5 Tips for Talking About COVID-19 in Your Email Campaigns

Alicia Schneider

Jun 14 2020

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By now, you’ve probably received an email that refers to COVID-19 from everyone from your favorite online shops to your pet groomer. There are plenty of ways you can approach this hot topic in your email campaigns (spoiler alert: avoiding it entirely isn’t one of them), but some methods work better than others.

Email open rates have grown by an estimated 25% since the start of the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you should be bombarding your mailing list with constant emails. Your email recipients are likely overwhelmed with the constant COVID-19 news, so the last thing they need is another email saying the same things. Still, it’s important that you address the issue in a factual and direct way so that your customers can continue to trust you and be more at ease with your products or services.

Of course, this is all easier said than done, so if you’re still trying to figure out how and when to integrate COVID-19 into your email campaigns, here are a few pointers.

1. Provide Updates About Changes to Your Business

Some businesses are more affected by the pandemic than others. If you had to majorly overhaul your usual procedures, then that’s probably something your customers would want to know about. Here are a few examples of changes you should include in your email campaigns:

  • Changes to your delivery methods or a notification of shipping delays.
  • Updates to your return policy such as an extended window for returns, or informing clients they can’t return specific items like clothing.
  • Closure, reopening, or changing business hours to a physical business location.
  • Discounts for shopping online while your brick-and-mortar store is closed.


You should also be using email messaging to tell your customers about new social or charitable initiatives. If your business is now helping manufacture items for essential workers, supporting a charitable organization, or even just donating proceeds or items with every purchase, your shoppers will want to know. Here’s an example of from Canadian brand, Peace Collective:


Actions like these support your overall email marketing campaign, so you can send out an initial email about your initiative as well as a few follow-ups or reminder emails.

If you’re looking for more help with your email campaigns, ConstantContact has created a great Small Business Support Kit. You can get guidance on how to implement changes to your business, learn new skills, and get help with opening an online store.

2. Get Input From Your Clients

Many brands will use email campaigns to send information to their clients, but they forget to ask for feedback. Whether you’re used to doing this or not, this is a good time to begin openly talking about COVID-19 with your customers.

Don’t be afraid to use your emails to ask questions about what your clients would like to see from your brand and what types of COVID-19 information they deem important. This type of input could be helpful in implementing new business procedures during the pandemic.

For example, if you have a service-based business, you can ask your clients if they’d like to shift to an online platform, like Zoom. This can be great if your small business offers classes, lectures, or consulting. If you’re in the food industry, you might want to ask your regular customers how they prefer to get their orders, such as curbside pickup or contactless delivery.

Using your email marketing to interact with your clients instead of just sending another generic COVID-19 email will help you maintain levels of engagement during an uncertain time. Benchmark lets you create a survey within its platform and then attach it with a link to your email. This way, you can create, send, and see your clients’ feedback all in one place.

3. Share Resources on How Your Clients Can Stay Safe and Informed

If you run a law firm, then you probably don’t need to be sending emails to your clients about washing their hands frequently. However, if your business is part of the medical or even hospitality industry, then it makes more sense to share certain resources with them about how to stay safe. You might also want to provide your clients with resources on where to get up-to-date information about things that are relevant to your business.

Take the following email from Lyft as an example. The company shares valuable information about changes to its services, and also provides further details about where its clients can go to learn more. By providing links on where clients can go to get more information, you don’t need to be constantly sending emails anytime there’s a small change.

4. Know When to Hit Send

The truth is, not every COVID-19 email needs to be sent. You want to make sure that you’re providing tangible, useful information in your email campaigns. If nothing has changed in your business, then there’s really no reason to take up space in your customers’ inbox to let them know. As always, your emails should still provide value to the recipient, so make sure that the inclusion of COVID-19 in your emails doesn’t take away from that.

In the first point, we saw a few scenarios about how you should be talking about COVID-19 in your emails. Here are a few ways not to talk about it in your email messaging:

  • Avoid talking about COVID-19 gratuitously just because so many other businesses are.
  • Don’t resend business updates, information, or resources you’ve already sent, especially if they haven’t changed.
  • Definitely do not provide any medical advice unless your business is in the medical field.
  • Don’t mention how the pandemic has impacted your business specifically, like if your staff is working from home or if your business is suffering. These things are impacting all kinds of businesses, not only yours, and your clients are likely suffering too, so this wouldn’t come off as empathetic.

5. Stick to Your Regular Email Strategy

There’s no doubt that our lives have drastically changed since only a few months ago, but your email marketing strategy shouldn’t change all that much. Sure, there will be a few differences, such as maybe adjusting the tone of your emails or adapting your content.

This is not the time to forget the factors that made your previous email campaigns successful. If your emails always included a mix of visual and text elements that were easily skimmable, then this is not the time to send a huge block of text.

What you can do, however, is continue A/B testing to see how subject lines with or without mention of COVID-19 perform. This will also help you gauge what your customers want to hear about. SendinBlue has a great A/B testing tool that will help you test two variations of an email.

If you normally send out emails with embedded videos, then there’s no need to quit doing that. You can create a short video about changes to your company or important COVID-19-related information that your clients should know.

Embrace the Change

Use these tips to propel your business forward and improve communication between your business and your clients.

Read Next: How to Generate Leads with Email Marketing



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