Doing Business during a Pandemic

Remembering that we are all in this together, can help bring us closer.

online marketing and video conferencing

Authentic, every-day faces of clients and business partners  –  sometimes kids and pets in the backgound  – is a reminder that we are all in this together.

As an Internet Marketing Consultant with a home office, the initial stay-at-home order didn’t immediately change my daily routine. But it did quickly change the way I interacted with my clients and the marketing campaigns we worked on.

One of the biggest changes I’ve seen with my clients since March 2020, was the amount of online leads coming from social media. People are spending more time than ever on the platforms.  One client, a home builder, stepped away from their polished, corporate messaging and let their staff do Facebook live tours of the model homes for sale, so potential buyers could engage from the safety of their own home. Sometimes the WIFI would shut down in the middle of the live stream, sometimes the video would be shaky, or they would stumble on their words, but it showed they were real. Real people. In a real company. As a result, the response from the audience was more positive and engaging. (Click here for some tips on Facebook live)

My other client, a B2B company, found a dramatic spike in leads (mainly from LinkedIN) by promoting educational webinars. While we had been marketing webinars before the pandemic, we would only get maybe 40-60 sign ups. In April, they had more than 200+ sign up for each of their webinars!

In fact, according to this recent eMarketer article, “The disappearance of in-person events, and a pause in the use of traditional tactics, has led to significant digital growth” with LinkedIN expected to secure a fifth of all B2B ad dollars in 2020.

B2B digital spend 2020

“Search, virtual event sponsorships, podcasts and spending on LinkedIn are replacing TV, print, out-of-home and in-person events” – eMarketer

This pandemic has forced everyone to slow down. People are attending more online courses and watching longer online videos. Instead of rushing through their day.

Before the pandemic, I used to hate video calls.  I found them extremely distracting and taking away from getting the work done. But now, they can reveal a human side and an opportunity to build a closer connection. I can now see the authentic, every-day faces of my clients and business partners  –  sometimes unshaven working from their kitchen table, kids or pets in the background – rather than a stuffy, perfectly arranged office.  Although video conferencing calls are not new, the “new normal” of having the entire family at home during the day adds to the realness of the people you are working with.

I understand not everyone’s business and lifestyle can adjust to this new normal and many businesses and families are seriously struggling.  I have a friend who is a financial planner and explained that a zoom call just can’t give him enough of a read on a client’s true feelings about the strategies he recommends. He misses seeing the full body language. This leads to the recent National Geographic article on zoom fatigue and a study that showed how seeing someone speak to you in a tiny box on a screen in more taxing on the brain than a regular phone call or in person meeting.  “The brain becomes overwhelmed by unfamiliar excess stimuli while being hyper-focused on searching for non-verbal cues that it can’t find… That’s why a traditional phone call may be less taxing on the brain, because it delivers on a small promise: to convey only a voice.“

Each of us is experiencing different struggles as we navigate doing business in the face of a pandemic. But if there is a silver lining, it would be the idea of breaking down the guarded wall, and realizing that we’re all real people in this together. We are going to see your messy house or dog bark in the middle of the zoom meeting. And the WIFI just may go out during your live video stream or webinar. And I hope that makes us all feel a bit closer in this new world of social distancing and remote working. After all, we are all in this together.

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Holly Berkley is a professional Online Marketing Consultant and author of eight Internet Marketing books. She focuses on helping all size businesses increase online sales and dramatically boost web site traffic through proven online marketing concepts. Berkley’s newest book is “The Social Media Advantage – An Essential Handbook for Small Business” Learn about her latest books and marketing services at www.BerkWeb.com

 

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