When the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown shut up the UK shop back in March, most businesses were affected.
I’d even go so far as to say that all businesses were affected because even if you work online and from home like me, you’ll have still noticed a change in how your customers and suppliers operate.
So how might your business have reacted to the lockdown?
- Complete shutdown.
- Reduced service, for instance, a restaurant who now only makes deliveries.
- Closed your premises, stopped visits to customers and moved your business entirely online.
- Diversified and found a new but connected way to serve your customers, such as a yoga teacher providing online sessions.
- Where you already work online, it may have been possible to carry on as usual but with a reduced workload as customers reassess their own businesses.
At the time of writing (June 2020), the lockdown restrictions are being lifted to varying degrees around the UK.
Tradespeople, like plumbers, are able to take on certain types of customer work. More and more non-necessity shops are back in business. There’s talk of pubs opening their doors. It may even be possible to visit a zoo in England soon.
But where does all of this leave your business?
In lockdown limbo.
Whether you’ve been forced to shut your doors during lockdown, reduced your service, or carried on as usual, you will have experienced some level of lockdown limbo.
What can and can’t your business do under lockdown restrictions?
Is there still a market for your product or service during lockdown?
How have your customers and suppliers been affected?
Lockdown limbo could apply to your customers too. Are they in that same state of ‘not knowing’ because you haven’t told them what is happening with your business?
They might not know:
- if your business is still open
- whether their order will be fulfilled
- how they can contact you during lockdown
So how can you answer these questions and make it clear what is happening with your business? Create a lockdown message.
How to get your lockdown message across
First off, why should you bother to tell your customers and audience what is happening with your business during these difficult times? Why would anyone be bothered? Don’t we all have too much to worry about already?
All good points but…
There are three main reasons to stay visible during this time:
- to retain your customers/audience
- to stand out against all those businesses who have gone quiet during lockdown
- to keep you in customers’ minds for when life returns to a relative normal by providing them with value and entertainment right now
What should your message be?
Well, that will depend on what your business is and how it’s been affected by the lockdown.
Is your business open? If not, then when will it open? How are you preparing for when you can fling wide your doors and announce ‘business as usual’?
Has the way your business operates changed? Have you reduced your hours? Have you closed your shop and moved your business online? Do you offer different or reduced services/products?
Maybe your message is simply a reassurance that you are still open. Nothing has changed.
Tell your customers what is happening, rather than letting them come to a perhaps wrong conclusion and take their custom somewhere else.
Where should you share your message?
So many places:
- Your home page – the first place most people will look when trying to find out if a business is still open during lockdown is your website.
- Your mailing list – be proactive and get in touch with your mailing list. Don’t wait for them to come to you.
- Away from office email message – if your business has closed or you’re reducing your working hours, include your lockdown message in your away from office email responder.
- Blog posts – give people a reason to keep visiting your website by consistently posting on your blog, e.g. how the lockdown affected your business, changes to services, ways that your business is diversifying, and behind the scenes posts.
- Social media – with so many people staying at home, social media is being hammered as a way to stay informed on what’s happening out in the world. Join in with that conversation.
- Social media banners – the first thing that visitors to your social media platforms see is the banner, so take full advantage of this by including a short version of your lockdown message here.
How can I help?
If all this sounds good but you don’t know where to start, get in touch.
I can work with you to craft a message that serves your business during this period of lockdown and beyond.