Now’s the time to reach out to your customers with digital marketing!

12th April is a date many of those in the tourism businesses are eager to reach. After months of the visitor economy being virtually dormant, there’s a glimmer of hope for the future. All being well, pubs and restaurants will be able to serve outdoors, non-essential shops will reopen, and self-contained holiday accommodation will be able to welcome guests again.

If your business relies on visitors, you’ll be counting down the days. But as part of your preparations, have you considered how you will attract existing and new customers to your premises?

Even if you’re located in a place that has high footfall, there’s no guarantee that you’ll instantly pick up your customers again. Many potential customers will be taking their first steps back into the real world tentatively and cautious about how safe mixing with other people is. Meanwhile, some cafes and restaurants are likely to open with reduced hours, which may lead consumers to assume your business will too.

At this stage, it’s vital that you draw up a plan of how you will reintroduce awareness of your brand, keep customers informed of when and how you are opening and build a buzz that will maximise your return.

Getting back on your customers’ radar

While people haven’t been getting out and about over the last few months, they’ve probably lost touch with some of their favourite hospitality brands and attractions.

Social media is a great way to reach out to them once more, while showcasing what’s special about your business. Starting with some posts reminding customers what you offer, who your team are and where you’re located can build awareness. Before you attempt to sell to them, re-establish their trust and pique their interest.

If you’re a restaurant, spa or hotel, Instagram is the perfect place to share stunning images of your products or premises. This will build an appetite for visiting in person. If you’re an independent shop specialising in a particular niche, interacting in Facebook groups could build your profile amongst your ideal customers.

Sharing what your customers need to know

As you move closer to reopening, you’ll need to let your customers know what they can look forward to. Will you be offering takeaway afternoon tea to enjoy in the April sunshine? Are your holiday cottages available to book for a spring break? Be specific in your emails and social media posts so customers are clear about what’s on offer.

If you’re operating differently from how your original customers remember, you might want to prepare them for their visit by explaining what’s changed. If people are new to your business, will they understand the process when they visit? Creating a sense that customers have already completed their first trip (albeit virtually) could give reassurance.

Making it easy to book
Once your business is at the top of your customers’ post-lockdown list to visit and they know what products or services they can enjoy, will they understand how to buy or book?

With limited capacities likely to be in place for a while longer, you’ll probably need a reliable booking or online payment system.

If you use a tool like Shopify, you can link up your website and Facebook page to make a customer’s journey from seeing a product they like to buying it ultra-smooth.

Maximising your reopening

Once the big day comes and you’re ready to welcome in your customers, remember to take pictures and share updates on your business’s social media. We expect to see many trends around reopening as people celebrate their new-found freedom, which you can join.

Look out for hashtags and challenges that you could use in your posts to gain more exposure. If any other businesses in your area are announcing their relaunch, can you interact and introduce yourself to their customers?

We’re currently running a series of interactive masterclasses for businesses in the visitor economy who are looking to grow. So far, we’ve had positive feedback that these sessions are a productive use of time while preparing to reopen. If you’re in Lincolnshire, Cumbria or North Yorkshire, please email enquiries@cdialliance.co.uk to find out more.

To meet those of our associates who can support you with digital marketing, please view our Team & Associates page