Small Business Communication During the Coronavirus Pandemic.
It’s been a tough few weeks for the world as we navigate a new normal amid the coronavirus pandemic.
For small businesses, wanting to communicate with their customer base, it can be hard to know what is the right approach to take.
During this time,
- Do you continue marketing as normal?
- Do you communicate the measures you’re taking as a business?
- Should you put out that large announcement or new product release?
How much communication is enough and how much is too much?
Keeping Your Customers Informed
While it’s not always an easy decision to close your brick and mortar location if it’s a main source of income, communicating the decision with your customers shows you’re doing your part to encourage social distancing and shows your business’ dedication to social responsibility.
Communicating your reasoning for temporary closures also ensures customers know where you stand on important issues. While the short-term implications are not ideal, the decision also creates a level of trust. Long-term, your brand will be one of the first places customers think to go the next time they shop, whether online or, eventually, in person.
Communicating Company Updates
There are many reasons you might have to send customers critical information. But it’s also important that you remain considerate in how often you’re relaying these announcements, what information you choose to share, and the manner in which you communicate certain messages.
Again, this is a time of much uncertainty, fear, and anxiety for people, some of whom have been personally affected by the coronavirus or have loved ones that are at high-risk. This means that we all need to be sensitive with the language we choose to use in any marketing materials.
What you don’t want to do is be seen as taking advantage of a crisis or using it as a way to push sales. Brands must be careful that their tone matches the current climate without being flippant or disrespectful.
Methods of Communication
Your Website Homepage
- Local businesses should make their coronavirus-related announcements and information prominent and easily accessible on their homepage. The core message should be front and centre, because everybody wants to know, how you are now operating as a business.
- It is also worth considering a banner or popup informing visitors of your business’ status, delays, pick-up or delivery options, etc., so that your customers can proceed with appropriate expectations.
- You could also update your FAQ pages, as well as mark-up your FAQ sections, product availability, event status and special announcements with structured data to keep users informed right from the search results page.
Google My Business
- Update your profile. Google has even created a special coronavirus post category that enables businesses to include changes to how they are operating, special hours and temporary closures, requests for support and safety and hygiene-related updates.
- Be creative with email. Consumers received an initial wave of coronavirus-related emails from businesses explaining how they were responding to the then-epidemic. Resist messaging your customers again with bland, or worse, irrelevant response updates. Keep it brief, be creative and demonstrate empathy.
- Encouraging direct engagement between your staff and your audience via social media can help you humanize your business at this time. Continue to serve your customers and keep yourself relevant and useful while social distancing is in effect.
- There are many great deals around for small business owners at present. For example, Mix96 Radio have announced that for the foreseeable future, any business that wants to advertise on Mix96 can do so for a third of the usual price. They are also providing a free online platform for businesses to announce if they are managing to stay open by making any changes to adapt during the virus outbreak.
In summary, let your customers know how you will be operating and how they can contact you with any queries.
- Be brief
- Be clear
- Keep it simple
- Be kind
I’m very happy to offer free advice and guidance to any small business owners who are struggling with communication strategies during this difficult time.
Just drop me an email at [email protected] and I will get in touch.
KG Marketing works with small businesses from a variety of industry sectors and manages their content and general marketing, over a variety of platforms.