How Marketers Are Shifting Their Email Tactics in a COVID-19 World

With people stuck in their homes and staying away from retail, marketing departments are avoiding failures by adapting their messages to the times.

Email marketing is a fundamental tool for associations and other organizations. It’s even more important now, as many other marketing routes have been pushed aside amid the coronavirus crisis.

The adjustment can be awkward, and some are struggling with it. But others have risen to the challenge and seen their messaging shine during a strange time. A few examples of what that might look like:

Writing personal letters to customers. Campaign Monitor notes that many organizations, from tech startups to food companies to retailers, have sent messages describing changes to their business operations in response to the crisis. Some messages come from CEOs and other high-profile leaders, assuring customers that the company is there to help.  One example cited by Forbes is from the investing firm Charles Schwab: “With so much uncertainty in the financial markets and concerns about COVID-19, investing for the future may seem more complicated than ever,” the letter stated. “Please know that every one of us at Schwab is committed to helping you meet your long-term investing goals.”

(via Campaign Monitor)

Highlighting examples of social distancing. Many firms are reinforcing the importance of social distancing. Walgreens, for example, created a message with engaging graphics to communicate that health, cleaning, and grocery items are available through its drive-thrus. “It’s been encouraging to see how companies accommodate social distancing guidelines while also facilitating purchases,” Campaign Monitor’s Jared Evers wrote in a post on its blog. A few other good examples can be seen on the site Really Good Emails.

(via Campaign Monitor)

Offering relevant suggestions. Many companies are selling products or offering services that are specifically useful now, given that everyone is stuck at home. Apple, for example, highlighted software offerings that support in-home learning, exercise, meditation, and video chat. Lowe’s, meanwhile, suggested products useful for doing craft projects with the family.

Sending fewer, but more impactful, messages. Email marketers are shifting their campaign strategies to send fewer messages overall, says the email marketing firm Yes Marketing, which reported that from March 1 to March 26, email sends declined by 56 percent. “This is a starting point as to the impact that COVID-19/Coronavirus has had on the email industry,” the firm’s senior analyst, Kris Sakaluk, said in comments to Email Insider. The firm noted that open rates overall are down—except for coronavirus-related messages, which are slightly up. A separate study from the firm Validity found that 1 in 15 messages sent now mentions COVID-19.

(Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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