We’re all still at home dealing with this crisis, and it can be hard to imagine that any marketing is working right now. But it’s actually the opposite: for many companies, this is the best time to break through.
Businesses who have tailored their marketing to match client and prospect needs during this time are seeing a lot more connections, higher click-thru rates, and deeper engagement than their previous successful marketing campaigns.
For many of our clients, marketing is working even better than before. But you have to make sure you’re sending out the right messages and information to your audience. Meet them where they are at right now – and right now, that’s at home dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Taking the time to listen to your clients and prospects, learning more about where they are and what they need, and then meeting them in those places with that information, allows you to craft marketing that is more valuable and more successful. Here are some things to consider.
Pay Attention to the Message
What we’ve been seeing in our own campaigns and our own data is that marketing in a time of crisis requires even more authenticity and a deeper understanding of where your clients are at right now and what they need.
Every message that you have scheduled to go out needs to be revisited and changed in light of what’s going on in the world right now. Marketing that made sense just a month ago now sounds tone-deaf. Your audience just doesn’t want a sales pitch right now – they want valuable information they can use to make a good decision during a time of crisis.
People are going to remember the businesses and brands that provided them with that valuable information and didn’t just try to pitch them or send a canned “what we’re doing to protect you and our employees” message. Now is the time to continue to build a strong foundation for your business by providing the information your audience needs at a time when they need it the most. But it requires you to stop, listen to your audience, and then help them in the ways they need help. The usual sales pitch email just won’t cut it in today’s landscape.
“Follow the data”
It’s natural to feel a bit of panic during a crisis, but don’t let panic drive your marketing and business choices. Now is the time to be mindful. Follow the data and see where it tells you to go and what it tells you to do. Our data is showing us that when our clients change their messaging to address issues related to COVID-19 and how it is affecting their audience – and then provide good information to help their audience navigate this time – the open rates and click-thru rates rise significantly. Let me share some examples of what we’re doing with our clients right now.
One of our clients provides anti-drug and anti-violence programs to educators, who are now all at home trying to figure out how to connect with and educate their students remotely. Instead of their usual scheduled campaigns, they sent out an email of resources for educators, and then they encouraged them to share those resources with their parents and students. Their click-thru rates are 10% higher than they were in the previous months of successful email campaigns. This resource email also led to a sudden increase in traffic to the website and email signups due to sharing, with daily website visits up from an average of 250 to more than 600 all from that one campaign. They’ll continue to address the issues their audience is facing, with a new series of emails designed to help them while they’re all navigating education from home.
A firm that provides fractional VP of sales consulting switched from pitching businesses their services to a connection campaign that shares the best sales advice to make it through an economic crisis. Their connection rates on LinkedIn and email engagement have risen and new prospects are reaching out to say how much they appreciated the article and lack of pitch. They’ve signed new deals in this crisis based solely on the new connections that one campaign created.
A client who provides wealth management and retirement planning services sent out a campaign to discuss the CARES Act and explain the key parts that affect their clients’ financial planning. They doubled down on their values – to establish long term relationships with their clients and provide them with solutions that take into account the big picture. The messaging that came out of that provided incredible value to their clients during this time and it showed in their engagement and click-thru rates, with a click-thru rate that was 8.7% higher than normal.
A firm that specializes in advertising research pivoted their email campaigns to articles discussing marketing in the time of COVID-19 and specifically advising brands to continue to communicate and advertise right now. By helping their clients stay top of mind in a thoughtful way, they’re helping with future brand recognition and positive brand association – both for their clients and for themselves. They’re seeing slightly higher than normal open rates, but their click-thru rate is more than 20% higher.
What all this data is showing is that changing your messaging to provide the type of valuable information your audience needs right now is a great strategy. Take some time to analyze the data coming from your connection and email campaigns to see where you’re hitting the mark – or missing it entirely. Listen to your audience. Then use that data to drive further messaging.
Be Authentic and Helpful
Both during this crisis and on the other side of it, consumers will remember the brands that were authentic and provided compelling content that addressed their current needs.
The data shows that messaging that demonstrates empathy and helps your audience by providing them with relevant information for this time drives more engagement and keeps you top of mind. Marketing has never been more successful for many of these businesses and it’s because they took the time to analyze what their audience really needs right now and then provide it in as authentic and direct a way as possible.
Word of mouth has never been more important than it is right now. By taking the time to meet your clients and prospects where they are at today and provide them with the information and services they need, you’re not only building word of mouth, but also a strong foundation for when this crisis is over.
All the best,