Opening emails on phone

Mitigating the Spam Risk in COVID-19 Emails

If you’re like us your entire inbox has been filled with COVID-19 emails detailing how every brand you’ve ever engaged with is adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic. As stewards of some of the largest grocery retailers on the east coast, COVID-19 is a daily topic of conversation industry wide and is having a major effect on how people shop. Like most brands, our clients need to communicate crucial updates to their customers regarding safety precautions, store hours for seniors and out of stock items. The format of these COVID-19 emails is now a familiar one to us all, straightforward letters from leaders in the company, often the CEO. It was critical information, and open rates went through the roof.

We didn’t expect to see our COVID-19 emails, with a 60+% open rate, to start landing in Gmail’s spam folder. A quick analysis revealed that despite a sky rocketing open rate, our click rates had dropped below 1%. We were performing at a fraction of our normal CTR and achieving open rates twice as high as normal. Gmail flagged us as spam and started bulking our emails.

It was Inbox Placement 101 and we recognized it immediately.

Immediate action was taken to add highly engaging, clickable content to the top of all COVID-19 emails. A creative banner containing a strong call to action drove click engagement and returned balance to our click-to-open rate.

“Within a matter of days, Response Labs had our COVID-19 emails back in the inbox and out of the Gmail spam trap so our customers could continue to receive the critical updates they rely on,” states Kerry O’Neil, CRM Manager.


Jen Aldinger
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