We’re well into months of remote work from the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite all the uncertainty of what will happen next, it’s clear the old way of doing business, and really business globally, will likely never be the same.
As we all shift to our “new normal” ways of work, one constant that our team has been relying on, along with the marketing teams we support, is email. As a platinum-level Adobe partner and a Specialized Marketo Certified Partner, we found ourselves leveraging email more than ever to communicate, offer support, and simply connect with our existing customers in new, personal ways.
After looking at some of the data that has come through on email marketing in the times of COVID-19, it’s clear we aren’t alone in our reliance on email. After digging in, here’s a few trends we found.
Email sends increased during the early stages of the pandemic.
We’ve seen a huge spike in emails related to the coronavirus pandemic during the first few weeks of stay-at-home orders in the United States. Just look at this chart from Sparkpost showing the increase in coronavirus-related subject lines:
Email engagement increased.
The good news is that mapping to that increase in sends, we saw an increase in email engagement. According to Grit News, some email marketers have seen anywhere from a 5% open rate increase to a 30+% engagement increase. One of our clients successfully sent 4X the number of emails monthly which has led to 300X the previous engagement level among their audience.
Messaging has become an even more delicate balance.
With or without a pandemic, the golden rule of email still applies. Send relevant content to the right people at the right time. During times of crisis, there’s a lot more pressure on what relevant content (and good timing) will mean to your audience. In recent research from MarketingCharts, they found that 79% of marketers were somewhat concerned (52%) or very concerned (27%) about “making missteps that may harm their brand image.”
No one wants to be the brand sending tone-deaf messages to an audience already going through impossible circumstances because you forgot to turn off a smart campaign or didn’t adjust next month’s newsletter content to fit our current realities.
Thankfully, we’ve seen some great examples of thoughtful, engaging communication in the last few months. They’re empathetic and clearly composed, and they offer real value to the audience.
Deliverability challenges were rampant.
Understandably with uncertainty, some businesses overshot and sent too many messages to audiences they may have not communicated with in a long time. Marketo and other providers did send out helpful guidance on managing your reputation and inbox placement during unprecedented times of email volume. Much of this was spurred by quick changes in team members and emails hard bouncing.
Depending on whether you are on your own or shared IP, there are risks in sudden spikes or dips in email volume. Now is a good time to familiarize yourself with your email deliverability situation and make sure you have a strategy and are staying consistent. And as always, you should have an email strategy to weed out people who have not engaged with your email content for some time. Leadous does offer a special program focused on this process specifically.
As we enter the next phase of the pandemic in the U.S., we’re likely to see new trends in email and marketing as a whole. However, it’s reassuring in a time where not much is certain, that email is here to stay and the guiding principles remain the same:
- Be empathetic in your messaging
- Understand who your audience is, what they’re looking for from you, and how that aligns with your brand goals
- Don’t overstay your welcome in the inbox
Keep those in mind through every campaign to make sure you’re providing shared value to your audience. And as always, if you’re looking for more insights into developing your email strategy now and in the future, contact Leadous.