11 things to keep in mind while sending crisis-related emails

As the world grapples with the current COVID-19 health outbreak, communication is more important than ever. People are anxiously glued to their digital screens, with most of them working remotely, and brands are trying their best to communicate essential information to their customers and employees—from next moves to how they see the repercussions of this pandemic panning out.

Due to this, emails are flooding inboxes around the world. While the message may vary from brand to brand, it’s important not to lose sight of some of the design and content basics of setting up messages during a time of crisis. And, the best part? This isn’t rocket science, but something that can be easily adopted.

This article lists 11 critical points you need to remember before sending the next email to your leads, customers, or employees.

covid-19 email marketing

Check for a proper subject line

You can spend hours crafting a message that shows you genuinely care for your audience, only to see that fly away with a slipshod subject line. Ensure your subject line clearly conveys the intent of the email—whether your company is sharing safety measures, telling people about updates to offerings, and so on.


Sender: Laurene from ShopMore

Subject line: Important update owing to the health emergencies

Pre-header: All retail outlets remain closed for 10 days. Shop online, 1-2 extra days for delivery.

Maintain an empathetic tone

Let’s admit it—everyone is in a flux, a state of uncertainty, trying to keep themselves self-assured and motivated. As a brand sending emails, maintain a human touch and genuineness in your message tone. Send emails because you care about your recipients and you want to help them face this crisis better. Create a sense of community and belonging among your audience.

If you’re sending a product-based email, don’t be blunt and mention just updates or news; send them an offer or a way for them to use the product for free while they are working remotely.

Send in mass while personalizing

While this is the time to extend support and reach to all of your contacts, ensure that you personalize your emails so recipients don’t feel bombarded with generic, irrelevant content. Set up your merge tags to pull in data like their name, city, account details, registration number, date of purchase, and so on. Don’t treat your audience with nonchalance—while you show you care, every detail matters. Avoid using generic words, phrases, sarcasm, and puns in your content—it’s not the hour to act ‘cool.’

Choose simplicity over everything

Yes, it’s tempting to choose the best of all designs, the most stylish font, and the killer content in an attempt to make your email stand out in the recipients’ inboxes. Honestly, none of this conveys your intention to connect with people than an easy-to-read message that clearly states:

  • Why you’re sending what you’re sending

  • How this email helps the one who’s reading it

Having too many actions in the email can confuse an audience, so stick to simple, on-point, and brief content. Keep the font size moderately big and avoid loading your email with too many GIFs, videos, or other ornate visual elements. This will help you optimize your email for screen-readers and voice bots too.

Act on-time

Planning is the second best thing. The best thing is execution. Action comes even before planning—tuning your mind to follow your plans as soon as they’re ready. Instead of drowning in your email plans and ideas, channel your efforts into setting up the emails to go at the right time so you don’t suffer a delay.

Decide what goes into the email, when the email should be delivered, and who should be sending it. For example, if you’re canceling your conference, make sure to notify registrants, sponsors, and all the other delegates much before the anticipation and fear sets in. Give actionable instructions on how you plan to address the event cancellation and what’s expected from the audience’s end.

Prioritize deliverability

The last thing you want is to have your soulful, timely, crisis-support email land in spam folders. To prevent this from happening, keep your domain authenticated and ensure that you don’t have any reputation damage from earlier attempts.

Also, send multiple test emails to see if your message renders without any issues on at least two to three devices. Keep an eye on your past bounces and spam traps, and get your software to rightly clear them out before you send your emails.

Regulate your workflows

If you’ve invested efforts into setting up automated contextual workflows, it’s time to revisit them. During this period of remote working and social distancing, people might not prefer to get notified too often (even if this was their earlier preference). You should check on the flow of your automated journeys and remap the emails to suit the current hour.

Also, watch out for emails from other workflows your customers are a part of that may get delivered at the same time as your crisis-related emails. You may not want pandemic-related content going along with otherwise normal, unrelated (at this hour) content.

Prepare to reply 

Sending emails might be your major work, but be ready to handle the after effects too. It’s possible that your recipients might have questions for you, so instead of having an automated reply-to email address, loop in your personal email ID or the email address of your support team, colleagues, and business partners.  

Your email should be friendly enough that people feel comfortable approaching you and voicing their concerns. Say, when you send an email to your employees/team members about how your company is adapting to the evolving emergencies and changes, some of your employees may have specific questions. Give them some room to ask through reply emails and address those responses genuinely.

Measure performances over time

With work from home prevalent across the globe, people are just getting accustomed to managing their official and personal tasks, along with the restricted social activity. Given this, don’t expect immediate results for your emails. The reason for you to send these crisis-related emails is to lend help and show your concern, so give the email some buffer time to perform. Your recipients also need their work-family balance before they master the remote-working mechanism.

Reach out wide

Digital channels are constantly moving, rapidly displaying the updates, news, and voices of people from all around the globe. It’s very likely that with social distancing, virtual media will continue to connect people, so your customers and employees could maintain a presence in social media channels, SMS, live chat, and more.

Tap into the potential of all of these digital services to complement your email marketing efforts. Adapt your email message in a way that suits different platforms and pages.

Don’t overdo it

If you don’t think you have the relevant bandwidth, concept, or time frame to set up emails, kindly refrain from doing so. It’s always better to take inspiration from others, especially when you’re just starting out. While sending the right emails is surely a way to show that your brand is concerned about the safety and welfare of the audience, there are other ways to prove it too. See what works better for your brand and support accordingly. 

We hope these measures help you promptly set up your crisis emails in a way that’s more humane and sanguine.

Feel free to reach out to us with any questions—we’d be more than happy to assist you. Our DMs on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are open too—just drop in your thoughts, and we’ll get connected.  

 Thank you, and happy remote campaigning!

 ~ Team Zoho Campaigns


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