Four ways to communicate with customers during Coronavirus

Written on 07 April, 2020 by Julia Hammond
Categories MarketingTags coronavirusCOVID-19crisis marketingmarketingonline businessonline marketingsmall business

With more people than ever before staying in their homes, your online presence is likely to keep your business visible and relevant to new and reoccurring customers.

For people to feel safe interacting with your business, they’ll want to know how you’re responding to COVID-19. Are you implementing extra hygiene procedures? Do you have new operating hours? If they can’t visit your physical location, how do they get in contact online? Luckily, sharing this information is simple in the digital age.

It’s important to keep in mind that while it’s a topic on everyone’s minds, that doesn’t mean it’s all they want to hear about. Finding the space to entertain, inform and support your customers through this time is just as beneficial as taking them through your COVID-19 response. Once you’ve had your say on the main ways your business is responding – put it aside.

With every message you look to send right now, ask yourself this; what value can I bring to someone today? While we’re dealing with shutdowns and uncertainty, value can still be found in normalcy – in treating yourself with online shopping, in health tips from relevant businesses and in knowing your service provider is still open. No matter what kind of business you have, using your voice online can be reassuring to customers, and help maintain trust in your brand.

Here are four digital channels you can use to effectively communicate with your customers in the midst of COVID-19.

1. Attract locals to your website

With many workplaces choosing to work from home and people spending their weekends in self-isolation, it’s more important than ever to have a strong local presence. If you don’t already have one, now is the perfect time to set one up.

Google My Business, is a free tool that allows you to setup a business profile which can then appear in local search results; for queries like ‘near me’ or featuring a specific suburb.

If you do already have this in place, it’s good to check in and make sure all the details are accurate. Google has released a COVID-19 info sheet to help affected businesses update their profile, including adding an option to list your business as ‘temporarily closed’.

2. Interact with customers on social media

With the guidelines on social distancing, isolation and essential businesses changing often – social media is a fast, effective way to keep your customers up to date. It’s also a great place for maintaining your brand presence, whether you’re able to operate as usual or not. For example, gyms are closed right now but they can still provide value to their members through at-home workout tips on their social media. Cafes and restaurants can share takeaway hours and post photos of current menu items to remind people they can still order in.

You don’t have to talk only about COVID-19 either. Social media has always been a place where brands can be fun and human. Once you’ve got the crisis messages out of the way; return to normal posting. With social ads you can look into targeting a new audience, while your organic posting nurtures your existing one. Use this time to share more about your brand personality, spread the word on the benefits of your product or service, or offer helpful advice in these uncertain times.

3. Share urgent updates on your website

Your website is another fast, accessible place to share your ongoing actions with customers. The added benefit of a website is it’s static. The messaging you place on your homepage is always going to be front and centre, whereas a social post will be dropped lower and lower the more you add to your profile. Adding a banner, popup or even a COVID-19 FAQ page to your website will help to answer your customer’s pressing questions.

It’s worth taking a critical eye to your website right now. Is it optimised for engagement? Simple things like navigation menus, contact forms and an about us page can mean the difference between a user staying on your website or not. Use this unexpected downtime to your advantage, so that when things start returning to normal your business is ready to engage customers.

4. Connect with your customers directly

Email direct marketing or EDMs give you a direct line to your customer base, which means you won’t have to question whether they received your message. Posting on socials, updating your Google My Business and website are all great methods when people are searching for you – but emails help even when they’re not.

It’s important to note that you can’t send an EDM to just anyone. Your database should be full of either active subscribers (they opted in for communications) or existing customers (they have implied permission by using your service before). Your emails must include clear contact details for your business and the option to unsubscribe. If you have all of these criteria – you’re ready to go.

What should you send? The obvious option is to address your coronavirus response – but do so with caution. Make it short and sweet and avoid addressing anything you have no authority on (like medical advice if you’re not a medical professional). You also have the option to send a non-crisis related email. You could launch a flash sale or remind customers of any important services you offer, like virtual learning courses or delivery options.

The biggest thing to avoid is sending a purposeless email just to remind people you exist. When you’ve been given a direct line to your customer’s inbox, you should use it with respect.

Helping Australia’s small-medium businesses grow

Our mission at Netregistry has always been helping small and medium businesses on their journey to growth. We focus on personalised strategies that take into consideration your unique business goals, budget and brand voice. With expert teams in SEO, PPC, Social, and Websites – we can help you build an online presence on any of the most popular channels.

During these uncertain times, we’re committed to finding creative solutions for both new and existing client’s. If you’re an existing client, please contact your account manager directly for assistance. If you’re brand new and want to discuss digital marketing options; call us on 1300 638 734 or submit a message online.

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