Life in a virtual world: Three must-have digital marketing tools
2020 was an interesting year during which we have learnt to live with a pandemic that is likely to be with us for quite some time.
So, we all had to change, adapt, and pivot into new directions that would allow businesses to grow even in these challenging times. Despite countless lockdowns, tier-system rules, and a stop-start approach to opening and closing entire business sectors, we have battled on and found other ways of working. Because at the end of the day, we all need to get on with life and move forward, no matter the circumstances.
Throughout the last year, I was amazed just how innovative British businesses are and how a truly challenging situation can be turned into new opportunities. From restaurants transforming themselves into take-out venues, farms becoming local food suppliers and events going online, there often were great solutions to the challenges we met during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And despite the undeniable tragedies, it’s not all bad. Millions of office workers have transitioned to homeworking using online tools like ZOOM or TEAMs, reducing carbon emissions as we are not travelling to work, and saving ourselves time, too, for a more balanced lifestyle. Whilst many of us miss the human contact, there also seems to be broad agreement that we should not go back to our old ways once we are over the pandemic, but rather strike a new balance that is better for the planet and better for our well-being. And this will mean that a vast amount of our professional interactions will remain digital.
But one of the areas that has been particularly difficult during the pandemic is the acquisition of new clients and contacts. We were not able to go to events, hold meetings or visit people at their offices. The only way for most of us to interact with new prospects is online which makes a challenging task even more challenging: How do you start a conversation and then pitch your business successfully in a virtual world?
So let’s rise to the challenge with some new digital marketing tools that can help you interact and connect with new contacts in a virtual environment.
1. The virtual background
Having to stay at home during lockdown meant for many of us that we had to find new ways of meeting colleagues and clients. Only a year ago, many of us conducted most of our business interactions face to face but being in a pandemic meant to rapidly up-skill and go digital. Today, we are all experts on ZOOM or TEAMs and meeting virtually has become second nature. But let’s face it. Not all of us have swanky home offices that lend themselves to video calls and only very few of us have company branded marketing materials helping us to represent the brand we work for properly.
So how can you make sure you still promote your brand even when working from home? A first step to virtual brand promotion is a virtual background, showing a company logo, tag line and your personal contact details. During client meetings, this maintains a professional environment, promotes your brand and conveniently hides any kids’ toys, washing or other normal appearances around the house.
When meeting in a larger group such as virtual networking events, a virtual background helps people to understand what you do, even when you are not speaking. Virtual networking events can have up to 100 attendees and often one only gets to speak to 20 or 30 attendees. So, if you are displayed as an attendee on the screen without a virtual background, all the remaining fellow networkers you haven’t met in that networking session would have no idea what you do.
Furthermore, having your contact details displayed as part of your virtual background saves a lot of back and forth on the chat functions when sharing contact details which can distract you from the conversation.
This brings me to the second amazing digital marketing tool that we will need in a virtual world.
2. The virtual business card
Whilst a virtual background helps you to passively communicate your brand and contact details, you still need to actively engage with people and pass on more information. This is best done with a virtual business card.
A virtual business card is exactly what you think it is. It’s a digital document that summarizes the most important information about you and your business and can be passed on to new contacts to help them remember you and hopefully contact you in the future. And because it’s digital, you can really get creative with your business card to stand out from the crowd.
What’s to love about virtual business cards:
Include a photo, video, or GIF to add a personal touch to your business card.
Include active links to your email address, website, and social media to make it easy for people to contact you.
Share your business card with a simple link in ZOOM or TEAMs chats and on social.
Share your business card as an interactive PDF in the download section of your website or attach to emails.
With this tool, there is no need to lose time typing all your contact details into the chat and getting distracted from your networking session. Simply share a link to your perfectly branded business card and be sure you are communicating your details with confidence and style.
3. The virtual elevator pitch
Now that you have made new contacts, it’s a good idea to have your virtual elevator pitch ready to give new contacts a short and succinct overview about you and how you could help them. This is an important step in the onboarding cycle of new clients and a delicate one, too. The goal is to give enough information to the new contact so they can decide whether they want to hear more or not, but not to give too much information which can be overwhelming. Sending brochures and presentations after an initial meeting may demand to much time from a new contact and they might not be willing to invest this time, meaning your pitch will not be successful.
The virtual elevator pitch can take many shapes and forms but most importantly, it is short, to the point and features a clear call to action. It could be compared to the Starter in an evening meal: Small, delightful, and leaving the audience wanting more. This could be a virtual leaflet, an interactive graphic, a video pitch – anything as long as it meets the above criteria.
I chose to create an interactive graphic with a voice over that narrates what I do at createwerx. The entire pitch takes 37 seconds, enough time to bring my message across and short enough so most people are happy to take the time to watch it. Do you have your pitch ready?
The future might be virtual, but it certainly is exciting and with this set of simple marketing tools, you can get out there and promote your business with confidence to get ahead in the virtual world. And the best thing about it? It is cost competitive and environmentally friendly, too! Because there is no need for printing, you can save cost and paper which is better for the planet and better for your budget.