How best to communicate during COVID-19

Communicating in the time of COVID-19: email marketing top tips

COVID-19 Emails: Top Considerations and Tips

Now, more than ever, we’re seeing an unprecedented number of marketing emails (thanks COVID-19). Note how many clichés we managed to cram into that single sentence.

This is just one example of how not to do email communications during the corona pandemic. Yes, we want to keep talking to our customers, but we need to give them something authentic, sincere and useful – not just the same tired platitudes.

Nobody’s buying – why are we marketing?

The lazy response to COVID-19 would be to give up and assume the worst. However, in the most sensitive way possible, the pandemic offers a new opportunity to marketers.

Of course, your communications should not be around the hard sell. But more people are logging on than ever. In particular, those who operate physical stores have a captive audience, and email open rates for these businesses are higher than ever.

More of us are spending time online, which means we should be creating valuable content across multiple platforms. Social media posts, blogs and email campaigns should all complement one another – but they need to be worded sensitively.

How best to communicate during COVID-19

Rather than trying to gain new customers or reawaken dormant ones, you should talk to your loyal, engaged audience.

Use human language

This is the time to put a face behind your brand. Don’t use stuffy legalese that no one will understand – talk to them in an empathetic style, and sign off with your name. Address them using personal pronouns like “you” and “we” to make them feel connected.

Make changes clear

Perhaps you’ve closed your physical shop or have reduced product lines. Make this clear in the first email and in any follow-ups. Be specific and always offer alternatives, including pointing readers to your website.

This example from Lyft stood out in my inbox. They used large titles and everything is nicely spread out, with key information easy to digest:

Keep it positive, but realistic

One thing that is going to turn off customers instantly is starting your emails with a reminder of these stark times. Don’t be too upbeat or trivialise the situation, but focus on the bigger picture. Talk about the future and how you’re adapting to help as many people as possible.

Stay away from the medical advice

There’s nothing like a pandemic to propagate fake news. It is up to nobody to give out medical advice except trained doctors and organisations like the World Health Organisation. One simple piece of bad advice could soon end up on social media, so leave it to the professionals.


Add extra value

Now is not the time to focus on selling. Now is the time to engage and empathise with your customers. As such, you can add extra resources like links to mental health tips, fun games and quizzes for isolation, or even your own content, such as learning webinars.

Keep calm and carry on

Nothing is certain right now, but this will change. Research from recessions shows that those who carried on marketing through crises ultimately emerged stronger. Keep doing what you’re doing, but put the customer first.

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