No More Trade Shows, B2B Communication Strategies During COVID-19

The ongoing Coronavirus crisis has impacted every business across the globe and is changing the way we do business. Many B2B companies rely heavily on tradeshows and conferences to fill their pipelines and fuel their sales. With in person events now cancelled for the foreseeable future, they are challenged with ways to drive revenue. This blog is Part 1 in a series and we will be addressing the specific challenges and opportunities to fill the trade show gap in Part 2.

It’s important to find ways to help each other as we navigate the way forward. At Goose, this means helping you, our clients, effectively and efficiently communicate with your customers – even when it’s not always evident exactly what to do. Companies need to find a way to still stay present and engage with their constituents. We hope this will help our customers devise the right communication plan for the immediate and near future.

Take a Step Back

Keep in mind, Email inboxes are flooded with messages about COVID-19. Consider adjusting your normal campaign cadence.  However, it is important to engage with customers with relevant and valuable information related to the situation. Don’t assume they already have all the information they need about how you are currently operating, your products or events or know how to contact you. 

Your communication strategies should include:

  • Reassurances on how your company is handling the situation 
  • If you’re open, reduced hours, closed, or virtual and contact information
  • Cancellation of any events or in-person meetings
  • Delays or disruptions to deliveries
  • Rebooking of appointments
  • How to make payments
  • Public Health and Government website resources

Your messages should be empathetic, authentic, and focus on your business continuity plan and supporting your customers. Make sure your messages are not tone deaf and acknowledge the situation we are all in.

Tip: Many companies are coming up with creative solutions for customer interactions, such as webinars, video consultations, account based marketing, promotional products, digital chat, and more. We will be sharing more on these topics in the days to come.

When Possible, Add a Personal Touch

Sending personalized communications will both perform better and be more meaningful to your customers (as opposed to a batch and blast approach)- now more than ever. If you can, try to:

  • Include basic personalization (customer name, customer number, company name)
  • Segment your customer list based on persona or geography
  • If you have VIP customers with already in place custom messaging streams, keep that process going but adjust these messages accordingly
  • Once segmented, include information that they need to be aware of now, including product specific details or links to relevant articles or websites
  • Personalize the sender and signature with their local store, account manager or salesperson

Tip: Don’t forget to update your existing Automated Programs. Many B2B marketing teams have several programs that fire based on triggered behaviours, timing, or sales stages. Make sure these communications are reflective of your COVID-19 plans.

What Other Channels?

While email is likely the most effective and efficient way to get a message to your customer, they are likely visiting your other channels for updated information. Use your telephone system on hold messaging, website, chatbots and social channels to share information about office closure and contact details, and post blogs that are relevant to your various product lines. If you have specific product expertise, leverage team members to write short, value driven (not sales oriented) blogs.

If you are picking up the phone to engage with customers as you don’t have their email addresses, now is the time to ask for this information. 

Keep Email Best Practices in Mind

It’s even more essential now that Email best practices be followed to ensure your emails are delivered.

  • Keep content short and to the point
  • Use your branding so it’s obvious that the message is from your company
  • Do not send too frequently and respect CASL, GDPR, and CAN-SPAM laws