While marketplaces and governments urge brands not to take advantage of the circumstances we find ourselves in, marketing needn’t become the latest word to fuel the digital swear jar.
The daily changes that are being implemented globally mean that we are likely to continue to see (1) a drop in social interactions, (2) increased working from home, and (3) a further shift from offline to online.
This however doesn’t mean that your customers don’t want to hear from you. As we become ever more reliant on digital communications and interactions, it is of increasing importance that brands make these interactions count, and that their messaging is on point and relevant.
We’re sure you’re juggling a ton of change implementations across your businesses, so we thought we’d round up some ideas to help make it easier to navigate some decisions around your marketing:
Out of sight, out of mind?
Businesses have widely reported negative impact already. OpenTable, a popular restaurant booking platform, have already reported a 20% reduction in seated diners across the world. At a city level, 45% fewer diners are eating out in Seattle, compared with 40% in San Francisco, 30% in New York, and 25% in London, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
As many of us are advised to minimize physical social contact, messages where you remind your customers to book that spa day, or send them a voucher code that is redeemable in-restaurant, will seem misplaced. Consider creative ways in which your brand can add value within the comfort of peoples’ own homes. For example, if you don’t offer home delivery already, maybe now is the time to try it out.
Especially if your business promotes physical events, or sells services that are delivered in a physical place of business, consider what automated messaging you have in place. In fact, we recommend that all our customers, regardless of business type, review their automation programs and make any appropriate tweaks, to avoid unfortunate messaging. This includes coupons and voucher codes, making sure they are redeemable against online services, for example.
For customers who may not be sure what to do with services they have already booked with you, why not give them an easy way to reach you? This could be through live chat or even SMS. A text straight to their phone will make it easier for them to cancel or modify their upcoming appointments. Receiving cancellations is disappointing, but no-shows will be more costly to your business.
Depending on your business type, and whether modification of services is possible, don’t be afraid to ask loyal customers for their support. Some charitable and state-subsidized enterprises aren’t just offering refunds, but in some cases giving customers the option to convert their purchase into a donation.
Continuity: They’re still your customers, but different
You’ve spent months painstakingly analyzing your customers, understanding what they like, what they don’t, when they convert, and when they won’t. Many people will be asked to work from home, which (despite our best efforts) will undoubtedly mean that some routines will go out the window, or change at least.
With fewer people commuting, we recommend you keep an eye on when and on what device your customers are consuming your content. You may record a change in when people are completing orders. Keep an eye on your reporting and dashboards, and compare recent results to those long-standing behavioral ‘truths’ as you may find opportunities to fine-tune your marketing mix as we adapt to a new (but temporary) normal.
We also recommend a review of your delivery and returns policies. As many of your customers will be getting using to working home more, make it easier for them to have items delivered to their front door. If you currently charge for shipping, consider making it a free service with orders over a certain threshold (if cart size isn’t your strong point, explore product recommendations to surface items they’ll happily add to cart).
Don’t be afraid of going back to ecommerce 101
You may encounter a new kind of customer entering your digital doors, one who is less familiar with shopping online, so sense-check your sign-posting and make it as easy to complete an order. A few ideas to help them overcome traditional barriers to shopping online:
- Do your welcome programs reiterate the secure payment gateway you have in place? And affirm how easy it is to complete an order online with you?
- For clothing retailers, are your product pages detailed, could you provide more information on size and fit? Alternatively, you may want to put live chat on your site or on product category pages, so you can assist shoppers in their remote decision-making.
- Surface product and service reviews on-site and in your messaging, so they feel confident they can expect a good experience from you, wherever they buy.
- As so much around us is in flux, so may your customers preferences. Make sure it’s easy for them to find your preference centre, and indicate what they want to hear about when.
- Oh, and did we mention gifs? If all else fails, this is sure to provide a much appreciated break.
And for all we’re a digital marketing platform, you can still simply speak to us. To discuss your account or any of the above suggestions, just get in touch with your account manager or customer success representative.
If you’re not familiar with dotdigital Engagement Cloud, get a glimpse via this quick demo here.