The 5 Types of Email Marketing You’ll See in a Crisis (And Which Ones to Avoid)

Types of Email Marketing

It feels like every business on the planet has invaded your inbox right now.

They all have something to say about what’s happening during the crisis.  Inevitably some say it better than others. And some emails are downright offensive.    

A lot of entrepreneurs are feeling paralysed. So instead of leading their tribe they choose to say nothing.  They worry that they’ll say the wrong thing and put their foot in it when emotions are running high.  

Sure, silence is one option.      

You can’t p*ss anyone off if you say nothing at all.  Trouble is, for every meek and silent entrepreneur, there are countless others with the courage to stand out.  They’re getting in front of your dream clients and whispering the words they want to hear. 

If you’re worried about how to approach your email marketing in a time of crisis, I’ve identified 5 key types of crisis message used by other businesses.  

Some are great, others aren’t. So if you’ve been wondering what to say to your subscribers, click the video below. In it, I explain:

  • The 5 types of email other businesses are sending to their clients during the crisis.  And which ones NOT to replicate in your own business
  • Why sending motivational emails could be doing you more harm than good
  • How to nail your message and make sales, even when buyers are freaking out

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Video Transcript:

I hope you’re surviving lockdown if you’re in the UK.  And if you’re in the rest of the world then I hope you’re also doing okay getting through the crisis .

I wanted to talk to you about what your messaging needs to be so that you don’t come across as insensitive or ignorant during this crisis.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably noticed that your inbox is absolutely full to the brim of emails from pretty much every company that you’ve ever known.

…in the world ever. Everybody seems to have something to say about the crisis.  Some of those messages are brilliant, some of them are not so great and others are just downright offensive.

So obviously, I want you to avoid being offensive and that’s why recognising the different email marketing strategies is so important for your business.

I’m going to run through the 5 key types of messaging that I’m seeing as we navigate our way through this crisis and which ones you should absolutely avoid if you want to establish brand loyalty and allow yourself to keep selling with empathy during the crisis.

The first type of message I’m seeing a lot of at the moment is what I like to call ignorant marketing and it’s basically where the company seems to have taken the decision not to even acknowledge that there’s a crisis going on.

It’s almost like they’ve set their email marketing up in a scheduler and they’re sending it regardless of what’s going on.

They don’t even mention it. They haven’t changed their strategy at all and they’re continuing to go out with the same message that they would have written three months ago.

They’re offering the same products and services.

They’re giving you the same promotions and it’s almost like they’re operating in a parallel universe and that they have no idea what’s going on in the world.

Which if you’re on the receiving end just feels kind of weird.

We’re in the middle of this once-in-a-lifetime situation.

We’re dealing with things that we have never experienced before, we’re all going through these life-changing events, and yet the businesses that we interact with regularly are acting as if nothing’s happening.

And if you take this approach, it just comes across as really tone deaf and ignorant and obviously that’s not something that you want with your clients.

So I would advise you to avoid this kind of messaging.

The next kind of messaging that I’m seeing a lot of (particularly in the coaching industry) is motivational, optimistic messaging. It’s very much focused on how we can take this situation and turn it around to create opportunities and advantages for your business.

And the thing with this messaging is that on the surface there’s really no problem with it. It’s a very strong angle to take, especially when you’re incentivised to make sure that your audience is feeling optimistic and upbeat and their morale is good.

But the danger with this is if you haven’t listened to your audience and you’re basing your message on the way, you’re feeling about the crisis… There’s a danger that you might be slightly off-key with where your clients heads are at right now.

So there may be clients in your audience who are really fearful.

Right now they’re just not in a place where they’re starting to think about the future and they just want to understand how to get through this crisis

They want to survive day to day.

You’ve also got people who are still trying to process what’s going on and they’re not really feeling ready to make any decisions yet because they’re still trying to understand the impact of all of this and how it’s going to affect their business.

So if you’re coming at them with a really heavy bombardment of “Rah rah, it’s great. This is a fabulous opportunity.”

It’s again, Going to feel a bit tone-deaf. It’s going to feel unempathetic.

It’s gonna feel insensitive.

So just make sure before you go out with this kind of messaging that you really read the room that you understand where your clients’ mindset is.

So you pitch your message with the right tone for your audience.

I’m also seeing a lot of what I’m calling robotic marketing.

It tends to be the corporates sending out this stuff and the subject line is usually “A message from our CEO” . And apart from my research purposes I can guarantee you that I have never once opened one of these emails because frankly nobody cares what your CEO things or what your logistical plans are for dealing with this crisis.

They want to know how you’re doing to help them. How are you going to get them through the crisis and do you understand the situation that your clients are going through.

Often this kind of messaging because it kind of feels like it’s coming from up here to customers, down here,  it just feels really on the wrong level.

And as if you’re talking to each other from a completely different place

It’s like you just don’t understand where your customers are coming from.

The next kind of messaging I’m seeing a lot of is opportunistic messaging.

This is where a business has maybe done that on the wrong thing.

They’re doing the dirty on their customers. They’re in it for a quick profit.

They’re taking their existing products and services and there may be pitching them to take advantage of the situation.

They’re going out there with quite aggressive marketing that’s really designed to basically punch you in the belly and really agitate your pain points.

Or maybe they’ve even gone as far as to increase their prices because whatever they’re selling is something that’s in short supply at the moment.

I’m hoping that you are not somebody who is in it for a quick buck and that you’re someone who is building deep long-lasting relationships with your Clients

This is not an approach that I would ever favor in your marketing because eventually when this crisis is over and the dust has settled your clients will remember you for this. They’ll remember that you took advantage of them.

They’ll remember that you up your prices in their time of need

That is going to destroy whatever loyalty you had with your clients and whatever and relationships you’ve built over the years.

The final type of marketing (and it’s one that I think is the most effective) is empathetic marketing

That’s where you as the business owner acknowledge what’s happening. You acknowledge the feelings and the fears and the desires of your ideal client and you shape your message around the way that your ideal clients are feeling.

So again, it’s not about your mindset.

It’s not about how you’re feeling. It’s not about how you’re handling the situation.

It’s about how your ideal clients are feeling and how they want you to help them navigate the situation.

So the best way to approach this kind of marketing is to share your message in the form of a story.

So share your own experiences of the crisis.

Let people know that you’re in this with them together.  That you’re feeling the same pains as them and you’re dealing with the same obstacles as them as you try to figure out your your way through this.

So that they see that you’re not operating from a totally different place to where they’re at.

And obviously it allows you to then niggle the pain points that you need in order to get their emotional buy-in without it feeling judgmental and opportunistic.

Now, if you’d like any more information on how to use your own experiences and how to tell stories to create empathetic marketing, head over to my bio.   I’ve got a free ebook for you.

It’s called the Email Story Generator.

So jump over there and you can get your free copy and that’s going to help you to come up with endless story ideas to so you can write better email copy.

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