Free Checklist for Hurricane Season

Monday, 14 May 2018 Written by Published in Projects

Are You Ready For Hurricane Season

FREE CHECKLIST FOR HURRICANE SEASON

Do you have a marketing plan in place for Hurricane season? Many businesses don’t think about marketing at such a time, but having a plan in place helps you, your employees, your customers, and your suppliers. In this article, we will address a few scenarios and how to best navigate the stormy waters of disaster marketing.

If you are a business/service that plans on having storm preparation goods or services, now is the time to:

  • Discuss with your team an action plan that details how and who will be making announcements to your customers and the community
  • Inform your customers that it is storm prep time and how you plan to be their solution throughout the season. On Facebook, create a note about this information and pin it to the top of the page as often as necessary. You can unpin during a sale or other marketing campaigns and repin when those are completed
  • Give your employees and customers instructions on how they can stay in the loop with you during this time
  • Notify your supply chain of your activities and any back-up plans
  • Research who provides area storm coverage and disseminates information about resources so that you have these contacts easily accessible
  • Plan for chaos during prepping. Will you need waterproof signage to direct traffic to keep things orderly? Will you need umbrellas/safety vests/ponchos for your entire team and maybe some volunteers? (Imprinting these types of items reinforces authority of the situation, provides a helpful impression for the customer, and hopefully helps those items find their way back to you.)
  • On your computer and phone, create a gallery of images of the products you have so that you can post about them without having to stop for pictures. You can include images of your shelves full, half full, and empty to give a visual reinforcement of your stock.

If you are a business/service that plans on closing, you too can pre-plan your marketing strategy.

  • Discuss with your team what work can be done remotely and exchange back-up information
  • Create an Action Plan so that each team member knows their role in securing your business before your team leaves
  • Make sure that more than one team member has access to social media channels, email systems, and voicemails so that messaging can be updated
  • Draft messaging now so that when closing time is eminent your team already has agreed-upon verbiage. The messaging can be directed towards:
    • employees, which includes information about what their out-of-office messages should say (voice and email), and have instructions about checking in and emergency contacts
    • customers, which includes any information about services and expectations. Making your customers a priority will reassure them that you were calm and thoughtful in your departure.
    • vendors. Yes, even a brief email to vendors can be just the thing that keeps them from writing a bad review or black-listing your account.
  • Give warning that you are closing. If you have a five-day lead time that you are in a hurricane’s path, and you are staying open for two more days, let your customers know what services you will have during those two days and who will receive priority for those services. Share any adjusted hours of operation (staying open an hour or two may give your customers the support they need and they will remember this after the storm).
  • Give updates about your return. If you are out of power and cannot update social media, have a trusted out-of-state friend log in and post updates with agreed upon messaging.   Your customers may have power while you do not, but they will feel put-out if they try to access your services only to find out you are closed or have limited products/services. Updates can help reduce frustrations, and you can hope that your communications to customers beforehand will guide them to read your updates.

What did you learn from emergencies in years past? Did you have a lot of callers asking you how to use last year’s equipment? Did you have people asking for information that had to be hunted down? Try to create a resource so your employees can easily answer questions. If appropriate, place common FAQ’s in a special “Storm” section of your website, prominently placed on the front page for people to access. Use tools, such as alternative voicemails, auto-responding messaging, even consider hiring out-of-state answering services to manage your calls. Share the information about these efforts with a reassuring tone, e.g. “We want our customers to have peace-of-mind so please access our website’s “Storm FAQ’s”, and guide your clients through the system in a way that gives them a positive experience while allowing you to complete your task at-hand.

CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP DURING STORM SEASON

Want to make a difference and make a marketable impression? Think about what MillerCoors does during relief efforts (whether a natural or man-made disaster) – they turn their breweries into water bottling plants. They use their branded cans and fill them with water for first responders and those seeking relief. They then share that information in nationally-aired commercials, in videos on their social channels, send press releases, and work to be prominently featured in local news “feel good” stories and storm coverage. Those images are replayed at their Investor meetings and as examples of Corporate Citizenship. All of these marketing moments help to reinforce the MillerCoors’ positive corporate image while they provide amazing relief and kindness.

What impression can your company make? Printed sandbags, free flashights, free ponchos with your Company logo, free “care kits” for shelters in reusable bags from your store… imagine what you would need if the storm left you without power for a day, a week, a month, maybe longer. Your solution can be practical and memorable.

Another way to boost your impression during storm season is to support responders. You can sponsor or partner with groups, such as those who take care of out-of-state power line workers or nonprofits that answer the call for help. Doing your research and establishing your willingness to help before a storm allows you to calmly react to your community’s needs and, yes, you can establish a sponsor-recognition plan with the group you are sponsoring before the need arises and emulate what the brewers do to show your company’s commitment and dedication to your customers, community, and investors.

KNOW AND USE YOUR MARKETING TOOLS

Now is the time to explore your marketing tools, not when the storm cone swings your way. Did you know you can have drafts in Facebook? Or that you can use scheduling, Go Live, and boosting to maximize views? You can use tools, like Mail Chimp and Constant Contact, with pre-drafted storm campaigns for things like tools, prescription reminders, closing dates, and more. Are you using auto-responding, signature lines, and recording alternate voicemails?

