If you have had time to look in your email inbox recently, it's likely cluttered with messages from big brands telling you what they’re doing as we're facing the global pandemic of COVID-19. The point behind these communications is to quell fear and reassure people that it’s safe to patronize these businesses.
If you have a physical location, it's likely you need to write one too.
People are scared and when fear is a motivator, logic goes out the window. Business owners must convey important messaging to customers or risk losing them.
But writing this sort of message isn't easy. I've written several in the past 24 hours and each of them weighs heavy on my heart because the messaging is critical but you have to take care not to incite panic.
You want to come across as helpful and transparent but you also want it to be a marketing piece that will encourage people to continue to spend money with you. It’s a very delicate balance.
Here are a few tips on the things you need in this type of critical communication.
If you are not a writer, you may want to take a cue from American Airlines. They have created a series of video messages. The benefit of video messaging is that the watcher can see a face. A face often helps build trust and can make people feel more at ease. However, if you go this route it is a good idea to transcribe the video messages as well. Some people prefer to read while others simply can't watch with the volume up because of where they are when they choose to view your message.
Share your messaging on social media, on your website, and to your email list. This is not a set-it-and-forget-it document. You will need to update this consistently, maybe hourly. No one knows how long precautions will need to be taken. The best things you can do in your business communications right now are to be available, be transparent, and build trust.
People are scared. Some are worried about the virus, while others are concerned about the economy, their jobs, and their savings. It’s likely you’re concerned about your business. While your first instinct may be to beg people to buy from you, it is important that you use your platform to communicate and share resources instead of sales messaging.
Your communication will be constantly evolving but the underlying tone should be:
It will be tough but we will get through it.
Here’s what we’re doing and what you need to know.
Christina R. Metcalf (formerly Green) is a marketer who enjoys using the power of story and refuses to believe meaningful copy can be written by bots. She helps chamber and small business professionals find the right words when they don’t have the time or interest to do so.
Christina hates exclamation points and loves road trips. Say hi on Twitter or reach out on Facebook.