The COVID-19 outbreak has forced every small business that uses email marketing to rethink its approach. With so many people being bombarded with emails about the current situation, every business needs to tread carefully to make sure they’re communicating appropriately during these unprecedented times.
Sending the right email messages is a challenge for any business, especially in a fast-changing situation, but there are some best practices that every business should follow. This guide looks at how your small business should adopt its messaging to protect your reputation and keep customers on your side.
If your business, products, or services are affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, it’s probably safe to send an email related to the current situation. However, in no way should you be seen as opportunistic. Here are a few reasons why you might need to send a COVID-19-related email:
Before you send anything, clean your email list. Remove subscribers who haven’t engaged with your content for a few months, but first, give them the option to remain on your list. Then, send new email content only to the more engaged subscribers. This will improve your open rates and avoid high spam complaint rates.
Give your audience the information they need before they ask for it. This will not only show that you’re thinking of them, but it will also prevent your customer service team from having to answer the same questions over and over again.
Provide updates such as stock levels, operating hours, contact details, and online delivery options. Be ready to respond to any new COVID-19 developments to keep your customers in the loop.
There are certain words that sound insensitive during this time, such as “hurry,” “urgent,” “viral,” or “spread.” Even if you’re using these words in a different context, they shouldn’t appear in any copy, especially in subject lines. Emojis such as hugs, kisses, high fives, and handshakes are also inappropriate.
COVID-19 shouldn’t be seen as a marketing opportunity. If people think you’re using the situation for financial gain, you could quickly lose subscribers. Instead, take the opportunity to send your subscribers useful, supportive, and inspirational content. Many people are struggling with the situation, so a little empathy will go a long way.
Now is the time to check every scheduled email to ensure it is relevant and necessary. It’s easy to forget about automated emails, but any message that comes across as insensitive could seriously harm your brand. Check your transactional messages, order confirmations, and post-purchase emails to ensure they contain appropriate copy and visuals. Cancel or pause any campaigns that seem insensitive.
While your normal style of language might be fun and friendly, during these times, you can safely show your serious side. Now isn’t the time to try to be funny – it could backfire. Instead, use a positive, calm tone alongside optimistic and helpful content.
Supportive content will be much more appreciated than sales messages. Look at ways that you can help your customers without asking for anything in return. For example:
Most people are taking on board a lot more information at this time, so they won’t want to read lengthy emails. Clear formatting will help people skim your emails if they don’t have the time or energy to read every single word. Use large titles, subheadings, short paragraphs, and bullet points to get your message across clearly and concisely.
Finally, it’s a good idea to ask your subscribers exactly what they want to hear from you. This way, you can make sure you’re delivering more useful, engaging content. You could also give people the option to update their email frequency preferences or pause certain messages for a while.
If you’re finding email marketing a challenge during the COVID-19 outbreak, you’re not alone. Many small businesses are struggling to find the right balance between delivering relevant content and being too intrusive. However, if you follow these guidelines, you can make sure you deliver more helpful, appropriate email messages to your audience and keep your reputation intact for the foreseeable future.