The world as we knew it has changed.

Yes, all because of Covid-19 – the plague that has swept over the world.

And businesses are also feeling the brunt of the pandemic.

Speaking of businesses, how are they faring as the world goes into a lockdown?

A Snapshot Look at Covid-19 – From a Marketer’s Perspective

For businesses, particularly SMEs, navigating the treacherous waters of Covid-19’s impact is tricky. A look at the chart below will give you a picture of how Covid-19 has affected website traffic:

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Impact of COVID-19 on Traffic

Source

With many businesses relying heavily on online traffic to successfully attain their goals, a decline in traffic is worrisome. Unfortunately, most industries are experiencing a 20% decline in traffic on average. Sectors like travel are the hardest hit with traffic plummeting by as much as 50%.

The impact on traffic to e-commerce sites is mixed – it all depends on what the sites are selling.

It’s not all doom and gloom though as a number of sectors are still enjoying an increase in traffic in these dark times. These are sectors such as:

  • Media – 33%
  • Finance – 29%
  • Food – 21%

With website traffic taking a hit, many businesses are in panic mode. And that’s understandable. However, there’s no need for panic, neither do you need to stop marketing. You just have to adapt your marketing strategy to suit the times.

One marketing strategy that you can bank on in these times of uncertainty is one that has been around the longest – email.

Email Marketing in Times of Crisis – To Scale Down or Ramp Up

One of the biggest questions businesses are asking is whether to continue marketing or not. If you’re wondering about that, our advice is to keep marketing. One reason for that is you need to keep in touch with your customers.

But the question still begs to be asked – should you scale down or ramp up your email marketing efforts.

In a nutshell, it all depends on the sector you’re in. However, whether your traffic (online or offline) is tanking or shooting up, you still need to re-strategize – no matter which industry you’re in. This is the perfect time to sit down with your email marketing strategist and chart a new course for your campaigns.

4 Reasons Email is the Best Marketing Channel in Times of Crisis

Every business, no matter the vertical, needs to pay more attention to their email marketing campaigns at this time more than ever.

And if you’re wondering why email is the best marketing channel in times of crisis, let’s me give you 4 good reasons.

1. Email Gives You Direct Access to Your Customers

Of all the marketing channels available to you, email is the only one that gives you direct access to your customers. That’s because a person’s inbox is the equivalent of their home – access is only granted to people they trust. This means when you send emails to your customers, their more likely to see them than they would your social media posts (or other messages delivered via other channels).

2. Consumers Trust Information in Emails More than Other Channels

Another reason you need to put email on the frontlines of communication in times of crisis is that people tend to trust email more than they trust pother channels. Let’s face it, social media has so much information it’s difficult to separate fake news from that which is genuine. That’s why you need to communicate with your subscriber base during times of crisis.

3. Provides a Relief from Social Media Fatigue

While social media is a great place to get news in real-time, it has one disadvantage – social media fatigue. In other words, after watching events unfolding or scrolling through your feed for some time, the brain will need something refreshing.

And this is where your email will come in handy.

One thing people do when they tire of scrolling through their social media accounts is to check their email. This is why you need to make sure to provide your customers with valuable content – even in times of crisis.

4. Likelihood of Engagement Increases

One of the ramifications of Covid-19 is the swift shift to remote working. Taken as a measure to promote social distancing, remote working has almost become the norm. While others have been, sadly, laid off or been placed on indefinite leave, the result is that more people are online now than at any other time in history. That, of course, means your engagement rates are likely to increase.

Email Marketing in the Midst of Covid-19 – 5 Factors to Consider

Now that you know it’s ok, no, a great idea to continue with your email marketing campaigns during the Covid-19 pandemic, let’s quickly look at a few things you need to consider as you do so.

1. Don’t Take Advantage of the Crisis

First and foremost, now is not the time to take advantage of your customers. It’s not the time to be greedy or take advantage of people’s vulnerabilities. Doing so will make you the bad guy, Covid-19’s minion if you will.

2. Communicate with Empathy

Communicating with your customers in trying times needs to be done carefully. You must empathize with them – and your emails need to convey that empathy.

communicate-with-empathy

A couple of ways you can pull this off include:

  • Acknowledging the situation
  • Letting your customers know what you’re doing to help
  • If applicable, suggest products that can help in the crisis

People need a lot of reassurance in challenging times, even from their favorite brands. Meet that need and you’re bound to convert your customers into brand ambassadors.

3. Improve Consumer Confidence – With Email

If there’s one thing that has taken a hit in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, it’s consumer confidence. Use your emails to improve consumer confidence by:

  • Using positive language
  • Giving regular updates (of the situation and your products)
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Improve Consumer Confidence – By Using Positive Approach

If there’s one thing your customers may appreciate in these trying times is a distraction from all that is going on. While they may not necessarily click on your offer, the fact that they engage with your emails will pay off after this all blows over.

