These are tough times. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the national economy to a standstill and we’re still not able to completely speculate how things are going to turn out once quarantine and lockdowns are lifted.
Small businesses have started to feel the heat of the economic slowdown and are most likely panicking at the moment. So, what’s the right thing to do here? We believe establishing communication with your customers and employees is critical.
Creating a solid communications strategy during this pandemic will help your small business stay in touch with your loyal customers and lay a foundation for how your business performs once the quarantine is officially ended.
Here are the elements you need to consider while creating a communication strategy for your small business.
People are confused. This is because most businesses (online and physical) have not maintained proper communication with their customers. Even if you haven’t changed your usual way of doing business and are still open, you need to communicate.
The most important thing you will have to include in your communication strategy is the status of your business - are you open, are you closed, what has changed? Your customers want to do business with you. Help your customers know if are still open and what channels are available to conduct business.
There might be chances that you closed your physical store and opened an online one. Perhaps you have just made changes to your operations, and customers need to comply with the new way you’re conducting your business. Say you have a restaurant that has stopped dine-in operations but is still open for takeout orders.
Create a statement that’s professional and clear. Leave no room for miscommunication.
Businesses open during the COVID-19 pandemic may have changed their hours of operation to meet safety guidelines as outlined by their states and local municipalities. Changed hours of operation is crucial for your customers to understand.
Customers and clients need to know when is the right time to get out of their house to buy products from your store. As a matter of fact, many small businesses that are still open have changed their normal hours of operation but have not communicated it well. I’ve already been to a few local stores that had hours posted online, and when I got to the store, there was a note on the door with a different schedule.
Maybe you are moving away from the existing business model and adopting a new one. There are small businesses that have used this time to move completely from a physical store to an online store making their operation completely online to stay afloat.
If you’re planning to let go of the dine-in model for your restaurant and need to focus on take-out. This pivot in your business model needs to be communicated as well. Use social media, your website, and an email blast (if you have an email list) to let your patrons know if you’re providing delivery services yourself or via a 3rd party like Uber Eats.
This is a great opportunity to explore the different business models you didn’t have time for in the past. The business model you pivot to may bring you great results, it might also expose your business to a whole new segment of people.
Last, you need to know where you can get the word out. Go on every social media platform (that makes sense) and online business listing sites to update your customers about your business operations. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter are some of the most used social media platforms in the nation.
Use hashtags with location and industry modifiers. For example:
#quarantineedition #covidfashion #wereinthistogether #nevadastrong #covidfoodsafety #supportrenobusinesses
Don’t forget to update your Google My Business with your new hours of operation or any other information that is displayed on your current Google listing that may have been impacted by COVID-19
We hope by now, you know exactly what things you need to consider while establishing a connection between you and your prospects and existing customers. These are testing times but we’re confident that, with a little patience, we’ll come out of this stronger and wiser on the other side. If you have any questions about how to update your communication strategy, please let me know in the comments below.
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