Ever get that sense of dread before a party? The sinking feeling that no one will actually turn up?
Sure, you scattergunned all your Facebook friends. You’ve been texting the most popular people for the past week. But all you’ve had back is a handful of non-committal noises about dropping by before they go to that “other thing”. And, now, here you are in the kitchen with a glass of wine and a bowl of chips, worrying that this is going to be the worst party of all time.
Today you have more access to the “right” invitees than ever before, thanks to sites like LinkedIn that allow you to track down your ideal customer with a few smart searches. But just because you’re able to inundate them with requests doesn’t mean they’re actually going to pay attention. In fact, it means you have to work extra hard to get their attention, because every other marketer in your space is inundating them, too. Their time is squeezed more and more.
This is the problem that my client, Equipment Tools for Surveyors (ET4S), was facing. ET4S sells Geographic Information Systems (used to store, check and identify features on maps) to local governments, and for years they’d found the best way to win over the people with the purse strings was inviting them to in-person seminars, where they could explain their products, face-to-face.
There was two issues; attracting people on the database and attracting new potential clients who ET4S didn’t know about.
ET4S were still selling great products – in fact, they had a brand new platform they were super excited to unveil. Trouble was, they were finding it harder and harder to persuade key players to turn up at all and attract a new market
At one seminar, they’d hoped to talk to more than 90 people. Just 13 showed. Guests often had last minute, high pressure projects land in their laps, or were simply too snowed under with work and other commitments to attend. Meanwhile, ET4S were spending a lot of money for very little return.
It was time to try something new.
It’s easy enough to say: go digital! But it’s not enough to simply put information online and hope for the best. You need a strategy that engages prospects with what you offer just as effectively as you would face-to-face.
So here’s what we did.
We started with an in-depth blog post explaining how we could solve the target audience’s problems, including how to use smartphone technologies that they could use for field data collection. This made sure they were focussing on the real needs of the chosen market segment. Then we emailed a link to this post to over 8000 carefully chosen leads, and shared it through social media channels like Facebook and LinkedIn to help with SEO and reaching out to a wider audience (potential markets we didn’t know about).
At the end of the post, we invited readers to click a link to join a webinar, instead of dozens of individual seminars, in which they would learn more about the product. By now, anyone clicking the link would have had time to read through the information at their leisure. If they chose to join the webinar, we (and they) knew that this product had potential value to them. Which meant far less risk of timewasting on either side – and more chance they’d sign in.
Alongside this, ET4S still ran a handful of in-person seminars, but these were stripped back affairs catered to people who had already shown in an interest. They weren’t the main focus. They were no longer putting all their marketing eggs in one basket.
A simple move, right? But with massive returns. And all because they recognised that the way they were marketing their seminars didn’t match up to the modern buyer’s hectic schedule. Because they were willing to do that bit of extra legwork to pique their target customer’s interest and demonstrate the value of their product in advance. Solving the client’s problem vs selling them a product.
That’s where online campaigns really shine. When you stop thinking about how you can invite the most people to your party, and instead start really thinking about why they’d show up – how you can make it as easy, rewarding and attractive as possible to attend.
Do you have questions about translating your offline campaign to the digital space? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!