Post Pandemic Email Marketing: Here’s What You Need To Know
While the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s amazing how far-reaching the impact of a global health crisis really is. For businesses, the pandemic even affected how businesses sell and advertise their products and services, including the way they use email marketing.
When quarantines began in the US in March 2020, businesses quickly switched to digitally communicating with consumers and the volume of email marketing soared, according to Validity’s Disruption: How the 2020 Pandemic Changed Email Research Report. Sending volumes have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, and that means people’s email inboxes continue to be inundated with messages on a daily basis.
At the same time, companies were less careful about who they sent email messages to. Validity research has shown that more companies have been sent to untested mailing lists and dormant mailing lists with no segmentation or customization of messages required. As a result, deliverability decreased and the number of spam complaints increased.
When reviewing email marketing trends for 2021 and developing your email marketing strategy for 2021, it is important to understand the adjustments you need to make due to the coronavirus pandemic. What your cannabis or cannabis business did last year may not work this year unless you make changes to suit the environment.
Here are some key things you should do in 2021 to ensure your post-pandemic email marketing is successful:
1. Test and customize to stand out from high volume emails
According to research by Validity, email volume remains high after the pandemic. In fact, they are expected to keep growing. That means the battle for attention in the inbox is harder than ever.
While email engagement increased in the first few months of the pandemic, it has returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to Validity.
The bottom line is that testing is more important than ever. Given the high volume of email and pre-pandemic engagement, businesses need to send highly relevant messages to laser-controlled lists to get noticed in the highly competitive inbox.
2. Consider different broadcast schedules
One particularly interesting finding in Validity research relates to sending schedules. During the pandemic, people moved to work from home or worked on different schedules. Marketers saw shifts in the best of times to send email messages to get the most engagement.
Sending out the morning before the pandemic was considered a best practice, but the maximum airtime to get the most openings during the pandemic was between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. The hour was not considered ideal, but it was during the pandemic the commitment to messages sent at this point increased.
The key is to test different air days and times to see which will produce the best results for your campaigns for each specific audience. If your tool has features to automatically optimize airtime (by list or by individual recipient) like the email marketing tool in the Cannabiz Media License Database does, use it to streamline your messages based on the prior engagement of the Behaviors sent to the recipient at the best possible time.
3. Pay special attention to spam tactics
During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, businesses were more likely to take greater risks by posting to lists they had bought, rented, or not fully tested and reviewed. As a result, their messages set off spam flags which spoiled their sender’s reputation.
In a nutshell, this means that their future campaigns will have limited deliverability to lists they use because mailbox providers have identified them as spammers.
You don’t want this to happen to you. Therefore, always use reliable list sources to ensure that you do not send campaigns to email addresses from spam traps. During the pandemic, Validity reports that spam trap hits have skyrocketed, including:
- Recycled traps: Very old email addresses that have been abandoned for long enough that the provider used them as spam traps to detect, identify, and block spam messages.
- Typo traps: Email addresses that contain misspellings, mostly in the domain part of the address such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Untouched traps: Also known as honeypot traps. These are email addresses created solely to intercept web scrapers whose spambots are removing content from websites, including email addresses. These email addresses are often hidden in the code of websites.
Today, spam trap hits are down to pre-pandemic levels, but the damage has already been done for many senders. Additionally, you can bet that mailbox providers like Gmail, Outlook, etc. are now looking very carefully. Your algorithms are updated every time you send a marketing email. Hence, it is important that you are very careful and only use your own registration lists or highly reliable data sources to send.
4. Invest more in email, content, and messaging
The old fashioned spray and prayer method of email marketing has stopped working. If you simply send generic messages to bulk lists, not only will you not get the results you want, but you may also get a bad sender reputation and see more and more of your messages ending up in recipients’ spam folders.
What works in email marketing today is sending relevant content to small, hyper-targeted lists of people. How to stand out in the inbox and increase open rates in 2021.
The best way to do this is to invest more in your email marketing budget, which includes the tools you use, the person who strategizes and manages your email marketing programs, the person who who writes your messages, who composes your messages, and so on.
Email marketing works, but you need to make an investment to get good results.
5. Be aware of email marketing best practices
Don’t forget about email marketing best practices. If you don’t know them, take some time to educate yourself or check out number 4 above and invest in working with people who understand the rules and best practices. With email inboxes crowded and mailbox providers paying close attention, this is not the time to compromise or take risks.
Take the time to build your buyer personalities, segment your lists effectively, and write amazing content for your campaigns. Test, track your results, and make the necessary adjustments.
Email marketing is a long term strategy in 2021 that will allow you to attract and nurture leads over time to become customers and loyal brand advocates. Sending a sales note and giving up is a recipe for failure. Instead, you need a strategy first to make email marketing work for your business.
Key takeaways on email marketing after the 2021 pandemic
The biggest benefit is that the inboxes are crowded. The best way to stand out is to tailor your messages to suit the recipients. Not only do generic messages to bulk lists don’t get the results you want, but mailbox providers can mark you as a spammer, which affects the deliverability of all your future messages.
Follow the recommendations above to stay out of the spam folder, get into your inbox, and get positive results from your email marketing investments in 2021 and beyond.
Want to see how you can use email marketing and other tools to connect with cannabis and hemp license holders using the Cannabiz Media License Database? Schedule a demo to see how you can use it to grow your business!