When content marketing strategist Michael Brenner proclaimed 2020 to be the “year of the customer,” he likely didn’t realize that a crisis was just around the corner – the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. I would argue that during a crisis, putting the customer at the center of your marketing strategy takes on even more importance than ever. Learn how companies can maintain customer loyalty during – and after any crisis.
Build Customer Loyalty with Frequent Communication
Unless the crisis comes with a power failure, several tools are available to businesses. One of the most powerful ones is a terrific email marketing strategy.
Having a robust email strategy in place doesn’t just increase your ROI an average $42 for every dollar you invest. It’s also a great way to build customer loyalty during a crisis.
Email is non-intrusive – a lot more welcome than phone calls, particularly during a crisis when everyone is just trying to deal. They can help a business communicate valuable information about how its services and knowledge can help its customers deal better.
With email, a business can catch its customers both on mobile and desktop settings. Emails are printable, so if the business’s advice includes step-by-step instructions, customers can print them, pull them out, and use them to solve some of the challenges they face during the crisis.
When a business can use its expertise to offer help, customers remember that business for years to come and reward it with their loyalty. Frequent communication – even if it’s just checking in on customers – build customer loyalty like nothing else, particularly during a crisis. Emotions peak during such times – and a company might as well make them peak positive on its behalf.
Earn Client Loyalty with In-Person Help
Companies who offer in-person help during a crisis build client loyalty by getting elbows deep in the “dirty work” of cooking, cleaning, delivering, and laboring to make goods that will ease the stress during a crisis. From recovering addict Mike Lindell’s converting his pillow factory into mask production to a New York City pizzeria – Sofia Pizza – donating a whole day’s worth of pizzas to a local hospital, businesses have stepped up to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.
People remember those kinds of Herculean efforts – and reward them later with their business.
If only they could remember. These kinds of in-person, good-vibe building endeavors work best to build client loyalty if they have some sort of visual or material reminder.
It’s just human nature. A hospital, for instance, that received a ton of pizzas from a local pizzeria during the coronavirus outbreak will naturally want to order their food for their annual holiday party from that pizzeria nine months down the road. At that point, though, memories might grow dim. The head of nursing – whose responsibility it is to order the food for the annual shindig — might ask, “What was the name of that pizza place that loaded us up with those pizzas during the pandemic? Gionino’s? Geppetto’s? Giovanni’s?
That scenario wouldn’t have happened if this fictional pizzeria had provided some useful promotional merchandise to the institution’s workers – especially the decision-makers. Whether it’s labels to slap onto a refrigerator magnet, hand sanitizer bottles bearing the corporate label, or t-shirts with the company logo, it’s wise to leave more than just consumables behind.
That way, the company can leverage client loyalty to create a wealth of new customers after the crisis ends. Always think beyond the crisis to the next steps.
Create Brand Loyalty by Giving
We mentioned a few companies that made corporate giving a priority during the coronavirus pandemic. There are a lot of them – and doing so builds brand loyalty in their grateful customers.
Most of these companies, however, didn’t just stop at giving. They combined their giving with a marketing strategy that made sure that customers knew that they topped the priority list. Use their example to inspire your team to find ways to help in whatever crisis you face, building brand loyalty in the process.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates: Even though the 2020 baseball season faces an uncertain future, Pirate players hit the giving game out of the park with their thoughtful donation of 400 pizzas for a local hospital. Not only that, but they supported the hard-hit restaurant industry, ordering the pizzas from local eateries to keep them afloat. With their marketing and PR teams going full tilt on local radio and TV, the team will likely gain not only good karma but brand loyalty as well. Even if their customers couldn’t see their favorite players killing it in a home run derby, they could see them win at the good vibes derby.
- Loom: With the move toward temporary homeschooling during the COVID-19 crisis, this video recording and sharing company provided their Pro version free to teachers and their students at schools that range from kindergartens to universities. Grateful parents who breathed a sigh of relief when they could finally transition from teacher to hall monitor will certainly remember the company’s generosity when they need videos to promote their businesses.
- Mark Cuban (Owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks): Not content to just help his employees, Cuban gave local small businesses a lift by paying for coffee and lunch for all his employees, so long as they bought their meals at a local business.
- Forbes 8: The video arm of the well-known business journal, Forbes 8 hosted a free conference for business owners to help them build the kind of business resilience they would need to thrive in any crisis. Not only did they help struggling businesses, but they also provided work for speakers whose SXSW conference had been canceled in the wake of the outbreak.
- Shine Distillery: This Portland favorite quickly shifted gears to switch their production from spirits to the spirit of giving, making, and then donating bottles of hand sanitizer to the grateful public. Guess what locals will be putting into their home bars for their holiday bashes? Quite probably, Shine products!
- Delta Airlines: Once a regional airline in the Southeast, this company has grown into a global giant with customer-friendly policies – such as its CEO forgoing his entire salary to reduce layoffs. Grateful employees will likely spread the word with word-of-mouth marketing, driving even more growth once the pandemic ends.
With a perfect pairing of compassion and marketing, your business, too, can enjoy success. Even in the midst of a pandemic, new companies launch and flourish. To discover more about how the right marketing merchandise can take your business from zero to hero, you can not only survive – but thrive – amid any crisis, get in touch with the Nova Custom Label Printing team today.