Every marketer must be aware that Hurricane Harvey will have a profound and prolonged impact on your current response rates and long-range response rates.
Harvey is quickly becoming one of the worst tropical storms to hit the United States, slamming the Gulf Coast with rainfall of biblical proportions.
It has already dumped 52 inches of rain in Texas, breaking the continental U.S. record.
In Houston, the fourth largest city in America, businesses are devastated, lives are shattered and an economic disruption of historic proportions will have an impact on your clients, prospects, and their businesses.
Here are 7 things you should consider doing right now:

  1. Please pray: Let’s pray and help those whose lives are shattered in the Houston area. It’s been awesome to watch people in the disaster area … people who are hurting, people who are feeling personal loss, reaching out and aiding others. That’s exactly the American spirit and that’s what is happening as strangers help strangers. All of us need to keep them in prayer and do what we can to help.
  2. Donate to charities aiding flood victims: I recommend donating to Samaritan’s Purse, which is on the ground now helping those in a way that government, with all of its great servants now helping, are not able to do. To contribute, CLICK HERE.
  3. If your business is donating: You may want to 1) Tell your customers a portion of their sales is going to help the victims, and 2) Offer a matching donation.
  4. Suspend direct mail marketing to this area: I stopped all my clients’ mail into the area – mailings should have been suppressed last week. If you are doing any mailing, make sure you omit any zip codes in the Houston and Louisiana areas. Personally, I would not send mail to Texas or Louisiana area for 60 days, and the greater Houston area for 12 months. It won’t be delivered. Nobody will respond. It will be a complete waste.
  5. Suspend digital advertising: On all digital media – Google, Facebook, TrueView, etc. – suspend all marketing in those areas. In fact, I recommend suspending any marketing in the next several days as peoples’ attention and concern is focused, not on buying your product or service, but on the news and drama taking place in Houston. And as with direct mail, stop all activity in the greater Houston area for up to 12 months – otherwise you are wasting money.
  6. Response is affected tremendously: We have often written about the need to be prepared for disasters such as this, whether it is a spaceship blowing up, a snowstorm or a hurricane. These always affect response. Smart marketing is selective and wise. Always be proactive. And for my clients, I always know we are being as proactive for you as possible.
  7. E-commerce will be disrupted: E-commerce will be impacted, but it won’t be as impacted as retail. Retail is being hit hard. Target, Whole Foods, Dollar Store and many others whose distribution centers are in that area are going to see huge disruptions. Transportation and other costs will go up. It will impact the retail sector which relies on supplies tremendously. But e-commerce enables people to continue without the problems associated with retail.

Watch this powerful 7-minute video of Hurricane Harvey pummeling Texas.