5 Ways to Connect with Customers During a Temporary Closure

Discover creative ways to keep your business engaged with customers during the COVID-19 lockdown, from hosting quizzes to running contests.

By Jessica Miller-McNatt ・3 min read
Business & Marketing Strategy
ShortStack Tips & Tricks

Whether the COVID-19 virus has affected you directly or you’re among the millions who will suffer the economic impact of a nation-wide quarantine (or both!), it’s so important to try and focus on the positive. 1.) You’re not alone. There is comfort in knowing that the nation and many parts of the world are experiencing these hard times together. And 2.) You’re not helpless.Businesses everywhere are shifting their focus and getting creative to do what they can to generate revenue. Distilleries have switched gears to churn out hand sanitizer, seamstresses are sewing masks, bakeries, breweries, and specialty stores are setting up curb-side service to minimize contact with patrons while still peddling goods. But what if revenue streams aren’t in the cards for your business during this lockdown?If you’ve been forced to close completely, there are still measures you can (and should!) take to keep in touch with your customers. Here are a few ways to “keep a light on” if your business has temporarily gone dark.

Provide entertainment

Create a Quiz

Have you ever emerged from an afternoon of taking online quizzes only to wonder, “How did I lose track of time?” Quizzes are powerfully engaging and fun to share with friends. They provide entertainment to your current fans while helping you expand your audience.Quizzes come in all different formats. Some quizzes test your knowledge-base on a specific subject. Some quizzes, like this personality quiz, will display an outcome based on the participant’s answer to a series of questions.

Facebook status update promoting quiz

The best part of this quiz is that it allows you to collect an email address from the participant before the outcome is displayed. With permission, these email addresses can be added to a mailing list and used for future marketing.

Connect with your audience

Host a Social Media Giveaway

While staying at home, your customers are spending extra time on social media. Try connecting with them using a social media giveaway. Entry can be as easy as commenting on a post in your Instagram or Facebook profile or posting to Instagram or Twitter with a contest hashtag.Hashtagged content can be collected in a feed and displayed in a gallery, like this.

A hashtag contest not only gives participants a simple way to enter their photo or video, but it also gives the host a means to collect valuable user-generated content (UGC). This content can be as effective as the ever-coveted word-of-mouth marketing. Make sure to get permission, but then leverage the UGC you’ve collected by incorporating your marketing strategy.

Spark excitement

Run a Contest

Photo or video contests require a little more effort on behalf of the participant, so there’s no better time to host one than now. Leverage your fans’ extra free time (and perhaps boredom) by asking participants to post a selfie or short video to enter and collect votes to win.

Video Contest with Form Reveal Template

As a bonus, hosting a voting contest is a slick marketing trick to get new eyes on your brand. By tasking contest participants to get votes on their entry, they’re rallying friends and family to visit your contest to cast their votes.Leverage this attention by including an “Enter to Vote” form in your voting contest. You’ll collect a name and email address for every voter, which, with permission, can be used to build your email list.

Inspire smiles

Host a Multi-Prize Giveaway

The lockdown may have left your budget stretched, but you don’t have to put up a lavish prize to host a giveaway. If you have some older swag, or product samples taking up space in storage, it’s time to drag it out. Smaller prizes can be given away in larger quantities, enticing more people to participate. For example, in a giveaway with over 100 prizes, participant’s odds are pretty good. Make it an Instant Win Giveaway to let winners know they’ve won right then and there.

Keep communication open

Send an email

Interactive landing pages are the gateways to collecting leads and building a quality email list. Stay in touch with customers via email to let them know what your business is doing to meet new social distancing measures or help others.

Never do nothing

“Good times become good memories and bad times become good lessons.”-Anonymous

There’s a lot of great stuff to watch on Netflix right now, but even if you’ve closed your doors for the time being, there’s still work to be done!Business owners who have learned to pivot their practices in the face of this pandemic will be stronger for it in the long run. Maybe you aren’t able to create a new revenue stream, however, putting in some effort to reach your loyal customers or faithful followers now could go a long way in keeping you fresh at the forefront of their minds when the lockdown is lifted.

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About the author

By Jessica Miller-McNatt ・3 min read

Jessica Miller-McNatt has been with ShortStack for over a decade and has served in every role from Marketing Team Lead to Customer Success. Her journey in martech continues to fuel her fascination for what drives growth. Jessica's favorite weekends are spent in the North Georgia mountains, chasing waterfalls and exploring with her family.

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