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5 Steps to Prevent COVID-19 Email Fatigue with Marketing Cloud Segmentation

Marketers must strike a delicate balance during COVID-19: Promote your business without merely piling on to the slew of “these uncertain times” emails we’re all receiving. To prevent COVID-19 email fatigue, we need to be more mindful than ever about getting the right message to the right subscribers at the right time.

Customers will disengage and lose trust if they receive too many irrelevant emails. Luckily, Marketing Cloud helps users target emails to specific subscribers and audiences, ensuring they only get emails that matter to them, boosting trust and loyalty.

The COVID-19 impact on B2C companies

Marketing Cloud users are largely business-to-consumer (B2C), so they’re typically marketing to individual people who subscribed to receive email.

During the pandemic, many B2C subscribers have dialed back spending on fashion, travel, and other traditional B2C mainstays. Instead, consumers are spending less overall and shifting purchases to appliances, food, streaming services, and other items to make staying home easier.

Marketing Cloud customers who were happy with their automated marketing before COVID-19 may be looking to temporarily adjust their marketing during the pandemic. They don’t want to flood subscribers’ inboxes with pre-pandemic content, or come across as tone deaf to the times by being too sales-focused.

Let’s explore how one Marketing Cloud customer is thoughtfully segmenting subscriber lists and shifting its email strategy to adjust to the times.

Optimize marketing by segmenting subscribers in Marketing Cloud

Northern Trail Outfitters typically sells swimwear in spring and summer, but this year, many customers are foregoing their annual beach trips and tropical vacations. The retailer decided to amp up its swimwear marketing to subscribers in coastal states. To boost sales among those skipping tropical getaways this year, Northern Trail will also send discount codes to some landlocked customers in cooler parts of the country.

Additionally, the company decided to use mostly photographs of swimwear models alone or in family settings, avoiding photos of crowded beaches or pool parties, which might seem insensitive.

FOMO-conscious photography choices aside, Marketing Cloud has a number of segmentation tools designed to help Northern Trail — and you — send the right message to the right person at the right time. These include lists, groups, data filters, queries, and audiences.

For example, Northern Trail Outfitters used a data filter to find all the female subscribers on a list who have interest in swimwear and live in coastal states like California and Florida.

Here’s how you can segment in Marketing Cloud to tailor your marketing during COVID-19.

Step 1: Choose what you’d like to send — e.g., Swimwear promo.
Step 2: Define the likely audience during the pandemic — e.g., Women ages 16-65 in Florida and California.
Step 3: Determine which Marketing Cloud segmentation model tool to use — e.g., Data filter applied to data extensions. This unit on Trailhead will help you pick the right segmentation tool, as well as teach you to create a data filter for subscriber birthdays! (Trailhead is Salesforce’s free online learning platform, where would-be Salesforce experts can learn about the products and get hands-on experience.)
Step 4: Use queries or a simple drag-and-drop interface to segment your subscribers.
Step 5: Apply your new segment when sending a marketing email or automate ongoing segmentation by following these instructions.

If you need more help deciding how to segment your Marketing Cloud database, check out this Audience Segmentation Trailhead module, or join an Ask a Marketing Cloud Expert office hour call.

Dive deeper into list segmentation

Excited about the possibilities of list segmentation? Our experts are, too! We have great resources to help you learn more. Join a live webinar on Data and Segmentation Basics or hit the trails on your own to Learn about Segmentation Tools.

Tell us how you’re preventing email fatigue during COVID-19

Your customers are experiencing an overload of email. Make sure your emails matter to each recipient so that anything coming from your company is relevant and sympathetic to current events.

Already hyper-segmenting your recipients? We want to hear about your experiences and tips for sending highly targeted emails during these dynamic days. Here’s how to share your story:

  1. Post with the hashtag #hypersegmentation in the Customer Success Community Group, where Salesforce experts and Trailblazers like you share ideas, find answers, and drive success together.

  2. Connect with us on Twitter @askSalesforce and post about your success using the hashtag #hypersegmentation.