Never in our lifetimes have we marketers seen a more treacherous landscape in which to put out effective messaging. Not only are our businesses in an uncharted state of flux, but we have many sensitive topics to navigate.
What should your marketing North Star be this summer? Create communications that increase the value your customers place on their relationship to your brand. Here are seven messaging best practices for this summer, and beyond.
1. Know your messaging foundation
The guidance in this article assumes you already know your ideal customer deeply. Be sure you regularly go through the exercise to have updated knowledge of:
- how they think
- what their hopes and dreams are
- what values they hold dear
If they truly are your ideal customer, they hold the same values your organization does.
Once you are well in touch with who that person is to their core, start each communication decision by asking,
“What would our ideal customer want to see? What would they do in this situation?
2. Communicate your revised business model
In this time of flux, your customers want to know how to do business with you. And they don’t want to have to hunt it down. Be in front of them before they have to seek out the latest information on their own. Consider the best channels to do this. Direct mail should be at the top of your list.
If you fail to get in front of them first, your customers will look somewhere they expect to see your hours or methods of transaction. If that somewhere isn’t up-to-date, or worse, the info isn’t there at all, you’ve chipped away at brand loyalty.
3. Be indispensable
How can you be essential to your ideal customer right now? Can you provide clarity or direction to relieve your ideal customers’ current pain points? As Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing puts it, how can you help customers “navigate through and succeed in this environment”? The tangible value you provide may be in the form of content.
Here’s an example. My pedicure salon is the closed business I missed most during quarantine. I am not skilled at manicuring smooth, well-shaped nails that hold polish well with no mistakes. I wish my salon had sent me tutorials three months ago. That way, I could have held myself over while engaging with (and likely sharing) their content. The effect would have been even deeper loyalty to that salon. I still would be giving up my self-care for salon care once they open. Instead, as other salons opened while mine remains closed, I went to a different salon for the first time in four years. Now my relationship with my salon is reduced in value.
4. Discount last
Discounting is not required to re-engage your customers, even in a down economy. In fact, discounting should never be your first choice because it typically doesn’t add value to the relationship. It can actually degrade it.
Instead, think about what you can do within your core competencies and current team to offer your customer something for free. Now is the time to give generously! For example, a hotel or car rental can offer free upgrades with reservation. Or, a cable provider could include premium channels during the pandemic, with a base cable subscription.
5. Communicate with sensitivity
Ensure every action you take and each communication you activate is on brand with your values as a business. If you are unsure what to say, go back to asking, “What would our ideal customer do/want to see?” Bring positive human connection and humanity to their mailbox. And try some gentle humor. People are yearning for these things right now.
Only communicate what you have an authentic, sincere reason to. Consumers see right through anything else, and it will have the opposite effect.
6. Be easy, with multi-channel and omnichannel
A few industries are really good at omnichannel engagement of, and transactions with, their customers. Others are lagging. Banking is an industry that, before the pandemic, still had many customers engaging with them offline. COVID-19 pushed most banking customers online, and many of those will continue that post-pandemic. A seamless cross-channel experience will now be necessary to maintain banking customers’ level of satisfaction.
7. Communicate 1:1
One tactic I expect to grow as marketers are pushed to their limits is more effective and widespread use of personalization. Data shows that personalizing marketing communications increases conversions, often significantly. Gladly conducts an annual customer experience survey with consumers across all generations. 75% of consumers surveyed are more likely to purchase from a company that tailors recommendations to them. Yet, 69% still feel like they are treated as a number.
In addition, 53% want to know their history with you. 27% want a follow up after an interaction.
Click here for a case example of a big box retailer that increased coupon redemption rates 66% by using automation tools to better personalize coupon offers.
If you like this content, sign up for our upcoming webinar for detailed strategies on how to successfully re-engage customers this summer (and beyond) while on a budget.