5 Email Tips: How to Stay in Front During COVID-19
Market With Intent Means Be More Meaningful During Times of Uncertainty
Email marketing is a cost-effective and efficient way to communicate with your audience, especially during times of uncertainty like the COVID-19 outbreak. As you pivot your communications strategy, be sure it includes email marketing to keep your customers engaged and connected. Throughout any emergency, businesses are a pillar of strength for the community. You still have to get your message out—but do it in a sensitive and responsible way.
Sending an inspirational or helpful message can go a long way by adding an element of human touch and showing your customers you care. Reach out as news develops, send a note of thanks, share how your company is supporting the local community or offer a discount or free shipping.
Since the proliferation of mobile devices, billions of people are now walking around with email in their pocket—one of the preferred ways of receiving information, especially during this pandemic. Mobile opens account for 46% of all email opens and 99% of consumers check their email every day.
Use email marketing to communicate a message and drive recipients to a specific action like clicking on a link. During the COVID-19 outbreak, you want to be thoughtful in your messaging. Let customers know you care. Choose images and messaging with intention, being mindful of the “new normal” that includes social distancing. Remember to check in on automated emails and make sure the messaging makes sense for the current times.
Even during times of a crisis, an email marketing strategy is imperative. That’s why it’s important to follow some commonsense guidelines so that your emails aren’t seen as opportunistic during a tense time. Share the services your company is able to provide during these times. Now, more than ever, people are flocking to the Internet for news, entertainment and even an escape from quarantining. Don’t be salesy but do let your audience know what’s possible. Be the resource your community needs, now.
Here are some email marketing tips to get your message out during a time of crisis:
1. Implement COVID-19 Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing is notorious for changing quickly. But how does it shift during a crisis?
During uncertain times like the coronavirus outbreak, your strategy should include the following types of emails: announcements explaining what services are available and how customers can access them virtually. Second, share how employees are volunteering or how the company is supporting the community, as well as customers. Finally, use email marketing to drive revenue now and keep business going when recovery comes.
It’s important to think strategically and holistically and not haphazardly send emails to everyone on your email list. Share facts routinely and liberally and be sure that your messaging is consistent across your website and social media. Your customers don’t experience your brand in silos—integration across all channels is key. Together, they can drive traffic to your website, in addition to increasing social engagement, by reminding subscribers about your brand.
According to HubSpot, 35% of marketers send three to five emails per week to their customers. If the proper strategy and timing is applied, open rates are in your favor, especially when sent on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday—the days with the highest open rates. The additional clicks could equal more website traffic.
Marketing never stops. During good times and bad, email marketing is one of the most potent weapons that digital marketers have. However, the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns comes down to the relationship a business or association has with the individual that is receiving the email. Since email has become “opt in,” people are only getting your message if they want it. The more engaged a person is with your brand, the less likely he/she is to unsubscribe.
2. Utilize Email Newsletters
As one of the leading ways to engage a customer, email newsletters should be part of your digital marketing, social media and content marketing strategy. Use yours to stay in touch with your customers and increase pipeline generation.
Maintain your subscribers’ interest with ongoing email communications in a smart and savvy way. Right now, that may mean tailoring your messaging to address health and service issues related to the coronavirus. Consider promoting blog posts in an e-newsletter by producing a weekly email to showcase your best content. Or launch a series of daily bite-sized tips. Depending on your goals, there are many different email marketing templates, for newsletter design ideas, to capture and engage your audience.
People are at home and practicing social distancing, so be sure you are using the correct tone and choosing images that relate to the current situation.
3. Choose Subject Lines with Care During COVID-19
It’s the decade of animation, emojis and catchy subject lines, but during an emergency, stop selling and starting caring. Change the subject line to be thoughtful and sensitive. Take a step back and think like your audience. How can you help them? Show empathy. Your company’s tone during a crisis is crucial. Choose subject lines with care. Write your subject and first paragraph with a what’s in it for them (WIIFT) focus.
4. Send Personal Email Messages
Before sending an email, think through who you’re sending it to, why they’re getting the email and the action you want taken. Gone are the days of blanket emails. To increase response rate, you need to segment your lists so that the emails are personalized for each target audience and their unique needs.
Companies like Amazon and other retailers are personalizing their communications to the individual. The more pertinent the information is to the individual, the more likely someone is to open, read and act on it.
It is also important to review automated transactional and welcome emails to make sure the tone is accurate for the current situation, ensuring that your target audience gets the right message at the right time.
5. Develop High-Converting Email Landing Pages
Landing pages are web pages that are intended to inspire the visitor to take an action. That can include anything from registering for an event, to signing up to receive an email newsletter or blog. This is one of the most effective ways to collect email addresses, which is critical to the success of an email marketing campaign.
High-converting email landing pages tend to be visually attractive, coordinate with email marketing campaigns, establish a brand’s unique selling proposition, have social proof, include contact information, and contain a strong and single call to action. There are tools to help you build high converting landing pages including Unbounce and Instapage.
A necessary aspect of email marketing and all marketing tactics is to measure return on investment (ROI). With an ROI of 42:1, email marketing drives results like no other channel. It is a tactic that you’ll want to include as you pivot your marketing strategy and react to implications from the coronavirus.
The right email marketing software comes down to the strategy for how you’ll use email marketing in your overall communications plan. Knowing who you’re marketing to, how you’ll segment and personalize, your level of experience and what your budget is, will dictate what service you should choose.
The most basic email marketing services hold your email list and allow you to distribute emails to the list. As you become more sophisticated, you can investigate sequential email platforms and beyond to marketing automation, as I mentioned. Depending on your needs, you might need to tie your email platform to your customer relationship management (CRM) and/or ecommerce platform.
It’s preferable to start with simple email platforms, like Constant Contact and Mailchimp. Moving up to sequential and small marketing automations, look into AWeber and ActiveCampaign. These allow better control of the email sequences and broadcast capability. For full automated emails, there’s Infusionsoft and Ontraport. Next, there’s enterprise-level email marketing platforms such as Salesforce, Bronto, and Campaigner.
There’s a wide range of features and prices associated with all of these services. Therefore, having a strategy, as well as knowing your list size and need is key to getting the right service.
During the current pandemic, consumers’ patience for marketing fluff is low. What is the best response? The answer is: Send emails that announce service changes, offer charitable drives or provide good news like how you are taking care of your community, employees and customers.
Is email marketing part of your marketing plan during these unprecedented times with COVID-19? Are you able to stay in front of your customers and prospects amid social distancing? You can do it all digitally. Email is an important part. Contact us today, to get the conversation started.
Omair Siddiqui is the digital strategy specialist at CMA, a full-service communications, marketing and association management firm, which has provided its clients with award-winning and proven results for more than 30 years.