First, our heartfelt wishes that you and yours are healthy and safe. Now more than ever the team at Carolina Business Center is focused on providing the small business community with content that will be of use as we brave this Coronavirus storm together.
To state the obvious, we as a society have never confronted a world crisis like this before. While there is still much uncertainty clouding our focus, there are actionable strategies you can employ that will fortify your brand’s position during this time, even if you have been forced to close the doors on your physical storefront.
In this post we will share ways to not only stay connected with customers but build relationships that will strengthen your brand’s value beyond this moment and into a brighter future.
Communication is Key
Show your customers how much you value them by proactively communicating with them about your business. Let your customers know if you’re closing your doors, changing your hours and what steps you’re taking to keep your employees and work environment safe and clean. If your business is not present on social media channels, NOW is the time to launch those accounts. It is an ideal platform for this type of communication along with email and post on your website. If your store is staying open, download the US Chamber of Commerce’s customizable flyer that you can fill out and hang to make customers aware of the steps you are taking to keep them safe.
[Download: Coronavirus Prevention Flyer]
Beyond letting customers know the logistics of your approach invite them to connect with you through social media or your web chat.
Offer Online Purchases
Keep in mind too, that customers spending more time at home are shopping for their needs online. If you do not already offer online ordering for your products or services, consider adding a shopping cart to your site (see this guide from The Balance). You could also take orders over social media.
And, be prepared for more people to view your website than in previous months. If you need help getting your website refreshed and ready, Carolina Online Marketing has the expertise.
The forced slow-down is an opportunity for business owners to examine current marketing plans and make adjustments that align to changes in outlook. Here again is another reason to get up to speed on social media platforms and how to leverage their advertising programs. Promoting your brand through social media is inexpensive and offers tremendous exposure. See Hootsuite’s guide to help you determine the right platform and approach.
There may be a silver lining in adapting your business to the temporary social distancing culture by employing or advancing new sales and customer engagement channels.
Finally, when engaging customers through social media there is one absolute rule: Be Authentic. Be real. Be honest. Be empathetic. As businesses adapt to the pressure and changes caused by the pandemic, those seen as genuinely caring and committed to the triple bottom line (profit, people and planet) will emerge from this period even stronger. Here are a couple of examples of authentic and empathetic messaging for your inspiration:
It’s been a hard few weeks. We want to help.
Dealing with being at home. Cooking good food with what you have. Teaching your kids. New home office ideas. Whatever you need right now to feel a little better, our community is sharing more ideas than ever: https://t.co/pq73YB2D62 pic.twitter.com/rkhKqlX1We
— Pinterest (@Pinterest) March 20, 2020
This new normal will take some getting used to, but we’ll keep posting inspo, updates and yes, beauty fun—to hopefully spread some joy and be a bright spot in your day. In the meantime, take care of yourselves and each other 🧡#ultabeauty pic.twitter.com/qWSxDbZwW1 — Ulta Beauty (@ultabeauty) March 18, 2020
To stay on your customers’ radar, you have to stay connected. Customers that feel connected to brands are loyal and stick with you through challenging times. So reach out and build relationships that will build your business.
We hope this post has given you ideas to keep business moving as the Coronavirus runs it course. Our prayers and hopes continue for our entire community, country, and across the globe to stay strong.