What rules and guidelines should you follow when sending out communication and marketing emails during this pandemic?

Here’s some ideas.

Should You Send COVID-19 Emails?

Let’s start with the don’ts first. 

While the last sentence answers the question shortly, let’s see why it’s best for you not to send a direct coronavirus email, in details: 

  • Unless your business might have affected your customers’ health in any way or you are directly linked to healthcare organizations, the best thing for you is to take a step back. Otherwise, you are just contributing to inbox clutter and general noise. In other words, if you don’t have something helpful to share, that makes a difference, then don’t.
  • While it may seem like the perfect opportunity to generate attention, sending an email that says something like, “We’re in this together” doesn’t do much. In fact, it comes off kinda schmaltzy.

The same applies to an email that goes like, “We are working from home and we guarantee a great product and customer satisfaction. Oh, by the way, our hearts go out to all affected.” 

This is what everyone else is doing, and honestly, the likeliest outcome is contributing to a negative perception of your company, and not getting more clients. 

  • Now that we covered the absolute “no-no” emails, it’s time to mention email reputation and bounce rate. Such an email will most likely end up unopened or at least quickly closed. And the harsh truth is that reputation systems do not stop working during pandemics and crises.

When is sending a Covid-19 Email Okay?

  • You are canceling an event/flight/appointment
  • Change of policy notification
  • In a case of system outrage
  • You are a healthcare provider

Should You Keep the Ongoing Promotional Emails? 

A lot of businesses are wondering if they should pause or edit their promotional emails. Some do, some don’t. What is the best approach? It depends.

The key is to go back to these promotional emails (whether they are scheduled in advance or you have a template ready to be sent) and see if they make sense in the context of the COVID-19 crisis or any other crises. 

Pause those emails if they are: 

  • Not taking into account the pandemic
  • Not taking into account people’s current and evolving needs

Keep your promo emails going if they are:

  • Sensitive to the situation
  • Provide real value for people dealing with the pandemic;

Dos During a Pandemic (and any Other Time)

Whether it’s the pandemic that made you give your current email marketing strategy a second thought or not, here are the evergreen “good practices” that also apply during a global crisis.

#1. Personalize your emails 

Don’t use the same template, only changing the first name. Instead, try to personalize your email. Make the reader feel they are doing business with a human, and not a company. If they have a specific characteristic (industry, type of auto, etc), include it.

#2. Always say, “Thank you.” 

Receiving gratitude doesn’t just change the way we think and feel; it changes the way we behave for the better.

#3. Use canned replies for automation 

“What happened to personalization?” you might ask. Well, it’s still essential, but when interactions become repetitive, having a quick way to respond saves a lot of time. And time matters! 

#4. Promise a timely result, then deliver

Make sure your customers don’t have to send followup emails, checking on your project. If you have a lot of work, snoozing your email conversation is a great reminder trick. 

#5. Define your email support style

If there are several people involved in sending emails, you should define a certain style. This includes voice & tone, personalization, language & structure, workflow, visuals. 

#6. Explain it like your customer was in primary school

Don’t try to impress your customers with terminology and overly formal language. You should aim for clarity and empathy, and providing an easy-to-read text is the way to go. 

Stay away from complex or technological concepts and never, ever use industry abbreviations! 

#7. Balance casual vs. formal tone

It’s a good time to mention that formal language is alright, but don’t overdo it. 

The trick is not to get lost with the “primary school” explanations; you still have to keep it professional. 

The best advice is to be as formal as possible when saying “no” to a customer request. The rest of the time? Keep it casual.

#8. Keep it short, link to longer instructions if you need to

Nobody likes reading long emails and long paragraphs. People just gloss over them. I

If your business requires detailed instructions, upload them to your website and link to them if there is no other way around. 

You can also use PDF files or Google Drive files. Don’t bore your customers with your emails; instead, give them third-party files and ask them to come back to you if they need more help. 

This approach also boosts trustworthiness between the customer and you. 

#9. Transform negative into positive language

There will be times when your customers need further instructions to do something. There will also be times when they misunderstand you. The way you respond is crucial. 

Try removing the words like “but,” “actually,” and other negative words as well as phrases from your vocabulary. 

Take a look at the following examples that combine #8 and #9. Let’s answer the question, “Can you give me more information about your prices?”

  1. You can follow this link, where you will find everything about our prices, but I will be happy to help with extra information if needed.
  2. Sure thing, you can see all the prices on this page, and I will be happy to help with additional information if required.  

That makes all the difference! 

Let’s Wrap Up

As long as you are not overselling during a pandemic and you are casual (when needed), positive, and follow the nine dos listed in this post, your email marketing campaign should be just fine during COVID-19, plague, or another crisis.

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