Email Hand-Holding: Consumers Want Information And Reassurance During Crisis, Study Finds

Caution might impel you to let up on COVID-19-related emails. 

Don’t do it. Consumers are eager for information when it is presented in comforting tones. And email is a preferred medium for 67%, with social media coming in second at 45%, according to new research by Twilio.

What’s more, 73% of those polled say they are never, rarely, or occasionally annoyed by the emails they receive in the flood of COVID-19 messaging. 

And less than 8% say they don’t want to hear from companies at all at this moment. 

Of course, “it’s important that any messages you’re sending around COVID-19 are targeted and purposeful,” writes Molly Friederich, a senior product marketing manager at Twilio, in a blog post

Friederich adds: “If you have any doubt about whether you’re adding value to the lives of your recipients, rethink what you’re sending so you don’t strike an inauthentic chord.”



According to Friederich, consumers want:

  • Critical updates about what to expect from a company, such as when or if they’re closing and how they can still engage — 52.92%
  • Inspiration and strategies for staying healthy, based on the company’s area of expertise — 36.78%
  • Information about charitable activities being pursued by companies, or opportunities for contributing support — 31.54%
  • General messages about COVID-19, offering good wishes or support — 27.39%
  • Normal promotions or communications — 26.45%

In addition, significant percentages show a medium propensity to want such messages, with around a quarter in each case having a low tolerance for them. Those who want none at all number in the low single digits.

Above all, don’t cut people off from your emails unless they opt out. But make sure you use the right cadence.

As Friederich reports, 45% “prefer to hear from companies sparingly when there are critical updates.”  But 47% want to hear from brands them frequently or with the same volume as they did before COVID-19.

This varies by age. Consumer in the 18-29 age range are 40% more likely to want the normal cadence. But 30-to-44-year-olds are 27% more likely to desire greater frequency.

Frequent emails appears to be least popular with 45- to-60-year-olds — they are 37% more likely to bristle at messages, and 11% don’t want to hear from anyone, Friederich notes. 

The final takeaway from all this? “As a channel, email lends itself well to empathetic and clear communication,” Friederich concludes. “It’s also easily archived for future reference, something that’s reassuring in times of change.”

Twilio surveyed 244 Americans.


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