While email marketers have often had to respond to crises, there is no analogy for the current pandemic. As the situation unfolds, everyone in the email industry is adjusting to a new normal and learning new ways to communicate. We’ve gathered a few best practices and learnings from our customers to help you connect with your subscribers.
Tone and content
First, remember your subscribers are people, just like you. Some of them may be directly affected by this illness. Most will be at least indirectly affected. Review your content with this reality in mind.
As always, the type of messaging you send should be driven by your industry and location, especially in areas of high impact. If you can, try to keep your messaging as normal as possible, but adjust where needed.
- Keep a calm, reassuring tone. Avoid panic-based content or, at the other extreme, jokes about a serious situation. Be informative and empathetic, whether your brand voice is professional or more informal.
- Let your subscribers know how you’re taking care of them. This may include offers for teachers or healthcare workers, increased sanitation measures, or delivery options.
- If your usual content refers to physical proximity, such as shaking hands or gathering at one location, consider removing those references for now.
- Think about creative, helpful messaging that makes sense for your brand. Recent examples include tips on food preservation; book and movie recommendations; and keeping young children entertained during the workday.
Remember, too, that mailbox provider filters aren’t personal. Many operate by machine learning, and the code doesn’t know an unusual situation is in progress. You may see changes to your deliverability while filters learn new sending patterns.
Monitor the performance of your subject lines. Your messages might be ending up in a different Gmail tab from the one your subscribers expect. Based on recent observations, certain words, such as “Update,” may move your campaign to the Gmail Updates tab. Words such as “Information” may more consistently land in Promotions.
Test early and often. Use Inbox Preview for content assessment, spam filter checks, and visual renders of your message on different platforms. Send your campaign to your testing Gmail account or an internal personal account to see which tab your message lands in. Give your campaign the best chance of making it into the inbox.
Sending to your entire subscriber base
You may be concerned about risking your sender reputation by sending to your entire subscriber base at once. Your sending strategy will depend on how much or how little you send currently.
If you already send to a large slice of your subscriber base at a time, try throttling your sends at your current volume. For example, let’s say you send to 1 million subscribers per campaign, and your subscriber base is 5 million. To send to your entire base, throttle your campaign over 5 hours.
If you only target a small portion of your subscribers per send, apply a mini-warmup strategy. Let’s say you send to 5,000 or even 50,000 subscribers per campaign, but your subscriber base is 5 million. In that case, you could start with your average volume and double it every day you send until you have reached your entire base.
Making changes to your send volume
Depending on your industry and location, you may find you need to make other changes to your sending volume. We recommend making changes as gradually as you can. If you send internationally, consider implementing your strategy country by country, adjusting as needed for those areas that may be harder hit.
Use our warming guides to increase your sending volume with minimal disruption to your sending reputation:
If you work with a Customer Success Manager, talk to your CSM about your plans to ramp your sending volume down or up. Your CSM can offer additional guidance based on your situation.
Certified senders should be aware that Certification is maintaining its standards in accordance with the standards set out by our mailbox provider partners. We recommend keeping your sending volume as close to normal as possible, but if you need to stop sending emails entirely for a time:
- As your send volume drops, your complaint rate could increase, leading to suspension.
- If you stop sending emails for 30 days or more, your program will be suspended for zero volume.
In both cases, resuming normal sending patterns should reverse the process. Once you start sending normally again, just keep your campaigns in compliance with the 2020 Certification requirements. No further action is needed on your part. As your program returns to good standing, your suspension will be lifted automatically.
If you stop sending emails for 90 days or more, your IP will automatically be removed from your Certification account. You will need to get your IP added back into your Certification account before your benefits resume. Simply submit a request to Return Path Support to have your IP re-added. As mentioned above, you may need to warm up your IP before returning to normal sending patterns.
If you work with a Customer Success Manager, it’s a good idea to talk to your CSM about your plans for your email program. You can also join Email Expert Office Hours every Tuesday and Thursday to talk with our experts and exchange ideas with other senders.