As we look around, it seems that the current COVID-19 pandemic has altered every aspect of life as we know it. Marketing and branding is no exception. While many businesses have needed to rebrand themselves or shift their entire business model to survive, for others, the change doesn’t need to be so drastic.

Although physical contact with your customers may be limited, staying connected in other ways is essential. Whether it’s through social media, email, text or even good old-fashioned phone calls, how you speak to your audience is more important than ever. Follow these four tips to ensure what you say and how you say it helps customers and clients navigate these trying times and positions your business in the best light.

Be Sincere

With so much uncertainty today, customers just want something or someone they can count on. They don’t have the time or patience for fake empathy—and most can see right through it anyway. Keep the conversations real. Instead of just saying that you understand what they’re going through or that you’re in this together, demonstrate it. Talk about how you’ve extended your return policies, enhanced your customer service, added new ways for them to get your products or services, are deferring their payments—the tangible things that make a difference in their lives.

Keep it Simple

Between the current pandemic, upcoming election, ongoing social injustices and natural disasters plaguing the media outlets, most of us are suffering from information overload. The last thing you want to do is add to that by overcomplicating your messaging. It’s important to strike the perfect balance between maintaining your brand’s voice and keeping your message simple and to-the-point. Tell your audience what they need to know and let them get on with everything else that’s going on in their lives.

Be Sensitive

Words and images that may have seemed innocent in the past have taken on a whole new meaning today. When communicating with your audience, be sure to take into account new ways of life, evolving guidelines and heightened sensitivities. For instance, using headlines such as “this will take your breath away” or showing images of groups of people socializing in a crowded restaurant or children sitting in a classroom will make your business seem insensitive and out-of-touch.

Be Supportive

Speak to your audience in a way that shows you understand their current needs and that you’re there to help. What they needed six months ago may no longer be relevant. In fact, what they needed six weeks ago may not be either. The landscape is changing constantly. Let your customers (and prospects) know that you’re in tune with their current pain points and you’re evolving your solutions to meet them

The Bottom Line

As individuals are being inundated with so much content from every direction, they’re becoming more selective—and more critical—of what’s being said to them. As you stay connected with your customers and try to build new relationships through communications, remember to be sincere, keep your messaging simple, understand any current sensitivities and provide relevant solutions.