Marketers are always on the hunt for new engagement techniques and creative marketing strategies. Over the last year, competition in the online marketing arena has grown aggressively. On the plus side, this crowded virtual marketing space has challenged marketers to experiment and explore new ideas. Read on to discover our favorite tips and tricks to help you stand out in the digital crowd.
What is Virtual Marketing?
Let’s start at the very beginning, what exactly is virtual marketing? Virtual marketing can be called a variety of different names; you might have heard it referred to as online marketing, digital marketing, or viral marketing. However, no matter what you call it, at its simplest form it is marketing that is done in the virtual or digital space. It can involve content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing (SMM), search engine optimization (SEO), paid performance-based marketing, and more.
Top 5 Virtual Marketing Tips for Maximum Engagement
1. Increase Engagement with Content Marketing
This virtual marketing approach is focused on producing valuable content that prospective clients and existing customers find useful and will consume. By acting as a trusted resource, you’re not only building positive brand and product awareness, you’re also providing touchpoints for your audience to engage with. By tracking the pieces of content that your target interacts with, you’re collecting valuable data that helps you build a more complete picture of each person’s interest, which helps you drive qualified leads over to sales.
Some examples of content marketing that can maximize engagement are:
What is a Webinar? A webinar is an online event where you can educate, train, and share your point of view with your target audience. This can establish your position as a thought leader in the marketplace, as well as expand your brand’s reach. Traditionally webinars have had anywhere from 30–45 minutes of content, but shorter, bite-sized webinars at the 10-15 mark have recently emerged as another popular option.
Because the number of webinars offered over the last year has exploded, it’s become extremely important to up-level your webinar production. Videos of your speakers are now the norm, as are multiple ways for attendees to engage with speakers and each other. Hosting your webinar on a virtual event platform gives you the ability to increase attendee engagement by including:
- Embedded videos
- Live Q+A
- Session chat
- Engagement scoring
- Virtual attendance tracking
Training or Certification Offer
Offering training or certification that allows others to gain a competitive edge for themselves or their organization can be great for both parties. Not only does it facilitate great user engagement, but it builds brand and product awareness as well.
For example, here at Cvent we offer a wide variety of online trainings and certifications- ranging from event marketing to virtual and hybrid events.
With an eBook you are able to share a large amount of detailed knowledge on a topic. Since you are offering such valuable information, you are able to ask your audience to give you information about themselves via a form in exchange for access to the eBook.
See an example of our eBook, Virtual Event Strategy for Dummies here.
According to HubSpot, “Businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors than businesses that don’t AND marketers who prioritized blogging received 13X more ROI than companies that did not in 2019.”
Blogs allow you to consistently produce content quickly, boost your organic web traffic by helping you rank for keywords, and are a great way to show industry knowledge.
This type of content asset is similar to a report or guide. It will dive deep into a certain topic and offers in-depth research or guidance. This is an important part of your content marketing mix because it can solidify your position as an expert in the marketplace.
Infographics are visual representations of data or a topic. They are intended to be very easy to digest and can be a great top-of-funnel asset. Design is a key factor here, sometimes the topic can be complex, but a strong infographic will convey that intricate topic in a straightforward manner.
Who doesn’t love a good podcast? A podcast allows your audience to consume your content on the go vs. always being tethered to a computer. The freedom to listen in the car, on walks, while doing other projects, etc., equates to audience expansion.
Podcasting also allows the opportunity to not only talk about the industry you are in, but also address niche topics that might not justify their own dedicated content asset. This is a fantastic space where you can bring in other voices and showcase guest speakers. Featuring experts on certain topics and adding diverse voices can make the content you’re sharing more valuable.
2. Stay Relevant with Email Marketing
All day, every day, emails flood people’s inboxes. The trick to standing out in the sea of notifications is to only send personalized, engaging emails. Here are some ways you can personalize your email marketing:
- Break up your email list into smaller lists. For example, you could divide your list into prospect and customer groups which allows you to serve more targeted content. Targeting this way results in higher engagement rates.
- Change the sender name on your emails to look like an actual person’s name, rather than a generic company email address.
- Celebrate important anniversaries or milestones. This signals that you view the recipient as an individual and more than just an email address.
- Segment your list by persona or industry and leverage dynamic content in your marketing automation platform to easily serve the right email copy to the right individual.
- Be considerate of when you send your email. Account for local time zones and keep an eye on regional holidays.
- Test adding the recipient’s name into the subject line to catch their attention.
3. Increase Visibility with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization is the strategic process of improving the quality and quantity of organic (unpaid) traffic to your website. More traffic means that you have a greater opportunity to engage with more people. Focusing your SEO efforts around keywords that are relevant to your business helps ensure that the right people are naturally finding your site.
Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. With a strong SEO keyword strategy, you have ample of opportunity to grow your business.
Some benefits of SEO are:
- Boosts your brand’s credibility
- Better experience for the user by providing valuable content
- Decreases spend on paid search advertisements
4. Connect with Your Audience on Social Media
Through the use of social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.), brands can connect to their audience, drive website traffic, and increase brand recognition - ultimately tackling engagement head-on.
Here are some fun and engaging tactics to try in your next social media post:
Polls are an easy way to increase interaction. They can be used to receive quick feedback, plus they allow you to immerse yourself in the community that you’ve built by sparking conversations.
Contest or Giveaway
Everyone likes the chance win things, right? A way to really get strong engagement started on social media is offering a giveaway or creating a contest. Let’s pretend that we are offering a free pass to an upcoming event. We can increase engagement around the event by posting the following to social media with our event details: “Share this post, tag a friend, and comment with your favorite event speaker to be entered to win.” This widens your reach and will not only potentially grow your followers, but also generate more brand awareness.
Build a sense of community on your social channels by highlighting customer advocates, customer success stories, and employee accomplishments.
Here are some examples from Cvent:
Behind the Scenes Content
Create a sense of intimacy by taking your audience behind the scenes of your brand, an event, planning process, or your creative process. This type of content is appealing to your followers, but is also very welcoming to prospects. A look behind the curtains is also a topic that lends itself well to creating serialized content that you can post week over week.
Short-Form Video Content
Did you know that video is the second most-used content type on social media used to increase audience engagement? People are scrolling quickly through posts, so an engaging, digestible experience that breaks up static pictures and text is proven successful.
Collaboration with Influencers
A social media Influencer is someone who has the ability to impact the purchasing decisions and behaviors of their followers. Collaborating with influencers to market products or services can be very successful. Forbes says 74% of B2B marketers agree that influencer marketing improves customer experience with the brand, yet only 19% are running ongoing programs.
5. Incorporate a Variety of Media in Promotions
When building engagement in the virtual world, it’s important to remember that different people may respond better to varying media types. Instead of relying only on text and static images, try branching out and using different forms of media in your marketing campaigns.
Whether you are educating your audience on a topic, introducing a new product release or promoting an event, a video can be an exciting and engaging way to showcase them. This type of media element is widely used in content marketing and on social media. But where else can we take advantage of this successful tactic? Try embedding a video into an email or creating short videos to use as ads before a webinar.
Who here has had a full conversation in GIFs? Animated images are a compelling element to incorporate in your ads and promotional tactics. A well-executed GIF can bring your brand’s personality to life. It can also introduce a new product by quickly highlighting new features or updates. It is a quick way to spotlight something in a disruptive way.
Now is the time to be innovative and re-imagine how to use virtual marketing techniques to best reach and engage with your target audience. We hope we’ve inspired you with some helpful tips and ideas that you can use to stand out in the digital crowd.