Episode 125 Looking Back at 2020
Hey Rob CaIrns show with the STM show. In today’s episode, I sit down with Todd Jones and Ryan Waterbury. And we have a bit of a roundtable discussion on what we saw in 2020. In the digital marketing world and what we see coming in 2021, grab your favorite drink, sit down, relax, and enjoy the conversation.
Brad Cairns here, I’m here with my two good friends, Mr. Todd Jones, and Mr. Ryan Waterbury, and we thought we’d do something a little different for you. Today, we do a bit of a roundtable and talk about trends in 2020. and move on to trends in 2021. Hey, guys, how are you today?
Oh, it’s gonna be one of those podcasts a
Dusty Rhodes thing going on right now.
like a monkey.
I’m sure you do. So Todd, tell the listeners you’ve been on before a little bit about yourself, please. And thank you.
Please, and thank you. I’m Todd, otherwise known as a redneck coffee snob. And I hail from the great state of Arkansas. And I tell stories, amazing people pay, you just tell stories. But that kind of happens for me. So I like to do that. And I’m really curious. I like stories in different forms. So whether it’s pro wrestling or songs, I was just just listening to comprehend road where we came on by Steve Earle and trying to gather some idea of the origin Copperhead road, the
maybe fiction, I don’t know. But I love to, to learn more about that, you know, I’m all the time finding facts about the origins of songs or, or musicians and, and when I do that, I feel like I know them better. It’s like, I feel like they’re my friend almost, you know. So I love doing that and love here and the origin stories of entrepreneurs as well. So that’s me.
Thank you, Todd. And Ryan, could you tell the listeners a little bit about yourself? You’ve been on two before as well. Please?
Yeah. I’m Ryan, owner and operator of one dog solutions, a small marketing and web design agency in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Do the fun, nonprofit and political work and do a dog training in my spare time? Looking at my dog sitting on the
sofa next to me got the most spoiled dog.
Yeah. He’s not doing his job today. Is he right? He shouldn’t be working.
That bird dog? Yeah, we’re in for two to five inches of snow starting in about an hour. So I’m happy to be at home warm and not leaving.
Yeah, that that is a good thing. We’ve had our share here. And we actually have had a little bit of freezing rain last night, we’re kind of hovering around freezing again. So it’s kind of up and down. Maybe the nice people of Ontario that shouldn’t be galavanting all over in the middle of the lockdown will actually stay home. But that’s it. You know, I’ve said this recording, we’ve hit over 2500 cases in the province. So, you know, we’re, we’re we’re in for a bit of a tough month. I think so, you know. So let’s start with Todd. And a trend you want to talk about that happened in 2020. So, and well, you know,
I was telling you about you listen to me about this time of year, last year that I thought ecommerce was going to take off more so than ever. When we already had ecommerce shops. I have a number of younger colleagues and by that I mean Millennials and younger. In the ladies, I’ll hear them talk about, oh, I picked up this art item on this ecommerce site and etc. I’ve never heard of these places either by the way, they’re not like big name retailers. And I’m like, I can see this coming that generation and Generation X or Y, whatever the what we have now coming out, they that’s just what they do. I mean, that’s just how they buy. And so I thought, well, ecommerce really gonna take off and it’s really gonna take off the next five to 10 years. Well, I thought, and then February happened in March, all sudden your buddy had to stay home. So in my little town, in Arkansas, we have about 65,060 65,000 people. So it’s a actually a fairly one of the probably top 10 size towns in Arkansas, but it’s a small town as it were. And I was impressed that I watched many of the restaurants switch over to take out and pick up they did a really good job. And I think our community did a good job of rallying behind them. You know, because, you know, the bottom line is we know the owners of these places, right? We know, you know, it’s just like the coffee shops where I know the owners of every coffee shop, every small town coffee shop in town. And so they did a great job of switching over. There’s plenty of third party apps out there to help you facilitate that, that took advantage of and kudos to them. But as we are experiencing lockdown, and comes and goes and I know that we’ve not been as lockdown as Minnesota, in Ontario, in Arkansas, but we’re also a smaller, more rural state. You have more of these lockdowns, you know, the the the need to buy toilet paper, or whatever online is just skyrocketed, you know. And so I’ve seen people start ecommerce sites over the last year, even Ryan himself has launched one and I’m working on one that I hope