by Pete Baka
Going “viral” has a whole new meaning these days, but there are strategies and tactics companies can implement to stay relevant and in touch with their customer base.
Inform Your Customers – Take a leadership position and tell your customers what you are doing to keep your products and services as normal as possible. Write a letter, email, or social media post informing your customers all the steps you are taking to maintain healthy staff, manage vendors, address shipping concerns, or how you intend to provide customer and technical services during the crisis. The more your customers know, the better you’ll be able to address any issues that come along.
Stay in Touch – For the immediate future no more events, tradeshows, customer visits, business travel, and power lunches. Most of those in your business networks are experiencing the same situations as you and your company. So how will you continue to connect with your customers? That’s easy in today’s technology driven economy.
Sign Up for Video Conferencing Service – Most services offer free basic plans that allow you to use video conferencing from your laptops, tablets, and phones. Services such as ZOOM, GoToMeeting, Skype, Google Hangouts Meet, and others have browser enabled service as well as mobile APPS. Schedule your meetings like you would as if they were in person. Remember, time is still very important. Have an agenda, stay on track, and understand your call to action. And for goodness sake, change out of your pajamas!
Sign up for Email Service – Utilize a mass email service like Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, My Emma, or others. This enables you to send graphic emails on a larger scale that reinforce your brand and offerings. Recent research suggests this is the #1 way customers like to be communicated to. To the tune of an 87% preference! Emailing is a great branding tool that keeps your name, logo, and offer in front of your customers and prospects. Remember, don’t overuse it and use the KISS method – Keep It Simple Silly.
Schedule a Webinar – Can’t go to a tradeshow? Bring the tradeshow to them. There are a number of webinar services available online from Zoom Video Webinars, ClickMeeting, GoToWebinar, and others. Set up your conference room or office with your portable display in the background. Then with your phone on a tripod, start casting. The important part to remember is have a plan and don’t just wing it. Prepare an agenda, have a script, use visuals, show product, and be prepared to answer questions. These are intended to be interactive so anticipate questions. The nice thing about webinars is that they are recordable, so you can share them outside of the scheduled viewing time.
Produce Videos – Today, videos are commonplace for companies to get their messages across. They are visually stimulating, easy to deploy, economical, and generally short and to the point. The beauty of video is that they can be shared many ways such as social media, emailing links, website plugins, etc. They can all live in one place and accounts like YouTube and Vimeo are free. All you need is a cellphone, tripod, and internet connection. Again, have a plan, create a script, and have a strong call to action.
Produce a Podcast – Don’t want to produce a video, but have lots to say? Create a podcast! Download software like Audacity and start recording. You can create a free channel on many platforms such as Google Podcasts and others. Interview a client, a co-worker, a vendor, or just present a new product offering. Have a plan, create a script, and have a strong call to action. Are you catching a theme here?
Get on Social Media – If you don’t already have a company page on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc… get one! With everyone working from home and in isolation, many of your customers are using online platforms to stay connected. People crave information and are accustomed to getting in quickly. Develop messaging that keeps your brand in front of your customers and prospects. And use tags and hashtags as often as you can. They work.
Be Empathetic – Most importantly be empathetic. You have no idea what your customers are going through, or the hardships they face during this crisis. Show them that you care, and that you are there to help make this time easier for them to conduct business. Tell them what you are doing as a person or company to get through this. And accept that your messages may not be the most important thing on their minds during this time. However, they will appreciate your concerns and well wishes.
The Takeaway – Develop a strategy for your messaging. Don’t just produce a one-off and think you are done. Your consistency in messaging is what supports your brand. And when you do produce a piece, be sure to use the Rule of 5 for delivery. That’s taking your message out at least 5 different ways for maximum coverage. Hold out your hand, imagine that your message is the palm of your hand, and that you have 5 fingers representing the 5 different ways that you can deliver your content.
In time of crisis, people crave information. The better, more valuable, and empathetic your message is, the better your customers will appreciate you.
We are all in this together, and customers will remember those that helped, encouraged, and stayed in touch with them during this difficult time. And when the smoke clears, they will remember you, your messages, and your brand which will help your company in the long run.
Need our help? Feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email to help you develop concise messaging, strategic communications strategies, crisis communications, and deployment of message delivery. Find us online at www.360mktgllc.com, email us at email@example.com, or call (440) 544-5448.