How To Communicate with Your Customers During A Crisis
Let’s face it – being a business right now, large or small, is hard. COVID-19 hit all of us like a ton of bricks and very few were prepared. Social distancing and other directives have caught us off guard, and the change has been tough for both business owners and their customers.
There is one thing you can and should do right away, however, and that is to stay in front of your customers, whether you are open for business or not.
4 Tips for How to Keep Your Customers Informed
1. Update Your Website
Your response to the COVID-19 situation should be front and center on your website. Everyone wants to know how you are responding regarding your employees, customers, all of it. Google recommends using a banner or a pop-up to convey this message. That way your website visitors do not have to look for your updated status.
You could also consider updating your FAQ pages with this information for consistency.
2. Use Email
If you subscribe to any lists, you’ll join the rest of the world with an inbox flooded with official COVID-19 responses.
However, maybe you noticed these messages felt a little generic. Looking back, perhaps many businesses rushed to address the situation, and didn’t really know what to tell their customers.
Resist the urge to create boring or cookie-cutter responses to the crisis. We know a lot more Personalize your message and make sure you are keeping up to date on the latest news to make sure your response is relevant. Some companies are sending multiple emails a day detailing different facets of their response such as changes in hours, how they are caring for their community and employees, or other efforts they are making in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
At GreenCup Digital, we are noticing a significant uptick in open rates from our client email lists. This is probably due to the simple fact that internet usage is up 30% in general due to the pandemic. Now is the perfect time to reach your customers via email.
For example, a retail store may begin to offer gift sets or special packages to increase sales during this time. How about emailing your list about it? Anything you can do to showcase the human behind the business helps in the long run.
3. Adjust your Social Media
Now is the perfect time to use your social media channels for good as well as communication. Your customers are using social media more than ever as they pass the time staying at home!
Facebook and Instagram have seen a whopping 40% increase in usage due to COVID-19.
That is huge!
If you haven’t been investing in your social media presence, now is a great time to do it. Staying connected is more important than ever, so in addition to email, you can use social to stay in touch, keep them informed, and even give your community a laugh or two.
However, just because people are spending more time on social media, doesn’t mean it’s business as usual. We all need to pivot a little bit to stay relevant during this unprecedented time in history.
The first thing you should do (if you haven’t already) is to adjust, or perhaps get rid of entirely, your planned content calendar. Our team spends hours planning client content calendars, and believe it, we spent hours un-doing all of the planning when COVID-19 struck. The last thing you want to appear is tone-deaf to the devastating things going on in the world right now.
Here is a list of 5 principles rounded up by Later.com for marketing and social media:
1. Acknowledge the Situation – The worst thing you can do is to pretend like everything is normal. Let your followers know that you are listening and understand what everyone is going through right now. Even if you are promoting something, a simple “this feels weird promoting something right now” will go a long way with your post.
2. Keep Posting – Although you have to adjust the copy to reflect the current situation, be sure to keep posting as much as you ever have. Consider focusing on other aesthetics of your business that don’t necessarily have to do with your products, but correlate with your business. For example, if you usually work inside an office, post your at-home workstation and call out that you are still there for your customers.
3. Display Empathy – Remember that COVID-19 is affecting just about everyone in the world, but in different ways. Show empathy and compassion for your followers. And, always, ALWAYS, think twice before posting a joke or a meme! In addition, not everyone is in the position to shop or enlist services right now, so calling that out kindly in your captions will show your followers that you understand.
4. Provide Value – While the world is at a virtual standstill, this is a great time to provide value to your followers. How can you help them during this time? Maybe a how-to video on one of your services, or a DIY project that lines up with your business. You may feel like you are “giving away the farm”, but this could not be farther from the truth. You are building brand equity that will pay off when all of this is over.
5. Ask for Help – This is not to suggest that you ask for charity. But it is perfectly OK to let your followers know that you join them in the struggle! Many retail shops and restaurants have been appealing to their fans to purchase gift cards to use later. As long as what you are asking offers value, this is a great way to share your story and go through the ups and downs together.
And perhaps the most important tip of all:
4. Give Yourself a Break
Realistically, no one really knows what to do right now. This is a new thing for all of us. In addition, things are continuing to change, sometimes hour by hour!
Definitely give yourself grace as you deal with the uncertainty of it all. We’re all in this together.
Still feeling confused? You’re not alone but we can help. Join us on Thursday, April 30th for a free, live webinar titled “Adapting Your Website During a Time of Crisis”. Click here to register.
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