Communicating with customers during a pandemic

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12th August 2020

Communicating with customers during a pandemic

Our Rural Roundtable on 5th August was all around communicating with your customers when there is less opportunity for face to face contact, particularly as we have seen so many trade and county shows being cancelled this year.

If you were unable to attend or would like to look back on what we discussed, then please feel free to read this blog and/or watch the webinar recording at the bottom of the page.

The past five months have been particularly strange, but if Coronavirus has taught us anything it’s not to take the little things for granted. The way we work and socialise is rapidly changing. We’ve seen cancellations of trade and county shows in abundance – and that got us thinking, exactly how do you communicate with customers during a pandemic? Well, here are our top tips.

Are you being responsible and giving customers a choice?

As lockdown restrictions begin to lift, it’s understandable that you may be eager to just get back to the norm, but actually it’s important to remember that we’re not all running at the same pace.

Whilst YOU might be comfortable with face to face meetings, you may have CLIENTS who are still shielding, or simply don’t feel comfortable sitting in an office, even if social distancing measures are in place. To ensure you are being socially responsible, ask yourself – Is it necessary that this meeting is face to face? Working practice has changed drastically over the last five months, and we really think that there is something to be learnt from this – It’s about being efficient and effective with your time whilst remaining safe! Don’t lose sight of that.

Reaching Out

There are a number of ways that you can reach out and communicate with your clients and gone are the days of simply catching up at trade shows – Whilst trade shows have their place, there is simply no need to rely on them to get business anymore.

Why? Because, your customers want more! They are far more tech savvy – people spend on average 6 hours and 42 minutes online per day! (Hootsuite). They are doing their research, and they might not be as invested in you and your business as you think. It’s time to stand out!

How do you stand out?

Social Media

It doesn’t matter what your business is, it’s time to get social! But make sure you are where your target audience is. Whether that’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or even TikTok!

Not only will this help you raise awareness of your brand, but it can give your business a personality and a voice which is vital to ensure you are attracting customers. This is the place to capture those at the top of the funnel which will aid the rest of your marketing strategy.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is simply a no brainer! This method of communication enables you to communicate using personalised emails on a mass scale. This non-invasive method of communication has an ROI of over 124% and can save you time in the long run when done right! Think automation!

Direct Mail

Direct mail (DM) is not dead! It might be known as snail mail but with more business exploiting digital strategies, now is a great time to use it and stand out! We receive up to 10,000 marketing messages per day when we’re online so it’s easy to get lost. Direct mail will help you cut through the noise and get on to the tables of your potential clients. With a return of investment (ROI) just behind social media at 29%, DM is the perfect marketing channel to complement your digital marketing strategy.

Website

Your website is your shop window! Gone are the days where it’s possible to operate without an online presence. As online usage increases both on mobile and desktop, your website is the place where potential customers will find you and validate you! During Covid-19, retailers saw an additional 1.5 billion users on Ecommerce websites. Now people have realised the ease of using the interest, this trend is set to continue.

Whether you’re starting afresh or looking to upgrade the website you have currently got, there is no need to over complicate things.

Ask yourself:

  1. Is your website clean and well designed?
  2. Is your website easy to navigate?
  3. Is your website clear and concise?
  4. Does your website function well?
  5. Will this get your target audiences’ interest?
  6. Does your website show people who you are?

If you can answer yes to every single one of these questions, then the chances are you have a pretty good website. But don’t worry if not, because unlike your physical shop store, your website can be tweaked and changed as and when you need!

Building Relationships

We are all social butterflies, we get that! There really is nothing better than a good old-fashioned catch up with your clients at a county show, but it’s simply not the only way anymore.

The power of tech has prevailed, and unfortunately there’s just no point fighting it! Video is an exceptionally powerful tool and we’re pretty sure by now you will have heard of Zoom – But, this platform is excellent for forming relationships with new and existing clients (There’s also far less fuel bills involved too!) so whilst Zoom will not replace face-to-face meetings, it can be used as an accompanying method to keep in touch. Be sure to turn those cameras on.

As more people work from home, there is more time in the day to pursue work-related activities such as personal development online. One webinar hosting platform has highlighted a 330% increase in webinars throughout Covid-19! So, what does this tell us? The utilisation of webinars will be useful in the future as people spend less time in their cars, and more time at their laptops! Webinars are a fantastic way to build relationships whilst highlighting the products and services you have to offer.

How many of our readers have been added to a WhatsApp group over the last five months? WhatsApp is an excellent platform to keep in touch with long standing clients, particularly if you are in the service sector! It’s quick, easy and free!

To summarise, face-to-face meetings are extremely valuable but they’re not the only way to build relationships. When a face-to-face meeting is on the cards in the current climate, ensure all parties are comfortable and agree on an appropriate location. However, ask yourself how else you could be communicating with your customers? With so many channels to choose from, now is a great time to try something new. 

If you would like any support with any of the communication channels discussed, please get in touch.

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