When a serious emergency hits, everything freezes (sometimes literally, as we’ve seen). That often means shutting down business operations safely and making sure storefronts are properly protected.
But there’s another side to business activities, too – any ongoing marketing campaigns or social media outreach that a brand may be working on. If a business is going into hibernation for a time to sort things out, marketing also needs to wrap up in a way that protects the brand as much as possible. Here’s what that looks like, and why it’s important.
Send Updates on All Social Media Platforms ASAP
The good news is that an emergency isn’t exactly like a PR crisis that requires a sudden revision in marketing goals and response. However, immediate communication is still key, and any followers on social media should be updated as the business is shutting down. Cancel schedule posts for the future (for now) and send a new live post on each social media platform your brand is active on. The post can contain a variety of important information, including:
- Due to the current emergency, we are shutting down these specific operations/locations.
- If you are expecting an order from us, please use this contact number here.
- When we have more information about opening again, we will let you know.
- Please stay safe.
If you communicate frequently through email, send a similar email out to your customer database as well. If you use a social media storefront, update, or freeze this page as well.
Create Updates on Your Website
Social media is one facet of the immediate response, but your website needs some attention, too. Fortunately, 2020 has given us many excellent examples of how to create emergency website banners and notices for how a business is dealing with a disaster. If you have any COVID-related web banners, you can repurpose them for a current emergency. These banners should appear throughout your website, especially on the home page and landing pages, where searchers will most likely end up. If necessary, create new banners and notices to meet current needs.
The information should be a re-statement of your social media post, indicating closure, and social media managers can update it with new information as necessary.
Postpone Ongoing Sale/Discount Periods
If the business won’t be able to complete orders, then it’s important to also pause online orders and decide about what to do with your current sales or discounts for this marketing campaign. It’s usually easiest to freeze them and then resume the same deals when the company is ready to start again. For example, if you are three weeks into a 12-week marketing campaign with related discounts, freeze the campaign and re-start the remaining nine weeks when operations resume. Re-schedule other seasonal marketing events that may have to be pushed back or shortened as a result. When the calendar has been fully updated, make sure the team has the new version!
Adjust or Cancel Ad Buys and Advertisement Plans
Now head over to your advertisement strategy and adjust it, as necessary. Cancel ad buys if possible and cancel upcoming ad bids until your business has a better idea of when it’s going to open. Any ads that are appearing during this shutdown are more wasted money, so they need to be frozen as well. You may also want to schedule a future meeting about restructuring future ads to acknowledge the disaster if it was widespread and affected many of your customers.
Working with an Agency like Blue Atlas? Let Us Know!
We’ve covered many of the important updates brand should make ASAP. However, if your business is working with a marketing agency, it may not have access to the tools or knowledge to make all these changes. If that’s the case, contact your agency and let it know your plans. If you need agency help to quickly make some of these changes, you can always send us a message at Blue Atlas Marketing and we can help you complete key steps.
Link to Available Government Sites for the Latest Information
Now your brand’s marketing should be in hibernation for the time being. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stop outreach entirely. For major disasters, you may also eventually want to link government websites or other organizations that provide the latest news, updated regulations, and other data. This gives your social followers reason to keep checking for news and can help with brand reputation. To generate more goodwill, you may also want to post links to local resources, aid funds, disaster relief, and similar information that your customers may be able to use. In time, your business may also want to discuss holding a fundraiser of its own.
Final Tip: Only Announce a Timeline When You’re Ready
Don’t feel pressure to announce when your business will be open again, especially when you’re dealing with a current emergency. That needs to be on your timetable, when you have the time and resources to plan ahead for the coming weeks and months: Then you can start creating a timeline for re-opening and, barring further surprises, let your customers know the details with a new wave of marketing.