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Should I Mention COVID in my Emails?

In the last few months, businesses have used words like “unprecedented times”, “new normal”, or “staying connected” in their messaging. Whether in ads or on social media, these buzzwords refer to COVID-19 over and over again, to the point that many consumers find them repetitive

This leads to the question: should I mention COVID in your emails to customers? This depends on why you’re messaging them in the first place. If you’re only going to mention Coronavirus for the first two paragraphs then talk about something else, it’s best to not talk about the pandemic altogether. 

Most of your audience is already aware of what’s going on and won’t really appreciate another generic COVID support email. Instead of beating around the bush, you can get straight to the point and offer something value-adding for your customers. 

When Should I Send A Coronavirus Related Email?

It might not look like much, but a strategically written email can create a striking first impression on your audience during a crisis.

Audiences will pay attention to how your organization responds towards issues: how quickly you address the problem, the tone you take, how you react to criticism, and what actions you take matter to them. When you establish all of these factors well, you create a “net impression”. 

A net impression serves as a platform or safety net you can move from after a crisis has passed. Instead of picking yourself up from the ground with no idea what to do, the net impression becomes the basis on how to proceed. A strong email is the first step to creating a positive net impression. 

Each business and organization must first answer the question: “Do we really need to send an email?” Before you start drafting an email, you need to identify your objective. 

Every communication needs to have a purpose: Why should you send one? What are the expectations you have to meet? Does your audience need to hear from you?

As a rule of thumb, here are a few good reasons to send a coronavirus-related email:

  • You have useful, meaningful, and correct information to share.
  • Your customers may be more sensitive to the crisis.
  • You have to inform your customers on how to access your services remotely. 
  • You need to cancel or move a company event.
  • You have to update customers on your business hours or new store policies.
  • You want your customers to be aware if and how your services have changed. 
  • You are doing something to help customers: providing supplies, offering virtual services, waiving cancellation fees, etc. 

If you’re sending a generic “we understand you” email, rethink the entire email altogether. Email is a great way to engage your readers; you don’t want to condition them to ignore you. Customers are discerning; they understand the difference between sincere, impactful messages from halfhearted ones. 

Alternative Email Types To Consider

Staying in touch with your customer base and letting them know they can count on you is crucial now more than ever. Here are different ways to engage your buyers without adding more noise to their inbox:

  • The Action Plan

Your customers would definitely want to know how your brand is planning to adapt its products, services, or operations to meet their needs during this pandemic. An email is the perfect way to outline your action plan. You can introduce new store policies, explain curbside pick-up protocols, or mention disinfecting measures in your email. 

  • The How-To Guide

If your organization is shifting to online services or promoting existing digital platforms, it’s a good time to email customers a how-to guide. Keep in mind that not everyone is tech-savvy, so you can write detailed instructions to help customers navigate your website or app. This way, your customers can continue to feel supported by your brand. 

  • The “Stay At Home” Kit

Some organizations are emailing a list of fun activities their customers can try at home, which is one of the most relevant message types you can send. Depending on your brand, you can curate film recommendations, links to DIY tutorial videos, or send out free eBooks and other relevant resources that can keep your audience preoccupied.

  • The Virtual Activity Launch

Hosting virtual activities such as Zoom webinars or Facebook lives allow customers to interact with your brand remotely. This is a great way to create impactful relationships with your customers and encourage the sense of community for your brand. Many people want to stay connected with like-minded individuals during this time, so a live virtual event would make for a nice break. 

  • The Subscriber Survey 

A lot of organizations send an obligatory COVID email then get back to business like nothing is happening. If you’re unsure about the direction your organization should take, now is a good time to survey your customers. Ask them how they are doing, if they have any concerns they want to raise with your brand, or if there is anything your brand can do to help. 

Do’s and Don’ts: Tips On Email Writing During COVID-19

Once you have the content planned, you can begin writing the email. Here are a few things to keep in mind when drafting out your newsletter:

  • Do express empathy: What you are writing is for your customers and how they are feeling. Express your empathy and let them know how much you care. 
  • Don’t take an editorial stance: There are enough opinions about this crisis everywhere, so avoid voicing out your thoughts unless that is specifically what your organization does. 
  • Do adjust your organization’s voice and tone: If your brand voice is normally cheery and fun, read the room and adjust the tone of your messaging. Keep a calm, objective tone that your customers can rely on. 
  • Don’t clutter your email: Keep your email easy to read with good formatting: nice spacing, readable font, and bullet points (if necessary). Use photos to engage your readers and break up text. Create a mini series of emails to increase engagement while keeping your customers’ inbox tidy. 

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