• Kanyla Wilson

Three Ways to Increase Your Email Marketing Success During COVID-19 Shutdowns

The global pandemic presents unique challenges for many businesses and the way they connect and maintain relationships with customers. Now more than ever, solid digital marketing content strategies is essential to remaining afloat and a priority in your audience's mind. With most of the world staying close to home, your audience is tuned into digital outlets at higher rates, according to a recent report showing significant increases in use and engagement. This is the prime time to speak to your audience right from their inbox and provide timely, useful content that will drive increased engagement, conversions, and brand loyalty.

Subject Lines

One of the toughest obstacles to capitalizing on your audience’s increased attention is that you aren’t the only business looking to increase sales and awareness through email marketing during the pandemic. Your goal is to be the email your audience picks when they open their inbox to a flood of “Look at me!” attempts from other brands.

Originality is key when crafting subject lines to get your emails noticed. I’m sure we all remember the emails we received from many brands at the start of the pandemic in the US. It seemed like everyone sent the same email with slight differences but the same repeated message. I opened a few for a consumer perspective on how brands were handling the crisis, but after a few clicks to find the same message, I lost interest. I’m sure many other people with overloaded inboxes did as well. Your subject line should be an alert to the audience you are attempting to reach; it should say this message is unique, valuable, and worth attention.

Three key tips to remember when writing your subject line:

Apply an adjusted version of the number one rule of home buying: Never settle for the first subject line you write. The creative process for subject line development should always begin with a brainstorming session. Each email you write for your marketing content plan should have at least three to four unique subject lines. This technique will give you plenty of material for A/B testing as well.

Utilize your keyword research and showcase them in your subject line. You’ll soon see that many parts of your content marketing plan will begin to fit together like a complete communication puzzle, so incorporate your SEO keyword research into your emails, especially in the subject.

Become your customer. The customer avatars you create when designing your email marketing campaign should serve as the lens through which you view your subject line. What does your audience need to hear right now, what are they opening their inbox to see? You need a subject line that signals at just the right pitch and opens their ears (or eyes) to what they will find in the body of the message. Think about how your brand, products, and company can be valuable to them during the pandemic, and hint to it when you word your subject.

Body Content

Customers are more engaged during COVID-19 shutdowns but don’t make the mistake of taking their attention for granted. Audiences are opening more emails, but traffic to websites and landing pages has decreased. After you hook your reader with the subject line, another race to keep your audience’s attention begins. When writing the body of your email, value is the focus. You want to offer something of worth to your audience with every message.

The COVID-19 email marketing era is all about stretching your creative ability to provide diverse, unique content in short message form. The last thing you want to do is send an email that says, “Buy this” or “Click here” without acknowledging the full scope of your customer avatar research. Zero in on what your audience needs and expand to accommodate them. Share curated information that focuses on their top concerns and offer solutions to common issues. You may find yourself writing about things that you’ve never touched on while crafting email marketing content, but get out of your comfort zone!

Example: One of my recent clients wanted to explore ways to reach their age 50+ customer base during the COVID-19 crisis, so we devised a content strategy to address some of the common struggles for that age group when interacting and shopping online. Their email marketing campaign included information about digital security and privacy, tips on how to spot scams, information about how the company increased safety standards and sanitation efforts, and valuable information about boosting the immune system and disinfecting at home.
This client stepped into a new role for their audience. They began to communicate outside the realm of products and services and started establishing a realistic bond with their customers. Their email open rates increased by 22% and held at steady numbers indicating the audience enjoyed the content and trusted each message would be valuable and useful.


The third part of your COVID-19 email marketing strategy equation is conversion. You’ve captured the audience’s attention and proved your brand trustworthy with valuable content; now, it’s time to bring it home with a clear call-to-action. One of my father’s favorite sayings was, “A closed mouth doesn’t get fed,” which is a roundabout way of saying: ask for what you want. Don’t waste your hard work on the subject line and body text by burying your call-to-action, if anything during COVID-19 you want to deliver the most direct call-to-action statements you’ve ever written. You want to be specific about what you would like your audience to do after they have read your email. If you want to convert them to your site or landing page, offer two to three easy options for them to do so: one link at the beginning, one at the end, and one in the body of your content. Customers are engaging on social media more than ever during the shutdowns, so double down on your call-to-action and encourage your audience to connect with you on your pages. Offering an incentive is key here, so make sure you’re offering fresh, unique content on your social pages to add value to their follow.

Marketing during the COVID-19 era is a historically unique experience, and while the pandemic creates challenges for your brand, opportunities for effective creative strategy are also blooming at every turn.

If you want to increase your brand awareness during COVID-19 with a custom-designed email marketing content strategy, contact me here to discuss your options.