The COVID-19 crisis means many of us are working remotely for the foreseeable future. As such, remote marketing strategies, such as webinars and videoconference presentations, have become the main way to engage with customers or clients.
However, some might be unfamiliar with virtual marketing or unsure how to make the most out of these engagements. Below are some tips and strategies—including a rundown of potential formats to use—to help make the best impression and keep your audience engaged.
Set the stage
Create a distraction-free environment by clearing your surroundings of clutter—such as gum wrappers, dirty dishes, or even excess background items like photos.
Ensure good lighting
It can be distracting when all you see is the shadow of someone on a dark screen. The lighter your background, the darker you will be, so avoid sitting with your back to a window. And consider incorporating a large standing ring light or a smaller laptop light attachment to make yourself more camera friendly.
Reduce the background noise
Many of us live with other people—roommates, significant others, children. With everyone working and schooling remotely, things can get noisy. As much as possible, communicate with cohabitants before remote engagements to avoid any unwanted background noise. Turn off computer and cell phone notifications as well, so no one hears distracting dings throughout.
Dress for success
This may be an unpopular opinion, but stay away from the sweats and get fully dressed! Even if your audience won’t see you from the waist down, dressing for the part might get you in the right frame of mind. Especially since the line between work life and homelife has become blurred, the right clothes could help you feel more professional and confident.
Recruit someone in advance to let you know (via the chat function on most videoconferencing tools) if anything is going wrong from an attendee’s point of view. This way, if your microphone isn’t working or if your sound is distorted, you have someone who will let you know immediately. It’s also a good idea to prepare a script if you will be moderating or presenting to make sure you hit all your key points and avoid awkward lulls.
Engage the audience
Consider including poll questions to help your audience feel more involved and reduce drop-offs. Data points, pictures, screen grabs, and videos that relate to your topic are also great to include to keep your audience engaged. Who doesn’t love a good meme?
Consider your format
There are several formats to choose from for remote marketing events. The avenue you choose will depend on the overall objective, the content you’re presenting, and how many people are involved.
Q&A-style webinar: Two speakers answer questions that viewers write in using the chat function. Presenters could use Facebook or Instagram Live if relevant to their audience. This tactic has been used successfully by business leaders and heads of government, as in this example of Jacinda Ardern hosting a COVID-19 Q&A from her home.
Panel discussion: Features a moderator who asks questions of numerous panelists. This is a great way to bring a wider range of ideas and insights to the table.
Screen sharing—presentation only: This approach is sans video. Because viewers can’t see you if you go this route, consider including a slide with a photo of yourself to help viewers connect the ideas to the speaker. This is more of a one-sided format, so it’s best to keep it short.
Screen sharing—presentation with video moderator: This is your standard videoconferencing format that allows you to present both yourself and your content. It’s less interactive, typically only allowing for a Q&A at the end.
Virtual summit or trade show: This is a great way to pack multiple talks into a half or full day to attract a larger audience. Summits or trade shows, such as Global Marketing Day, also allow you to comarket with other companies, offering a wider appeal to participants. This format is particularly effective when introducing a new product or service.
Podcast: This platform gives you the ability to create long-form content for your viewers, without the commitment of having to be on camera. Even without video, podcasts can be very immersive, drawing listeners into a conversation between experts. Additionally, listeners can be mobile, rather than being in front of a screen, which provides ample opportunity for engagement. See our recent blog post, “Making the quick shift to remote podcasts,” for more on producing remote podcasts.
Vlog: Video blogs can be a fun way to engage your viewer in a less formal way. The relaxed, conversational tone can be a great way for a company’s leadership to communicate with employees—a reminder that we are all in this together, athleisure and all.
There are a lot of different ways to engage with customers or clients remotely. To make these efforts as successful as possible, try to adhere to the tips above. And whatever approach you take, ensure your setting and surroundings, color scheme and fonts, and promotional materials are all consistent with your brand.
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