You’ve probably read a lot about marketing in this new reality of people working remotely to achieve physical distancing. With more and more businesses trying to navigate their marketing efforts amid business location, product and service updates/changes all while tying to maintain a positive outlook on keeping their doors open to customers.
There are several useful tactics you can employ while thinking of your next campaign when it comes to your messaging:
First off don’t panic this leads to an increased chance of mistakes, which then leads to confusion, and then that leads to poor decisions ultimately resulting in a bad customer experience. Be sure to take a moment to consider what you’re about to send and be sure to understand the impact it will have to both your internal teams and your clients. Poor user experiences may have a long-term impact to customer loyalty and future engagement.
This leads into our second recommendation, put you recipients first. In times of crisis, people are already anxious about the events unfolding around them. Sending communications that are not immediately helpful or informative to them only adds to clutter and the worry that they are already feeling. Spend a little extra time to set the tone of your messages and be clear on the information you’re sharing. For example, as a retailer that is changing to all online shopping consider sharing information on shipping changes, or curb side pickup at your stores. Explain how this transition will work for your subscribers and your store front teams.
Setting the proper tone with your messages and communicating in a clear and easy to understand way makes a world of difference. Avoid trying to take advantage of a crisis to promote your organization as this can damage your brand reputation and the relationships you’ve built with your clients. Avoid trying to use the current crisis in your messages by tying it to a discount code (ex: covid15, for 15% off) or specific promotional sale with the name of the current crisis associated to it (ex: Free shipping during our Pandemic Sale!).
Customers are looking for added value right now. Far too often businesses get caught up in the wave of “everyone else is doing it” so I should too. If you plan on sending a crisis communication be sure to discuss your businesses response, how you’re helping your clients and the direct impacts it will have on how they interact with your brand. Talking about disruptions to your supply chain might seem like a good idea, but your clients are more concerned about access to your stores, and products. So, consider talking about store hours, shipping charges, and how your staff are adjusting to better help your clients.
Consider the order of information you’re providing in your emails, if this is a sales message with a tie to donations based on the items being purchased – Ex: Buy one for yourself and we will send one to a front line worker – be sure to explain this as a strong leader in your message and reinforce the connections within your communications. This makes consumers feel good for indulging in something for themselves and with minimal efforts provide help to people doing critical work in a time of need.
Lastly, it is probably safe to say you’re not an expert on viral infections, unless you are, so don’t try to tell people what to do instead be sure to point to the experts on the subject mater. Share links to your federal government’s resources, or trusted experts like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Not only is this helpful to your subscribers, but it gives a direct source that is trusted, updated regularly and providing more accurate information to the specific crisis that is currently being managed. Also consider suppressing a portion of your subscriber base where the impact is hampering your subscribers from participating in your program at the current time. For instance, as a result of an extreme weather situation preventing deliveries or in-store visits, or the current viral pandemic preventing people from congregating in large groups in public.
Consumers are busy wondering if their jobs are safe, if they are safe at home, in their communities, and accessing the resources and services that they need to support their families so taking the efforts to provide highly useful and relevant information that clearly provides value to your subscribers is something to focus on more now than ever.
Matthew Vernhout, Vice-Chair of EEC Board (Member Advisory Committee)
Director, Privacy and Industry Relations, Validity