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Straight From the Stage: Smart Marketing During COVID-19 with Hank Hoffmeier

Q: Should I send a COVID-19 email to all my subscribers?

Marketers need to be careful with this one. If you have not sent to all your subscribers in the last few months, there could be hidden dangers such as mass bounces and unsubscribes. You are also sending when so many other emails with similar content is rampant in our inboxes. It is best to think strategically and only send something if you really need to, otherwise, it should be business as usual.

Q: How do I make sure that my subscribers still open my emails?

The subject line is the first thing your subscribers will see. There are three things you can do to help your open rates. First, use action and power words in your subject lines to get subscribers to open. Use words like Act now, Save, Limited Time, Last Chance, and more. 

Second, use personalization such as your subscriber’s first name to attract attention. People like to hear and read their name. It will also help subscribers notice your email in the inbox over other emails with boring and generic subject lines. 

Third and last, use emoji for the ultimate attention grabber. It will help your email stand out in the inbox. The emojis you use need to be relevant to your subject line and email body content. They should not be used as click bait, as it will cause your subscribers to lose trust in you as a sender.

Q: I have so much going on right now. How do I find the time to keep in touch with my subscribers?

If you are not using email automation, now is the time to do so. You can start with a simple welcome series. As soon as you add someone to a list, send them a welcome email. This email will set expectations moving forward and should include information like how often they will receive emails from you and what will be in them. It is also a good idea to inform them that they can unsubscribe at any time. It is better than having them mark your message as spam!
Next, send an email a few days later that has an emotional appeal and maybe some social proof. You can do this by including information about you and your business, testimonials from previous customers, and social shout outs or quotes.
You can then add another email with information about your customer service and support policies to keep your subscriber informed. This will also help them trust you more should they choose to do business with you. 
Once you have built up your KLT (Know, Like, and Trust) you can then ask for the sale in future emails, but don’t be pushy.
If you already have automations set up, go back and look at the content and timing. You may need to make some changes to either or both. Ensure that the messaging makes sense today. Is your messaging too strong? Is it no longer relevant and maybe insensitive? Are you sending too many emails in a short period of time? Too few? Look it over. Ask your subscribers if you are sending too many emails and allow them to dial it back. 

Email Automation can help you save time and also allows your subscribers to receive a set cadence of emails that will help nurture them into a relationship with you and convert when they are ready. You will also save yourself time.

Q: How can I make sure that my emails are engaging and relevant right now?

How many emails do you receive in one day? For me, it is over 100! For me to open and read an email, it needs to be interesting and engaging.

Emails should be visually appealing and easy to read. Include images and animated GIFs at the top of your email so that they are seen immediately.

Linking to videos in your emails is another powerful way to get attention and engagement. Video consumption is on the rise and helps you build a strong relationship with your prospects and customers. 
There is nothing worse than an email that is crowded with products and content! Use good use of white space in your email templates. Keep it simple and clean and have only one to three calls to actions at the most!

Q: How can I grow my email subscriber list?

The best way is to have a signup form on your website. Inform your website visitors why they should sign up for your emails. Is it a coupon, whitepaper, valuable updates or information? Let them know and follow through with your promises.
Use your social media profiles to drive email signups. Ask people to sign up. You can also run ads or boost posts to get more subscribers. Take your existing email subscribers and upload them to Facebook to create a lookalike audience and send them signup ads. These will be Facebook users that are similar to your subscribers and it works very well. 

No matter what method you use to grow your subscriber list, make sure to send a welcome email and that you asked for permission to send them emails. Never use a purchased list, as it will hurt your sender reputation where more of your emails will end up in spam rather than the inbox and often times purchased lists have a lot of invalid email addresses and spam traps.



Hank is an author, speaker, podcast host and Sr. Manager of Client Success at iContact, a j2 Global company (Efax, PCMag, Mashable, IGN, Ziff Davis, Campaigner, and more). With a passion for all things digital and social, combined with more than 20 years of experience in sales and marketing, he has been dubbed the Digital Marketing Infotainer because he makes marketing fun and successful.

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How Do I Continue to Market and Sell During COVID-19? 

We spoke with industry thought leaders about how to continue SMART and RESPONSIBLE marketing and sales activities during a pandemic. Topics include video strategies, email marketing, how to reach your missed trade show/meetings audiences, and more.

Stay tuned for a brand new Q&A every Friday in the month of April!

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