Communicating with your Customers in Times of Uncertainty

Lindsay Halsey

Lindsay Halsey is a co-founder of Pathfinder SEO. She has over 10 years of experience working in SEO with small to large businesses. Lindsay focuses on teaching site owners, freelancers, and agencies how to get found on Google via a guided approach to SEO. Stay in touch on Twitter - @linds_halsey.

We’ve always said that communication is the backbone of high-value SEO services. In ever-changing and uncertain times, this is the case more than ever.

From local restaurants to enterprise level companies, businesses across the world are facing uncertainty.

Over the past week, we’ve all received dozens of emails from companies about their COVID-19 preparedness. If you offer SEO services, now is the time to reach out to your customers. But, how?

Proactive Outreach

Today, our SEO agency contacted customers to address the current climate and its impact on search engine marketing. Rather than go with a generic email to our full customer list, we took a custom approach and emailed each of our clients individually.

Our clients already know we have the capability to work remotely and a team large enough to ensure consistent delivery of service. What our customers don’t know is how we will evolve their search engine marketing strategy to meet today’s world and tomorrow’s uncertainty. 

Keys to Connecting with Customers

In the course of a day of work, we were able to reach out to our full list of clients one by one via email. Our emails included two primary themes:

Reassurance — Because our SEO strategy is holistic, there are no urgent or last-minute changes to be made to the approach. Steady is the name of the game.

Industry-Specific Insight — We try to put ourselves in our customers’ customer’s shoes. What needs to be adjusted to be considerate, timely, and appropriate? Here are a few examples:

  • Travel: Calls to action around “book now” may not be well received at a time when airlines are slowing down service and borders are closing. A quick scan of page titles and meta descriptions ensures that our verbiage on Google.com is less about now and more generic.
  • Local Business: Restaurants, therapists, libraries, you name it. If it is a local business that serves people in person, it is likely there is a change to hourly operations.

Asking your customers what their current hours are and letting them know they should notify you of changes ensures you can keep their local business listings on platforms like Google My Business up to date. Learn more about best practices for updating hours of operation on Google Maps.

Client Outreach Examples

Hi Bob and Nancy,

How are you? I hope you and the team at [Company] are doing well. I imagine this is a dynamic time for your customers’ businesses and in turn yours.

We’re here to help along the way. Because we’re engaged in a long-term SEO strategy, we don’t have any immediate changes to our approach that need to be made. Our team is busy working on our March action items which include updating page titles and meta descriptions and publishing a new blog post about [topic]. 

In the meantime, we’d like to update your hours of operation. Can you please email with your current hours so that we can update Google Maps via Google My Business accordingly?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here for you.

Stay healthy out there,

Lindsay

 

Hi Samantha,

How are you? I hope you are staying healthy. I wanted to check-in regarding our current marketing initiatives. 

SEO — We continue to focus our efforts on organic search. Because we are engaged in a holistic approach, there are no immediate changes needed for strategy. This month we’re focusing our efforts on updating and expanding our keyword research. We also published a blog post based on your recent email newsletter.

Google Ads — The campaign is currently set to run with up to $500/month of ad spend. We’re targeting local keywords in the Chicago art gallery keyword space. In light of current circumstances, we’ll likely see low search volume for these phrases and thus will spend less than the $500/month budget. Would you like to use this time of low tourism to target a few artist keyword spaces? The goal would be to drive online inquiries/sales. For example, we could target phrases relating to Damien Hirst. 

Google Maps — We should update your Google Maps listing to reflect current hours and closures. We can do so in a way that doesn’t signal to Google a permanent closing. Instead, we set up the new hours of operation day by day. Do you have a defined schedule of operations for the coming weeks?

Our team is available anytime … we’re working remotely from home offices and are here for you.

Stay healthy out there, 

Lindsay

What if Clients Want to Cancel Services?

If your outreach is compassionate and understanding, you should hopefully be able to avoid this situation. However, cancelations may happen during these turbulent times.

If a client wants to cancel, remember that this is not a good time to be calling in and strictly enforcing terms in a contract, if you can avoid it. That will only sour relationships you have spent quality time and effort cultivating.

Instead, it’s a good time to be considerate and flexible. After all, it is understandable for some clients to cancel services out of total necessity during this dynamic time. Let them know that you will finish out the current month’s work for them and will keep things warm should they want to pick right back up where they left off after we all weather this storm together.

Then, when we do all get through this, you can reach out to them and ask if they need a hand kick-starting their business’ recovery.

Here’s a sample email in response to a cancellation:

Hi Will,

Thanks for reaching out. We completely understand. Pausing SEO during these uncertain times is a necessary decision for some businesses. The work that is in place will continue to carry value for the months to come. As the economy recovers, we can always pick things back up.

Our terms are 30 days notice, but we don’t need to enforce that in this case. We’re in the midst of our March body of work and your last invoice will be the one you just received yesterday. We’ll wrap up our work this week and next. We will also make sure everything is in good order for a pause.

As the new world normal develops, you may find value in a small Google Ad campaign that can immediately target any components of your practice that show signs of opportunity. It’s hard to predict that maybe now, but we’ll keep an eye out and be sure to reach out should you start to see some new seeds of growth in an area that we may be able to amplify.

Thanks for offering to leave us a review. That would be awesome! Here’s a link to our Google Maps page.

Best wishes,

Lindsay

Stay Healthy and Keep in Touch

At Pathfinder SEO, we’re wishing you health and happiness. We are here for you too! Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Lindsay Halsey

Lindsay Halsey is a co-founder of Pathfinder SEO. She has over 10 years of experience working in SEO with small to large businesses. Lindsay focuses on teaching site owners, freelancers, and agencies how to get found on Google via a guided approach to SEO. Stay in touch on Twitter - @linds_halsey.

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