BEFORE YOU EVEN READ THIS, pause all emails.
Seriously. So many brands space out scheduled content once a crisis hits as they struggle to align on a response to publish. This leads to insensitive emails being sent out without even being meant to. As soon as you know there is a crisis situation, review all active email campaigns and STOP all campaigns that are not completely necessary until you have a better understanding of the length and severity of the crisis. Emails hit your target market in a very personal place and an email seen as tone-deaf can quickly escalate into a shared screenshot on Twitter that goes viral with what a terrible brand you are.
As the crisis plays itself out, think about what actions you are asking your target market to take in emails. Do they need to fill out an entire form? If it’s a worldwide crisis, how would you react to a brand asking you to take time to fill out some form you don’t really understand the goal of at all?
This doesn’t mean all emails need to be paused until the world is bright and happy again. Just as there is an opportunity pause, there’s an opportunity to create new email messaging that is supportive and helpful re: the current crisis. I just spoke with a church today that is working on crisis comms since they are realizing Easter Sunday will now be a digital production. Not to mention, many churches have older congregations that are not comfortable accessing the internet and viewing sermons online. Maybe emails this time aren’t around seeing the congregation next Sunday, but about inspiring and encouraging the congregation to share ideas for what would make the sermon special this year online? Maybe emails become simple teaching guides for older generations to access live-streamed services?
Would I go out right now and keep the same fresh prospective email for a high-end luxury client that has a hard-sell for a $15K bag? Probably not. I don’t know if that’s where the target market’s headspace is after this week. But maybe there’s another creative way to speak to prospective buyers rather than a hard-sell right now…
Maybe I do need to adjust my retention email campaign to ask everyone how they are doing and if there is anything we can do as a brand to support them through this time?
As lame as it sounds, common sense plays a big factor in crisis communications. Don’t shut down your email campaigns, but do look at ways to improve upon them to actually form a relationship with your target market.
– Marji J. Sherman