4. The Economy May Slow Down – But You Shouldn’t

It’s a fact you can’t escape – the Covid-19 pandemic (and other global crisis) impact the global economy in a huge way. Businesses, like in this instance, grind to a halt.

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Proactive Approach Towards Situation

However, the fact that the economy has slowed down doesn’t mean you should pack up and close shop. Instead, take this as an opportunity to work on aspects of your business that will help you survive the crisis and thrive afterwards. These are aspects such as:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Creating valuable content to foster continued engagement
  • Growing your email list
  • Building stronger relationships with customers
  • Driving traffic to old but relevant blog posts using email

One advantage of marketing in an economic downturn is the fact that most brands are doubling down and cutting marketing spend. As a result, you have less competition than normal. So, even though the economy is slowing down, it’s no reason for you to slow down your marketing efforts.

5. Think (and Plan) Long-term

It’s easy to lose focus when the world is fighting a global pandemic. In a state of panic, individuals and businesses alike, tend to look at what is happening around and fail to think for the future. Terrible as Covid-19 maybe, this is not the end of the world.  The world will continue after Covid-19, and it’s only businesses with visionary marketers that will come out of it and command a big market share.

Email Marketing Best Practices in Times of Crisis

It goes without saying, the way you market in times of crises is different from the way you’d market at any other time. That’s why as an email marketer, you need to consider some email marketing best practices to follow in times of crisis. Here are a few:

Honesty is the Best Policy

Everyone appreciates honesty at all times. In times of crisis, it becomes even more valuable. Communicate with your customers and let them know:

  • Your limitations and capabilities
  • Know when a product is out of stock (and when you hope to have it)

 

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Honest Response To the Client

Source

Don’t worry about losing customers during this time. With everything from production chains to supply chains crawling, people will understand if you take longer to fulfil orders.

Segmentation – Couldn’t Be More Important

Segmentation is the foundation of successful email marketing campaigns. In times of crisis, ultra segmenting your list is a great way to communicate with your customers at a more intimate level. This will help inspire confidence and increase engagement.

Refresh Your Campaigns

If there’s one thing subscribers love (as observed by open rates) it’s new campaigns. Refreshing your campaigns is essential in such trying times as a number of factors your current campaign was based on have changed. These are factors such as people’s:

  • Moods
  • Expectations
  • Spending patterns

Adapt your email campaigns to accommodate these.

Know Your Audience – And Put Them First

It’s during crisis times that you really need to know your audience. Use every single piece of data you can gather on your customers and use it to understand any shifts in their interests and concerns. This will help you:

  • Craft the right message
  • Avoid words that trigger negative emotions
  • Tailor content and promotions that are hyper-relevant

Campaigns that are run in times of crisis should be done so with careful consideration of your audience’s feelings – be sensitive.

Lock Down Got You Down? Here’s How Email Marketers can Be Effective Even Working from Home

While we’ve spent most of the post discussing how to handle your business on the client front, this pot would be incomplete without touching on a critical aspect of the new norm of working -remote work.

With mandatory lockdown being enforced in many parts of the world, remote work has become unavoidable. Here are a few tips and ideas to help you out:

Build a Remote Team – The Right Way

While working remotely is a temporary solution, you still need to ensure that you build your remote team correctly. To do that:

  • Prioritize communication. Whether you choose to meet on Zoom, Slack, or any other platform, ensure you establish a robust communication system. Also, ensure to foster meaningful connections that will help your team feel truly connected.
  • Invest in collaboration tools. Technology has made it possible for teams to collaborate in real-time on projects. With tools such as Asana, Monday, Trello, and many others in your stack, it will be work as usual for your remote team.
  • Design a system for measuring results. Working from an office has the advantage of direct supervision, therefore it’s easy for employees to produce the desired results. With remote work, that can be a challenge. You’ll have to design a system that will help you measure important metrics and milestones realistically.

Building an effective remote team can be a challenge. However, if you consider these (and other factors unique to your business model), you’ll soon have your team up and running in no time.

Culture Still Matters – Foster It

Culture plays an important role in the success of any business. And even though your team has shifted to remote work, it should be fostered. Use your online meetings to encourage teammates to keep up company culture. Other ways to foster company culture in remote teams include:

  • Regular communication
  • Have virtual meetups/ build community
  • Include personal development programs for your employees in your calendar

Developing and fostering your brand’s culture is a great way to keep employees motivated and productive as they work away from the office.