will have an e commerce comp component actually working on to that I have an e commerce component to I think it is the next. And it probably has been for some time. But I would call it the next new side gig. Having an e commerce. I mean, some people have already done it, but you’re seeing more people, you know, maybe they already made jewelry and just did it for friends. All of a sudden, they’re opening an Etsy shop and selling it. They’re actually my niece’s husband, her sister has had a shop for a while for jewelry. And she does e commerce as well. So but you’re going to see people they’re going to say, you know, like, for instance, my nephew can do this. If he wanted to. He is a carpenter by trade, goes into homes, does the molding and all the carpentry type stuff in a house a new new build, but he also on the side builds bedframes Custom bedframes. So I could foresee one day him setting up a shop he wants to his girlfriend had gotten on Facebook setting up a Facebook page had him more business that he could really keep up with there for a while. So people sell it’s not I mean, I say ecommerce is a short word, but basically people learning to sell online. I think people are learning to do that more and more now. And that is something that COVID-19 kind of sped up,
if you will. I would agree. Brian, Kevin thought you have an add on that one.
Yeah, I wanted to kind of interject a little bit about the shift in some of the local restaurants. And I was pretty deep into expanding more into the hospitality market earlier in the year. My first whole quarter blog articles was centered on how to do a responsive menu on a on restaurant website. And you know, how to market where you need to be and local SEO. And that that was absolutely, you know, killed a little bit. Part of the ship, you know, touched on it that e commerce. Some of the successful restaurants, double down on their marketing, social media marketing, added their own, and not the third party services. But they added their own or upgraded their own online ordering systems for delivery and curbside takeout. You know, grubhub doordash those guys take up to a 45% cut. So you saw some restaurants make the shift to online mode. We were locked down. Some are still doing well. But the ones that are really doing well are the ones that fully integrated into their own site, their own online ordering system. And they’re they’re still doing good marketing Reaching out on social channels. So that’s that’s one one thing that we saw earlier in the year. And yeah, ecommerce is growing, and it’s going to continue to grow. But at some point, you know, with these new stores, setting up, I mean, you know, one of the statistics that I have, with customers, when we do A New Hope, you need to keep your site updated, you need to have content because 90% of the sites out there, never see any traffic. So you can have the greatest store in the world. But if nobody knows about it, it means you’re not going to make any sales. So as people are at home, and we see a lot of these Eazy E commerce systems like Shopify, for example, I mean, in a couple of hours, somebody that’s fairly astute, technically, especially the younger generations, they can have a shop up and running and ready to sell product. It’s It’s not difficult these days. So yeah, that’s definitely going to continue to grow. But at what point do we see saturation? And you know, who’s going to win out there? So
yeah, I would agree with that. I mean, it’s funny in my, you know, my mom said to me this year, you do a lot of shopping on Amazon. And I say, well, I’ve actually shopped that way for 10 years. And, you know, for a long time, I was, you know, when it came to second biggest shopping malls, I just don’t like to store experience, I’d rather you know, jump online and 11 o’clock at night or do what I want get it delivered to my house that takes a couple of days, the selection on Amazon is better than walking into most stores. I mean, even computer stores. I did one earlier this year, the laptop I’m on I actually ordered it online and did a curbside pickup to pick it up and paid for it. And it was just easy. And it’s getting easier and easier and easier. And I think, you know if your world so you take somebody in a town like Thunder Bay, Ontario, they pay a premium for being in Thunder Bay, and I’ve got a my good friend lost his brother out. Or there’s online up in Thunder Bay, because it’s cheaper door to Amazon and avid ship tends to buy this stuff locally. And because you’re paying a premium to import, where you get somebody isolated in the middle of nowhere or shut in or senior, or you know, even somebody like my mom who’s 76 years old and shouldn’t be out there. Yeah, it’s been it’s been a big deal. And I think in restaurants, you mentioned the cut. Ryan, in Ontario, they’ve actually regulated that you can charge over 25% if your Uber Eats or doordash. It is now illegal in the province of Ontario to charge more than that.
