B2B Messaging Under Duress: 3 Recommendations for Managing COVID-19 Communications
Your clients have a lot of things to worry about right now. First of course, is protecting the health and safety of their employees and others around them.
But while that’s the priority, the economic risks are hard to separate from our other worries right now. Your clients, like all of us, are navigating the health threat while also scrambling to keep it from spilling over into a threat to their businesses.
How do you communicate with them without simply adding to the noise, or worse – creating the impression that you put profits ahead of public health?
Here are three recommendations on how to communicate with your customers or prospective customers during this crisis:
Share the State of Your Operations
Your customers need to know if there are changes to your capacity or availability. If you’re still fully operational, you are in a position to help them stay productive as well. That’s not a bad thing, assuming you are taking all the recommended precautions to protect the health of your workforce. And when you can’t meet your full production levels, make sure your clients are kept up to date as to how this may affect their orders or service.
We recommend that you update your website home page so your clients don’t have to search for news or guess about your status. A “letter from the president” can help convey the fact that your clients’ needs are your second-highest priority. You can also use an email blast to update customers and any prospects in need. Share it on social media as well.
If you’re a manufacturer facing a shutdown, let your distribution channel partners and end-users know how much time they have to place their last order before any suspension of operations. You can also make them aware of consignment inventory options or flexible payment terms if they are available. A work uniform example: https://bit.ly/2WvxfQF
Share How You Can Help
Demand for products or services you can still provide is out there in many cases, so communicating how you can help your customers during a difficult situation should not be viewed as profiteering. If your normal tone of communication veers into the megaphone variety, however, we would advise taking it down a notch.
As in so many things, it can be useful to try to imagine your messaging from the perspective of your audience. A straightforward and empathetic tone is usually best. How can your capacity or expertise help? Here’s an example of how a retail packaging and display client can help food producers and CPGs get their product to market if they encounter any domestic or international supply chain disruptions: https://bit.ly/2WwQmtu
Prepare for the Rebound
Yeah, we said it, and while it’s important to stay positive, we’re not just putting a smiley face on it – there really is a rebound on the other side of this. When and how much will vary by industry but things will rebound, so it might be a good time to consider what you can do now to be ready. For example, if faced with a slowdown, we’ll have time we can use to devote to doing our own marketing, which we often neglect because we’re too busy. That’s an opportunity cost that comes with periods of high demand. A little extra time is an actual opportunity and while none of us is wishing for it, there’s a lot we can do to leverage it for the future.
Be well, stay positive and let me know how I can help you, even it’s just free advice. We’ll get through this together.