Are you focusing on the right marketing strategies during this crisis to maintain brand loyalty? Follow our guide to make sure you’re on track for a strong reopening.
In normal circumstances, over 60% of small businesses say that repeat business makes up over half of their revenue. Repeat customers are the lifeblood of any small business, so it’s likely you’re already devoting significant resources to maintaining your most valuable customers while using some budget to acquiring new ones. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you should be focusing on maintaining brand loyalty above generating new customers.
With that in mind, you want to focus on three things to increase brand loyalty during COVID-19:
- Focusing on clear, empathetic, and useful messages for consumers
- Taking proactive steps in your actions and marketing
- Avoid going back to business as usual once the pandemic subsides
Focus on clear, empathetic, and useful messaging using traditional platforms
You should avoid spending on customer acquisition because the likelihood of gaining any traction with new customers is low during the pandemic. Instead, focus any budget you have for marketing on keeping your current customers happy and informed.
Keep in mind that consumers are being bombarded with the same type of messaging from every business right now, some of which is tonally inappropriate, irrelevant, or flat out wrong, so you must be careful when deciding how to communicate with your customers.
Your focus should be on providing clear, empathetic, and useful messaging across traditional platforms such as social media, websites, and email. Think of your customers more than ever. How are they feeling? What type of messaging would be most likely to resonate with them right now?
Avoid elaborate productions and stick to pared down messages to get your point across as concisely as possible.
Be careful with emails though: an email specific to COVID-19 might come across as self-interested or opportunistic if you aren’t in a relevant sector. Focus instead on including yourself in the struggle.
If you’re a small business, you have an advantage here because you’re more likely to be tapped into the community and will know what specific troubles your area is facing.
The last thing you want to do is imply that your customers should calm down or to give moral advice; that type of messaging just won’t resonate right now. Everyone is worried about the way their community is acting during the COVID-19 pandemic, so you have an opportunity to frame your messaging in a way that channels your shared experiences with your customers instead of finger pointing.
Consumers are aware of which brands are making safety-related decisions now and will remember it once this is over.
Take proactive steps now to increase brand loyalty
If you run a fitness business, try offering a few of your classes online for free via video conferencing to build brand loyalty. Demonstrate the ways you are adhering and exceeding the CDC recommended steps to keep your consumers safe with messages directly related to your current customers via social media.
If you’re in food service, provide contactless delivery. Move all payments online to limit contact with customers. Demonstrate that you’re keeping your consumers in mind by keeping your messaging about the cleanliness of your restaurant or updates about policies you’re having your employees adopt. If you’re having your employees wear masks and gloves or are doing contactless delivery or takeout, let your loyal customers know.
If you feel like you can’t adequately keep your employees safe by staying open, make sure your messaging is about how you are temporarily closing in order to ensure the health and safety of your employees. Let your loyal customers know, if you’re capable, that you are still giving your employees their pay.
For instance, pretty early on during the crisis, Trader Joe’s changed its sick-leave policy to reimburse their hourly workers who wouldn’t normally be paid for missing work due to being sick.
Demonstrating your concern for your customers and employees will earn you brand loyalty and points in the court of public opinion once the crisis wanes.
Don’t go back to business as usual once the crisis is over
It’s impossible to predict how this pandemic will affect the world once it’s all said and done, but it’s a safe bet to assume that marketing strategies that were successful before likely won’t reap the same results. If you’re in a place to spend on software right now, marketing software can help you develop new marketing strategies.
When shelter-in-place restrictions begin to lift, consumers probably aren’t going to immediately go back to business as usual. It’s okay to acknowledge the harm COVID-19 has done to your community.
Additionally, you want to avoid being too forward looking with your messaging. If you’re a nonessential business who has been forced to temporarily close, the best strategy might be to use this time to plan your messaging strategy in order to ensure it’s appropriate for your community and business. The “we’re all in this together” or “we got this” approach isn’t effective if there’s nothing actionable attached to it.
Pay attention to what types of messaging your competitors are using and not using to make sure your first marketing campaign will capture your customers once they are ready to spend again.
Your repeat customers will stay loyal when you show compassion and care for them by not just immediately jumping back to business as usual.
Stay tuned for more coronavirus resources
Nobody knows when the pandemic will be over, so it’s important as a business to stay informed. And, as we mentioned before, it’s safe to assume that things won’t immediately get back to business as usual.
For some additional guidance, check out the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn for our latest articles and resources.
Additionally, our COVID-19 resource page has more information for businesses: “Ensuring Business Continuity During the Coronavirus Outbreak”.
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