Weeks before making homemade bread was trending, our local bakery, Moxie, started giving away free sourdough starters. Around the same time, Andy, the owner, began a daily email. As things intensified with Covid-19 here in Colorado, Andy’s updates started by reassuring everyone about how they were keeping employees and customers safe.
- First, he started limiting the number of customers in the store.
- Then better signage and markers on the sidewalk every 6 feet.
- Finally, he opened a special no-contact pick-up window.
Next, he launched a delivery service. Free (local) delivery daily for orders over $25. Every newsletter had updates about how they were handling the outbreak, new offerings, and closed with a “song of the day” for a bit of positivity.
In addition to the sourdough, he added flour, fresh and dry yeast and a bread-making book to his online store. Working with other local producers, he began to expand Moxie’s offerings to become a sort of high-end general store: chocolate, craft beer, wine, fresh produce, oat milk, coffee and farm fresh eggs, even TP!
His team started preparing full meals so that people could order a hearty to-go dinner for their families. The nightly menu was mostly comfort food and almost immediately sold out: lasagna, mac and cheese, chicken pot pies. Just last week, a full Easter meal was on offer: 2 pounds of sliced River Bear hormone and antibiotic-free Denver ham, with roasted potatoes, vegetables and salad, along with egg-shaped cookies and hot cross buns. Andy also ran a contest where kids submitted poems for a chance to win a 5-pound chocolate Easter bunny. The second-place winner penned an ode to cinnamon roles:
Cinnamon rolls are as good as scoring a goal in a soccer match,
Cinnamon rolls are as important as moles are to holes,
Cinnamon rolls are better then anything in life
So here I am saying, “Cinnamon rolls are life!”
I think we can probably all relate to that right now. Simple pleasures, am I right?
One newsletter thanked everyone for their support. Because of us, he said, Moxie had been able to keep all their staff on full-time. Because of Moxie, I don’t have to feel guilty that the only thing we’ve been baking at home is cookies. Supporting the bakery makes me feel good. If their sourdough wasn’t so delicious and I wasn’t so lazy I might be tempted to join the bread baking craze. Bread is just too important to me right now. I can’t risk failure!
Andy’s Daily Emails Satisfy Our Desire to Connect
In a time of great uncertainty, Andy’s candid, conversational emails create community. With a whole lot of uncertainty in the world, they are something to rely on. Like most of you, I get a ton of email each day and yet I always look forward to Andy’s email in the morning.
For one thing, it’s deeply personal. Like this anecdote shared early on:
“During these times we are getting to spend so much time with our family. I am seeing my boys glow with happiness as I take them up to the new mill site in North Boulder at the end of the day to help build our new spot. Painting the walls, putting up cobb, testing out the mill, sweeping the floors. My 7 year old Theo has been sleeping on top of me in our bed at night with what we call a “pancake snuggle”. That’s when dad can’t barely breathe because he’s smothered like a pancake with a very large 7 year old. He won’t leave my side! We work so hard to provide for our families, spending weeks in hotels, days on airplanes, late nights at the office. Our children have less time to see us show them how to be. This time spent with them will change them forever, and I bet you’ll be bummed when you have to get back on a plane or train and leave them at the house for your 12 hour work day.”
These stream-of-consciousness style communications are authentic and funny – but they are also useful. Don’t overthink it: you need to be communicating with your customers during this pandemic. It doesn’t have to be incredibly polished. You just need to understand your customers and engage them in a genuine way.
Andy’s Emails Have Valuable Takeaways for all Marketers
- Contain information about what’s available
- Describe new offerings: daily dinners, new products added to the online store, special holiday-themed baked goods, etc.
- What’s coming up: special offers to watch out for, or products he’s working on adding to the store.
- Current protocols for pick-up or delivery
The daily communications are not:
- Fancy. They are sent using Squarespace’s email template. They are simple, clean, and always include photos. The photos are clearly taken with Andy’s phone – they are not perfectly composed or edited. They are fun and personal.
- They aren’t 100 percent grammatically correct or error-free. Andy rambles, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t laboriously edit them.
Hearing from Andy every day ties all of us bread, coffee, and pastry lovers together. His stories are entertaining and informative. At a time when relationships are more important than ever, his newsletter builds a bond between his family and his customers.
Your communication during a pandemic doesn’t have to be perfect. Regular, heartfelt, informative communication with your customers during these uncertain times is priceless. Andy’s awesome instincts are creating community and his words shape the way we feel about his business.
If your forte isn’t with words but you know what you’d like to accomplish, get in touch. I’d be more than happy to help you build a lifelong bond with your customers, starting today.