Business owners and retailers are asking themselves how they can continue to engage with their consumers during these unforeseen and difficult times. As we tread these tough waters – effective communication and messaging is more important than ever.

Here are some basic PR tips to help you communicate with your clientele as we all are attempting to navigate these uncertain times:

1. Empathize and understand:

Whether it be one social media post a week or a weekly email; let your customers know that you understand that this is unknown territory. Communicate the steps your business is taking to ease any concerns and offer your clients hope. This situation is temporary. We all have a lot to look forward to when this is over.

2. Stay Relevant:

People are panicking right now. It’s no time to focus solely on your personal needs. Look for ways to make your audience a priority by addressing their needs and concerns. For example, if you are a financial institution, you might produce content that addresses ways that your audience can save money. You can encourage small business to adapt to decreased customer numbers and purchases. If you’re a gym retailer, why not offer free online classes and suggestions for in-home workouts—be creative!

3. Work on your digital!

Now is the time! Enhance your website and online capabilities. This can include anything from your SEO strategy to your Instagram and LinkedIn profiles. Utilize this time to upgrade and enhance your digital platforms. This will significantly improve your efforts once you’re back to running at 100% post Covid-19.

4. Help those in Need:

With so many people struggling right now, reach out to those in need. Look into specific programs in your communities and states. Donate financially or give your business time and resources to assist. Assist creatively and socially by hosting a Facetime or Zoom session. Invite your customers to ask pressing questions during this tough time. Hold space for worthwhile discussion and connection.

5. Plan for Long Term:

Though China and other economies are already starting to show signs of recovery, the spread of the coronavirus is still extending throughout the world. This continues to create a ripple effect that will impact us for some time. As reported in SmallBizTrends, “27% of businesses expect the coronavirus to have a moderate to high impact on their revenue. Another 30% expect the virus to have a moderate to high impact on their supply chain.” Speak to your suppliers, investors, partners and local officials on a daily basis to learn how you can start to implement safeguards that will help you stay above the red while officials work to contain COVID-19.

It might be a while until your small business gets back to business as usual. Until then, do everything you can to communicate your message authentically, improve your own creative skill set, and assist your community whenever and wherever you can.

This guest blog was written by Jonathan David Abramson. Jonathan founded Bluetone Marketing & Public Relations in early 2010, after running numerous high profile strategic marketing and public relations campaigns for both agency and in-house companies. Interested in getting more buzz on your new product launch in retail or on crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo? Visit bluetonemarketing.com or contact Jonathan at 619-807-6349 or by email at jonathan@bluetonemarketing.com.