After reading this article you will have 5 suggestions to act on to stay in contact with your customers during the coronavirus shutdown. The U.S. is in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic, some states have been harder hit than others during this Spring and some businesses have had to close down their B&M stores to meet government restrictions. No matter if you are a defined essential or non-essential business you may have noticed that your sales volume is decreased. You may be wondering how to stay fresh with your customers when they can’t walk your aisles or meet with you personally. Be inspired to keep your business moving forward with these five ways to stay fresh with customers during quarantine shutdown.  

Blogging

Did you know that the origin of the blog was a personal journal or diary of sorts? How did a personal journal become such a powerful business tool? Blogging became a powerful business tool because of the content that was being published. The content was personal in the sense that it was a tool for a business to explain their knowledge and subject authority. The content also was used to reassure readers they were making a great choice to find answers to their problems. 

Take your blog to the forefront of your daily workload and tell your customers about:

  • what shipments may have arrived
  • which products may be in limited supply
  • which products will be retired
  • write about what made you stock an item
  • write about what customers have requested you carry
  • Did you do some market research that you want to share?
  • Did you rearrange your store or take this time to deep clean and reorganize your inventory?

Let your customers know.

If you are a service business you can write advice articles or summarize your latest client projects in a shortened case study. 

Be creative and don’t be afraid to write short or long posts; it is more important to be active and let your customers know you are still around. End each blog post with a call to action to keep your readers engaged.

Writing a Newsletter

A newsletter is not your blog post pasted into the body of your email. Your newsletter should be more comprehensive and a tool to stay in contact with your customers. If you don’t already have a newsletter in place do not be intimidated by this suggestion. Take writing a newsletter piece by piece. With the help of an automated marketing provider, your newsletter can be just what your customers need to read while cooped up at home. 

Your newsletter should include a summary of your blog posts with links back to read the full post. You are ultimately trying to keep your customer engaged with you so give them an easy way to keep reading!

You can reference industry news if something interesting was announced. Maybe you want to inform your readers of a canceled tradeshow, ComicCon, or a delayed opening to a highly anticipated movie. Relate it back to your store and the products you were looking forward to displaying.

Add in a section to show your personal side. Be creative:

  • add a recipe using ingredients you may sell
  • provide how-to instructions for those wishing to purchase something from your online store
  • be very personal and include your hobbies outside of work.

If you are a very small business on Main St. U.S.A. your customers are likely more so family and I bet they miss you.

Posting on Social Media

Depending on which social media channel you want to post to, this could be your chance to be very personal (think Facebook and Instagram) or more industry-leading (think LinkedIn). There is a sweet spot for you to find and with a little experimenting, you’ll settle on the channel that speaks to you (and to your clients).

Some ideas for social media include:

  • posting daily pictures of what customers can buy with curbside pickup
  • running a contest with prizes
  • starting a post that invokes comments to help you plan future inventory.

The ideas are endless and the best suggestion is to look at what others are doing and see if any of those ideas inspire you. 

Your posts may feel like a one-way conversation but you will be surprised at how many people comment and interact with you. Don’t forget to respond to questions or acknowledge a review to stay in contact with your customers. Lastly, you may even want to consider boosting a post or paying for an ad.

Updating Your Website

Websites need updating more frequently than you think. They need basic maintenance such as plugin updates or Google Search Console error resolution. But you could argue, more importantly, websites need to be updated with fresh content and stying too. 

You should state your coronavirus restrictions or opportunities right up front and center including your shortened business hours or even online-only hours. If you are only offering online sales then state that with a link to your e-commerce site. If you are only offering curbside pick up, make sure your hours of operation are understood and a phone number is easily found. 

Hand in hand with online or phone sales is the importance of accurate product pricing. Have you adjusted pricing to compensate for a reduced quantity, do you need to charge for shipping? Make certain that your product descriptions are updated and as descriptive as possible and include photos from every angle to ease the online shopping experience. 

Lastly, that big redesign you have been considering should be put into motion now. The reality is that you probably have more time on your hands and you are feeling restless. Take that restless energy and put towards:

  • researching what you like about other websites
  • working with someone that can help get your vision into a mock-up
  • defining new features you need to include.

Do it now that you have extra time to think about it.

Vlogging or Video Tutorials

Are you familiar with vlogging or using video as a way to stay in contact with your customers? Think of it as a motion picture blog post. Vlogging is a way for you to get in front of your phone’s camera (tip: use a tripod) and video yourself:

  • speaking from the heart
  • reviewing a newly received product or performing a lesson
  • Are you a restaurant? Put together a kit so your customers can buy the ingredients and make a signature dish at home with your video tutorial
  • Are you a comic book shop? Do a big unveil of the cover art for new releases? Talk it up like you are the product spokesperson
  • Are you an independently owned movie theater? Interview an employee (over video chat) about what they miss about the movie experience or film your faithful patrons as they drive by to buy your bagged popcorn and candy for viewing at home

Keep your videos short to keep your customers’ attention focused on you.

Conclusion

This advice is meant to be thought-provoking and way to spark an idea to keep you in contact with your customers. Use this time, while your hours are reduced or your store may be closed during the coronavirus shutdown to be inspired. Be brave, jump into something new like writing, making videos, and letting your personality come through. Blogging, writing newsletters, posting on social media, updating your website, or vlogging are tools to support your marketing and sales needs. If you need guidance or are ready to start on that website or app development project we are here to help.

Danielle Rydberg

Danielle Rydberg

Danielle, a scientific thinker, received her MBA from UMass and has focused on Marketing since then. She started off with basic market research and competitive analysis and has expanded her skill set to include customer success, campaign management, CRM administration, lead generation, sales support, and customer training. Danielle, a native New Yorker, now lives outside of Boston, MA. She is married and has twin daughters and a son. She enjoys sports, the beach, warmer weather, reading fiction, scrapbooking, sunny vacations, volunteering, cooking and baking.