What agencies need to know in response to COVID-19

Published on March 27, 2020 by Tom Bowden

We hope you, your teams and families are all safe and well and adapting to everything that is going on. Unusual times call for steady nerves and informed decision making. Our industry-leading team of experts is here to help you through this.

Footprint Digital is here to help

We exist to help you join the dots & make your digital marketing more human with specialist data-driven marketing services including Strategy, SEO, PPC, CRO and Content Marketing.

Right now we are focused on helping you with practical responses to COVID-19 and how digital marketing can help.

This article and webinar are one of a series of FREE COVID-19 support webinars which you can find here. We hope you find it useful and if there is anything we can do to support you through these challenging times then please get in touch.

Our hosts for this webinar are Directors Tom Jepson and Tom Bowden. They are joined by Gary White, Director of Aspen, Waite and White. AWW is an accountancy practice with a specialism in R&D Tax Credits.

It includes a mix of strategic and tactical advice aimed to help you through. We hope it gives you some focus and helps you feel motivated.

The video of the webinar is here. If you prefer to read then scroll down to explore the ideas in written form.


Look after yourself.

Breathe and take a moment. Things are tough for agency owners right now. Big decisions need to be made and they need to be made fast. This is a huge learning curve for everyone. We don’t want lions led by donkeys. Right now we need steady thoughtful leadership. So please take a moment to breathe and take a moment.

At Footprint Digital we’re lucky to have two business owners. This means that we can discuss everything. We have also taken a lot of support from a huge range of confidants including partners such as Gary White. Now is a great time to bounce ideas with partners around you. We’re here to help and will be at the end of the phone if you want to talk.


Look after your team.


This is a disorientating time for everyone. We want to stick together through good times and bad. We really want our team to know that we are available to talk about anything at any time and have made sure that we are visible and available. Talk to them. Be there for them. We’ve been calling everyone in our team at least once a week and we have daily group Google hangout video conferences.

So often as an agency owner we spend our time trying to gee up and encourage our teams to work faster and harder. I’ve heard leadership described as being about spinning the cog at the top as fast as you can to keep the thing going. I think now is the opposite. Now is the time to slow the cog at the top down and try and be steady to allow those further down the machine a chance to breathe.


Look after your clients.

The same advice applies, talk to your clients and be there for them. It is an awful time to be in business and there is not anyone that isn’t feeling this in one way or another. We’ve had a lot of difficult conversations lately with clients, through no fault of theirs, having to pause services with us. But, as hard as those conversations are it is better than none. Don’t avoid the conversation.

We accept that this is a situation that is out of everyone’s control. We are instead trying to help people on their way and build relationships for the longer term. We are also working extra hard to proactively come up with ideas for our clients.

We’re looking beyond digital and just finding ways to help. One of those that we think will help is R&D Tax credits and a good understanding of all of the finance and grants that are available. That is where specialists such as Gary White of Aspen, Waite and White come in…


Finances and Grants.

Gary gave us some great advice:

  1. Sort out cash flow. Cut costs where you can and hold as much cash as you can for the months ahead.
  2. You can defer your VAT bill without notifying HMRC. Make sure you do this and cancel any direct debit that is set up.
  3. Know who do your core team are and be aware of the support available if you choose to furlough team members.
  4. Make the most of grants that are available for those with business rates or that receive business rates relief.
  5. The government supported loan system is really a last resort.
  6. Perform a risk analysis on your client base to see what the future may bring.


Observe the new natural pattern.

The world is not what it once was. Two weeks ago we had a very strategic different plan. We were going to deliver a range of events throughout the year and increase our recruitment through the Universities. It was going to be a big year for us as we were building the team to take us to the next level.

Now things are entirely different. It may be the last thing on your mind with all of the firefighting that we’ve had to do, but, now is the time to think about what 6 months, 12 months, 5 years into the future looks like. What is the new natural pattern. How is your business going to respond to what is to come?

Build Asset.

Can you use this time to build asset in your business? And by that we mean developing your documentation, subscriber lists or bringing your content online. The kind of things that will make you stronger for the future.
Have you got long form content in the bank that you can re-purpose? Get your content online.

We’re going to put our book and lessons ‘out there’. We’re also planning on updating our proposal documents and sales collateral. We’ve heard of web design partners finally having the time to work on their website. We’re also going to take a look at the possibilities of ramping up our own marketing at this time. After all, like Henry Ford said, “Stopping advertising to save money, is like stopping your watch to save the time”

New product opportunities.

With the market changing now is the time to see if there are new product opportunities.
We have launched our FREE Webinar series fast.

We’ve launched a ‘Zero to Hero’ product to respond to the small grocers and merchants that are trying to get online and capitalise on the boom in orders. It’s a ‘zero to hero’ web build and paid search platform build that alongside a partner can be delivered in 48 hours for £3000.

We have for a while been offering outsourced digital marketing management for organisations. We believe this will become a large growth area for us as employers will look to reduce their staff levels in the future.
We also anticipate that large retailers will finally recognise the need to invest significantly in digital and are preparing products to meet that need.

Are there new joint product opportunities? Can we partner up with other agencies to make it happen.

Partnerships are real now.

We have long thought of the importance of partnerships. But, they are more important now than ever. It’s time to stick together as a digital community. It’s time to work together to create useful joint products that genuinely support our clients through this. It’s also time to think of new ways we can all work together into the future.

Get involved & share your thoughts

We hope that this content is useful for you at this time. Please share it with anyone that you think would find it useful. Get involved and ask us any questions you have.

It is time to dig deep. Footprint Digital is here to help.

Please stay connected and tune in to more from our series of FREE COVID-19 support webinars which you can find here.