The last year has brought upheaval to almost every aspect of society. Record numbers working from home; businesses pivoting direction to stay afloat; and others - particularly in the travel and leisure sectors - having to ping-pong between open and closed.
With so much upheaval, it can be easy to get caught up in logistics of simply keeping your business running, but if you are to succeed either during downtimes or when you reopen, it’s essential to keep in touch with your target audience. Not only will you be at the forefront of their minds, but you have the opportunity to build enduring relationships and breed long-term customer loyalty.
Top Tips for Communicating
Social media - Yes, it can be time consuming but there’s nothing less inspiring for a potential customer than seeing a company’s social media pages haven’t been updated in a few weeks - or even longer! It’s like having a ‘closed’ sign hanging on your shop door. Don’t spread yourself too thin when planning your social media strategy: you don’t need to be present on every channel.
Dedicate time to those where your audience are: if you are a B2B company, LinkedIn is a must. If you sell home-made jewellery, you’ll likely get better results from Instagram and Pinterest. Think less is more - less channels but more activity.
Email your database - People who have signed up for your database want to know what’s happening with your company, so keep them informed. If your business is temporarily closed, let them know when you’re reopening. If you’ve started selling takeaway or doing delivery, tell them - and include a call to action explaining how they can order.
An active database is worth its weight in gold - if you don’t contact your ‘fans’ for months on end simply because you’ve had to close during lockdown, they will go elsewhere. Fickle, but fact.
Cleanse your database - Keeping in regular touch (see point 2) helps you manage your database. Those bouncebacks that land in your inbox after sending should be seen as essential information and used to cleanse your database. Don’t expect your email system to keep your list fully updated; investigate the automatic replies your email comms receive and if someone mentions they have left their job, remove their work email from your list.
An effective database should be about quality, not quantity: there’s no point having 500,000 on your list if only 1,000 people open your emails and the rest are out-of-date email addresses or totally unengaged.
Blog - Similar to social media outreach, a blog not updated is a blog not worth having. Plan ahead and draft ‘evergreen’ content around annual events you know will be happening. If your business works in Food and Drink, there’s pretty much an annual day for every ingredient and dish you can imagine so dust off your recipes and schedule your posts in advance. Don’t feel like you have to write a 1,000 word post every time: scale your efforts to the topic.
What’s key is that you are regular in your posting as it keeps your audience informed and engaged, whilst also helping you boost your SEO if you are providing relevant content to your business. Blogs also provide great content to share on social media, and make a newsletter to send to your databases - that’s points 1 - 4 done!
Snail Mail - ...Or to give it its official marketing term, Direct Mail. 2020 proved humans love getting meaningful post; a thoughtful card or surprise gift can help you feel connected to the sender. Get creative and reward loyal customers with a small treat or tempt new sales leads with an enticing package.
Personalisation works - you don’t need to have their name engraved on a stein, but having an accompanying letter, ideally handwritten, can work wonders. Be sure it’s clear who it’s from - either with relevant brand recognition on the item, a business card included or a note. Don’t be afraid of any gifts being regifted - if it’s branded, someone regifting it will be helping you extend your reach.
These are just some ways you can keep in touch with your customers and reach potential new ones too. Whether you choose to share news via social media, email, snail mail or other methods, it’s important to be consistent in your messaging and honest with your customers. If you have no news to share, think about how you can tap into wider conversations in your industry or local area: this will also show people you are still a functioning business.
Get in touch with us to discuss how different communication strategies could work for your business.