During a time of crisis, communication is critical for any business. Use your digital marketing channels to share current content and vital messaging that informs your customers how to do business with you during this time.
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Here is a checklist on how to manage your digital marketing during a time of crisis
1. Update your digital marketing plan
Considerate and timely digital marketing efforts during a time of crisis can provide significant benefits for a business in helping to maintain relationships with clients, generating revenue, and managing your reputation
- Assess what you are currently doing and make a plan
- What marketing channels are you presently using - website, social media, direct email, email campaigns (e.g. e-newsletter subscription)
- Do you need to create any new channels?
- Do you need to update your current channels with new tactics, E.g. landing page to provide the information required for the current situation, Facebook group for discussions around the crisis
- Who will be managing what? How will you ensure that you manage up-to-date scheduling
- Escalation process - provide your digital marketing team with guidelines on who will handle what type of messages and make sure they have the contact information for the decision-makers. E.g. for those difficult questions.
- Establish what type of content you want to share e.g. providing resources rather than hard push promotions of products may be better as overly promoting during a crisis may seem insensitive. An exception may be if your product or service is something relevant and supportive of the current critical situation.
- Social Media monitoring - designate someone to ‘social-listening’. Here are some social listening tools
- Are there any value-added tactics you can do during this crisis? Can your company provide products or services to support your community during this crisis? On social media, engagement is essential. This is the time to reach out to your online community, see how they are doing, ask them ‘how can you support them during this crisis? Watch for trending hashtags for the situation and within your industry.
2. Update your digital marketing channels with new business operations
- Update online directories with your listing details such as your hours of operation, contact information, e.g. Google my business, 411, Yellowpages, Yelp, Skip the Dishes, and industry directories. Check out Bright Local, a directory management tool
- Share on Social Media. When the crisis first hits, make a statement of your current situation on your social media channels. It will provide a quick response to your clients, and they will know how to support you
- Review any ads/graphics/ongoing promotions. Do they need to be updated? Put on hold? Create new ones? Consider the sensitivity of the situation.
- Get in touch with your clients! Send a personalized email to current clients to inform them of how you will be doing business with them. Reassure them that you have their best interest in mind, and let them know how you will be doing business in the current situation.
- Consider email marketing campaigns. First, send a group email to your email list with an update of ‘how to do business’. Then, send them periodic updates with any new offerings, e.g. webinars or specials.
3. Leverage your online channels to generate revenue
- Review your SEO strategy. Make sure your website is optimized, and SEO strategies are in place to drive traffic to your website. | Check out - 10 Free Ways to Drive Traffic to your Website
- Test your online forms, shopping carts, and your social media profiles have the right information for the current situation.
- If you don’t currently sell online, are you able to add your products / online to sell? Check your current website? Does it have a shopping cart capability?
- Promote your business through social media and drive traffic to your website. Sometimes during a series crisis, there are incentives available to support the business community.
- For service businesses
- Make sure lead generation forms and content are in place and functioning on your website
- Email Marketing - Can you leverage a landing page feature on your email marketing platform to offer more communication on your current situation or sell a specific product/service/tickets to an online event | Check out MailChimp.com/landing-pages
- Provide your service details on vendor directories - e.g. Digital Main Street - Vendor Directory
- Social media to sell products
- Facebook - Create a Facebook Catalogue
- Instagram - if you want to sell, you need to make sure your Facebook catalogue is up-to-date | Check out 4 Ways to Generate eCommerce on Instagram by Neil Patel
- Google shopping - Create a Google Shopping Campaign
- Pinterest shopping
- Niche platforms / apps to sell your product
Other marketing tips for building awareness of what you have to offer and generate sales
- Community outreach (share on social)
- Leverage LinkedIn - reach out to clients directly to see how they are doing. Be a resource to them which will keep you top of mind now if they need you, or build relationships for future Sales.
In the age of digital marketing, businesses know that they have to build a strong online brand by having a plan, engaging with their audience and leveraging digital tools and best practices to stay competitive. Preparing a strategy that can be agile enough to respond as the crisis evolves, is critical when managing your business during a time when even the near future is unpredictable.