There is just one thing you have to focus on during difficult times in order to retain customers. It will sound simple once I reveal it, but implementing it won’t be easy as it will go against your emotions at the moment. Fortunately, we’ll go into some specific tips and examples about how to implement it.
If you’re like most business owners, at this time you feel like you just want to retreat into a cave. Communicating with or marketing to your customers doesn’t “feel right” and besides “what are you supposed to say?”
The secret however is that this is the perfect time to communicate the most with your customers, as well as potential customers and prospects. This isn’t a time to disappear and be forgotten. If anything, at a time like this you want to over-communicate.
And do you know what the most perfect way to communicate at a time like this is? Email communication for sure. Or more specifically, if you want to be super-efficient about it, email automation, email broadcasting and email marketing.
If you feel iffy and uncertain about emailing your customers now, there is a valid reason for that
There is a correct way to do this which will increase customers’ respect and appreciation for your brand. However, there is also a very negative and damaging way to go about it. If you feel a sense of hesitation about communicating with your customers, it’s because at some level you want to avoid the latter.
So first we’ll get clear about the communication that you want to avoid. If you understand exactly which types of communication to avoid, this will give you the confidence to increase your communication levels.
This is not the time to sell
The lines between what constitutes selling and what constitutes marketing can often get blurry. So when we say that this is a great time to focus on your marketing, a lot of people think of selling. But let’s differentiate that for a moment.
Selling is the more direct promotion of an opportunity to purchase a specific product, offer or service. The focus is on the product, and most often on how to purchase it.
Marketing is more centered on the customer’s needs, wants and desires. While marketing does promote the product, it does so by representing it as a solution to the customer’s needs.
Specific examples (don’t do this, it’s tasteless and can hurt your deliverability for good)
Over the past weeks I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the newsletters in my inbox were full of valuable information, offers of help, tips, suggestions and just generally reassuring communication. The last one being the type of communication where a company reassures you about what they’re doing to meet your unique needs and challenges during a time like this.
However, I’ve also signed up to a couple of amateurs or smaller lists in a variety of niches, and I was surprised how horrible some of them act at this moment. My “favorite” was a person selling home exercise classes. He’s been selling hard during these past few weeks, but yesterday he achieved the “peak example” of what not to do.
He sent a broadcast with the subject line “COVID 19: Discount Code, 50% off”. I almost wanted to facepalm when I saw that. The first problem is obvious to most people. He seems like a greedy profiteer trying to take advantage of a bad situation.
The less obvious problem is that this is going to kill his deliverability. Unless you run a newsletter for medical professionals, don’t send emails referencing virus and disease names.
Aside from feeling and looking spammy, it also will be treated as such by inbox providers, and you might end up hurting yourself.
Pro Tip: If you want to reference the current situation, refer to its related and unique challenges, or the changes in customer needs
For example you’ll see that this article is not titled “how to retain customers during the covid 19 pandemic”. Instead we talk about retaining customers “during these difficult times”. In this way it refers to the difficulties which we are all experiencing at “these times”. This is without having to name the medical disease itself which is at the cause of the overall situation. There’s just no need for that.
Another example is our super-useful and popular article which tries to help businesses which traditionally rely on offline activities – How To Keep Business Running During Times of Social Distancing.
We don’t have to spell out that the reader might be losing a lot of business because of pandemic-related restrictions to their business. When we say “social distancing”, people know exactly what that means. And if social distancing is putting the very survival of your business at risk, you will know exactly what that means.
It might be one extra step when crafting your subject lines, but it’s going to make a lot of difference. What use is a broadcast if it just ends up in spam folders? If anything, at a time like this deliverability becomes more important than ever. And not looking spammy or opportunistic is a huge part of that.
What should you email people about?
Now that we’ve gone over what to avoid, you’re probably wondering what you can email people about. The truth is that the guidelines are the same as they have ever been for a quality email marketer.
It’s all about the basics of excellent marketing, and that includes focusing on delivering value and marketing through subtle methods like storytelling, building relationships based on trust, social proof, and good will.
The only difference is that at this time getting it right is more important than ever. In fact, the current situation will force people to focus on the basics of excellent email marketing.
In “normal times” you’re more likely to get away with low-quality content and sales-driven high-pressure low-value emails. The current situation will not let you get away with it. You simply have to focus on delivering value first.
