Cheat Sheet for Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading rapidly, with new updates constantly.  As a business, it is hard to know what to do and how to mitigate risk, protect employees, support customers and keep your business running.

Here is a cheat sheet of ways to keep your business afloat and help that is out there to keep businesses open and employees.

Customer Communication

Customers are understanding that the crisis is affecting the way business is being done.  Communicate with them to let them know the current standing, whether you are open or not, different hours if they know what to expect they will be more understanding.

Business Interruption Insurance

Business Interruption insurance might be an option if you have substantial business losses as a result of shutting down because of the pandemic.  Contact your insurance broker as to what  qualifies and if it will cover you for this emergency.

Shift Your Business to Online

As the majority of storefronts are closed, it is time to emphasize a stronger online marketing strategy.  If you sell products, make sure that your site is ready to sell and engage with customers virtually.  Is your social media performance strong?  It may be time to improve your brand awareness across all platforms.  Start working on putting your email list to good use and incorporating videos to reach new leads.

The Paycheck Protection Loan Program

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated almost $350 million billion to help small businesses keep workers employed during the pandemic.  The Paycheck Protection Loan Program is part of the CARES Act.  These loans may be forgiven if businesses maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore payroll after.

Who is Eligible for Paycheck Protection Loan?

  • A small business or A 501(c)(3) with less than 500 employees.
  • An individual who operates as a sole proprietor or/an independent contractor.
  • An individual who is self-employed who regularly carries on any trade or business.
  • A 501 (c)(19) Veterans Organization that meets SBA size standard.

The 500 employees include all employees, full-time, part-time, and any other status.  The loan can be for 2.5 months or average payroll or $10 million, whichever is less.  To apply, click here.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan

The CARES Act specifically expands the Small Business Administration’s long-standing Economic Disaster Loan Program (EIDL).  The creation of the EIDL program is to assist businesses, renters, and homeowners located in regions affected by declared disasters.

Who is Eligible for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan?

  • Businesses with less than 500 employees.
  • An individual who operates as a sole proprietor.
  • An individual who operates as an independent contractor.
  • Cooperatives, ESOPs, and tribal small businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
  • In general most private nonprofits.

The maximum is a $2 million working capital loan at a rate of 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for non-profits with up to a 30-year term.  It is important to realize that the payments are deferred for one year.  To apply, click here.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The FFCRA contains eight divisions designed to provide assistance to covered employees and households with eligible children affected by COVID-19 pandemic.  Things that are included in the Act are expansion of unemployment benefits, USDA assistance programs, and emergency paid sick leave.

What Does FFCRA Mean for Businesses?

The FFCRA affects businesses in two main ways.

  • Paid Sick and Family Leave – The law requires all private businesses with fewer than 500 employees to provide emergency paid sick or family leave for employees affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Employer Tax Credits – The law provides employers with fewer than 500 employees with refundable payroll tax credits to cover the cost of providing paid sick leave and the paid FMLA leave to their employees. Employers will receive 100% tax credit against their payroll tax liability.  The credit specifically includes Health Insurance costs.  In this case reimbursement will be quick and easy to attain.

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Anyone Who Lost a Job Due to Coronavirus

As businesses are forced to close due to the coronavirus epidemic, a record of 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week.  The surge of being jobless or furloughed is rising as companies cannot weather this economic storm.  If you have lost your job or furloughed, we want to help.  Here is your ultimate cheat sheet for how to get the help that’s available so that you can weather this storm.

Unemployment Benefits

If you have lost your income because of the virus outbreak, you will qualify for unemployment benefits.  Unemployment benefits are to eligible workers who became unemployed through no fault of their own.  The rescue package dramatically expands who is eligible for help.

The package includes self-employed people, freelancers, and contract workers who are unable to work because of COVID-19.

To apply for benefits, go to your state’s website, as the specific details will be listed.  A starting place is Career One Stop which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor you can find information and access your state to file and learn more details.  Keep in mind that the sites are experiencing high volumes of traffic, so don’t give up.

The $2 Trillion Stimulus Package

For individuals who earn $75,000 in adjusted gross income or less will get a payment of $1,200. Married couples earning up to $150,000 would receive $2,400.  An additional $500 will be paid per each child under the age of 17.

The payment will progressively be reduced for higher-income earners.  The amount you receive will decrease by 5% of the amount your income exceeds $75,000.  For those making more than $99,000, you will not qualify.

