Connecting with Your Customers at Home
During times of struggle and change, very often, the first part of a business that gets reduced is marketing.
The rationale is that marketing is more about trying to get your brand noticed or promoting your products. In times of downturn, it can feel more important to hoard resources or try to gain quick sales.
This short-term thinking is what causes a lot of companies to suffer over the long term. Online marketing is like having a digital salesperson working for you. Even in difficult times, you wouldn’t fire all your salespeople and expect revenues to continue growing.
Marketing is an essential part of ensuring the future of a business. Without connecting with those people you serve, and attracting new interest, your business will shrink.
However, most business owners wonder how they can stay connected to their customers while confined to their homes.
In this article, we will look at four ways to stay connected with your customers during this time of crisis:
1) Adapt Your Tone to the Times
To begin with, you must keep in mind the current emotional and mental state of most of your audience.
Many business owners are feeling immense fear and uncertainty around their livelihood. So too are most of your customers. Many people are in shock and are grieving the loss of the lifestyle they had only two weeks ago.
It’s important not to be tone-deaf to these fears and concerns. Focus on empathy in your messages, and don’t be too quick to ask for the sale. Build relationships and connections first. Help people see that your brand can solve a problem or satisfy a need they have.
Also, be mindful of avoiding using all the buzzwords like ‘pandemic,’ ‘coronavirus,’ etc. It’s important to acknowledge what is happening, but not use it to try to create clickbait.
If you take a look at your own Facebook and Instagram feeds, you’ll notice which advertisements and marketing pieces are sensitive to the current climate. Aim to emulate them and avoid the risk of being tone-deaf or self-serving at this stage.
2) Use Video for Immediate Connection
Online video has the most impact when it comes to gaining attention and building trust. Hubspot recently shared that over 75% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% view online videos every day. In recent weeks, with everybody at home, this number has likely spiked even further.
Now is the time to focus on video content for your ad campaigns and social media posts. Even if you have to produce videos from your home, they can still be impactful. Here are some key ways to make your videos relatable:
- Crop the video so the presenter appears to be in the viewer’s personal space. Place the camera about four feet away or use a lens that feels like you’re close to the camera.
- When you speak, look directly into the camera as much as possible. This style creates a one-to-one connection.
- Adopt a friendly, personal approach by imagining you are speaking to one person, rather than a group.
- Have a clean, organized background in the room where you present.
Digital communication is essential during this time of isolation and challenge, so using the power of video can help to connect with our customers and prospects.
Also, if you typically host in-person events for your customers, consider transitioning to virtual events. Tools such as Zoom, BlueJeans, and HeySummit work for multi-speaker online events. You can also use Facebook Live and Instagram Live for smaller online events with your team.
3) Transition to Online Sales and Service
If you’re a retail or service-based business that typically meets clients, customers, or patients in person, consider how you can share your knowledge online in recorded training or a virtual class setting.
Another option is to meet with clients one-on-one virtually for consultations. Tools like Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, and Facebook Messenger video calls can all work well.
You might also consider setting up a Facebook group to do live video broadcasts. For those who have monthly memberships such as fitness trainers, you can use PayPal or Patreon to ask your audience to pay what they can afford to support your services.
When it comes to ecommerce, focus on how you can offer delivery or remote pickup for items that people need. You might offer bundle deals for products so people can reduce the amount of time they need to be outside of their homes.
4) Share Helpful Content
If you don’t offer services that can be used during this lockdown period, then try using this time to shift from direct selling to content marketing.
Content is essential to build trust and also to rank well in search engines. The businesses that succeed are those that have a clear content creation plan and share consistently with their audiences.
This approach is critical at times like this when the whole world is at home and tuned in online. People are watching more video, reading more, and listening to more podcasts.
How can your company use videos, blog posts, and podcasts to educate, entertain, and help your customers solve the problems they’re facing?
Rather than simply promote your business, it’s much better to consider how you can help. Don’t aim to sell products and services shamelessly. Instead, think of ways you can give back to the community by providing valuable information via social media.
Create a Sense of Stability
To build long-term trust with customers and clients, you mustn’t simply pull the plug on your marketing. Instead, this is a time to innovate and reinvent your approach.
Stability and certainty are what people are seeking right now. Brands that continue to offer the same services as they have in the past will create a sense of confidence in their customers.
Take a few days to regroup and decide what you can bring to your customers, both current and future, and determine how your message can rise above the chaos.
Connect with your customers as humans who are struggling alongside you, and find ways to offer them value, consistency, and hope.
Remember: if you started your business to truly serve others, now is the opportunity to show the compassionate side of your company and build trust through empathic marketing.