The announcement of a second lockdown is a huge blow to businesses, particularly in the run-up to the festive period. Many have been frantically planning to ensure they can still trade if possible and managing changes in their staffing and supplier requirements.
Testing and uncertain as this time is, it’s vital to keep the channels of communication open with your customers in order to maximise sales while restrictions are in place, or get back to normal as quickly as possible once they are lifted.
Communication is key – let people know what you can do and when.
The chances are there will be lots of adjustments to lead times, deliveries and day-to-day processes. As soon as you have worked out what will change and how, let your clients and customers know.
Here’s what you need to consider and communicate.
The basics are still important…
…so update your homepage to include some seasonal graphics and language and give it a festive feel – now, more than ever, your customers will appreciate some Christmas cheer! Perhaps add a special Christmas offer to encourage sales – a discount, free delivery with a minimum spend or a small free gift.
Keep up with the rules
Make sure you understand the rules and how they impact your business. If you’re able to stay open, be clear with customers on any extra precautions they, and you, might need to take. Ensure they know that safety is of the utmost importance to you.
Will you be trading online only during lockdown or will you have to put business on hold until December? How will lockdown affect your suppliers and what impact will that have on you? Taking all this information into account, figure out what your last order date will be and work backwards. Time your social media posts and any other communication to count down to that date so that customers are given ample warning of when purchases need to be made, or special offers need to be taken advantage of, in time for Christmas.
If you’re a ‘non-essential’ business and will need to close your physical premises, be sure to stay in touch with your customers. Keep them posted on how much you’re looking forward to seeing them again and when you expect that might be.
Use your social media, email them or just pop a sign up in the window.
If you’re using lockdown as an opportunity to refresh or update your building or offices, let them know. Don’t bombard them with information but try to keep your business fresh in their mind.
Ensure that this section on your website is updated to allow for Covid restrictions. Consider all the changes that might occur – opening hours, product/service availability, delivery times, etc – and give as much information as you can. You might find it easier to have a special Covid section on your website.
You can also use your FAQs as topics for social media. A simple tweet, Facebook or Instagram post telling customers what your new opening hours are, for example, is an effective way of getting the message out there.
How to communicate
Now is a good time to start using a service such as Mailchimp to send out newsletters, if you don’t already. A well-designed email is a great way of keeping customers informed while keeping your business front of mind.
Small Business Saturday
Lockdown should be lifting in early December, so Small Business Saturday on 28th November is a great opportunity to promote your business in preparation for reopening. The public will be keen to support local shops and services and likely enthusiastic to get back out onto the high streets again!
Many people are already posting on social media to say they will be shopping locally which has been fantastic to see!
Use the Small Business Saturday hashtags on social media to alert them to when you plan to reopen and remind them what’s great about what you offer.
Got a story?
Many businesses have had to be particularly creative to work around the ever-changing restrictions this year – and the media has been especially interested in hearing their stories. Perhaps you’re delivering in an unusual vehicle, maybe you’re volunteering to help the community in some way, or your restaurant has made a roaring success of cook at home kits? If you’ve made drastic or interesting changes to the way you operate, letting your local news know and keeping an eye on hashtags such as #journorequest for media opportunities, could result in some great press coverage.
If you need help with updating your website, managing your social media, finding ideas within your business, drafting press releases or creating newsletters, we can take care of every element of your communications.
Drop us a line at email@example.com to see how we could help.