The challenges brought about by COVID-19 are multi-faceted and permeate the lives of B2B marketers on many levels, yet they also thankfully present new opportunities.
Remote work and online business communications are two of the major benefits modern B2B marketers can take advantage of now thanks to the technological advances the Internet and its 50-plus year history has made possible.
As a remote worker for the past 13 of my 36 years working in online communications, I’ll offer up a selection of tips to keep in mind as we all adjust to the numerous business changes brought about by COVID-19.
We’ll also look at how the present situation affects the issues of brand purpose and trust, resources and tools for newly-minted remote workers, social media best-practices during challenging times, and how we can learn from the challenges.
Our CEO Lee Odden recently asked “Should COVID-19 Stop B2B Marketers From Marketing?” — looking at new challenges and opportunities to be even more relevant and useful for clients, while also being responsible to the health and safety of employees, customers and community.
Let’s dig in and look at five ways B2B marketers can embrace remote communication opportunities to reach new heights.
1 — Cultivate Greater Brand Purpose & Build More Trust
Survey data has over the past several years increasingly shown that consumers in both B2B and B2C are placing more importance than ever on brand purpose and the trust that successful businesses cultivate.
A recent Association of National Advertisers (ANA) survey showed that 82 percent of B2B executives see companies with purpose having more success than those without.
Brand purpose and trust are both simultaneously in play for B2B marketers during this time of COVID-19 changes, and a number of publications have recently released helpful guides to brand social media activity for sensitive times.
RivalIQ’s “The Impact of Coronavirus on Social Media Engagement for Brands” provides information on how the COVID-19 situation has affected social media engagement rates, and Social Fresh’s “How To Adjust Your Social Media Marketing During Coronavirus, “ explores the delicate balance brands need to keep with their social media campaigns during the present health concerns.
Building brand trust for B2B marketers is a subject we’ve explored in several articles, including:
- Break Free B2B Series: Margaret Magnarelli on the Psychology of Trust for Better Content Marketing
- SEO is Not Enough: Why B2B Marketers Need to Optimize for Trust with Influence
- Trust Begins Within: The Vital Importance of Building Internal Trust in Marketing
- Trust Factors: Why Your Brand Should Take a Stand with Its Marketing Strategy
- TopRank Marketing’s Ashley Zeckman Shares How to Build Consumer Trust with Influencers #DSMPLS
- The B2B Marketing Funnel is Dead: Say Hello to the Trust Funnel
- Trust Fractures: How to Avoid Accidentally Eroding Your Brand’s Credibility
- Trust Factors: The (In)Credible Impact of B2B Influencer Marketing
- Tip of the Iceberg: A Story of Trust in Marketing as Told by Statistics
2 — Use Powerful & Abundant Remote Collaboration Tools
Powerful online collaboration platforms such as those offered by our clients Slack and Monday.com provide the type of robust remote communication that has seen dramatically-increased use since the rise in awareness brought about by COVID-19.
Slack has put together a collection of resources for people using its online collaboration platform for remote work, including “The Manager’s Manual for Remote Work,” “Distance Learning Thrives in Slack,” and “Slack on Slack: Adapting the Way we Work When Offices Need to Close,” each offering helpful insight both for the Slack community and anyone looking to do the best work they can remotely.
Monday.com has used the present COVID-19 situation to increase its integration with the popular Zoom online meeting service, and has also brought together its own selection of helpful remote work tools in “5 Tools You Need to Become Remote-Work-Ready.” As we have also done at TopRank Marketing, Monday.com has its team now temporarily working remotely.
Our client Adobe has made some of its online collaboration tools available free to students, and our client Arm Treasure Data has also put together a compendium of remote work tips, in its “Lessons Learned WFH—5 Tips to Make It Work for You.”“During this time of transition, it’s also important that marketers review their planned advertising, social and marketing messages to be appropriate to what customers are dealing with right now. ” @LeeOdden Click To Tweet
3 — Reflect, Regroup & Refocus With a New Perspective
Seeing things from a new perspective — whether it’s from a temporary new remote working environment or from in-person meetings moved online — provides a fine opportunity to reflect, regroup, and refocus on existing and upcoming projects.
Working in a new environment can give you a fresh look at your next marketing campaign or influencer marketing project, and also provides a great opportunity to reassess currently-running projects with a new remote-oriented eye.
Once you’re settled into a different work location it’s not unusual to find new energy that naturally will go into your current projects if you let it, so don’t be afraid to tap into that energy and use it as a launching point for creating powerful new work. The Harvard Business Review has taken a look at the role of reassurance and being proactive with communications, in “Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis.”“Brand purpose and trust are both simultaneously in play for B2B marketers during this time of COVID-19 changes.” @lanerellis Click To Tweet
4 — Take The Opportunity To Tackle Learning New Things
With more at-home time available even after the workday has finished, now can be a great time to expand your knowledge in new areas.
Our client LinkedIn has made some of its premium LinkedIn Learning courses available free, with “Remote Working: Setting Yourself and Your Teams Up for Success,” and the professional social network has also put together its own collection of helpful remote work resources, in both “In This Together: Sharing Our COVID-19 Learnings,” and “Staying Informed and Connected: Resources to Help Navigate Work and Coronavirus.”
Many experienced remote workers have used the recent COVID-19 situation to share their advice for productive online work, including my pal and fellow former computer bulletin board system SysOp Meryl Evans, offering up “38 Awesome Things About Remote Working.”
5 — Learn With Remote Working Tips
Finally, here are five additional remote working tips I’d like to share with you — items that have helped me during my 13-plus year stint of remote work:
- Create your own physical workspace. Whether it’s a dedicated room in your home where you’ll be doing the bulk of your work, a co-working space in another location, or a full-on private spot in an office building as I’ve chosen, having a physical place that you can leave at the end of the workday is an ideal way to separate your personal and professional life.
- Build a regular schedule into your remote workday — one that pulls some of the best elements from your previous office location — in order to bring a similar sense of organization to your remote work.
- Learn to savor the advantages of working remotely, especially those from working at home. Especially if your remote work situation isn’t a permanent one, take time to appreciate the little things that working remotely provides, whether it’s eating lunch with your partner or children, listening to music as loud as you want to, taking a lunchtime walk in a new area, or enjoying extra time saved from not having a lengthy work commute.
- Minimize distractions as much as possible, so that you can use remote work to find newfound focus on your projects. If working from home, let the people in your home know when you’ll be working, and encourage them to connect with you only during set times such as over lunch or breaks.
- If your remote work situation is more long-term, learn to make your laptop your office. If you have freedom in the locations you work from, expand your work world to include working in different spots in your city, state, country, or even internationally. A second external monitor can also be very helpful for many remote marketers, and some also will use high-definition TVs as a second or third laptop monitor.
Embrace Remote Work & Reach New Heights
Communicating with your associates and clients online using collaboration tools such as Zoom and Slack is a fairly straightforward task in 2020, and with the COVID-19 situation that has brought more people than ever to remote work, we hope the tactics and insight we’ve shared will help you adjust and thrive.