In times of uncertainty as Digital Marketers, we can help people adapt to a new way of life online…
Throughout the years industry-specific marketing has been reliant on one thing, the success and growth of businesses, organisations, and individuals within that industry. There is no argument that marketing helps enhance these industries and push them to new heights of success but without a sustainable and viable business model and/or product then there are no grounds to invest in a marketing team or strategy. Over the last few weeks in the UK and around the world the landscape of every industry and the lives of every individual has changed drastically. Most industries are on their knees and those that aren’t are having to adapt and evolve in a matter of days, for changes that would usually take years of planning.
As marketers and more specifically as digital marketers this has been a stark wake-up call for many of us. Yes, what we do is largely within a digital landscape but what use is growth and reach online if the physical counterpart to the online marketing can’t operate. The hardships now faced by nearly everyone around the world has meant that more and more people are moving online.
As digital marketers, we know this landscape better than most. We know how online platforms can be used to help and benefit people and how to best share and promote information online. On the flip side of this, we also know how misinformation can be spread online and the importance of credibility and authority online. For many people adapting to life online, these concepts are new and foreign and as digital marketers, we have a responsibility to help nurture and aid the growth of our online communities and businesses.
As humans, connection is one of the most important things to us. In lockdown and self-isolation people across the country are looking online to connect with people and as digital marketers helping people connect online is what we have been doing for years. So, how can you help? It is important to establish a basic sense of morality, in the face of a global pandemic and a world-altering event now is not the time for profit. Now is the time to help people in your community, at Lumos we are looking towards doing the following to help people and businesses within our community:
For many digital marketers, social media is part of the job. In the current climate, you can use the social media skills and abilities you have to help the flow of information online and help people connect and stay connected. A lot of the people being pushed online are not internet natives, they are an older generation and things you may take for granted may be difficult to a lot of people. As a digital marketer you could consider doing the following to help people on social media:
• Set up Facebook groups and pages: Simply setting up a Facebook group for your local community to connect on could do wonders for nurturing human connection in a time of isolation. You could also help local businesses that need to move online set up a Facebook page to connect with their customers as a cheaper alternative to a website or as an easier way for their customers to find them.
• Help the spread of information: As a digital marketer, you know how to spread information and how to get peoples attention online. Reach out to key organisations and offer your services. There is a lot of misinformation out there right now and getting the correct information in front of the right people is a challenge.
Not every digital marketer has web design skills but for those of you that do you have a unique place in helping others right now. Many traditional brick and mortar businesses have been forced to close up shop and although this is devastating for businesses across the country there is a glimmer of hope for some of them. Some businesses may be able to move some of their operations online to an eCommerce setting or for restaurants to offer online orders for those in need. As a marketer with website design capabilities you could consider the following:
• Create a website for a local business: It’s time to adopt the ‘we are all in this together’ mindset because perhaps for the first time in our lifetime – we are. Reach out to a local business and offer your services in helping them establish a presence online. For traditional retail premises, you may be able to offer help with setting up an eCommerce store to help businesses sell their goods online. For local charities and information hubs, you may be able to help them establish a website to help people in their communities and to share information at a time it is most needed.
• Help with existing websites: As a digital marketer, you know better than most the potential of a website. If you see a gap a local business could be utilising on their website to survive the lockdown – offer to help them out.
• Suggest a multi-channel approach: As a marketer, you may know this as ‘integrated marketing communications’ – as a human this roughly translates to creating a connection through as many platforms as possible. You may be able to suggest to a business different ways in which they can connect their website to their social media platforms and vice versa to create the maximum opportunities for connections.
As marketers, we plan for everything. We have short term plans, mid-term plans, long-term plans and everything in between. What is brazenly obvious is that no one on the planet could have planned for the situation we find ourselves in now. As a marketer what you can do is help people plan for what comes next. At the moment the world is in a state of shock but there will be a next step, and in that next step, people will potentially need to adapt to a ‘new normal’. Within this new normal the landscape of commerce, businesses, and organisations of all kinds will likely have changed drastically. Now is not the time for hard marketing techniques but in the weeks or months ahead there will come a time in which businesses need to fight for survival. You can help businesses plan and prepare for this. Here are some suggestions:
• Help businesses identify how they can use digital technologies both during lockdown and afterwards. It is important for businesses to connect with their customers. Help show businesses how they can use social media to plan a communication strategy with their customers.
• Create a marketing strategy for businesses to help them overcome some of the damage that has been caused by the lockdown.
• Help them establish KPI’s so they can track and monitor the numerical impact the lockdown has had on them and what targets they need to be hitting afterwards to get back on their feet.
Technology is the bread and butter of every digital marketer. To us, it comes naturally to fire up a video call with a client or dive into the ins and outs of a website to troubleshoot a problem. To the majority of business owners and internet migrants, this is a new concept. As Digital Marketers we are in a unique position to help guide newcomers to the online landscape and pass on the knowledge we have learnt over the years honing our craft. Once you’ve used a few online platforms you tend to find that a lot of the user interfaces, page navigations, and general layouts work in a similar way so for those that work in a digital landscape new technology isn’t much of a challenge. Things you consider as basic such as setting up a Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts call may be a huge hurdle to newcomers. There are several things we can do to help newcomers with digital technologies:
• Communication – The current state of the world has highlighted the benefits of using digital technologies such as Zoom and Google Hangouts to communicate with colleagues, friends, and family. Setting aside some time to help those that are new to these platforms could have a huge benefit in helping people remain connected with the rest of the world.
• Website Design – From a business point of view moving online is incredibly daunting. Many people are running on a tight budget so traditional website design services may not be viable for them. If you are familiar with platforms such as Wix or Squarespace why not consider spending some time talking business owners through how to easily set up a company website.
• eCommerce – eCommerce or simply ‘online shopping’ has seen huge levels of growth over the last month as it has quickly become the ONLY avenue for commerce outside of grocery retail. Spending some time to help businesses move their operations online is a win-win for everyone involved.
Help those around you. The times we find ourselves in are testing and it is easy to become caught up in where your next client is going to come from or how long you are going to be furloughed for. Right now people across the world are helping each other in any way they can. As digital marketers it is important we step up and do our bit to help support the businesses that have supported our profession for years. If you are in a position to help, please do, be an all-round awesome human being and keep building those personal connections because above all else; money, sales targets, key performance indicators, profit margins, annual turnover figures (the list goes on) it is genuine human connections that matter the most. If you are an individual or business that is finding the prospect of life online daunting then please drop us a message and let’s have a chat!