When you have a small business, uncertain times can be especially difficult. Business as usual becomes a forgone notion. As a result, the businesses who succeed are the ones who are able to get creative and adapt. You may not realize how many options are available for you to keep connecting with your customers during a crisis. Let’s cover some of the ways companies are bridging the gap of uncertainty to meet their customers where they’re at, rather than where they were before the crisis.
If a health crisis is forcing your customers to stay inside for a period of time, offer them gift certificates that they can use at a later date. This alternative allows them to support your business, look forward to enjoying your service or products again, and avoid putting themselves at risk.
Similarly, for customers who are worried about health concerns, you can offer them a pick-up or drop-off service. You can still promote your business on custom printed to-go bags or coffee cup jackets. That way anyone seeing you deliver items to doorsteps or car windows knows they can also place convenient orders.
Businesses that primarily provide in-store shopping experiences may need to expand their services online. Many small bookstores, for example, are now offering to take orders online or over the phone and then send their products through the mail or via a drop-off service. The same can be done for boutiques and other small shops.
The benefit of this is that it will allow you to sell to a larger audience beyond your immediate community. Include one or two free giveaways with your logo in each package you send out. This gives the purchase a warm, small business touch while helping you to market your brand.
Tip: Get the word out with the help of marketing products in our Open for Business collection.
This is where you can really tap into your creativity. Can you offer a more personalized experience, providing consultations? Can you offer paid online workshops and tutorials? Think about how you can shift your business model to offer more services that your consumers can take part in.
When the world seems to stop, the mail service keeps going. That makes it an excellent tool for continuing to get your business out there. This is a great way to let customers know about new services or discounts you plan to offer them to help with the uncertain times. Use this guide to learn more about marketing through the mail.
The most appreciated gifts you can give customers right now are the ones that will be most helpful to them. During a health crisis, that means handing out personalized hand sanitizers, face masks, first-aid items, or personal care products. (See our collection of Health and Safety Products for more ideas.)
Just as you’re feeling the impact of uncertain times, so are your customers. It’s a good idea to reach out to them, either through email or your social networks, to let them know you’re conscious of their needs and concerns. You don’t want to come across as trying to take advantage of tragedy or sell to those going through hardships. Of course, you still need to maintain your business, so carefully review each message you send out to ensure it’s sensitive of the current situation.
For health crises, let customers know what steps you’re taking to keep their health safe. For environmental disasters, provide a message of support and, if possible, offer discounts so that they can still shop with you. Consider a special service or discount provided only to those trying to rebuild. It will ensure that they are still able to shop with you, and serve as a positive image for your brand.
Tip: See tips for connecting with your customers on social media during COVID-19.
It can’t be overstated that the most important thing you can offer your customers during uncertain times is comfort. Be the business that gives them the sense of calm they crave. All things pass in time, and so will this period of difficulty.
There’s a reason that many companies, like Bath & Body Works, Legos, Dominos, Netflix, Groupon, and more not only survived in the last recession, but actually grew. They all presented their customers with alternatives, looked for new ways to shift their business, and provided assistance with lower priced offerings for those that couldn’t afford the standard service or product. With a little creativity and a lot of care, both your business and your customers will see the crisis through to better times.
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