In times of uncertainty, people need help feeling at ease and hopeful about the future. You can help by communicating clearly, concisely, and accurately. Follow these steps to develop and implement a communications plan.
1. Establish a Communications Team
- Form a small team with people who can identify and prioritize issues and can approve communications.
- Determine a time when you will meet, probably daily, to discuss the current situation and your response.
- If possible, meet via video conference. It keeps you safe but also more connected than phone or email.
2. Identify which audiences need communications from you
- Clients / Customers / Patients
- Contractors / Vendors / Suppliers
- Stakeholders / Board of Advisors or Trustees
3. Determine what you need to communicate by asking yourself, “What impact do we have on the audience and what do they need from us to feel more at ease and hopeful?”
A. Clearly communicate how your organization is operating during this time.
- If possible, reassure that you can still provide quality services, products, and support (or how you are adjusting during this time).
- If there is an impact on how you operate (like working remotely, no in-person classes, closures, service support hours, etc.), communicate it to the impacted audiences.
- Add a banner to your webpage, post on social media, and update Google MyBusiness with the level of service you provide and how to contact you. Update as necessary.
- Review and update your content calendar to ensure that you are communicating relevant information.
B. Communicate each time there is a change to the services/products you provide or how you operate.
- Communicate as soon as you have accurate information.
- Be transparent with your updates.
- Be flexible and ready to adjust as things change.
4. Use the following guidelines as you evaluate your marketing
- Focus on what is important to the audience (like service and support availability, enhanced cleaning procedures, etc.).
- If the audience is impacted, focus on empathy rather than trying to create selling opportunities.
- If you’re running advertising, make sure the message is relevant for this time.
- Potentially lower budgets or even pause non-essential campaigns for the moment.
5. Offer your help
- If you have relevant knowledge or useful products that will help, share.
- Don’t play on fear, and don’t exploit.
- Provide relief when possible (like extra licenses, delayed payment, free support for 3 months, etc.).
- Maintain connections with people. Check-in and use video if possible.