As an ever-growing number of countries issue "shelter-in-place" orders to stop the spread of COVID-19, the majority of the world's population has hunkered down at home. This isolation brings feelings of anxiety and loneliness; humans crave contact, and it's no surprise that everyone wants to communicate.
There's no better time to engage with customers than during this global crisis. SMS marketing provides companies with a lifeline — an essential means of communication during unprecedented times. Retailers, in particular, who have closed brick-and-mortar stores, can use SMS to engage customers until their doors open again. Retail sales will continue to drop in the weeks ahead, but SMS marketing can mitigate some of this damage.
Here are 5 SMS Marketing tips for all types of businesses during COVID-19
1. Safety and Hygiene Store Practices
Many people are worried about getting COVID-19, especially those who live with vulnerable people. This fear feeds purchasing habits, with many consumers questioning companies' safety and hygiene standards, especially the ones that ship products to their homes. Some research suggests Coronavirus can linger on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on steel and plastic for up to 72 hours.
SMS marketing can help alleviate some of this fear. Companies who communicate their health and safety practices effectively can convince wary consumers there's little risk of catching COVID-19 when receiving packages in the mail.
Business owners don't have enough space to describe all their health and safety policies in one SMS, but they can certainly outline the basics.
This might include:
- How workers clean their hands regularly.
- How company owners are enforcing social distancing policies.
- If workers are using alternative materials/handling processes to prevent the virus from spreading.
- Where products are sourced from.
- Other efforts to stop the spread of germs.
2. Operations Information
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the way people live their lives, and all companies have had to make changes that affect their day-to-day operations. SMS marketing can be a great way to communicate all of this information in one place.
Here are some of the important operations messages marketers can send via SMS:
- Reduced working hours.
- Store closures (and, soon, store re-openings).
- Reduced/delayed shipping times.
- Reminders that brick-and-mortar stores sell products online.
Marketers can go one step further and personalize these messages so recipients can find out about local store closures and reduced shipping times in their area. This can build trust and rapport during this time.
3. NGO Messages
Non-governmental organizations benefit significantly from SMS marketing, especially when they use a good communications platform to send mass messages. This lets them communicate important health and safety information to as many people in the quickest amount of time. Business owners can also convey these important messages to customers.
Here are some of the messages NGOs and business can communicate:"
- Local relief efforts.
- Implementation and lifting of stay-at-home orders.
- How people can donate to local good causes.
- How people can volunteer their services.
4. Latest In-Demand Products
Although there are signs that the panic buying is over, many people are still stocking up at this time. E-commerce sales around the world have skyrocketed, especially the sales of essential items like food and health products, as well as home office and educational items.
Business owners who specialize in high-demand products (read on to find out what they are) should let customers know about their services via SMS. It's quick, it's cheap, and consumers are more likely to read them than any other communication method. Research suggests that SMS marketing has a 7.5 times higher response rate than email.
Here are some of the most in-demand products right now:
- Medical supplies — face masks, personal protective equipment, etc.
- Healthcare products — hand sanitizer, general cleaning products, etc.
- Computer security software (as more people use computers at home)
- Home gym equipment — free weights, resistance bands, etc.
- Gardening supplies — flowers, plants, planters. etc.
- Home electronics — computer consoles, games, laptops, printers, etc.
Businesses can remind customers via SMS that these items are in stock, notify customers about restricted and low-stock items, and showcase promotions.
5. Messages of Support
Sometimes, business owners just need to check-in on their customers at this difficult time. As many people lose loved ones, and many more lose jobs, a simple, heartfelt text message might make all the difference.
Something like "Stay safe" or "Thinking of you" might have sounded corny before the pandemic but, right now, many consumers appreciate the concern, especially those who have a particular infinity with a brand or product. These messages shouldn't be generic. Instead, they should come from the CEO or equivalent.
COVID-19 has had a profound impact on all business owners, but it's important to remember that the bad times will pass, and things will get better. In the interim, it's more important than ever to use SMS marketing to reach people. Keeping consumers engaged at this difficult time can reduce the impact of lost revenue and make sure customers return when the pandemic ebbs.
CEQUENS Can Help
We are doing our best to serve our global customers in these unprecedented times. We’ve enacted our own measures to combat the virus and we are happy to serve you online. Our highly resilient and always available CEQUENS Communication Platform is available with a click of a button for you to get started.
We are all navigating in unchartered territory as the pandemic takes us all for a swirl. It is our hope that we can bring the virus to heel with minimal damage as possible. Until then, stay home everyone.