8 Tips: Don’t Let the Coronavirus Infect Your Email Campaigns

Massimiliano Chiucchiu

Like it or not, the digital world is evolving. These changes might have happened over the course of a few years, but due to the coronavirus, the timeline has been shortened drastically. Flying cars aside, we already find ourselves living in hypothetical scenarios of a pseudo-future where everyone works from home, social contact is limited, and most of our time is spent in front of electronic devices (for now on the computer, the inevitable smartphone, and maybe even the tablet). For that reason, I was not surprised when my 4-year-old daughter thought the TV is broken when, by pressing the screen, she noticed that the Disney+ gallery wasn’t scrolling.

As social behaviors change, digital ones shift with them. The changes we are currently experiencing must be managed, not suffered through. Precisely because, consciously or not, we are an integral part of it. Even though change can be difficult, the show must go on! Whether you are trying to save your business, maintain it, or develop new avenues, email marketing can be an integral part of that strategy. But rushing to market with it can give way to avoidable errors.

So, if you really want to get started with email marketing during this period, I wouldn’t recommend pressing the send button before you’ve read these 8 tips:

1. Don’t send tearful emails

Nobody wants to get another email saying a company’s heart goes out to us in this challenging time and that they hope you and your family are in good health. You are a supplier. Kind, professional, generous, but still a supplier. Stay that way. Of course, if you already have a personal relationship with your audience, some empathy could be appreciated but in general, “buttering” customers up, even if in good faith, can be annoying and seem insincere.

Email deliverability consequences: cancellation, complaint, affected IP and sending domain reputation

2. Don’t hit the whole database

If you are thinking about sending emails to your whole list, your inactive audience may not take this positively. Especially because they have probably already received a ton of similar messages from other companies.

Email deliverability consequences: cancellation, complaint, spam traps affected, affected IP and sending domain reputation

3. Don’t send COVID promos

I know that business never sleeps, but your customers would feel “used” if you only focus on selling at this time, using COVID-19 as a selling point. Perhaps it is also not the most appropriate time to really push abandoned carts and send re-engagement emails with a commercial or carefree tone. Being commercially aggressive can be a slippery slope. Take this into consideration. Unless you sell medical masks or sanitizing products, pushing too much sales right now might have a bad boomerang effect.

Email deliverability consequences: cancellation, complaint, email into spam folder, affected IP and sending domain reputation, loss of loyalty

4. Only send when there’s a good reason

Don’t feel compelled to say something just because everyone else is doing it. If you don’t have a valid reason to communicate with your customers, it’s better to not say anything. In other words, don’t just send emails for the sake of it. In fact, you risk wasting time creating the campaign and only earning complaints as a result.

Email deliverability consequences: complaints

 5. Be patient

Online shopping trends are skyrocketing due to the temporary closure of many physical stores. So, the consumers who previously preferred traditional shopping will be forced to change their mind and make use of eCommerce stores. As a result, inactive users will recover their old/unused/forgotten account and reactivate it and new customers will start signing up.

Email deliverability consequences: having more active audience between your recipients, means higher reputation with ISPs and higher deliverability.

6. Be positive, but not happy

You are most likely about to send a campaign to consumers who have been at home with their family (some, also with the mother-in-law) for 24 hours a day, for the past weeks. As if that is not enough, they certainly receive daily, negative news updates about the pandemic. So, using an overly enthusiastic tone might lead the subscriber to think that you are sending emails from another planet (and which point they might envy you), or that you are pretending that nothing is happening in the world (at which point they will believe that you are out of mind). Please try to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and don’t force your happy talk on them.

Email deliverability consequences: complaints

7. Invest in security

Hacker attacks and phishing emails speculating about coronavirus are also increasing. ISPs raised the alert level and spam filters are more severe as well. If you haven’t done so yet, you can invest in sending securely (which ISPs really like) by properly configuring the SPF, DKIM and DMARC records, as well as the newcomer, BIMI.[https://mapp.com/blog/email-authentication-with-spf-dkim-and-dmarc/]

Email deliverability consequences: higher deliverability and open rates

8. Don’t underestimate the human anti-spam filter

Improving email deliverability can be done with many different strategies, rules, and tricks. What we often forget though is that the human spam filter remains the most effective. In fact, it’s the one that generates the complaints, unsubscribes, or just the deliberate ignoring of your message. More than ever before, we must give priority to the user experience rather than to percentages. It seems the email bombing panic we had at the times of GDPR is going to come again. (Pro tip: In general, never put a panicked person and an email marketing platform in the same room) Please, break away from the pack and don’t just follow the sheep when it comes to your email campaigns.

 

Stay healthy, Stay inBox

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