Staying in Touch without Touch: Covid-19 Communications

The bad news is most of the business world is staying at home for the foreseeable future. The good news is you have a captive audience.

For example, my investment advisory firm just sent a 9-page analyst note on the CARES act federal bailout and the macroeconomics of the global pandemic. Would I normally stop everything to read a newsletter from my broker? Probably not. They have sent seven market updates this month, up from two in late February and none in January. This is the inverse of the old corollary that everyone’s a genius in a bull market: the investment firm is holding itself out to clients as the sage guide through a crisis. Smart.

Are you too reaching out to clients and in doing so, trying a new approach in light of current events? In my last blog, I cautioned against sending email blasts to every single contact you’ve ever had. I maintain that position, but go ahead and reconnect with past paying customers. For instance, a fine food purveyor has included me on its recent email marketing campaigns. I only made a purchase from them once for a Christmas gift a couple of years ago. Now, they are kicking into high gear with the digital marketing. After all, they are a website catalogue-based retailer. I believe I first encountered them in a Facebook ad. Smart.

Now, they are hosting a virtual happy hour with a chef from a hip restaurant to discuss recipes that no doubt will use the olive oil they sell. I think I’ll tune in. Note: this is effective cross-marketing, especially for the restaurant that cannot serve in-house at the moment.

Stay on point. Offer an immediate solution. I just took a minute to watch a hand-washing tutorial video embedded in an email from Real Simple magazine. I had forgotten I was on their email list. Instead of unsubscribing from their emails, I know feel a heart-warmed desire to keep hearing from Real Simple, to which I used to subscribe in print. And, oh, I now realize I really should be changing the hand towels every day.

What is the net result of these digital interactions? I’m not likely to yank my investments from the firm that demonstrates they are on top of the situation. I might by some fancy foodstuffs online from a business I had forgotten about. And, I might start paying attention to Real Simple magazine again. After all, their brand is all about tidying up and enjoying your home. That’s where we’re all going to be for a while. Enjoy!