The coronavirus pandemic has rapidly changed how companies across the world operate and the tools they use to communicate with their customers.

Businesses, across a range of sectors, have had to change their working practices, shut-up shop and respond to a deluge of customer questions and concerns. Moreover, call centres and Twitter feeds are inundated and at maximum capacity and there is a risk that customers will become frustrated and worried as their enquiries go unanswered.

In these unprecedented times, perhaps, more than ever before, informative, concise and reassuring communications are key aspects in keeping customers well informed.

One way to communicate directly with your customers is through email marketing. 

Our email marketing tips and best practices  will help you get the most out of your email marketing campaigns:

1) Define your purpose 

During these challenging times email marketing should be authentic, so that it is not simply seen as advertising or a sales opportunity. Use email to maintain genuine communications with your customers, reassuring them about how they can access your product/services and responding to questions and concerns which they are likely to have. This will allow customers to have a clear understanding regarding the ways you are able to provide help.

2) Provide value

Everything you write should provide value to your customers, positioning your brand as trustworthy and helpful. The email subject line should address the customer’s ‘pain point’ and tell them what they will receive by reading the email i.e. What will they learn? What can they access for free? How can they access your brand despite being stuck at home? Use the email subject line to entice and intrigue email recipients. Upon doing this, you answer the main concerns a customer has, immediately reassuring them on what you have to offer, and obtaining their attention. 

3) Consider your language 

Whilst it is important to maintain your brand voice and messaging in all communications, during the current Covid-19 crisis, it is important to consider the appropriateness of your tone, remember that many customers are likely to be worried about the impact the virus will have on their loved ones/ work/ finances etc and that jokes or messaging which is too light-hearted may not be well received. Customers will require an assuring tone of conversation, reinforcing the idea that you are the brand they want to use. Furthermore, communication should be performed in an understanding and considering manner. 

4) Make it personal 

Make use of customer data to personalise emails and write content based on their behaviour and interests. Once your content is written, send the email from a real team member, this increases the chance of the email being opened and develops trust between you and your brand and customers. Compiling your approach to a customer as personal also highlights the welcoming and invested nature of the brand, as it emphasises the time taken to individually contact someone interested and specifically compose an email suited to the person.

5) Direct people to your website if they require more information/support 

Once you have updated your customers via email – direct people to your website where they can find out more information about your offer. If you are receiving an increased number of enquiries due to Covid-19 ensure the messaging  is positioned at the forefront of your website. Having it accessible reduces the time and effort it takes for a customer to acquire important information. 

6) Test the effectiveness and continually review and improve

A/B Testing can be used to continually monitor and improve your email marketing strategy. By testing different variables, you can use data to determine the best day and time to send out communications, to review which email subject titles are the most impactful and determine which content is the most engaging. Hubspot provides a great checklist to help you get the most out of A/B Testing.

7) Get old school!

You may be regularly communicating with customers using complex Customer Relationship Management (CRM) data and email marketing software, these are great resources, however, in these unsettling times an old-school direct email from a member of the team to your customers/ clients may be an appropriate way to reassure customers that your brand is there for them.

Astley Media have an unrivalled depth and breadth of experience when it comes to communicating with your customers. Discover more Covid-19 resources and top-tips on our website

8) Stay updated

As it is continually evolving, email marketing is changing significantly. Email marketers need to remember that it’s essential to unlearn what isn’t working, as learning more is not always the pathway to success. Be aware of what isn’t working, not bringing in new or existing customers, and avoid making those mistakes. By keeping updated you allow your brand to adapt and be open to a new email marketing strategy. 

9) Keep it short

Shorter, quicker to the point emails are more likely to land in the Primary tab. Moreover customers are more inclined to read through a shorter email. If it is too long readers will may find it become tedious as often hey only need key information that can be obtained from a brief over view. 

10) Encourage readers to reply

Email marketing opens up an opportunity for meaningful conversations with customers interested in your brand. There are three variables that should be focussed on; irresistible subject lines; an entertaining and distinctive voice and targeted content. Firstly it’s important to engage with the readers directly and offer something that stands out from the other emails they receive. Within these emails, always make sure it sounds like it came from a real person with a caring tone rather than a faceless marketing machine. This increases the interest in your email marketing campaign. By targeting content it makes it easier to create a message that resonates with your reader’s interest and needs. In addition, it makes them more likely to take up an offer, engage with you and possibly even pass it onto other potential clients.

11) Make sure your emails look clean and crisp

An engaging heading can encourage someone to open the email, however you then want to maintain the attention of the reader. In order to do this, using short paragraphs, keywords and phrases that stand out ensure your clients. The inclusion of bullet points help people to skim content and consume the vital points. Inserting images and graphics  into your email marketing strategy can illustrate your message rather than replace your content. It provides an alternative way for readers to view your content, varying from the typical written out method.