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Email Marketing: Keeping Brands & Customers Connected During COVID-19

June 29, 2020
By Lizzie Hoffman

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The way in which brands communicate with customers is vastly changing. One of these shifts involves an increased reliance on email marketing and valid email addresses.

To dive into the details of this rise in email marketing, we’ve gathered a few observations from our team and discuss some of the email data services that have increased in popularity as a result of the email marketing boom.

First, a few general observations …

Matt Wolosz, VP Sales:
“As screen time increases for consumers and brands alike, I’ve seen a greater focus on email as a marketing channel and I expect it will continue into early 2021.”

Taylor, Client Relations Manager:
“We’ve seen an uptick in Email Validation and Email Intelligence requests, and I’d venture to guess this has something to do with more consumers using their phones to shop and connect with brands.”

Lizzie, Integrated Marketing Manager:
“My inbox is noisier than ever, and, honestly, I delete 98% of the emails I receive because no matter what brand they come from, everything sounds the same. However, those emails that stand out are often the ones that speak to my values and illustrate a similar perspective to my own. Those emails just “get me”.

Brian, President:
“I’ve been working closely with clients to adjust their services to fit their new needs and reallocate budgets accordingly. At the same time, I think we can all agree that the demand for email data has increased given the heavier reliance on e-commerce and digital purchasing of goods. More people are using apps to perform daily tasks than ever before, and we hope for brands that means more email marketing opportunities”

Phil, Chief Business Officer:
“As a manager, coworker, leader, service provider, and service consumer at this company, I wear a number of hats and have to adapt to each role’s needs. But one thing that’s a necessity for all of those roles is empathy. I bring up empathy because it’s something we use to connect in our own company but also with our customers, and the current situation has brought the need for empathy in communications between brands and customers into the limelight.”

As we’ve watched these changes occur in our own business and conversations with clients, we’ve also witnessed a rise in a few specific email marketing tools as a result, all of which are dependent on valid email addresses. Here are some ways we’re seeing clients use email data services to address changing customer needs.

Validation keeps your database healthy

It's not rocket science – increased screentime means increased app use, more digital conversations and more consumers checking their inboxes. Therefore, there's now a spotlight on the importance of a healthy database and the overall value of an accurate email address.

Additionally, proper database maintenance has been shown to foster a more effective email channel that keeps brands top-of-mind as audiences spend more time scrolling and less time shopping in person. Email validation is a great place to start with any digital initiative because if you send a message to a non-existent email or a spam trap, your email marketing ROI suffers and your hard work goes right down the drain! 

Email data enhancement = more empathetic customer engagement

The world is changing around us at a rapid pace, and we’re all adjusting the best we can. So when a brand tries to understand how people’s behaviors and motivations are changing based on the events unfolding around them, it’s more engaging than a generic note from a CEO.

The goal for you right now should be to empathetically engage customers and successfully cut through the noise of newly inundated inboxes. How do you do this? Like Taylor said, more brands are catching on to the importance of data and having those insights on hands for times like this, hence an increased interest in data enhancement services.

Throughout this time, our team has seen some great email campaigns that balance addressing current needs in one send while discussing product in another one or two messages. These emails spoke empathetically to the reader and understood their unique traits that made them brand loyalists in the first place – No one likes receiving an overly generalized email that could just as easily have gone to their neighbor.

This comes back to Phil and Lizzie’s points. As consumers, we respond to emails that are empathetic and recognize our unique interests. If the email mentions one of our key motivators based on demographic and behavioral data, we’re more likely to click through to whatever offer lies beyond that message. 

Opener data is key to kicking off a
re-engagement campaign

For many clients, less foot traffic directly translates to fewer customers and fewer new emails for their programs. This makes it a great time to look at unengaged customers and figure out how to engage them since they're spending more time online than they might have in the past. Opener Data is the way to do this!

As Matt suggests, not only is this great when foot traffic is down but also in the future when inactive files are looking a little bulkier than normal. Simply take the emails that have been isolated from your mailings due to lack of engagement, run them against Opener Data to identify which email users are currently active within their inboxes, then build and launch your re-engagement campaign around those emails. It's more cost-effective long-term and lets you know when it's time to adjust your messaging for evolving customer needs.

Identity matching connects all the customer dots

As customers rely more heavily on e-commerce and digital purchases of goods, profiles are popping up across apps and channels at increasing rates. Email is ubiquitous, and having the ability to connect customer profiles to a single identity in your database provides greater insight into the motivating factors for purchase.

Honestly, what brand wouldn’t want to know what motivates its customers? Identity matching is a great tool to not only create a complete picture of customers but generate new, relevant channels through which you can communicate.

Now, we've spoken a fair bit about the importance of email, here, but one surprising trend we've seen has been some clients' shift from email append to postal append. By adding an accurate postal address to a verified customer record, brands are  finding success in the mailbox with relevant offers based on these complete identities.

Email retargeting retains new leads

With retail stores ordered to shut down, foot traffic dwindled and many businesses saw a drastic drop in customers. Even as shops reopen, it remains difficult to acquire new customers off the street, and despite reinvesting dollars into digital marketing, 95% of website traffic is lost because the visitor didn't complete a form, make a purchase or provide any information.

Services like Email Retargeting help recapture lost leads by not only identifying those anonymous website visitors but also allowing businesses to engage them with a relevant email offer based on their website behavior. This way, even with the lack of foot traffic or form submissions, you can still reach out to potential customers with a message that resonates and an offer tailored to their interests.

The world is changing, but email addresses are still valuable 

There’s a lot to be said about the current state of affairs, but email marketing and valid email addresses will maintain their value when it comes to connecting customer events, managing digital messaging and condensing all of your interactions into a single database. 

To learn more about how email data services can improve your email marketing ROI during the pandemic and beyond, sign up for a free InstantData account today and validate 100 emails for free!Test 100 Email Addresses for Free

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