The announcement last night about another nationwide lockdown being introduced on Thursday is worrying for everyone and it will affect us all in different ways. Sadly, I don’t have all the answers to make your business work in this climate, but I can offer you some guidance of positive actions that you can take right now to help get through it.
My advice to everyone is, as always in marketing, to stay in touch with your audience. This is more important than ever. You have many options of how to communicate – emails, social media, your website and so on.
Here’s a quick rundown of what I suggest you do…
If you have to close your business from Thursday
You have a few days left to get as many sales as you possibly can to help keep you going during this really tough month.
Contact your customers and tell what you are doing and give them a last chance to book in with you. It’s human nature to want something more when we know that we can’t have it! For example, people might be desperate for a haircut, new clothes, or a meal out knowing that they will have to go without for a month, so contact your clients and tell them that they can still book in/buy from you until Thursday.
Then keep in touch with them from time to time so that you are still in the front of their mind when you reopen. You could simply tell them what you’re up to, or give them a sneak peek of your office or shop that they’d not normally see. A great example of this is an independent cinema in Barnsley made films of behind-the-scenes in the projection room and showed the views from the roof. Viewers LOVED it!
If you are open and honest your clients may be willing to spend a little more with you in order to help keep you going during this difficult time.
I would also encourage you to make the most of this month of closure by taking this time to concentrate on doing the behind-the-scenes jobs like accounts, strategy or marketing etc. If there are thing that you never usually have time to do when you’re trading normally – this is your time to get them done! This way when things open up again you will be ready for action and do the jobs that make you money instead of juggling paid work and working on your business.
If you can stay open, but will be doing things differently
If you’re still able to operate, but will have to change the way you do things (for example, if your shop is now click and collect only, or your services are moving online) you should tell your audience what will be changing and how it will affect them.
Reassure them that you will still be able to fulfil their needs and that you are adhering to the guidelines. They will want to know that it will be safe to work with/buy from you.
Your clients are likely to be more understanding and forthcoming if they know what to expect from you in advance, rather than them calling in to your shop to find you closed!
Business as usual?
If you are lucky enough to not be affected directly by the lockdown rules, then I would still recommend that you get in touch with your clients just to tell them that you are operating as normal!
This might sound a bit over-the-top, but the guidelines can be confusing and some clients may assume that you will have to close and therefore not get in touch. It certainly won’t do you any harm to remind them that you are still open for business as usual!
Communication is key
In summary, it doesn’t matter what your current situation is, my advice is the same – keep communicating with your customers and nourish those relationships in order to make your business work.