I think we can all agree that 2020 has created many new challenges for businesses throughout the world. With all the changes happening right now, business executives, marketers, and sales professionals are having to pivot as they figure out how their businesses can most effectively attract and engage their target audience.
While there are certainly big limitations in what we can do at this moment in time, there are some strategies, tactics, and methods that are working to help us achieve our business goals.
It is likely that some situations will never return to the way they were before 2020 and, in many cases, there will be a new normal.
So, it’s important to learn what is working right now and adapt as quickly as possible. That means possibly learning new processes and methods, understanding how to use new tools, and acquiring new skills.
I want to share with you what we have learned is working so far, based on what our customers, leads, and prospects are sharing with us. I also want to share what HubSpot has learned during the months of March and April 2020 from 70,000 customers spanning all industries and regions.
Deal Volume & Sales Engagement
The volume of new deals and sales opportunities has dropped dramatically across all regions and industries apart from a few markets that are tied to telemedicine, online education, ecommerce, growth industry consultants, and a few others.
Small businesses are quicker to adjust to these changes than large corporations. The larger corporations are slowing down to take a “wait and see” approach. That’s not surprising since large businesses are usually not able to adapt as quickly as small- to medium-sized companies.
Buyer and Customer Engagement
There has been a very big change in customer engagement since people have been prevented from walking into stores, restaurants, and most “non-essential” businesses in general. Everything has moved online. So, how you choose to engage with your prospects and customers online is extremely important.
Let’s talk about how things are different and how you can improve your online engagement.
As companies transition to a remote worker environment and attempt to stay in contact with their target audiences, overall email campaigns were up significantly in March.
In fact, marketing email campaigns were up 20% and marketing open rates were up at 25.5% in the month of March.
Sales email campaigns were up even higher at 50%, but open rates were at a low 2.1%.
Why is there such a difference between the marketing and sales email campaigns?
There are two (2) reasons why:
- Consumer internet behavior in both B2B and B2C markets has changed dramatically. Your buyers are doing almost 90% of their research online as they seek the information needed to make decisions on which companies to engage with to buy products and services.
Marketing emails have calls-to-action (CTAs) that encourage readers to click through to a website or landing page to access the educational information they want and need. (As opposed to sales emails that simply ask people to buy.) The landing page must have robust information to help the consumer do their research.
Companies that simply have brochure websites or take a minimalist approach to online content are not being taken seriously and find their web pages are being abandoned very quickly.
Companies need to make sure that online assets, such as their website, help to answer all the questions consumers have in order to make a buying decision.
- Marketers are doing a better job at connecting with their audience. The emails being sent by some salespeople today are pressing people to “buy now!” Consumers who are already feeling the strain, both financially and emotionally, of “stay-at-home” orders are feeling besieged by these types of pushy sales tactics.
Many companies are even sending out multiple sales emails per day, flooding inboxes.
In contrast, marketers are sending emails which tend to lead with empathy and offer to help the recipient with their current situation. They aren’t pushing “buy now!” Rather, they are nurturing their leads and customers with helpful information.
These types of emails are being received much better than aggressive sales emails.
Here are Some Marketing Campaign Tips to Increase Your Online Success:
- Lead with empathy.
- Ensure your tone is helpful and focuses more on your target audience’s issues.
- Offer more Top-of-the-Funnel (TOF) educational content. Companies offering TOF educational content are doing better than companies that are only offering Bottom-of-the-Funnel (BOF) offers, such as a free trial offer.
- Consider reducing your email volume, offering more value in fewer emails as opposed to little value in a large volume of emails.
Here are Some Sales Campaign Tips:
- Lead with value and education in a more personalized approach.
- Don’t start with COVID-19 in your subject line.
- Focus your subject lines on value, education, and helpful topics.
- Prioritize your lead outreach:
- Top priority should be your customers, focusing on how you can help them.
- Second, should be the prospects you have recently been working with the most.
- Cold outreach should be your last resort because they may be in survival mode or just not interested.
Website Traffic and Engagement
Overall Website Traffic Up 13% in March
Traffic to online education websites is up significantly. Focus your website CTAs on value and education. Increase your content publishing efforts around education and how your company helps your target audience solve their problems or achieve their goals.
If someone is ready to buy, make it easy for them to buy from you.
Customer-Initiated Conversations are Up
Companies need to develop a conversational strategy that includes Live Chat and Chat Bots. Customers who are engaged with Live Chat are more highly engaged with your company than those who do not engage with Chat.
Less than 20% of all businesses have Live Chat or Chat Bots implemented on their websites. However, most website users prefer using Chat to engage with a company while they are on its website as opposed to calling or waiting on a follow-up email.
