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How To Effectively Use SFMC During COVID 19 Pandemic

How To Effectively Use SFMC During COVID-19 Pandemic

As we are nearing the middle of 2020, a lot has changed since the beginning of the year. People have isolated themselves, and jargons such as quarantine, social distancing, pandemic, & isolation have become a part of our daily conversations. The perception regarding shopping, ban on traveling, and the priorities of people have changed significantly. 

Yet, all is not drab and dark in these testing times. People are spending more time online, brands are creating helpful content related to their expertise, and marketers are adopting different digital marketing strategies to connect with their audience.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the demand for personalized customer experience. Irrespective of what communication channels you use, SalesForce Marketing Cloud helps you track the conversations with individual prospects from a single place to create tailored customer journeys. While the pandemic grips businesses globally, we highlight some ways to use SFMC during the COVID-19 Pandemic effectively.

1. Implement Cross-Cloud Communication

Salesforce has multiple products depending on the purpose and industry where it can be applied effectively (Commerce cloud for eCommerce, Health Cloud for Healthcare industry). While SFMC can help with collecting customer data, recording individual interactions, and creating custom marketing campaigns based on the processed data, it needs to communicate with other clouds to ensure smooth operations, especially during difficult times like now. The use cases of this type of cross-cloud communication are: 

1. Anyone expressing displeasure on social media can be approached by a sales representative (Marketing Cloud to Sales Cloud)

2. Upcoming doctor appointments can be sent as reminder emails. (Health Cloud To Marketing Cloud)

3. A cart abandonment email can be sent when someone leaves mid-purchase (Commerce Cloud to Marketing Cloud)

2. Optimize Send times using Einstein

Salesforce Einstein is an omnipresent AI ready to suggest or predict the step to be taken based on the information available. In these changing times, customers will be active at different times than usual, and Einstein can help determine the optimum send time for your emails or social media posts to receive maximum engagement. This feature can help you understand the shifting habits of your customers and predict when your subscriber base is most likely to open your emails and click through to the website.

3. Better product recommendations

This is another avenue where the data processing capabilities of Salesforce Einstein can be leveraged to send better emails. In times of crisis, people can’t browse through products as usual and hence complete their purchases in a jiffy. This way, some of the products may be overlooked or the customer may not be aware of such products. Personalized product recommendations provide a good user experience as the customer feels that they are being considered valuable. Einstein can process all vital information about past purchases and the current online behavior to recommend products that might hit the right spot. This way, marketers can learn the change in the consumption behavior of the consumer and make necessary changes to their business operations.

4. Notify product restock

In times of pandemic, the demand for essential products has hit the roof, and people have been facing shortages. For a consumer, disappointment is when they find certain products being out of stock and there is no means to know when they shall be available again. Timely notification is the difference between providing a good user experience and losing an opportunity to gain a loyal customer. This problem can be readdressed by sending an automated product restock email as soon as your inventory is updated with the product. 

5. User-Generated Content & Referral Emails

It is a time when people are at home and taking up different challenges to remain engaged. SFMC can monitor mentions over social media about your brands, and you can schedule social media posts that can keep your audiences engaged. The most engaging content can be placed in the emails, and your subscribers can be asked to refer it to their peers in exchange for an incentive. The referral can be tracked and updated on the customer journey, which opens up new paths for customer engagement. 

6. Localization

Even though the pandemic has forced brick and mortar stores to remain closed, it doesn’t mean you cannot connect with your customers. Based on the localization information, your store managers and other stakeholders can send locally targeted email campaigns that are personalized  to communicate with their local customers in a relevant and personal manner. Since, SFMC supports the use of dynamic content blocks, you can use the localization information to send emails that carry information based on the local parameters such as location, weather, zone health, etc.    

7. SalesForce Care

Initially created for Salesforce Health Cloud, Salesforce Care was opened up for different industries. It helps marketers provide real-time information that can help increase safety and wellness as well as reduce the uncertainty during these uncertain times. SalesForce Care is designed not just for the customers but also for the other stakeholders in your team. Some of the solutions available in Salesforce Care are:

  • Salesforce Care for Employee and Customer Support: It is a pre-configured employee help center, customer service, and contact center application rolled into one point of contact that can respond to inquiries faster and inform customers and employees about any updates on the current situation. 
  • SalesForce Maps: These are virtual maps that provide a built-in data feed about the outbreaks to assist employees and customers in making fast, accurate decisions. 
  • Salesforce Care for Social Community Engagement: This is for monitoring COVID-19 conversations relevant to their company and engaging with communities on social media channels to keep them informed and connected.
  • AppExchange COVID-19 Resource Center: A dedicated resource with applications built by partners and Salesforce Labs as well as informative content to support operations during the COVID-19 crisis.

Some Success Stories from brands using SFMC during these uncertain times

1. Online sports retailer Fanatics is using Marketing Cloud to power transactional emails related to their #ALLInChallege where they raised $23 Million for providing food to children, the elderly, and frontline heroes.

2. Tuff shed uses Marketing Cloud to keep customers notified on order status and increased weekly sales by 30% year-over-year.

3. AAA Carolinas completed over 25,000 member calls, with over 80% of customers expressing appreciation for the call. They used Marketing Cloud to the customers with supplemental details based on their initial agent contact experience.

4. Everton Football Club is using Marketing Cloud to help the club’s soccer players stay connected to its fans. They identified season tickets holders above the age of seventy and offered them support grocery shopping, prescription pickups, and other essentials.

5. Roots, a Canadian favorite for comfortable sweats, offered 20% discounts on their products but with a twist. 10% discount goes to the customer’s final bill, and 10% goes to donations, and the promotions were done on emails and social media using Marketing Cloud.

Wrap Up

These are really tough times, but desperate times call for desperate measures. We hope the pointers mentioned above really help you in effectively using SFMC during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing email design and coding companies. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. He is a brand magician who loves to engage, share insights with fellow marketers, and enjoys sharing his thoughts on the latest email marketing best practices.

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