Whether your small-to-medium sized tech business is thriving during this period of social distancing (because some are) or struggling (as many are), know that everyone is charting new waters here. There is no “how-to” guide on how to sell, market and stay afloat in an economy that’s primarily been shut down from top to bottom. There are no historical guidelines on how or when to spend or what tactics will pan out — and the new normal changes weekly if not daily. That’s why the one universal question all my clients are asking is: “If I have to scale-back budget, where can we maximize the impact of our marketing dollars in this unprecedented time?”

Morph events to virtual:  Maintain personal contacts and interactions with your clients via monthly educational webinars or BYOB (bring your own bag) lunch-n-learns.

Many tech businesses still rely heavily on trade shows and traditional marketing that requires in-person contact; for some, that’s where the largest chunk of their marketing budget is applied.  Since most, if not all trade shows and events have now been cancelled and are expected to be through the end of 2020, companies are reallocating their marketing budget to digital efforts like webinars. Even if they only put a portion of that budget to online event efforts, they’re likely to see productive growth in terms of web presence and web traffic, especially if they’re quicker to react than their competitors.

If you haven’t already been offering educational webinars to your clients and prospects, now is the perfect time to get your strategy together and test the waters. If you’ve already integrated virtual events into your marketing strategy, it’s time to pick up the pace and frequency. Why?

  • Better response: Everyone is at home, spending more time online and their workdays are often more flexible than they used to be since they have fewer meetings.
  • Higher level of engagement: Topics related to adapting to the new working norms are what everyone is hungry for right now. Your clients are looking for guidance and sharing of ideas. Misery loves company!
  • It’s easier to engage partner support: Your key business partners are a great resource and now readily available to pop in a virtual lunch-and-learn to offer expertise.

So how do you select the best topics for your webinar and what is most important to keep in mind when planning your virtual events?

  1. Stay customer-focused. Think about what your client’s new challenges are, and what they will be in a few weeks or months from now. Most have been home-based for two months now – how is it going? What’s working and what’s not?  How can your firm ease their pain? Can you enhance their competitive analytics, security, production efficiency, collaboration, productivity, speed to market or profitability? If you can, they will listen.
  2. Ensure the platform you choose for your webinar is secure. Zoom had had some security issues lately, which they are working to resolve, but Cisco’s Go-To-Webinar is still a reliable solution and Microsoft Teams is gaining ground as an alternative platform, especially for firms who already have a Microsoft 365 license.
  3. Be sure your topic is educational, not salesy; this will get the best response. Use the time to demonstrate your expertise in a particular area, or your insights on an industry trend. Extend a special offer at the end for more in-depth one-on-one assessments.
  4. Keep it brief; my clients are getting good responses to 45-minute webinars but 25-minute webinars work, too.
  5. Join someone else’s online event. While in person events move online, this opens up speaker slots for folks who might never have had the budget to travel to the event. Check a list out here compiled by HPE.

This post is courtesy of MMC Account Manager Jeni Stephens