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Email marketing in a time of crisis

June 29 - 2020

Email Marketing Content 5 min read

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A month ago, we knew what Covid-19 was but little did we know quite how big the sucker punch it would land on our daily lives would be.Huge swathes of businesses have been left reeling and, at the time of writing this, there is still a huge degree of uncertainty about what happens next. When will the lockdown end? Will the economy recover? When will consumers have the confidence to start spending again? They are unknowns with large question marks by them and, while it's hard not to worry about them, they are mostly out of our control.That's why it's time to turn our collective energy to the things we can control. To carry on with the boxing analogy - and to quote Philadelphia's finest son, Rocky Balboa - "it's not about how hard you can hit, it's about hard you can get hit and keep moving forward." Already, we're seeing businesses pick themselves up off the canvas. They are diversifying, pivoting and helping their customers through these unprecedented challenges. They are fighting to survive in a time of crisis and, as John Hudson, MOD Chief Survival Instructor, says: "Survival reminds us that if something is difficult then we have two choices; try harder or stop trying. Stopping trying normally means dying." Right now, effective communication is something you can control and email marketing is one of the most effective ways to get information to your most important customers. Here's our advice on what you should be doing with your email marketing in the days and weeks ahead:

1. Strike the right tone

If you haven't done so already, pause your automated campaigns which may come across as being insensitive to your subscribers. Inappropriate messaging in a time of crisis can cause significant brand damage. You don't have to completely stop promotional emails right now but you do need to strike the right tone. This means showing empathy, compassion, and being human.  

2. Help your customers

The extension of the above is to help your customers. Now is the time for you to be there for them. People are scared and dealing with a situation none of us have ever faced before.  When we come through this, consumers are going to remember the brands who had their backs when times were tough and they'll reward them for it. So, instead of your email marketing focusing on sales and promotions (although for some businesses this may be appropriate), why not use it as an opportunity to give value back to your customers? A great example is fitness clothing brands creating home workouts for their customers and sharing them on their social channels and in their email campaigns. A new pair of sports trainers aren't going to be a priority right now but ways to workout at home for the fitness fanatics definitely will be. Ask yourself what your customers need right now and then identify the ways you can give it to them.

3. Communicate what's happening with your business

Many of you out there will have done this already but, if you haven't, we recommend you let your customers know exactly how you have been affected by the current situation and how it will affect them - if you need to. Be open, honest, and transparent. There's been an inbox bombardment from 'well meaning' CEOs the world over many of which essentially say the same thing. A lot of these emails haven't been necessary. However, emails showing compassion and empathy, and with the human touch, will always stand out. Equally, if there has been disruption to your business, it's vital you keep your customers in the loop.

4. Don't be scared of regular updates.

This is a dynamic situation that's moving quickly and changing on a daily basis. As we mentioned previously, many businesses are starting to diversify and pivot. High-end restaurants are reinventing themselves as takeawars, cafes are selling fresh produce, personal trainers are running virtual classes, drink companies are making hand sanitiser...the list goes on. If you're changing your business model, keep your customers updated and let them know what the latest is.

5. Prepare to hit the ground running

Without wanting to downplay the severity of the situation, even the worst storms will pass and, with careful navigation of the tumultuous and unpredictable waters, a course can be plotted to ensure you navigate your way through these most challenging of circumstances...and be in a position to hit the ground running when we make it through the otherside. There will be a bounce back and - now we're starting to move out of the panic stage - it's important you think of what your bounce back is going to look like and how you're going to communicate it to your customers.Email is immediate, it's effective, and it reaches people. Used well, it can be one of the most powerful tools at your disposal as we navigate our way through this tricky time. We're here for you and if you need help or advice on what you should be doing with your email marketing through COVID-19, get in touch and we will support you as best we can.

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