You’re reading this on the Internet today, but I might not be.
I’m in the path of Hurricane Sandy, which is being billed as the largest storm to ever hit the US coast. I’m writing this on Monday morning just as the rain and wind are both starting to pick up.
Thankfully I’m inland, and we’ll be fine. There will likely be local flooding and we’ll lose power, but we’re ready. Those on the coastlines will have it harder, and my thoughts are with them.
Emergency marketing preparedness measures
These kinds of major weather events come along a couple of times a year where I live. If it’s not a hurricane, it’s a major snowstorm that keeps us indoors and knocks out power for days.
Maybe it’s because I’ve come to expect these times, but I’ve developed systems to market my business that continue to hum along even if my life is completely disrupted.
You can develop them, too. It’s a matter of planning ahead and putting systems in place that will work even if you can’t. The bonus is that these same systems work for you even when you’re not experiencing an emergency.
It may take a hurricane to motivate you to get them set up, but you’ll be grateful you have marketing systems in place even on sunny days.
Everyday automation=Peace of mind
Getting these automated marketing systems in place requires that you invest both time and money. You have to spend both before you see results. But if you do them right, they’ll pay you back many times over.
The trick is to create systems for every step of the marketing process using the power of the Internet. Here are your options:
Automated prospect attraction
- Create an Ebook, white paper or special report with information that will help your prospect meet their challenges. For Ebook ideas, sign up for the no-cost Brown Bag Webinar I did a couple of months ago with Kelly Kingman, or simply read this post.
- Offer a contact form on your website that allows prospects to get in touch and ask questions. If your site is built on WordPress, the paid plugin Gravity Forms (affiliate link) is highly configurable and can be set up to forward queries to different people on your team, create fillable forms, pre-purchase surveys and more. For free alternatives to Gravity Forms (still good, but don’t do as much) try Fast Secure Contact Forms, or the contact form plugin that’s part of Jetpack from WordPress.
Automated warm up
- Promote a series of educational emails that you deliver via an email autoresponder. For reviews of the best email marketing services, read my Tools of the Trade page.
- Offer downloadable recordings, or create a series of YouTube videos that show how to make the most out of your product or service.
- Schedule your posts in social media using the scheduling tools built into Facebook Pages, and Twitter clients like Hootsuite and TweetDeck.
- Set up PayPal or a shopping cart so your products are available 24/7. If you sell physical products, consider using a company to fulfill your orders. Amazon offers this service as well. If you sell digital products or a service, eJunkie is a low-cost shopping solution that allows you to control how they’re delivered.
- Let your customers set up their own appointments. If you sell your time (such as as a coach or consultant), consider using an online scheduling system. I’m partial to Schedule Once, which integrates with the calendar on your computer and allows you to set your availability and give customers the opportunity to easily pick an appointment time that you can approve.
Automated follow up
- Include thorough instructions so your customers can make the most of their purchases, and know exactly how to reach customer service, your FAQ page, and your support forum, if you offer one.
- Use your email marketing program to send out a series of post-sale emails. Consider asking for feedback such as a testimonial or a product review.
Move your business forward, even when times are scary
If you don’t already have them set up, plan to spend some time automating your marketing process so you have one less thing to worry about when life gets turned upside down.