We analyse how email marketers have been coping with the abrupt change to their working environments, from their own feedback.

In the ever-evolving digital workplace, more and more emphasis has been placed on technology that enables remote working in the past few years. Companies have been encouraging flexible working locations for those with young children, long commutes or heavy workloads. This was in order to align with a cultural shift in working practices that leant towards an understanding of personal needs. Technologies like Slack and Microsoft Teams were already commonplace, despite most employees being office based. The mantra of 'you can work from home if you need to' was an attractive aspect of any company, but never really a requirement.

Then COVID-19 hit and working from home went from being a luxury to a necessity. All of these promises, once made in the benefits section of a job advert, now needed to fully swing into action, with very little preparation and adjustment time. Even if companies had a fully integrated remote working system, the likelihood of this being expected to apply to everyone at once was likely to have been unanticipated.

As you've heard about a million times, this was a big change for both employees and employers. We wanted to take a look into how the email community has coped. How have email marketers adjusted and adapted to their new working environment, and has it made a difference to them? So we enlisted the ever-helpful #emailgeeks community and ran Twitter polls to hopefully shed some light on these.

People are creating more email during lockdown

The majority of email marketers seem to be creating more email than before during COVID-19. And this makes sense if we think about it. If you go back and check your inbox and you'll probably see an initial flood of emails that want to reassure you that the companies were still smoothly operating and able to provide support to you in ways they could do so.

This would have been when lockdown first hit. But as lockdown continued, email became the major outreach (along with social media) that companies had with their customer bases. Conferences, trade fairs and sales events were no-go's. So with email being perhaps the major touch point for brand messaging, these would have been ramped up during lockdown. And once reassurance messaging was no longer needed, and the website of a company was it's new (and sole) shop front, messaging pivoted towards product information and offers to keep customers purchasing with them or interested in them.

Email content is mainly centred around offers and discounts, but also (to a lesser extent), brand reassurance.

Half of those who answered our poll said they were mainly focused on creating and sending emails with discounts and offers. And a third said their messaging was brand reassurance-related. This fits the general trend we noted earlier around initial reassurance and then a switch to product-led emails to keep customers purchasing and interested.

On the whole, there is no difference in complexities around creating email from working at home to working in an office space.

Whilst this wasn't as clear cut as other results (the highest answer of 'no difference' being 44.4% of the total answers), it does indicate that email marketers were well placed to cope with an immediate and abrupt change in their working environment.

Email marketers are often spread out between different teams and countries, meaning that they are more likely to be familiarised with working separately. Plus, being a digital-only discipline and with a plethora of platforms on offer, it can be assumed that the tech stacks that companies have built up for their email marketers have helped shield them from any major disruption.

Less collaboration with teams and longer QA and amend processes have been the most challenging aspects of creating email during lockdown.

Perhaps understandably lockdown has meant teams are no longer working in the same space and people are struggling to collaborate within their own teams as much as before. Longer QA and amend times were equally noted, and since these rely on a collaborative effort, this may be a result of the collaboration issues highlighted and a lack of a close working environment.

What does this all mean?

Firstly, the rise in the number of emails being sent and their content suggests that brands, like everyone else, were caught off-guard by Covid-19 and had to quickly adapt their 'normal' work to cope. This meant reaching out to customer bases to reassure customers that they were operating as close to normal as possible, and then keeping them onside with targeted discounts and product offers.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this survey was that whilst people noted no difference to the complexities of creating email when working from home, they did highlight certain challenges overall (lower team collaboration) and during the send process (long QA and amend times).

These two points bring questions. Since collaboration is required at all parts of the email process, and it was noted there was mostly 'no difference' in email creation complexities during lockdown, was this an endemic issue before lockdown too? And is the strain on the collaboration process responsible for the elongated QA and amend times?

For each company and for each marketer it may be different. Is it due to a working culture issue? A technology issue? A process issue? Whatever the cause, a common solution for both is a platform that enables and encourages collaboration and makes it simple, whilst helping teams structure their QA and amendments in controlled environments so that waiting and amend times are reduced.

Taxi for Email makes collaborating and amending simpler and easier.

Taxi for Email helps email marketers make better email by, amongst many other things, creating a collaborative, expansive and easy-to-use environment rich with features. Taxi enables administrators to structure teams into more efficient, collaborative units and give them the controls and access they need to confidently create great emails.

Taxi also provides the ability to tailor what projects and emails each of their teams access and can limit what actions users are able to carry out. This ensures each team is focused on what they need to and nothing else. This is great when it comes to QA, amendments and collaboration as team members who are QA-ing work know exactly what work they need to QA and amend.

Revision history enables teams to quickly revert to prior saved versions of their email to correct any mistakes, or to start over. And by having the ability to connect programmes like Litmus, teams can easily check that their emails will render correctly on many apps and devices as well as in email clients. This all reduces the time it takes to QA and amend emails.

If you want to find out more about how Taxi helps with QA's, visit our dedicated page. Or if you want to know how else Taxi can help you make awesome email, click here.

Our findings

You can see the data we used from our Twitter polls below. The data collected may not be representative of every email marketers (or company's) experience.

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