How to market your business in a time of crisis

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As you are most likely aware, Australia is currently experiencing devastating bushfires. More than 1,600 properties have been lost, 24 people have died, 6 million hectares has been burnt and more than 480 million animals have died.

It is hard to put into words the devastation that is being caused and our thoughts are with those who have lost, or are at risk of losing their homes, the animals who are injured or have been lost and of course the firefighters who are working tirelessly to save our country.

Amongst the devastation caused by this crisis, many people have been asking how they should handle promoting their business online. Questions that have arisen include:

  • Should I be promoting my business at all?
  • Should I share regular updates of what is happening?
  • Should I consider changing what I had planned?

Ultimately there is no clear cut answer because the answer to these questions is dependant on the type of business you own and whether or not it is appropriate, your beliefs as a business owner and the values of your business, whether you need to or not and the approach you are taking. However I want to share with you the 5 key factors every business owner should consider when marketing their business during a crisis:

  1. BE HUMAN! In any crisis there is a need for support and remembering to connect and reach out in a genuine manner is critically important. When thinking about creating content for your business you need to remember to have compassion and empathy. Put yourselves in the situation of someone who has been directly affected by the crisis, or a relative of someone in that situation, and ask yourself whether what you are about to post is suitable. If you are not sure, then I would recommend getting expert advice because the wrong content during a time of heightened emotions could damage the reputation of your brand.
  2. CONSIDER HOW YOU WANT TO BE PERCEIVED. During the time of a crisis, emotions are typically high. Some people feel more anxious, overwhelmed, depressed and in general, can react more than they typically would. You need to consider what sorts of language you are using and how you are speaking to your ideal target. Overall my recommendation would be to adopt an add-value approach and speak in a nurturing manner rather than a hard sell.
    Also consider the core values of your company and how these can be shown through the content you are producing.
  3. BE ADAPTABLE. Being able to adapt is always important with marketing, but during a crisis it is especially important. Be ready to adapt your strategy in case you need too. It is also important to understand that stress and other emotions can impact buying decisions so you may need to adapt the overall strategy you are using to take this into account as well if your ideal target is likely to have been affected. Also, if you are running ads in certain locations that have been affected by the crisis then look at whether or not you need to exclude them from your targeting. If your services aren’t relevant to those who have been affected then chances are you should be!
  4. PROVIDE SUPPORT AND RESOURCES. When people are in a situation where emotions are heightened they generally respond well to support. My advice is to ensure that content you are producing adds value and is supportive for your ideal target. Also make sure that you have appropriate nurturing in place to support new leads as they come through and are not being pushy or demanding.
  5. DO NOT USE THE DISASTER THAT HAS OCCURED AS A WAY TO PROMOTE YOURSELF. If you want to genuinely share information about the event in order to help, such as where we shared the donation links for people to help with the Australian bushfires, then make sure you are doing it because you genuinely want to help. You will notice that with the Instagram post we did on the bushfires, it was solely about what has happened and how people can help and the hashtags we used were about the event. There is no way we would have used branding related hashtags for that post because it was never about our brand. It was solely for the purpose of sharing in order to encourage more people to donate and support those who need it. If you are planning to share your opinion about the event that has occured, then don’t do it with the sole purpose of trying to gain attention and sympathy yourself. You can share your opinion or how you are finding it as an experience, but there really is nothing worse than people trying to use a devastating situation to gain attention for themselves only with no intention of helping anyone else.

If you would like further support to ensure you have the right marketing strategy in place during this difficult time in Australia then you are welcome to book a complimentary 15 minute call where we can have a discussion about what you are struggling with and I can give you a plan for moving forward.

Until next time, stay social!

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