Business disruption happens. We’ve all just experienced what is likely the biggest disruption of a generation (let’s hope). Because of COVID-19, a lot of businesses have dialled back their operations, or stopped completely. A lot of regular customers have stopped buying. It’s been a crazy time for everyone.
But as we all emerge from our lockdown stupor, things are picking back up and businesses are getting back into the swing of things. And that means reaching out to their customers and wider audiences.
Taking the right approach when reengaging with your audience is vital to warm them back up, ensure the relationship hasn’t been lost and to get them back on track to where you want them to be. So, here are some tips on how to restart.
Communication should never stop, but it has. Now what?
The first thing to acknowledge is that you should never stop communicating with your audience. Regardless of what’s happening (whether it’s a big internal change, a busy period, or a global pandemic), you should maintain engagement with customers.
This is important to know, but that advice is a little late now. If you did go dark for a little while, you can’t change that. You just need to get moving again. The longer the silence, the harder the re-engagement, so now’s the time to get that rhythm back.
As you start planning (or re-planning) your communication strategy, there are three things you should include:
This doesn’t mean you need to acknowledge your absence or beg for forgiveness. It’s more about acknowledging your audience, and where your relationship with them sits. What sort of communications did you last have with your customers? Some will be regular buyers who you have positive, sales-focused conversations with. Others will be much higher in the funnel and have barely engaged with you yet.
Acknowledge where your audience is and segment them into two (or more) groups defined by your relationship right now. You’ll need to treat them differently depending on the relationship and the previous communication. From here, work at rekindling the relationship. Warm them up and try to move them gently to the next step, whatever that looks like for each segment.
2. A way forward
Want them to move forward with you? Paint the way. Give them a step to take, something to do, something to think about. What’s the future going to look like for them? This is particularly relevant right now as we discuss the new normal. We are all looking for a light at the end of the tunnel and a guiding hand, so you need to play that role for your audience.
You can’t completely ignore the fact that you’ve been absent, or the reason. And, in the case of COVID, you don’t have to completely ignore the impact it’s had on your communications, your business or your customers – but it doesn’t help to dwell. You can acknowledge the problems, but it’s important to maintain an optimistic tone. Positivity should reflect through every piece of content you produce.
Don’t underestimate rhythm and momentum
A past client of ours decided to do a little test with his content marketing. He completely stopped his regular communications for three months, just to see what happened. When he started sending again, he had a 15% unsubscribe rate.
Business relationships are like fitness – they take hard work and commitment to build but can be lost in no time at all. We’ve spoken before about how important rhythm is. Communication with your audience, even if it’s one-sided, is what builds trust.
Bottom line? It’s best not to fall off the communication horse. But if you do, the quicker you can get back on, the better chance you have of reengaging your audience.
Building a strong and rhythmic content marketing and communication strategy takes time, and it isn’t always easy. align.me provides outsourced content marketing services that can help you build disruption-proof content plans. Click here to learn more, or here to get in touch.