How Are You Adapting Your Business Strategy to the COVID-19 Crisis? Q&A with ZeroBounce
COVID-19 has made many brands rethink their business models and marketing strategies. Whether it’s traffic, ad spends or communication, it’s likely that your marketing structures have been affected to a certain extent.
That’s why we’ve asked ZeroBounce Founder and CEO Liviu Tanase to tell how they’re responding to the current situation, and share his thoughts on how brands can make it through this crisis.
Do you have a crisis plan and communication strategy?
We do, and I’m lucky to have a very fast-reacting and adaptable team who can quickly switch to different scenarios as the market evolves. As for our communication, we’ve changed it almost entirely since the crisis started, and we had to do it fast.
Communicating the right message at the right time is at the core of all PR and marketing. To achieve that, you can’t be blind and deaf to the faces, voices, and events around you. So we’re paying attention to what people need and want right now, and create the right resources for them. We’ve postponed all our other campaigns and adapted almost overnight to the current needs of our audience – our blog, social, and email content revolves around this.
Is there a change in your web traffic? If yes, what is causing it?
Yes, we’ve noticed an increase in our monthly traffic. It went up by about 3,000 unique visitors in March and it seems to be on a growing curve in April.
Millions of organizations around the world have been relying on email to send vital communication on how they handle the new coronavirus crisis. Email deliverability has always been important, but now, more than ever, brands and government organizations need to make sure their emails reach the inbox. As an email validation service, we can help them improve inbox placement, so that explains the boost in traffic.
Are your sales being affected?
Thankfully, we have not been negatively affected by the current crisis in this respect. In return, we are doing our part to try and make things more affordable for customers who are hurting right now. We feel it's the right thing to do.
Have you noticed a change in your customers’ behavior?
Yes, we’re seeing two extremes. Some clients are fast-tracking projects and onboarding within just a few hours. They need to clean their email lists quickly and they’re happy to see they can do that right away and save time. That relieves some of their stress.
Some prospect clients are taking this time to get through security or other reviews and wait for business to resume before finalizing the purchase. We understand both perspectives and support our customers as best as we can.
What changes, if any, have you made to your marketing strategy and budget allocation?
Our marketing has always focused on providing our audience with helpful resources. Content has been a cornerstone in our strategy as it’s brought us brand recognition and a steady stream of sales.
As the COVID-19 crisis started to unfold, we’ve been striving even more to help our customers navigate the challenges. Whether it’s blog articles, emails, or social media updates – our content is there to guide people in their own marketing right now.
We have increased our budget recently as we’ve just launched two new tools: an email server tester and an inbox placement tester. These email deliverability tools help our customers ensure their emails land in the inbox, not in spam, and we needed a higher budget to spread the word about them.
What changes, if any, have you made to your customer communication?
First and foremost, we wanted them to know we’re here for them – and we don’t just say that, we mean it. We offered a discount as soon as the crisis hit and also offer free consultations.
Not everyone knows how to handle their email marketing. While we’ve always answered questions gladly, we’re reiterating our desire to assist our customers – via email and social media. It feels good to know that someone’s got your back when it comes to technical glitches and other obstacles. So we’re doing our best to help them save time and advance with their projects.
What changes have you made to your ad spends?
We haven’t changed our ad spend as a result of the coronavirus crisis. However, we’ve increased our budget to promote the two new email deliverability tools. Mostly, it’s our Google Ads and social media budget that is seeing a boost and we’ll continue to invest in ads in the following weeks.
What marketing strategy is working best for you today?
Content marketing has been at the core of our communication. We’re creating content that’s both informative and entertaining, and also SEO-friendly so it can contribute to our Google ranking.
Then, we distribute it via email, social media, and partnerships we make with other organizations. Some of our pieces address time-sensitive topics, others are evergreen and support long-term audience expansion and customer acquisition.
One of our most successful content marketing strategies has been interviewing industry experts and asking them about our customers’ main pain points. Addressing these issues and offering useful tips has helped in building a more trustworthy, powerful brand.
Name 5 main marketing Dos during a crisis.
Embrace the voice of reason and keep your calm. You can’t help others if you’re spreading panic and anxiety.
Be empathetic and strive to understand what your audience is going through. Communicate, ask questions, listen carefully.
Then, ask yourself how you can help and be generous. What is it that your company can do that would make people’s lives better? Do more of that.
Gather your team and brainstorm on the best resources you can create during the following months.
Most of all, keep marketing. As long as you adapt your communication to the current global context, you can be a relevant participant to the conversation.
Name 5 main marketing Don'ts during a crisis.
Avoid sending emails that only state the fact that you’re acknowledging the situation. We all are. If you can’t offer practical help, it’s best to not email your list.
Stay away from overused phrases such as “during these uncertain times” or “we’re in this together.” People are hearing this from brands several times a day.
You can continue to sell in your communication, but you can’t be crass: choose your words carefully and refine your tone to reflect the world status-quo.
Keep from risky jokes: you never know who you can offend, although you may have the best intentions.
Don’t go dark on your audience: during a crisis, your followers and subscribers need to know they can count on you. Communicate regularly and relevantly.
There has been a rise of COVID-19 used in malicious campaigns (including email spam and malicious domains). What measures should brands take to protect their email deliverability and sender reputation?
They should always verify the authenticity of emails, check the “from” address, make sure the domain is legitimate, do research. Don't just blindly accept things that land in your inbox. Take measures to validate all aspects.
As for senders, following best practices results in a better inbox placement:
- verify your email list periodically to weed out bad contacts;
- make sure your email server is configured correctly;
- double-check your content for spam trigger words;
- email regularly and avoid dramatic volume fluctuations. If you need to send more emails, warm up your IPs first.
How is your service helping your customers handle the current situation?
Many businesses are facing serious financial challenges right now. We’re fortunate to not be one of them. Instead, we’re able to continue focusing on what we do best, helping our customers and vendors with their businesses and pivot and adapt to the current situation.
We’ve been offering discounts to our service from the first week of the crisis. Also, our team is available 24/7 with professional answers to any question relating to email validation and email marketing in general.
Brands that practice genuine empathy and express generosity during these hard times will come on the other side stronger and better equipped for the future.
We thank Liviu for a quick reply and detailed response. Let’s work even harder to deliver the best solutions, help our customers and approximate the world recovery.