The worldwide panic of coronavirus is leaving big and small brands wondering what happens next and the best way to communicate with customers. Here are a few ways to win your customers’ trust during these crazy times:
Use Your Site
Creating a public update on your corporate blog describing how you are coping with the situation and how your brand is helping its customers is always a good idea.
Nancy Seeger shares some valuable tips on how to phrase your public messaging effectively:
Don’t pretend everything is normal – address the issue head on.
Don’t keep you marketing the same as before. Now is the time for some great karmic marketing messages. One of the car companies in Canada changed TV ads – to say “This is where we normally would show you our great new models, but instead we want to thank the doctors and nurses for……”
Another example is the new Budweiser commercial that is also thanking the doctors and nurses.
Build your local community. Offer shout outs to those that are supporting the local community or industries that support your industry.
Use humor carefully. We don’t want to be dark and depressing, but many have love ones that are sick or at risk. Tread carefully.
Avoid generalizations or statistics that change to often. Marketing Communication stays around for a while and needs to be specific and valuable enough, without becoming dated too soon.
Give hope. People will always remember how you make them feel and giving hope in times of crisis is a great way to create positive energy.
All in all, your messaging should make each of your customers feel they are not alone.
B2B SaaS companies should have a policy in place regarding what to do to try to counteract cancellations. Some businesses have lost part of all of their income and must cut expenses. This might be to waive fees for a particular period of time or grant extensions on time to pay. It is better to retain them as a customer you hope will recover soon than potentially lose their business forever.
Get in Touch
If you have their email and social accounts, put them to use — but only if you have something useful and relevant to say.
There was a flood of Covid-19 email updates recently which also resulted in lots of memes like this one:
The bottom line is: Keeping your customers informed is important but only if what you have to say is important to them.
Gail Gardner of GrowMap.com is sharing her experience:
Ecommerce stores I’ve bought from for years and others I’ve only used due to shortages of food staples are sending their customers email messages. If you have backordered products, keep your customers informed by email.
Anita Campbell, founder and CEO of Small Business Trends: suggests a very personal approach:
Send a message just saying “How are you doing? Is everyone well there?” No pressure. No selling. Just a friendly “I care about you enough to check in” message. I’ve had a couple of these. One from the owner of the virtual assistant agency we use. Another from a consultant we have used from time to time. Usually the only time I hear from them is when they send an invoice. So it’s nice to get a friendly “human” message.
To support businesses vcita had come up with coronavirus email templates helping their users to manage communications with the customers of theirs. All you need to do is to sign up for vcita free trial to access the templates:
Janice Wald of Mostly Blogging brings up an important point: don’t use Coronavirus crisis as a marketing opportunity:
It is important you let your email list members feel your compassion not greed during this difficult time. Trying to profit during the Coronavirus is fine. Don’t try to profit FROM the Coronavirus.
For example, you can begin your marketing emails by expressing concern about the email list member and their family. End by expressing wishes they stay safe and healthy.
Create and Curate More Resources
Keep your social pages and feeds updated. Be honest about how this situation is affecting your ability to serve your customers. If payments are an issue, be flexible and think through your strategy in advance.
Share tips and insights about how your industry can cope or even expand during these challenging times. Shawn Hessinger, an executive editor Small Business Trends, has set up a standalone Facebook page that aims at helping small businesses through these uncertain times:
Using your site as a knowledge hub for your customers to have a page to refer to is also a great idea. SEFCU created a huge list of resources informing their customers how they can use online banking to avoid trips to their offices and how to apply for the financial relief program.
Nextiva created a similar resource geared towards small businesses struggling to set up a remote working environment. The page lists all possible tools to create a remote office, including their business collaboration suite.
At IMN, we put together a private dashboard for us to brainstorm tips for our clients to keep their businesses afloat. Because we manage clients in a variety of industries, creating standard guidelines for all of them wouldn’t work, so we have to approach each of them. These recommendations are totally complimentary. Let’s face it: our company’s success depends on their keeping their businesses active. We are into this together.
Whether coronavirus is going to threaten humanity remains a question but one thing is clear: No matter what thousands of businesses are already affected and it may get worse. To prepare your company for possible outbreak consequences, use the steps above.