Yep. And locally in Minneapolis. The mayor just had his own executive order at 15%. Yeah. And there’s been a lot of pushback by those third party agents. Well,
yeah, it’s hard. And we’ve even gotten to the extent that if you have a liquor license in your store, you can offer liquor for delivery now. And they made an announcement last week in Ontario, that you will not get that will continue even after COVID. That is now law. So if you’re a worker, a restaurant moving forward, you can you can deliver liquor, now you’re going to pay a premium and it’s not like ordering from the liquor store, but still. So
we actually have a local delivery services starting up the pre COVID. I’ve been probably going a couple years. And I thought they were I don’t know what their prices are about what imagine that their charge on is probably a little bit less than the, the big ones you’re talking about. So I don’t know if anybody took advantage of me after COVID started or not. Because, you know, they’re the small fish, if you will, even though they’re local. I mean, I’ve met the owners, you know,
kind of thing. So, you know.
So Brian, what would be your number one thing that happened in 2020, or a shift that you seen in your business? Besides you action? Yeah,
so that was an interesting thing. I know, the last time I was on the podcast, you know, we were talking about politics. And I I’ve been involved with minor parties, both of our major parties in the United States and doing marketing campaign websites and other things. So I was connected enough with with candidates and people running that. I mean, I my second quarter was wiped out. It was all restaurant and, and travel websites, and marketing. That’s what I had budgeted for and I Clear my slate. So I was scrambling, because, you know, my, my project work was gone, I had my my monthly work, but that’s starting to die down as restaurants started to close. You know, and some of the first budgets to get cut out marketing budgets. So it’s it’s been interesting, but I shifted to doing political work throughout the year, obviously that ends in November. But I that that was always, you know, a fun filler thing. And I’ve been kind of personally looking at what I want to do you in the next year. And nonprofits that I work with the, if you look at the statistics, they say that givings up a couple of percent. And that’s corporate giving, because they want the tax write offs. But individual giving is down a lot. So smaller, niche, nonprofits are going to need a lot of help to survive and function and actually pay their everyday expenses moving forward. So that’s where I’m looking at my focus is not necessarily commercial, moving forward, but solidifying that nonprofit niche and finding more unique ways for them to message that are a cost effective and have high return on investment. I think both of you know, I had talked about my Facebook ads account getting banned. Oh, yes. And that sweeping thing. So that’s the other part of it, I’m looking at all all the social media channels, and Facebook’s the big player there. But you know, and they came out with Facebook shops, so they want to be that one stop shop. But if you do something that hits their algorithm incorrectly, or you say the wrong thing, and your whole, your whole ecommerce and whole stores there, bam, you’re done. So, you know, that’s, that’s kind of my goal for the first quarter of next year’s look at better messaging methods and other platforms that, you know, my commercial clients, my nonprofit clients can reach their, their clients and constituents. So
Todd, do you want to add to that a little bit? Well, not
in political space.
