Now that brands are getting to grips with the global COVID-19 outbreak, we’re seeing an influx of the new ‘Coronavirus email’ letting us know how businesses are going to address the problems that come with the pandemic. A great time to unsubscribe from those email lists you forgot you were on?
We’re sharing examples of’Coronavirus emails and annotated them alongside the reasons why we think they’re a particularly good example.
1. The Body Shop Coronavirus statement email
The Body Shop (UK) sent out its Coronavirus (COVID-19) statement on 13th March 2020 (before non-essential shops were closed). That’s not bad timing when you know how long it takes to compose this type of message. In essence, it has to be 100% right in terms of tone and messaging. It also needs to be non-offensive to everyone, empathetic and genuine, and informative to boot!
So what’s good about this Coronavirus email? I like the stripped-down branding; Body Shop emails are usually very colourful with a white background and lots of product photography. I think going back to the original brand palette gives this email a more serious tone.
The email also focuses on the health and safety of customers and employees very early on, which shows that the brand have understood the impact of the pandemic and are more likely to be committed to Government guidelines and advice appropriately.
Instead of the CEO signing the email, The Body Shop opted for the Managing Director of ROI. This is great to see as it lets customers know that the sales team understand what needs to be done here, that we shouldn’t expect any pandemic profiteering from this company.
Finally, the best thing I like about this Coronavirus email is that it’s not trying to sell us anything. Yes, it mentions coming into a store to wash your hands and that its hand wash is ‘award-winning’, but there are no links to the product. It’s mentioned very quickly which, I think shows a bit of brand class.
2. Entrepreneur Magazine
Unless I missed a specific company response to the pandemic from Entrepreneur, then I believe this is the first email I received from them following the outbreak. The email focuses on highly relevant Coronavirus news and some reactive ad banners (I’ve only shown part of the email here as it was quite long). This email was sent on 18th March 2020.
The great thing about this email is the highly relevant content. Entrepreneur Magazine has sent what it thinks is the most interesting/informative news to subscribers, and the articles are bang on the money.
The leading story is very positive meaning the audience is more likely to read the rest of the email. People started to push through the ‘doom and gloom’ phase of the crisis and were ready for some positivity. The remaining articles were also reactive to the pandemic but were placed further down in the email.
You’ll notice at the bottom of the screenshot an example of a timely ad from a marketing consultant. Now, whether the ad space was purchased a few months before the outbreak we don’t know, but now is the time to pick up clients in the marketing industry so I think this ad would have performed well for Mr Rice.
Chartr tell visual stories based on interesting data (not heard of them yet? You can see more about them here). I’m subscribed to get regular charts from them into my inbox as they can be quite left-field and entertaining.
The design and structure of the email are in line with their usual style, which lends itself perfectly to a reactive email as it’s:
- Short ‘n’ sweet
- Has a clear topic from the outset
- Is highly responsive to current events
- Has interesting, shareable content
The bite-sized stats at the bottom of the email are just asking to be copied and pasted into a status update on any platform.
4. TSB Bank Coronavirus statement email
TSB bank had the most content in its email. I did wonder if it was a bit too much at first (as I’m sure the TSB team also did). Still, ultimately, I think it was the best idea as, in times of crisis, there needs to be a single information point that people can go to when a query arises.
Another great move by TSB was to encourage customers to make contact. I haven’t seen many big brands do this so far, likely due to the high volume of calls, emails, and social media messages they have to contend with at the moment – so well done TSB.
The email also maintains trust and offers reassurance to customers by reminding them to be aware of fraud, and that the bank is committed to keeping customers up to date as the pandemic continues to unravel.
I must admit, I’m a bit disappointed that the CEO signed off the email and not the head of customer care. Still, the bank likely made this move as Debbie Crosbie is new to the role of CEO (replacing Paul Pester of the great TSB customer care disaster of 2019). She may have wanted to let everyone know she was serious about being more customer-focused than her predecessor.
I hope this article will be of use to smaller businesses who may not have the budget for a digital agency to advise them. Stay safe everyone.