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Make Marketing your Best Friend during a Crisis While others may be tempted to ax their marketing budget, you'll succeed further if, instead, you lean in.

By Brandon Dawson

Courtesy of Cardone Ventures

An emergency is not the time to fight for new customers. It's the time to retain the ones you already have. Go to your power base. Lean into your contacts. Friends, family, customers, venders, competitors. It's time to fortify relationships.

If you want to read more from me, I also have a resource guide to help businesses in a crisis, available at www.cardoneventures.com/emergency. Also, check out my Instagram @brandonmdawson to learn more about my experience.

Reach out.

When an emergency strikes, the first thing you need to do is reach out to your clients. This is a task that needs to be done individually, calling each customer and checking in. Offer support and make sure any questions or concerns become your priority. Let them know you are fighting alongside them to keep the business solid and thriving.

I often teach that the traditional cycle of marketing is flow, conversion, and retention. Typically, and chronologically, you can think of flow as attracting awareness via content and platforms. Conversion is the ability to engage with your brand's messaging and close deals with new prospects. Then, finally, retention is the effort you make to super serve and over deliver for your current customer base while creating new opportunities.

Follow a retention-first strategy.

When a crisis upends your business, you must immediately resort to a retention-first strategy. You should focus on the guaranteed, low-hanging fruit (a.k.a., current, happy customers). After all, you've put a significant amount of effort into building those relationships. You should start there to protect and fortify the business and tap into those relationships to jump-start a new cycle.

When the economy and your business are in distress, it's time to super serve that core base of clients, get referrals from them, and remind them why they trusted you in the first place.

Don't go MIA.

Perception is reality. That's not just a catchy saying. It's filled with truth. What your brand does during a crisis shapes the consumers' view of who you are and what you stand for.

Letting your digital and traditional brand channels go silent is a surefire way to watch your clients (and potential clients) evaporate into thin air.

That being said, you don't want to communicate just for communication's sake.

Adhere to the eight points of crisis communication:

  1. Think carefully about context. Consumers are more vigilant and aware of your approach during a crisis, and they will remember how you reacted.

  2. Consider the changing needs of consumers and their emotional state of mind. Take them into consideration when marketing to them. It's also not the time to market to a state of fear or panic.

  3. Don't try to hijack the news as a public relations hook to get increased brand mentions. Ninety-nine percent of the time, your brand will suffer major damage.

  4. Pause your scheduled posts. Make sure you deliver timely and relevant value with every message. It's imperative to have a strategy that communicates your business status in order to help ease the stress and alleviate the uncertainty caused by disruptive times.

  5. Ramp up your customer service on social media. You must be prepared to answer continued requests with your digital team.

  6. Acknowledge and address concerns by crafting a positive message, if appropriate. Most importantly, LISTEN to what your customers are saying and respond with empathy.

  7. Don't shy away from talking about customers and business during a crisis. It might seem superficial and mercantile to discuss brands, pricing, and customer behavior as we stare down the barrel of an emergency, but the practical reality of global economic trade means that we need to market now for the good of all humankind.

  8. How you treat your employees is the biggest indicator, from a consumer's point of view, of how good a company is. Talk about what steps you are taking regarding the safety, security, health, and general well-being of your employees and, in turn, how that relates to the customer.

Marketing during a crisis is a complicated art—and there's even more to learn. In fact, there are nine critical attributes that will launch your business into growth. I'm offering my Crushing COVID Mentor Group program for $47, because I want to help you achieve your success and master those attributes. For more information about how this program can help you, please visit www.cardoneventures.com/mentor.

To learn more about how Cardone Ventures can help your business, visit www.cardoneventures.com.

Follow Brandon Dawson on Instagram @brandonmdawson.

Brandon Dawson

Co-Founder & CEO, Cardone Ventures

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