What to know about email marketing in a pandemic world

The digital transformation that has been accelerated by the COVID outbreak has affected all parts of the martech stack, from platforms to apps. While the volume of email marketing campaigns has increased, not much attention has been paid to how email marketing itself has had to change.

“In March all of our inboxes were kind of covered with emails from CEOs talking about COVID [in a] very empathetic [manner],” said Erinne Mejia, Product Manager for Acoustic. “But as time progressed, and as each day came and went, we were a little less fearful, and we were a little bit more patient, and we became a lot more intelligent.”

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The importance of data hygiene

While email open rates increased from February to April, one of the top lessons learned from the COVID outbreak is that email marketing campaigns’ data hygiene and upkeep needs to be done on a continuing basis and not relegated to an annual or quarterly, or even monthly task.

“When you look at data hygiene it is really the newest marketing attribute,” said Mejia, “staying on top of different regulations and different rules. We saw data hygiene and data silos still paramount [issues] in many companies [at the onset of the COVID outbreak].”

Segmentation for success

The onset of COVID pretty much made general email ‘blasting’ a thing of the past. Segmenting the audience and hyper-personalization of messages is now looked upon as a requirement.

Shifts in buying patterns caused an even greater need for email marketing campaigns to implement personalization of content, a tactic that needs to be developed at the very start of an email marketing campaign, not in the middle after general content and ideas have been agreed upon.

“When you think of segmentation, it’s not just cuts of your database, and understanding who people are even takes it a step further,” said Mejia. “Think of how important location data became during the shelter in place [orders]…who’s open, who’s closed, and how do I engage?”

Creating content during COVID

The actual content behind email marketing campaigns can sometimes get left behind while marketers focus on data hygiene and personalization strategies. To succeed, Acoustic is advising all clients to keep messaging short and simple with a direct call to action.

“Remember your outbound messages are a vehicle to conversions during COVID,” said Melissa Tatoris, Chief Innovation Catalyst at Acoustic. “Keep them simple and remember to segment your audience with every campaign.”

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