It’s easy to adjust your voice and tone for one-off email campaigns during this crisis. It’s harder to remember to adjust emails that are triggered through automation.
However, adjusting this messaging is perhaps the most important action you can take during a crisis. If you fail to do so, it will come across as robotic and emotionless.
Automated messaging is designed to scale the relationship between your brand and the human you’re communicating with. Failing to update it will shine a negative spotlight on valuable behavior-based automation.
That’s because behavior-based automation is one of the most useful tools in email marketing. Behavior-based automation triggers communications based on actions that people take. The messaging is targeted, rather than broad, to capture a prospect or customer’s attention with personalized messaging. Humanizing automation is imperative in order to scale without jeopardizing performance.
Most customers intuitively understand that many marketing campaigns are automated. However, they accept this reality because the appearance of personalization is more important than the tool behind its transport.
The effort and intention are valued, as long as it’s executed well.
But that mirage can easily crumble in a crisis. One tiny mistake can throw your entire operation off balance and ruin the hard work you put into building your automation workflows.
Imagine sending your customers an automated email about a deal on a gym membership at a physical location based on their scrolling behavior on your website. They may have been searching for digital classes but clicked a button that triggered an old email series. As there is a stay at home order, your customers would look at it with confusion, dismay and perhaps contempt.
Let’s look at a real-life example. Here’s an email automation from Planet Fitness pre-COVID-19:
If this email automation was triggered during a lockdown, it would spark bewilderment. The customer would know that the gym was closed and potentially look negatively on the company for the insensitive disruption.
Here’s how Planet Fitness has updated their email automation messaging due to COVID-19:
They immediately take note of the crisis with a strong headline: “United We Move”. This makes the company more relatable and humanizes the message.
They go on to offer encouraging at-home workouts. The messaging is topical, motivational, helpful and empathic, which makes it acceptable that they are promoting their services.
In order to avoid unnecessarily upsetting your customer base, update your automation messaging sooner rather than later.