Unfortunately, disaster can strike at any time. But we now find ourselves in the middle of a global health crisis. As a business owner or marketing professional, how should you react? It can be hard to determine the appropriate response, but there are a few things you can do to adjust your marketing strategy during times of crisis.
1. Keep your customer in mind.
Remember that your customer is your focus and reason for existence. Think about their needs and questions. Is there something you can solve? Are there questions you can answer? Can you provide support in a different way than you normally do? Keep your focus on building and maintaining relationships, and point your marketing efforts to providing value and education.
2. Communicate proactively.
Communicate early and often. Reassure your customers of any changes to your business operations. Alert them of any information that may be helpful to them. Make sure they know if you will be delaying anything in your business schedule or in your day-to-day operations. For example, if you know you will have a delayed shipment or a shortage of supplies, make sure to tell your customers ahead of time. Don’t wait until it’s too late and the delay has already occurred.
When it comes to crisis communications, Scott Monty outlines the following principles:
Always rely on credible sources.
Make recommendations that matter.
Use experts to share information.
Keep messaging simple and consistent.
3. Provide value.
You always want to provide value to your customers, but this is especially crucial during a time of crisis. There are two main ways to do this—through your product and through information or resources. When it comes to your product or service, consider new or different helpful ways it can be used. Think of ways to make it easier to access. When it comes to information, consider yourself in “PSA mode.” Look for ways to provide valuable information that can help your customers during an uncertain time. Share resources that can help your audience.
4. Be sensitive with social media.
There is only so much attention to go around and many people’s anxiety levels will be high. Exercise sensitivity and caution with what you post. In fact, this may be a good time to post less frequently. Consider how your posts will come across to your audience. Again, this isn’t a time to focus on sales, but on value, education and information. Keep track of your good sales and traditional marketing ideas and save those for a different time.
5. Have an emergency business plan.
Regardless of the crisis, it’s important to have a business interruption plan. Jimmy Rodefer, CEO of Rodefer Moss, suggests preparing work force management, telecommuting, communications, and other business considerations. If your industry allows for telecommuting, prepare or implement your remote plans now. Don’t forget to inform your customers of changes to your work structure and how it may affect them. Consider any ways you may be able to conduct business in a format that isn’t person-to-person.
6. Stay calm.
Remember to remain calm. Take some time for your own mental health. Take a break from the 24-hour news cycle, read, exercise, or call a friend. Think of ways to interact in a healthy way that will protect you, your family, your employees, and your clients. This is a time of uncertainly, but your team needs you!
While we face unpredictable times, this is a chance for us to pull together and support each other. We hope you, your family, your customers, and your team stay well. We will get through these uncertain times - together!