Productivity – How to Ensure You Meet Your Deadlines

One of the greatest fears team managers have when it comes to remote work is maintaining the productivity standards they’re used to. However, there’s no need for productivity levels to take a dip simply because your workforce is now working from home. Here’s how you can ensure your team remains productive during a lockdown, isolation, or any other situation that has led to remote working:

  • Establish daily check-ins
  • Set up efficient collaboration systems
  • Set expectations
  • Supervise your teams

A well-designed remote working structure can actually help you get better results from your team. So instead of dreading it, embrace it. Who knows, you may just love remote working so much that you’ll embrace it for good.

Email Marketing in Times of Crisis – Now’s Not the Time to Throw in the Towel

While the world is reeling from the impact of Covid-19’s impact, we need to remember that life must go on. And as an email marketer, you play a critical role in connecting people to their favorite brands as they’re stuck in their homes. So, now’s not definitely the time to throw in the towel. Simply revise your strategy and continue giving your audience valuable content.

No marketing platform drives as much ROI as email. With ROIs as high as $42 for every $1 spent, every marketer should be using it.

Besides commanding insane ROIs, the email also has a unique advantage over other marketing platforms – versatility. Whatever business goal you have, be sure email can play a role in its fulfilment. From building strong relationships with your customers to new product announcements, email plays a central role in your success.

But for email marketing to give you the mouth-watering ROIs others boast of, there’s one crucial element you need to master – email list management.

This article will discuss the importance of email list management and some of the best methods for doing it.

Defining Your Email Marketing Strategy

Before you embark on an email marketing campaign, it’s crucial that you always define your strategy at the outset. This involves identifying your objectives and your path to achieving them. It is from this strategy that you can then consider how to segment your email lists. Segmenting your list is a critical component of email list management that helps your campaign become targeted and thus more effective. This is because segmentation helps you send personalized emails. And yes, that is important as research shows that personalized emails enjoy 26% higher open rates than those that lack personalization.

To pull off a highly effective email marketing strategy, therefore, you need to identify and process relevant data. This is data that helps you target the right people with the right message. You should factor in everything you have learned from previous marketing campaigns while developing your strategy.

What is Email List Management?

In its simplest form, email list management is the practice of organizing and managing your email list into relevant segments and lists. It involves (among other things):

  • Segmenting your list
  • Identifying inactive subscribers
  • Re-activating dormant subscribers

If you have experienced high opt-out rates, this also suggests that your email marketing should be more targeted. People are more likely to opt-out if they do not feel the information that they are receiving is relevant or useful to them. The more you work to understand your customers, the more effective your marketing to them will be.

And that is why it’s important that you understand email list management and follow email list management best practices.

Benefits of Email List Management

Managing your email lists comes with many benefits. The main benefit being that it allows you to target your messaging more effectively. As a result, your customers will find your information relevant, thereby leading to a pleasant and more effective customer journey. Targeted messaging also leads to higher levels of personalization, which results in your customers feeling more connected to your business. Customers are much less likely to opt-out of your communications if those communications are providing them with useful information.

One of the best examples of sending targeted messages is one that is employed in e-commerce – the cart abandonment email. When a customer loads an item into their cart but don’t go through with the purchase, an email is sent out to the individual to remind them of the abandoned cart. This is a great way of providing relevant communication and encouraging customers to complete a purchase.

Another great example of targeted messaging is the recommended products email. This is an email sent to recommend similar products to the ones a customer viewed or bought. It can also be used to encourage customers to purchase items that complement those they have already purchased. For example, if a Home Depot customer purchases a set of drawers, the company may send an email about matching furniture items. This is a good way of maintaining a customer’s engagement and building brand loyalty. These kinds of personalised communications are only possible with good email list management.

If you put in the time and effort to develop an advanced email management system, you can efficiently arrange these kinds of communications. Customers will feel more valued if they receive emails targeted to them specifically rather than generic ones. If customers receive regular, generic emails, they are much more likely to lose interest or become irritated. This will increase your opt outs. Customers receiving engaging, targeted communications are far more likely to remain on your lists and engage with your company.

List Segmentation – The Pillar of Email List Management

Email list segmentation is one of the core elements of email list management. This is because list segmentation allows you to keep your entire list organized. Essentially, it helps you streamline your email marketing campaigns, thereby helping you to achieve your marketing objectives. Need proof? According to a study conducted by Mailchimp, segmented email campaigns have a 14.31% higher open rate than non-segmented ones. And more importantly, they command a whopping +100% higher click rate.

There are several methods you can use to effectively segment your list. In most cases, a combination of these methods will be more effective. You can also test different forms of segmentation from one campaign to the next. This will help you identify the most effective forms of segmentation for your marketing purposes.

Below are some of the different methods you can consider using to segment your email list, making for highly effective email marketing campaigns.

Customer Behaviour

Segmenting your customers based on their behaviour is one of the most effective methods of managing your email lists. You can gather information on your customers’ purchasing history, the amount they have spent, and their engagement with your marketing communications. Engagement with previous emails can also be useful data to use as it will help you to place them on the right email list.

