Managing Your Marketing During COVID-19 – Right Now

manage your marketing

Written by Hadas Rahamim

Hadas is Exceed's Head of Customer Success

Marketing is never easy, but trying to close sales during a time of global crisis is even harder. COVID-19 has swept around the globe and changed everyone’s daily life, but it hasn’t stopped the world from turning. Companies may be working from home, but work hasn’t ceased, so there are still sales to be made.

You need to adjust your marketing strategies and tactics to match the new COVID-19 reality. We can’t pretend it’s going to be a piece of cake, but we are here to help you get over the hardest parts.

Adjust your expectations

The first thing to do is to change your expectations from buyers. Everyone’s priorities have changed now. Budgets might be smaller, but they could also be exactly the same size as before, just allocated differently or with different priorities which might create opportunities for growth.

Leads could be responding at different times of day (or night) if they are working from home, and they may respond to different messaging than before.

Tweak your messaging

It’s understood that you can’t use the same marketing messaging during a global pandemic that you would use when the economy is booming and everything is going smoothly. You’ll need to adapt your messaging so that you hit the right tone to connect with leads and engage their attention. 

1. Address new fears

You always looked for the lead’s pain points as part of your marketing, but those pain points have probably changed. Consider the potential buyer’s new position and concerns. Think about what anxieties they might have about buying your product when the markets are dropping and demand is low.

Perhaps they don’t want to lay out for a new tool or product right now, or they’re worried about buying something that they don’t truly need at a time when they have to justify every expenditure. You could offer free training or free resources that they’ll find helpful in response. 

Maybe their business is slowing dramatically and they’re scared that it’s going to fail. In these cases, you could emphasize the ways that your product helps shore up the foundations of their business, reduce costs, or help them adapt to the new reality.

2. Identify a potential pivot, especially if you or your client can offer community support

It’s a good time to point out ways that your product can help the lead pivot their business to improve cash flow in the near future. Help your clients identify and deploy ways to add more value to their business. What’s more – if you or your clients can give back to the community (professional community, local community – any community!) then everybody wins.

How do you do that?

This is how ScaleX.ai, a reseller of exceed.ai, helped their customer, Rexi Media, grow:

“One of our clients is an apparel manufacturer who re-tooled their operation to produce masks by the millions. We turned to exceed.ai for email and marketing automation in order to reach out to thousands of companies which were in desperate need of masks. By leveraging AI via exceed.ai, our client was able to schedule dozens of meetings and drive tens of thousands in sales.” 

Chad Burmeister, CEO of ScaleX.ai

Rexi Media pivoted their business by identifying a community need and filling it, providing support and driving cash-flow simultaneously. We at exceed.ai offered these services completely free of charge, as one of our ways of supporting businesses at these times.

3. Get personal

Personalization is always the key to success. Principal generates personalized decks which you can incorporate in your sequences to deliver personalized marketing and sales at scale. When you personalize your marketing content, it’s considerably more interesting to your customers… and they’re more likely to click through and check out your products. It also makes them feel cared for, because they’ll get the sense that you are interested in understanding their business needs. 

For example, if you’re selling video conferencing software, you might want to focus on the outstanding security features it offers when you email your cybersecurity clients, and emphasize the tool to help schedule meetings across time zones for clients who have offices in multiple parts of the country or the globe.

4. Keep it simple

Simplicity always succeeds, but that’s more true now than ever before. Stress levels are rising, people are worrying over their business and their health. They don’t have the emotional capacity to read emails they cannot skim. Ensure that your communication is action-oriented, headlined, and offers immediate value.

How do you do that?

Think about what your best customer would say about how your product is helping them at this time. Shorten it, and turn it into your email subject line. If you’re not sure which one would work better, just A/B test it and let the numbers decide. 

5. Make your prices as attractive as possible

Pricing is going to be sticky for everyone right now, so think about what you can do to make your pricing more appealing. Can you adjust it downwards at all? Would you be able to extend the trial period or offer flexible payments? Have a look at what your competitors are doing to get some more ideas. 

This is exactly what Opensense has done. The company reduced the minimum number of users you need to qualify for their dynamic email signatures. 

6. Emphasize cost-efficiency

Try to focus the conversation on cost-efficiency rather than overall price. Your message should always be customer-centric, so highlight the ways that your product will help clients to cut costs and bring new benefits. Point out the features that differentiate your product, and ways that it will make them more cost-efficient. 

Capitalize on AI to maximize sales

AI-powered sales and marketing assistance help you make your sales processes more effective, even during a pandemic. Here are some clever hacks using exceed.ai. 

1. Reach out to existing customers

Remember, retention is better than acquisition. It can cost five times more to sell to a new customer than to an existing one, so you want to maximize customer loyalty as far as possible right now. 

When was the last time your clients heard from you? Reach out to say hi, ask how their business is going, and see if there’s anything they need from you. A study found that customer loyalty increases when they have better interactions with your business, which probably confirms something you already knew intuitively. 

You might not have the capacity to craft personal emails like you did before, but exceed.ai can help. It’s valuable to share your own updates too, and any interesting offers that you have at the moment. 

2. Don’t drop any balls

Now it’s the time to review your disqualified contacts and reactivate those leads and clients into new sequences, so that you don’t forget about anyone. It’s a good time to develop entirely new email campaigns and drip marketing programs that personalize a set of Coronavirus-related messages to potential customers, existing customers, and lapsed or abandoned customers with whom you’d like to reconnect. Guide your different groups of leads to the right landing page to continue the experience and deliver consistent messaging from beginning to end. Consider adding a dedicated chat to walk them through their journey.

3. Keep all your bases covered

Now more than ever, you want to avoid having any holes in your sales representative capabilities, but due to health fears or the difficulties of having children home from school, some of your sales reps might not be available. Make sure you’re keeping it all up to date.

Rethink your offering

It’s not easy, but you might need to pivot your own business or product somewhat in order to keep it relevant during this unprecedented period. Recognize their pain points and help them adapt to and succeed in our collective “new reality”.

1. Move online

If you’re selling offline products, see what you can do to move them online, like Certified Digital Marketer did. The business moved their marketing courses from in-person to digital. They communicated the shift clearly and well, and succeeded in expanding their reach. 

2. Help your customers move online

You might find that your customers are the ones that need support as they move their business online, so provide all the assistance possible. X-CD helped their clients replace their in-person conferences and educational events with virtual ones. 

3. Create special offers

If you can’t continue to run your business normally, you’ll need to look for innovative ways to deliver value to your customers. For example, Toronto Pan Am had to close its in-person gym. Instead, it’s offering free online exercise classes to gym members as long as the gym remains closed. This helps it hold on to customers and nurture their relationship. 

Prepare to see results

The results of your marketing and sales efforts could be quite different from what you’d expect in “normal” times, so be prepared. It’s likely that you’ll get fewer replies to your emails and conversations, but those that do respond will have higher intent and be more committed to making a purchase. Overall, you could expect fewer calls, but those calls to produce more qualified leads. 

Corona hasn’t killed marketing and sales

Even though we’re going through a global pandemic, sales and marketing are still alive and kicking. You just need to take a slightly different approach from the one you’d normally use. At exceed.ai, we’re continuing to power effective sales and marketing sequences that still convert in a crisis. 

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