What to do and what to avoid when it comes to connecting with your audience during the current public health crisis.
Have you been flooded with emails from what feels like every place you’ve ever bought a cookie?
To be sure, some of the correspondence is welcome and quite helpful. It’s your favorite Italian restaurant letting you know they remain open for takeout and delivery or the travel company sending you information on how to easily cancel your upcoming trip to Spain.
If your product or services are affected by COVID-19, then your customers would probably appreciate an email update, according to Campaign Monitor.
The somewhat less helpful is what Fast Company called the “Brand Friend”—“This is where brands who have built a direct line of communication with customers feel obligated to at least acknowledge the situation, even if it’s just to say hi with a ‘We’re all in this together’ drum-circle vibe.”
The third category are the ones marketing experts say can easily alienate recipients: emails that don’t impart anything of value, are basically a rehash of what folks already know about the pandemic, and feel almost like a cheap attempt at driving engagement.
“Be helpful, relevant, informative, constructively distracting, or authentically compassionate,” Ryan Ku, head of strategy and brand innovation at Eleven, said in Fast Company.
“Recipients are hungry for something new,” says Jay Schwedelson, president and CEO of Worldata, according to MediaPost.
Consider Your Audience
To the dozens of companies that have sent out COVID-19 emails to their “communities”, I haven’t read a single one of your emails.
However, it’s been a great reminder of all of the email lists that I need to unsubscribe to.
So, thank you.
— Parker Ehret (@parkerehret) March 15, 2020
Another thing to keep in mind at this time? Cancel any campaigns that simply don’t make sense given current government recommendations about social distancing and travel. An example of why this matters: Spirit Airlines sent out the prescheduled email “Never A Better Time To Fly” right as COVID-19 was upgraded to a pandemic.
So, what should you be doing? Offer resources for your community, like free livestream yoga or meditation classes, or organize food dropoffs to the people who cannot leave their homes.
Above all, be generous. “That’s what people will remember when this is over,” Reuben Turner, co-founder of the Good Agency, told The Drum.