We're officially at the point where we can stop using "during these unprecedented times" in any and all marketing messages. Anyone else agree? The only thing that's unprecedented is the number of emails I have from every brand I've ever given my email address, telling me how they are there for me and what they're doing to combat the spread.
Umm, thanks? I just wanted your free PDF download but I'm glad we were able to create this deep and meaningful connection. Sarcasm aside, I get it. No one wants to come off as insensitive. You might even feel guilty if you don't mention it. However, there's growing data signaling that coronavirus news fatigue is setting in.
Message fatigue refers to a state of being exhausted and tired of prolonged exposure to similarly-themed messages.
Here's a quote from a client of mine regarding an email they got from one of their industry publications:
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really get past the 1st line. I’m being bombarded with Coronavirus stuff that I just skim the topic and put it aside for later (which never gets here) or delete it. If I think it’s helpful to our clients, I will read it and make a mental note and then save it in a “COVID-19” file. In this case, I just moved it to that file for a later date.
An interesting statistic pointed out that marketing email engagement has climbed 25% higher than pre-COVID averages while sales mail response rates are down over 25% from pre-COVID times.
Start with the problem or concern you're out to address. Unless you're writing a script for Star Wars, skip the prologue. Jump right into the problem or the impact your audience is dealing with. Confirm relevance by asking, "does that sound like you?"
Get rid of the "COVID cliches". As indicated above, people are starting to filter their inboxes. I wouldn't begin any marketing message or email with overt references to "these unprecedented times" or similar phrasing.
Constantly reminding your audience of how uncertain everything is right now puts them back into their emotions and survival mode.
Here's an example – "Are you dealing with [insert problem or situation]? We get how frustrating or confusing that can be right now. We've been working with others dealing with [insert problem or situation] and we get it. Here's how we've helped/we're helping to address [insert problem or situation]."
Avoid the pitfall of over-empathizing. You risk having your audience thinking you're just as uncertain as they are. Empathize and speak with authority about how you're helping others navigate their challenges.
This could all change tomorrow, of course. At any moment, some giant new COVID-19 shock could refocus the world’s attention. So tailor the message to what your audience is dealing with today.
Find alternatives to help you stand out. If you need some alternatives to the word "unprecedented", Hero's Journey Content Studio published an excellent chart.
I'm going to start trying to work "Nintendo-hard" and "12 Monkeys-like" into a future blog post!
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