10 Ways to Show Up For Your Customers During COVID-19

Every single business is facing challenges because of COVID-19. Some are hit harder than others, but it’s impacting every business owner across the country whether for good or bad, it’s causing a big shift in everyone’s thinking. 

And, when it comes to marketing, some say to stop all marketing and advertising because it’s insensitive right now. Others say you need to continue because you need to give your business a chance to survive this. 

We encourage you to push both of those messages out of your mind. Instead, go back to basics. Here’s the way we look at it:

 

Marketing is just a way for us to take care of our target market, our customers.

So, when hard times hit, marketing may change, but it shouldn’t change our ultimate goal. 

What did this look like at Innovations? We contacted our clients who were impacted to reassure them that we were fully staffed, even if we were now working from home. We also put more of a Public Relations hat on and helped them navigate some of their communications with employees and customers as operations had to change. Then, we wanted to help all business owners and marketing directors, so we created a document to help them think through the emergency and give steps to help them plan for their business’s success. You can print your own copy here (no email required). 

So, what do you do right now? We’ve come up with 10 ways you can show up for your customers right now as we all seek a new normal. 

1. Be available.

More people are home than ever before. So, when they’re ready to talk about your product or service, be there for them. Download the Facebook Pages app so you can immediately respond to questions. Email customers and invite them to email back with orders, questions or concerns. Keep that conversation open.

2. Respond quickly and honestly.

If you’re unable to deliver right now, tell them that, but also make note so you can follow back up with them when you are able.

3. Create a special that entices them to step out of their fear and take action (aka purchase).

It may sound scary to slice prices right now. But, your sale may be the thing that catches their attention in their giant newsfeed of bad news. Be the right kind of distraction and offer them a great product or service at a discount.

4. Support your community in whatever way you can.

By community, we do mean local philanthropy, but we also mean your community of customers. How can you support them? If you can give back during this time, your customers will remember. You could give to a local shelter, hospitals in need of supplies or maybe even personally give to one of your customers in need. You might even offer a portion of your service and let customers know that profits will go straight to a cause they care about. 

5. Give them a reason to leave you a great review.

No, we’re not saying you should pay someone for a review. What we’re saying is do something out of the norm, something creative that might give them a reason to go leave a review. Maybe this means making a free delivery with no contact. Maybe this means you’re throwing in something free with their purchase. It’s just a way to say, “Thank you for keeping me open and thriving.” (Side Note: Remember it’s always okay to ask for a review.)

6. Tell them thank you.

If your business is being forced to close you have a lot of free time on your hands that you’ve never had before. So, sit down and write a thank you note to your loyal customers. Yes, hand write it, sign it, seal it, mail it. Just be sure to wash your hands before you do! 

7. Pivot your business model

and provide a different kind of service. We’ve seen so many innovate during this time. We’re actually spotlighting them on our Facebook page with #herestotheinnovators. We’ve seen a photographer take social distancing to heart and start taking pictures of families on their front porch. Tenacity Paducah had to close their doors due to the virus so now they are doing workouts on Facebook live.

8. Educate your customers and potential customers.

You have a special kind of knowledge and talent. Share it! Create a video sharing some of your expertise that’s related to your business. 

9. Upgrade your storefront and your online brand presence during this downtime.

You may have a little more time on your hands which means you should paint your walls, rearrange your store or install new signage and decor. As for your online presence, make sure your website is up to date. Do you have an online shop? Do you need one? Start exploring your options. Most importantly, look at your brand as a whole. From online to in-store presence. Does it match? If not, let’s have a conversation. 

10. Be relevant with your updates.

Yes, you may continue doing some of your normal advertising and social media posting. But, remember where your customers are right now. They’re scared, they’re worried about money and they’re most likely sitting at home. What can your company offer them in this time? Do they need to know that you’re restocked with essential items? Do they need to know that you’re waiving a fee for your services? Do they need to know how your menu or hours are changing? Don’t wait until your customers have to wait for an answer. Start answering their questions before they need to ask.  

This is a stressful time for any business and there are many ways that marketing and advertising strategically can help you through what can feel like a never ending crisis. When you’re ready for more ideas, just start up a conversation with us! 

Until then, don’t forget to download our “Forward Thinking in Uncertain Times” booklet. It will help you navigate communicating with customers and give you a worksheet to help spark the brainstorming process for the future of your business.