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Email Marketing During Sensitive Times

Flynn Wright Marketing During COVID-19

April 11, 2020

It’s becoming trite but impossible to put any other way: These are unprecedented times. It’s amazing how quickly circumstances and measures went from far-fetched to normal. A “new normal” we hope won’t last long. As we all adjust to navigate this as best as we can, it’s natural to ask when and how to continue marketing to customers. To address this, much depends on what the product or service is, as well as the following:

  • Is it available?
  • Is there demand?

Staying Connected + Continuing to Sell

Although there are challenges, it is okay — even necessary in many cases — to keep selling! In fact, statistics are showing consumers want to stay connected to brands and businesses they support. Even if this isn’t the right time to offer your product or service (based on the considerations earlier), your customers still want to hear from you. And, they are more accessible right now. Some facts to support this:

  • Recent Nielsen reports indicate content consumption among consumers is up 60% during recent weeks.
  • As movie theaters everywhere are closed, Nielsen also reports TV viewing is up 11% and use of streaming services up 13%.
  • According to Worldata®, email open rates are up 11% and click-through rates up 35% since early March.
  • Meanwhile, they also report social follows are up 14% and web traffic up 24% — and the web traffic does not include work-from-home use.
  • All of this while screen time is up but inbox volume is down. Most of us in a heightened (albeit temporary) work-from-home culture are hungry to connect, with capacity to consume what comes into our email. Most important, everyone wants to stay informed.

Tips for Staying Connected

Knowing there is both opportunity and appetite for brands to stay connected to customers, what is the most appropriate way to do it? Here are few tips:

  • If you haven’t already, acknowledge the current circumstances, and demonstrate care and support.
    • Your customers simply want to know you are thinking of them. • Avoid spam filters by not using certain words and phrases. o Promotional messaging should not include “Corona,” “COVID,” “virus” or “pandemic.”
  • Prompt interest but soften urgency; forget some proven call-to-action phrases, at least for now. o Avoid “hurry,” “last chance,” “today only” and replace them with words like “free,” “essential” and “tips.”
  • Be succinct … People want to hear from you and have some time, but there are still limits.
  • Remember this is also a good opportunity to gather feedback. Carefully consider topics and lines of questioning, but your audience may be willing to respond to surveys as a connection. Statistics do indicate research participation is up.

Our Flynn Wright team has blended secondary insights with our own perspective and strategies, to create a longer self-guided presentation. It is important to remember — although it sometimes doesn’t feel like it — many people are still working, connecting with one another, entertaining themselves and consuming content. Through all of this, they want to hear from their beloved brands and local businesses and support them however they can. The pandemic is already having a greater impact on certain companies and organizations, and we all hope we can minimize long-term negative effects as much as possible. To navigate this, we can stay safely connected to those we support and those who have supported us. If nothing else, reminding customers of the “old normal” will make it easier to rebound when conditions are right.

And in some cases, we can even still sell.

You can count on The Partnership to continue to share accurate and fact-based updates as well. See more on COVID-19 here.

Find these tips useful? Find more business tools and information by visiting the Business Resources page.

Jeff White

Jeff White is vice president of business development and strategy at Flynn Wright in Downtown Des Moines (DSM).