Over the past week in the U.S., brands have scrambled to put together messaging regarding their response to COVID-19. Marketers, corporate communications teams, and company leaders are in new territory and it’s a delicate balance between sharing and oversharing.
Email is an excellent way to reach your audience about what you’re doing as a brand. It’s a trusted channel of communication with your audience as they’ve already opted-in to receiving messages from you. You’re able to reach your audience instantly and be direct in your tone, person-to-person. And that’s why so many brands are relying on email as the channel to communicate serious news right now.
Do you really need to send another email? It’s possible that your audience isn’t looking for an update from you. Or perhaps a social post would suffice. Gartner has a thoughtful post about this topic, and I loved the questions they proposed in thinking through communications right now:
Launch your COVID-19-themed marketing email campaign only if you can answer yes to these four questions:
- Am I telling customers something different from other brands versus saying the same thing as everyone else?
- Am I telling customers something they don’t already expect of my company or brand?
- Is the WIIFM (“what’s in it for me?”) conspicuous in the subject line and opening paragraph?
- And, most importantly, is the WIIFM (“what’s in it for me?”) attuned to your customers needs right now?
Beware of Virtue Signaling or Outright Greed in Brand Communications About COVID-19, Gartner, March 2020
You don’t need to send an email just because everyone else is doing it. But if you meet Gartner’s criteria above, and you still think that yes, you need to continue the conversation with an email, here are some additional considerations:
- Segment your list when possible. Sending a very large campaign to email addresses that are not normally engaged or have not received messages in a long time poses a risk to your sending reputation and may prohibit the campaign from being properly delivered. So whether you segment by time since last email opened, type of customer, or location, think of ways to whittle your recipient list.
- Highlight the good. Waiving flight change fees? Great. Covering expedited shipping? Awesome. Flexible return policies? Yes. Try to connect with subscribers and limit their burden when possible.
- Pare down your text until you have a concise message. This is not the time to be exhaustive if you can help it. If you have a long message that needs to be communicated, perhaps link out to a press release or blog post. We really liked this example from Movable Ink. Right now, your subscribers have an influx of emails, many sharing the same information. Make it short and sweet!
- Reach out to your partners for help. We’re happy to talk through considerations, especially with clients who have a need to contact inactive email addresses. And a second opinion might help back up your thinking to your leadership team who is feeling the pressure to get communications out the door.
It’s a busy and hectic time for many of our clients and partners. We’re here to help in any way that we can.
Why no one is reading your coronavirus emails, CNN, March 2020
Category: Emergency Emails, Really Good Emails, 2020
Security News This Week: Elite Hackers Are Using Coronavirus Emails to Set Traps, Wired, March 2020
Brittany Luebke is a Content Marketing Strategist at Cheetah Digital. You can find her writing through our corporate social media channels, so follow Cheetah Digital on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. She has worked with email marketing programs since 2007, and her work has won awards from dotComm, Hermes Creative, and MarCom, as well as recognition from Really Good Emails.