For small business owners, this year has been incredibly challenging, to say the least. In this time of uncertainty, businesses have had to quickly pivot their methods of communication – especially businesses that traditionally rely on income from tourism and in-store holiday shopping.
With the holidays approaching and coronavirus cases spiking, customers will have different comfort levels visiting businesses in general. But this doesn’t mean you can’t still promote your business and encourage shoppers to visit safely.
Part of that effort will require extra care with your messaging, both online and via traditional marketing (like mailers, email newsletters, etc).
Your goal is to promote your business while assuring customers that their shopping experience will be safe. Here are some best practices to help you reach customers wary of shopping.
Several marketing platforms are providing plans to help you pivot your messaging and stay in business during this uncertain time. While shopping habits have changed throughout the year, it’s essential to keep in touch with your customers. They want to know what has changed and what they can expect at your business. Your responses should be kind and empathetic.
Communicating Health and Safety
Customers are making purchases where they feel safe. It’s important to be explicit about your plan to keep it that way.
Your website, store signage, and social media communications should clearly say how you’re following local and state mandates and any extra safety measures. If you’ve adjusted your services to allow online or contact-free purchases, customers need to know how it works. Don’t make them guess!
Repetition and clear communication are critical to a smooth transition. You need to make it easy for customers to choose to visit your business. When they know what to expect, they will feel more comfortable coming in.
Your health and safety communications plan should include your options for curbside pick-up or delivery if you have made recent changes. These changes should be updated wherever your business is listed, such as Google My Business or Yelp.
Voice and Tone
How you communicate your health and safety plan is just as important. A lighthearted tone of voice may turn off some customers, but one that’s too serious can be intimidating. It’s best to be straightforward.
All communications should give your customers a reason to come in. Focus on your services and mission while remaining sensitive to what’s happening around Snohomish County and the country.
In times of difficulty, small business owners can find inspiration to pivot their messaging and even their business model.
Online business resources, such as entrepreneur.com, share tips for stabilizing and pivoting your business during uncertain times. No matter your industry, set up an online platform to meet your customers’ needs. It will support you now and serve as a long-term investment for the business’ future.
We’re all in this together, and that means customers, businesses and the entire community. Now is the time to collaborate with local small business owners and find ways to serve even more customers.