Making the right decisions on email marketing is never easy but the outbreak of the coronavirus and subsequent quarantine makes the waters even trickier to navigate. How much is too much? What do you say? Is selling your service at all even appropriate?
Here are a few tips for handling COVID-19 email marketing.
Turn off your automated emails.
A local restaurant learned this the hard way when they forgot to turn off their automation and subscribers got an email inviting people to come on in. To make matters worse, this came right on the heels of an email they sent emphasizing their commitment to safety in light of the pandemic.
It was an honest oversight—one that’s really easy to do when dealing with a combination of reduced staff hours and a more chaotic business situation. But it can make your business look uncaring, or at the very least, incompetent.
Are you just following the crowd?
Now it’s time to draft some new email content, but before you hit “send,” ask yourself what the purpose is. If the only reason for sending it is because everyone else is acknowledging COVID-19, maybe hold off.
We all know there’s a pandemic and a quarantine. We’re all getting a lot of emails informing us of that fact—to say nothing of the steady barrage from news sources. Nobody is going to notice if one company doesn’t fill up their inbox. But they might notice if you send them something that has nothing to say.
Have some confidence in your customer base. Trust that they know you’re aware of COVID-19 and that they don’t need you to tell them to “wash their hands” or to “stay safe.”
Share useful information.
This doesn’t mean that there might not be genuinely useful information you want to get out. If you’re a brick-and-mortar store, whether or not you’re open certainly qualifies as useful information. The same goes for changed hours of operation.
Let’s say you’re a local hardware store. People will be coming in to get your products but might worry about what your safety policies are during these times. Clear communication over how you are handling social distancing with customers and staff is important.
If the information you have to share impacts how customers interact with your specific business, then, by all means, send an email.
Play the long game.
Let’s face it—any marketing piece that has a “sales-y” feel to it is going to go over very poorly right now. Think ahead to later in the summer or the fall, the point when we’re hopeful commerce will be a little more open. How do you want people to perceive your business? Do you want them to see you as a business that did anything they could to make a $10 sale? Or, as a business, you focused on the value you could give the community and let the financial chips fall where they may?
We’ll assume it’s the latter. Let that spirit animate your COVID-19 email marketing and you’ll make good decisions.