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Navigating the coronavirus crisis: how to communicate and stay in contact with your customers

Are you a small business owner with no idea where to turn during this crisis? Uncertainty is only natural during times like these, and marketing to your contacts during a crisis isn’t exactly a straightforward task. That’s why we’ve decided to provide some guidance on the most important actions you should start taking today, the first of which is communicating with your customers.

1 – Talk about the measures you’ve implemented within your company

Communiquer les mesures d'hygiène prises en temps de Coronavirus

No matter which industry you work in, it’s very important that you outline the measures you’ve put in place in response to the coronavirus crisis.

a) Communicate with your employees

Naturally, your employees should be kept up to date on how your company is addressing this matter. In fact, they should be the first to hear any and all company updates. All decisions you make that impact health and safety and business operations should be shared with your employees and colleagues promptly and regularly. A simple, yet informative email goes a long way!

In the future, we also recommend that you include your employees in the decision-making process as much as possible. In times of crisis, you need the support of your entire team to make it through!

b) Communicate with your customers

The second group you need to inform is your current customer base. Every day brings with it ever-changing and ever-constant updates about the virus, and it can be difficult to keep up.

When sending emails to your customers and posting on social media, your goal should be to address the following frequently asked questions: 

Are you still operating your business?

Are your facilities open to the public?

What health measures have you put it place to reduce the risk of transmission?

Have you enhanced your online services in any way?

Where can your customers easily reach you?

These are all the questions you should answer as quickly as possible. You should also use that opportunity to share any government recommendations issued for your industry with your customers.

c) Communicate with your visitors

And last but not least, it’s also important to inform visitors to your website about your current situation. To do so effectively, simply deploy an informational pop-up on your website. In so doing, you can also ask visitors to subscribe to your newsletter, where they can find further updates as they unfold. That way, you can continue enhancing your contact list by adding more leads while keeping everyone up to date.

Psst! To facilitate timely communication with all your target audiences, the Leadfox team has created a series of templates so you can readily deploy all the tools you need. Among these tools, you’ll find a selection of pop-ups, each with its own scenario-based message, and an email for each scenario.

2 — Maintain regular communication

Soyez présents sur les réseaux sociaux pendant la crise du Coronavirus

Communicate, communicate, communicate…That’s the point we really want to drive home. That said, though, don’t try to turn a blind eye and pretend everything is fine when you address your target audiences. Instead, you should adapt your message to reflect the circumstances we’re all facing. Social media and other online platforms are seeing substantial traffic these days, so now is the time to get the word out about what you and your business are doing to address the crisis.

a) Join the conversation

Show your audience the positive impact you’re having in response to the pandemic and do it consistently! This will not only help your brand identity–it will also help you be a part of this online movement. As you already know, coronavirus has been the center of media attention for weeks now. As Google Trends shows, it is currently the most searched topic. Take this opportunity to join the conversation by sharing the impacts your business is having.

b) Anticipate the questions your customers will have

You should always be one step ahead of your customers. Show them just how prepared you are by proactively answering questions you know are likely to surface. After all, it’s pretty convenient to find the answer to your question without having to go to the effort of actually submitting it.

3 — Seek customer loyalty from your current customer base

Rejoindre sa clientèle différemment pendant la crise du Coronavirus

Even if sales are slowing down, your customers are still as present as ever. It’s time to double down so you can keep your customers and earn their loyalty, even during this time of crisis.

a) Give your customers a free gift

Do something unique and forge strong ties with your customers! Do you run a yoga studio? Then offer your members a free class. Or maybe you’re a winegrower? Organize a friendly competition for your customers so one lucky winner can earn the distinction of “most original cocktail” using your products or ingredients. Do you own a clothing store? Organize a drawing so one of your loyal customers can win the practical prize of a cozy outfit they can wear while quarantined at home. Or perhaps you’re a financial consultant? Use Instagram or Facebook Live to respond to your customers’ questions in real-time.

All in all, it’s very important to show compassion for your customers, knowing that most of them are stuck at home. For example, Netflix recently launched Netflix Party, which allows customers to stream content as a virtual group, and the retailer Simons is offering free shipping on all orders. Follow these examples and make your customers happy! They will definitely appreciate the gesture! 

That said, it’s important to offer your customers something that will actually help them. Whether you’re talking about the health measures you’ve implemented, what you’re doing to relieve your customers’ boredom, or how you plan to help them maintain a little normalcy in their daily lives, your message should revolve around a sense of community and mutual support. Steer clear of all sales-focused messaging!

b) Customer loyalty before customer acquisition

Did you know that earning customer loyalty costs less than acquiring new customers? And regular customers buy more than new customers. During times of crisis, advertisement budgets are typically not as generous, so investing your time and funds in advertising to your current clientele can be a smart choice. 

As we already discussed, keeping the lines of communication open with your target audiences is vital. But compassion, transparency, and community should be at the core of any message you put out there! Take the time to form and strengthen bonds with your customers.  It will pay off in the long run!

But please don’t try to take advantage of the situation!

The COVID-19 crisis is a very serious and delicate subject for most people., so be careful not to seem too opportunistic in any of your communications. Help your customers, inform them of measures you’ve taken, and modify your offer to best suit their needs, but don’t use this as an opportunity for personal gain. Now is the time to forgo any comedic or sales-oriented messaging to instead focus on compassion, solidarity, and empathy for your consumers. 

Summary: checklist

  • Speak with your employees and involve them in the decision-making process
  • Communicate with your customers (through social media or a newsletter)
  • Deploy an informative pop-up on your website
  • Help your customers out by providing special offers
  • Maintain regular communication with your target audiences (customers, leads, etc.)
  • Modify your messaging so it’s appropriate, given current circumstances

We’re here for you!

You can always request a free help session with our digital marketing experts. They can help you and your business navigate the coronavirus crisis.

And do feel free to try out the marketing campaign templates we’ve created specifically to address the current situation (free shipping, physical training at home, information on COVID-19-related measures, etc.)!

About the Author:

J'ai découvert le domaine du marketing au cégep et, depuis, je ne peux plus m'en passer! Cela fait maintenant plus de 5 ans que j'étudie et que je travaille dans le milieu de la communication et du marketing. Ce que j'aime le plus de ce métier? Il est en constante évolution et j'apprends quelque chose de nouveau tous les jours!

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