How to Keep Your Customers Engaged During COVID-19
COVID-19 has forced many businesses to close their doors. But, that doesn’t mean it has forced them to shut out their customers. You can still stay connected to your audience during this time.
In fact, staying engaged with your customers has never been more important than it is right now.
Keeping in touch with your customers and saying in front of prospects is how you:
- Remain top-of-mind
- Build lasting loyalty
- Generate revenue
- Drive demand for when your business doors are open again
Hospitality brands, bars and nightclubs, retailers, and service providers should all be actively engaging their audience right now -- even if they can’t do it in person.
Don’t see this downtime as a time to relax your communication efforts. Instead, use it as a time to ramp up your efforts.
#1) Promote and sell to your email list.
Email marketing is the best way to get in front of interested audiences. Email is a direct line to your list. Unlike social media, with email, you can be sure that your message will always land in front of your following. So, put your email list to use.
First, send an update about how your business operations have been impacted by COVID-19.
This may include notes about your adjusted offerings (such as now offering delivery and take-out only) and new services (such as online session availability). If you are an essential business and still open, let customers know what you're doing to keep your employees safe and your space clean and sanitized.
Then, start promoting through email.
If you still have offerings available, don’t be afraid to promote them. Customers are looking for ways to support the businesses they love. Show them how they can.
Create weekly deals and offers that motivate customers to work with you. For example:
- Bookstores can do round-ups of top picks to read at home
- Yoga studios can bundle a package of online classes
- Clothing boutiques can create online runway collections
- Restaurants can do weekly food specials
And, make it easy to buy.
Just because customers are at home doesn’t mean they can’t spend money. Don’t be afraid to sell, and make it easy for customers to buy from your brand even if they can’t visit your business.
- Add direct links to place an online order
- Setup click-to-buy links when featuring products
- Pre-sell services and offerings through gift cards and vouchers
#2) Entertain and engage on social media.
Social media use is up during COVID-19. More people have free time that they are passing on social media apps and websites. Get out there, and get in front of that audience by creating entertaining and engaging content.
Go live. Utilize the Facebook and Instagram live feature. When you go live, followers on Instagram are notified which helps your brand stand out. On Facebook, you can schedule a live session to let followers know when to tune in. Use the time to talk about what’s going on, share behind-the-scenes footage, or to offer a useful tutorial such as a bar hosting a live mixology class or a wellness center hosting a live meditation.
Create videos. Record your live videos and create other video content that you can promote through IG TV, YouTube, and Facebook. If you have downtime, this is a great time to use it to create videos that will engage your audience now and far in the future.
Create social media challenges. Give your customers a reason to engage with your page. Come up with a creative way for them to feel connected. For example, a hotel could ask followers to share a photo of their last vacation and use their branded hashtag. Or, a gym could post a fitness challenge every day and ask people to share their activity through their Instagram story (and tagging the brand).
Engage with others. Use this time to make connections on social media. Search for hashtags relevant to your business and comment on posts to start conversations. Also, use geotags to find customers who have visited your business and reach out to them directly. The more personal connections you make with customers, the more likely they will be to think of your business when the world gets back to business.
The last thing you want to do during COVID-19 is go silent on social media. Even if your business isn’t operating at all right now, don't ghost your followers. Keep them engaged so they think about your brand during -- and after this unprecedented event.
#3) Build lasting value on your website.
Email and social media are great ways to immediately connect with your audience. Then you can use that content in a way that helps you engage customers for the long-term by adding it to your website.
Add relevant content you create to your website and also focus on creating new blog posts and landing pages.
Content on your website engages both customers and search engines. It gives audiences a reason to visit your website, and it can boost your rankings on search results pages. So use this time to add new, fresh content to your site.
- Turn newsletter messages into blog posts
- Embedded high-value videos from social media
- Create blog posts that educate customers
- Create new landing pages for products and services you’re selling
Keeping Your Customers Engaged During and After COVID-19
COVID-19 can be a scary time for business owners. It’s difficult to know what to do or what to expect next. But whatever you do, don’t forget about your customers.
Keep engaging with the audience you already have, and look to expand your reach during this time. Leverage what you can to drive sales now and create connections that will turn into revenue and opportunities later.
If you need help or guidance getting through this time, MyArea Network is here to help. We know it is a difficult time, and we are committed to helping local businesses see their way through this situation.
To see how we can help your local business, please visit our Local Relief page.
We’re all in this together, and we'll get through it together.