But I mean, you
the, the, you’re talking about the individual donations being down, and I don’t really know what you can do, because people have to have money to give other than to maximize your opportunities with people who do have money, you know, wealthier people in corporates. And, of course, you know, what I’m gonna say, good storytelling. I mean, literally, if you read the book, stories that stick the kyndra Hall call, she tells stories about how she helped nonprofits, with storytelling, to, you know, bring in donations, so that’s just, but you’re gonna need to do something like that. And you’re gonna have to maximize the people who can give, you know, I mean, right now, the nonprofits aren’t getting from people, because those people have to have help. So they’re probably helping the people that normally they would get donations from. I mean, I’ve seen the hits here and locally as well. And Conway, we have a number of nonprofits and some of them have had to make some large transitions that they maybe they didn’t expect when the year started. And so, you know, they’re scrambling and but that’s gonna be a tough nut to crack. Honestly. As no less more people have less money you know, to give
Yeah, and and, and dad’s in the states even more, you know, as of this recording, the $2,000 bill got through the house, but it’s certainly not getting to the Senate. The last I read that is so I mean, apparently the Senate’s now held up the deal again, so you’ve got
your Ron and I had our $2,000 spent before we got it, and
I tried not
to get it so. Yeah, I don’t know what Stay tuned, that might change next week, but
I don’t know what’s, what’s gonna happen there. Right. It’s, it’s a dicey one right now. It’s just really it’s really dicey. And, you know, I, I’ve talked about a lot with you guys and the multitude of people that I actually decided to take a full time job in the middle of this mess, and it’s probably the best thing I did, because I, I have to tell you, I think in Ontario, the first quarter of this year of 2011 2021 is going to be really hard, I think. I think it’s hard. I
think The the problems we’re having, you know, we kind of been getting by, in both your country and our country this year, and I think you’re going to see the fallout over the next two to three years. More so than now, it’s going to become a trickle down effect. And you know, a couple years from now, you know, it’s gonna be, it’s gonna, that’s where you’re gonna see the progress, but you’re but with with these problems, there’s new opportunities. And certainly, you know, I know you’re gonna have Steve on in a little bit, one of the things he talks about in his book, The Freelancer manifesto is that the gig economy is here to stay. I agree. So with more people is gonna become self employed. Because they’re gonna be turning to gigs, it may be selling something on their Shopify site, or you know, something else, but they’re gonna, they’re gonna do what they can to kind of scramble and put, we all would like to have a nice job, right, making six figures, be uncomfortable, and then do what we want. But, you know, not everybody’s, you know, fortunate and no, you know, I, I’ve heard the same type of story from other people.
So it’s hard. It’s hard right now. And I think, for me, the biggest trend that’s happened in 2020, is we need to learn to take care of ourselves, do more self care, look after our mental health, who’s telling somebody the other day and I’ve been pretty transparent about some of the stuff I’ve been gone through between a podcast and talking to people. And one of the things I was telling my therapist week ago was I’ve read 35 self care books since the end of September, this year. So, you know, the problem is, is with stuff like COVID people are going stir crazy people aren’t looking after themselves. People aren’t cutting people slack. You know, there’s nothing we can do about the lockdowns. I’m not happy about them. We’re in one right now. I’m so displeased about it. It’s not funny. But at the end of the day, can you control that? No. Can you do anything about it? No. So my whole philosophy is why worry about it, work on this stuff you can control and make sure you take care of your mental health. And that means cut on your physical house. That means a couple of things. One, go for I go for a walk every day to meditate. I meditate every day. Those two things help. A lot of a lot of stuff. So you have to you have to deal with that. So that’s the key thing there. And I think we’re now seeing many states of provinces have pulled out mental health money out of the budget. And we’re now starting to see more money go back into mental health through them trying to do stuff because they realize it’s a bit of a problem. So, yeah, so that’s the key. They’re caught. What do you see coming up for 2021?