I know you’re chomping at the bit for some specific examples and ideas, so let’s look at some recipes and ideas that you should consider. Some of these will be more applicable to your business model than others.
Make sure to read through all of them and understand the overall principle. Then consider how they can be used in your business. If you can’t think of a specific way to apply them to your business, don’t hesitate to ask us for help in figuring it out.
1) Customer reassurance and keeping the line of communication open
Depending on your business model, this might be the primary content that you have to utilize at this time. If you run a business where you have to take a complete break from offering your service, then this is especially important.
It is very important to reassure your customers that you’re still going to be there for them once this is all over. This is not the time to disappear and just get forgotten by your customers. Keep the line of communication open and stay on their minds during this period.
Let’s say that due to social distancing you cannot deliver some of your services
For example, you run a large chain of Yoga or Fitness classes. You cannot deliver the product to anyone, even those customers who have already purchased a year’s worth of classes.
You will want to send out a broadcast to everyone with an active membership, reassuring them that the service will be delivered. In this reassuring broadcast, you may talk about the steps that you’re taking. You may talk about how you’re working on alternative ways of delivering these yoga classes to their home, as well as the fact that you will come up with a way to make up for lost classes.
You don’t have to go into details until you have a definite plan. Reassuring them that you’re “on it” is enough to lower their concerns. Once you have something more specific, that’s when you do another broadcast.
The formula is simple
Obviously we can’t go into an example for every single type of business, so we just chose one particular example. However, the overall principle will apply to any business and it’s about getting the “logic” behind it. In fact, if you need a universal formula for these types of emails, it would look a bit like this:
- Consider what your customers are concerned about
- Go about with reassuring them that you are coming up with solutions to those concerns
And once you come up with solutions, communicate the solutions to your customer base
Just a note, whilst your business might be the kind that has to use more reassuring emails than otherwise, you still can and should combine it with the other 3 types of emails that we’ll go over next. All of them can be used in any type of a business, industry or business model.
2) Offering the subscriber help
At Emercury we pride ourselves on the quality of our customer base. In fact if you look at our reviews across the web, you would be surprised at how positive our reviews are. In fact, all of them come from raving fans and evangelists.
There’s a very simple reason behind this phenomenon. We go out of our way to help all of our customers and even potential customers. This isn’t just in the traditional marketing sense where a company will develop a software feature and claim it’s “helping people” by selling it.
We actually go out of our way to encourage people to reach out to us anytime they need help with anything. And it isn’t just restricted to the software platform itself.
In fact, we spend a lot of time helping people with their email marketing as a whole. That includes coming up with the strategy, acquiring the necessary skills and sometimes even helping our customers develop their overall business strategy.
The key is in encouraging the person to ask for help
Let’s say that you have an amazing customer service team. Furthermore, let’s say you have the most amazing self-service articles and knowledge base. All of that will go to waste if people don’t utilize them. And by default people would rather move on if they run into problems, rather than seeking out a solution or asking for help.
Simply telling them that it’s “ok” to ask for help and you’re eagerly waiting for them to ask, will probably at least 10x the amount of people who ask for help. This is an amazing “trick” that builds legions of raving fans.
In fact, this is something that you should be doing at all times anyway. However if you haven’t gotten around to it yet, this might be the perfect time to start utilizing this magic strategy.
How to utilize this at the moment
Let’s say that you run an online service which helps with some business process in a given industry. Or perhaps you offer an SaaS that’s relevant to businesses in general.
It might be time to write a heartfelt offer of help. Write an email where you recognize all the challenges that everyone in the industry has to deal with in these challenging times.
Make it clear – if they need any help with your service, they shouldn’t hesitate to reach out and ask. Likewise – if they need general advice or assistance relevant to running a business or succeeding in said industry at this time – they should feel free to ask.
Now obviously, this is just one example, and the actual specific offer of help will depend on your product, service and industry. However, if you give it a little bit of thought, you can come up with a way to implement this method in your business.
3) Giving the subscriber a gift or other display of “good will”
Just like everything else on this list, this is a method which will differ quite a bit depending on the specific business that you run and the industry that you’re in.
The method is quite simple. You want to identify something that you can afford to give to people for free, and then give it to them as a way to help them “at these difficult and challenging times”.
Now, this has to be something more substantial than the typical gifts we give to “bribe” people into joining our list
It cannot be something like a PDF or a similar lead magnet. You want to give them something a tad bit more substantial. Let’s look at some possible examples.
