As the world starts to come out of its COVID-19 shell, it can be especially difficult for retailers as they seek to generate income quickly and hire staff who may have been furloughed. They may have pivoted while closed, using email marketing as a method to keep in touch with their customers about closures or service changes.

What should businesses, non-profits and retailers keep in mind when crafting their campaigns in the comeback?

Maintain a Compassionate Connection with your Subscribers

Great email marketing encourages brand loyalty and results in more people caring about your organization and services, your company and its products. However, your emails need to reflect your brand’s genuine concern for its followers too.

The COVID-19 updates may have disrupted your marketing calendar. The trick now is to navigate a sure path for marketing emails through subscribers’ heightened emotions and preoccupied minds. The more you know your subscribers, the better you’ll be at balancing compassion with continuing campaigns.

Follow Best Practices for Emails You Can Send

We’re all distracted and in disarray due to current events. Whether you’re organizing events or launching products during COVID-19, the critical ingredient in every email is empathy. Put yourself in your subscribers’ shoes: What are they going through? What will they think when they receive your email?

It’s important not to sound pushy or self-serving. You must adjust your tone and message if you want people to have a positive reaction to your marketing campaigns.

Below are three tips that’ll help improve emails you can send during this time.

1. Capture subscribers’ attention with strong but sensitive subject lines.

This local community center has a strong following so they used the same type of consistent subject line “We are still here to help”:

LRCA campaign

Moving forward, you may find yourself using similar subject lines for emails retailers can send after quarantine measures have relaxed. Here are some possibilities:

  • We’re reopening—and here’s how we’re keeping everyone safe.
  • Because we care: Daily curbside pickups and seniors-only store hours on Mondays.
  • How can we make your shopping experience safer and more comfortable?

Refocus your offers by putting customer concerns first. This will likely lead to more opens and clicks, not to mention a closer connection with your subscribers.

2. Share only relevant and actionable information.

An email to announce a physical store or community center reopening would not go unnoticed. Other welcome updates include changes in opening and closing hours, temporary adjustments to store services, or a list of daily sanitary measures.

See how the Hall of Frames pivoted and offered virtual appointments:

HOF campaign

Once non-essential retail gets the green light—possibly even before then—you may consider moderately aggressive sales campaigns targeting only your most loyal customers.

3. Keep emails quick, concise, and scannable.

In general, you have eight seconds to engage a subscriber before they get distracted and move on to another task. In reality, you likely have less time, now that everyone’s always exhausted or overwhelmed.

The Gilmour Group keep their emails simple, add an updated notice section, with a button to read more:

Gilmour campaign

Short, sectioned, and scannable content written in plain English works best. Make it as easy as possible for your subscribers to absorb the information you’re conveying.

Urge Customers to Practice Safe Habits

Of more than 2,000 U.S. adults who responded to an April 2020 survey, nearly 25% said they wouldn’t feel comfortable going to the mall to shop for the next six months. Less than 5% feel confident enough to go shopping in May, should it be possible to do so.

Contactless commerce is still the best choice, safety-wise. Curbside pickups will gain traction, as well as online purchasing and store delivery—anything that facilitates transactions while reducing foot traffic outside.

In Review

Effective and engaging email campaigns in the time of COVID-19 must be compassionate, empathetic, and sensitive. Marketing content will benefit from adopting a less aggressive and more serious tone.

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Photo by Carl Raw on Unsplash

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