E-mail marketing at the time of the Corona crisisChance or disaster?
For several weeks now, the news and current reports on the Corona Virus Covid-19 have dominated not only the news, but also our everyday lives. No wonder, because never before has there been such restrictive measures in Germany since the Second World War as in recent weeks.
Besides the personal restrictions, the economic consequences are immense. Especially retail, hospitality, tourism and the event industry are strongly affected by the Corona crisis. Online trade, on the other hand, is still in good shape, mainly due to a lack of alternatives.
But what does all this mean for email marketing? Can newsletter dispatch help to get through the current crisis better? We have looked at some industries for this.
The fact that people are more at home and work from their home office as much as possible has changed user habits. Overall opening rates have increased and response times have decreased – it is noticeable that people have more time. Also the usage times are now more evenly distributed over the course of the day and there are fewer peaks compared to the normal office routine.
Building trust in uncertain times
Unlike social media services, email is considered a secure channel. According to the United Internet metastudy “E-Mail für Dich 2.0”, 76 percent of the participants express their trust in email. In these currently uncertain times, it is important to give people security and ensure transparency. Journalistic accuracy and the duty to inform are therefore booming. Serious and well-prepared newsletters can thus ensure a positive and sustainable relationship between you and your customers and prospects even beyond the crisis. The most important thing is open and honest communication. Your customers will understand if you are not yet allowed to reopen due to official regulations or if the dispatch is delayed because of delivery bottlenecks at your company. Just let us know in time: The worst communication is the one that doesn’t happen. So use your newsletter distribution list and keep customers, interested parties and partners up to date.
Winners and losers - measures
As with all crises, there are winners and losers. Of course, as a profiteer you don’t need to take much action, because the good deals virtually fly to you. But every crisis ends at some point and if you want business to continue to go well even after the current situation, you should take precautions.
Winners - do not rest on your laurels
Pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment suppliers
Demand for protective equipment has risen sharply due to corona The clear winners currently include pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of protective equipment such as breathing masks. Due to the high demand, there are already considerable price increases and supply bottlenecks. The company that is the first to launch a vaccine or medication against Covid-19 will be out of business for a long time anyway. Fired by this, more and more companies are entering the production of protective and disinfectant agents. On the one hand, the demand can be better covered and on the other hand, other business areas that have disappeared can be at least partially compensated.
In these cases, the difficulty will be to serve other products again when the demand for protective materials decreases, because in some cases productions have been completely converted. At this point it makes sense to refer to other products, which become more relevant again after the crisis, in addition to currently important crisis goods, by means of regular newsletters. The more the crisis weakens, the more you should focus your communication on your actual products. At this point, it makes sense to take a closer look at the newly acquired customers and see which of your products or services would be relevant to the respective customers beyond the crisis. Mark them so that you can generate e-mail campaigns that are as targeted as possible.
Media houses and publishers
Other winners of the Corona crisis are the various news magazines. Now everyone wants to be up to date and doesn’t want to miss it if something changes – for better or worse. Moreover, many people have more time. The opening and click numbers have increased enormously here in the last few weeks. Many media houses have recognised the need for information and also offer an extra Corona newsletter. Especially in times of crisis, people trust the big media houses and thus more in-depth reporting, instead of the fast moving and often questionable social media posts. Especially since false reports have been communicated via these again and again. For the media houses one can only hope that the population will continue to rely on serious and high-quality content even after the crisis. Newsletters with the latest news can contribute to this. Media houses and publishers are well advised to also rely on automated and personalised content. In other words, that readers receive newsletters with content that is specifically related to their preferred areas of interest.
Online shopping during the corona crisisAn apparently clear beneficiary of the crisis is online retailing, if only for lack of stationary alternatives. But there are clear differences: Internet giant Amazon, for example, where almost everything is available, is doing good business and recently announced its intention to create 1,000 new jobs in Germany. The online shops of the big fashion chains, on the other hand, are different. Who needs new clothes when nobody can see you in your home office? In itself, the willingness to spend money on things that are not absolutely necessary is declining. Because nobody knows how the situation will develop and whether you will have to work short time or even lose your job.
On the other hand, companies that have switched their production to face masks, for example, are still doing well. The obligation to wear them will further boost sales of masks. So if you have the opportunity to offer products that are urgently needed at the moment, inform your customers in a newsletter before the competition does. Add to your “new” products in another newsletter with tips, for example on masks, how to use them properly and how to clean them. Even if the recipient does not need the product, your flexibility and commitment to the common good will leave a lasting positive impression.
Streamig and delivery services
Other beneficiaries are digital media offers, such as Netflix and Sky-Ticket, but also delivery services, such as Lieferando, are recording large inflows. For these companies, significant growth rates in opening and click rates can also be seen. The media and delivery services will probably lose some ground again after the crisis, but in the long term they can still hope for a customer base that has now been built up during the crisis. Good customer care is very helpful here.
