Is your business struggling due to the pandemic? You’re not alone. Around the globe, entrepreneurs are creating new ways to stay afloat—and that includes reaching out to clients and prospects in new ways.
While business may be slow, client outreach must never slow. If you can keep customers engaged at times like these, you’ll earn even greater loyalty in the long term.
We asked two entrepreneurs to share how they’ve changed their client outreach recently.
FOCUS ON SPREADING POSITIVITY, NOT SELLING
Gry Tomte is the founder and director of HÜD Skin + Body, a skin clinic based in Melbourne, Australia. She shares, “when COVID and the first round of lockdowns hit us, as a skin clinic, we were forced to close our doors. This meant client communication became even more crucial than ever. If clients don’t hear from us, they’ll forget about us!”
With a customer relationship management (CRM) system in place, outreach could begin promptly. “Having a clear and functional CRM incorporated with our booking system, we went to work on how we could use the system more effectively. We were already using our CRM for appointment confirmations, personalised clients check-ins post-visits and automated customer feedback. These tools are a major contributor to our 85 percent client retention year over year”, Tomte explains.
“But now that clients weren’t coming in for appointments, it was time to switch gears and use it to stay in touch with updates, helpful skin tips, mindfulness videos and healthy recipes. We focused on spreading positivity and a message of self-care”.
They also turned to social media to stay connected with their clients. “We used our Instagram platform, where we have a loyal following, to share and link the electronic direct mails (EDMs). The response was fantastic because we were being authentic and genuine in trying to solve the problems of our customer base, rather than hunting for a sale”.
The approach yielded positive results. “We had a flood of new clients when our doors briefly reopened, as well as increased sales from clients who were forgotten by other skin clinics that had retreated and stopped communicating”.
“During this time, we also discovered a huge opportunity to build on our customer experience even further by building an educational series of emails to bring more value to our clients. We’ve since built out a full personalised in-depth education series targeted to each client’s concerns—all by linking our CRM to Mailchimp”, Tomte says.
KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS AND RESPOND TO THEIR NEEDS
For Kate Save, CEO and cofounder of Be Fit Food, “a positive attitude to food and a balanced approach to nutrition is a critical factor in overall health and happiness”.
Even during a pandemic, Save and her team make continued to deliver not only good food but also relevant information to their customers. “During the first month of COVID, we shared posts on our social media and website that resonated with what people were going through at that time.
“People were concerned at that time with food hoarding. They were focused on survival, not weight loss and health. Immunity was also on people’s minds. The second month, we responded to people’s reaction to reduced discretionary spending and a family-first mindset. We highlighted our delivery services while people were in isolation”.
As COVID kilos started creeping in, people were became more conscious of their health and their weight. Some were experiencing guilt from over-indulging, while others were getting ready to return to work. “We came up with the ISOCHALLENGE and the 28-Day Challenge to encourage our clients during this time”, Save says.
Throughout these stages, she found that it pays to listen to the needs of customers. Save and her team reached out to mothers, 30- to 40-year-old men, women with upcoming events and people 50 and older who have health concerns. Among her key learnings are:
- Give them what they want. “We had meal bundles, bulk buy, free delivery, value-added services and support for the health-conscious”.
- Personalised communications to clients. “We nurture our relationship with clients through calls, SMS and email journeys. We also post on our social funnels with relevant messages. We also have a dietitian support service”.
- Re-model to thrive. “We adapted our business to the present situation, extending our services online and looking into click-and-collect versus home delivery. We also had to weigh the essentials versus the non-essentials”.
- Connectivity is the key. “Knowing that most people are using technology in their day-to-day activities and that there is an app for everything, we made our services more efficient through automation and integration. It also sped up the delivery of our products and services as well as collections”.
- Explore your inbox. “The pandemic made me realise that we need to have an open mind for business direction. We have to look for new sales channels and give importance to cross-referrals and customer loyalty”.
- Add value, be everywhere. “We communicated our message across various channels. We did live events or podcasts and workshops. We also utilised radio, TV and PR, as well as blogs, fliers and flash signs.
- Build the base and seek ROI. “Our campaigns were directed to people who have an interest in our product and philosophy. We collected data on their profiles and tested campaigns to see which would work for our market”.
- Build trust and loyalty. “Our clients were happy to send in their testimonials, reviews and before-and-after pics, which we shared to inspire others. We also posted free recipes to further engage with our customers”.