As the COVID-19 outbreak reached SA shores, Initial were in a unique position of offering a vital service to businesses and individuals across the country. With this in mind, Initial didn’t just want to be a hygiene supplier, but a partner in helping businesses fight against COVID-19 and keeping their staff safe, with a key focus of doing good first - protecting people and enhancing lives. As a result of this approach, Initial achieved an ROI of 2493.21% in three months.
Leading up to March 2020, COVID-19 was taking a toll across the world and on 5 March it finally hit South Africa, with the first case being confirmed. Even before the case was confirmed, Initial knew that promoting good hand hygiene was vital, and ensuring that they offered effective thought leadership was important to them.
Once the pandemic was in SA and a lockdown became imminent, Initial knew that it would be harder for customers to get the value they were used to with a face-to-face interaction and wanted to offer customers a central location for all their needs, from key information into the COVID- 19 outbreak, to resources and products which could help them weather the storm.
They also wanted to ensure that Initial was the brand that would be top of mind when it came to hygiene in South Africa.
The biggest challenge Initial faced was to break through the clutter as the world was COVID-19 focused and, as a topic, was one that entailed fighting for space – especially online. To break through, we had to understand what the key elements people were looking for when searching for a solution to their concerns.
Our first goal was to communicate with the current Initial customers to offer them assurances that their hygiene services would carry on and give them solutions to ensure that those businesses open during the lockdown would have insights and products to help them remain safe.
Our second goal was to put together a communication strategy which would keep customers and subscribers up-to-date with the pandemic and hygiene tips as the lockdown and status of the pandemic progressed.
Our third goal was to increase our online presence through targeted blog topics and landing pages as all other marketing efforts were stopped. The decision to stop media spend on offline advertising was one taken with the confidence in the power of online and email marketing, and involved a strategy which allowed Initial to deliver key messaging to their customers using email.
The strategy for this campaign began with a realignment of the current content strategy. This included increasing the number of blogs we published from once a week to twice a week, as well as shifting the focus to talk to COVID-19. We also looked at content previously written on relevant hand hygiene topics and updated those blogs to add a COVID-19 view to the content. We covered topics on the blog which most people were asking but where information specific to SA was hard to find. We also made sure to update our blogs, landing pages, and social content as new data on COVID-19 became available. This allowed us to reshare key blogs with updated information, boosting views.
We wanted to give people a central page to get all the information relevant to COVID-19, so we created a Coronavirus specific landing page. This page delivered helpful resources, like hand hygiene posters, key product offerings, and information about the COVID-19 outbreak and how to keep safe. This page also included a form to give people quick access to contact Initial and a pop up form was added on this and other landing pages to offer relevant resources to visitors based on the page they were on.
Initial took the decision to stop all offline marketing activities and any new project investment as part of strategic cost cutting to ensure they saved jobs in an unknown economic climate. As a result, Initial looked to email to offer an avenue to remain top-of-mind. We started by including COVID-19 messaging and updates into all our recurring emails, including our bi-monthly customer emails and blog round ups - bringing in key products as well. We also sent out targeted emails that showed Initial’s expertise in the COVID-19 hygiene space, by offering resources and insights.
All elements of the campaign strategy were agile and relevant to what was happening at the time. As lockdown eased, we created email content which showcased products to help businesses comply with regulations as they re-entered their offices.
Ultimately the campaign was launched in March with:
- A Coronavirus focused landing page, which received regular updates as COVID-19 progressed.
- A customer email sent with key insights and resources, and additional emails with relevant information based on lifecycle stage and contact behaviour - including an email on hand sanitiser for SQL’s who had shown interest in hand hygiene.
- Increase of blog publishing from once a week to twice a week, with a COVID-19 focus.
- Creation of a new service - the Specialised Disinfection Service - which arose from a need Initial saw in the market.
- Specialist Disinfection Service pop-up forms were placed across key pages of the website to drive conversions.
- Blogs were updated to include smart CTA’s for COVID-19 return to work checklist, Specialist Disinfection Service information, and hand hygiene product ranges.
- Tailored content created to offer assistance during and after lockdown - such as a checklist for returning to work after lockdown, and existing content updated with a COVID-19 focus.
Over the course of the 3-month period we had:
- 234 deals closed from online leads. Resulting in an ROI of 2493.21%
- Number of online customers increased by 58.47%
- The number of returning visitors to the website increased by 20.93% from 2019.
- Views to the initial blog increased by 176.85%
- 735 new blog subscribers, an increase of 3983.33%.
- Social media audience across platforms grew by 13.25%
- Sent 25 389 emails, 84.22% more than the previous period:
- Open rate of 28.14%
- Click rate of 12.59%
- Click through rate of 3.54%
Using a customer-centric, inbound approach, we made sure to keep Initial customers informed over this time, not just regarding the brand and products but with helpful delight content focused on offering information people were asking about. Using HubSpot automation, we took advantage of SMART content ensuring that the marketing emails sent contained key personalisation tokens, ensuring we spoke to the pain points of the specific person getting the mail. And we reviewed the contacts in our database looking for key segments to build lists which we could communicate with in order to help people within specific industries and needs using email blasts. All of which allowed us to help Initial protect people and enhance lives, ultimately resulting in an ROI of 2493%.
Want to see real results for your business? Contact us to find out how we can help you achieve these kinds of results.
What the customers had to say: