It’s been an interesting year for business.
Despite whatever careful planning you may have done, we’re betting COVID-19 has thrown a bit of a wrench in things.
Since early this year, many businesses have had to close their physical locations in accordance with local regulations. However, many places are now starting to open up and relax restrictions — hooray!
In this post, we’re going to discuss ways you can communicate and instill faith in your customer base. Many people are still hesitant about venturing outside and resuming their normal activities, so we’ll discuss what you can do to assuage their fears and increase foot traffic to your business.
Reopening your business after COVID-19.
Tips to communicate your business reopening.
Communication is key — that old adage holds true for both relationships and business. (And for building business relationships with customers.)
As you reopen, you’ll face people who are ready to go back out and resume their normal lives, and some who, despite wanting to shop with you, are scared of being in an enclosed area with strangers.
Fear is a big motivator, and it might just keep them at home, unless you…
Provide clear and descriptive safety protocols.
The big concern about gathering in public spaces or stores is COVID-19. No one wants to catch it and get sick or risk communicating a potentially lethal virus to others. However, there are ways to mitigate the risk of catching the virus, and these strategies are what you need to know and communicate to your customers.
- Will you be capping the number of people who can be in your store at any given time?
- Is everyone in the store required to wear a mask and/or gloves?
- Are you taking your employees’ temperature before they enter the building?
- Will you provide contactless payment options?
Announcing your handling of these issues in a clear, concise manner will help address your customers’ fears and build their confidence in your business. Customers are looking for a perception of safety, so do what you can to give it to them.
Be honest about the state of your business.
Supporting small businesses and shopping locally are important to many. It’s a shock to scroll through social media or turn on the news and see the numbers of businesses who’ve closed their doors for good.
Use the story of your business, including the challenges you’ve faced during COVID-19, to power your communication and marketing. You don’t have to be ashamed if you’re struggling — now is the time to ask for help. If you aren’t flexible enough to ask, people might think you’re doing better than you are, which could keep them from venturing out and patronizing your store.
Ways to communicate your reopening.
Reopening won’t help your business if people don’t know about it. With so many folks staying indoors, sticking a sign out front isn’t going to cut it. Here’s what you can do to announce your reopening.
Update your online business profiles.
Where do people turn to get information? The Internet.
So when you reopen your business, make sure that information is reflected online. This includes on your Google My Business Profile, website, Yelp, or any other listings site where your business has a presence. You can also update your business hours on your social media profiles, like on Facebook.
Leverage the power of social media.
Does your business use social media? It’s a great tool to communicate with your customers.
Make sure your new business hours and any changes to how you operate are mentioned on your social profiles. What kind of information should be shared? If you require masks, have created special check-out or pick-up processes, and anything else that may have changed since the last time your customers were in your store. You can pin or stick these posts to the top of your profile on both Twitter and Facebook so they’re easily accessible.
You can use social media to create excitement about your reopening, too. Consider running a countdown to the big day and offering discounts to those who visit. It doesn’t have to be anything huge — perhaps just an offer of 5 to 10% off for the first 20 customers.
Once you have reopened your business, use live video to showcase your store and your efforts to keep it safe. Show off your social distancing prowess, and include your safe, masked employees. Once people (literally) see how you’re mindful of safety, they may feel more comfortable visiting your store.
Use email marketing.
Do you know where your customers are every day?
Email is a great tool to communicate with your customers, so don’t ignore it. According to research done by the Direct Marketing Association, “Email has an average ROI of $38 for each $1 spent.”
Before you reopen, create an email campaign to drum up excitement with your customers. Your email should include the same type of information you’re conveying via social media — detail any changes to your business and explain your safety protocols.
Email is a great way to share offers, too. If you plan on enticing your customers back to your store with a coupon, include it in your email!
And make sure that your email address matches your domain name. Your customers have had months to familiarize themselves with your website domain name and they know your business, so when they see an email with a matching name, they’ll immediately recognize it. That kind of recognition and trust will save you from landing in their Spam folder.
Are you ready to reopen your business?
We wish you the best of luck and we hope you find the tips we’ve covered above to be useful! With proper planning and communication, we’re confident that you can reopen safely and attract foot traffic to your business.
Ultimately, protecting the safety of your employees and customers during reopening is your main goal, so stay on top of your local rules and regulations to know what’s required in your area.