Where do We Go From Here? Email in the COVID-19 Era

Trying to figure out how to utilize the email channel while subscribers’ economic and personal wellbeing is in doubt? Check out what the experts had to say.

Where do We Go From Here? Email in the COVID-19 Era

Earlier this month three email experts Cher Fuller, Josh Bernoff, and Emily McGuire partnered with Women of Email and stensul to share their insight about email marketing in the current situation. You can find a recording of the webinar here.

This webinar was special, and it wasn’t just because of the amazing conversation our illustrious panel led, but because for one hour 115+ practitioners, all of whom are trying to figure out what to do and how to do it, sat together to figure it out.  Here are the key takeaways:

  1. Be a human being. When creating email copy, be authentic, be genuine, and show that you care with words and deeds. Now is not the time to talk about what you do and your product, instead, show who you are. Show your company culture and what you stand for. Steer clear of over-used language that seems to fake sympathy: "Out of an abundance of caution," "Uncertain times," "We're in it together."
Here’s a great example of email marketing done right from DoorDash. They’re recognizing how this is affecting the community, and doing their part to help that.

  1. Agility is key. Your content calendar security blanket no longer exists. The environment we're in is changing at such a rapid pace, that great advice you read last week, it's not relevant this week. Your "big picture" is no longer months in advance, it's days, maybe a week. Realize the control you once had isn't there anymore and put yourself in the position to quickly change plans if there's a better option. It’s okay to not be perfect. If your email isn’t designed exactly how you would normally like it that’s fine. If you have a message you want to get out to your audience, something is better than nothing
  1. Maintain customer relationships. Now is a good time to practice good customer marketing with communications that are focused on maintaining the great relationships you already have.  Think about how your brand can add value  to your customers. Move away from emails that are all about new client acquisition.  The exception is if your solution is something directly related to helping people out during this time. 
Planet Fitness paused payments for their members. A great example of one company who put their customers first.

  1. Keep your brand sentiment positive. How we respond at a time like this will leave a lasting impression with our audiences. It is important to stay positive. Maybe this means including more color in your marketing communications, or, if it aligns with your brand, sprinkle humor in, ensuring you're not making jokes about anything like a lack of medical equipment.
  1. Be Specific. When you receive an email from a restaurant telling you they're taking action by sanitizing all surfaces, that doesn't hit home. Were they not doing that before? People respond well to specifics. Tell them specifically what you're doing outside of your normal routine.  And, if you don't have anything specific to share, consider not sending an email. Don't send an email without anything to say, if you do, you risk running into issues with unsubscribe rates.
Delta did a great job of telling us what SPECIFICALLY they were doing, in regards to cleaning, outside of their normal procedures.

  1. Show you’re the expert. In times where the outside world is changing quickly, you may be getting new direction from up the ladder every day. As the marketing expert, do what you can to think ahead of your bosses. Try to imagine where people are going to be in two weeks rather than where they are at this moment in time, and speak to the future: like chess, think moves ahead.

Each of our panelists gave one final piece of advice before parting:

Cher Fuller: “Lean into your community”

Josh Bernoff: “Think ahead of your leadership”

Emily McGuire: “Something is better than nothing”

Want to listen to the whole webinar? Here’s the recording

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