Ah, so I was thinking about some of this, I guess it was I was writing an article. I don’t know if I have a one glaring thing. I was thinking about something this that came up in the last day or two, and I’m not sure where I read it. But they were saying they heard it on a podcast with copywriter Ben subtle. So if you guys know Ben is he’s kind of a cranky old guy, but I don’t know if he’s older than I am. But he’s a he’s a copywriter. And he definitely looks a lot different than some of the younger copywriters today. But apparently, Ben said, and I’ve read other places where he’s alluded to it that the future of copywriting is entertainment, or he calls it infotainment. So I think there’s true because first of all you’re getting and I’m not sure if it’s your friend Neal Schaffer, it said it but content shock or whatever the word was he used, we’re getting saturated with content. Now. you consume content, so many different places, so many different forms. And so what people tend to do is, you put a lot of cram a lot of information into three 4007 1000. Word blog posts. That’s a lot of information, first of all, and in the early days, when nobody’s doing it, it was kind of like, Whoa, look at that. Now, more and more people are doing it. And now if you’re not careful, your if your info is gonna be dull and boring. So I really am like, make it less boring to ask like something your content is boring, make your content less boring. Yeah. And there’s ways of doing that. But it really is not just that but doing something different. So last week, I did this for fun, also kind of as like a trial. And I think both you guys read it because I think I showed it to you my night before twice the night before Christmas main WP stop. Now if you read it and you knew the original poem, but you don’t know anything that may not be probably lost and that’s fine you both you guys know main WP so you are looted the main WP stuff and WordPress maintenance and security and even three members of the main WP team and you just had a good time with it. And I don’t know if it registered on the Richter scale, be honest with you, but finding different ways. I mean, the very worst thing you can do is to do the same thing everybody else does. Yeah. So I guess its differentiation is how can you be different and in your content, one do something no one else does. And make your content less boring. So that means interactive content. I’ve been saying this for a while. I think interactive content is something we need to do more of Yoast put out a a waterfall top landing page, I forgot the topic. And I came across it actually put it in one of my and they put a lot of work into it. Now, it wasn’t probably as great as everybody made it out to be. But it was still pretty cool. Because they did something different. You know, it’s kind of scrolled a little bit, and, you know, but let’s try to find a way to make it interactive. You know, didn’t you know i? I mean, people have done parodies. It was not for Christmas, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it in the WordPress space. But I mean, you know, Now obviously, one of the things you can do is tell stories, and there’s different ways to tell stories, there’s, there’s no one way to tell stories, right? We watch you and I Rob watch wrestling regularly. I mean, that’s that’s all that is one long storytelling venture. So I guess what I want to see it much anything is tell less, have less boring content. Because there’s so much of it out there to help yourself stand out among a sea of content because, and you know, also, and I direct this as much towards some of our WordPress friends as anybody. But this is true across the board, the very worst thing you can do is do the same thing everybody else does to look like their website to look like their, you know, branding or whatever. I mean, people see something they like and they basically want to copy it. First of all that you’re looking at plagiarism. Second of all, it doesn’t tell your unique story, your unique message. And so find a way to differentiate, I’m picking up more of this from Steve roller as well, because he talks about it, both in the backroom, and his facebook group and in his book, and in between you and Steve, I think Robert really picked up on the differentiation thing more in the last year, I want to see people, you know, you just can’t look like they’re like your friends, you got to look different and
so true. So true. One One of the reasons I like that book called the insight advantage by Robert bloom so much he talks about differentiating and, and, and all of that, and it’s like 10 years old, and it’s still more relevant. Ryan 2021. Would you say?
2020 one’s gonna be a tough year rolling into it. I don’t I don’t think we really want to I don’t think we’ve been 100% felt the economic effects yet. And, you know, I still, I still see local restaurants closing and that has ripple effect to, you know, businesses like mine that service then and, you know, supply companies and other related businesses. That second way that ripple out is just starting to happen. And
so, you know, I think going into 2021 is I think you need to take a little step back and be cautious on any big decisions and find success in the winds that you can, you can get. I took a little note from Todd’s book in my last newsletter wrote a nice little story and shared a really good success story. Because 2020 hasn’t been great with big wins and successes. So yeah. What I’ve been telling my customers and the projects that we’re working on, let’s focus on the positive things that are going on, look for positive momentum and try and find some solutions that are economical and make sense that that we can reach their claims. So, yeah, it’s a lot of cautious and I don’t really want to say negative or optimistic. Just wait and see what happens after quarter one.
