The first quarter of the year 2020 gripped the world with a pandemic that forced people to maintain social distance and brought various industries to a standstill. Focusing on the positives from this grave situation, many marketers understood the value of digital marketing and are tapping into innovative ways to engage with their clients. While people are spending more time on social media, email remains the right choice when it comes to selective communication and reachability.
A pandemic or a global crisis may impact your business directly or indirectly. Times like these need you to make minor changes to your email marketing strategies to better converse with your subscribers. This article is aimed at preparing you to create a bullet-proof email marketing practice that is adapted for this as well as any future global crisis.
How to Prepare Your Crisis-Management Email Marketing?
Before you begin reaching out to your customers and prospects, it is crucial to take a step back and analyze whether you are prepared enough to tackle email marketing during a crisis? You shall be faced with multiple challenges such as low workforce, delay in email template productions, dwindling budgets, lack of communication, etc. Some of the things to consider while planning your crisis-management email marketing are:
Clear Internal Communication: With people being advised to stay indoors and working from home, productivity & efficiency may take a hit. The first step during crisis-management would be to ensure clear internal communication between different departments and update the team on the changing scenario. Keep complete transparency with every team member.
Inventory Management: Shopping may not be on the customer’s mind, at this moment, unless you provide essentials and emergency resources. Moreover, supply and demand will change. Take a census of your current inventory and provide real-time status of products on your website.
Re-consider your strategy: The short goals from an email campaign will change when crisis strikes. Think from your customers’ point of view and make the necessary alterations to your marketing strategy. Focus on maintaining or improving open rates. Don’t stop lead generation activities. Just because your customer doesn’t visit your page with an intention for purchase doesn’t mean you should neglect them.
Cost Management: Desperate times need desperate measures. To sustain your business in times of crisis, you should be able to manage your running costs. While certain expenses are unavoidable, focus on the scalability of your email marketing to accommodate the inflating costs.
Crisis Time Email Marketing Best Practices
Assuming your team is prepared for email marketing, you need to follow certain best practices while sending emails during a crisis.
Recheck your communication: Words have the power to influence people. During times of crisis, panic might misconstrue what you intend to convey and create a negative impression. Don’t use the crisis as a marketing opportunity and avoid sharing any news-related to it, unless you are deemed an expert, or you are sharing useful information. Consider these few points before you hit send on the email campaign:
- What emotion strikes in you when you read your email?
- Would this sound right if I said this to someone face to face?
- Would reading this email be a priority for me?
- Are your customers willing to take action had you sent this email some other time?
Be sensitive: Life may not be the same for most people, and this would impact their psychology. While sales are the end-results, let it sit back for a while. Instead, focus on building your brand as someone who is caring about its customers. Avoid any insensitive words that might trigger wrong emotions.
Be prepared for low engagement and high distractions: While people are struggling to get access to basic necessities, their attention span will be severely impacted. Keep your email copy short and insightful and also easy for scanning. Be selective about your email sending frequency to counter low engagement.
Focus on the actives: As stated earlier, overall low engagement rates mean that there is no point in sending re-engagement emails. Instead, focus on segmenting the most active from the rest and send emails to them to maintain your email deliverability.
Be Inbound: As people are restricted to their homes, there is a surge in internet traffic worldwide. Leverage this opportunity to adopt inbound marketing. Additionally, emails are an integral part of inbound marketing and help you tap into new potentials.
Build your database: While the number of promotional emails may be reduced, you can still promise better responsive HTML email Templates in the future. Focus on building your email list by providing value addition and useful tips. Set up a simple sign-up process at multiple touchpoints for better lead capturing.
How to Build Trust Using Emails
Be available in real-time:Paranoia dominates during a crisis, and you need to thwart it by providing real-time updates on an urgent basis. This could be as simple as notifying your operating hours or as detailed as the availability of different products. Any delay in this can be deemed as carelessness.
Explain your future action plan: Show that you care for your customers and the safety of the community. List out the steps you are taking to:
- Ensure the safety of your staff
- Provide non-compromised services
- Open up different channels to contact you
- Manage operation time
- Give back to the community in the form of the charity drive, discount, or free trials of your products, helping people in crisis
Be short and precise: Write email subject lines that give an overview of what the email is about. Long email copy would tire the subscriber, hence keep the email copy short or divide it into smaller chunks with bullets or separate segments.
While no one can predict what the future holds, you can still prepare for it. Have a clearly defined communication strategy in place. Train your staff to be flexible and scalable as per the wants of the time. Have a cache of helpful and educating content by your side to engage your customers when there is no sales opportunity. Encourage innovation and periodically conduct mock drills to brainstorm on unique solutions to different types of problems you may face in times of crisis.