Email Marketing in the Era of COVID-19 | Rebel Interactive Group

The Power of Email Could be Stronger Than Ever

With life (slowly) returning to a “new normal,” it is interesting to look back and reflect on how the power of email marketing has changed over this time. 

Equally interesting is how email topics have changed quickly from week to week as uncertainty continued to loom. We started off this quarantine reading emails from companies facing uncertainty in not knowing how long the “situation” would last; a week later we’d see emails about what companies were doing to try and stay afloat, and fast forward to today where companies are communicating reopening plans. This pandemic has proven that when it feels as if the world has shut down as a vast majority of businesses have to close, email can be one of the easiest and most effective ways to connect with those consumers that help in the reinvestment of our economy. 

A forever memorable email

It is almost unfathomable that this quarantine only started 86 days ago as I write this. It feels like we’ve been in quarantine for years, maybe decades, yet I still remember March 12 as if it were yesterday. I woke up to an email from Southwest Airlines talking about the lengths they are going to clean airplanes and reminding consumers of their flexible ticket refund policies. Check out that email here

“There is no higher priority to our entire Southwest Family than the safety of our Customers and Employees. We want you to feel confident when traveling with Southwest Airlines. As a result, we have enhanced some of our cleaning procedures in the interest of our Customers’ and Employees’ health and safety.”

  • Ryan Green, SVP & Chief Marketing Officer, Southwest Airlines

I went into Rebel’s office that morning to prepare for remote work life for the foreseeable future and was talking with our CEO, Bryn Tindall, who received that same email. We both were so incredibly impressed by this proactive outreach even without either of us having any upcoming flight reservations. 

As someone who is enthralled with the power of email, this stood out as one of the most memorable emails I have ever received. (Right up there with the email from a jeweler years ago that my soon-to-be fiance’s engagement ring was ready for pickup or the email with our soon-to-be child’s gender results…but don’t tell my wife I told you that!)

Quality over quantity

During the pandemic, we’ve all received an email or two or 20 from every company we subscribe to describing what they are doing “during this time.” The unprecedented time in which we live has shown the power of email and its ability to keep customers, prospective customers, and brand enthusiasts updated at all times. 

From the “we are still here for you” and the “we are now offering curbside pickup” messages to the very sad “we are closing shop” content, email keeps us tuned in on what our companies are going through. 

While Amazon, Lysol, and any remotely decent hand sanitizer company are thriving, so many others are struggling. As it becomes more and more challenging for organic (non-paid) social media efforts to get vast exposure, email is a critical opportunity to reach them. Email doesn’t require paid media dollars to get read; it is simply sitting in their email inbox waiting to be noticed.

As consumers remain concerned about their safety in public areas and desire minimal in-store interaction time, email will continue to play a vital role in retaining and hopefully growing sales. 

So now’s a crucial time to ensure email subject lines are intriguing, layouts are eye-catching, and messages are riveting. People are flooded with emails from all of their subscribed companies. Put yourself in their shoes: would you open that email? How does yours stand out?

Adding automation into the mix

Marketing automation is another step that can help take email efforts to the next level. Campaigns can be created to lead each email recipient through a unique path based on their actions on the web and in previous emails. While not a requirement, automation provides the ability to be one step above what many others are doing.

For every 10 prospective clients who come through our door, I would say one or two are convinced email marketing is not that powerful and/or not worth the cost. The pandemic has shown the power of email: to maintain connection with consumers no matter how circumstances change.

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