During a crisis, email can be a useful means for communicating with current and prospective customers. It’s usage throughout the Coronavirus pandemic has become so common, in fact, that the New York Times says that “businesses have flooded everyone on their email lists with Coronavirus updates, tips on stayed healthy and words of encouragement―much to people’s dismay.”

Of course, it’s important to keep your audience informed during a crisis, but this recent onslaught of inbox updates has raised some questions about the impact, efficacy, and necessity of these emails. To help your business with the appropriate next steps, we’ve compiled a list of email marketing best practices to consider throughout the coronavirus pandemic and future crises.

Act Quickly

Amid the chaos of the developing coronavirus pandemic, email may be the last thing on your mind. Nevertheless, your audience will be expecting to hear from you, especially if they rely on your products or services. Waiting too long to respond can cause your customers stress and frustration when they don’t know what to expect from your business during this time. Try to get an email out to your customers and prospects as quickly as possible.

Be Considerate and Empathetic

It’s important to be sensitive and aware of the impact this pandemic has on the world and your audience. Even if your brand voice is normally fun, upbeat, or silly, you’ll want to take a serious approach in your emails during a crisis.

You’ll also want to consider the reasons as to why you’re sending the email to begin with. Your audience is likely savvy enough to pick up on emails that are sent just for the sole purpose of sending an email. For example, don’t send an email simply to express solidarity. “Yes, we're all in this together,” Inc magazine says, “but it comes off as opportunistic if you're obviously trying to use the national crisis to build rapport, in the hope that you'll be remembered fondly once the crisis is over.

Communicate the Actions You’re Taking

Every business―essential and nonessential―is impacted by the coronavirus in some way. It’s crucial to communicate to your customers, prospects, and community what’s changed.

Consider addressing the following questions in your email marketing communication:

  • Have your hours of operation changed?
  • Has the coronavirus affected your abilities to deliver your products or services and how so?
  • What measures are you taking to keep your workplace clean?
  • What measures are you taking to keep your customers and staff safe?
  • Will you continue to pay or provide benefits to your workers?
  • How can customers get in contact with you?
  • Where can customers find the latest updates about how you’re handling the crisis?

Don’t Take Advantage of the Situation

Nothing can harm your brand reputation quite like the inclination that you’re taking advantage of the current situation. If your business offers an essential product or service, such as materials to make ventilators or work-from-home capabilities, don’t use this time to capitalize on the current market by marking up prices. In addition, businesses should avoid sending any emails that contain a sales pitch or asking customers for a payment.

With mass layoffs occurring across the country and the number of COVID-19 cases growing every day, businesses that put helping others before profit will connect with their audience on a deeper level. If your business has the ability to truly help your audience during a crisis, consider:

  • Setting up a relief fund to help those affected by the crisis.
  • Creating educational content that will help your audience navigate the crisis.
  • Offer discounts or giveaways.

Review Your Current Email Campaigns

In addition to communicating your COVID-19 response to your customers, now is also a good time to review any automated email marketing campaigns you currently have running. Email campaigns that might have been perfectly fine to send before may be irrelevant or insensitive to your customers now. You don’t want a mishap like Spirit Airlines, who emailed customers with the subject line, “Never A Better Time To Fly,” while public health and government officials are urging people to stay at home.

It’s important to show that your brand isn’t blind to the current global crisis. Review your current email campaigns to ensure they are relevant to your customer’s needs amid COVID-19 and consider pausing or revising or any campaigns that are no longer “business as usual.”

Adjust Communications as Needed

It’s important to stay abreast as the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop and new government orders are enacted in different states. Stay in touch with your audience throughout the crisis, and keep them updated as you adjust your policies accordingly.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused plenty of unexpected challenges for businesses and determining the best response through email can be more time-consuming than expected. Need a hand? Aztek is here to help businesses navigate through COVID-19. Contact us today to learn more.

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