How To Write Good Emails During a Crisis

It’s been over 150 days since Covid-19 first reared its head. 

With the world under lockdown and populations driven indoors, many businesses have been forced to suspend their operations, or at least curtail them as required.

In this time of crisis, it is the job of brands to stand by their customers. And as usual, email can be the best route to take. This is the time when you need to let your customers know what you’re doing to tackle this crisis.

But, there’s a catch.

You’re not the only business on this planet who has thought of this. And naturally, customers’ inboxes are getting literally inundated with Covid-19 related email comms. In fact, there are memes about the random emails we all seem to be getting from the coffee shop we went to that one time, to the big brands we expect them from – all of whom are tripping over themselves remain top of mind.

To ensure you don’t get lost in the crowd, or slip up by hitting the wrong note, here are a few quick tips that you should keep mind while writing emails in these troubled times. By incorporating these cues in your email communication, you’ll provide value to your customers and make sure that you stand out.

Be Empathetic


The world is currently facing an unprecedented situation. People are confused, scared, and most importantly, tired of hearing about the Coronavirus everywhere.


So, when you decide to send out a communication that mentions Covid-19, be certain that it’s absolutely necessary. DO NOT use this as an excuse to send out thinly veiled marketing messages.


Doing so can damage the credibility of your business. It may even result in direct backlash from your community. 


So take care and frame your emails in a way that reflects the concerns of your customers. Understand what they want from you, and respond accordingly. This will lead to meaningful communications that inspire as well as empower your client base.


Don’t Do Business As Usual


It goes without saying that under the current scenario, lives as well as livelihoods are going to be affected.


Trying to put on a brave face, and presenting a “business as usual” approach with your email campaigns may not be the best solution. On the contrary, it might even come across as insensitive.


This is especially true if your business is involved in industries that have been directly impacted by the crisis.


Instead, it’s better to take the situation into cognizance and frame your emails. Be open, tell them about personal and professional challenges, ask questions. Remain transparent. This will show the customers that you’re doing your bit.


We’ve all had those calls/emails from brand agents who pretend to care. We all know when they don’t mean it.


Do Be Personal


Let’s face it: it’s a fundamental fact of human life that we all like a bit of attention. And in this time of crisis, if you can support your customer by paying them extra special attention and really tailoring your pitch to their needs, then this will stand you in good stead.


So don’t send out generic Covid-19 based advisories to everyone on your email list. Take care to do careful research about your present and active subscribers first. Then tailor each message.


Remember, it’s better to send out ten personalized emails than a thousand generic ones.

Steli Efti, CEO of Close, has this to say:

“You SHOULD be sending emails to your prospects and customers during these times. You SHOULD show up and reach out. But you better do it effing well.”

“Continue to invest in the relationship, and close the deal if it’s good for them and for you. Sell with empathy, friendly strength, be sensitive to needs, and strike the right tone. But communicate and keep selling.”

Reply Rapidly


In times of crisis, first responders are given the greatest priority. Similarly, when you do get email communication from your clients, it’s best that you respond rapidly.


It’s estimated that 78% of sales go to the first company that responds to a customer inquiry.  Which means, in this troubling situation, if you are the first to stand by your customers’ side, then you’re the first through the door if/when a sale happens.


If you’re looking for an email management tool that helps you cut through the clutter and reply to inbound queries, leads, and customers, try timetoreply Remote.


Provide Value


Finally, the last, and also the first thing that should be top of your mind while writing emails is to provide value to your audience.


Remember, your clients have already received all the Covid-19 related news they can digest. If on top of that you add to the clutter, then this can bounce back in a negative light.


So, unless you truly have some information of value to share, it’s best to refrain from unnecessary communication.


But if you truly have valuable information you’d like to communicate, then don’t delay in sharing the same with your customers.


So what is valuable? Are you reducing your prices, giving away some services for free, offering some helpful webinars? Put yourself in their shoes and see what you can do to make things even a little easier.

Take, for example, the team at Doist – the creators of Todoist and Twist. Rather than promoting their tools to their audience in a time of crisis, they opted to lend advice on transitioning to remote work as a fully-distributed team spread across 30 countries. They shared guidance that came directly out of their experience operating as a remote team for over a decade. An email newsletter they sent provided advice on a range of topics including remote work and mental health, the value of asynchronous communication, and project management across time zones. 


“Internally, we’ve discussed finding the line between helpfulness and opportunism in light of the COVID-19 crisis. We landed on something practical: resurfacing our best resources on remote work,” noted a Marketing Manager at Doist.

If you’re unsure, just ask. Then remember to listen.

Steli adds, “Sometimes the value you deliver is not in your offer, not in your solution, not in what you sell. Sometimes it’s the value you can create as a human being.”



Ultimately, at the end of the day, email marketing is not merely about business, but rather a means of bonding with your clientele. And to do that effectively in times of crisis such as the present, your business needs to be human above all else.


Stay safe, stay well.


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