The COVID-19 situation is on everyone’s minds at the moment. And while many businesses and processes will be disrupted, having an online presence could help you stay connected to your customers even when your physical store is closed.
Regardless of the size, location and industry of your business, your customers are probably coming to you right now with a flood of questions, such as: “Do you plan to stay open?”, “Are you able to complete your outstanding orders?”, “How will government policy changes impact you?”.
In order to help you keep up and stay connected in what are rapidly-changing circumstances, you’ll want to have a sound communication strategy to help you keep your current and potential customers informed. Here are five communication options to help you do so.
Leverage using email
Email remains one of the best ways to reach your customers. With 50% of Aussies accessing their email from their phones, it could be an effective way to reach out to interact with them. Email allows you to contact your customers, together or targeted individually, and can be useful to keep them informed about how your business is operating and any changes regarding how, when and where they can connect with you.
Email marketing, targeted either at specific segments of your customer base or everyone simultaneously, can be used to promote special offers, stock clearances or other important business updates. When your shop floor is closed, let email marketing be the connection to your audience, so you can strengthen your connections with them on a near-instant basis.
Use social media
Social media can be an important channel to help you reach and inform customers of any changes to your business. Many social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, enable sharing, so it can be a good way to communicate important information – such as your modified operating hours or a link to your e-commerce store – with a potential audience beyond just your immediate current customer base.
Many consumers check social media daily on their mobile, so use the platforms to help provide customers with the most up-to-date information. Social media posts are also a great way for you to quickly answer questions or address concerns from those who comment on your updates.
Make sure you don’t just push updates on your social channels, but that you dedicate time to respond to any comments, questions, or direct messages – people will likely value a direct line to your business, especially during times like those we are currently experiencing.
Post updates on your website
Your website is likely the first place many people will look for COVID-19 information in relation to your business. Consider adding a banner at the top of your website and ensure its large enough for customers to notice.
You may also want to create a page specifically dedicated to the changes you’re making in response to the current virus situation. If you create a dedicated page, ensure you update it regularly and include a date alongside any changes to help provide context for your customers.
For inspiration, take a look at travel companies to see how they are addressing the pandemic on their website. Expedia, Qantas and Hotels.com.au, for example, could be good places to start. Through OpenWeStand, we’re providing resources, advice and support to help guide and support Australian small businesses.
Create blog content
You may want to explain the steps, in more detail, your business is taking during this challenging time through a blog on your website.
Consider adding a blog explaining, for instance, your sanitising processes or operational changes that you are experiencing. Consider sharing these blog posts across your social media channels and with your email database, to help create widespread awareness.
You may also want to use a blog to officially announce updates to your products and services, and explain how they can be helpful for your customers.
Be prepared to use multiple channels
If you want to keep your customers and employees informed, then you’ll likely want to consider using a combination of channels – such as social media, website, email and blog – to communicate any business changes.
Not everyone will turn to social media or sign up for your email updates, so you may want to consider setting up a regular call with your team to determine if there are any new updates that need to be shared with customers, and decide on the appropriate strategy and channel to deliver that message effectively with your customers.
In this period of uncertainty, let technology act as your virtual megaphone and welcoming presence so you can stay in touch with your customers. Using a digital presence to clearly communicate and keep everyone informed and up-to-date can help to bring you and your customers closer together.
Jill Schoolenberg is the Regional President for Australia, Canada and Latin America at GoDaddy. GoDaddy is the company empowering everyday entrepreneurs. For simple tech solutions to help make your life as a business owner easier, visit godaddy.com.au