If you or your team would like to discuss your Action Plan, schedule social media training, or review messaging efforts, contact AMM for a consultation.

 

 

Are You Paying Too Much to Update Your Website?

Thursday, 19 April 2018 Written by Published in Projects

amm website examples

Are You Paying Too Much To Update Your Website?

Recently, my electrician told me he was paying more than $500 per month for a company to “host and update” his 6-page static website. He couldn’t remember the last time he saw a change or even received analytics. I was SHOCKED! To pay thousands for a website to be created and then to be gouged monthly is insane! Don’t be afraid to shop around for the best pricing when it comes to your website. Remember, “cheapest” or “lowest price” does not automatically equate to a good investment so be discerning! In websites, you definitely get what you pay for. Make sure you see examples of the web company’s work, ask if the team who built those pages are still at the company, and check references. Be direct and learn the various terms to understand what it means if a company is hosting your website, what exactly is included in the website build-out, and what the maintenance plan encompasses, if they provide one.

Will you need to update your website? Is it important to have a maintenance plan? The basic answer is yes. Technology changes, and websites can “break” or look strange on different devices. At A Media Marketing, we provide our clients with responsive websites, meaning we design it to look good on desktops, tablets, and phones. Have you ever been on a website on your phone and it was unreadable? That’s because it was not built on a responsive platform. With more than 80% of users accessing the web via their phone, make sure your designer creates responsive pages.

When would $500 a month be a fair price? If you signed a contract with your website designer to spread out the cost of building your website across many months, $500 may be fair. If you have a lot of changes, such as daily blog postings or building out a photo gallery for your shop, you can expect to pay $500 per month or more, but that is not necessarily a “maintenance contract”, this is an active contract with monthly service.

One Final Tip -- Always Buy Your URL!

Several times last year, we had new clients who wanted an updated, responsive website tell us they didn’t own their URL, and their original website company was holding the branded URL hostage unless the client paid an exorbitant amount for it. Our clients had to make important decisions about the future of their branding and web traffic before they could proceed. We always recommend that the business owner buy their desired URL and then share that with their website designer. Don’t let an unethical company hold the power of your marketing efforts and brand recognition when buying a URL is a simple 1-2-3 process.

Are you in the market for a new website? Contact A Media Marketing to discuss your project and receive a quote.

 

promo item

How to Be Smart and Not Waste Money on the Wrong Giveaway

Meet with the team at A Media Marketing to get the best promotional items for your company. We have graphic artists on staff who can help you formulate a unique, eye-catching design.

Choosing the Right Promotional Item

Don’t invest in another tchotchke that people throw away! Know what your audience likes and make sure they know you’re the “cool place” that gave it to them. Think outside of the box so that you become unique and are remembered by the right audience. Yes, getting a large quantity for your budget is appealing, but what good is it if everyone throws it away? Spend a few extra pennies and transform your impression into something people actually want, and want to talk about!

Be the Solution

Promotional items don’t have to be cheap, small or even free. One of my favorite promotional items came from a hotel in NYC. It was raining outside and there were umbrellas for sale in every storefront, but I didn’t want to get drenched so I was stuck in the hotel. Then, as if choir of angels appeared, I noticed that the desk agent offered imprinted umbrellas for $5 for a travel umbrella or $7 for a fancier wood-handled one. I joined a long line of others and readily shelled $7 and four years later, I still have it, and every time I’m on the street with it someone sees the hotel name. Did the hotel lose money per item? Possibly, but they could write it off as a marketing expense, and years later, I still remember where I stayed and what a lifesaver they were, and here I am talking about it.

Own a certain time of year

Everyone clamors for the last end-of-year sale, so be the company who breaks up the monotony of summer or owns “back to school” time. What can you distribute that makes life easier in the summer time? Sunshades, steering wheel covers, and ponchos come to mind. Here in Florida there are imprinted items that people love – hats, towels, smartphone stands, sunglasses, and drawstring bags are always usable. Want to have a temporary impact but make a difference? Give out SPF sticks, sunscreen, and collapsible, reusable water bottles.

Be Green

Make an effort to go green in your promotional items. Water is a hot commodity at the beach, but when was the last time you kept one because of the branded label? You can market that your items are earth-friendly and that gives another positive impression for your company. Do you have a lot of marketing where you can associate yourself with positive outcomes? It may seem small, but it matters if you take the opportunity to market your promotional item correctly.

Use the Promotional Item as Content

Attending an event? Post pictures of your promotional item on your page and the event page. Having a store drawing? Make a video highlighting the giveaway. Your promotional items can be the driving force of why people hunt you out, but you have to promote your promotional items. Also, encourage users to post about the promotional items they receive from you. User-generated content is social media gold, and even if it’s a barber shop sticker on a truck, it can be how thousands hear about you through passive efforts. Getting these free marketing moments is how company’s build their base and grow their loyalty.

 

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