Messaging During a Crisis Part 3: Pivot & Plan
✔ The world is reopening
✔ We’re in Recovery mode
✔ You’ve listened to your clients and employees
✔ You’ve reviewed your current messaging
✔ Now, it’s time to go full Ross Gellar and…
When you are messaging during a crisis, it’s crucial to adjust your marketing to match the new social climate and make sure it aligns with the current needs of your customers.
The difference between you and TV’s favorite dino doctor, however, is that you’ll need a plan. A 6-foot couch generally goes up a stairwell much better when you’ve got a system for successful transport. And your marketing will thrive through this Recovery period if you’ve got a plan to take you through.
HOW TO PIVOT AND PLAN
Step 1: Assess your communication channels when messaging during a crisis
What communication channels do you currently use to get the word out? Example: Email lists, social media, print media, radio, direct mail, in-person meetings, trade shows, industry publications.
What you were doing in the crux of the Event (aka smack dab in the middle of the shutdown) may not be what’s most effective for Recovery.
- Example: Direct mail may be ineffective if your target audience has left the area (wildfire, hurricane). Ask yourself where are your customers right now? What platform will help you reach them most effectively?
During Recovery, it’s almost guaranteed to be social media. People turn to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to find news and connect. They also tune in to local online news for information, and TV for entertainment when they are still cautious about going out or curious about what’s fully open.
Action Item: Ask yourself where do your customers spend their time? From this list of questions, choose the appropriate platforms to deliver your message. For small teams of 1-2 people, keep it simple. Odds are you have a lot on your plate during normal circumstances much less than in the throes of a crisis. You’re better off focusing on no more than two platforms and managing them well.
- Example: Email marketing and Facebook. List all resources available to help spread the word that you’re here, listening, and ready to serve. We’re talking to you, small business. You have more resources than you think. Messaging during a crisis is not only a mindset but a priority.
Step 2: Spend time getting noticed
When messaging during a crisis in the Recovery stage, it’s all-hands-on-deck to re-engage with your customers and stand out from the competition. It’s a noisy world and even if you don’t have direct competition, just being noticed is tough enough! With limited hours in the day, this may result in setting aside those “want to do” projects and focus on things that bring business through the door. Start with low-hanging fruit such as boosted/paid social posts, customer emails, dedicated email blasts through your local chamber of commerce or other partner organization, and getting involved in social media groups.
Action Item: Weigh resources against capacity. Look for every opportunity available and create a simple spreadsheet (or write on a piece of paper) containing the resource, cost and impact. What is it, how much will it cost, and how much bang do I get for my buck.
- Example: For instance, if you don’t have a large social media following, it may not be worth spending hours creating posts on your own page. Perhaps your email list is a better way to reach people, or reserve an e-blast from the Chamber to reach your colleagues and customers. Whatever you do, be sure your messaging is consistent throughout everything you do.
Step 3: Make word of mouth a priority
When the going gets tough, the tough ask their friends for help. This is not a time to be shy. Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to get the word out there, because people tend to choose products, services, and companies based on recommendations of people they trust.
Action Item: Ask for reviews! Ask your peers and loyal customers to help you spread the word. Make it a goal to collect one new review per week.
There are no bones about it:
When messaging during a crisis, the most important part of your pivot and plan approach is to keep it simple. Meet the right-now needs of your customers with messaging that’s consistent, relevant, and cost-effective.
Pivot and Plan Checklist 📝
❐ Choose two platforms to really focus on
❐ Use your collected customer information to plan your content
❐ Block out 15 minutes a day to stay on top of your marketing platforms channels
❐ Collect reviews (ideally 1 per week!)
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