E-mail marketing is an effective and important way to keep in touch with your customers and clients. But during the COVID-19 outbreak, the tone and content of your company’s e-mails has never been more important. Here are some ways to connect with customers via e-mail, the right way:

Personalize your messages. Now, more than ever, people want to feel like the companies they support view them as individuals and not a number. Personalize your e-mail message without laying it on too heavy. And don’t forget about list segmentation so you can zero in on certain segments of your customer base. You might want to reach out to customers you haven’t heard from in a while or send a thank you to longtime customers acknowledging loyalty.

Don’t send too many e-mails. Do you seem to be getting more e-mails compared with last year? E-mail volume nationwide has definitely increased since the beginning of the year. This isn’t the time to send so many e-mails to your clients that they click on the ‘unsubscribe’ button.

Provide value. Make sure you have a compelling reason to send them e-mails. Providing value can take many forms — valuable information or a discount are just two of them.

Be sensitive to tone. As thousands of people are sick and dying in the United States alone, you need to be mindful of these realities. Making sure all messages and related images are appropriate right now is going to be critical. Don’t try too hard with humor, at the risk of turning people off. Also, go easy on the phrases “uncertain times” or “new normal,” as they are now trite. Instead, put yourself in the position of your customers and prospects. How are they feeling? Try providing them with tools and resources to cater to their needs and they’ll look at you favorably.

In short, what worked in the past won’t necessarily work today, because life is not the same as it was a year ago. It’s a great time to re-examine your e-mail strategy, and if needed, adjust it.

Serious middle aged executive manager explaining colleague online workCyber attacks on small businesses and organizations are becoming increasingly common. It’s one of the top risks of doing business today. That’s why it’s so important to keep your company’s computer system safe and secure.

Online attacks are costly to address. It’s estimated that 60 percent of small businesses and organizations fail within six months of a cyber attack. Studies also show that nearly 90 percent of all cyber attacks could have been easily prevented with some simple safeguards.

For most companies, the problem is malware. That’s malicious software designed to gain access to a network, find sensitive data and steal that data. There are various types of malware, including spyware, viruses, worms, and any type of malicious code that infiltrates a computer. Once malware is installed, it can allow hackers to extract private and sensitive data whenever they wish.

Some of the best ways to prevent malware from being installed on your computer system are the most simple. Don’t click on links or open attachments in e-mails that you aren’t 100% sure are legitimate. This is one of the most common ways hackers gain access to a company’s computers. Generally be wary of e-mails containing attachments. If you are suspicious of what you are being asked to view or install, don’t do it. Scan a disc or flash drive before using it; it too can unknowingly contain malicious code.

Long and strong passwords with a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols are important, too. Set a specific timeline — such as every three months — for changing company passwords. Consider requiring employees to refrain from checking their personal e-mail accounts and social media channels using company computers and devices. If a computer contains company information, you’ll want employees to avoid downloading any programs or apps on it without your permission.

Security measures also are important. Install anti-virus/malware software, firewalls and anti-ransomware, keep it up to date and run regular scans. Don’t let updates to your operating system, browsers and plugins pile up. Updates often address security vulnerabilities that have been discovered, so it’s important those are completed in a timely manner.