- If you run a SaaS or a membership-based service, you can give your lower-tier members access to some of the higher tier features as a gift for the next 3 months.
- It’s wise to select features or benefits which relate to, or have some usefulness to the current situation, at least in some way.
- If you run an e-commerce shop, you can offer to “pay for” the shipping in certain categories, as a gift in these difficult times.
- It makes sense to tie it to certain categories that have at least some relationship to the current challenges or situation.
Again, just like with everything else, you will have to come up with the specifics as it relates to your own business. Just remember the formula. It has to be something of substantial value.
It needs to be at least at a higher level value than a typical lead-magnet. And it makes a lot of sense to tie it into the current situation. It needs to “make sense” that this is something that they’re getting as a gift to “help them” with the “current situation”.
4) Sharing relevant and useful high-value content that might help them
Depending on your business circumstances, you might or might not be able to offer help and gifts. In those situations you can at least offer and share useful content to help them while your business is “on the down”. And of course, if you can do all 3, even better.
In fact, this is something that every business should be doing at all times, no matter the industry or business model. You always want to be sharing high-value content that helps subscribers achieve their goals.
And here’s the special secret – it doesn’t have to be content that you yourself have produced. The reason I say this is to let you know that you no longer have an excuse. Even if you cannot do anything else on this list, the very least you can do is share useful content that you think might help people.
And the reason you need to hear this is because you really need to keep that communication line going with your customers and prospects. No matter how difficult things get in your business, you can always at least share something useful. You do not want these people to come out of this situation having completely forgotten about you.
How do you turn all of this into profit?
If you focus on the long-game, this will inevitably increase your sales in the long run as it will build amazing relationships with the subscribers when you do get around to pitching them stuff. That in and of itself is a good return on your investment.
However, if you want to focus even more directly on how this relates to more sales and profit, you can. You just need to focus on doing it in a subtle way that doesn’t come across as opportunistic or greedy. Each and every one of these 4 types of email can reference and mention something you sell. It just needs to be done as a soft-sell or a mere “side-mention”.
Speaking of help, here’s how we can help you (special grant)
The fact is that email marketing has always been the number one way to build relationships and long-term trust. And relationship-based marketing is equally crucial whether you want to retain customers or obtain new ones. This is true in every single industry, and during any time, regardless of what’s happening in the world.
This might just be the most perfect time to master the skill of email marketing and start doubling, tripling and quadrupling your long-term profits. And at times like these, it is the long-term you need to be considering and thinking about. To help you get started on the right foot, there are many things that we are doing for you right now. However, there’s 2 you will want to utilize and make not of immediately.
1) We are currently offering our most generous forever-free plan ever (everyone qualifies)
It includes almost every feature that we have. We even included most of the features that others reserve for enterprise level plans. So be sure to grab yours before its gone. It only takes a minute.
2) We are currently handing out grants to small businesses affected by the crisis (see if you qualify)
While the forever-free plan has a limit in terms of emails sent and is limited to 2000 subscribers, our special assistance program aims to assist affected businesses who send much larger volumes of email.
This means that you will be awarded a grant that you can use to cover much (if not all) of your email marketing for the next 6 months.
We created it for businesses in industries who are directly affected by the situation and experiencing major losses in revenue. Be sure to apply here if you qualify.
3) We are constantly releasing content (for free) to help you make the most of email marketing and boost business profits in every way possible
This is the kind of advice and secrets that I learned over the last two decades of helping our customers. And let me assure you we have thousands of customers in every single type of industry or business model.
This includes exclusive tips and tricks on how to adapt to the current situation. I get all this cutting edge info from the daily interviews that I do with our customers. This is where I dig deep and find out what’s working for them, what isn’t, and how they’re successfully adapting.
It also includes our more traditional business and email marketing content which you will need to start utilizing the most of email marketing. The difference between understanding these secrets and not – is often the difference between a barely profitable or super-profitable business.
Again, this is chock full of information that I get by going behind the scenes where I grill business owners just like yours to find out exactly what businesses like yours need to prosper. This is both in general, and in regards to the current unique circumstances.
Whatever your scenario, you will want to follow these 3 steps:
- Grab your forever-free complimentary account here before you do anything else
- Check out the 6 month grant program here. If your business qualifies, apply for the program right away. If not, please share it with business owners who need it.
- Try to utilize all the cutting-edge email marketing and business secrets that we send your way