The COVID-19 shutdown has been challenging for businesses of all sizes, but small businesses have been hit particularly hard. More than 100,000 small businesses have permanently closed since the beginning of the lockdown. Therefore, to survive in this time of pandemic and in the post-COVID-19 world, it is essential for small businesses to market their products and services in an effective manner. As customers today require evidence that businesses are doing the right thing and taking care of their people and taking care of their customers. Businesses need to be thoughtful with their communication and marketing to avoid alienating people during this unusually sensitive time. Here are some ways small businesses can effectively reach their customers in this new post-COVID-19 scenario.
Spread the Word: If your company is temporarily closed during the lockdown, then it is important to let customers know that you have opened up your operations again. In this current situation, letting people know that you are a part of their community and are keen to provide service could attract first-timers to give you a try. Small businesses can try email marketing to remind customers about their businesses. Remember not to send emails too frequently nor too infrequently.
Use Correct Language: The most important thing to remember while developing marketing messages during and post-pandemic that strike the right tone. Customers want to hear how you are navigating the crisis, but they are also sensitive to any sign that you are attempting to exploit or profit from it. For now, try to put overt messages aside and try to use a reassuring, even, and optimistic tone. The key is to ensure that you are providing customers the information they need to feel safe patronizing your business.
Offer Reassurance: As people emerge from their homes, prolonged fear of virus transmission will help determine where they choose to spend their time and money. All companies, particularly those with a physical location that is open to the public, need to let customers know which steps they are taking to keep them and their employees safe. Businesses should use social feeds and email communications to explain the new safety and health procedures.
Try to Be Social: On the whole, small businesses should be collaborating regularly through their social feeds during this time. Friendly reminders such as “we are still here” and “things will be different, but we are the same brand you remember” will be a great way to let customers know you are open for business and be sure they keep your company top of mind as they venture out. For businesses, while developing a social media content plan, it’s best to think in terms of themes.
Walk the Walk: In times of crisis, consumers look to local businesses to do their part. If you have donated any money, goods, or services to COVID-19 relief causes, don’t be shy to let your community know about it. You should share even small measures that you have taken to date after the pandemic began. Consumers don’t expect local shops to make large-scale contributions. They just want to see your values in action.
Reward Loyalty: If you have not provided any loyalty programs till now, then it is a great time now for small businesses to start a customer loyalty program that can drive a sense of belonging among everyone who does business with you. They can also ensure a deeper engagement with walk-in customers. A loyalty program is an established way to retain customers, and studies show that existing customers are far more likely to buy from your business than potential customers. The cost of retaining customers is also a fraction of what it costs to acquire new ones.
Source – Business Insider