What to Do About  Payments on Homes, Cars, and Credit Cards

The federal government is requiring mortgage companies to work with people who have lost their jobs or income.  To give them  reduced payments or no payments for the time being.  In order to qualify, you need to have suffered a financial hardship related to the COVID-19 outbreak that makes you unable to meet basic living expenses.  Things like losing your job because of business shutdowns, it does not just include being sick or caring for a sick family member.

Many lending companies are offering assistance for a variety of other types of loans, auto, credit cards, mortgages, insurance, and small business loans.  Late fees for many of these are also waived during this time of crisis.  However, you must call or reach out online to speak with them so that they can take note of it on your account.  In addition, these payments may be put into a forbearance plan, which you want to understand when it ends and the details.  It may mean that the loan extends, getting it in writing from the lender.  Confirm that you are not paying extra interest or fees.  As the goal is to help people during the national crisis.

They are suspending student loan payments.  The Department of Education is allowing borrowers to suspend payments without penalties and accruing interest for at least 60 days.

Health Insurance

The rescue package does include making furloughed workers eligible for unemployment benefits. Employers who will be willing to keep workers technically employees and getting health benefits, even if they can’t afford to pay employees.  This is to keep company-sponsored health plans while getting unemployment.

If you lose your company benefits, COBRA is an option, where you pay out of pocket to maintain your same company benefits.  However, this is not an inexpensive choice.  Another option is to see if you can qualify for Medicaid.  Losing a job is considered a life event that will allow you to enroll in state-level health care under the Affordable Care Act.  Depending on your financial situation it can be free or for a very low price.

MaxAudience Announced as a 2019 UpCity City Excellence Award Winner

UpCity launched the City Excellence Awards as a follow up to their national awards in early 2019, celebrating the top marketing service providers as measured by their UpCity Rating. MaxAudience is thrilled to officially announce that we are one of the top marketing service providers in New York!

At MaxAudience, we are more than just a web design, brand management, and advertising agency.  We create precise, high ROI, marketing campaigns that deliver inspiring results, to help our clients win in their marketplace. Assisting brands by providing design and messaging solutions, it reinvigorates stale, non-performing or underperforming Ad Campaigns, Websites, Social Media Campaigns, and other online and offline initiatives.

UpCity is an online marketplace that creates and empowers successful relationships between businesses and marketing service providers by providing transparency and insights to dramatically improve the marketing partner selection and purchase experience.

Over 225,000 businesses visit UpCity each month seeking marketing services from over 33,000 providers in over 600 cities in North America.

Each year, the UpCity Excellence awards are presented to the top 1% of marketing service providers in the UpCity marketplace.  The awards celebrate the providers with the highest customer satisfaction and brand integrity based on their UpCity rating, a proprietary scoring mechanism that helps to determine an agency’s “recommendability” to businesses looking for marketing service providers.

“We’re excited to introduce our local UpCity Excellence Awards to both businesses seeking marketing services and marketing service providers. MaxAudience has been an outstanding example of what it means to be ‘recommendable’ in the industry – and especially in New York.” – Dan Olson, CEO, UpCity

“I’d like to recognize my team here at MaxAudience for their hard work and dedication to each and every one of our valued clients,” said CEO Mark McIntyre.  “I strongly believe we have the top team in our space.”

MaxAudience clients have given testimonials and recommendations on our behalf within the UpCity provider listing:

Our experience with MaxAudience was a valuable one in which both parties did some learning and growing.  All the while ushering our company into a new era with regards to digital presence. – Serouge Panossian

Because we are a startup company in the United States. MaxAudience has helped us grow our exposure. Their marketing ideas have helped us to gain quick traction in our target market. – Yogesh Marimuthu

Finding a team of people that really cares about your success as much as theirs is rare these days.  My company wouldn’t be where it is today.  Thank you MaxAudience, I am forever grateful. – KJ Franklin

Thank you to all of our clients for your continued support of MaxAudience!

Digital Marketing Trends For 2020

When it comes to digital marketing, it is always about looking ahead.

We are almost at the final quarter of 2018, and while the world is talking about 2019, online marketing experts are forecasting the major trends for 2020. Being ahead of others is the key to success in digital marketing.

Whether you’re a small business owner or a professional online marketer, staying abreast of the latest or upcoming trends in the digital marketing world is the way to go ahead of the competition.

