Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2020-04-08
A lot has been written about how the novel coronavirus is affecting businesses. One of the biggest areas hit has been in-person events, and now, with trade shows canceled, many marketers are shifting their funds and focus to digital. A recent SparkPost benchmark showed email volume increased from about 3,600 to over 40,000 campaigns each week.
We all still need to drive business growth, even in the midst of this crisis. So, how do we move forward without sounding tone deaf? Before you hit send on a new campaign, here are 7 things you should consider for email marketing in these uncertain times.
The reality is, in addition to health concerns, this situation has affected everyone and all businesses to some extent. Recognize these challenges as it applies to you and your prospects, without coming across as opportunistic or overly promotional. Now is not the time for edgy subject lines. For example, if your business provides accounting software, you might have a campaign that mentions the postponed U.S. federal tax deadline and still having time to acquire new solutions for business needs.
Completely ignoring the situation can come across as tone-deaf, but you don’t need to shoehorn the topic into your agenda. It may be better to reference it indirectly, acknowledging changes like many people working remotely, or sharing a positive perspective. With the unfortunate rise in email scams, some employees may be instructed not to open emails that mention terms such as coronavirus, Covid-19, pandemic, etc. As well, chances are your recipients have already received an overwhelming number of emails on the topic. There’s no one-size-fits all approach, so move forward with nuance and empathy.
Now more than ever, buyers need clear, straightforward information on why your solution is valuable to them. In a recent study, 59% of B2B buyers say the biggest buying challenge is understanding product specifications. With in-person meetings at a halt for most regions, a lot of that responsibility will shift to digital. Businesses are looking for meaningful solutions that align with their values and needs. An account-based marketing (ABM) approach can benefit tremendously right now with campaigns targeted to specific prospects. Demonstrate that you understand where they are coming from and how your solution can help them. Whether it’s increased productivity or better oversight, make it meaningful with relevant, fact-based and accurate information.
Technology has made it possible for many businesses to keep moving and connect people despite distances. Include offers in your emails to set up a video conference with involved decision-makers, or host live webinars to engage and nurture prospects through the sales funnel. You may not be able to offer in-person meetings to answer buyers’ questions, but you can still be personal.
Continue to engage current customers or subscribers with relevant, useful content. Whether it’s an email newsletter or link to a blog post, connect with your audience and stay visible. It will ease their concerns and keep a sense of normalcy, even if it’s a new normal.
There are sure to be changes as well as new opportunities. Someone that previously had no need for your solution may find themselves looking for what you have to offer. Customer acquisition campaigns -- which focus on engaging new contacts -- can drive business growth even in these uncertain times. In my experience, the most effective campaigns leverage multiple sources of data, ideally internal marketing data combined with acquisition data from a reputable third-party provider. The combination provides a greater opportunity to expand your marketing reach beyond prospects you’ve already engaged with while enabling you to segment and evaluate the audiences that best characterize your target market.
Lastly, as we’ve learned in recent weeks, sometimes things get turned upside down. Are your emails being delivered? How are recipients responding? Consider it an opportunity to flex your marketing muscles. Perhaps you’ve always sent your emails on a certain day and time but now your metrics are plummeting. Switch it up -- your recipients may have a vastly different routine now.
It may not be business as usual, but there are ways to acquire new business even during this uncertainty. From my experience in other disruptive times, adaptability will be key. You may have to pivot, but you can still move forward.
Stay tuned because next week we’ll cover this same topic from a different perspective.
Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate email data can enable you to achieve better email marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Take a look at our case studies to find out more.
At OMI, we believe good things happen when you share your knowledge. That's why we're proud to educate marketers at every level - in every size and type of organization - about the basics of email marketing and the contact data that powers it.