Inform your customers about new offers and cooperations. Use the respective customer preferences and offer appropriate solutions tailored to the individual customer. For example, if your customer prefers to order Indian food, inform them about the new Indian restaurant in their vicinity or include the current lunch offer in the newsletter. The same applies to Netflix and Co. Tell your newsletter recipient when the new season of his last viewed series is running. If your customer likes to watch horror movies, let them know about new releases in your portfolio. In these cases, high-level marketing automation ensures long-term customer loyalty.
The victims of the crisis - persevere is the motto
Gastronomy and stationary trade
The catering trade and stationary trade are particularly affected by the crisis, as they had to close completely for weeks and have only been allowed to reopen partially. What are the solutions? Even if this certainly cannot replace suburban business, online trade offers at least the opportunity to generate a few revenues in addition to street sales. Especially in the regional area, the use of newsletters in combination with social media is a good solution to point out available offers despite the exceptional situation.
Even if it is not possible to quickly create an online shop or if one does not want to fall back on well-known sales platforms or delivery services, regular newsletters can at least inform and serve regular customers. Moreover, your company will be remembered and will not be forgotten during the crisis period, so that your offers will be used as soon as it is possible again.
Trade fairs and events
By far the worst hit is the event industry. No matter whether trade fairs, congresses, sporting events, concerts or festivals – all major events are prohibited until the end of August 2020 (as of April 2020). Even beyond that date it is very uncertain whether there will be any major events in 2020, as the already cancelled Oktoberfest shows.
At this point, compensation with online measures can only be achieved to a limited extent, as the period to be bridged is not just a few weeks and everything beyond that is open. Nevertheless, you can try to hold e.g. congresses and trade fairs online and replace them with webinars. Concerts can be broadcasted as a live stream from the living rooms of the stars, and there are already considerations to hold sports events without spectators and broadcast them live.
If possible, offer your customers an alternative and build your e-mail campaigns around a digital event. Even if that is not an alternative for some of your customers, you will still be remembered. As soon as it is foreseeable, you can inform about real events again without losing your opt-in. You should also try to contact customers who have already purchased tickets for cancelled events. Offer solutions on how the ticket can be used for an event next year. A good and transparent customer communication in times of crisis will give you a good new start, if you have survived the crisis.
And for industries linked to events, such as stand builders or caterers, it is also important to be creative and find alternative business. For example, stand builders, with the available resources and their relevant experience, can equip supermarkets and other public institutions with appropriate protection at cash registers and counters or enter into cooperation with interior decorators and interior designers – direct sales to private customers could also be envisaged as a new target group. And caterers, too, need to rethink and switch to lunchtime business, for example, or supply supermarkets with frozen food. In any case, you should also inform about the new range of services and try to gradually build up the newsletter distribution list in this direction.
Travel and tourism industry
And another wasteland is hit particularly hard in the Corona crisis: tourism. Currently, all tourist activities are prohibited in Germany and hotels are only allowed to open for business travellers. With the increasingly warm temperatures in Germany, Easter usually heralds the start of the travel season, which has its peak in the summer holidays. The pre-season is currently only once lapsed and now it is also questionable whether it will be something with the summer holidays. If so, the chances of holidays in Germany and Austria are still the best.
Similar to the events, good customer communication is essential to survive the crisis – whether it’s about cancelled trips or about retaining customers after the crisis. Let your customers dream of better times and design newsletters with travel recommendations, which can also be well combined with a more detailed blog post. Point out digital museum visits or other virtual offers. Maybe one or the other would like to see them later in real life. Put together tempting packages that have a long validity. Send out a hotel offer of the week, such as two nights in a 4 star hotel in Hamburg for only 120 Euro and the whole is valid for 3 years. With offers like this, one or the other will already be weak and you can at least keep your head above water a little. By the way, some hotels are also starting to rent out their rooms for the long term or offer the rooms for home office use. Perhaps you will find one or the other in your own mailing list for whom this is interesting.
And of course, the focus is now shifting to travel offers that eliminate as many risk factors as possible: How about camping trips that are independent of flight connections or hotels?
We hope we were able to support you with this amount. Get through the Corona crisis as unscathed as possible and let’s look forward to better times together!
How we can support you
To enable you to transport your ideas and measures to the customer, we support you in several ways:
Email marketing software:
All versions of the E-Marketing Manager (EMM) enable you to set up professional email campaigns. From normal newsletters and automated individual mailings to complex campaigns, everything is possible. We have the right solution for every budget – from zero euros to flat rate to premium.
Email templates and implementation:
Our software offers a number of templates that you can work with. If required, we can help you to create your own template or help you to implement your ideas.
Online shop system:
If you have been running a branch store without a webshop, we can also set up a shop system for you with our subsidiary aboBeats.