Email in the Time of Coronavirus: How to Market During COVID-19 the Empathetic Way

If you have received an email from a brand you subscribe to about Covid-19, you’re not alone. And with the constantly changing rules and regulations regarding overall business, the odds are you have received multiple emails from the same company regarding their stance and how you, the consumer, can still interact with them, the company.

So in a time where digital communication is the safest, and sometimes the only, way to communicate with customers, let’s go through a few best practices for email marketing right now.

Be Responsive, Not Reactive

In the first stages of any crisis it is normal to be reactive with your approach where decisions are made more on emotional factors, but taking a reactive approach in an evolving environment will have you always playing catchup. A responsive approach, where a business takes some time to assess the situation and how it affects the business as a whole, will help alleviate some stress on your employees and also set your business up for having a planned, strategic approach for the situation at hand. Your approach could easily change as details emerge, but as long as your approach to those changes is thought out and strategic then you are setting yourself up for success.

The Dont’s

We’ll get to the do’s in a minute, but first, we want to make sure we’re all on the same page about what mistakes to avoid. The world is in a strange place right now, so we need to be more empathetic than ever with our marketing.

  • Don’t offer promo codes using COVID-19, CORONAVIRUS, etc: This is rather insensitive and will result in backlash.
  • Don’t make light of the situation through attempted humor: People do want to smile and laugh right now, but any type of humor that makes light of the current situation will likely backfire. You can be funny, just be mindful and sensitive to the current situation.
  • Don’t price gouge if your services/products are in high demand: This goes without saying – along with being illegal in many places, price gouging is unethical and could irreparably damage your brand. 

The Do’s

  • Provide meaningful updates to your customers: Let your customers know what areas of your business have been impacted, what areas of your business are functioning normally, and where they can go for updates and information.
  • Revaluate your marketing campaigns: Do a scan of your running campaigns and make sure to remove/replace any callouts for now halted aspects of your business. At first, it might be easiest to remove content pieces or halt entire campaigns completely, but if your business is still able to support customers’ needs safely then market those goods/services to them.
  • Be mindful of heavily affected areas: If you have locations that are closed due to legislation or ordinances consider suppressing users in those areas from marketing emails or have different messaging for them.
  • Prepare for the future: If your business is unable to market consider using this time to plan future campaigns, reassess yearly goals, update/optimize existing campaigns with data-driven results, or even establish new workflows processes.

Overall market what you can to who you can, but if you can’t optimize everything you can take time to be ready to market again.