When difficult circumstances affect business operations, what should you remember to keep your marketing effective?

Whether local, national or global, a disruptive event can throw the most well-laid of business plans into uncertainty. Businesses tend to have continuity plans to ensure the company continues to operate close to maximum efficiency and effectiveness. However there is a risk that sales outreach and marketing takes a backseat, as effort shifts to hunkering down and protecting what the business already has.

But should marketing continue as usual? And can you keep communicating with your current customers as well as continuing to explore new avenues of opportunity? As marketers we pride ourselves on adaptability, resilience and creativity. Such traits will help us navigate these difficult circumstances, so let’s use them! But where to start?

The teams at Taxi for Email and ActionRocket have come together to offer some advice, as recipients and as marketers, on how to keep on marketing during difficult and strange circumstances.

Klaudia Piaskowska

Email Account Manager, Taxi for Email

Try to keep communications short and precise about the difficult circumstances you and your customers are facing and how you are dealing with them. Every company is going to send out these sorts of emails at a time like this, and if they are all quite long it will quickly cause reading fatigue for audiences.

Brittany Catton

Senior Account Manager, ActionRocket

Be compassionate and care about your consumers. Remember this is a hard time for everyone and make sure to acknowledge the situation and use company comms to try to be helpful and bring positive and not sales focused.

Matt Parsloe

Content Marketer, Taxi for Email

Be mindful that these situations can potentially cause business disruption. Companies will therefore be unlikely to make large budgetary decisions. Limit your product marketing, pause automated campaigns, or adjust any messaging to be less 'buy now'. Swap to a more thought-leadership or content-led strategy, as in times of disruption customers may have more time to take in content than usual!

Elliot Ross

CEO, Taxi for Email and Managing Director, ActionRocket

It's really important to be genuine and not the time for any marketing that deep down, we know is pushing our luck. Be aware of your tone and how your message may be received.

Hattie Howard

Customer Marketing Lead, Taxi for Email

In a crisis it's easy to directly reference it, but is the best course of action to remind your audience of the difficulties everyone is facing? Simple tips such as being mindful of language (ask yourself, would I want to receive this?), and swaying towards a solution based approach keeps the message positive. Remember just because this is going on, work can still continue.

Bex Highfield

Marketing Manager, ActionRocket

Be kind and communicate. Not just towards your customers but your work colleagues too. When we’re in an office environment it is easy to see when others may be too busy or stressed. Working from home makes this more difficult, and we are less likely to spot when someone is struggling. Communication is key here, reach out regularly with your team to ensure they are managing ok.

Deborah La Spina

COO, Taxi for Email

Be mindful of the image your company is portraying at such a time, and especially not to be seen as benefiting from the situation. Even giving discounts can be tricky because it can either be seen as taking advantage of the circumstances or that your business is doing badly because of it. Keep people respecting your brand and they will be back once this is all over.

Chris Pidsley

Graphic Designer, ActionRocket

Focus on the customer rather than the product. During this time the attention should be on making them feel like everything is under control and painting a sense of stability rather than being seen to be taking advantage of the situation. Offer advice and solutions to things you can control and when business returns to normal the loyalty will still remain.

Will Lahr

CTO, Taxi for Email

As a marketer you can grab attention by offering information on the circumstance you find yourself in, but if you don't know the exact facts of it, don't try to predict what will happen. It’s difficult to add value by having a 'take' on it. Instead point people to official advice and encourage them to follow it. You should respect your audience now and build trust. Stick to things people need to know, were they planning to attend an event you've cancelled? Is their order still going to be delivered? Focus on your area of expertise and reassure your customers it’s business as usual for you.

To keep marketing effectively, you'll need to keep yourself effective

However you choose to continue marketing during difficult times, make sure that you take care of yourself - both physically and mentally. Work can seem difficult at an already overwhelming time so try to get, and keep, yourself in a positive mindset and in good health. We've all heard the old adage 'all good things come to an end'. Well, so do bad things. Keep yourself above water and when it all settles back down you'll come out on top.

For more hints and tips on how to market effectively during uncertain times, our friends Jordie van Rijn and John Walsh at emailmonday.com have put together a post with even more advice on email marketing during a crisis.

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