Email Marketing and Deliverability During the COVID-19 Pandemic​

As COVID-19, the pandemic also known as the coronavirus has begun to spread worldwide, many businesses are scrambling to communicate with clients and customers in regards to their response to the pandemic. Many of these individuals may very well be receiving dozens of emails a day in regards to their subscribed company's response to the coronavirus, which can be overwhelming. Essential businesses are reaching out to as many of their clients as possible to reassure them of safety practices that are being put in place, as well as communicating essential updates in regards to product availability, store hours, and employee health. Coinciding with this, many scam artists and phishing groups are using the coronavirus outbreak to create new marketing campaigns in an attempt to get private information from individuals who are often simply desperate to stay safe during the pandemic. In response, many major email providers have been forced to further restrict their spam filters, meaning essential updates sent out by your business may not be reaching your clients and customers. In order to ensure the deliverability of your emails during this time of crisis, it is important to consider what email marketing campaign best practices should be put in place. By carefully considering the email content you send out on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, and altering habitual emails to ensure that important information is communicated to your audience, you will greatly increase the likelihood that the email will reach inboxes and be read.

Best Practices To Implement During the Pandemic

While many states have issued stay at home orders, it is more important than ever to ensure that your email campaigns are efficient, effective, and sincere. There are several aspects that should be considered when you are sending out critical updates to your customers. To begin with, while many email campaigns are often sent with the promotion of a product or service in mind, this should not be your main focus during a time of crisis.

When should I send out an email in regards to the Coronavirus?

There are a few key factors to consider when constructing an email campaign in regards to your response to the coronavirus and our state of crisis. To begin with, you need to consider what is pertinent information, and what information may be considered filler, or worse, greeted with backlash from your subscribers. Therefore, some of the key times you should send out coronavirus updates include, but are not limited to:
  • if you are an essential business or providing important and relevant information in regards to the normal operation of your business
  • if an employee has contracted coronavirus while working at one of your physical locations, and your response to the matter
  • if your normal operations are being impacted by coronavirus
  • if providing reassurance and assistance is appropriate in your line of business (ie., if you are a therapist reaching out to your clients)
  • if your customers or employees are going to be negatively impacted as a direct result of changes in operation
In these situations, it is appropriate, and potentially necessary, to send an email to your subscribers.

What impacts my email reputation during these times?

Maintaining a good reputation through your email campaigns is going to be vital to the survivability of your business during this crisis. With thousands of companies transferring over to e-commerce to help keep their business afloat, you have to stand out in ways you may not have previously considered. For instance, many companies feel that as they do not have essential information to provide to their clients during this time, they should no longer continue to send ou emails and updates. This is not recommended - visibility and engagement are important during this time, as lack of engagement will cause your business to come off as cold and uncaring, and over-engagement will cause customers to feel as though you are trying to monetize a crisis. Furthermore, sending out too many emails, or emails too often may cause your email reputation to plummet. This is primarily due to the fact that many email carriers will mark senders who send out tons of emails a day as spam - causing potential customers and clients to miss your emails. With tighter restrictions now on what may be marked as spam during the coronavirus, it is more important than ever to monitor your reputation and engagement with your audience.

What should I keep in mind to ensure my customers stay updated?

There are multiple ways to ensure that your emails are reaching your customer's inboxes and grabbing their attention. One of the most important things you can do during this time is to focus on content management and design layout. You want to make sure you are providing quality content - that is, keep in mind what information you are providing your readers, how it may be interpreted, and the length. Emails that are long and verbose often will get skimmed over - just like emails that contain multiple typos may end up in someone's junk box. Emails that are concise, sincere, and laid out in a way that is easy to read will help ensure they are finding their way to your user's inboxes. Furthermore, prior to sending out an email to all recipients, you should send test emails to determine if the email client will filter them. Make changes as needed until you successfully have a deliverable product that fits your needs and will retain your reader's attention.

How can I change what I am doing now to be more effective during the outbreak?

If you do not have additional, notable information that should be included in a separate email, but want to let your audience know that your e-commerce program is in place or the steps you are taking to address the virus, you may find it useful to add an additional note in your regularly scheduled newsletter. This reduces concerns in regards to inbox placement, as your traditional newsletter will typically reach your audience. Placing a prominent note at the top of your newsletter, for instance, may be a good way to get your reader's attention without overwhelming them with coronavirus news. If you are running essential businesses, you may already have a portion of your website dedicated to coronavirus coverage to provide information to customers about your response to the crisis. If that is the case, you may want to hyperlink that webpage to your email to let readers know that the information can be located there, if they are interested in reading it. If you feel that it is important to send out additional emails or updates in regards to the pandemic, it is important to focus on inbox placement. If your emails are not reaching your audience, you are effectively wasting your own time and energy. Focus on providing only information that is necessary - if you have additional information or resources, consider providing a link to further information. Refrain from repetitive updates, provide only business facts. When facing major company-wide changes as a direct result of the outbreak, you will want to update your clients. This is important for the longevity of your business, of course - but make sure you are only providing essential updates and information. Your business may be running additional promotions during this time to try to avoid the economic fallout, and while it is acceptable to send out promotional emails, you must be careful to avoid backlash from customers for monetizing the pandemic during this time.

Maintaining Your Email Visibilty and Productivity

Trying to maintain your business amid this crisis can be a struggle - and ensuring, at this time where visibility is vital to the survival of your business, that important updates are reaching your customers can seem overwhelming, even for large executives when not in a time of crisis. Now, it can be the difference between coming out of the pandemic successfully and going out of business. At this point in time, therefore, utilizing email delivery and marketing services may be the saving grace for your company. While for some, email may not have previously been a primary method of communication - for instance, in smaller businesses with brick and mortar locations - it is currently the primary way most businesses are communicating updates to their business models for customers. When first coming into email marketing and delivery, it may seem confusing, overwhelming, and somewhat difficult to understand. This is why professional services, such as Start Inboxing, exist - they provide a wide range of features that allow you to rest easy knowing that your emails are being delivered. Start Inboxing provides many different services - for instance, they monitor deliverability and email response, provide valuable insight into interaction with links contained within emails, provide auditing of email services and real-time, on-sight training to teach employees of your company how to effectively construct and manage an email campaign. Once they are able to construct email campaigns, Start Inboxing is able to analyze email interactions and provide IP warming services to ensure that your business is successful in structuring and creating emails that provide valuable content and will be read by your audience. If you are interested in receiving additional information about the services that Start Inboxing offers or feel that your business would benefit from a partnership with Start Inboxing, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist you. Our team is knowledgable and prepared to assist you and your business with email management and monitoring. Furthermore, we are able to provide pricing plans that will work on your company's budget, allowing you to rest easy knowing that you will soon receive much more interaction with emails. Ultimately, times are tough - but continuing your daily interaction with your customers doesn't have to be. As long as you are willing to take the necessary measures to ensure your emails are important and deliverable, you will be successful when this is all said and done. And, if you are overwhelmed at the idea of managing your emails during this time, Start Inboxing is here to help.