As we all continue to deal with the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s becoming more and more of a reality that many businesses that aren’t considered essential are having to temporarily close or scale back services.

How Brands Should Communicate About COVID-19

For many brands, they’re turning to email to communicate changes to customers, as well as drive engagement in their ecommerce stores and other digital channels.

Last week, we discussed the three general areas marketers should assess within their email programs as we navigate this changing environment. Today, we’re back looking at what we’ve seen in our inboxes and calling out some of the wins from a few brands.

COVID-19 email marketing trends

Overall, we’re seeing brands beginning to rapidly adjust to our “new normal.” To all of our fellow email marketers, we want to give you a round of applause. These are tough times, and email is on the front lines of communicating important information to subscribers.

We’ve worked with clients to assess both email content and frequency—at times scaling back the frequency of messages for brands that have traditionally had a strong brick-and-mortar presence. Things are changing quickly, and the nimbleness of the channel is really shining bright right now.

With all these rapid changes, we’re seeing a lot of text-heavy emails. I understand that often these messages are dictated by PR and/or legal teams who want to make sure the message is very clearly stated. However, I think it’s important for marketers to set aside our titles and think about how we would respond to a(nother) text-heavy email from a brand.

COVID-19: Striking the Right Balance in Email Communications

Your subscribers are very likely reading your emails on their phones, in a state of nervousness, and unsettled by changes to their routines. I urge you to work with your counterparts in PR and legal to produce an email that is easy to understand. Lean into formatting tricks, such as bullet points, bolded callouts of key points, and frequent paragraph breaks to make it easier for your subscribers to quickly see what they need to know.

Brands winning at email marketing

Now, let’s look at some of the great work coming from our fellow email marketers in the trenches with us. Here are a few brands that have caught our attention in our inboxes over the last few days:

Athleta

The brand has leaned into the coziness of its products in a few recent emails, using the subject line and preheader to communicate directly with subscribers.

Primary.com

An email sent on March 22 featured several products and user-submitted photos, but leveraged a positive message reminding subscribers of the constant things in life despite these stressful times.

Dunkin’

The donut brand has been greatly impacted by the shelter-in-place orders and has used email to communicate the impacts to its customers.

Striking the Right Balance in COVID-19 Email Communications

Fossil

The fashion designer brand offered purposeful, proactive things to do at home.

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