Especially in a time of crisis, every businesses strategy revolves around contact and communication. Contact to let people know we’re out here, and communication to give them a chance to respond back and engage. Some businesses can do this well, while others just can’t seem to figure it out. We can learn a lot by just paying attention to what is and isn’t reaching us personally.
I’m sure I’m not alone in getting emails from companies I don’t even remember giving my email list to. I’m confident I shopped at these places at some point, but wow did they dust off an old computer to find me. Mostly these seem to be businesses with struggling brick and mortar operations. In all cases they are contacting me about a “really big discount/ amazing online sale happening now only” (and then tomorrow only, and then the next day…). This is a contact strategy. It’s a one-way street, they want/need something, and unless I need something where it’s worth taking them up on the offer, it’s not terribly effective.
Another common company email is an announcement about new policies during these difficult times. Some announce new hours or the concerns for their employees, which is usually “good to know,” shows they are humans, and is overall informative. The best go beyond contact and communicate how their customers can engage. The truly stellar ones are educational in some brand building way.
My dry cleaner led with their emphasis on employee safety and how they were going to limit drop offs. Next, they wanted to know how to help clients across various industries and life situations. They literally asked, “what can we be doing for you?” They gave examples of additional laundry services they offer, explained how their home pickup and delivery services work and gave examples like “if you or someone you care for is elderly, disabled, etc., we can help.” This is much more effective than just offering a coupon. They asked for engagement.
The companies that survive crises figure out how to balance both outright contact and communication to stay relevant to their customers. They understand how noisy it feels for everyone right now. By showing availability and offering to help at regular intervals in creative ways, they increase their odds of being noticed against the chaotic backdrop. It’s a great time to study the contact and communication strategies of others. Browse that email inbox and see who is doing it well and who is coming off as desperate. Build a playbook to follow. The future survivors are reaching a masterclass right now if we just pay attention.