online marketing in worst-case conditions

Online Marketing for the Worst Case

January has brought challenges in the US. Winter weather has meant power and network outages, long lines and even hours stuck on major roadways. Something that strikes me is that many organizations’ online offerings assume the best-case scenario of their users having great connectivity and endless time. Have you taken time to evaluate whether your online marketing works for the customer operating under worst case conditions?

Let me illustrate. My power company has an app that allows me to track outages. Great! Except, it is SLOW on cell-only service. With my power out, my network is out. No high speed connection available. That map should be optimized to load fast on even the slowest connections. Instead, I found myself draining my cell battery as I waited for minutes – rather than seconds – for the map to load.

Marketing to Users in Times of Need

What resources do you offer that may be accessed by people in a time of need? Have you considered the circumstances they may be in – physically and/or emotionally when they come to you for information or services?

Don’t assume all users come to you happy and with unlimited resources. Accommodate their worst-case scenarios.

Worst-Case Marketing Tips

Here are some things to consider as you streamline your marketing for users in worst-case situations:

  • Bandwidth: Not everyone has a high-speed connection even on the best of days. Make sure your website, app, etc. is not a bandwidth hog. This can involve optimizing the coding and images, as well as how content is presented. (A PDF requires a download, which can be really painful on a slow connection and not even possible on a mobile device.)
  • Structure: Make critical information fast and easy to get to. It may not be accessed as often as other information, but it needs to be quick to find when it is needed.
  • Options: You may prefer that someone fill out your contact form with lots of details, but that may not be possible. Offer an alternative.
  • Listen and adjust: It’s hard to plan for every scenario. So, be ready to adjust when they come. If you are hearing that people can’t find what they need, or that your app is slow, change your process in real time to remove the log jams.

Act Now

Don’t wait for the next stressful situation to improve your online information and services. Work on it now so that you are ready for the next person stressed by a worst-case scenario. Not only will you help in their immediate time of need, you may just create a positive relationship that will last well beyond the crisis at hand.