If you’re an email marketer and have been panicking on what to do with your campaigns during the current global crisis, you’re not alone. Last week, we got a group of email marketers together and talked about what other brands are doing and about the initial results of our survey, Hey, Email Marketers. How’s it going?. If you haven’t watched the webinar, you can check it out here

We’ve now collected more than 150 responses from email marketers at both B2B and B2C companies. Unsurprisingly, over half of respondents said they have sent a COVID-related email (my inbox is flooded with them):

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After sending this initial email, though, what’s next? How is strategy shifting? How is messaging shifting? How is cadence shifting? 

Based on responses to the survey and to our in-webinar polling, we’ve compiled 5 tips for adjusting your strategy during the pandemic: 

Test, test, test

Nearly 45% of our survey respondents said they’re sending fewer emails as a result of COVID-19:

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If you’re one of those companies that has decided to reduce campaigns, consider adding A/B tests to your upcoming sends to glean insights you might not otherwise have had time to implement. Here are a few testing ideas (even if you’ve tested them in the past few months): 

  • Best time of day, 
  • Best day of the week, 
  • Body copy messaging, 
  • Template design
  • Subject lines

Analyze email data more frequently

Roughly 84% of email marketers said their open rates either decreased or haven’t changed/too early to tell:

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Metrics like your open rates and click-through rates can change overnight. If you’re used to pulling reports monthly for email, consider pulling reports weekly to identify changes and shift strategy as the data suggests. This will ensure future messaging isn’t tone-deaf.

Don’t forget about your automated campaigns

Based on our in-webinar polling, about a third of respondents said that they’re focused on promotional campaigns or no campaigns at all:

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If you’re not sending anything during this time, it’s important to keep some of your existing automated emails active. This is a good way to ensure your deliverability remains in good standing. 

If you’re focused on all types of email or promotional campaigns, ensure your automated campaign templates are up to date first with the necessary changes. For example, if your call center hours have changed or your brick-and-mortar locations have closed, make sure your emails reflect these changes. 

Start with your highest volume campaigns, and identify the necessary changes like those essential changes mentioned above. As you have more time, update your other, smaller automated campaigns. There are only so many hours in the day, so be kind to yourself and know that mistakes are okay during these hectic times.

Be empathetic

Whether you’re focusing on promotional campaigns, automated campaigns, all campaigns, or none, it’s important for your messaging to be empathetic.

Some people in your database could be dealing with sick loved ones, taking care of their kids on top of working from home or facing financial hardship. Think about your messaging and how it will affect readers who are struggling.

Personalize & segment

Almost two thirds of those who responded during our in-webinar polling said they were not focusing more on segmentation:

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If you’re in the same boat as these respondents, now is the time to start personalizing or segmenting your email sends. Avoid sending mass emails to everyone in your database, especially those who haven’t interacted with your brand in a while. This can hurt your deliverability. 

For additional tips on segmentation, check out our list segmentation resource.

If you’re new to personalization, consider starting small by adding the subscriber’s name to the email body or subject line. For more complex personalization, speak to their preferences, gender, or previous shopping history if you’re currently collecting that data in your email service provider. 

By ensuring your messaging is relevant and specific to the intended audience, you’ll maintain good deliverability. The last thing you need right now is getting marked as spam.

We’ll keep you posted as we collect data and review emails in the coming weeks. As we continue through this tough time, know you’re not alone. 

Looking for even more guidance? Check out this guide to crises email marketing from our friends Jordie van Rijn and John Walsh of eMailMonday, which contains examples and advice for all of us.


Editorial image by congerdesign from Pixabay