If your sales team cannot reach your prospects by telephone or physically meet with them, consider moving your traditional sales representatives to Live Chat. They can be trained very quickly and easily on how to most effectively use Chat.
Chat will increase your sales team's engagement with your prospects and leads while they are on your website.
And don’t worry, you don’t need to have “Live” Chat available 24/7. Instead, set an availability time based on the core traffic hours of your website. Then use a Chat Bot when Live Chat is not available.
If you are completely uncomfortable starting with Live Chat, then start with a Chat Bot. The key here is to just get started! Don’t wait to activate Chat on your website.
Meeting Links Increase Efficiency
Another key tool to implement for sales and customer service teams is a Meetings link. Set up a link to your calendar so people you want to engage with can easily set a time to meet when you both are available.
Stop laboring through back and forth emails trying to find a convenient time to meet with someone.
Create More Educational Content Offers and Articles
Build out more downloadable content offers on your website to educate your target audience on how you can help solve their problems and address their concerns.
Build out educational content around:
- How-to articles
- Core challenges your buyers face and how you can solve them
There are great online tools to help you define the topics that people are searching on. These tools include Quora, Answer the Public, the Google Suggestion tool, and even Google’s “also searched for” listings at the bottom of their Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Uncover the questions people are typing into the search engines and then help answer those questions.
Discover Ways to Increase Leads
Need a higher volume of leads? Don’t we all! It’s always tough to get new, quality leads even in good times. The current situation can make it even harder.
Here are some ideas to help you increase your lead volume:
- Prioritize customer outreach first, then most recent contacts, then high-growth industries.
- Focus on how you provide value and education.
- Use video as a key outreach tool to give your audience a more personal touch.
- Use social media to identify and engage with people who fit your buyer persona.
Improve Your Online Digital Skills
Many executives, professional marketers, and salespeople are seeking to learn or improve their digital skills to help them be more successful now and in the future.
There are lots of online courses to help increase your digital skills. However, it’s important to choose courses that are high-quality and will truly teach you the essential skills you need to succeed online.
Online Digital Training Courses
Here are some high-quality certification courses that are backed by the top Digital companies, including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, HubSpot, and more.
- Digital Skills Training for Business Owners and Executives - This certification course covers the key concepts of Digital, how it has changed customer behavior, and its implications on your business. Upon completion, you will be equipped with an understanding of Digital - its meaning, uses, tools, and technologies - and how they are applied within your business. This is for the business executive who needs an understanding of Digital, but not in the same amount of detail that a marketing professional needs.
- Certified Digital Training for Marketing Professionals - This certification program was created in collaboration with industry experts in companies, including Google, Facebook, IBM, LinkedIn, Microsoft, HubSpot, and many more, which form the Global Industry Advisory Council (IAC). The IAC ensures the continuously updated training content provides students with the most in-demand digital needs, skill sets, knowledge, and competencies required to build the global digital economy.
- Digital and Social Selling for Sales Professionals - Whether you’re a B2B or B2C seller, this professional certification will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed at all stages of the funnel, from identifying prospects to engaging with insights to driving that final sale. Ultimately, this practical course will provide you with all the tools you need to integrate key social selling techniques into your process to confidently sell online, increase leads, and close more deals faster.
- How to Get the Most Out of Your HubSpot CRM – The HubSpot CRM is a powerful sales tool that has tremendous potential to help increase your leads, prospects, and sales. However, many people do not understand all of the capabilities that this software offers you. This course teaches you how to use and profit from this sales tool in order to maximize its potential. If you don’t have a CRM, get a FREE HubSpot CRM here.
- How to Create and Manage HubSpot Workflows – Marketing automation has emerged as one of the most effective marketing tools today. Workflows allow you to nurture your sales leads and prospects to keep them more engaged with your company. Workflows also help automate internal tasks and notifications to improve your overall efficiency. Automation helps you keep sales leads and customer interactions from falling through the cracks. This course teaches you how to set up and manage workflows in order to automate your marketing and sales processes.
Create a Digital Strategy for your Company
Many companies are finding themselves ill-equipped at this time because they have avoided developing an effective digital strategy to reach and engage their target audiences.
Below are some free resources to help you develop and implement the most effective digital marketing strategies and campaigns.
- 9 Key Ingredients of an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy
- Guide to Google PPC Paid Ad Fundamentals
- How to Run an Inbound Marketing Campaign
- Pre-Prospecting Call Checklist
- Learn the New Method of Selling Webinar
- 10 Steps for A Successful Website Redesign
Get Additional Help
If you would like help understanding how to reach your goals in today’s digital-driven marketplace, we offer a free consultation with no obligation.