Email MarketingMarketingResults

Success during a pandemic

By | July 6, 2020

email marketing growth during a pandemic?

Spire2’s engagement began on February 1, 2020. When the pandemic hit, I expected our efforts to tank. The client’s business model made me think that our early success was going to be quickly erased because of Covid-19. To my surprise, the exact opposite happened. The lead generation strategy we launched in February has resulted in double-digit growth. The best part is that the leadership has been bouyed by the results, and that positive energy has opened new doors for their organization.

Chart showing increase in list growth
List growth during the pandemic


In 2018, the organization redeveloped their website. And yet in 2018, the house list growth was anemic. In 2019, the list actually started shrinking. The sales cycle for the organization’s program is long, and nurturing leads is critical to maintaining qualified applicants. The impact of this decline was starting to concern leadership even though the immediate impact was minimal. The reality was that the future health of the organization was at stake unless this trend was reversed.

Identifying the Solution:

The good news was that their website traffic was increasing. Even though the website redesign efforts ignored the valuable digital history and from a technical standpoint was poorly executed, the site was attractive to the target audience. Upon inspection the web traffic was a marketers dream — the organic traffic was healthy, time on the site was increasing and the bounce rate was also decreasing. Clearly it was a conversion problem. What used to work and had worked for many years, was clearly no longer working.

Crafting a solution aligned to current best practices

We had access to a large library of content and crafted a “course” that would provide value to the site visitor and more importantly introduce them to the client’s main program. The client’s site had no pop up windows and they were resistant to adding them. We ended up compromising and launched with an on-exit pop up, so visitors only receive an invitation when they are about to leave the site on desktop browsers. We delivered the solution in an automated workflow. This allowed us to monitor and adjust the email content if necessary.

Automated email marketing is the future

Automated work flows generally preform 20% better. Since launching, the automated series has sent over 12,000 emails. The open rate is 62.9% with a 36.3 click rate –results that would please even the most jaded email marketer.

But why do automated work flows perform better? It revolves around the ability to control flow of content. With automated content you can control the timing and pace of emails. Because people are more likely to engage with content when they first sign up, I send shorter but more frequent emails. In this workflow, I send two emails in the first 24 hours, but I would not be afraid to send three or four if they are short and have value. The best part of an automated workflow is that once it is set up, it just runs and runs and runs. All one needs to do is monitor results and fine tune content or rework underperforming campaigns.

Building on success

For this client, I implemented the campaign across three workflows so that I can fine tune and branch off more easily. I have the welcome workflow, a lead magnet workflow, and also a workflow for a particular segment that I want to give extra special attention to. Knowing that the sales cycle is long, I am adding to the workflow with content that continues to feed their interest in the organization. The approach is not designed to flood them with sales messages, but to provide content that inspires.

Pandemic changes

Nurturing leads is going to be the best investment you can make in 2020. There is no doubt that uncertainty and doubt in our economy will lead to longer sales cycles, and nurturing helps you to stay top-of-mind. The other advantage is that once it is in place, it will keep working for you 24/7 while providing valuable data. You can use that data in interesting ways. For example, I can easily mine my data to pull the prospects who have opened the most emails and clicked on the same link in more than two emails and send them a very specialized offer. Things are currently unpredictable, which is a good time to be more predictable to build trust with prospects and customers.

Want help rethinking your marketing strategy? Wondering how an automated workflow can help you? Connect with Jeffery James on LinkedIn, use our contact form or call Jeffery at 630.267.5009 ext 700.

Jeffery James
Jeffery James
Jeffery is the Creative Director and Principal of Spire2. He brings marketing expertise from a variety of industries. He excels at understanding clients' corporate objectives, translating them into brand positioning and executing marketing materials that exceed expectations.