I hope you’re staying safe.
With the Covid-19 lockdown in place, the well-being of your staff and customers is obviously the number one priority.
However these restrictions have put a huge burden on businesses, many of whom can’t afford to shut down for a week, let alone 3 months.
Pubs, bars, theatres, cafes and restaurants have seen a 90% drop in attendance… small shops and studios have closed… travel businesses (not just airlines, but AirBnBs, blogs, travel planners) have seen their income drop to £0, overnight… many tradesmen and women can’t attend house calls…
No-one is immune from this crisis and businesses have been forced into an almost impossible position.
While the primary concern is the safety of staff and customers, there are also jobs and livelihoods at stake…
How can you keep staff and customers safe AND keep your business alive during these uncertain months?
And what should you tell your customers, many of whom (if not all), will be self-isolating for the next 3 months?
What’s the right tone to take? Is it ok to keep selling goods or services during the lockdown?
It’s a difficult balance but you can do this. To help guide you, we’ve put together this swipe file. It contains some of the best examples we’ve come across of Covid-19 emails from businesses to customers. Each have responded to the crisis in a sensitive, enlightened and innovative way.
If you’re struggling to find the right words or message to share with your customers I hope that these give you inspiration.
Burgess & Hall:
Burgess & Hall is a bar and wine shop in East London. They’ve only been open 3 years but they have a steady trade of local customers on weekends.
Their weekly emails are always very warm and friendly and they’ve kept the same tone going here. First and foremost they address what they’re doing right now to keep customers safe. They then talk about a service they’ll be launching soon to deliver wine to people’s doors.
This is a clever, thoughtful way to offer adapted service that takes into account the current restrictions and acknowledges that people might not be able to leave their houses.
8 Ball T-Shirts:
8 Ball T-Shirts sell funny t-shirts (as you may have guessed!)
Their emails are normally very tongue in cheek and here they’ve come up with a clever, quick witted message that addresses a very specific change that’s occurred as part of the current restrictions…
Almost everyone who has an office based job is now working from home! This means people are now regularly using video conferencing software like Zoom and Skype to have meetings and talk to colleagues.
While the tone is quite cheeky is doesn’t feel like they’re making light of the situation. They reassure readers that they’re looking after all their staff and also express that they hope that all their customers stay safe.
Hermes is a well-known courier. While this email doesn’t burst with personality it does do a solid job of reassuring readers that they are taking the situation very seriously and putting robust measures in place.
They go on to explain some of these measures in a clear way and then finish off with a friendly note at the end which shows that they’re human. It’s a good example of communication from a big corporation where you’d expect to see reassurance and stability.
Alejandra teaches people how to get organised. I haven’t included her whole email here but hopefully you get the gist. It’s a great example of an email that combines a really personal touch with a clever, thoughtful and practical free offering.
She starts with an emotional message and then offers a free support phone call about getting organised. It’s important that this is free. If you were to launch a new product at a time like this it could be seen to be insensitive, or worse profiteering from the crisis. However, good free content will always be welcome – especially while many people are stuck at home. In the future this increased engagement may lead to a sale.
Live Streaming Pros:
Live Streaming Pros a company that teaches you how to master live video on Social Media. I don’t love Luria’s tone at the start if I’m honest (I think it could have addressed the safety of customers up front). However it is consistent with their other emails and it does address the fear over lost income and business very well.
To that end they are offering free training for people that is tailored specifically for businesses in response to Coronavirus. It’s a very smart message.
This one comes from Ryan Deiss from Digital Marketer. They offer marketing advice to businesses on everything from Social Media advertising to SEO.
It addresses what’s happening up front right away. He’s concerned and empathetic without being too cutesy. He then makes an unbeatable offer where you can get access to all their premium content until the end of March. It shows good will and offers practical help to anyone who may struggle, workwise, as a result of this. It also gives them a chance to showcase their most popular products so it’s a win win.
Takeaways from these different approaches:
We can’t pretend this is not happening.
It’s really important to lead with your concern for your customers and show respect for the measures in place. Acknowledge that they must be scared and worried for their loved ones and themselves.
If appropriate (for example if you have an offline business), show them what measures you’ve put in place to protect them and your staff.
Knowing your livelihood is at stake, for reasons completely out of your control, is absolutely terrifying. And recently I’ve seen some businesses share that with customers and say something to the effect of: “Our business is at risk, we need help!”
While this is completely understandable it’s not the right message to put out. The priority for your customers and potential customers right now is staying safe. While they will have sympathy for businesses, there’s a risk this could turn to ill will if they feel they’re being pulled in different directions.
I hope the emails in this swipe file show that you can give people reassurance while also, if approached sensitively, offering services that address the new, difficult situation we all find ourselves in. One of the best ways to do that is to offer free training or access to paid for services which may then lead to custom in the future.
Here are a few different angles you could take.
If you need a few written prompts here are a some snippets we’ve put together for you. You’re welcome to copy, paste and adapt these in any way you see fit:
– We know this is a difficult time and you must be worried, we want to help in any small way we can so here’s what we’re doing…
– The last thing you want is to be bombarded with marketing emails right now which is why we’re only going to provide you with free content until this crisis is over…
– We just wanted to let you know that we are going to do our best to keep serving you during this difficult time. Here are the measures we’ve put in place to ensure your safety and the safety of our staff…
– How are you coping with everything? It feels like the world has turned upside down at the moment but we just wanted to touch base and let you know that we’re still here if ever you need us. We’ve put a number of measures in places to ensure our staff and most importantly you, our customer, stay safe…
– Tired of being stuck indoors? We thought we’d put together a little digital care package for you to help you stay sane during this difficult times. This is a completely free download includes our very best [recipes / guides / insert relevant content here] and you can access it simply by clicking on this link…
– Ok, it looks like we’re in this for the long haul. I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe. I just wanted to let you know that we are right here if ever you need us. You contact as any time between [insert hours and days] either by email here: [insert email] or by telephoning us on [insert telephone]
I hope you found this report useful.
Remember, you know your customers best so write to them honestly and with warmth and concern and in your own house style.
People have a lot more time on their hands right now. Some are understandably feeling anxious and confused… others are settling into the social distancing and may be feeling bored or a bit stir crazy. Most of us will be sitting somewhere in-between.
We are all in this together and a thoughtful message from a business they know and trust to let them know that they are they for them will be a welcome respite.