Are you unsure about how your blog content can help reassure customers as the Covid-19 restrictions lift?
As a business owner, you’re asking yourself:
Will my customers come back right away?
Will my products have the same appeal?
What fears will people have when in a public space?
If these thoughts are running through your mind, know you’re not alone.
Many small business owners have been asking how they can respectfully address these concerns with their blog content, or if they should at all.
There are many uncertainties, but one thing is for sure: the best way to serve your customers in the countdown to reopening is by communicating with them often.
But the question is, how?
This post includes practical information that you can incorporate into your blog content as you prepare to reopen.
Feed The Hunger With Your Blog Content
We are indeed in unchartered territory, but more than ever, people are hungry for information and connection in isolation, and that means with their favourite brands too.
Yes, many have faced financial, health and emotional hardships. But customers still want your product or service. Plus, amid the chaos, small businesses like yours still need to run.
So, don’t pare back your marketing efforts; instead, embrace the change and show your customers how committed you are to working even harder to earn their business.
And, the best place address their needs is in your blog content.
Why? Because people are reading. A lot!
People are reading a lot.
We’ve all been at home for a long time now. We’re looking for ways to fill the time, and unsurprisingly, we’re spending it online.
Reports show that people are spending more time reading, exploring their interests and discovering new ones. This is where your blog comes in. By posting consistent, interesting and helpful blog content, you’ll satisfy a need and benefit from a captive audience.
After all, how many times have you gone to a website searching a specific thing, and ended up down a rabbit hole of internal links?
Rabbit holes are a good thing, made possible by constant, high-quality blog content!
When? Early and Often.
Hopefully, you’ve been communicating with your audience throughout the pandemic. Regardless, you have a window now to start planning to execute.
You may not have a definite reopening date yet. Still, it’s important to realize that people need time to process information and make decisions — venturing out in public has become a challenging undertaking.
Customers will recognize and appreciate your communicating early and often, and will increasingly feel more comfortable.
A rough schedule may look like this:
- Start a couple of weeks out with a post announcing your expected reopening window.
- Next, follow up with the safety protocols you’ve put in place, the social distancing customers can expect with staff and other patrons, and changes to any policies that affect the customer.
- Continue on with varied content daily to keep your audience interested (more ideas below!)
Effective use of your blog content requires much more than rhyming off policy and procedure. These things are more important than ever, but the tone and topics of your posts are just as important.
Next up: how to craft blog posts that are helpful, engaging and mindful of the times.
The Blog Content
- Let Followers Know You’re Listening
As you start to plan out your posts, look to incorporate any concerns you’ve heard from clients. Reach out to them on your various customer-facing channels and ask for their feedback.
What worries them about visiting public spaces? How can you earn their confidence in your business?
Audit the responses you get and devise a blog content calendar around them. If you’ve had many inquiries on the same topic, you might want to dedicate an entire post to that specific concern.
If you’ve only had one question about something that you suspect others are wondering, address that too.
A post addressing FAQs is an excellent way to give in-depth information to your audience in a concise, easily browsable way.
While not necessary, depending on the nature of your business and your budget, you may want to build a specific blog page addressing COVID-19 safety concerns.
Whole Foods developed a dedicated web page discussing important coronavirus information in detail.
Letting your customers know that their concerns are important to you, and then acting upon them is a great way to foster loyalty.
2. “Practice ‘sales yoga’: take some deep breaths and stay calm.”
Forbes.com published this quote in an article about selling during the pandemic. It’s helpful when thinking about marketing your business.
The original purposes of yoga were to cultivate awareness, self-regulation and higher consciousness. If nothing else, the coronavirus has forced us all to self-regulate and be more aware.
This awareness should inform the tone of your blog content. Of course, not all of your posts should be about COVID-19; on the contrary, most of them should remain true to your business and brand voice.
After all, you want to reassure your audience while generating excitement about visiting you!
However, the way you talk about your business should take into account that it is not business-as-usual for anyone.
Instead of focussing on product features, try concentrating on how your product or service can help during these times or provide a pleasant distraction.
Slack published this post relating their service to themselves and the challenges they as a company were facing:
Their audience gained insight into the difficulties and solutions the Slack team found using their product to navigate working-from-home. The article does a great job of selling in a way that is honest, empathetic and respectful.
In addition to the soft-sell, the post offered readers tips they could apply to improve their workflows.
3. Adapt Blog Content to Your Customer’s Changing Needs
Many companies have successfully kept engagement up by quickly meeting their customers where they are — at home.
Soon after the lockdown swept the globe, brands started adding daily workouts, self-care suggestions, mental health articles, and other resources unrelated to their product.
As you plan to reopen, consider how you can add valuable blog content for your customer. Perhaps give them a rundown of new products they can expect to find in the store and a beautiful image showing them where to find it. Or, post a photo of one of your most popular services to remind customers what they love about it.
You can also get creative by offering ideas to keep busy in the countdown to reopening. A daily roll-out featuring an uplifting concept or call-to-action is a great engagement tactic.
Indigo.ca does a great job of offering useful activities that solve a common challenge: parents need to entertain energetic little ones while trying to work.
Given its extensive product offering, Ingido is able to tie its posts to products. Still, they added value by posting ideas that required no purchase and directing readers to other resources like Pinterest and Thrive Global.
4. Share Your Good Works
Research shows that 64 percent of customers choose to buy from socially responsible brands, according to a McKinsey study.
Customers are also increasingly interested in their neighbourhoods and how their local haunts are adapting to the virus and quarantine measures.
If your company has taken steps to help, share this with your target audience. Positive stories about impactful change go a long way right now. It’s one of the most effective ways to build brand affinity with your customers.
With a blog post, you can tell the story of how you chose to work with the organization and the results you achieved.
- How did it impact the community?
- How did your employees feel after participating?
- What will you continue to do after reopening?
If you don’t have the budget to put toward a charity, celebrate those in your community in a “feel good” post. Reach out to your followers and ask them to share what they’ve been doing, and then feature them in an article.
This type of user-generated content can be updated and reposted long after the virus.
Another great example from Indigo.ca:
It not only shares uplifting Canadian stories but links to regional small businesses in a show of support.
5. Be Agile
The coronavirus crisis came on, like all crises do, with minimal warning.
It has forced business owners to try new things and rapidly adapt their marketing strategies.
Listening to your customers and measuring engagement is vital in determining whether you’re on the right track. If a post does particularly well, you might want to consider adding a similar one in place of another topic you had planned. If one is a dud, look closely at the reasons and evaluate it from there.
Customers will recognize and appreciate the effort you take to engage them and will reward you with their loyalty.
Customer experience has taken on a new definition and dimension in the overwhelming challenge of COVID-19. We are facing a new normal, and no one is sure how customer behaviour will change.
With phase two of reopening on the horizon, you have the unique opportunity to reach out to your customers with content that is helpful and inspiring, and most importantly, compassionate.
Business owners who show they care about their employees and stakeholders will build stronger relationships that will endure well beyond the pandemic.
If you need help with your blogging content, I’d love to help!