Between COVID-19 and the standard march of progress, our workplaces are increasingly digital. Our businesses are more reliant on remote communication technologies than ever before — but we are still human beings. We crave the nuance of face-to-face interactions and dislike isolation, even in an online setting.
How can we have genuine interactions with customers and clients over the long-term when every available communication method requires a screen? Thankfully, it is possible to forge genuine connections with customers using digital technologies, but it may require some adjustments.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Video is one of the best remote communication tools
Video-conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts are in high demand to remotely facilitate office meetings. What we don’t always realize is that video has an enhanced role in marketing as well. People are spending more time playing mobile games and engaging with social media than ever before, and video advertising is an excellent way to reach potential clients and customers.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic began, video has clear benefits in B2C and B2B settings. For example, in email marketing campaigns, incorporating video content increases click-through rates by 50% and reduces unsubscribes by 26%. In a world where more people are isolating themselves, video might just be the best way to find and engage your audience.
Always be ready to rework brand messaging and ad copy
COVID-19 prompted massive changes to business operations, which means branded messaging needs to follow suit. Holiday advertising campaigns with phrases like “get together with your friends, family, and loved ones” rings a little disingenuous — or perhaps even dangerous. From video to text, all of your messaging must reflect our current reality to be relevant to your customer.
That being said, marketers should also be careful not to rely on hollow platitudes when making these changes. How many emails or communications have you read lately that open with phrases like “In these unprecedented times?” Just because your messaging must change to something relevant doesn’t mean it can stop being creative. Readers will notice the difference.
Be aware of what your customers are going through
It’s hard to have effective messaging or an honest conversation if you don’t understand what your customers are experiencing. Whatever product or service you offer, now is an excellent time to check in and see how their needs have changed. The answers might not even be related to your product or service, but it can help you become more aware of what they’re going through.
Remember, however, that not all methods of information gathering are equal during a pandemic. A focus group isn’t just risky these days, but your responses will be limited to customers who aren’t isolating at home. Consider digital alternatives like online or social media surveys that ask what’s changed for customers in recent months. There’s even value in tracking Google Search trends in your region. Knowing what locals search for — or what they don’t search for — says a lot about their experiences.
However you interact with customers and clients, genuine communication requires empathy and understanding. What’s more, it’s profitable in the long run. Carl Smith, owner of the Bureau of Digital, recently noted, “Those that conduct themselves with empathy will be the ones who are working now and even more so after this crisis.” If you can approach each message and interaction with this principle in mind, you’ll start professional relationships that help both parties move forward.
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