So, Lockdown 3 is (hopefully) coming to an end, restrictions are starting to ease, and businesses are considering their plans for the future.
For many, the last year has been difficult, with furlough, closures, and significant restrictions to deal with – alongside a whole lot of uncertainty, and the uncertainty at least looks set to continue.
There is a lot of advice around for how to reopen safely, what factors to consider, and which protective measures you need to put in place, but how much has been written about the communication side of getting back to normal?
How do you go about telling your customers, and those who might become customers, what you’re up to now?
Through Your Website
You could probably do with updating your website, if you’ve not already done so. Make sure it reflects the way your business operates now, and how your customers will be interacting with you. You might have more online enquiries than before, for example, or more leads from people in a certain industry.
Refer to the pandemic, but don’t make a huge thing of it. Could you create a single page on the website that covers all the main questions people are currently asking you, perhaps?
There are a bunch of cliched phrases that seem to be everywhere at the moment: ‘these troubled times’, ‘this challenging environment’, and so on. Avoid them if you can, but at some point you’ll have to use one phrase or another to refer to the last year of chaos, so keep it as simple as possible.
Through Your Company Newsletter
Do you have a newsletter? Do you need a newsletter?
Newsletters can be great ways of communicating with customers and encouraging repeat purchases. If you are reopening your business, have special offers available, or are running a limited service for the time being, use your newsletter to keep people in the loop and minimise frustration. You’ll also save yourself from receiving a string of ‘are you open yet’ messages!
Through Leaflets, Other Printed Materials, And Social Media
Does your paper stock need updating? Will you even use it in the short-to-medium term?
If your existing leaflets have info from 2020 all over them, they’re probably only worth chucking in the bin. But getting new ones printed at this point might be a waste of money – who will you give them to? What can you tell people that’s going to remain true if the dates for easing lockdown are changed?
Electronic leaflets and social media posts might be the best form of media to use, as they have no associated printing costs, and are easily updateable if things change. However, you’ll need to be careful going entirely digital if there are sections of your target demographic that aren’t active online.
Through Outdoor Advertising
Advertising hoardings, adverts in bus shelters, and banner ads on fences, flags, and more are a good way to capture attention. But as with any marketing purchase, be particular about your message and where it will be seen, and judge whether the outlay will be worth the potential benefit.
The key to this style of advertising is to use very few words. Essays are impossible to read as you flash past in the car!
What Should You Say?
This needs careful consideration.
Whether you are selling B2B or B2C, there will be some who have had a dreadful year financially, who are down to their last 2 pennies, but will still need to replace a broken printer, for example, or send a gift to a relative.
There will be others who have had a boom year, for one reason or another, and are keen for businesses to reopen so that they can purchase things they haven’t been able to get hold of until now.
Make sure your words are not going to alienate the first group, even if you suspect your audience may be largely comprised of the second. Try to remain inclusive in your messaging, so it is relevant to all those who have been affected by the pandemic, for better or worse.