How to Keep Your Marketing Efforts Going During a Disaster

When a global crisis occurs, it can have detrimental impacts on a business. In a time of disaster, it can be easy to focus on the problem at hand and forget about keeping your business going. It can be difficult to put your company first during such a troubling time, but if you don’t continue to grind every day it could be the beginning of the end of your business.

Keeping up with your everyday practices will be difficult during this time. The processes of your business will likely undergo some changes. You may have to go remote, your employees may need to miss work, and you will definitely need to cut down on unnecessary costs, just to name a few changes. One thing that will change during a time of emergency is your company’s marketing efforts. As your consumers’ wants and needs change, so too should your business’s marketing strategy. You will need to continue to market your company, but depending on the severity of the problem at hand, it can be difficult to navigate exactly how to market your business. Follow this guide to ensure that your marketing efforts are optimized no matter what is thrown at you.

Show You Care

One of the most important elements of marketing is to relate to people’s emotions. This is especially true during times of crisis. Addressing the situation that is impacting both your business and the community around you will show that your company is invested in the people that support you.

When addressing the situation, be transparent, honest and upfront with any stakeholder. Putting out an official message on your social media platforms is a great way to show your customers that you care about them. Let the community know that you are there for them and that anything they can do to help you is greatly appreciated.

Foodland coronavirus response
Image: Foodland, a grocery retailer in Hawaii, provides messages of support and important updates for customers

Playing on human emotion has always been a staple of marketing. While using emotion in marketing is great, be sure that you do not overdo it. If you lean too hard on emotional marketing, your customers and the community around you will realize what you are trying to do. The quickest way to destroy the trust between you and your customers is by attempting to manipulate them. Toeing the line between sensationalism and emotion can be tough. Consider reading up on this guide on emotional marketing strategies to best optimize your strategy.

Switch Your Marketing Channels

When disaster hits, your marketing strategy will likely change. As your message changes so too will the channels in which you deliver the messages through. The nature of the crisis should dictate what marketing channels you decide to use.

For example, right now during the rise of COVID-19, many people are stuck indoors. It would be wise to invest in marketing efforts that reach people digitally instead of traditional print. Increasing your social media efforts should be the first priority. If you do not have a dedicated employee who deals with social media marketing, it may be time to hire someone to optimize your content.

The channel in which you market your company will change depending on the disaster. Whatever path you take, it will likely cost a decent amount of money. A small business loan may be needed to help fund your new marketing efforts. Be mindful not to completely overhaul your marketing strategies, just optimize them for the current situation.

Be Prepared

Being prepared for a crisis is the best way to beat it. If you have an emergency marketing plan in place, you will be one step ahead of the game when disaster strikes.

Develop a plan when there is no current issue at hand. This will help you be better prepared if a problem does occur. In such a tumultuous situation, having a plan in place could be half the battle. You do not want to be scrambling to switch up your marketing tactics during such a panicked time. Having a plan in place will allow you to seamlessly switch your marketing strategy. Being prepared for anything is the sign of a great leader and will help keep the rest of your team calm and collected.

When developing your backup marketing plan, be sure to brush up on your crisis marketing skills. It can be difficult to know exactly what you will want in your marketing plan.

Keep Some Normalcy

Focusing too much on the problems around us can have some negative impacts. Do not become obsessed with the crisis at hand. While it can feel weird to act normal, it can provide comfort to your consumers and community.

If your business typically does an event, try hosting the event virtually. This will keep your customers engaged and will give them something to clear their minds during a difficult time. Try to get creative and make customers feel like some normalcy has returned to their lives.

There may be some industries who must adapt more than others to provide this sense that everything is “business as usual”. If you are in foodservice, partnering with an online delivery company may be a worthwhile option to explore. This will allow your customers to be able to eat your meals even if you traditionally did not offer delivery.

Keep up on what your competitors are doing if you cannot think of creative ways to provide a sense of normalcy yourself.

Right now people will be looking for an escape from the daily news cycle. If your company can do that, you will certainly win over some lifelong customers. Be sure to appeal to people’s emotions, be open and transparent, bring some normalcy to the marketing game, and never be afraid to adjust on the fly.

For more insights to help you and your team deal with the impact of a disaster on your business, read this remote working guide to help you become more effective and productive working from home

Anthony Gaenzle
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