Expert advice for email marketers 'in these uncertain times'
In our latest series of webinars we have invited email marketers to ask us anything. There have been a variety of questions from experienced marketers on topics including deliverability, subject line optimisation, data management and the additional challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. (If you missed our last webinar you can watch the recording.)
But it is that last subject area that is the kicker - how do we face additional challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic?... So that got me thinking, what would the number one piece of advice our industry experts would give "in these uncertain times"..... So I asked them... and this is what they said....
Adapt and evolve
Jordie Van Rijn - eMailMonday
"I am amazed by those who turned their business around and adapted quickly. Moving it online, reinventing their email marketing, or starting a different business altogether.
My advice would be to keep kicking ass and retool your business from time to time (even if there is no urgent reason). It is strategic thinking. Lay out the channels for marketing, service, community and sales – which are underused? What worked this half year? For instance, more events will be held online, now that we had a taste – so you need to step up your webinar promotion game and follow up on those attendees."
Keep in contact
Tim Watson - Zettasphere
"Keep sending email!
Whether your market has collapsed and nobody wants to buy what you offer, or your audience needs have shifted, there is always a good reason to engage your audience – as these examples show. Now more than ever is a time to be helpful and keep in contact. You may not get business today but you will tomorrow."
It's not just an email address
Kath Pay - Holistic Email Marketing
"How companies have stepped out of their shoes and into their customers' shoes. I believe this has been a great experience for marketers because it really has brought home the fact that as a brand, you are marketing to humans and not just an email address. Humanity and empathy is now part of many brands’ marketing approach, and I hope it stays that way even after Covid-19 has passed."
Read more in Kath's transition to helpful marketing
Offer a helping hand, rather than a brand promise
Jenna Tiffany - Let's Talk Strategy
"Avoid using this time as an opportunity for brand messaging. Always keep the wider human context in mind. Send useful communications to your customers and subscribers. Consider the main queries you’re currently receiving. Can you help answer these queries and reassure customers through email? What are your customers' biggest concerns? How can your organisation help?"
Read more about ethical email marketing
Stay two steps ahead
Dan Hare - e-shot
"Use email to keep customers and prospects informed and think ahead. Work on content today that your competitors won't have thought of yet. This will help you to achieve standout in an even more crowded inbox than usual. In thinking ahead, think about what your audience are going to NEED and deliver pragmatic advice that helps them to plan. If your business is already helping customers to plan ahead, highlight that effort. You also need to convey this succinctly in subject lines that stand out. Examples:
How [namedrop] are preparing for post-lockdown
5 things you will need for [customer challenge]
How [customer industry/need] will change forever
Most importantly, talk about them (the customer) rather than about your own business."
Encourage loyalty during COVID-19 and beyond
Kate Barrett - eFocus Marketing
"Adapt or die. There are many, many blogs out there telling you how to speak to people in a time of crisis, to be more human as a brand, to understand your customer – and that’s absolutely right, we need to consider our actions in the short and long term and always keep one eye on how we can help to drive loyalty.
In the new world post COVID-19, people will have had a taste of breaking out of their normal routines so this is even more important to get right as part of your overall strategy.
We have to do everything we can right now to keep customers loyal to our brand, and to make sure they come back again once the crisis is over."
Stay front of mind
Victoria Hilditch - Marketscan
"Staying front of mind is key when continuing to nurture leads. At this time, brand awareness and lead generation have never been so important. Use this time to review your strategy – quick thinking and a business that is fluid will help to ensure success. Key is getting the right information, to the right people, at the right time. The lockdown has freed up many people’s time to spend on areas that they were too busy to previously focus on.
As part of a strategy review, understanding what your best customers look like is fundamental before searching for a new list of contacts."
Know your audience
Jamie McCandlish - e-shot
"Make sure that you have a measurable objective in every campaign by including a strong Call To Action in your email designs. Even content led campaigns like newsletters should have a purpose and a way to measure your success. By giving your audience a way to interact with the email you gain valuable insight on what they want or where they are in the sales cycle.
Segment your audiences based on activity and identify the content that is really hitting home. If you see a pattern emerge with what your customers engage with then make this a priority with your prospecting campaigns. Best of all, by giving people the ability to interact with your campaigns, you also improve the chance that your campaigns won't end up in the spam folder."
It is so interesting that all of the key pieces of advice boil down to two key areas - focus and flexibility. It is almost a back to basics, marketing 101. Focus on your customer - really put yourself in their shoes - understand the challenges that they are facing in this moment (and will face moving forward) and help them achieve their goals.
And this famous quote, which is often wrongly attributed to Darwin, has never been more pertinent.
"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change."
If you have an email marketing question that you would like to pose our experts our next live Q&A session then save your seat now - alternatively if you can't wait that long, submit your question and we will come back to you as soon as we can.
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