COVID-19 Emails: Key Considerations and Tips

Right now, your customers are likely continuing to be bombarded with emails about COVID-19 — from their local supermarket, pet store, doctor, restaurant, gym, the list goes on — particularly as lockdown restrictions begin to ease.  

As leaders of small businesses, if you haven’t already, you’re probably carefully considering whether to send your own email regarding COVID-19. For many of you, it may look like an official letter signed by the CEO of your company. For others, it may look more like a quick update to notify customers of changes.  

The bottom line is, you need to start looking at your business as a ‘brand’, and if your COVID-19 emails aren’t evaluated with importance and consideration that a household name would, then, at best, you may find your business and message ignored in currently over-crowded inboxes.

While most people are trying to support local and small businesses in any way they can – there’s also the risk of coming across as inappropriate or profiteering. If your product or services have been impacted by COVID-19, then your customers would probably appreciate an email update.

Here are a few good reasons you might need to send a coronavirus-related email:

  • You have customers that may be more vulnerable during this crisis
  • You have brick-and-mortar locations (or you typically see customers in person)
  • Your services have been impacted or changed in some way
  • You’re doing something to help your customers during this time, such as providing food or health supplies, offering virtual services, waiving cancellation fees, etc.

In order to help business leaders, navigate this uncertain landscape, we’re sharing our top tips for successfully communicating with your audiences via email as we step closer to the ‘new normal’.

1.       Only include genuinely useful content.

Don’t send a COVID-19 email just because everyone else is doing it. Do it because you have something insightful and useful to say. It could be tips on how to work from home, a reminder of virtual services you offer, or an update to your returns or delivery options. Think about your customer first, and your business second, to determine what information you can provide that they’ll want to receive.

2.       Make your emails easy to skim.

Most COVID-19 emails seem to contain a solid wall of plain, unformatted text, making it very hard to determine what the key points are, and if those key points are important or not. Use visually stimulating designs, bullet out key points, or highlight important information to make it stand out from the rest.

3.       Keep it concise.

Many COVID-19 emails feature a large amount of superfluous words and technical jargon. However, your subscribers are probably very busy (and mentally overwhelmed) and would much prefer a concise message written in easy to digest language.

4.   Add a note about COVID-19 to your existing newsletter.

In many cases, you may not need to send a dedicated COVID-19 email, but simply add a note to the top of your next scheduled newsletter. General Assembly sent a dedicated COVID-19 email, but is also including a reminder to its students at the top of their regular newsletters that classes will now be online. 

5.       Ask your subscribers what they think.

Too many brands are sending their obligatory COVID-19 email and then going back to business as usual like nothing is happening. Keep the conversation flowing and open. Ask for feedback on how your customers think you’re doing and what, if anything, they’d like to see more or less of.

COVID-19 is nothing to take lightly, as anxieties are high and people are worried. Both lives and livelihoods are at risk around the world, and extra caution is therefore required. To make sure you’re putting the right focus and resources on it, not only should your messages express appropriate sentiment, but they should be clearly helpful and supportive in this time of crisis. Think about your subscribers, the inundation their inboxes are under right now, and how you can be helpful, supportive, and a breath of fresh air.