Weekly Client Update #4 During COVID Crisis

This is the second week that I’ve done this on Sunday and I think I’ll continue this way. It’s nice to first reflect on the week and be sure I’ve sifted through all the various things I’ve read and seen.

Short email this week:

Accounting for PPP Loans

My peer group for marketing agency owners (AMI) has compiled some accounting best practices for those who have received a PPP loan. That guidance is attached. I know the CPA who put it together and can make an introduction if anyone needs it.

Important Sales & Marketing Trends

We were Hubspot partners for many years and are big believers in the concept of automated marketing and using a CRM to marry the sales and marketing disciplines. But we dropped Hubspot in favor of SharpSpring because we think it’s a better product at a third of the cost. If you want a demo, just let us know.

Hubspot is still a great source of intelligence, however, because so many businesses around the world use it. Indeed, it is because they have been the category leader and are now a publicly-traded company that the prices have gotten so steep. Here is a link to data analysis of 70,000 businesses.

And here is a quick summary:

  • Web traffic is decidedly up
  • Customer- or prospect-initiated interactions are up
  • Although the volume of sales outreach and emails are up, people simply aren’t having it. Companies sent 23% more sales pitches, and responses to those pitches declined 27%!
  • But marketing outreach and emails are very well received, and email open rates increased 21% in March. As we have said a billion times, people want to be educated, not sold to!

By the way, we are seeing all of these results with our clients as well as ourselves (but we don’t do sales pitches for IMPACT).

Interestingly, we have other data reports that show similar results for social media, in that quality of posts is much more important that quantity (quality is directly related to educating, whereas quantity is more aligned with selling). The data show that social media engagement dropped the first two weeks of March relative to Jan/Feb but then spiked the last two weeks of March to heights well above the quarterly average. If you want to dive into any of the details, it’s in the Rival IQ pdf here.

What’s Old is New Again

Radio and TV advertising is one of the best deals around right now. There has been a significant uptick in viewership and listenership (yes, people are listening to radio even though they are no longer commuting – they are streaming it) at the same time as brands reflexively dropped advertising because of the fear of recession. So we have an interesting supply and demand situation where ad supply is up and demand (advertiser) is down, so prices are naturally down, all while consumer demand is up. So if you have any interest in radio or TV, now would be a good time for exploration if you have the cash. Let me know if you have questions about this.

Preparing for Post-COVID

Our clients and colleagues run the full spectrum from businesses that are really suffering to those that are thriving. But there is a common denominator of uncertainty. That uncertainty and seeming lack of control over our own futures creates fear. So how can we manage uncertainty? By actively planning and spending our time and resources on those things that we can control. This Harvard Business Review article is a super quick read that really doesn’t say anything profound, but I like it simply for the five subheadlines: those are things that you can actually control, and play an active role in determining your future. Simply engaging in the exercise of actively thinking and planning seems to be the key to attaining a sense of control in an otherwise out-of-control situation where some of us aren’t even allowed to open the doors to our business.

Have a great week, and please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

Thanks!

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