Social distancing has created unique challenges and opportunities for businesses to connect with consumers and serve their needs in different ways. With most consumers having at least one email account that they check daily, email is one of the most effective ways to stay in touch and communicate important messages to your customers. While it is important to stay sensitive to current events, there are some best practices that can help businesses maintain and build relationships during this time.
Strategically position your solutions
It goes without saying that overall business marketing and communication strategies have shifted to align with the times – and email marketing is no exception. COVID-19 has challenged businesses to come up new positioning plans that keep their solutions relevant while people can’t necessarily leave their homes. For some companies, like banks and credit unions, this is easier and even a chance to push online and digital products adoption. For others, it can be a bit more difficult. Think about how people may be spending their time, and their money, and how your products and/or services fit in. Can you help them save, simplify, stay safe or simply be entertained? Capitalize on these present needs to give new purpose to your products and services.
Send emails more frequently
Depending on your typical sending schedule, you may want to increase the frequency of email delivery to your contacts. This will allow your business to stay in touch – and stay top of mind when it comes to their current or future needs. To keep your emails fresh and engaging, consider creating themed emails based on timely or popular topics. To ensure relevancy, segment your lists based on explicit or implied interest. If you don’t already have your lists segmented, list segmentation would make a perfect quarantine project that would benefit your business now and going forward.
If you have marketing automation setup for current campaigns, it’s essential that you re-evaluate every email to ensure it’s not insensitive or irrelevant. Spirit Airlines found that out the hard way when a pre-scheduled promotional email saying “Never a better time to fly” was sent out just as the pandemic began.
Provide regular business updates
In uncertain times, it is essential to keep your consumers informed about your business operations. From hours and closings to safety precautions being put into place – you’ll want to be sure that consumers have the most up-to-date information about how they can safely continue to utilize your products and services. You might want to offer answers to frequently asked questions, communicate anticipated timelines and dates for re-evaluation, or even just reinforce your brand’s commitments if relevant. All of this will help customers feel more comfortable and empowered as they try to adjust to a new normal, and will help them remember that your company or institution is about more than the products or services that you offer.
Highlight employees and culture
While customers may not be able to interact with your employees in person right now, employees can still serve as the face of your business online. This could involve sharing business-related insights or sharing positive ways employees are making the most of circumstances – whether their working from home or safely at the storefront, or even giving back to the community. Combining these types of messages can position your business as a trusted leader, while humanizing your brand through your own people.
Promote timely or special offers
Depending on your business, you may be operating at a full or limited capacity, or you may be closed entirely. Regardless of your specific situation, consider ways to maximize current sales and future business through timely or special offers. This could be anything from free delivery to online gift card purchase specials, just to keep cash flowing in and support your business’s future.
Celebrate holidays and moments
As the days and weeks continue to blur together, it can be easy to forget holidays and major milestones – from graduations to the 4th of July. Use email to send well wishes to the community or share how you’re making the most of these meaningful moments. These familiar festivities can provide consumers with a sense of normalcy, even though the ways we celebrate have changed during this time.
Be considerate of the times
With some working as essential employees, others facing furloughs or layoffs, and many working from home with families and pets – feelings of fear and uncertainty are prevalent. While coming up with timely marketing messages can be beneficial to your business, it is important to keep campaigns inclusive with heartfelt undertones that encourage individuals through these tough times and makes them feel like part of a community, even though they may be apart.
For more ideas on how your business can successfully use email marketing, contact us to talk with a specialist.