At this time of various COVID-19 restrictions, you may not be able to serve your customers as you normally would, but communicating with them remains a vital outreach for your business. Think of communications as a three-step process in which you develop and implement the method, message and measurable response.

How you communicate with your customer base, as well as seeking new clients, requires some adjustments and research time. Each of your key audiences may depend on various outlets and communications strategies. Methods and tools which are easily accessible and provide fresh, up-to-the-minute information are critical to keep customers informed about changing situations. Especially at this time, consumers want to connect with local sources of food, beverages and services. They also expect facts about how your product or service will benefit them as they selectively choose to spend their dollars. Your marketing research should help you decide how and where to communicate effectively with each sector of your customer base. If you need assistance, talk with or seek help from your communication channels to tap into their umbrella resources as well.

What about the message itself? Keep it simple! While you may be tempted to rewrite much of your advertising and promotional materials to communicate the changes you may be experiencing, it is best to be succinct and timely. Structure your message to communicate important elements within key, but brief, points. Let customers know about changes in hours of operation, what specific information is relevant to your business at present, how changes may affect service and other essential information. Do not forget to communicate your chief interest in your customer base – make it possible for them to receive the same quality service and attention even under different circumstances.

How do you know you have achieved good success in your outreach? It requires some type of measurable response from your customer base. It comes from consumer feedback, sales and consumer action. If customers cannot come to your retail outlet as they have in the past, are they purchasing online? From feedback and reviews, are your customers still referring others to your business? The point of developing and implementing successful communications is to connect with consumers and keep those lines of communication open and viable. Even under the most challenging situations, outreach to your customer base and potential buyers must be a key component of your marketing strategy. Likewise, the communications you receive back will help shape future messages and promotional options.

The power of your message requires an honest, open and relatable relationship with your target customers. As you develop and implement your communications strategies, remember to choose outlets wisely, keep your message simple and measure the results to craft successful future outreach.

The above information is presented for educational purposes and should not be substituted for professional business or legal counseling.