How to communicate and welcome your customers back to your business during COVID-19

Introducing the Small Business “Lights-On” and “Welcome Back” Toolkits

Small businesses need a digital strategy to learn how to proactively communicate and engage with customers to help them feel safe and secure when they do venture inside brick and mortar shops and for when they choose instead to buy and interact digitally with those same shops in lieu of a frequent physical presence.

A few recent articles highlight the risks that unprepared customers can bring to reopened stores as well as the need to increasingly engage on digital for all companies. An ice cream store is mobbed and young employee harassed and quits one day after reopening. A leading research firm writes about the lasting changes to consumer attitudes toward physical distance, health, and privacy. 

Deciding what (and how) to communicate online can be overwhelming, but you must get it right.

Even with just an existing Facebook page, deciding on what to communicate to your customers can be overwhelming—where do you start? When you add that to the myriad decisions that you need to make in running your business and preparing for a reopening, it is doubly difficult.

At Factor3, we know what customers look for online as they are struggling to make decisions about which restaurant, gym, salon, coffee shop, or bakery to visit. They’re looking for trust, accurate information, and a feeling of safety and security. And they’re doing their research online by posting on social media, going through reviews, and asking local Facebook groups. 

When your business reopens, almost all of your customers will be digital, and so should you.

Your business's reputation online will make or break you. That was true before COVID-19. It is even more true today, because almost everyone has been on some form of lockdown and living almost exclusively on digital for months.

Many customers will decide whether they feel safe returning to your business based on the content you’re posting online.

You’ll need good content that reassures your customers that you’re worth visiting in the “new” normal, which they’ll be reading and sharing online before they visit. We can help you write and create the online content you need to reassure your customers that you are ready for them to visit you post-lockdown.

We’ve created two turnkey toolkits (digital-leaning but analog as needed) to help local small business owners like you understand which things (and how) you need to communicate to your customers online before you open your business for in-person traffic. In this way, you can help customers understand what to expect and how to behave and prepare (the “new” normal). This sets customer expectations, puts customers in a more cooperative mood even when faced with restrictive changes or obstacles, and sets up your business for success in a difficult environment. 

Because the toolkits cover customer communication for a wide range of scenarios (from safety and hygiene to the new business “vibe”), your business will be better equipped to engage effectively online and in-store. That allows you to build up a solid and informed base of online loyal customers who, when the lights go back on, will see your small business as being trustworthy, safe, and worth visiting, as well as being savvy and a good online resource

The “Lights-On” and “Welcome Back” customer toolkits:

Part 1: The “Lights On” toolkit is a 32-page toolkit that outlines eight different scenarios of how you’ll be operating differently, how customers will perceive that, and how/what you should communicate that online to avoid customer disappointment or frustration. It also contains examples and case studies of what other businesses are doing well. And it explains the customer COVID-19 mindset and how that affects how they’ll be talking about your business online when they return for in-person visits (and what you can do to protect your reputation). 

The “Lights On” toolkit includes:

  • Introduction: Communicating the “new normal” to your customers
  • Overview: Understanding your customers’ new mindset (online and IRL)
  • Scenario 1: What’s different? Time/responsiveness
  • Scenario 2: What’s different? Selection/services
  • Scenario 3: What’s different? Vibe/atmosphere
  • Scenario 4: What’s different? Cleanliness/hygiene
  • Scenario 5: What’s different? Masks
  • Scenario 6: What’s different? How Customers Purchase in-store
  • Scenario 7: What’s different? Your employees!
  • Scenario 8: What’s different? Your customer experience

The “Lights On” toolkit for small business ($50)

Part 2: The “Welcome Back” Customer toolkit is personalized and created just for you, based on a one-on-one consultation and an audit of how you communicate with customers now. 

Your personalized toolkit contains:

  • A 30-minute phone or video consultation with a digital expert to learn about what you’d like to improve, answer your “how to” questions, and get you started on improving the tools you already use to communicate targeted, critical information to your customers as you welcome them back
  • A 60-minute audit of your website, social media platforms and emails to assess where you can make easy fixes to how you communicate and engage
  • A plan tailored for your business to welcome back customers on social media, email, and your site, with ideas of easy things that you can do, most at no cost.
  • Your personalized “Welcome Back” store kit containing 5 social media graphics and posts, a “need to know” store poster, and 2 introductory emails and website posts to help you convey critical information to your customers about your business and welcome them back safely!

Contact us today to learn more about how we can get started creating your "Welcome Back" Customer Toolkit. If you decide to hire us, the kit will cost you $150.

    Do you know of a business owner or friend who would benefit from this toolkit? Please share this page with them. If you know of a business who is struggling financially and can’t afford to purchase this kit, please let us know and we’ll consider helping them out pro bono.

    Please note that this toolkit it NOT intended to offer legal advice or health advice. It is solely intended to help explain how businesses can use digital communication to communicate their priorities to customers. All examples and case studies in this guide are intended only to illustrate how to engage digitally and are not endorsements of any particular legal, workplace or health/occupational safety policy. If you're worried about that sort of thing, contact a real professional in that field, not a digital strategist.