The year of 2020 has brought many new challenges for businesses and uncharted territory as it pertains to virtual events. Word of the year for businesses has been "adapt". This year it has been essential to use innovative thinking to keep events scene alive. There are pros and cons to hosting an event virtually. Businesses are now faced with questions surrounding the logistics & promotional piece of successful virtual events.
Today I sat down with our Events Marketing Coordinator, Carlie Caliguri, to discuss the state of events during 2020 and how our teams have acclimated. Carlie has helped revise and run very important events for The Post and Courier including Inside Business LIVE, Pints & Politics, and our newest Kids Club series. Join us in our discussion below:
Let's start unpacking this question. Before the Covid-19 pandemic began, many marketers suspected that email marketing would be “dead” within a matter of a few years. However, recent trends suggest just the opposite. HubSpot research shows that 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months. In fact, the latest research from Litmus found that for every $1 spent on email marketing, the ROI is $42.
So, what helpful statistics can help your business navigate email marketing practices to increase your email performance, and thus your company’s ROI?
Since April 1, 2020, marketing email open rates have been climbing.
Additionally, companies are utilizing email marketing at a higher rate than before. These two metrics have increased in tandem. Here are some useful insights related to open rates:
Mobile opens accounted for 46% of all email opens (Litmus.com)
Additional best practices to increase your open rates involve your subject line.
Before your customer can even read the beautiful and helpful email you’ve created, they need to feel inclined to open. Your subject line needs to grab the attention of your audience within just a few words.
The best part about subject lines is that they can be A/B tested. It never hurts to switch up your language, be mindful of your audience, and test different methods to see what your audience reacts to.
Keep it short. Recipients are often mobile users. Keep your subject no more than 9 words / 60 characters. (Mailchimp.com)
Personalization is key. Use tags to personalize your subject lines with each recipient’s name, company name, or location. Personalization is known to increase open rates for most users. (Mailchimp.com)
Try using emojis. 56% of brands using an emoji in their email had a higher open rate than those that did not (HubSpot.com). Try to limit your emoji use to one, and use them to supplement words rather than replace them to make sure your message is clear. (mailchimp.com)
Implement email segmentation.
Marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue. (HubSpot.com).
What is segmentation? According to Campaign Monitor, segmentation is the division of an email list into smaller segments based on set criteria. Segmentation is a tactic used to ensure relevancy to your audience based on location, interests, purchase history, client activity, and more.
Additionally, measure & analyze your list performance.
Your bounce rate is a direct measure of your contact database and how enriched your data is. A high bounce rate would suggest that your contacts are recently active, or perhaps just aren’t updated.
A high unsubscribe rate speaks to your list and the relevancy of your email to your customer. If you’re just beginning an email campaign strategy and your clients aren’t used to receiving emails from you, make your purpose and value of the email clear to your audience. Continue to segment your lists based on the list performance results and nurture the clients who want to be included in the information you have to share.
Create honest, helpful content. This includes educational or resourceful content.
This is more important during this “new normal” as we’ve adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are a part of an industry that has been slow to adapt to digital marketing, this presents a large window of opportunity.
Conductor.com reports that according to their new research, consumers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand immediately after they read a piece of educational content.
HubSpot Marketing Manager Henni Roini echoes this sentiment, “Only the companies and brands that create human connection are going to succeed. This is extremely true with email. You might get short term benefits from very promotional content, but honest, human, and personalized content creates a following for the long term.”
In our previous blog discussing client Relationship Management, we elaborate on how to use empathy as a tool. Your goal is to design a communication strategy that leads with empathy from an honest place.
Stay consistent and measure your success.
If you don’t have one already, implement a review process to check for broken links, grammar mistakes, etc. Make sure that you have an approval process that works efficiently. Stay consistent with send dates and times to build trust with your audience.
Analyze email performance across all marketing channels.
Did your team write a blog that resonated well with your audience? Perhaps you decide to extend the reach of this article by supporting it with a social media paid campaign. Assess your click through rates - perhaps the topic isn’t as relevant to your customers as you originally thought, or the segmentation wasn’t in the right direction.
The beauty of marketing is the ability to create, test, and analyze to improve your results going forward. Measure results and evolve your strategies.
Relationship Management: How to Keep Leads Warm Without Selling
As businesses begin to re-open, it is more important than ever to prioritize relationship management and be mindful of how each business approaches potential buyers. Your business’s ability to adapt to an empathetic marketing strategy will have an impact on customer conversions.
Trends suggest that how a business communicates with clients during a time of crisis will directly impact the brand’s reputation for the foreseeable future. The goal is to design a communication strategy that leads with empathy from an honest place.
Using empathy as a tool and not a recovery plan
Understanding your client’s perspective is essential to your success. By listening to your customers needs, you can better provide them with whatever services or products could help them. You want to be their problem solver for the immediate, and need to present longer-term the value in your proposal.
By now, you should have your post-pandemic marketing strategy in place. However, there’s a high possibility that clients may still be uncomfortable with spending. Although sales are down for a majority of businesses, web traffic has increased significantly since March. Marketing Gong's Head of Content, Devin Reed believes customers aren’t making purchases, but they’re gathering information about who/how they want to spend when the time comes.
Positive and creative communication
HubSpot Marketing trends reveal email open rates are increasing and holding steady, but sales are down. Now what? Nurture these leads with a kind voice & helping hand so that when they reach financial recovery (individuals or businesses), they choose to purchase with you. Listen to your clients’ needs and only beneficial information. Deliver value first.
Remove words from your messaging that carry a negative connotation. However, don’t ignore the elephant in the room. Try new + creative email campaigns geared towards providing your clients with helpful resources. Response rates are 25-50% lower and sales open rates have tanked. The idea is to pull, NOT push your clients to you. Lead with relatable and positive messaging and don’t be afraid to add a little (tasteful) humor.
