According to Statista, 2020 saw about 306.4 billion emails sent and received every day. However, due to the COVID-19 crisis, writing email content (and content marketing in general) has changed. More than ever, your content calls for empathy, sensitivity, and offering helpful information and solutions.
What does this mean when writing email content in 2021?
COVID-19 caused many marketers to rethink their messaging and strategies. According to a July 2020 Forbes article, the disruption made marketers emphasize more than ever that they are using data to create engaging customer experiences. By harnessing customer signals, you can craft experiences that build more customer loyalty and retention.
This must be reflected in all your content, not just your email.
The Drum reports that by May 2020, the email marketing medium had stabilized from the disruption after the COVID-19 pandemic had initially spiked email volume with people seeking and brands providing information on the crisis. According to the article, email volumes remain at an all-time high and might continue to increase with more people at home and brands now pivoting to messaging not related to COVID-19. Currently, in fact, only 1% to 3% of emails are related to the crisis.
However, with some states and cities reinstating coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions, there’s likely to be a resurgence of COVID-related messaging, particularly as businesses begin to reopen again, which of course will alter your strategy.
Email marketers are aligning to a new normal, and how to write email content has changed accordingly. While many things have remained the same, they require more emphasis now than ever before. Marketers should strive to make their email content:
• Concise and direct. Make your point as sharply and in as straightforward a manner as possible. With emails, you aren’t dealing with much space and you can’t waste even a nanosecond of a reader’s time.
• Compelling. Your content and offers must be relevant and helpful to the intended audience. Personalize as much as possible to strike the right chord.
• Focused. All email content should support the email’s main point. If it doesn’t, it’s extraneous, less relevant, and less likely something a reader will engage with. Remember that an email is trying to get a recipient to perform an action (or click through on a link). Build an argument in the email to get someone to take action like you would in a mathematical proof.
• Visually engaging. Visuals can say just as much or more than words. People reading on mobile or with not much time might engage more with a clear visual than text. However, in general, an email should be properly formatted with good use of visuals and white space to be as easy to read and digest as possible.
• Eye-catching. You are grabbing and holding a person’s attention and then making it wort their while. The design not only should be eye-catching, but the content and offers as well. You might try adding a gif, another type of animation, or different visual elements to the email. Perhaps a theme would work well, especially one connected to an upcoming holiday?
As always, your subject lines and call-to-action should be clear, powerful, and make an impression that makes someone want to engage or click through. Keep the design simple and ensure that the email itself is scannable, especially for mobile readers. Above everything, strive for clarity, as you are making a point or getting across a message that the reader should have no problem understanding.
Michael McNichols is a Senior Content Manager for Oracle Digital Marketing. He has over ten years of experience in professional writing and has been widely published.