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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners are limited in connecting with customers in person. Because we live in a digital world, there are still many ways you can stay connected to your customers through COVID-19 and inspire loyalty for years to come. Here are ways you can remain connected:

Be consistent

Ensure that you're communicating to customers any changes in your business:

  • Update your website with contact information, business hours, and what you are or are not offering currently1
  • Send emails about your products and any business updates, being careful not to bombard customers’ inboxes with too many messages
  • Share on social media frequently, especially positive messages that will help people take their minds off the pandemic2
  • Keep communication open; it will help customers to know what is going on and how they can still support your business

Be transparent

If you’re having difficulty making deliveries on time or have many items that are out of stock, be proactive and let your customers know right away. Even if you don’t have the perfect solution to these problems, your customers will appreciate the upfront honesty.

If you need more help promoting your business via social media, check out these resources on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website:

Communicate your values

68 percent of consumers are motivated to be loyal if they know that a brand shares the same values as them.3

Is your business donating supplies to those in need? Are you assisting employees during this difficult time? Share that information with your customers so they know you align with their beliefs. It will create a strong community of customers with a sense of belonging.3

Additionally, if you have spent your marketing time and dollars on growing your online audience, now is the perfect time to leverage your role as an influencer and direct your followers to meaningful causes. Some social media sites, such as Facebook, allow you to collect donations, and most nonprofit organizations will provide simple ways to coordinate with their own fundraising efforts.4

Get creative with your offerings

Now more than ever, businesses must think differently about their products and services. To make sales now and ensure that customers will come back post-pandemic, offer:

  • Gift cards, which provides you with immediate cash and gives customers a way to show their support (be sure to review all state laws to ensure compliance)
  • Discounts, especially for long-term purchases; gyms can offer a discount for memberships starting after the virus has passed, or retail stores can give free or discounted shipping for online orders5

If you offer a service that can be accessed virtually, offer this through live or recorded videos. For example:

  • If you’re a personal trainer, consider conducting workout classes through platforms such as Google Hangouts or Zoom
  • If your business exclusively sells products, think of ways you can still offer something of value, even if it’s free
  • If you run a flower shop, you could host an Instagram Live session teaching your followers about floral arrangements
  • If you’re a salon owner, you could post a video for customers who dye their hair, showing how to do in-home root touch-ups

Remember, thinking creatively and continuing to provide customers with valuable content right now can help ensure they’ll return to your business in person when the coronavirus is quelled.

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1 https://www.fastcompany.com/90489203/5-creative-ways-small-businesses-are-succeeding-during-the-covid-19-quarantine
2 https://www.uschamber.com/co/grow/customers/stay-connected-to-customers-during-coronavirus
3 https://loyaltylion.com/blog/customer-loyalty-today
4 https://www.agencyrevolution.com/blog/2020/03/24/engaging-your-community-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/
5 https://www.uschamber.com/co/grow/customers/customer-retention-during-coronavirus