Utilize some of our Post and Courier Marketing Blogs and incorporate them as selling tools. We’ve written dozens of articles in an effort to help small businesses with tons of useful information pertaining to crisis marketing + other free tools we’ve created to help local businesses at this time.
During these uncharted times, it is essential that we do what we can to help our community and local businesses; therefore, we’ve created these free coronavirus guides. We are working hard behind the scenes to keep our readers informed and to provide our community with updates to support our state and its businesses as we navigate this unprecedented time together.
In order to better support the resilient and creative businesses during this unprecedented time, The Post and Courier is offering a free way for businesses to connect with their customers. This guide provides a place for businesses to share how to continue to shop and offer support. With options to provide updated hours, location, current deals, or send a kind message to the community, we're here to help! SUBMIT YOUR BUSINESS HERE
Looking for some take-out or delivery options for Charleston-area restaurants? We are gathering and providing an active list of local food & beverage businesses that are open and providing take-out + delivery options. We’re here to help you support our local restaurant industry! SUBMIT YOUR RESTAURANT HERE
With daily coronavirus updates, coverage map of the virus, and useful resources like No Intermission, The Post and Courier has you covered. Our goal is to provide our readers with the latest news, community updates, and resources in an effort to support our state and its businesses. At this time, we are offering this COVID-19 News for free without a subscription as a public service. READ MORE NEWS HERE
The coronavirus outbreak has changed the marketing landscape for businesses. As a result, The Post and Courier wants to provide useful marketing resources for our clients. In early April we hosted a webinar with renowned marketing experts to discuss how to manage your marketing in a time of crisis. Miss the webinar? Don’t worry, The Post and Courier has you covered. ACCESS FREE WEBINAR VIDEO + PRESENTATION HERE!
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, financial strain on some industries and the community is becoming increasingly heavy. The Post and Courier wants to help. We are offering a free way to share your cause and spread the word. View our Charity Guide to contribute + submit your local fundraising opportunities for those in need. SHARE YOUR FUNDRAISER HERE
The Power of Positive Thinking During the Coronavirus
How to market your business without seeming insensitive
When tragedy and chaos strike on a global level, it is more important than ever to practice positive thinking - not only in your personal life, but also regarding your business. History shows that during times of recession, it is not beneficial to decrease your advertising efforts. Now what? How do you shift marketing and advertising strategies to stay relevant during a crisis?
Before we unpack this crisis marketing strategy, we must begin viewing the current market as a cup half-full, despite the underlying situation. We acknowledge that we are experiencing a health crisis like no other. However, the US economy was healthy and strong prior to this outbreak, and it will return when social distancing concludes. Is important to stay relevant and prepare your return strategy.
Data shows that people consume more media during a crisis.
At The Post and Courier, traffic analytics including visitors + session length have tripled. As some businesses unfortunately are forced or decide to cut advertising and/or marketing spending, opportunity is present for surviving businesses to get in front of a large audience, with less competing ads.
Crisis is not a time to decrease communication.
Alternatively, companies should actually be communicating more with customers. However, instead of an advertising approach, the conversation should transition into positive communication.
Keep the goal of your communication in-line with the company's new marketing goals. Stay relevant with clients without seeming “pushy” or “sales-y” by being a helpful resource during this time. Whether this is a small-scale effort by emailing helpful articles (like this one) you've found over coffee in the morning to clients, or building a resource online with free & useful business information for consumers to visit like our Charleston-area Takeout & Delivery Guide. Share your knowledge about a topic as a free resource via a virtual platform, like this Crisis Marketing Webinar.
The tone of communication should be empathetic, with a message that conveys a sense of togetherness.
The goal is to position the company to be useful during this unprecedented time. Retaining current customers is key - their support will be needed throughout! This is also a great time to offer a hand to the community and clients, and gain new customers along the way through your thoughtful crisis message.
Credit Karma founder Ken Lin recently shared the importance of choosing your customers when faced with doing the right thing for your customers vs increasing your bottom line.
From a marketing perspective, now is the time to get creative.
Remember: What a person decides to spend their money on should never be assumed. What should shift in the business's strategy is how to innovate existing + future marketing efforts to adapt to the current situation. Take a look at your current campaigns from the perspective of the new normal. Is this messaging still relevant?
Brainstorm and implement creative promotional campaigns and strategize going forward based on your results.
Don’t be afraid to use some tasteful humor to relate - it is okay! Creative and relatable advertising takes businesses to a new level during times of crisis and recession. It is more important now in 2020 than ever before to be relatable with your approach.
Unsure of how to do this in a helpful way? Your company could decide to launch a fun contest and in turn gain followers and capture email leads. Or, capture email addresses of customers who’d like to be communicated with regarding company updates, new hours, promotions, re-open information, etc. Include business information in FREE resources like The Post and Courier Business Guide. Submit your business listing for our COVID-19 Business Guide for free here.
If business is currently closed or experiencing a decrease in sales, utilize this downtime to prepare a strategy for when social distancing ends. That marketing or rebranding initiative you’ve always wanted to start but haven’t? Now is the time to. Have an innovative business idea? Work hard and don’t be afraid to implement it. Many successful startup companies began amidst the 2008 recession including companies like Slack, whose innovation has landed them financial success again during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether your company is temporarily closed or ramping up advertising efforts, we are here for you. Continue to communicate and engage with your customers using empathy first. Shift your strategy to, “how can I be useful to my clients?” Keep in mind that your customers are generally stressed and will remember how your messaging made them feel during this crisis. Lend a helping hand, and prepare for the return. We will make it through this together.