Digital Business

In retrospect, this week was all about Coronavirus and its impact on our businesses. Digital sales and marketing just got way more important.

On Monday, I wrote about Coronavirus. Perhaps I had it and beat it, who knows. I know I was traveling through the Seattle airport a week before I became deathly ill what was, if not coronavirus, the flu. As I mentioned, whatever virus I had attached not just my immune system, but my other virus – the content marketing one. Yet as we become more socially distant, we need better ways to gain trust.

On Tuesday, I switched topics. Or did I? I wrote about building Web Equity in a previously overlooked place, the footer of your website. I talked about a full-page footer, calling for each of us to show our cards, map out our business, and showcase content marketing. Again, this is a way to build trust by demonstrating the breadth of our research, experience, and ideas. If you’re not doing content marketing this one is tough.

On Wednesday, I talked in some more detail about the effort vector in creating valuable content and relayed what I hope was the inspiring success story of David Ogilvy’s own content marketing. I think it’s helpful to think of content marketing and as a battle of effort. Ogilvy’s field manual, The Theory and Practice of Selling the Aga Cooker, was noteworthy not just for the ideas but the effort that went it. As evidence, look at the detail he provided into his appliance’s competition: the boiling plate, the simmering plate, the roasting oven, and the hot water tank.((By the way, Millennials who think vegetarianism is a new thing should refer to the opening sentence of the roasting oven section: “Learn to recognise vegetarians on sight. It is painful indeed to gush over roasting and grilling to a drooping face which has not enjoyed the pleasures of a beefsteak for years.”))

On Thursday, I went a little deeper into the effort vector – but in real-time. As we learn to market, sell, and deliver services remotely through video calling and conferencing, it’s important to realize how much work this is. I think it’s tougher than in person to maintain focus and really see and listen to them. I’m a little frustrated by that article because I omitted this: the longer you look at something, the more details you start to see. There’s also a parallel between seeing art (45 for a painting is a recommended viewing length) and focusing on your clients and customers, a la Sam Ovens.

On Friday, I’m in love.. with my own dog food. And I chose to eat some of it rather than publish a newsletter – I took my own advice from Tuesday and created a full-page footer that does a better job of explaining the scope, purpose, and personality of my business. This is a great way to take stock of the resources you have already created. I’m proud I only spent about 4 hours going down the rabbit hole of updating the website. There’s a before and after:

Click to see the full version – or just see if for yourself

Today – and the whole week, I think again about how we’re going to deal with this hyper-contagious pandemic. About the likelihood that COVID-19 outlasts Spring-Summer-Fall conference season, about the impracticality of travel for work, let alone flying, of meet-ups, camps, and other gatherings being canceled. It all comes down to building our equity online, throughout the web and especially on our own websites.

Publishing articles on a high-frequency basis is something I’ve only convinced one other person to do, so I am not sure that’s the answer. But I’m pretty sure we need to change our daily marketing practices forever. 

Over the past year, I’ve had many doctors remark in surprise how many people find them online for the first time. Granted that’s partly because my SO is a doctor. But it’s happening – lawyers and financial planners, too. As well as the obvious choices, like web designers and programmers. 

Most marketing agencies – the new rip off artists of our time – promise leads through annoying people. And in a pretty un-artful way. Those of you who are my clients know I am not at all against outbound marketing (especially email outreach but also cold/warm advertising), but there’s an art to it. I think you can easily make the argument that unless you become world-famous, you should always be doing some kind of outbound marketing. That it’s a way of priming the pump of your lead flow but also genuinely helping people. 

But lead generation through outbound marketing is about to get tougher, not easier. LinkedIn is already becoming a landmine of lead generation solicitations. Coronavirus is going to make that problem worse.

A marketing agency owner I have great respect for, John Lincoln, remarked on LinkedIn that, “digital marketing just got much more important”. Others make some good points in that thread.

That statement is true, no doubt about it. But what specifically got even more important as the result of coronavirus are three subtypes of digital marketing:

  • Effort-driven digital content marketing
  • Web equity (brand messaging, copywriting, UX on your web properties)
  • Video – learning how to pitch, sell, deliver, and support remotely by focusing our attention and mind during video calls and conferences*.

Have a great rest of your weekend,

*PS, on that note, I compiled a list of all the audio/video hardware and software I use in my business, along with ideas for how to use them. Maybe you’ll find it useful. If you have ideas on this, lemme know!!