Everyone copes up with the effects of the pandemic in different ways. Regardless of the situation you’re in, this is a difficult time.
Some people are lucky enough to seclude themselves into their homes and practice social distancing but can still continue to work from home. However, many people can’t. This is a crisis of uncertainties and fears that we might be fortunate enough not to think about.
This is more so apparent on businesses, especially for small ones. Finding ways to ensure small businesses stay afloat during this crisis is challenging. Business owners might be worried as they find solutions to keep the business running despite the unprecedented challenges.
While we can’t control how the pandemic played out, we can control how we communicate with our audience.
It’s critical to improve crisis communications with customers especially in a time when people are worried with the uncertainties of the “New Normal.”
This is this time where people are undergoing a lot of stress. Owners need to make sure their small businesses do not come off as unsympathetic, exploitative, and triggering. Customers are hypersensitive and will definitely remember how your businesses responded in this crisis.
In this article, we will explore how businesses can improve crisis communications with customers.
Head-on addressing the situation
Every business facing this crisis will pose the same question, when it comes to their marketing efforts.
“Is there a need to change our marketing strategy?”
The question is both a yes and a no. Various industries directly affected by the pandemic most likely halted all the plans and efforts lined up for their businesses. As the owner and/or manager, you might find your marketers or even yourself postponing paid search campaigns and pause email campaigns. You might even think about scraping your current strategy and create a new one altogether.
Regardless of the possible changes, the “New Normal” will forever change the way how everyone operates. And this change must be handled carefully and sympathetically. If you haven’t already, your customers will need some clarifications on where you stand.
Conducting a public address may shed some light on how you are handling things. Communicating directly with your customers is key, not only for addressing their personal concerns but for a sense of normality and security in their lives as well.
Suppose you’re in a food supplying business. One of the biggest worries of your customers is how you’ll help them still get the food supplies they need amid the lockdowns and halts in food production. Letting them know about where you stand and how you are finding ways to still help them will give them a sense of assurance that they can rely on you.
You may also create content that does not directly mention COVID-19. Moving forward, however, your content should be crafted with the current situation in mind.
Ask your customers what they want
As the business owner and/or manager, you need to touch base with your customers and ask them what they want. They are experiencing a paradigm shift in their daily lives, so as a business, they would need your support. A small business needs to provide support and reassurance during these times.
They would need a rock that will keep them steady, and you need to make sure that your business can be that rock. This will help you get closer to your customers and they will certainly see your sincerity, transparency, and sympathy which will gain their trust and loyalty.
Create valuable content
Creating valuable content is now more important than ever. Anyone can create content, but not every content is valuable. Your business needs to give useful, relevant, and informative content to your audience, especially in this crisis.
This is where the need for an excellent content marketing strategy comes in. What the customer needs is the content that addresses their pain points. In content marketing, content specialists need to plan and strategise ways to create a curated valuable content that will address the pain points.
If your content is valuable, genuinely helpful, and soothes their pain points, there is a higher chance that they will come back for more and and share your content as well. Create points of discussion, list useful resources, social posts that highlight some of the ways that people can cope on a daily basis.
Avoid hard selling and craft your messaging to something that prioritises the people more than your business. Make sure that you’re creating content with a real-life value.
Transparency is key
In this crisis, you can think of ways to update your customers and audience regularly. You may do this in a way that ensures your business is seen as authentic and transparent. Maximising social media platforms will help you reach your customers better. You may use those available platforms to update them about your products, services, and changes in your business. For businesses dependent on physical selling, you may inform your customers how long they might have to wait until you open again.
If you’re a restaurant business, you might have closed your location, but still take orders. You may announce that your customers can order food from your businesses and have them delivered.
Another way you can be transparent is to accentuate your ad copy with the sympathetic messaging in paid search or paid social campaigns. A great digital marketing team can help you craft these more sympathetic strategies and messaging with your audience.
While marketing might not be the top priority at the moment, businesses may find it essential to improve crisis communication with customers. With everyone facing the effects of the pandemic, customers are looking for something that they can depend on. Hopefully, it is your business.
Tiffany Tolones is a content writer and a social media manager with experience in writing for media companies in the Philippines. She creates content for lifestyle, tech, and Korean-related niches.