You can identify if they have responded to previous types of products or particular deals in the past.

Apart from engagement with your emails and products, another great way to segment your list is by observing how they engage with your website.

  • What pages do they frequent?
  • Which links have they clicked?
  • Which channels bring them to your website?

All these pieces of data can give you a good picture of who your customer is and what they are looking for. As a result, you can easily place them on a relevant list.

Position in Sales Funnel

Identifying where your customers are in the “sales funnel” will help you to market to them effectively. By segmenting your list according to your customers’ position in the sales funnel enables you to tailor messages that specifically address them according to where they are in the customer journey. This will make it easier for them to convert into a paying customer or move further along the funnel.

Source of Sign Up

Some companies segment lists based on where customers have visited their website from. It is possible to track where visitors have accessed your website. For example, you can see if they have visited from a social media advertisement or from an affiliated website. This can give you useful information on their online behaviour and an insight into their interests and preferences.

Surveys

Surveys are a great way to get information about your customers. And you can use this data to know how to segment your list. This is because surveys can help you identify what specific customers want from your business. While not everyone may respond to your surveys, the ones who do will give you a wealth of data that can be used to manage your email list more effectively.

Geography

Knowing where your customers are physically located can help you have a good email list segmentation strategy. For example, if you have customers in different time zones, segmenting them according to geographical location will help you increase the chances of your emails being seen and opened. This is because you will be able to send your emails when your recipients are awake as opposed to sending them at a time when they’ll be asleep.

Geographical location can also help you market products that are relevant according to:

  • Season
  • Terrain
  • Culture

For example, Adidas market different kinds of products depending on geography. They will promote heavy outdoor wear in locations where the weather is colder at the time. In areas where the weather is warmer, they promote lighter wear.

Brands can also promote different products based on regional preferences. You can track which products do well in which regions and promote them accordingly.

Age and Gender

Some of the most common methods of segmentation are also among the simplest. Two such are age and gender. These demographics can help you ensure that you not only market the right products to certain demographics, but also helps ensure you craft the right message. To pull this off, you’ll either have to gather this data on sign up or through a survey. Knowing a customer’s age and gender can also help you understand their interests and preferences.

Email List Cleaning – The Necessary Evil of Email List Management

Another aspect of email list management that you need to take seriously is list cleaning. Sure, having a huge email list is great for bragging rights, but keeping inactive subscribers will cost you as you will experience high bounce rates and low open rates. This is dangerous as it can adversely affect your sender reputation. In essence, list cleaning will help you to run an efficient, targeted campaign.

Apart from segmenting your email lists, you should thoroughly clean them. Yes, as much as you may want to have an email list that is bursting at the seams, email list management best practices demand that you clean your list regularly.

Email list cleaning involves (among other things) identifying and removing:

  • Duplicate email addresses
  • Inactive subscribers
  • Defunct email addresses

Removing these kinds of subscribers is important as it helps ensure that you to avoid spam complaints and reduce your bounce rates. It will also help to maintain the efficiency of your marketing strategy.

How to Deal with Inactive Subscribers

An inactive subscriber is one that has not engaged with your emails for:

  • A certain period
  • A number of emails

For this type of subscribers, you have two options. First, you should try to re-engage them with targeted emails and incentives such as discounts or deals. Some will respond to your re-engagement campaign while others won’t. For those who don’t respond to your re-engagement campaign, you can take the second route – removing them from your list.

Defining Objectives for Each Segment – The Key to a Wildly Successful Email Campaign

When segmenting your email lists, it is important to consider your objectives or desired outcome of your marketing campaign – particularly for each segment. The strategy for each section should also fit in with your overall marketing strategy. You should consider the type of customer in each segment and what they need from your company. Some common objectives you can set for your segments can include (but are not limited to):

  • Inform
  • Engage
  • Drive sales
  • Onboard new customers
  • Re-engaging inactive subscribers
  • Scheduling a demo

Defining your objectives will help you create an effective email marketing strategy and craft a message that will inspire the right response.

Using Data for Future Campaigns

Every time you send a marketing email, you can use it to gather the information you can use to fine-tune future emails. You can learn a lot of very useful information that you can then use to improve future marketing communications. If you carry out effective segmentation for one campaign, you will gather more information that you can use to segment future lists even more successfully. If you get disappointing returns from one campaign, you can still use the data to build a better campaign.

This is why email list management is crucial to the success of your email marketing campaigns.

Email List Management – The Lifeblood of Every Marketing Campaign

A healthy email list is essential to achieving your business goals and increasing your ROI. Therefore, never, under any circumstances, send run an email marketing campaign on a stale list. Proper management of your email list will ensure that your business enjoys a healthy growth and an increased bottom line.

So, go ahead and start implementing email list management best practices.

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