Email Relevancy as a Marketing Tool in 2020

By Lori Owens & Daisy Nguyen

Overview and COVID-19

From fax machines to VHS tapes, old gadgets face an inevitable death to modern technologies. Yet email still remains around, defying the many claims and expectations of its demise. Email, unlike other antiquities, has adapted to the constantly changing and improving technology. 

Email has found its way back as a powerful marketing tool. Email is a great way to reach an audience that’s already listening and interested in what you’re saying. It has become the most direct way businesses reach their customers as well as one of the most cost-effective. Every dollar spent on email brings a return of $38!

With the outbreak of Covid-19, email has become more relevant than ever.  With the increasing number of cities issuing a shelter-in-place, brands need to give updates on the steps they are taking to ensure their customer’s safety and other practical matters, such as availability of delivery or takeout and hours of operations. 

Email can be effectively utilized to sell your products and to communicate with your customers. But it’s important to be cautious. Make sure your email is relevant to your listeners. Promotional emails need to be sensitive to the current situation and take into account your customer’s adjusted lives. Here is how you can make the best use of email according to your business.

Toy Brands

Toy brands can benefit from email marketing by making their messaging more personalized. Sending special offers near the birthday of a customer’s child and reminding them to purchase a gift is one way to personalize your online messaging. Linking the product with seasonal holidays and other celebratory days also increases the number of contacts with your customers throughout the year. Another way to take full advantage of email is to tailor your list of products to the interests of the purchaser. For instance, a child that loves to play with Marvel Action figures may not necessarily like to play with unicorn plushies, and an avid collector would be interested in new products to add to their collection.  

With children staying home from school and parents working remotely, it will be a big adjustment. Watching the kids, keeping them engaged with their education, preparing lunch; it’s a lot when you are also working from home. Any email strategy needs reflect those big changes in their customer lives and be compassionate. Toys can be a great great tool to keep kids engaged and encourage their creativity. Educational toys can keep children focused on a particular task and get them excited about learning from home. Adjust the messaging to make it relevant and valuable in these challenging times. 

Food Products and Family Restaurants

Food-related companies can spread their cheery and warm atmosphere into the digital space. Customers can be kept up-to-date on new product introductions, special items, and events. These emails can be made interactive by introducing polls and surveys to get feedback from customers. For customers that have not visited in a while, companies can send reminder emails to spark new interest.

Email can especially be beneficial for food companies that sell most of their products online or in grocery stores. They can be a great way to convert a one-time customer to a repeat customer. Food companies can also request reviews or feedback on their products as well as their user experience. Not only does this help companies understand their customers better,  but also customers feel that their opinions matter and are important. Remember, it’s always about the customer!

Many restaurants have temporarily closed down in response to Covid-19 with others offering take-out and delivery. Email communications from those continuing to offer services should update consumers on health and safety protocols and the availability of pick up and delivery. Food companies and restaurants can share easy recipes that customers can recreate at home. Emails can also share ways to help your community – whether it is supporting a local restaurant or donating to non-profit organizations. Making the message about unity and hope can uplift your customers!


Schools can also greatly benefit from email marketing.  This audience is younger, growing up during the digital age. For many of them, email has always been a part of their lives. It is commonly the first thing they check in the morning when they wake up. Around 91% of internet users aged 15-24 use email. Schools have diverse student populations, with students with various interests and within different disciplines. Emails can be made more relevant to the student by segmenting your audience by enrollment year, major, or extracurriculars. It is also important to format these emails so that they are mobile-friendly. Schools can email about various topics, such as admission, job opportunities, campus events, and news. They can also shine light onto cool things that students are doing that may fly under the radar.

Due to Covid-19, students and schools have had to make great adjustments. Schools need to reassure parents and students that their priority is to both ensure the student’s safety and provide a quality education amidst all these developments. Email is a great way to communicate this information.


Email marketing is a must in the healthcare business. Businesses providing healthcare plans can email their customers reminders to take flu shots, schedule their annual checkups, and keep them informed about policies and regulations. Medical clinics and practices should use email to share with their patients the most up-to-date information, especially about new regulations or scientific breakthroughs. Pediatric practices can also email fun infographics on preventing the spread of germs to parents that they can then print and share with their children.

In response to Covid-19, healthcare businesses should keep their customers/patients informed about the facts and direct them to different sources of information they can use to get updates on Covid-19. Email should educate them on how to prevent the spread of the virus and what safety measures they should take when leaving their homes – providing a reliable information resource and helping reduce fear in the community.  

Email is more relevant than ever. And knowing how to effectively integrate email into your marketing strategy will help your brand stay relevant during these unprecedented times.

Sources: The Rail, Statista, Builtin, MarkeringSherpa, Optinmonster

Based in Austin, Texas, Steel is a full-service integrated ad agency that uses a deep understanding of how families make purchase decisions to deliver brands that families love. In close partnership with our clients, Steel unites data, technology, creativity and influence to produce more stunning growth for brands in health, education, food and fun that serve the American family.




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