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