In the last 2-3 days, we are getting dozens of emails from Language Service Providers (LSPs) who are using the Coronovirus as an excuse to spam potential clients and push their services. Here is an example:
Dear business partners,
Despite various restrictions and quarantine measures, we operate as usual. Our technologies enable complete home-office for our project managers, translators, editors, DTP staff and other production team members. So, if you have any jobs in CEE languages, we are ready to help you.
You can be sure that even with further and even more restrictive measures (including complete quarantine), we will be able to operate without any restrictions and meet our obligations to our clients.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time at [email protected]. We are available on working days from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CET.
In the meanwhile stay healthy. We believe that this situation will disappear soon and everything will return back to normal.
I find this practice to be not only annoying, but also stupid. If you want to send an email to your customers who have opted-in to your mailing list, that’s one thing. But harvesting emails on the web and spamming people to say that your LSP is working like usual during this time of crisis? Chutzpah! And the chances of getting any business from these spam blasts is ZERO. Because business is slowing down in many industries anyway. Companies probably don’t have the stomach now for international expansion, especially with most countries in the western world having shut down their borders.
Should you send email blasts to your mailing list?
I am not sure that this is effective either. The whole world is engulfed in the coronavirus crisis and people are running scared for their lives. Do you think people need another reminder about the coronavirus from their LSP? Being the bearer of bad news will usually not win you any brownie points.
Using coronavirus as a selling tactic in social media
This is another variation on the email blast. Here is an example from one of the world’s largest LSPs.
In unpredictable times, #communication is key and Lionbridge can help. We're offering free #translation of internal communications to help you keep your team informed, and most importantly, safe. Visit https://t.co/q7khQ9SSPf or call +1 866-267-0437 to get started. pic.twitter.com/WOLvk51xWW
— Lionbridge (@Lionbridge) March 16, 2020
I actually think that this kind of message is much more tactful. Offering free service in times of crisis is thoughtful and cloaks the come-on in an altruistic gesture which may be appreciated by the buying public.
Here is a tweet by SDL, another very large LSP.
SDL #COVID2019 update https://t.co/fK4F90AdiR pic.twitter.com/iJUbWaOQmn
— Massimo (@mghi1234) March 17, 2020
I actually like this tweet a lot less than that of Lionbridge. Because what is the big news that SDL is announcing? That they are open for business? It’s pretty obvious that they are even without the superfluous tweet. A large company like SDL has account executives that can contact the major clients and reassure them personally. The tweet frankly looks like, in my opinion, as a way to hitchhike on a world crisis in order to drum up business.
The bottom line
Don’t use the coronavirus in your marketing efforts. It is tactless and won’t get you any new business. If you have a special offer that can truly benefit your clients in times of trouble-then pitch it. Otherwise, don’t.
Interesting article, Dave, thank you for sharing your thoughtful commentary on LSP marketing during this time. While I agree that COVID-19 shouldn’t be used as a marketing tactic, I think if companies are truly offering a specialized service to help support saving lives, email marketing in those cases makes sense. CSOFT International offers a full range of translation and localization services in over 250 languages. Our linguists have the expertise to help any company thrive during these unprecedented times. Check us out here: https://www.csoftintl.com/