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Offer Compassion, Value and Monday Sends, Email Experts Say

Mondays have never been all that much fun. But a new study says that, precisely for that reason—and even more so in our present work-from-home era—it is the best day of the week for sending marketing emails during the pandemic. This comes according to COVID-19 Retail Pulse, a study released by BounceX.
The reason is that we are not jumping right back into the flow on Monday mornings (guilty). Rather, we’re easing back in, says Ryan Urban, founder and CEO of BounceX.
Email opens jumped to close to 50% on Monday April 13, plunged to 22% on Saturday April 18 and rebounded to 36% on Monday April 20. On Monday of this week, they hit 41%. Those are all higher than Mondays in March.
Here are more tips on email times and composition in this very stressful period:
We open emails on Monday and act on Saturday. Click rates have also been higher in April than March though they seem to decline on Mondays — for example, they reached only 0.07% on Monday the 13th. But they ascend on Saturdays. I wonder if this will change as the weather gets better.
Get your website spruced up—especially if you have a COVID-19 hub. Website visits have hit highs on Thursdays, peaking on April 16 and April 24. Revenue also hit highs on those dates. But there was a flattening toward the 27th. Many publishers report record traffic to their COVID-19 hubs or microsites.
Avoid clichéd phrases. There are ways we could all be writing better emails right now, says Randy Malamud, author of Email (Object Lessons), in an article on Wired. “You can do a draft and put it aside for a few minutes and come back and edit. You want to think about the person you’re writing to, picture her face and think about what her face will look like when she sees what you’re writing. There are ways to personalize this and to get beyond the rote, conventional, formulaic modes of discourse.”
Compassion and value. “The best way [to stand out in emails] is by providing real value for subscribers and displaying your own compassion for their situation (which is all of our situation),” said Jason Rodriguez on Litmus. “Too many companies are sending knee-jerk emails that do nothing more than signal virtues without providing actual help or resources to subscribers… Take the time to think through what—if anything—your subscribers need from you right now.”
Be careful with your images. Look closely at the images you’re using to make sure they’re still appropriate. Watch for imagery showing crowds or people holding hands—visuals that were absolutely fine a short time ago might come across as insensitive today.
Provide clear, succinct subject lines. In promotional emails, putting an intriguing spin can be an effective way to entice recipients to open your emails, wrote Kelsey Bernius on SendGrid. But, for the COVID-19 email, keep to simple subject lines such as “Our Response to COVID-19.” If your recipient uses your products or business, they will likely want to know more and open this email.
Maintain a reliable voice. “Now would be a good time to adjust the tone [from anything too light] and focus on the facts and developments within your control,” said Bernius. “But don’t over-correct so much and write in such a solemn or dire tone that you increase the recipient’s stress. When writing the body copy of your email, connect with your recipient by acknowledging their anxiety, but keep a calm, objective tone throughout.
Perform an audit of your regularly scheduled emails. Take a look at your content calendar for the coming weeks and decide whether the automations and the content you have scheduled—whether directly related to the impact of the coronavirus or not—is fitting.
Stay medium. I just listened to a webinar with four publishing CEOs—will be reporting more on that next week—and they all forecast uncertainty for the rest of the year (besides the fact that more of us will be working remotely in the future). So stay optimistic but clear of any bold predictions.