So, what are the upcoming trends of 2020? Some are new, while some are timeless. Let’s take a look at them.

Personalized marketing

Customer oriented marketing isn’t really new; marketing has always been about reaching the customer. But for the longest time, it was dependent on a lot of guesswork. Marketing depended solely on demographics even till five years ago.

This made the process less targeted and barely efficient. With the rise in artificial intelligence and machine learning, marketing for the customers is highly targeted. There’s no guesswork anymore.

At the touch of a button, marketers get to know the desires, activities, habits, and purchasing preferences of the customers. Businesses then use these metrics to design an effective and targeted digital marketing strategy that wins customers.

Native advertising

This is a new form of paid publicity that isn’t intrusive. For instance, you make a video of your dog’s birthday party and also include a section where you rave about a certain brand of dog food. Or you shoot a makeup tutorial, using a foundation that you’ve been paid to promote.

Such hidden promotionals have started to get more intrusive, and people now want transparency. Although native advertising will continue to be around in 2020, the FTC has warned companies that they must reveal their sponsored content instead of camouflaging it. This will only lead native advertising to become more popular.

Voice search marketing

With Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant getting popular because of their “communication” skills, advertisers are focusing on voice search marketing – where people will be able to order a product verbally by size and name, instead of reading descriptions and seeing images.

Although this is a trend that’s yet to catch up, it may be a possibility in the near future, given the number of talking devices on the rise.

MaxAudience is always ahead of the curve and helps you do the same. For all Internet marketing needs, the experts at MaxAudience is always available for a consultation.

How a CRM System Can Boost Sales

Regardless of the kind of business you own, one of your biggest priorities will always be boosting the sales turnover. The competition is tough, and it can often be hard to keep up with improving your sales. But the one tool that can be of significant help is a client relationship management, CRM system.

A CRM software makes it easy for businesses to collect, analyze, and share data about their customers and the market on the whole.

These systems combine multiple features into one, eliminating the need to have various applications. A CRM system often includes sales and service, customer support to analytics. It helps the sales team customize services to better cater to customers.

The following are the ways in which a CRM system boosts sales:

Increases efficiency:

Having a CRM software makes the sales department more efficient and smarter by arming them with as much information about your customers as possible.

The software helps your employees get insight into your customer behavior and purchasing habits and allows you to customize the services according to the demands and desires of the customers.

Boosts productivity:

The CRM system has another function—boosting productivity and helping your department get more done in a shorter time.

Technology always saves time and enhances productivity, and it’s the same with the CRM system. From promptly replying to customer concerns to updating list of customers to keeping track of emails, a CRM helps you achieve so much in such a short time.

Improves focus:

The focus of your business is the customers, and a CRM system helps you keep your focus in the right place. From understanding client needs to analyzing purchase habits patterns, a CRM helps you with a lot of digital marketing tasks.

Integrated automation:

You can also integrate your marketing automation system with the CRM system to automate certain tasks.

From filling out forms to sending emails, these tasks can be easily automated with the help of the CRM system, thus saving time and boosting efficiency.

Irrespective of the size of your business, a CRM system is immensely useful for boosting productivity and in turn enhancing the sales turnover.

By combining CRM and marketing automation, the efficiency can be doubled. MaxAudience has a team of Internet marketing and design experts to help you start with CRM systems. Simply get in touch with the team and start discussing your needs.

 

Using Market Research For an Effective Digital Marketing Campaign

Every marketer understands the importance of market research when creating a digital marketing campaign.

A successful campaign is more than a flashy advertisement or a catchy slogan. Whether you’re a marketer, business owner, or entrepreneur, your first job is to establish trust with your audience so that they feel confident about your brand and the stuff you are selling.

Why is market research important? There are two primary reasons for conducting market research. The first is knowing what the customers actually want building trust with them. And secondly because it differentiates from all those who haven’t done their research (and there are plenty of them).

When you’ve done your research, it shows in the way you do your campaign. Whether you are creating a content strategy or an email marketing campaign, never enter the field without proper research.

So how to use market research in creating an effective digital marketing campaign? It can be done in the following ways:

Create a questionnaire

There are lots of customer insights that you will find when conducting market research, and it takes time to cut through all of it. To save time, prepare some basic questions and search for their answers. The questions can:

  • Do we sell a quality product?
  • Does our brand come across as authentic?
  • How do we stack up against our competitors?
  • What do consumers want but are currently not getting?
  • What do people like or dislike about our products/services?

