Relying on Email in an Industry Lull: Best Practices for Preparation & Execution

EJ McGowan
by EJ McGowan 01 Jun, 2017
Every brand faces lull periods, whether these are due to seasonal changes, economic periods or even just regular manufacturing cycles. While these times can be challenging, businesses can, and should, rely on a tried-and-true marketing strategy to help guide them successfully through various peaks and valleys: email.

Read on to learn the reasons why email is crucial for marketers to have in their arsenal during these periods and best practices to keep customers engaged during dry spells.

Email's Edge During Down Times

Though a brand may not be able to promote new products or offers during these times, email marketing is still a very effective way to maintain the customer-brand connection. When customers see brand messages in their inboxes, regardless of their content, they are reminded that the company is still operating (albeit to a lesser degree) and still thinking of them as valuable contacts. This sustained email presence helps bolster customer loyalty, which is crucial for future conversions once the lull ends.

Additionally, when executed correctly, email marketing in slow times can be extremely effective in helping brands prepare for more successful sales cycles in the future. While the business may not be able to offer its usual products or services to its customers, instead, customers can offer something valuable to the business: feedback.

Usually garnered in the form of surveys or reviews, these insights can help inform marketers' future strategies once they have new content and products to offer.

Slow Period Best Practices

While it's still important to send campaigns, email marketers should take advantage of business lulls by cutting back on message frequency. Customers should receive emails just often enough to let them know the business is still active and prepare them to expect more offers in the future.

When it comes to the content of these emails, the overall call-to-action (CTA) should be much softer than what would be included in typical conversion-focused campaigns. For example, during slow periods, marketers can start teasing future milestones or announcement dates, ask recipients to check out the company blog or social media pages, or even recommend that they sign up for additional newsletters.

As mentioned above, this is also a great time to request input from subscribers. Depending on business needs, this could mean asking contacts to update their customer profiles in order to better serve them in the future, or requesting feedback in the form of short surveys or product reviews. These soft calls-to-action will promote a more engaged customer base year-round, planting the seeds for increased conversion during the next sales cycle.

Additionally, marketers should take advantage of slower periods by using this time to take care of other tasks that slowly get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list during other times of the year. Lulls provide the opportunity to focus on things like email list hygiene, website updates and content development.

Lastly, it can be advantageous to supplement email with other marketing strategies during these periods. For instance, paid search can be a great way to ramp up traffic ahead of a sales cycle so that, in combination with email, marketers can maximize business peaks while minimizing valleys. Promoting customer engagement through social media is also an efficient way for marketers to keep their brand top of mind so that customers are more likely to engage with emails as the slow period comes to an end.

Accepting the Slowdown

Overall, businesses should identify their lull periods and embrace them for what they offer: an opportunity to slow down, concentrate on the customer connection and build up marketing assets. By implementing the best practices above, brands can ensure their marketing will be more effective and their subscribers will be more receptive once the time comes to embark on full-fledged campaigns.

EJ McGowan, general manager of Campaigner, has more than 25 years of experience in the software industry with expertise in building highly available, scalable SaaS-based solutions.