Demi Edmunds, Specialist at TextAnywhere, discusses how businesses can communicate effectively with customers post COVID.
With the impact of recent events tightening the purse strings of many marketing budgets, businesses are having to cut advertising spend at a time when it is vital that brands stay front of mind to their target audience.
With just eight per cent of customers agreeing that advertising spend should be paused, how should businesses prioritise their budgets to ensure they are still effectively communicating with their customers during such a pivotal time?
To help businesses successfully communicate during this time, we have pulled together some tips and considerations to ensure brands are reaching and engaging with their audience, whilst remaining true to themselves and the situation we find ourselves in.
Understand what your customers need
It’s more important than ever before that brands understand what their customers require and are able to adapt their approach and communications appropriately. For example, three-quarters of surveyed customers said they wanted brands to inform them of what they were doing during lockdown, suggesting consumers are welcoming brands to engage with them with useful information and more general business updates.
Furthermore, as more than 50 per cent of customers also reported they wished businesses would talk about their brand in a carefree way, there is an obvious demand for lighter communications during such uncertain times. Ultimately if a business properly understands their audience and the types of communications they want to receive from a brand, these are more likely to engage customers and encourage future spend.
Use the correct communication channels
As customers adjust to the new normal, they require information to be easily accessible to them. Businesses should carefully consider which communication channels and audience segments they will use to ensure they are not overwhelming customers with messaging. By selecting those channels most appropriate to their audience, companies can ensure they boost their visibility whilst continuing to effectively inform and update their customers.
For businesses competing in saturated markets, SMS is an increasingly popular choice since customers are 35 times more likely to see an SMS from a business than an email. What’s more, with brands competing to gain the attention of customers after the pandemic, figures showing that 74 per cent of individuals demonstrated increased impressions of brands who communicated via text messages show promising signs for this communication channel.
With the possibility of localised lockdowns as the UK recovers from the pandemic, and even the potential of a second wave, businesses and customers still face a number of unknowns. Since the future is uncertain, it is important for companies to be as transparent as possible to customers about what they do and don’t know. Customers are aware that businesses do not hold every answer, they understand that the pandemic was unprecedented. Firms should, therefore, continue to communicate with their audience without feeling the pressure to “get everything right”.
Businesses should be truthful with customers and remain consistent with their communications, ensuring they are not adding to the uncertainty which customers may be feeling. With reliable updates, businesses can build trust with their customer base and aid in their transition back to utilising their services.
Market for the long-term
For brands considering cutting their marketing and communication budgets post-pandemic, it’s important to consider the long-term implications. Data shows that after the 2008/09 recession, businesses with stronger brand awareness and reputation were able to recover up to nine times faster than others. Given that business recovery is top of mind for many, it’s important that businesses are able to continue adapting to their customers needs and tailoring their messaging as appropriate. Afterall, consumers may have different priorities now, and channels which have been successful for your brand in the past may not be as effective in today’s climate.
Ultimately, brands who are able to not only reach, but also successfully engage with their audience during the next few months, place themselves in the best position to succeed in the new normal.