COVID-19 pandemic | 5 Coronavirus Stories You Should Read

5 Coronavirus Stories You Should Read – COVID-19 pandemic

Author: Ad Hacks March 24 | Blog

5 Coronavirus Stories You Should Read – COVID-19 pandemic

Author: Ad Hacks March 24 | Blog

5 Digital Marketing Agency Owners share stories of how they’re pivoting their businesses during a COVID-19 pandemic.

What happens when 25 million people globally lose their jobs for two months? The economy shakes in ways that things never settle down in the same way again. But a wise man once said that digital didn’t kill Blockbuster, the inability to adapt did. 

If you’re already working with clients in the digital space the good news is that you can pivot and re-align as a business pretty quickly and offer a service with demand. 

While there is no crystal ball or way of knowing how this will play out, you have the choice to find inspiration from how other agency or business owners are handling this pandemic.

Here’s a round-up of 5 (five) stories we’ve become inspired by.

1. Turning a $30K loss into an opportunity  

Hugh & Phil – Co Founders, Expose Media 

The idea of self isolation seems like fun initially until the reality that you can’t just shout stuff across a room sinks in.   

Hugh and Phil were a three-man band just three short years ago. At the time they were mostly working with websites and had decided to pivot part of their service into digital marketing. Fast forward to today, with offices in Australia and Austin and over twenty staff in Brisbane, Hugh laughs nervously at the thought of having to bring the team remote. 

Expose Media's co-founders talk about how they're pivoting during this pandemic
Co-Founders Expose Media, Hugh and Phil

They lost $30,000 in monthly recurring fees almost overnight, but they’re feeling optimistic.

“We’re pretty lucky. We’ve always had clients from a variety of different industries. So we lost some gym clients and a big event project but we’re seeing it booming in the medical industry and ecommerce,” Hugh shares.

The way they see it: this is a great opportunity for their business to pivot its offers and innovate on how they service customers.  

Part of this has been diversifying income streams by selling online training using their expertise. Hugh has a string of successes growing Instagram pages and has packaged up this knowledge as a book and online course to help businesses and provide a second income stream for his business.

2. Seeing clearly through the storm 

Rebecca Jones – RJ Digital Founder 

With the world going into full lockdown mode and businesses being forced to close doors and stay at home, Australian-based Facebook marketer Rebecca Jones knows that now more than ever is her time to shine with her skills.

“People are still going to need marketers. Small businesses are actually going to need us more as they look for ways to reach consumers and pick up new sales.” She says. 

Some of the measures she’s rolled out in her business to reassure clients include jumping on a video-conferencing call with them so they can see a friendly face during these crazy times. 

Her plan of attack is to remain positive. This attitude has helped her and the agency she works with pick up a new client over the past week and continue to bring in more leads.

3.  When COVID-19 kicks you out of the office 

Jess Vassallo – Founder, Evocative Media 

A confirmed case of COVID-19 in the office started Jess’ week and meant that she had to move her team to a remote set-up for the foreseeable future. 

Without the proximity and ease of communication that comes from being in the same office space, and with a team now isolated in their homes and exposed to the hysteria and panic around them through their screens, Jess sees her role now as helping to Sheppard their mindsets and morale by making sure that they feel supportive, safe and in good spirits. 

Even though they’ve seen some clients cut back, they have also been closing business through it all, with two new clients in the bag over the past week. Not stopping with that, her team is continuing to go after new business.

Jess says, “We are seeing really strong sales and returns for some of our Ecom clients. We are using these as case studies for our existing clients and prospects to instil confidence and help them stay the course. We’re helping them to see the opportunity that exists during this time.”

TIP – if you have an office lease you’re paying for it’s worth reaching out to your landlord and see if you can come to a compromise. Many landlords right now understand that half rent is better than no rent and are happy to help tenants through these challenging times.

4. Our niche is imploding, now what?   

Karen Sahetya – Co-Founder, Brand Central Marketing 

So what do you do when within the space of one week, your entire client base faces forced shutdowns and potential bankruptcy? You get creative! 

Over the past few years, Karen’s team have positioned them to perfectly serve yoga-studios – an industry that has felt the full brunt of the force of recent events. When the reality of the situation started to sink, Karen made sure that her team handled it as professionally and quickly as possible.  

Co-Founder Brand Central Marketing, Karen Sahetya on handling the COVID-19 situation in the agency

“The first thing we did is hit the phones and check in with all our clients,” she says. People do business with people, and even just showing empathy at this stage can go a long way.  

They had the added advantage of being a remote team to begin with.  Karen shares some tips for getting a productive remote set-up going. 

  1. Don’t time track and instead, make sure you hire the right person  – doing the proper screening here means you’re not hiring “slackers” to begin with. 
  2. Have the right structure in place and set expectations and outcomes for each team member to meet. 
  3. Roll out a daily huddle to bring in structure and protect communication lines and team morale. 
  4. She uses Slack and ClickUp for task management and team communication. 

When it came to the crisis situation happening within their client’s industry, Karen recognized that this was a chance to help bring these types of clients online. 

She talks about how before this pandemic hit, yoga studios weren’t particularly keen to shift their businesses online by offering online training classes, but with the current situation, they are left with little option and the need for any agency or marketer who can support this transition has exploded.

Her advice to any agency panicking right now? “Don’t! Think about how you can best support your existing niche if you have one before jumping ship and sending yourself off on brand new learning curves.” 

A lesson in thinking laterally about how you can use your expertise and skills to help your local economy as well as building resilience.

5. Having the difficult conversations with clients 

Clayton Rowlings – Founder,  Purpose Digital Founder 

In amongst the midst of a global crisis, Clayton closes his biggest client yet and is proactively continuing his prospecting and lead outreach efforts – speaking to companies larger than what he’s ever connected with before.  

Right now marketers shouldn’t tiptoe around the COVID-19 conversation. The reality is that the economy will shake in ways we’ve never experienced in our lifetimes and it’s either adapt and thrive or do nothing and face complete bankruptcy. 

“I often refer to Unshakeable by Tony Robbins, in which he talks about creating peace of mind and financial freedom in times of uncertainty: “Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t”, he says, and that rings true for what we’re seeing today with the COVID-19 outbreak.

In terms of protecting our own mindsets through this all he shares that instead of worrying about the pandemic, other businesses closing, or the panic-buying of the masses, we should focus on the things we can control: serving our customers as best as we possibly can. Pay close attention to their needs and changing behavior; adjusting accordingly.


Got some wins and cool stuff you’re doing in your digital marketing business – share them with us via Facebook or Instagram.

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