4 Email Deliverability Mistakes to Avoid During COVID-19
Marketing leaders around the world are struggling to strategize around the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially top of mind is how to reach and engage your audience. Email might seem like the best option right now. After all, email is a channel your audience trusts, and it lets you maintain consistent voice while reaching people instantly. But with the number of people online, and how many messages are delivered daily, email deliverability is more important than ever.
Your email needs to make it to a consumer’s inbox, and when it gets there it has to deliver the right message. There’s a fine line between winning over consumers within a now-captive audience and appearing opportunistic and tarnishing your brand’s reputation.
Email deliverability mistakes happen. But you need to avoid them as much as you can during this time. Let's look at four deliverability mistakes becoming more common in this crisis.
1. Emailing Every Subscriber in Your Database
First, acknowledge the fact that not everyone in your database needs to receive your email. That’s always true, but even more so right now. In fact, if you try pushing emails out to everybody, you could damage your brand instead of helping it.
Instead, take the time to segment your database. Consumers who’ve interacted with you within the past few months -- as opposed to years -- would likely be more interested in reading your message, whether it's how your brand is directly dealing with the pandemic, supporting employees, working in the community, etc. Be creative in how you segment and use data you’ve gathered about your audience to confirm your choices. Then tailor your email copy to each segment.
2. Starting a Reactivation Campaign
Now is not the time to be emailing inactive contacts to re-engage them. Blasting old contacts is a great way to trigger spam traps that gobble up your emails. It also will appear insensitive and likely hurt your brand’s reputation.
Again, spend your time and resources emailing the consumers who really need to hear from you right now. Focus on your most loyal consumers with the highest customer lifetime value. It’s more important now to hold onto your loyal customers than trying to win back inactive ones.
3. Altering Your Email Cadence
If you were sending three emails a week before the crisis, you should continue doing so. People rely on consistency, especially during inconsistent times. Email servers also rely on it. If you suddenly double your email send in a week, your messages are on their way to the spam folder.
Maintain consistency. That pertains to both the number of emails you’re sending and the tone of your emails. Keep your tone and brand voice in your emails while still being sensitive to the hardships people are experiencing. If you need to cut back on sending emails, do so but create a plan for ramping back up slowly but consistently once you’ve stabilized your position.
4. Overusing 'Coronavirus' or 'COVID-19' Within Your Message
An unbelievable amount of email is going out every day using these terms. Email clients have caught wise and are ushering those messages into promotions tabs or tossing them into spam folders.
You should keep the crisis in mind as you craft your message. But show more creativity in your copywriting, while not tipping into vague euphemisms. Everyone is already thinking about it; there’s no need to restate it. Use your subject lines to present the positives of your message. You can acknowledge the crisis and show awareness of its impact while still writing content that resonates with your audience.
Don't Forget About Other Relevant Channels to Supplement Email
If you’re careful in how you create and send emails, it’s a useful way to engage your consumers now. But even after you tread carefully and send a well-crafted email, you might not get much of a response. What else can you do?
Right now, concise messages rule the day. Brands are using channels like social media to engage directly with consumers and to share company updates. However, it can be a double-edged sword. Some brands find a lot of success in direct conversation with consumers. Others get called out for poor messaging and end up hurting their brands.
A channel you might not have considered before is SMS. Text messaging is standard fare for all mobile phones, which eliminates the need for consumers to have smartphones or download apps for push notifications. And SMS garners an average 98% deliverability rate and 90% open rate within three minutes.
As with email, really think about the message you’re sending and who will receive it. You can use these same tips to shape your SMS strategy. Don’t flood your consumers’ phone with texts about every company update. But pick the most important messages you want to share now and use this powerful communication channel to support your email messaging.
Above all, be consistent and thoughtful in your communications with consumers. They’re worried, just like you. Your loyal customers will remember how you communicated with them during this crisis. With care and attention toward email deliverability, you’ll share important messages that connect with them and keep your brand top of mind for the right reasons.
For more info from our own in-house email deliverability expert, Tom Corbett, you can listen to his episode on our (Un)Caged Wisdom podcast here.