Getting Customer Reviews in the Time of Coronavirus
Online reviews play a huge role in consumers’ buying decisions. Statistics show that the average consumer spends 13 minutes, 45 seconds reading reviews before making a purchase. And 52% of 18- to 54-year-olds says they “always” read reviews for local businesses.
Bottom line: If you want to maintain your positive reputation and get ready to ramp up your business after your state reopens, create a strong online review strategy now. Here are three steps to get started.
Ask for Reviews at the Right Time
You can automate your online solicitation review process to automatically send an email after a customer makes a purchase.
Give them time to take your product for a test spin, a chance to enjoy the meal you delivered, or the opportunity for them to reap the rewards of your service before you request a review.
But don’t wait too long. You want to request a review while the positive experience is still fresh in their mind.
Provide Clear Instructions
Do you want a review on Google? Yelp? Facebook? Ask for exactly what you want and give your customers the link to leave a review easily.
You may consider creating a customer service that can guide customers to delivering the feedback that will be most useful to others looking to learn more about your company.
Offer Your Customers Something in Return
Leaving a thoughtful customer review takes time. You can offer your customers a discount off a future purchase or even the opportunity to be quoted on your website if the leave a review. Some companies provide gift cards – or a chance to win one – for customers who leave reviews or take part in market surveys.
Determine what type of incentive will resonate best with your audience and offer that perk in exchange for a review.
More people are spending more time in front of their computers and on their mobile devices as a way to connect with others during the quarantine. Take the opportunity to solicit reviews from your customers and bolster your online reputation. TomCo can help with all your internet marketing needs.
Does Your Website Communicate and Convert?
As Governor Andrew Cuomo plans for a slow, phased reopening of New York, many retail outlets and restaurants in downstate New York might not be ready to open for several weeks.
But you can take advantage of your website as an alternate revenue stream. Your website can also help you execute a strong re-opening by keeping your customers informed about your hours, safety measures, and sales.
Is it time to revamp your website to be even more user friendly and help increase sales?
Add E-Commerce Elements
If you haven’t already added curbside pickup, delivery services, or shipping, it might be time. At-risk members of the population may opt to continue ordering online rather than risk visiting stores even after the state reopens. Creating an easy way to place orders online can help you attract new customers and bring back loyal customers who miss your offerings.
Update Your Look
Web design trends change so rapidly, a site design from just a few years ago could already look outdated. If the quarantine and shutdown has created some downtime for your company, consider a website update.
Look for a site design that is:
- Responsive on mobile platforms as well as desktop
- Easy to navigate
- Accessible for those who use screen readers or may have other special needs
Incorporating video on your home page, along with an interactive chat box that makes it easy for visitors to reach out will also help keep visitors on your page and may help increase sales.
Update Your Site to Reflect the Latest News About Your Company
Do you have a reopening plan in place? Will you offer deals to new customers who visit once your region reopens? What measures are in place to keep your employees and customers safe? What are your new hours?
Communicate these answers on your website so visitors know what to expect once you open for business.
Your website is your virtual storefront and, during the pandemic, was the number one way you represented your company. Keeping it up to date as the coronavirus situation changes can help your customers know you are eagerly awaiting their safe return to your business.
Let TomCo help you revamp your website to communicate the latest updates about your business and increase sales.
Marketing as New York Re-Opens
Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a phased reopening of New York. Small business owners can start getting ready to get back to business. Just as you should put the proper plan in place to ensure your employees can stay safe from the virus while at work, you should launch your marketing campaign to prepare for reopening.
Other states in less affected regions have already launched their reopening campaigns. Wherever you’re based, you should get set to welcome customers. It’s time to attract new prospect and remind loyal customers of the reasons they loved doing business with you before and should return now.
Here are three steps to take.
Launch an Email Campaign
Email marketing remains one of the most cost-effective ways to reach new and returning customers, alike. Consider these statistics from Oberlo, a dropshipping platform:
- 49% of consumers said they would like to receive promotional emails weekly from their favorite brands
- 81% of SMBs rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel
- 80% of SMBs rely on email for retention
A simple email to let your customers know you’re be opening, and perhaps offer a deal to welcome them back, could be your most cost-effective path to new business.
To increase your response rate by as much as 300%, add a video to your email.
Update Your Website
You hope your email campaign will drive traffic to your store. But readers are more apt to stop by your website first. Revamp your home page to detail:
- When you’ll be opening
- Your new store hours
- Safety measures you will take to encourage social distancing
If you’re taking customers by appointment only, consider adding a feature on your website allowing customers to make an appointment online and receive a text when it’s their turn to enter the store.
Consider Paid Advertising
Use Google AdWords, mobile display ads, and Facebook advertising to spread the word about your business reopening. A digital marketing agency can help you deploy tactics like geotargeting to alert customers when they’re in your vicinity.
Prep Your Store Signage
Digital marketing will help you reach more eyes as you prepare to reopen. But don’t forget to revamp your brick-and-mortar signage, too. You’ll want to let customers know what you’re doing to keep them safe, such as mandating masks within the venue for both employees and customers and marking lines on the floor for social distancing.
Likewise, make sure to update your store hours if they’ve changed. And consider adding a big, new sign that lets people know you’re open.
Small business owners across New York are reopening with equal amounts of excitement, relief, and some trepidation. We aren’t sure what the future will bring. But business owners who jump into reopening with the right online marketing strategies in place can set themselves up for a strong second half.
Reach out to TomCo for help planning a digital marketing campaign around reopening.
Break Through the Email Clutter During the Pandemic
New York has now been “On Pause” for more than two months. In the beginning, business owners flooded inboxes with messages urging their contacts to “stay safe.”
Emails outlined plans of action: “Our stores are closed, but our website is open for business!” “Our dining rooms are closed, but you can order take-out!” The most effective ones offered deals or coupons, too.
Gyms, theme parks, and entertainment facilities wanted their customers to know they were still thinking about them.
As the endless barrage of emails has died down, it’s still crucial to stay front-of-mind. But what messaging can you share that will entice, inform and engage your audience? Consider campaigns that follow these principles.
1. Be personal and friendly.
Moz.com wrote an excellent piece on how to show empathy in your writing during the pandemic. Being friendly and real, alluding to your own challenges, helps evoke empathy.
Remember that many people have been laid off or furloughed and some are not able to receive unemployment for various reasons. Others may be returning to work part-time for reduced pay.
Avoid phrasing like, “We’re all in the same boat.” Don’t imply things are the same for everyone or that everyone faces the same challenges. However, let your readers know you are there for them.
2. Share helpful information.
Avoid the hard sell right now.
Instead, share information your readers can use to get them through this challenging time. Depending on your business, this may include ideas like:
- recipes people can make from affordable ingredients
- exercises they can do from home
- information they need to get back to work safely
3. Offer deals and coupons.
You don’t have to tie your deals into the pandemic, COVID-19, or even the quarantine. But people appreciate saving money now more than ever. Readers, especially your loyal customers, will open your email if you offer them savings.
You can also offer savings and, for every purchase, make a donation to a cause, such as a local food pantry or essential healthcare workers. People like to feel good about giving back, but many can’t afford to donate money out of their own pockets right now. Give them a chance to make a difference just by doing business with you and they will remember you after the pandemic, too.
Keeping up on your email marketing campaigns is more important than ever now. As New York begins to re-open, you want to be front-of-mind as a company that cares about your customers – before, during, and after the pandemic. Let TomCo help you create and execute a comprehensive online marketing strategy that includes email campaigns.