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    When it comes to prepping for a natural disaster, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Evacuate and/or load up on water, batteries, canned food, gas, and sand bags… ASAP.

    Hurricane hack: assuming you don’t wait too long, order emergency supplies (including water) on Amazon Prime. 

    But you’re not here to read about prepping your house for a hurricane from an internet marketing company blog. There are plenty of thorough blog posts on the topic.

    You’re here because you already prepped your house (if you haven’t and you’re in Irma’s path, close your laptop right now and sprint to Publix), and want to know about how to pivot your digital marketing for a natural disaster.

    If your target audience happens to be in an affected area, you need to…

    Pause your ads

    Natural disasters wipe out people’s homes and businesses. Even the weakest disasters are life-threatening. The last thing someone that’s being affected by a natural disaster wants to see in their Facebook News Feed or search results are your ads.

    It’s not a good look and it doesn’t show much compassion for your target audience in an affected area.

    Pause your ads that target consumers in the affected areas at least a day before the storm hits. Pause them immediately after a sudden disaster like a tornado or earthquake.

    Re-schedule your posts

    For the same reasons as pausing your ads, you need to re-schedule or pause your scheduled social media posts. Instead of posting whatever you were planning on posting, here are some ideas:

    • Don’t post at all during the storm
    • Share a useful article about how to prepare for the storm
    • Share a link where you can donate to help those affected
    • Share updated weather forecasts
    • Post something that reflects that you’re hoping/praying for those in the midst of the disaster

    Delay your original posts for a later date.

    Find ways to help the relief efforts

    You’re asking for a negative backlash if you begin sharing promo codes or sales that try to piggyback off a natural disaster. Again, it’s just not nice and shows zero empathy for your target consumer.

    Instead of running an IRMA20 promo code, consider offering a portion of your profits to natural disaster relief. Here are some other things you can do:

    • Donate a lump sum to a non-profit that helps with disaster relief
    • Get your staff to volunteer with storm relief efforts
    • Donate your products (if it makes sense) to relief efforts
    • Utilize your extra space or equipment to relief efforts

    A good example of the latter is what the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Cartersville, Georgia did after Harvey. They paused beer production so that they could produce 50,000 cans of emergency water to send to the Red Cross.

    Create useful content (emphasis on ‘useful’)

    Need an example of (hopefully) useful content related to a natural disaster? You’re reading one now.

    We’re pretty good at digital marketing (patting ourselves on the back), and we just happen to be headquartered in hurricane territory (South Florida). Our target audience (you) is interested in digital marketing resources and is likely also in a natural disaster-prone area.

    We came up with this topic because Hurricane Irma is approaching, and we thought it could be useful to share what we do for our clients that have customers in the cone of Irma.

    Mark yourself safe on Facebook

    The team at Facebook has done a great job of adding features to the social network that aid natural disaster relief efforts, namely their improved donation features and the Safety Check.

    The Safety Check allows you to publicly mark yourself safe after a disaster. After a natural disaster strikes, it’s important to let your family, friends, and staff know that you’re safe.

    Be safe

    If you’re within the Hurricane Irma spaghetti strings, please please please be safe. If you have any questions about preparing your digital marketing for natural disasters, feel free to comment below or reach out.

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