Chances are you have already heard about COVID-19. I’ve received countless emails with COVID-19 and have reviewed and sent some as well. Any good marketer will tell you that communication is important. In times of crisis, communication is critical.
Here are a few communication tips during a crisis:
- Keep your audience at the forefront
- Utilize many communication channels
- Aim for consistent, clear communication
Know your Audience
Any solid communication answers who, what, when, why and how. Knowing to whom you are communicating is essential. What is most important to them? What questions do they have? Can you provide answers at this time? Be up-front with what you know and your plans. Answer these questions:
- Is your location open?
- Are events canceled?
- How can customers reach you?
- What actions are you taking to ensure safety?
- What is your plan for employees?
Tailor your message to your audience: either internal employees or external customers, media or other stakeholders.
Utilize Many Communication Channels
Coronavirus news is a great example of omnichannel communications: tv, social media, radio, email, and print. Many organizations are linking to the CDC site from emails, websites and social media posts. Understand that each channel has a different reach. According to Forrester research, email gets delivered 90% of the time compared to Facebook posts only reaching 2% of fans.
Consider the following tactics:
- Update your company website, create a centralized page specific to the crisis, if appropriate
- Send an email to your subscribers
- Create social media posts
- Update all business listings, including Google My Business
- Post signs in your physical office location
In a case like COVID-19, don’t feel like you need to re-invent the wheel. Many resources are already available, like this Coronavirus Response Toolkit from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It includes social media graphics and a customizable flyer.
Clear, Consistent Communication
In uncertain times, clear, consistent communication from leaders can create a sense of calm and confidence. In this recent article from Harvard Business Review, Paul A. Argenti describes the importance of leaders communicating early and often during a crisis.
How often should you communicate?
It depends on your business and industry. I would recommend posting your message to several channels and updating them based on feedback from your key stakeholder groups. Create a quick Google Form for comments or centralize one point of contact, such as an email address. There could be one update a week or once every other day. It varies based on the fluidity of the situation. Be flexible and ready to adapt as things change.
To the business leaders navigating these decisions, our guidance is clear: Treat your employees and customers as your North Star. Show customers how you are genuinely looking out for their well-beingAnjali Lai
For more examples and ideas, check out Email Communication During COVID-19 from Sendgrid and How CEOs are Communicating to Consumers During the Coronavirus Outbreak from Forbes.
Be a human
Amid uncertainty and change, simply be a human. Lead with empathy and kindness with the hope that we will be stronger and better when we are all together.
Be safe and be well, my friends! Please reach out if I can help lend a hand.