A Guide to Email Marketing During COVID-19
With the COVID-19 pandemic changing consumer lifestyles and spending patterns for the foreseeable future, brands will have to re-strategize to deal with this new normal. Businesses of all sizes – corporations, small businesses, and start-ups – must find new ways of staying afloat to manage operations and communications as effectively as before. With budgets getting reallocated and company priorities shifting accordingly, marketing professionals can adapt nimbly to these changes by learning how to communicate sensitively during times of similar crisis.
With many parts of the world experiencing varying levels of economic recession, email marketing has proven to be one of the highest ROI digital channels. A way of keeping your communication lines open at low cost, emails can help create a new sense of normalcy by directly assisting not only your clients and customers, but also your employees. This blog post will demonstrate how email marketing should play a major part in your marketing and communication strategies for the road ahead.
Tailor Email Messages Carefully
“It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” – This saying could not have a stronger bearing on marketing messages in these uncertain times. Any copy and messaging made now will be perceived very differently than they were before this crisis. So, we must be sensitive to our current reality. Here are some vital tips to keep in mind when writing email messages:
- Do not simply suggest that what you provide is essential to your customer’s needs. While we may have promoted our services or products as a critical part of everyday life before, new circumstances post-COVID-19 have changed how people would define “essential”.
- Take care that your message actually empathizes with your audience. Relevancy matters if you want your emails opened and read. Use sensitive language to address customer’s pain points and don’t insert discount codes or promotional sales that take advantage of the crisis.
- Avoid messaging that implies urgency such as sell-out risk. Don’t instil any more fear or feelings of uncertainty in your customers, but don’t act as if everything is okay either. Strike a balance.
Revise Email Content Where Necessary
While updates on COVID-19 are important, you will need to consider the relevant type of content that will engage your subscribers to hopefully purchase your products. For the coming months, your brand must be prepared to adjust its focus accordingly.
- Try to avoid promoting individual products that could possibly be out of stock.
- Consider whether having a sale would appeal to your audience. Do remember that people will think twice about the necessity of your product or service during times of crisis, regardless of how enticing the sale is. And, massive discounts at this point in time may damage your brand in the long run as it might influence your customers to only buy your product/service when you have big promotions.
- How should you announce that a new range of products or services is coming? If you have invested in email marketing services, create a spaced-out release schedule. By informing subscribers of new and exciting things to look forward to, this strategy has the additional benefit of distributed revenue over a longer period of time.
- Depending on the type of product you’re offering, avoid images that feature large groups of people.
- Don’t forget to update your online messaging system to include your new clients or subscribers. As many of your customers transition to online shopping during this time and may be new to your products or services, ask them through a quick survey if your onboarding experience relays necessary information and trust with your company.
Assess the Right Timings to Send Emails
With work-from-home scenarios reshaping work culture and thus influencing when people are shopping online, previous schedules are no longer optimal, so consider how this will impact email timing.
- Test what send time works right now. With subscribers stuck mostly at home, the previous send times your system followed may not be the optimal times to send at the moment. Keep in mind, however, that any testing you do now will likely need to be re-visited once people can return to their normal routines.
- Insert product replenishment triggers. Consider how the shift to confinement at home is impacting how quickly customers are using your product. How will the rate of usage impact trigger timing and follow up?
Communicate Delays Transparently
Normally after a big sale, you would notify your customers of shipping delays or out-of-stock products. This is to be expected as standard procedure and right now is no different. Like with any disruptions in the supply chain, notify your subscribers upfront of any anticipated issues so they can plan for it.
- Communicate potential delays or inventory issues on-site before customers complete the purchase. By notifying customers early, you’re building trust for a potentially long-term relationship. If you wait until after the purchase is made to inform customers of any delivery issues, they won’t have a great experience and will not be inclined to come back for additional purchases down the road.
- After the purchase, automate order confirmation emails to mention delays where applicable. Be sure you have email notifications going out with every shipping update so that customers can know when their product is getting closer.
What’s in A Subject Line – COVID-19 or Coronavirus?
Brands that are mindful and empathetic of this current state of affairs will fare far better in the long term. But, there is still something significant to consider when sending out your emails: whether to use COVID-19 or Coronavirus in your Subject Line.
If you’re an email marketer, Subject Lines are one, if not THE, most important part of an email. Get them right and you’re one step closer to acquiring a potential customer. Get them wrong and you may well risk reducing the lifetime value you serve for your customers. For right now, it is worth either consulting with an email marketing database or testing your Subject Lines to see which term has the better open rate.
Keeping in mind that the ability to retain your clients or customers as you go forward will not be easy, marketers must remember that different individuals will react differently during times of crisis. By showing your concern and providing the RIGHT kind of message, your brand will ride out this wave and hopefully reap the benefits of a better tomorrow.
Where You Can Get the Right Help
Do you want your business to grow its subscriber base and build more personal relationships with customers? With the disruption caused by COVID-19, figuring out a way to empower your marketing strategies in the new normal may be difficult. Perhaps using a marketing automation platform like elfoMAP could be the best way forward. Email marketing can be made easier with the right suite of design and support functions.