You might be wondering if email is still an effective marketing strategy during the COVID-19 crisis. The answer to this question may vary slightly based on your business, industry, and brand personality, but it’s safe to say that email is having an outsized impact during this tumultuous time.
Research shows that there’s been a 31% boost in open rates year-over-year during the pandemic. The rates were already increasing in January and February, but they really took off in March as many areas in the country began locking down.
Of course, open rates only tell half the story—there was also a 22% increase in conversion rates during this same time period. It would appear that the same momentum driving people to open emails is prompting them to continue through the experience.
These trends correlate with an overall migration of consumers to the digital world. There’s been a 40% year-over-year increase in unique digital shoppers, as more people look for ways to shop and connect from the safety of their homes.
“Digital marketing is about targeting the right people with the right content at the right time,” according to Forbes. “There are many methods of outreach, each holding importance in your overall strategy. Having a powerful digital presence with a strong email marketing strategy is important for a consistent connection to your prospects and clients. The ever-changing digital landscape can sometimes feel like a moving target, but 1 point remains clear: The most successful campaigns are those that are data-driven. For this reason, email marketing has remained a consistently effective strategy, with 78% of marketers seeing an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months, according to HubSpot data.”
Given the importance of email, you should begin honing your strategies now in order to capitalize on these opportunities. This starts with trimming and organizing your contact list, allowing you to ensure that you only send to people who want to receive your emails—and that they have a way to opt out if they desire.
“If you’re ethically growing your email list, then your database will be filled with fans of your organization,” explains Forbes. “In many ways, they’ve already bought into your business, and they want to hear from you because you have, at least at 1 point, offered them something of value.”
How do you provide this kind of value? Here are 6 tips for making your emails more relevant and likely to engage your customers.
- Use targeting: Just because emails are easy to send doesn’t mean you should use a shotgun approach. Leverage demographic and geographic data to send the right message to the right people. You’ll earn higher engagement, better conversions, and fewer unsubscribes.
- Tailor your message: When you send targeted messages, you’re better able to speak to the recipient on a personal level. For example, instead of just saying, “Our house-painting business uses quality paint,” you could say, “We use quality paints that are specially formulated to withstand the humidity in Mississippi.”
- Make the subject line special: It’s shocking how many marketers spend hours on the content of an email only to breeze through writing the subject line. This is as ridiculous as renovating the interior of your retail store with stunningly beautiful details, then leaving messy scaffolding on the front of the building for customers to navigate. So instead of simply saying, “Come to our store’s grand opening,” you could make your subject line sizzle with “The top 5 reasons to come to our grand opening.”
- Write what you’d want to read: Entrepreneurs are understandably passionate about their businesses and usually have a lot to say. But you’ve got to take off your business-owner hat and think about the reader’s experience. You probably prefer concise emails that share a compelling message—and that’s what you should send your customers.
- Tread carefully: Our world is extremely volatile right now, and tragedies are occurring regularly—so be careful not to use a flippant tone or incorporate any language or images into your emails that could be interpreted as offensive. You should also avoid overused COVID-19 phrases such as “during these uncertain times” and “now more than ever.”
- Check your automated emails: Even if you were to master the art of creating effective and engaging emails today, you’d still have the issue of the past emails you’ve written still being sent automatically. Go back into your archives and update or delete any emails that aren’t up to your standards or might be considered tone-deaf given the state of the world.
This is an exciting time for email marketers. You have an audience that’s more likely than ever to read your words and complete a desired action—so don’t leave them hanging. Start working today so that you can deliver them a stupendous email tomorrow.