What You Need to Know About Email Marketing During COVID-19

Inboxes are still flooded with emails as companies try to stay top of mind with customers amidst the coronavirus pandemic. But with so much noise, how can brands use email marketing to reach customers in a thoughtful and meaningful way?

Ask yourself the following to guide your approach to email in the age of COVID-19:  

3 Questions to Ask Before Sending an Email to Customers

Are there any immediate needs, and if so, who needs to know? 
Check your customer care inquiries, social channels and website engagement to see what your audience needs right now. 

Needs might include information about reopening, changes to store hours or even the implementation of safety procedures with a direct customer impact. Scrutinize who needs this information and keep the message as simple as possible.

Email segmentation is the best way to ensure the right message is reaching the right audience, so use it to your advantage and personalize your communication for each recipient based on past purchases, website activity, location, etc. 

Bottom line: respect your audience’s inboxes and only share what they need to know when they need to know it. It’s okay if that means you may not have an email to send right now.  

Are you listening to the data?
Mass email sends with low open and click-through rates can tarnish your brand over time and send a flag to email service providers that your content is potentially spam. 

To ensure you are getting the most out of each email update to your audience, use past email campaign results to identify which types of content recipients aren’t engaging with and create strategies to reactivate. Some ideas include:  

  • A/B subject line testing 
  • “Win-back” campaigns acknowledging the recipient hasn’t opened your emails in a while 
  • Reminding customers to update their email subscription preferences so they can control frequency
  • Customer surveys to identify what topics and information is helpful right now 

Are you approaching your communication with empathy?
While last on the list, this is the most important question to ask yourself when evaluating your email marketing strategy during COVID-19. Right now, when we are less connected physically, there’s an even greater need to understand each other.  

For this reason, it’s important that you take the time to understand your customer’s mindsetAcknowledge – but don’t harp on – the unusual circumstances of this new “normal” that we’re all facing. Authenticity goes a long way when communicating about your brand, but it’s especially critical now.  

As unemployment rates reach all-time records, be mindful of the tough circumstances that some individuals are facing. It’s not a time to push your product or service and risk coming across as tone-deaf. Consider giving recipients the option to pause their email subscription or at least ask if they find the content relevant and helpful right now.   

During this time, it’s more important than ever to communicate with each person as just that, instead of simply viewing as your “audience.”   We hope that you can use these tips to structure a successful email marketing strategy as we all navigate these uncertain times.