Updated September 2021.
Even when face-to-face communication and commerce are interrupted, communicating with your customers is key to maintaining existing relationships and establishing new ones.
Digital communication can lack important cues, so following certain tips can help keep your messaging clear and consistent for customers.
Avoid contributing to Pandemic Fatigue with your messaging.
Focus on developing a consistent messaging strategy for your business that will carry you through the pandemic and beyond it.
Right now, your customers are home and they’re online. Your digital communication channels – your website, your social media, and your email marketing – are still in place, and play a huge role in the impression you make with customers. You have the opportunity to stay connected, to keep customer relationships strong. Your marketing and communication need to stay constant & positive to do it, especially since digital messages are often lacking the communication cues we look for in face-to-face interactions.
Let’s talk about how to create messaging that keeps your customers informed, engaged, and connected.
How to Create Your Messaging Strategy:
Keep it Positive
Your customers are seeing a lot of scary and stressful things on social media right now. This is your chance to be their safe haven. Make their day by sharing what your business is doing to help them get a bit of their routine back, bring a smile to their face by posting a silly, but still relevant to your business, meme, shout out another local business who has gone above and beyond during these times, or just post something genuine about how much their support means to you.
Know Your Role in Your Customer’s Life
It’s important to understand the role you play in your customers’ lives. To illustrate this, I’m going to use the example of Dianne Rae, a Louisiana jewelry store we work with.
Your business exists because it fills a specific need for your customers. When we talked this through with the Dianne Rae team, it became clear that their customers chose them to mark milestone events; jewelry serves as a visual reminder of important times in their lives.
So, we included that in the messaging. And we did so in a way that acknowledged the unique nature of the times without emphasizing the negative.
Your customers have a need to fill time right now. The invitation to browse in stock products gives your customers a way to satisfy that need. And your customers have a need for connection. The chat window becomes a little more appealing when people are invited to use it.
This message went out in the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Response from customers was immediate and strong. The tensions of the moment have accelerated some people’s decision to get married. They appreciated having a way to move forward with the search for an engagement ring – but more than that, they valued the positive message that life, and love, keeps happening, no matter what.
Avoid Covering the Same Message Everyone Else Is Covering
When you think about what role you play in your customers’ lives, the odds are pretty good that they’re not turning to you for the latest crisis information. You don’t need to feel obligated to echo every piece of pandemic guidance – that information is available through many, many other outlets.
Avoid Contributing to COVID Overload. At this point, we’ve been hearing the phrases “now more than ever” and “in these unprecedented times” for over a year. As true as they may be, your audience checks out the second they see or hear these phrases nowadays. Before you share anything, ask yourself: is it important that my customers get this information from my business? Is this relevant to their interactions with my shop or services?
That being said, if you do feel compelled to share any general pandemic-specific tips, do so in a way that’s as positive and brand-appropriate as possible. We thought this graphic would be excellent for a pet store!
Understand Where Your Customer’s Head Is Right Now
As much as we are all trying to keep positive, it’s important to understand your customers’ current concerns. Think about how they’re being impacted, particularly as it relates to your business. This situation is evolving rapidly, and we’ve all seen the various waves of consumer demand associated with this pandemic. If you can provide the current in-demand item, make sure your customers know. Many small businesses have been using social media very effectively to relay what’s in-stock, as well as when new stock is expected to arrive or any substitute items you may have available.
Tailor your messaging and offerings to meet your customers’ current needs.
Consistency Counts – Avoid “Radio Silence”
Commit yourself to staying connected with your customers. This means sending out messaging regularly – but not to an overwhelming degree. If you have an established marketing schedule, keep it, or even consider increasing your frequency. If you haven’t been reaching out on a regular basis, now is your opportunity to correct that situation. For most brands, this will mean sending email messages on a weekly basis and sharing posts on social media daily.
Technology Therapy Group is there for you. While these tips will help your brand in the midst of quarantines and when we are well and truly past the pandemic, we can help you improve your communication in a number of other ways too. We support business owners who DIY their digital marketing, as well as those who’d prefer to have us make it all happen. Check out our mentorship program for one-on-one help from a marketing expert, or dive into the topics that matter most to your business with our live and on-demand training sessions. Here are a few that will help you create consistent messaging your customers can count on: