Businesses feeling the impact of the current situation are confronting many challenges and many B2C customer-facing businesses in our communities are suffering the most.
Forced to shut their doors and furlough their staff, retailers, restaurants, gyms, hairdressers and beauty salons are facing an uncertain future, fearful at the prospect of losing customers in the long term.
Keeping your customers engaged is a big challenge, but there are steps you can take to encourage brand loyalty and visibility. Here are our tips for keeping digitally connected with your customers during lockdown:
1) Increase your social media presence
The pandemic is definitely increasing social media use and it is likely that your customers are checking in more frequently, looking for positive and engaging content to keep them entertained, informed and distracted in lockdown.
Make sure you are posting frequently, to feature in news feeds, and keeping the content fresh and relevant. Service-based businesses, such as restaurants and hairdressers for example, are even showcasing their services with fun cooking demos and hair tutorials.
2) Offer online deals
Persuade your customers to commit to special offers or gift vouchers, so they can treat themselves and redeem when lockdown is over. This can help maintain sales and customer engagement and will help kick-start trade when you can reopen.
3) Chat to your customers
Social media enables you to have conversations with your customers via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and other instant messaging platforms. You can also offer video conferencing options through Skype, Zoom or FaceTime. Reach out to your customers. That “face-to-face” contact, be that with questions, advice and support, or just to be sociable, could be a welcome tonic in tough times.
4) Live stream
With an impressive 1.2 million new subscribers to his YouTube channel, in just one week, Joe Wicks’ workouts are proof that there is a huge appetite for live streaming. And it’s not just celebrities or the infamous clamouring to vlog.
Live streaming your demonstrations or doing a Q&A gives you a chance to respond to questions or engage in conversations in real time.
When choosing a place to host your live stream, think about where your business already has a strong following. For example, do you have a Facebook page with an active community? YouTube is a great option if your members aren’t so active on a particular social network, or if you think they’re going to want to stream on TV rather than computers or mobile devices.
· How to live stream via Facebook Live: https://bit.ly/3e1US9U
· How to live stream via YouTube: https://bit.ly/3aMa9cO
· How to live stream on Instagram: https://bit.ly/34hy9SJ
Promote your live streaming through social media posts or email, to build excitement and anticipation for the ‘event’ and encourage customers to invite friends and family to get involved.
5) Support other businesses
If you are a small customer-facing business, why not support other businesses facing similar challenges? Consider following them on social media and sharing and liking their content. Cross promotion is a great way to increase your audience and reach new customers.
6) Try email marketing
Why not create regular e-newsletters to send to your database of customers, featuring inspiring content and useful advice. You can showcase products and services, include case studies and customer testimonials and share team news. An easy online marketing tool is Mailchimp: https://mailchimp.com
7) Get customers involved
Start a challenge for people to take part in at home; asking your customers to share photos and videos. A salon could ask customers to share photos of their ‘stay at home hairstyle’, whereas fitness instructors may wish to invite customers to take part in a plank or squat challenge. Restaurants could task customers with recreating their favourite dish from the menu and then posting photos of the results. You could even offer prizes, for winners to redeem when your business reopens.
However you choose to engage with your customers, make sure your communications are authentic and engaging. Consider what kind of information or support your customers would find useful and how you can be of help to them at this time. Think about how you can build on your current customer relationships, to make them even stronger and more meaningful.
Astley Media has an unrivalled depth and breadth of experience when it comes to creating digital content. Discover more Covid-19 communication resources and top-tips at www.astleymedia.co.uk