How the Pandemic has Impacted Email Marketing

These uncertain times have had a tremendous impact on our work, workspaces, and routines. Fresh produce marketers have been especially stretched to adopt digital marketing tactics to connect with trade and consumer audiences.

Email marketing, in particular, has grown in popularity significantly over the past 8 months. With in-person interactions occurring less often, fresh produce brands have found success in adopting email marketing as part of their solution to the face to face dilemma. Here at DMA, we are in a unique position to provide data that we capture on behalf of our fresh produce clients, to shape a compelling case about how the pandemic has affected email marketing.

In the chart below, Brand 1 and Brand 2 both experienced a lift in email open rates in March and April compared to pre-COVID efforts. 

As we plan ahead for the winter months and the unknowns that 2021 will bring our way, we encourage you to start testing  a few of these email marketing tactics before the end of the year: 

1. Send emails more frequently.

Depending on your current email send cadence, we encourage you to reach out to your audience more frequently. Social distancing has caused us to lose touch in many ways with our audiences. Therefore, using email to provide helpful content and stay top of mind is key to building a relationship with shoppers and buyers in 2020. We recommend sending emails twice a month to start. 

2. Provide regular business updates.

Safety has been an important message in 2020. Your trade and consumer audiences want to learn how you’re implementing safety measures to protect your people and your produce. Including images and videos in your emails is also key to connecting with these audiences. Wistia, a video software company, found that using video in email led to a 300% increase in email click-through rates compared to emails without video. Set yourself apart with messaging and videos that provide confidence and comfort for your audience during this challenging season. 

From California Giant Berry Farms’ The Buzz Newsletter email

3. Highlight employees.

We all miss human interaction. Set your brand apart by highlighting your employees and culture that is shaping in your business despite the pandemic. Whether it is screenshots from an all-staff Zoom call or pictures of one team member in the field with gloves and a mask on, sharing a friendly face and your company’s sensitivity to COVID-19 will help deepen loyalty to your brands. 

From Ocean Mist Farm’s From the Heart blog email

4. Align your emails with the times.

As we enter the major eating holiday eating season, it’s pivotal that your communications are relevant to your current audience’s needs. Any mention of large group gatherings for the holidays or festive parties likely won’t resonate with your audience in light of the pandemic. While we all hope this will change in 2021, for now it’s important to pay close attention to our external environment and ensure your message is appropriate to the current times so you stay connected. In the example below, Karen Caplan shares her blog emails frequently and in one of her recent pandemic posts, shares about fitness at home which is both relevant and helpful for her audience of industry and consumer readers.

From Frieda’s What’s On Karen’s Plate? blog email

Email marketing will only continue to grow in relevance and importance in 2020 and beyond. Ensuring that you have a plan in place to effectively communicate with your audience for the duration of the pandemic and beyond is essential for your brand’s long term success. 

Need help developing an email plan and writing content that connects with your trade and consumer audiences? Contact us today!