With many businesses experiencing a slow or paused state during this unprecedented time, digital marketing is the greatest tool you have to stay connected with your customers. Having clear and concise information streaming from your website, email newsletters, and social media channels is invaluable. Here are our digital marketing experts’ tips for staying connected to customers during a time of crisis.
Take Inventory of How Your Business Is Adapting to COVID-19 Changes
Many companies have been thrust into a “new normal” over the past few weeks, making quick adaptations to keep their businesses running. Before reaching out to customers about what changes have taken place, it is essential to identify exactly what those adjustments are and establish the best methods of communication.
Here is a list of things to consider:
Depending on the type of business, you may have had a change in hours due to local or state policies, reduction in workforce / production, or other extenuating circumstances. Document your new days and hours of operation. If safety guidelines have closed your doors for now, take note of best-expected reopening dates and stay abreast of government recommendations.
Remote Workforce & Contact Practices
Your workforce may now be working remotely. Some employees may also be taking on more or less responsibility during this time. Determine the best point-of-contact for customer needs depending on what they are seeking (ie. phone numbers, email addresses, and web URLs for sales, support, media, and general inquiries). Consider whether this information may vary depending on product, service or availability. Giving estimated response times is also helpful.
Products & Services
Are your product offers and services still running seamlessly or has there been a disruption? For product-centered businesses, make a list of current inventory, when new stock will be available and approximate delivery times. Have you established new policies and procedures for the immediate future? Perhaps you have a new process for how you service customers. Provide detailed information as to what those are.
Create a Digital “To Do” List
“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden
According to Econsultacy, 87% of marketers in North America predict an increase in the use of online services by consumers during the outbreak. With more time on their hands, your current and future clientele will be seeking out information electronically. After taking inventory of your new business practices, the amount of material you may need to communicate could feel overwhelming.
Let’s take at how you can stay virtually connected during this “new normal”:
Updated Website Information
Update your hours of operation on your website. Also include any changes in your best contact methods. Placing a simple pop-up banner on your site is an eye-catching and informative way to instantly let inquiring customers know if there is a change in inventory or new business hours. If you have more changes than you can fit in a popup or banner, give a link to a page with all the details. You can also create a form on your website or landing page that invites people to sign up to join your newsletter list. This is a great option that allows them to receive the most up-to-date information from you now and in the future.
Emails & Newsletters
Since emails land directly in your customers’ inboxes, they are one of the best methods for getting a larger amount of relevant information to existing clients. Sending timely updates and special announcements, and helpful resources is a good way to raise your value a trusted advisor and leader in your community. Emails and newsletters provide an easy way for customers to stay abreast of policy changes, inventory levels, sales promotions and offers, and more. The right automation tools can make managing email easier in fast-changing times.
Since most online searches start or lead to Google, make sure your Google My Business page is updated with new business hours and contact information. Don’t forget about your organic search optimization and search ads! Ad copy, SEO page titles and meta descriptions should also be checked for accuracy and updates. Anything you can do to put relevant information at their fingertips will be helpful to your customers.
Use the Power of Social Media
After you’ve covered your bases by updating your business website and have sent out pertinent business information to your email list, take a step back to see how you can use the power of social media marketing. Make your temporary business changes known via social channels too. Reinforce product and service availability with imagery and descriptions. Provide a link back to one of your email newsletters so customers click back to get full details at the touch of button.
Humans, by nature, are social creatures. During a time of isolation the need remains to find a method of bonding. Social media was created just for this. Current and prospective clients will be perusing all social feeds to find fulfillment.
Think about if your business provides a service or product that can help during this crazy time. While virtual experiences are helping to keep retail and service businesses afloat, people still want human interaction. This is the perfect opportunity to think outside the box and use the many tools digital capabilities provide to mitigate service disruption. Perhaps use virtual consultations or live streaming as a new way to maintain customer relations and meet potential clients.
Many people also rely on social media as a coping mechanism. Use this time to build relationships and pull people together. Perhaps your business is able to help a cause, organization or fellow business. Generous actions leave lasting impressions and build a sense of trust. Not every business has the ability to give back but filtering in lighthearted posts among daily content can help raise spirits for those who are struggling emotionally.
On top of the devastating health crisis, it’s easy for companies to become overwhelmed and trapped in the stress of near-term thinking. Having a strong, fluid marketing strategy is key in business survival.