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Q&A: B2B Email Marketing During COVID-19

Never a Better Time To Leverage Email Newsletters and Email Blasts

Whether you and your staff are working from home or you’re taking extra steps to keep your work environment clean and to social distance your employees of your essential business during the COVID-19 situation – you more than likely have a lot of questions about how you should be communicating with your customers or clients. A lot of business owners feel that people don’t want to be marketed too right now and that it’s not an appropriate time to sell. If you feel that way… you’re kind of right but also kind of wrong.

Now is the time to step back from selling strategies and product promotion, but you can’t disappear. That’s why you have to figure out how your customer’s lives have changed and how you can help them right now. You want them to know that you’re here for them during these hard times and that you’ll still be around after the we can all go back to normal.

Signalfire’s Project Manager Bryan Giese has some insight and suggestions for how to communicate with your customers (yes…we’ll say it again: You need to keep communicating with them) based on what we’re seeing work for our clients and our favorite businesses.

I’m essential, but don’t my customers already know that?

Your customers may already know you’re essential, but do they know why, or what other services you provide that are also considered essential? Letting your customers know that you are open in these ever-changing times is crucial to success of your business. But you also need to let them know why you’re open.

If you produce widgets that you sell to specific clients, and as a service option, you provide maintenance on the machines you produce parts for, do your customers know that? Perhaps because of Safer at Home their workforce has been decreased. Letting your customers know that not only can you provide them parts, but you can also handle their upkeep right now will showcase your diversity to them and potentially garner some long-term revenue or wallet-share from that customer.

Should I keep sending email newsletters?

ABSOLUTELY! Now more than ever before, sending emails to your customers and potential customers is critical. According to a recent survey conducted by Kantar and Edelman, only 8% of those surveyed said they felt companies should “Go dark” during this current crisis. 77% of them actually EXPECTED companies to help them in navigating through their “new normal” workdays.

What about the newsletters I already have planned?

The last thing you want to do is simply take content you had produced prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and send it out without reviewing and refreshing it. Be sure that you are being sensitive to the situation and that your content reflects that.

If you have a blog post that discusses a new widget you are producing, or a new process that you were implementing prior to COVID-19 let your customers know how that process is going and how it has possibly evolved with the social distancing world we now live in.

what if i have never sent an email newsletter

What if I’ve never sent a newsletter?

There’s no better time than now! You may not have reached out to contacts through email prior to now, but with so many people working remotely now days, email is a perfect way to connect with customers to not only let them know you are open, but also let them know what the best way to get a hold of you and conduct business is.

If your office line rings to an empty office, you need to think about the person on the other end. They have a situation that needs a solution. If you aren’t answering, they will look for someone that does. Getting ahead of that phone call is particularly important.

Send an email to everyone stating that you’re indeed open, you’re essential, and here is how you can reach us. Whether that is through an office phone that rings to your home, your direct line, your cell phone; whatever the best way is, LET YOUR CUSTOMERS KNOW ASAP!

should i tell customers i've made changes during covid-19

Should I tell my customers that I’ve made changes?

Keeping your customers in the loop of what is going on, changes, status-quo, whatever the case may be, people are craving transparency right now. They want to hear the details. They want to know what they can and can’t count on right now.

If you have been forced to make changes to your business model, to your production time lines, to your shipping and delivery methods, let them know. A customer relationship is built on trust and in times of crisis there is nothing that breaks trust faster than a lack of clear communication.

Do my customers care that I can provide more services than they currently use?

They do. As I mentioned earlier, with decreased workforce and businesses not communicating properly on how to do business with them, offering your additional service options to customers can help increase wallet-share at this time.

Right now, with people working remotely, on different shifts, in different locations, generating new business can be tough. Meeting with a potential customer remotely through zoom, or some other video-based meeting platform can be a turn off for customers. Being able to work with a company that they are familiar with is much easier right now.

If you can increase the amount of revenue you gain from an existing customer, you decrease the need to seek new customers in these trying times. Be sure you are demonstrating to your customers that you can offer more than just what they typically use your business for.

What type of content should I be sending right now?

The number one thing businesses can share with their customers right now is how they are handling the crisis internally. What have you done to help maintain as healthy of a work environment as you can? What are you doing to help your employees during this time? What changes have you made to ensure the safety of your employees while being able to provide customers with the high-quality products they have come to expect from you?

While you are communicating to your customers what and how you are functioning right now, you want to make sure you are not over selling your business. Now, you may be saying, “But you just said we need to tell our customers what we all offer.”

That is true, and I do suggest you market to your customers the services you offer, but make sure you are doing it in a way that does not say you are looking to make huge profits off this current situation. Nothing turns a customer off right now more than if they feel you are trying to take advantage of the situation or the people affected most by it.

Be clear that the services you offer are available to those that may need them. If you are a valued partner, letting them know that you are here to help however you can, is reassuring. Letting them know that you have to raise your costs because the demand is greater now, yet your supply is still plentiful, will cost you a customer faster than telling your Green Bay based customer that you are a Bears fan.

Customers will understand if your prices have to increase because of circumstances, they will not understand if they go up because you think you can make more profit right now.

No one is answering our office phones, how should I make sure our customers can get ahold of me?

Again, this goes back to letting them know right away what the best way to get a hold of you is. Don’t wait for a customer to call an unanswered phone line. Reach out to your customers, past, present and future, and let them know that you are working remotely; here is the best number to call me at; here is my email address; here is the number of the sales department. Whatever your “current” office contact info is, let them know.

Additionally, be sure that your website is being updated to reflect this. People right now are on the web more than ever. They are on websites, social media, in their email, more than you can imagine. Be sure that when they accidentally erase your email and then go to your website to get ahold of you, that the information they are receiving is accurate.

How Can Signalfire Help Me With Email Marketing?

Do you have more questions for Bryan about how your business should be communicating? Do you want help getting a batch of email newsletters scheduled? Can we help you in anyway during this time of a lot of unknowns? Call us at (262) 725-4500 or email us.

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