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The Alternative Board Blog

Email Marketing in the Age of COVID-19

Oct. 22, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Woman wearing a Face Mask holding a Lap Top

In spite of all the changes rocking the business landscape, experts agree that email marketing remains a consistently effective way of reaching customers. In part, this is because companies can incorporate wording that speaks to improving the lives of the target audience, even during this difficult time.

As customer needs change, so can approaches to successful email marketing. Here are tips to keep in mind:

Respect the wishes of your target audience.

This is not the time to bombard unsuspecting prospects with your sales-heavy marketing efforts. As Deluxe, an information technology and services firm, notes, businesses should “be careful to avoid aggressively marketing during the pandemic.” The focus instead should be on “crafting useful content customers will appreciate.”

This useful content can include:

  • Information on how a business is ensuring customer safety
  • Any issues affecting shipping, distribution, and/or customer service
  • Changes in business hours or location

Also, as Deluxe notes, share any news about how customers “can get support, including email, phone, social media and live chat support.”

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Pay close attention to the subject line.

Now, more than ever, recipients of email marketing messages will look at the subject line and decide immediately whether or not to read further. As we have noted before, “Don’t summarize the content or make [the message] generic.” Ideally, the subject line “should arouse curiosity, assume familiarity, and be short.”

Keep the subject line brief, no more than 50 characters (or seven words) long. Perhaps most importantly, remember that the vast majority of viewings will take place on a mobile device. Therefore, content must be mobile optimized to make sure a prospective customer can easily read the subject line (and body of the email) easily and clearly.

Be transparent.

Customers are on the lookout for any deceptive, bait-and-switch approach, so be clear and transparent in all of your communications. Don’t use your subject line to promise one thing, and then tailor the body of the email to a different or conflicting message. That will only turn customers off.

Customize content to reflect our times.

Customers want information that helps them navigate through changes in society, culture, commerce, and so on. Your email marketing message can help reflect these concerns. Position your business as a useful guide to handling changes in business resulting from the pandemic. Wherever possible, craft your message to offer guidance and data that’s useful to customers (while, of course, promoting your business as a source for future information).

Keep things personalized.

No one wants to be on the receiving end of a generic, one-size-fits-all email marketing message. Businesses that conduct due diligence—by drilling down to see what message carries the most meaning—will likely see better email open rates. Jaffe, a public relations firm, urges businesses to “send targeted emails to subgroups based on the data you capture from their browsing behavior on your website, email, preferences, and open and click rates.”

As much as possible, craft a message based on your specific buyer personas. As we have noted before, “You know the people you’re selling to, so you can reframe your message in ways that genuinely resonate with them.”

Be crystal clear with your call-to-action.

No email marketing message is complete without a distinctive call-to-action. What is it you want customers to do after reading your email? Be sure to include ways in which they can respond digitally, such as a link to a digital calendar so they can book an appointment, or to valuable content (a blog post, Whitepaper, etc.) that they can easily download. Never include attachments, because this can trigger spam alerts or simply alarm prospective customers about possible malware issues.

To learn more, check out our complimentary TAB BOSS Webinar, “Email Marketing to Drive Business.”

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Written by The Alternative Board

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