Thoughts From The Cloud: Negotiating Severe Natural Disasters
When I chose the name “In The Cloud” for this company, I wanted it to evoke the power of the tornadoes in my native Ozarks, as well as the safety and convenience that The Cloud has brought to computing. I mean, who doesn’t want their marketing efforts to make an impact, right? Well, as it turns out, this imagery has been slightly problematic in the wake of Hurricane (now Tropical Storm) Florence.
I mean, it’s not earth shaking or anything, but it did get me thinking about how we as marketers and small business owners need to be extra careful when severe disasters strike. When the news is full of people in serious danger, this is not the time to sell our products using the fear button or the disaster itself, I don’t think. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I felt strongly enough about it on Thursday that I pulled my scheduled email blast at the very last minute.
I found the whole idea of pushing “hurricane force” marketing disgusting under the circumstances.
Beyond My Office: You and You and You and Those Carolinians
If your marketing isn’t so weather-centric, you may not have much to worry about unless you decide to target people who are in flooded areas with ads for your newest kayak. That’s sort of a dick move, I’ll just come out and say it. But, you know, your basic ads are probably ok. That’s my point. But what about those people whose lives have been torn apart? If you’re one of them and you’re reading this right now, email me and I’ll send you a In The Cloud swag bag. Because that’s crazy stuff.
In 2007, Springfield, Missouri (where I was a Realtor with Murney Associates), experienced one of the most economically devastating ice storms in its history. Not only were the roads covered in ice and snow and ice and snow under snow, most of the county was without power for almost two weeks, as were several neighboring counties. Now, Springfield is sort of a little city unto itself. There’s nothing close, not even “Texas close.” But you’ve got 350,000 or so people right there in that metropolis. Anyway, to my point. It took two weeks for the power to come back on. It took longer than that to clean up all the mess. It took months for things to get mostly back to normal, and even then people were skittish when the skies darkened.
That year was a mixed one. It was not only the year that the real estate market collapse made it to our insulated area, but it was also the year we learned to reinvent or rebirth our ventures. Those of you in the Carolinas will be faced with this choice sooner rather than later. There’s no doubt that business has already been impacted — heck, the news this morning said that McDonald’s was closed. I didn’t think that place ever closed these days. It’s gonna be a big deal.
So, while those of us on dry land need to not be total asshats and show a little extra consideration for people affected by natural disasters, those businesses affected by natural disasters will need to rebuild however they can.
Sometimes It Takes a Network
If you’re having to rebuild your company from the rubble, it can be tough. It can be so hard because there’s no way you’re going to start back at the place you were. Nothing will be the same. But, it can also be a blessing because you surely learned some things you can apply in your new situation. Check out these tips for using your marketing to quickly rebuild your client list:
- Get your social media machine running. Direct advertising to people who want your services right now is best done with a paid advertisement when there’s no time to waste. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are all platforms where you can host social and give customers a way to “buy now” or “book now.” They’re set up for commerce. Go check it out.
- Make sure people know you’re still in business. This is harder. But an email blast, mailer or telephone call can ensure that your existing and former clients know that you’re not going anywhere. Trust me, people make some funny assumptions. Don’t let one of them be that you were blown off the surface of the planet.
- Consider paid SERP. There are very few situations in which I’d recommend spending on paid SERP (essentially, ads at the top of the Google results page), but if you need to kick your marketing effort in the pants, this is a highly visible space in which to do it.
Once some of that is going and you’re getting some response, you can slowly remix your advertising to include more long term stuff that may deliver a little now, but a whole lot later (like this blog). The most vital thing, the thing that’s everything, is to get that neon sign up and as fast as you can. Every day you wait, every minute you doubt your marketing skills, you lose customers.
So, you know, don’t you do that. And I won’t use a terrible disaster in the Carolinas to sell marketing packages. But, do keep in mind that you can call on me if you need me. The phone is 817-796-9393 or you can send an email here. Marketing consultations are always free, so don’t sweat it. We’ll figure it out.