Today, more than half of the world’s population is in some form of lockdown. COVID-19 has forced both big brands as well as small businesses to reevaluate their marketing budgets and strategies in order to keep staying afloat. This time of crisis has businesses of all sizes struggle to manage not just their operations, but also communications with their customers. However, amidst the crisis, the digital marketing industry seems to be the least impacted.
Out of all the digital marketing channels, email marketing continues to be the most preferred channel as it works as a direct medium to communicate with your audience and helps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on businesses. It stands out amongst other content marketing tools because when a business writes directly to you, you tend to believe that they actually mean it. Email is still the one tool that has the most potential to instill trust in your customers.
Email marketing still continues to be the preferred channel to reach the customers amidst the pandemic. Apart from Travel and Hospitality, all other industries are seeing a rise in the email marketing volume. Besides, the subscriber engagement is also at an all time high.
Take a look at the email marketing metrics as observed by different industries before the travel ban was announced and after the first and second week.
5 Ways Email Marketing Help Business during Covid-19 Pendemic
That being said, here are 5 ways that email marketing can help organizations to better manage their handling of this deep crisis:
#1. If Transparency is the Lock, Your Email is the Key
We’re living in a world of self-quarantines and social distancing. Your audience expects transparency, now more than ever. Email marketing is the most effective way to let your customers know how you’re doing in the times of the current pandemic.
Look how Pizza Hut’s response to the COVID-19 situation goes on to mitigate any fears that its customer might have by promising contactless delivery.
A proficiently created business email template is all you need. It’s enough to let your readers know how you’re dealing with the situation; it’s enough to assure them you’re there to alleviate any anxieties or concerns they might have.
#2. Keep Your Customers Abreast of Developments
You can send emails to inform your subscribers about your brand-related developments. Is an online sale coming up? Did your products go out of stock? Are you facing some delivery delays? Do you just need to send the regular shipping updates? Are you cancelling an event? Closing your business for a while?
Your customers need to be kept in the loop with everything that’s happening. The best way, of course, is through emails.
This is how CSA updated people about having to postpone their event. It’s simple, short, and straightforward – just as one would like an informative email to be.
Don’t wait for your customers to first go through an ordeal and then inform them of how sorry you are; apology emails are neither amusing to write, nor fun to read.
#3. Translate Email Marketing into Distance Marketing
You can stay in touch with your customers even if you are compelled to close down temporarily. How? By keeping the customers hooked to your simple yet informative HTML emails. With teachers giving lessons online, gyms posting workout videos, libraries going digital, you too can draw out email campaigns which offer an alternative of sorts to your services.
Asana sends out an insightful email with actionable tips to make working from home more productive and enjoyable.
Find a way for your product or service to be used from home, and let your emails get the word out!
#4. How to Bring a Smile During This Pandemic? Help them via Discounts!
A crisis like this has left little to be excited about, for people and businesses alike. Empty stores and deserted supermarkets are not the only problems. Even eCommerce businesses are suffering due to COVID-19. Emails being such powerful tools, businesses desperately need to up their marketing game. And it starts with you offering discounts!
Your custom email template could use a little cheering up, don’t you think? Offering discounts to your online-shopping subscribers is how you gain their attention and help boost your sales. Add a little something, like ‘free delivery’ on top, and you’re set! There’s no better way to continue making revenue and keep your customers retained even as your doors remain closed.
#5. Never Ever Send a Pointless Email!
What could be the death of your email marketing campaign, you ask? Sending pointless emails is the first thing that comes to mind.
How many emails does it take to acknowledge the outbreak? If your answer is any more than one, then you need a new strategy, now.
The problem is no more lack of communication, but over-communication. Inboxes are overflowing with the same information from different businesses in a language that’s only slightly different!
Don’t have any necessary information or anything compelling to share? Then, an email from you could only drown your prospects.
How Brands can do it Right?
Based on the target audience, every industry would have a different response to COVID-19. Accordingly, they would send different types of emails with a different message to their subscribers.
#1. Travel and Hospitality
Being the worst hit, the travel and hospitality industry can send out emails that would relieve the apprehension of the travelers and make booking easier for them with more liberal cancellation policies.
Here are some examples to help you out.
Travelodge has sent out an email that assures the subscriber with their flexible travel planning. They have also waived off the amend fees for Saver Rates booking until the end of 2020. This will encourage the email recipient to make a booking without getting paranoid.
#2. Food Industry
Another industry that has observed a profound effect on their operations is the food industry. People will avoid ordering or eating out due to safety issues arising due to the pandemic.
Pizza Hut (Australia) informs their subscribers about their contactless delivery to entice them to order without any worries.
#3. Ecommerce or Retail Industry
Your retail shop or online ecommerce store is bound to keep the operations going, for the essential services. Amidst these trying times, you should inform your subscribers about the measures you are taking to ensure the safety of your employees as well as the customers.
Just like many other retail or ecommerce brands, GAP has sent out an informative email that lets the subscribers know how they are executing precautionary measures in their stores. It shows the subscribers that they care for their customers and the employees as well.
#4. Non-profit Organizations
The primary objective of non-profit organizations is to drive donations in order to ensure the success of their campaigns. Their role in these times has become all the more prominent as people are struggling for food, clothing, and other essentials. They should send out engaging emails that would inspire the subscribers to join the cause.
Ketto.org has initiated a donation drive to help underprivileged people or distressed animals and sent an email urging people to do their bit.
#5. Education Industry
Companies related to the education industry should send out emails promoting virtual learning platforms or online courses to make sure that their students, faculty members, and everyone else associated with them stay healthy.
It is commendable how Coursera, an online learning platform has promoted free courses to help the students all over the world.
#6. Banking, Financial Services, and Investment (BFSI) sector
In addition to COVID-19, there’s another thing that is on the rise and that is cybercrimes and bank frauds. Therefore, the banking industry should pay special attention to the kind of emails they are sending. It would be prudent to include a disclaimer that shows the authenticity of the emails.
Solarity Credit Union extends help to their subscribers by letting them know about the services that they can avail online without stepping out of their homes.
Finally, How to Make Sure Your Emails Have the Right Reach and the Right Effect?
- Don’t let your emails go to the spam folder. The optimal time to open inbox might have changed for your home-bound subscribers now. Do some research via analytics; find out what’s the best time for your emails to be sent.
- There are chances that the more emails you send, the lesser your customers will read them. Do not bombard people with your emails. It will only water down the information you’re trying to convey.
- Similarly, the longer your emails, the lesser will they get read. Emails filled with one after another never-ending paragraph are no fun. People everywhere are anxious, stress is running high; using language that creates more panic in your audience is exactly what they don’t need. Be calm in how you write your emails, keep them simple and to the point.
Our current reality calls for businesses to stay mindful of their practices and empathetic towards people. The same approach should reflect in your emails too. Let your subscribers know what you are doing for the community, your customers, as well as employees. Strive to create a goodwill rather than capitalizing on the fear and anxiety. That’s the key to effective email marketing during these tough times.
About the Author!
Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest growing custom email template design and coding companies, and specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to Email HTML conversion and free HTML email templates in addition to providing email automation, campaign management, and data integration & migration services. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.