These questions help you get started and create a proper framework for your digital marketing campaign research.

Survey your audience

Asking your consumers to answer certain questions is also a good way to know what they want from your brand. This can be done in the form of a survey.

The best way to do this is to email surveys to your website subscribers. Ask their honest opinions on what they like about your products or services and where they think you should improve. This will also give your consumers a way to express what they like or dislike and give you the necessary feedback.

Find your audience online

Almost every person hangs out online. The challenge lies in finding out where your target audience or existing customers hang out. Knowing how to deliver a message is sometimes more important than the message itself.

Leverage existing customer data to find out where your target audience hangs out online and then customize your digital marketing campaigns according to those channels.

How Aesthetic Website Design Helps Generate More Online Business

In a world that’s increasingly going mobile, having a web-optimized website is vital to increase your business’ outreach. Thus, website design is of the greatest importance as it gives any browser the first impression about your business. And first impressions are known to make or break deals.

Why is website design so important?

Research shows that over 38% of those who browse websites dump them because of unattractive layout and/or content. Time in today’s world is priceless and people just don’t waste time on things that don’t appeal to them instantly.

Moreover, with more and more people resorting to mobile web browsing, creating an aesthetic and responsive website design, optimized for viewing on multiple platforms is absolutely mandatory.

In other words, a distorted website without any relevant content or real structure is an absolute put off. Many companies having lost potential business solely because of inadequate website design have learnt this lesson the hard way. The following reasons would only serve to illustrate the point.

  • An easily navigable site accessible through multiple devices makes or breaks a sale.
  • It’s crucial for SEO optimization, increasing web traffic and enhancing the total user experience
  • An appealing website design demonstrates a brand’s active and dynamic presence online

The smooth experience that a user has from a responsive website increases makes him want to come back to it. Moreover, he gets his relevant product information in a jiffy without unwanted disturbances in his user journey.

How search engines react to aesthetic website design 

Secondly, all search engines first check out the power of your presence online and whether you are a leader in your industry. Even though well written blogs serve to build your presence, the average user will always first get on your website.

The bottom line

So, a website with links that take the browser nowhere and stuffed with outdated or irrelevant content is a real killer in today’s fast paced world. It is about as fast as those cars go in Fast and Furious.

That’ why you constantly need to update and reformat your website in order to convince browsers. This undoubtedly will entice them to revisit your site, refer it to others and ultimately bring in those much-wanted new leads.

How to Increase B2B & B2C Lead Generation

Enhancing lead generation is never an easy task because of the increasing competition among marketers in the virtual marketplace.

Brand positioning assumes a great significance here to make yourself heard in this crowded market. The following strategies have worked well so far in increasing lead generation in both the B2B and B2C segments.

Email Marketing:

A time tested marketing channel for the last 23 years, email marketing has worked wonders in lead generation by using hybrid marketing automation tools.

These connect with your CRM, enabling you to transmit accurate and highly personalized targeted emails automatically to prospective leads. Even though the conventional newsletter is still important, email marketing gives B2B and B2C marketers the ability to garner more user data and to use behavioral triggers to target users in their inboxes.

Search Marketing:

This is perhaps one of the most valuable strategies for long-term lead generation. Organic search marketing is also applicable to other areas like designing, optimization of conversion rates and content marketing.

Content Marketing:

For both contrarian marketers and those following ongoing trends, an effective strategy for content marketing requires some experimentation and diversity in order to understand and identify the areas for maximum growth.

Experimenting with common and unusual tactics including using microsites, research reports, blogging or infographics has shown many B2B and B2C marketers what works in their efforts at lead generation and what doesn’t, over time.

Social Media:

Social media too, is somewhat useful for B2B and B2C lead generation. However, there is an element of controversy in this as most B2B companies have weak strategies for social media.

On the contrary, some businesses have used it to generate leads worth millions of dollars, particularly through LinkedIn. Moreover, social media forms an integral and inextricable part of both content and search marketing. It is also responsible for determining the success of blogs.

Integration is the key in lead generation:

By integrating a full marketing campaign that includes email marketing, display ads, content marketing and campaign websites, Optum, a healthcare technology business great lead generation could result from a relentless effort to keep experimenting with multiple tactics while also combining such tactics across various channels.