Your website, social media, and email are invaluable tools during times of community unrest. Schools are closing, events are canceling, everybody is feeling the impact. The chances are pretty good that even your regular customer doesn’t know what this means for how they can and should continue to do business with you. I’m also hearing from businesses every day that are coming up with new services and new ways to conduct business remotely. From delivery services to online content, businesses are finding new ways to engage with customers even when they aren’t inside their walls.
It is more important than ever that your digital footprint gives you the opportunity to proactively reach out and engage your customers as well as give them a place where they can go to find answers to the questions or concerns they may have.
For walk-in, brick and mortar establishments, retail or service, if you have a physical presence, making it easy for your customers to know your status can help them make the decision on whether they can or should come in. You have an “Open” sign on the front of the building. It might not be a bad idea to have a similar message on your website for those that go there to check before they venture out to visit you. Likewise, a closed message may save a few people a bad experience with your brand if they find out they shouldn’t attempt to come out.
If people are concerned about coming into your business, figure out why. If they are worried about coming in contact with other people, remind them about how social distancing works and remind them what you are doing to keep your facility clean and your customers safe. Don’t just bury this on a corner of a page somewhere. Build this out as its own page, complete with pictures of your staff cleaning. Show your customer the work is being done, give it more than lip service. Link to this page from a very visible place on your front page or even your menu. Make it easy for people to feel reassured.
If you aren’t open for some reason or your customers aren’t coming in for some reason, then find a way to continue to engage your customers. This is a content play. Gyms can put special home workouts online, so members continue to keep good habits and associate them with the results they are looking for in the long run. Restaurants can offer more to-go or delivery options. Retail can offer delivery or shipping options, even if they don’t have eCommerce.
The point is your website is a tool to continue to engage your customers and prospects. Use it. Engage them continue to build relationships and find new ways to put value into their lives and they will remember this.
Even businesses without a retail presence are impacted. If sales, support, and customer service efforts are being disrupted as your team spreads out to work remotely, let people know this is going on and what to expect. I think you will find customers are much more accepting and accommodating when they know and can form a new expectation for you to meet or exceed.
Social Media is a great extension for the content you create for your website and another great way to continue to engage customers. Let people know if you are open. Let your customers know what you are doing to keep them safe while they are at your location. Help them feel valued, informed, and safe. Make sure they understand the value of continuing to do business with you. If you have no ways for people to do business with you continue to educate customers about this here as well.
Social Media is one of the few marketing tools that actively seeks out your customer and engages them when you post. Whether its paid ad content that seeks out individuals or the notification that goes out to your followers when you post, social media proactively engages your audience. It doesn’t wait for them to come and find your information.
Email is another communication tool that proactively engages customers and prospects. It’s another delivery mechanism for the messages and content on your website. It’s a great way to communicate 1-on-1 with customers, but in mass. Communicate the changes you are making, how you are working to create a safe and supportive experience for your customers. Address and alleviate the fears they may have.
This is not a time to hide or a time to stick your head in the sand and think it will all pass you by. Building a well-thought-out response to the challenges posed by Covid-19 will go a long way to helping you build a stronger more resilient businesses when faced with challenges in the future. They say that there is no bad reason to engage with a client or prospect. Every time you do so the customer should walk away feeling valued. So let’s use our digital footprint to deliver value to our audience.
Matt Swanson is the owner of MS Digital Solutions – a small digital marketing agency that believes your website is the key to the success of your digital footprint and that your experience with it is just as important as his experience.
If you are unsure how to put your digital footprint to work for your business, then contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.