Apr 22, 2020

B2B Email Marketing Best Practices During Covid-19

Email marketing during a crisis involves a much different strategy than what you may be used to. Tactics that usually drive open rates and clicks have completely changed. So how should you go about your B2B email marketing efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic? Here are five best practices.

1.   Only send emails when absolutely necessary

One of the worst things you could do right now is act like nothing is happening and flood your subscriber’s inbox with a bunch of content that doesn’t resonate with them during this time. Here are a couple legitimate reasons that may call for an email blast:

  • You have meaningful information to share that may help your clients or prospects during this time, for instance updates on any of your services or products that are affected by Covid-19
  • You’re doing something to help your clients or prospects, such as offering virtual services, waiving fees, etc.

2.   Only include useful and relevant content

Emphasizing on our last point, it’s important to keep in mind that the emails you send out right now should serve a purpose that reflects the times we’re living in. If you’re thinking about sending an e-blast to promote your products or services, make sure it’s valuable. For instance, a blog, article or e-book that would help your subscribers navigate social constraints, job-related issues, health questions, etc. If you can, consider offering a free resource like online classes, virtual services, checklists or coaching calls.

It’s no surprise that these free resources are a big hit with the B2B audience right now. In fact, using the word “free” in your subject line is increasing open rates by 31 percent in the B2B space. When it comes down to it, make sure you’re taking a “service” over a “sales” approach in your emails. While these efforts may not immediately translate into ROI right now, they certainly will in the future.

3.   Cancel campaigns that aren’t relevant in the current environment

Do you send out a monthly newsletter? If so, does the content within the newsletter make sense to send out during this time? If not, you may want to pivot your messaging in these communications or hold off until the pandemic has blown over. If you have any promotional campaigns that may not resonate in this environment, you should consider putting these on hold as well. As a note, don’t forget about any automated email campaigns you might have turned on (as well as any associated content such as social posts). Again, if the campaigns don’t resonate, make sure to pause those too.

4.   Use an empathetic tone

Having an empathetic tone and displaying compassion will be a huge factor to your email marketing success in the Covid-19 era. Now more than ever, you need to ensure your marketing communications are coming across as empathetic or people may think you’re taking advantage of the situation at hand. In fact, ask yourself questions such as “Does the email share real emotion?” or “how would I receive this email if I were in their shoes?”. Put yourself in the position of others, see it from their perspective and adjust your message accordingly.

5.   Address the outbreak

Did you know that non-transactional emails that acknowledge Covid-19 are producing a 41 percent increase in open rates in the B2B space? If you haven’t sent out an email addressing Covid-19 and you’re wondering if it’s too late, the answer is no. Your company should address the outbreak, but remember not to sound salesy. Share what your company is doing internally and externally to help employees or clients, and speak to any business procedures that have changed. Offer ways you can help and keep it concise. Perhaps even ask your subscribers about the content or resources they would like to see. For example, “Do you still want to hear about our most recent product updates or do you need a break? Let us know!”.


Covid-19 is nothing to take lightly, and being cautious about your email marketing communications is extremely important during this crisis to avoid tainting your brand name. The strategies and tactics that worked a couple weeks ago are no longer working in this environment. To see success in your email marketing efforts and truly connect and build on your relationships with prospects and clients, you will need to restrategize your efforts using the best practices mentioned above.


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