Many cities and states like Washington, New York, and others are issuing Stay At Home orders to residents to slow the spread of COVID-19. These government orders typically including closing all business locations that are not part of a CDC listed essential business; and for open locations, only essential staff are permitted to work in those locations.

This article provides marketing guidance for your business to effectively communicate to past customers, potential customers, and suppliers so that you can most effectively adapt to this very disruptive change.

Step #1: Is The Business Closed?

Though the primary business location or the ability to get to a warehouse or printing facility may be limited, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the business is completely closed. Some things to consider:

  • Can someone keep answering the phone?
  • Will someone continue to post to social media?
  • Is there an aspect of the business that can be delivered remotely?

If you can continue to operate some aspects of the business, take that in to consideration as you read the next two sections. The guidance you give potential customers & online will be impacted by your decision.

If The Business Remains Open

The goals of messaging that the business is open are:

  1. To let potential customers know how to interact with the business
  2. To keep the website and business directory listings up to date so people trust what they see online

Coronavirus We’re Open Message Action Items:

  • Website: Add a popup or message bar to the homepage stating that the business is open and explaining how to get service. You may consider linking to a page with more details, like a restaurant menu
  • Facebook: Update the business page header to be a graphic that shows that the business is open. Canva is a great resource
  • Facebook Post: Post every couple days to reinforce that the business is open
  • Google My Business & Yelp: Update the hours or contact information for your business if they have changed. Google My Business. Yelp.
  • Business Phone: Consider updating the message to indicate the business is open and provide guidance for how to get service
  • Email List: Send a blast to the email marketing list (or client list) letting everyone know the business is open and how to interact

Next, review the guidance for your specific industry or business type so that you can generate as many sales as possible while business is somewhat restricted but not closed.

 

If The Business Is Temporarily Closed

The goals of messaging that the business is temporarily closed are:

  1. To let customers know that the business is temporarily closed
  2. To keep the website and business directory websites up to date so that customers know they can trust what is online. This will help greatly when re-opening

COVID19 Closure Messaging Action Items:

  • Website: Add a popup or message bar to the homepage, contact page, and any other relevant page (not the whole site) stating that the business is temporary closed
  • Facebook: Update the business page header to be a graphic that indicates that the business is temporarily closed.  Canva is a great resource
  • Facebook Post: Post at least weekly to Facebook expressing how you are looking forward to opening when the time is right
  • Twitter: If your business has an active Twitter account with more than 25 followers we recommend announcing on Twitter
  • Yelp: Update the business profile to indicate that the business is temporarily closed (a new Yelp feature).
  • Google My Business: Go to “Info” and “Special Hours” and “add new date” for each day you are closed. Add each day that you expect to be closed now. If the temporary closure is extended, add those days as soon as the extension is announced. Google My Business
  • Business Phone: Consider updating the message on the business phone to indicate the temporary closure and let people know when their messages will be returned
  • Business Email: Consider adding an auto-response to let people know when to expect a response
  • Email List: No message

Closure Pro Tips

  • Pro Tip #1: Consider leaving the phone line open. Answering the phone gives you the opportunity to build a relationship, secure an order for later, or add someone to a callback list once the Stay At Home order is lifted. 
  • Pro Tip #2: Announcing on Instragram/Snapchat. IG & SC are very visual platforms and most people don’t use it to get hours or contact information. Depending on how you use Instagram & Snapchat you may choose to announce the temporary closure there.

Closing or limiting your business as a result of Coronavirus will be extremely disruptive. With consistent messaging in place, your community and potential customers will know what to expect for interacting with your business and be more likely to trust future messaging.

As we all recover, the steps you take now to keep in touch will pay off as restrictions are lessened and the economy picks up.