The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is affecting businesses worldwide. People are losing their jobs, which diminishes their buying power. As a result, the demand for non-essential goods and services is decreasing.
Financial experts predict that the global economy will lose about $2.7 trillion due to COVID-19. Some businesses, especially those in the travel and hospitality industry, have been severely impacted.
However, this situation won’t last forever. The economy will bounce back to normal…eventually. Therefore, to remain in the business, it’s important to stay engaged with your prospects and customers. Now is the best time to give your business a human face and show empathy.
From offering limited deals to ramping up their online presence, there are many ways small businesses can engage customers during the lockdown. Depending on your niche, you can share informational content, offer free courses, share tutorials, and more.
Mentioned below are four strategies that can help you keep your customers engaged during this global crisis.
Host virtual events
Customers are turning to virtual events to learn new things, engage with their favourite brands, or break the monotony in life. As a business owner, you can hold virtual events to educate, inform, or entertain your audience.
For example, activewear brand Jaggad held a specially tailored virtual workout for its customers.
The event was streamed on the company’s Facebook page. It featured Bec Judd, Lana Wilkinson, and other women influencers. Customers who signed up for the event also got an entry into a competition. The marketing strategy helped in spreading awareness and promoting the brand’s latest collection.
If you decide to host virtual events, focus on delivering exciting experiences. Approach things from a new perspective or personalise each event according to your audience’s needs. Put in the effort to deliver a digital experience worthy of your customers’ time and attention.
For example, a company that sells electronics online may organise events around specific products or types of products. One that offers software products may host a virtual Q&A session addressing customers’ pain points.
Make online shopping easier
If you’re an ecommerce business, tweak your sales strategy to engage your customers and reach a wider audience.
For example, you may offer discounts, cashback, free shipping, or easy payment options. To execute, register a domain name such as www.business.store/wecare and add all your products and sales promotions on this landing page. Promote this link on your social media and emails to get the attention of your customers.
According to a 2019 report by Australia Post, millennials tend to prefer brands offering the buy–now–pay–later option (BNPL). More than 85 percent of those who embrace this trend make online purchases at least once a month.
In addition to BNLP, consider facilitating online and mobile payments on your store. To do that, integrate PayPal, Amazon Payments, Alipay, and credit card payments with a secure payment gateway into your online store.
Consumers expect to have a smooth online shopping experience. In the same Australia Post report, 29 percent of buyers say that it’s too much effort to organize a return. About 34 percent state that it’s too expensive to return a product.
In the current COVID-19 situation, consumers place orders to get what they need without leaving home. If they have to pay for shipping every time or stress over product returns, they’ll look somewhere else. To engage your clients, assure them of a hassle-free shopping experience.
Create and share videos online
People worldwide watch over one billion hours of video daily on YouTube. Not to mention the time spent watching videos on Facebook, TikTok, and other online platforms.
Video content is more engaging and easier to digest than text. Most consumers would rather watch a step-by-step tutorial on how to assemble a spinning bike than read the instructions manual. The same goes for most products.
Ecommerce businesses should leverage the power of video content to boost customer engagement and sales.
Gillette’s short film We Believe: The Best Men Can Be is a good example. The company used video marketing to evoke emotions and strengthen brand identity. Its YouTube video has received over 34 million views as of writing.
For your ecommerce business, create videos featuring how-to guides, product use instructions, educational content, and more. Consider using video content to tell your brand’s story or share behind-the-scenes shots.
Post videos on your website or blog, as well as on your social media pages and online platforms like YouTube. Encourage viewers to share their thoughts and ask questions. Be proactive and engage in conversations.
Stay engaged with your customers by helping others
Consumers are more likely to purchase from socially responsible brands. Now’s a good time to do your part and show that you care. Think about how you can support causes related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Say you’re selling electronics. Donate tablets or laptops to children who are studying at home and cannot afford these gadgets. Online fashion stores can make protection masks and donate them.
Crocs, for example, is giving away free shoes to healthcare workers. Online marketing companies are offering free courses in digital marketing, SEO, and other topics of interest.
Use social media platforms to spread the word about your initiative. Consider adding an option for customers to donate to the cause you support in return for bonus points or store credit.
Build lasting relationships amid COVID-19
Many consumers are facing emotional, physical, and financial strain in the age of COVID-19. As a small business, show your support and help them overcome these challenges.
Simple things, such as increasing the value of their loyalty points or offering gift cards, can make all the difference. Focus on delivering personalised customer experiences through quality posts, videos, and social media messages.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Seek ways to stay engaged with your prospects and buyers without overwhelming them. Think about what you could do to make their lives easier and brighten their day.
Alisha is a Senior Content Marketing & Communication Specialist at Radix, the registry behind some of the most successful new domain extensions, including .ONLINE and .TECH. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.