Pathwire Survey Finds Nearly Half of Email Senders Changed Their Strategy During the Pandemic

Email senders increased volume and adjusted strategy within the last year to communicate more authentically and better align with shifting customer values

Pathwire, the leading provider of powerful email APIs and intuitive email marketing solutions, today released a new study titled “How The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Changed Emailing” that examines the changes in email sender habits during the global pandemic. The study finds most email senders are communicating more frequently and have responded to consumers’ shifting ways of life and social attitudes.

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“We found it very encouraging to see that email senders are listening to consumers’ calls for more authenticity and ingenuity in their email strategy.”

The research comes at a time when fewer communication options have led to increased volume and frequency of email sending. Brands have had to rely on email to keep customers updated on altered opening hours, changes to shipping schedules and other unforeseen circumstances that have impacted their operations and customer support — driven by the need to maintain strong brand-consumer relationships. Statistically, over half (55.5%) of senders say they increased their email volume, and 49% are emailing customers more frequently since the start of COVID-19.

Further, the majority (77.4%) of senders say that open rates have either stayed the same or increased during the pandemic. Nearly 40% have seen increased click-through rates. More time spent at home on devices, combined with users’ desires to hear from brands as highlighted in a previous Pathwire survey, worked out well for brands’ engagement rates — showing how effective email is for customer communication.

Shifts in lifestyle habits, values and social attitudes during COVID-19 left an impression on brand communications. Consumers now expect brands to align with their ideals and passions, which explains why over a third of respondents say they’ve increased focus on their brand’s mission and values. Around a quarter also highlight different social and local initiatives in their email messages. Additionally, 40% of respondents are introducing simpler designs to increase authenticity, and 32.5% of email senders said they are changing their tone to sound more human.

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“Coming out of 2020, we know that people are more passionate, more dedicated to the causes they care about and more upfront with their values and beliefs. Therefore, consumers are making choices based on how a brand aligns with their personal beliefs over other traditional factors,” said Will Conway, CEO of Pathwire. “We found it very encouraging to see that email senders are listening to consumers’ calls for more authenticity and ingenuity in their email strategy.”

The report also explores how email senders’ budgets have changed since the start of the pandemic. While many brands experienced economic struggles around the world, only 12.4% of respondents said they decreased their email budget during the past year.

“Budget increases and stabilization may be tied in part to the increase in pandemic emailing, but it can also be linked to an increased investment in tools and features too,” added Conway.

Two-thirds of respondents say they are introducing changes to make their emails more relevant in ways such as segmenting their contacts and personalizing their email, and nearly a third have started validating email addresses to maintain a healthier email list.

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