Now What?

Heather Lewis – SVP eMarketing Services 

So now what?  How do you proceed, in terms of email, in this very uncertain time? 

You’ve sent your COVID-19 notices about extra precautions, lobby closures, and reduced hours. Business, schools and daycares continue to close. Remote work protocols have been activated.  Some areas are on lockdown, with all non-essential business and services being closed.  

Without a doubt, it’s not ‘business as usual’ and sending email campaigns as if it were may leave a bad impression of seeming out-of-touch. Not good during a time when folks are worried about basic necessities such as food, income, and of course, toilet paper. But customers do want (and need to) know what’s going on with their money and your bank.

Here some considerations for moving beyond COVID-19 messages… 

  • Take inventory of any automated/recurring messages, such as onboarding/cross-sell sequences. Are they promoting in-branch visits? Or cross-selling products that would seem insensitive or off-kilter at this time?  Evaluate each message and adjust as needed.
  • Check for any previously scheduled ad-hoc/one-off promotional emails for future deployment dates. Do they still make sense to send during this time or should they be delayed? Pay close attention to any messages featuring rates/prime rate if content was drafted prior to recent rate cuts. 
  • For anything that IS sent, the tone should reflect the current situation – nothing funny or cute, but rather straight-forward and informative.  Use your website, your blog and social feeds for up-to-the-minute updates – and remind your email subscribers to check there for current information. Frequency and recency are important considerations; make sure that you’re only sending information that has changed or will change and is actually useful right now.
  • Make sure your email list is up to date. Remove bounced (undeliverable) email addresses from your deployments. Continuing to send to bad addresses will surely get you into the junk folder.  
  • It’s times like these when email can really shine – a digital one-to-one channel with a broader, unfiltered reach than your social following and no word limit. HOWEVER, everyone’s inbox is flooded with COVID-19 emails right now — from every institution, company and retailer they have done business with. Ever.  Keep it relevant. (Note: the ever-present “Message from our CEO” can probably wait until things are back to normal.)
  • Consider … will customers think this information is important at this time? How can you help those customers who may be facing hardships? According to a new JD Power and ABA study, the most important messages consumers care about right now are fee waivers and service disruptions. The least important are mobile deposit and electronic access.  

The best approach is to recognize the situation and adapt accordingly until normalcy is restored – which will no doubt be a gradual process.