Like everyone else, marketers are just trying to survive and get through COVID-19.

Still, you don’t want to appear insensitive or tone-deaf to the whole crisis situation. Taking undue advantage of the pandemic is not something you should do as a marketer.

With emails being the most preferred communication channel, are you wondering how you can keep your conversation relevant while not sounding like an opportunist? Take a look at a few handy tips on how not to write your emails during a global crisis.

1. Do not leverage this crisis as a re-engagement opportunity

A global crisis should in no way be seen as an opportunity to re-engage with your inactive subscribers. Remember, email marketing is all about sending the right message at the right time. A pandemic is certainly not the right time and re-engagement emails are definitely not the right message. They won’t just annoy your long lost customers, they will also negatively affect your brand image.

So, before you hit that send button, make sure you filter your customers on the basis of current and active subscribers.

In short, a pandemic is not the right time to entice your unsubscribed or forgotten customers to come back. Instead, concentrate on your active subscribers who are looking forward to hearing from you.

2. Stop sending emails just for the sake of it

If you are sending emails during a global crisis, don’t send them just for the sake of it. Make sure you have a valid reason for sending the email.

You should definitely send an email if:

  • You are taking any action for the protection of your staff and consumers. See how GAP did a good job with its COVID-19 email where they shared the safety measures being taken in their stores.
  • There is a change in your operation time.
  • There are any delays in product delivery.
  • You are working toward handling and combating the crisis. Dunkin Donuts, for instance, informed its subscribers about how it’s adapting to prioritize health and safety across their various locations.

So, send crisis-related emails only if you have something relevant and critical to share. If you do not have any new information or updates, it is better to stay away from your customer’s inbox.

3. Avoid including unnecessary CTAs

Unnecessary calls-to-action can ruin your crisis-related email no matter how good the content is. Your email won’t come across as genuine. It will feel more as if you are forcing a sales pitch on your customers when all they want is some peace and relief in their lives.

4. Don’t take the situation lightly

Any global crisis, especially COVID-19, is not something that should be taken lightly. As an email marketer, you should opt for an empathetic tone in your messages, rather than sending content that sounds forceful or out of touch with what’s going on in the world. If you don’t take the whole situation seriously and come across as a brand that is just interested in selling, you risk alienating your customers and damaging your brand reputation. Customers will be more receptive to your messages if you draft a well structured, informative and empathetic email template that resonates with them.

5. Don’t include your entire email list

Pandemic-related emails are not transactional. Do not blast your entire subscriber list with such emails. As mentioned, you should not send emails to customers who haven’t interacted with your businesses or have long since unsubscribed to your business. It can create email deliverability issues for your business. Manage your email list, work on segmentation and send crisis-related emails to your active subscribers only.

6. Say no to automated and triggered emails

If possible, keep your automated and triggered emails at bay during the whole crisis period. The chances of your transactional emails becoming irrelevant are higher during a crisis. Imagine your subscriber getting a promotional message regarding an event that your brand was planning to conduct. It would surely come across as insensitive when people are maintaining social distancing and living a quarantined life. Hence, if you wish to maintain your brand reputation, either do an audit of your automation campaign or even better, pause it for a while.

7. Don’t cash out on people’s anxiety

In such trying times, people are anxious, scared and overwhelmed. As a marketer, the least you can do is not take undue advantage of those feelings. For instance, if you are into the business of selling sanitizers or masks, your products must be in high demand because of the pandemic. So, if you raise the prices seeing the surge in demand, you are trying to leverage people’s fear and helplessness. It is unethical and insensitive, all at the same time.

Wrap up

While we continue to live an unpredictable life with nowhere to go, you can become the knight in shining armor of your customer base by leveraging email marketing the right way. Avoid the aforementioned pitfalls,  and you will be in an excellent position to serve your subscribers with empathy and compassion.

Kevin George

Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest growing custom email design and coding companies, and specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free HTML email templates, in addition to providing email automation, campaign management, and data integration & migration services. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.