A growing number of followers can indicate awareness. Depending on the goals, there are other measures as well:
Great social media programs have their finger on the pulse of the audience and stakeholders. Feedback collected from customers and employees is used to refine the content and can be valuable to marketing and business growth decisions.
Thanks for reading! How does your organization run their social media programs? What have you found that works best?
If you have questions or would like to explore team-based social media marketing, please contact us.
Image credit: John Atkinson's Cartoons
Broad Reach Marketing helps professional practices and local businesses engage and retain customers with practical, effective branding, strategy and promotions.
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Augmented Reality (AR) is an exciting frontier with great possibilities for incorporation into your Marketing Strategy.
The first most wide-spread application of this new technology has been recently offered by Niantic and their augmented reality game – Pokemon Go.
I’ve tried it – have you? I've seen kid and adults all over pursuing the virtual creatures. It can be a good way to get out, get moving and even play as family activity.
But what does this mean for small business marketing?
It could be the start of a new trend. According to Larry Kim, Founder of WordStream:
“What this means for marketers is that the next time those adults are asked to interact with an augmented-reality interface on their mobile device, it's no longer a foreign concept to them. They're growing comfortable with it. They even enjoy it. That's super important, because pushing new marketing technology on consumers before they're ready typically spells instant rejection of the concept.
Virtual and augmented-reality devices are expected to become a $4 billion market by 2018. Pokémon Go just ramped up adoption in a massive way, helping pave the way for businesses that will use this technology in the future to connect with consumers.”
This technology as a new marketing tool could be growing exponentially over the next few years and even months, so now is the time to learn, experiment and analyze how it might or might not fit in with your organization’s marketing efforts.
If you are a consumer-oriented business that relies on foot traffic, Pokémon Go might be a great way for your business to “Lure” in potential customers. You could take advantage of being close to Pokemon “Stops” and “Gyms” by enhancing your advertising and signage with a Pokemon theme.
7 possible ways to use Pokemon Go in your local marketing campaign:
Not for everyone?
But Pokémon Go isn’t an opportunity for everyone. While a family resturant or new business might enjoy the extra traffic and exposure, business and insitutions that have secured areas or security policies might want to opt out of having any of the virtual creatures on their premises.
For example, hospitals, like the Carolinas HealthCare System, are beginning to see new visitors in unlikely places. Game players may emulate suspicious behaviors, like walking around randomly taking pictures or looking at ways to enter facilities or get in the way of emergency entrances.
The Academic Medical Centre (AMC) in Amsterdam voiced their request in a clever way on social media:
"There is indeed a sick Pokémon at AMC, but we'll look after him well. Please don't visit him," the Dutch medical center stated in a Tweet that included a picture of Pokémon character Pikachu surrounded by tissues.
To request removal of a PokéStop from the app, organizations can contact Niantic, the developer, and complete a form. (Select “submit a request,” in the upper right corner and “report an issue with a Gym or PokéStop” in the menu.)
But for the majority of organizations, there are opportunites in the growing area of AR. So jump in to learn, experiment and apply augmented reality opportunities like Pokémon Go, keeping your target market and security in mind.
For example, if you use Google Drive/gmail, as many smaller businesses do, and register to participate in Pokemon Go, you give Niantic access to your entire Google account. What we did at Broad Reach Marketing Services is use a separate Gmail account for experimenting with Pokémon Go. Easy solution, but you must be cognizant of safety implications of signing onto Apps and games with your business addresses.
As augmented reality interface options become available for your marketing efforts, remember they are just another tactic – and as with any tactic, consider how the offering aligns with your customer base, branding and service offerings.
Have fun while you learn about this exciting new marketing development!
Thanks for reading,
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