As COVID-19 sends the world into lockdown, businesses are facing unprecedented challenges. The coronavirus crisis is changing consumers’ behaviours and buying habits, which means marketers need to re-evaluate their strategies.
During the current climate, some companies might consider cutting their marketing budget, or even putting their marketing on hold altogether. However, keeping in touch with customers now is more important than ever.
Out of sight = out of mind. By getting your brand in front of your audience during this time, you can make sure that you’re there when they need you (whether that’s during the crisis, or after it’s all over).
The importance of email marketing during the coronavirus crisis
When you’re facing unpredictable situations like the current COVID-19 pandemic, it can be hard to know what you should be saying to your subscribers, but now isn’t the time to stop talking to your customers.
Digital interactions, especially through email, are essential for maintaining customer relationships.
Businesses are being forced to quickly adapt to daily changes, and they’re turning to email to keep customers informed and build trust. Community is crucial at a time like this, and email marketing is a powerful tool in building and maintaining those connections with your customers. However, brands run the risk of damaging their reputation by “marketing as usual” during uncertain times – so how can you make sure you get it right?
Best practices for email marketing during a crisis
To help you keep your customers engaged and build trust during the current crisis, we’ve put together some tips you can follow to ensure you’re reaching out to your customers in the best way possible.
Don’t stop talking to your customers
Putting your emails on hold might seem like a good idea right now, but it can actually have a negative impact on your email deliverability if you stop sending altogether, and then start sending loads of emails again when situations change. It’s much better to adjust your content and sending frequency as needed.
You might worry about saying the wrong thing to your subscribers, or whether they want to hear from you at all, but it’s important that you don’t stop talking to them. Stopping your emails altogether can make your audience feel forgotten about or uncared for. Just because people might not be buying from you as often doesn’t mean they’ve disappeared.
Keep your customers in the loop
During this uncertain time, it’s crucial to be transparent with your customers.
As government advice changes over the next few weeks and months, there will probably be necessary information that you need to send to your customers. These include updates about how your opening hours, deliveries, orders, and business processes are being affected.
Support over sales
Put yourself in your subscribers’ shoes. Think about how they might be feeling and what type of messages they want to receive.
Your subscribers won’t appreciate brands who thoughtlessly promote products and services that aren’t needed. Instead, it’s important to show some empathy and support during this frightening situation.
Focus on your existing customers
It’s cheaper to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one. Especially in the current climate where spending has significantly slowed.
Delivering a positive customer experience throughout the crisis will encourage your customers to remain loyal.
You need to stay in touch with your customers, even if they’re not going to be buying anything from you at the moment. Customer loyalty goes a long way. If you treat your subscribers well and provide them with a positive experience throughout the crisis, they’ll be keen to return as soon as they can.
Provide relevant, useful information
It’s important that you provide valuable content with a sensitive tone to keep your customers engaged. Right now, your subscribers want security, authenticity, and positivity. Don’t try to take advantage of the situation, be mindful of what your audience wants to receive. How are they feeling right now? How can you help them with your product or service? Are they working from home?
Email is a valuable channel for connecting with your customers on a personal level, so use this time to show them you care and assure them you’re here for them.
Double-check your automated campaigns
Do you have any email automation programs running in the background? Don’t forget to check these messages. They might have previously resonated with your audiences, but during the current crisis, they might come across as insensitive or irrelevant. Make changes to the content where necessary, and consider pausing any emails that might appear too salesy.
Target the right people with segmentation
The more we know our customers, the better marketers we can be – and that’s where segmentation comes into play.
Segmenting your contact lists will help you deliver relevant and valuable information to the right subscribers. People are receiving a lot of emails at the moment, and not everyone on your list might want to receive updates about how your company is dealing with the current events. You want to make sure that your messages resonate and they’re not capitalising on the crisis.
If you already segment your database, then great! But look for changes in subscriber behaviour. Monitor your campaign reports to see who’s still engaging and who isn’t. This way, you’ll be able to create segments of your most valuable customers who genuinely want to hear from you.
Watch now: 5 Dos & Don’ts for Keeping Your Customers Engaged During A Crisis
If you’d like some more tips and ideas for adjusting your marketing strategy during a crisis, you can watch our free webinar recording. We teamed up with our friends from digital agency WMG to share the dos and don’ts for communicating with your audience in uncertain times, along with some of our favourite examples of brands that have mastered the art of personal and empathetic marketing.
Conclusion: Put your customers first
It’s a time of uncertainty for businesses and marketers, but it’s important to keep communicating with your audience. With people now spending the majority of their time online, it’s a good opportunity to deliver a positive customer experience and show your subscribers that you care.
If you need some further tips and support for your email marketing and automation strategy, Wired Plus can help.