Your general communication plan

5 minutes

In addition to communicating with customers one-on-one, you must also consider the messages you are sending out as a company. This includes what you post on social media, the language on your website, email campaigns, blog posts, and so on. Consistency here is key. Make sure your company is sending a clear, concise, and unified message.

Review your entire messaging stream to identify regularly scheduled communications that you may need to pause or shift as a result of the situation. Doing so can mitigate the risk of coming off as insensitive, incorrect, or seeking to capitalize on a tragedy.

Types of communication:

Your website

Your website is a powerful tool when it comes to keeping your customers informed and up-to-date. Even outside of the crisis, we recommend reviewing your website messaging and images on an ongoing basis and tailoring it to address current events. Think of your website homepage as your storefront window. Displaying winter jackets in the middle of spring is a missed opportunity to guide customers to purchase more, and can even turn customers away. This concept applies to what is going on today and displaying the right message is more important than ever.

When adjusting your message, a good approach is to simply remind your customers that you are here for them through thick and thin and that you empathize with what they are going through. Tell them that you have solutions to help them convey a similar message with their own customers and communities, and that you understand how current events have impacted them. You can also change images on your website to feature work-from-home products, health and hygiene kits, and so on. Your website visitors will know you have your finger on the pulse and understand their situation as well.

Social media posts

Scheduled and planned posts need to be audited. Spend some time on your social media strategy. Pushing posts about the Pride parade and picnics in the park will be perceived as tone deaf if we are all under stay-at-home orders. Make sure that what you are posting aligns with current events. Follow the 80/20 rule - 80% of what you post should be helpful and interesting content, and, at most, 20% can be sales related. The key to social media is sharing content that can engage, delight, and educate. People will scroll on past daily hand sanitizer and face masks promotions and they may even hurt your brand’s reputation - leaving the impression that your business is trying to capitalize on tragedy. While there is nothing wrong with making sales, you will likely be much more effective if customers feel connected to and trusting of you. Build this trust through well thought out content that adds value and does not waste time. Here are some ideas for content that you can share on social media now:

Case studies / Success stories

Feature a customer and how they used promotional products to connect with their community.

Video

Video has proven to be one of the most engaging types of content you can post. Create a “message from the founder” or a “monthly recap” and authentically speak to your followers. You do not need a production crew to make great video content. Grab your phone and find a clean spot with good lighting.

Education

Share tips such as how to effectively run a virtual event, how to foster community through promotional products, or how to use promotional products to reach a specific demographic.

Helpful resources

Consider a message to customers to show you’re aware of current events and offer helpful resources.

Personal stories

Being transparent can foster connection. Within reason, consider opening up to your customers about how the pandemic has impacted your business and how you are overcoming the challenges. For example, you can talk about some of the hurdles your team faced when moving from office to home. Be sure to tell these stories in a positive light and what lessons were learned to avoid the perception that you are posting for sympathy and playing the victim card.

Your blog

If you have a blog and content schedule, now is the time to review what is planned. Make sure that the topics you cover are relevant to what is happening right now. You do not want to blog about the power of promotional products at concerts while people are required to social distance; however, covering how to use promotional products to promote virtual conferences might be a great alternative.

Promotional email campaigns

When done well, email campaigns can be one of the most effective ways to reach your audience, but a badly timed email could result in unsubscribes or even hurt your company’s reputation. Review the campaigns that will be running over the next few months and adapt your message to be consistent with your other communication channels (your website, blog, social media posts, etc.).

Transactional communication

Another touchpoint that is easy to overlook are the automated messages sent via email or text. This includes a confirmation email sent when someone signs up for an account on your website or when they place an order, a push notification from your app, or an appointment reminder text message. There is a good chance the messaging in these transactional messages is generic enough that they do not need to be edited, but it is worth spending a few minutes reviewing them just in case. You could even move away from the generic messaging and insert some empathy and humor for a morale boost.

Next lesson in your course

Making communication personal