I don’t know anything about infectious diseases. But I’ll say one thing for certain — the Coronavirus is killing a lot of peoples’ sales.
Companies that rely on trade shows for business are naturally being hit worst of all. But with an increasing number of people working remotely and normal operations being disrupted, it’s safe to say that ‘buying stuff’ isn’t high up the priority list for most organizations.
So what are we — as marketing people — supposed to DO when all around us grinds to a halt?
My thoughts are simple. If nobody is buying anything RIGHT NOW, simply take the time to prepare for the time when life returns to normal. Because it WILL return to normal. Just like it did after Swine flu, Avian flu, SARS, and the financial crisis.
I’ve just got off the phone with a customer who compared the situation to the Christmas period. I think that’s a great analogy.
We all know that nobody really does — or, more importantly, BUYS — anything between early December and early January, so we act accordingly. We take time to work on things that usually get ignored, and prepare marketing content that can be launched once life returns to normal.
Throughout the year, most of us focus mainly on tactical marketing — product launches, content campaigns, and so on. But since now isn’t really the time to focus on short-term sales, I’d suggest shifting your focus to what I call STRUCTURAL marketing.
- Getting your website copy in order and dialing in your overall messaging.
- Producing a large, cornerstone content piece like a research report or white paper. (These usually takes a month or two to complete anyway).
- Creating email autoresponder sequences for your pillar content pieces.
Before I got side-tracked thinking about the Coronavirus, today’s email was going to be all about that third bullet — autoresponders. If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically a series of automatic emails that are triggered by a specific event.
For example, if a prospect downloads one of your white papers, they might receive a series of 5-12 emails over a period of days or weeks that guide them through the next steps. Naturally, these emails should feed into the normal sales follow-up process, and be designed to dispel some of the common objections faced by your sales team.
Now, autoresponders have been around forever, but for some reason, they have poor uptake with B2B companies. That’s crazy to me because they are so easy to set up and can potentially yield benefits for years without ANY further input from your marketing team.
Among other things, autoresponders can be used to:
- Initiate stable, long-term relationships with prospects.
- Promote other relevant content downloads.
- Bring more visitors to your cornerstone blog posts and/or web pages.
- Push prospects along the sales funnel and prepare them for sales calls.
In our world, there are very few content pieces that offer such a high reward for so little upfront effort.
So while the world is going crazy, why not take the time to focus on something that could benefit your marketing machine for YEARS to come? And if you’d like to talk about how you could build autoresponders into your marketing program, hit me up.