By Robin Boehler & Steve Boehler Founding Partners Mercer Island Group 

As Covid-19 begins peaking across the country, what do you and your agency do now?

You’ve applied for your PPP loan, reassessed your business plan, and everyone is working from home. There’s been a lot of client handholding and adjustments to media plans and scopes of work. 

It’s time now to turn the page and begin Chapter 2: Planning for Recovery. To help get started, we’ve come up with 10 starter ideas that you and your agency can run with or adapt to meet your needs and the evolving needs of your clients.

Help Your Clients Recover

1. Love the One You’re With

Your current clients are the heart of your business. They are the best source of stability and future revenue. Show them how much you love them. Make it easy to repurpose scopes of work, timelines, maybe even deferred payment. Be flexible and, above all, be gracious. 

2. Find New Ways to Add Value

Your clients face new unpredictable business challenges for which there was no way they could have adequately prepared. There’s a good chance your current scope of work does not reflect the realities of their new business challenges. Time to engage in conversations with your clients to be sure you understand their most pressing needs so you can do what you do best – provide solutions that address their needs.

3. Offer Quick & Cost-Effective Ideas

For many of your clients, their business models and marketing approaches have been disrupted. Despite this, they still need to engage with their target audience.  Ideate and provide free ideas that help them do this. We are big fans of paying it forward.

4. Lend Practical Help

Think beyond your typical services. For example, can you pitch in staff time? Is there any extra web conferencing equipment you can lend? What are new and different ways you can help clients succeed, even if this means looking beyond marketing.

5. Prepare for Life After COVID-19

The role of brands has changed overnight. Help your clients recognize changing consumer and customer mindsets as the peak arrives and the recovery unfolds. Consumer and customer needs will continue to transform. Help your clients determine where they fit in this in new world order. 

Help Your Employees and Agency Recover

1. Boost Morale-

“Shelter in place” orders have eliminated the normal, team-centric working environments you worked so hard to create for your agency. Look for creative ways to replicate the camaraderie your office provided in the new work from home environment. Here are a few ideas:

    1. Virtual coffee breaks 
    2. Virtual happy hours
    3. Virtual daily stand-ups to kick off the day or even the week

Make sure everyone turns on their cameras! A warning in advance for those early morning meetings will be appreciated. When appropriate invite family members to join in the fun.

2.  Enhance Your Sales Readiness

Is your website up to date and prospect friendly? Does your positioning differentiate your agency and appeal to prospects? Are your case studies up to date? Depending on the answers to these questions – you know what to do next.

3. Back to School

You know your team’s strengths and opportunities. Help them fill in the gaps with training opportunities. Many online training programs are deeply discounted right now. Start an agency book club and get your folks reading and discussing the best stuff out there.

4. Start or extend Your Content Program

Start by reading Sell with Authority by Drew McLellan and Stephen Woessner. 

As Forrest Gump said, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

5. Spring Cleaning

Most agencies can use a refresh of their processes and capabilities. Where can you be more efficient? What are your capability gaps? Develop a practical plan. Build a schedule and get going. Oh, and be sure to pay attention to your local agency market as some agencies have had to lay off employees. Talent will be more available than it has been for years. 

As COVID-19 peaks, recovery begins to come into view.  This is a chance for you to help your clients (and your agency) begin to get think about how to make the transition from crisis to recovery. This period could last 3 months or 9 months or longer. We all decided to get into the service business. This is your unique opportunity to showcase the commitment your agency has to serving your clients and your employees.