My COVIDiary #4: What are YOU Saying NOW?
Communications have always been important.
But now, more than ever, how we present ourselves, how we speak, how we demo our products is vital.
We’ve all been forced to switch over to remote interaction — ZOOM calls, websites and social media pages that engage and sell, and virtual conferences. We’re deluged with content.
What will make us time the time to read or listen? What prompts us to tune out?
I sat through an online conference this morning that I dubbed “Demo-palooza” because it was a steady stream of vendors selling their stuff. It was as if I had been forced to talk to every sales rep in every booth at a trade show (whether I wanted to or not). Like the perfume people who offer to spritz you when you walk into a department store, the speakers were on a mission and we were a captive audience.
We are also now living in the new Wayne’s World where everyone with a smartphone or webcam can become a talk show host.
Here are my tips for communicating better and breaking through the clutter in what has become a bloated content world.
- Salespeople: No…I don’t want to do a demo or read your automated sales message on LinkedIn within seconds of accepted your connection. You have the ability to do a little homework before you call or e-mail me. Try asking me first what my “pain points” are before you dive in with your script. Use Gong, RingDNA or Chorus to better understand where you’re losing your prospect and tailor your message to the person you’re engaging. After all, would you ask someone to hook-up with you within five minutes after meeting them on a dating app? (Perhaps you would, but your close rate might indicate that you need to up your sales game.)
- Businesses: Now is not the time to pull the plug on all marketing. But get creative. Use a combination of digital and conventional communications to make people aware of how you can help them. Avoid language like, “In these challenging times….” Do you really think people don’t know when they’re living? Here’s a great graphic about which types of media each generation is currently consuming. Use your downtime to get smarter about your database, marketing technology systems, and lead-generating content.
- PR Professionals: Didn’t your momma teach you who or how to pitch? As a journalist (as well as a marketer and PR pro), I get hundreds of e-mails, asking me if I want to interview someone or share a blog. I get press releases with no relevance to the topics I write about. The term “beat” refers to the areas of interest to a particular writer. For those of you who happen to be reading this, I write about tech, the retail and restaurant industries, life after 50, and business travel (which will eventually become a thing again). Your client’s cure for itchy skin may be newsworthy — just not for me. Thinking like a journalist and writing short, compelling, relevant and PERSONALIZED notes are how you break through the clutter. And yes…a deadline is really a deadline.
- Self-proclaimed Gurus: Online videos can be educational and inspirational. I suppose some people like to hear (and see) how other people are feeling or what the inside of their cars look like, or why they miss Aunt Rose. But tailor your message to your target audience and don’t drone on. Ditto with blog content. Don’t just stuff your prose with keywords and tags. Marketing content’s goal is ultimately to generate leads. Your readers are prospects — not therapists.
- Narcissistic Companies: I’m sure your culture is wonderful and filling your LinkedIn feed with back-pats for employees is lovely. But during a time when millions of people are unemployed, companies are re-evaluating their marketing budgets, and many are struggling, talking about how you’re providing free lunches to your WFH employees or hosting virtual happy hours simply causes your customers to think, “Is THAT where my money is going?” Furloughed staff don’t need to be reminded that they were among the people who are no longer around to celebrate. Focus your public messaging on how you’re better serving your customers.
- Everyone: Set objectives and time limits for ZOOM and phone calls. Exude enthusiasm and focus on solutions. If you market products, look to virtual reality and augmented reality as ways to make your products come alive and create immersive experiences. While we’re developing new technologies we should also be turning to the good old fashioned telephone to build connections.
For more about what the post-pandemic world might look like, click here: PREDICTIONS.
And, in these challenging times (just kidding)…if you need help with YOUR branding, communications plan, or web content, just call me. It’s way better than my filling your in-box with unsolicited stuff.