I’m not really optimistic, I’m not pessimistic. It’s, it’s something that, you know, I talked about with my customers. And I laid out my plan on some changes that we’re making to be more efficient in my agency and offer some new services to clients and promote some of the ones that that we’ve done for a while that, you know, people aren’t taking advantage of and just reacquaint Queensland, current clients, and that was something that in 2020, that was really beneficial. When the pandemic hit, I kind of panicked and looked at my client base, dwindling, or cutting services. And I sent out an email and said, Hey, I’m here, these are the things that I can help you with that I think are beneficial. What can we do? And I was just Florida the response back on, you know, I had a few clients that had been doing prep work for for 10 years. And there, they said, you do email marketing? And I said, Yeah, I have for lunch. Well, we need help with that. And so, you know, building those relationships and expanding things that I’ve done with my client base, are things that my clients can benefit from, by reaching out to people that they’ve worked with in the past that have been good customers, I think those relationships, and working through additional services and helping you know, your current client base, I think I’m going to, that’s what I’m going to focus on going into 2021. Finding more successes.
Yeah, I think you have to at this point, though, you know, the world’s the world’s been tough for, for me, it’s kind of getting my ducks in a row in my personal life, which you both know, I’ve been working on and sorting that out, that’s just gonna take time. And I have to tell you, the pandemic either helps, or hurts it, I’m not sure which at times, I mean, it gives you time to work on stuff, but it doesn’t really give you time to get together because you shouldn’t be running all over the place. So we got a lot of that going on. So that will just work itself through. In terms of everything else. I think you just got to realize I think the first half of this year is going to be really tough. Until we get some vaccines out there. I think we’re going to be in and out of lockdowns, whether we like it or not in some areas, I think they’ll come they’ll go. And I think we just got to kind of take stock and say, Okay, what do we have to do to make this better? And just kind of keep working it through kind of thing. So that makes it really hard? Does that Todd, do you have anything you want to add to this conversation? Even?
I don’t think so. No. Ryan, do
you have anything you want to add? Or bring up for? For or throw at?
You? No. I don’t think so. No? Yeah,
I think we’re all starting to get COVID hangover the I say I really do like honestly. So Todd if somebody wants to get a hold of your book copywriting How is the best way to get you and get in touch with you.
You know, website is copy flight calm. You’re mostly doing copy projects that relate to storytelling. I’m working on,
productized services, I guess for that. And so your origin story as a company I think that it helps build trust be more likeable on what some a lot of local businesses say that people do business with those that they know like and trust. Well, you can hit all three of those checkmarks with a good origin story. And then using stories in your emails or your blog content, that kind of stuff. So
great, Ryan, how can somebody get a hold there and get help from me.
Yeah, so you can get my website at one dog dot solutions and social media at one dog solutions on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Yeah. Thanks guys for joining me. Thanks everybody for listening Happy New Year hope everybody’s well stay safe stay home Do what you have to do because we’re kind of in this mess together hopefully at this point. So have a great day guys. Thanks. Special thanks to Ryan and Todd for joining me on this very special episode. I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as we did doing it for you. This podcast is dedicated my late father Bruce Cairns and my wife Jill McLean-Cairns. I love you both very much. If you’d like to get in touch with me, email me at VIP at stunning digital marketing comm or go on over to my website stunning digital marketing comm on twitter at Rob carrots. I’m also on LinkedIn and Facebook. look me up. Say hello, love to have a conversation. Please take care of yourself and your loved ones. It’s a tough time with COVID-19 going on. And frankly the end is not near and just be careful. from Ontario the province of lockdown keep your feet on the ground, keep reaching for the stars and make your business succeed. Bye for now.