Redirecting your marketing efforts when in-person meetings are not an option

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, every industry has seen a flurry of cancellations and closures as a response to the virus’s rapid spread, and the health and life insurance industry is no exception. Most events within the next several weeks have either been cancelled or postponed, though some may transition to a virtual platform to avoid the risks that gathering in large groups currently brings.

So, what can transitioning to a virtual platform versus cancelling outright mean for your marketing budget? Obviously, the cancellations mean that some funds are inevitably going to be lost– that’s a given. But the refundable expenses will go right back into your marketing budget, and with no upcoming shows or events to redirect it to, your best bet is to focus on where your audience will be for the next several weeks – online.

First and foremost, make sure your audience knows that just because your events have been cancelled, doesn’t mean you’re no longer there. Online advertising is an effective tool to ensure your audience can access your content even in the midst of a pandemic. First, find out where your audience is likely to be; whether reading trade journals, catching up with industry e-newsletters or browsing industry websites, finding out where your audience is spending their time online is key to snagging those ad clicks. With a large chunk of the population staying at home for the next several weeks, advertising online will be a great place to reallocate a portion of your marketing funds.

If you have the means, consider taking your message from that cancelled trade show or event and creating it as a webinar. Your audience signed up to attend your show to see and hear you speak, so why not give it to them in a different format? All you need is a camera and mic setup along with software that you think will be a good fit for you, and you’re set. If you don’t have access to any of that equipment, it’s possible to do it all on a smartphone as well. Set a date for the webinar to occur and promote the event to your customers well in advance for the best chances of driving the largest audience. You can either pre-record the webinar and send it out on a predetermined day, or you can host a live webinar to allow audience members to chime in with their thoughts or participate in a live Q&A. Continue to broadcast the webinar after its conclusion to prospective customers. Webinars are a great way to track engagement while giving your audience the content they’d originally signed up to receive.

Chances are you’re already active on social media, so why not ramp it up a bit in the next few weeks? Take some of the content you have been creating and blast it out on your social channels. Allocate a portion of your marketing budget to boost posts and run social media ad campaigns to broaden your reach and increase engagement. Try to focus particularly on engaging with your social feeds; simply publishing a post and waiting for it to drive up clicks isn’t going to cut it. Follow pages and hashtags that are relevant to you and join the discussion on related pages. Increasing your social media presence will put your content in front of the right eyes while allowing you to engage with your audience in new and fun ways.

Of course, we would all prefer those in-person events, but right now that’s simply not an option. Rather than sitting back and waiting for COVID-19 to pass, use some of that newly-freed marketing budget to get back in front of your audience with your content. Be sure you’re hitting the virtual sidewalk and making strides to increase your online presence so that when you’re able to schedule those trade shows and events, you won’t have missed a beat– and you’ll be stronger than ever.