“Nothing is constant except change.“
What you may have taken for granted months ago has become vital today. Consumer perception and behavior have severely altered as people experienced various emotional ups and downs during this pandemic.
The pandemic has affected the global economy severely, and confusion ensued. Thanks to the timely response and the ability for personalization, email was the preferred crisis management tool for most brands. Email sends increased up to 19% from February, and the open rates gradually increased to 20% in April (Source). These numbers are an indication that people were anxious to know about the changes implemented and that they trusted email communication.
Here are some key email marketing strategies that can help you connect with your customers as the world returns to a new normalcy.
Determining the goal is more essential than ever
Send an email only if necessary. Most brands may be tempted to send regular updates because their competition is doing so. Even though emails are performing well, people have already been sent emails from every single company they may have interacted with in their entire history.
Before you plan your next campaign, contemplate the purpose of the email.
Does your email communicate any of the following?
- Updates or cancellations of any promotion or event
- Critical information about how your customers can avail or access your services remotely
- Precautions to take when visiting your shop or institute to avoid contagion
- Status of their orders
- The next step you are taking to bring back the normalcy in your business
Unless you have a legitimate purpose for sending the email, kindly refrain from sending it. The repercussions from sending an unnecessary email can damage your brand reputation.
Reassurance is key
As the curve is gradually flattening, things are returning to normal, but the brands cannot return to their standard email campaigns during the transition. Email communication during the pandemic needs to reduce anxiety and remind consumers that they can engage with your brand and products safely and securely. Irrespective of what your brand personality is, your email copy should generate a sense of reassurance to your subscribers using a calm and objective tone. Make your subscribers realize that there is an actual human managing your email campaigns, and when you succeed in doing so, people will perceive your brand as more humane. This helps you build meaningful relationships in the long run.
In the following example, Divvy took the opportunity to send a helpful email newsletter that lists out resources to help their customers tackle pandemic stress.
(Source: Really Good Emails)
Actions speak louder than words
Brands have been infamous for sending the ‘we are there for you’ emails when the pandemic started. However, people want action rather than mere words when it comes to suppressing anxiety. List the steps you have taken to curb the spread of infection or make the brand interaction easier for your customer. This is especially important for those in the hospitality, tourism, banking, and retail industry. These industries have been the most affected by lack of footfall and need strategies to get back on their feet.
One such example is demonstrated by American Airlines. They featured a video from their CEO that lists out the different steps they have taken to be prepared for the time when the pandemic ends. The video gives a face to the brand and makes the customer relate to the email. It ensures that the engagement of the email is high.
(Source: Really Good Emails)
Better segmentation is the need of the hour
During the pandemic, people’s priorities changed, and there has been a significant change in their expectations from emails they receive. You need to review the past email campaigns and study the metrics to gauge key subscribers’ activity level. Based on the responses and activity level, you may have to redefine your segmentation categories to serve the right information better.
These are testing times, and customer behavior might be difficult to predict. Yet, taking your time to audit your past campaign performances and making appropriate corrections to your future campaigns will ensure you strengthen your brand reputation and build your customer trust and level of engagement.
Chris Donald is the Director of InboxArmy, a professional email marketing agency that specializes in providing email marketing services from production to deployment. He has worked directly with Fortune 500 companies, retail giants, nonprofits, SMBs and government bodies in all facets of their email marketing services and marketing automation programs for almost two decades. Chris’s successful track record covers building email programs at competitive email marketing pricing and using data-driven strategies to turn around underperforming accounts.