Nice To Meet You

February 9, 2022

ALLOW US TO REINTRODUCE OURSELVES

Hi, we’re The Manual. Nice to meet you. 👋

That’s right. Today’s the official launch of The Manual Weekly, the same great newsletter you've come to know and love every Wednesday morning, but with a sleek new style (look ma, we're all grown up!).

But that’s not all — we've also launched “The Manual,” a news hub for all things small and medium-sized business (or, “SMB” for the cool kids in the back). 

If you’re a regular around these parts, you’ve probably noticed that things look a bit, well, different — new layout, crisp paint, fresh kicks. One thing that hasn’t changed: a great lineup of content for both you and your business. 

If you’re new or getting reacquainted with The Manual — welcome! Feel free to have a look around and make yourself at home. We encourage you to bookmark the site as a go-to source for great content that speaks to SMB teams, like:

(Yup, that Shaq. We’ll be regularly tapping into the minds of some recognizable names for nuggets of wisdom that you can use in your business. But you’ll also find customer stories, podcast recaps, and our hot takes on current SMB news.)

Speaking of which, we’re planning to ramp up production in the coming weeks so we can deliver even more relevant news, tips, and advice for your business via our editorial hub and weekly newsletter

Now, as an SMB owner or employee, your time is tight. We get that (after all, we’re an SMB, too). So don’t worry about having your inbox flooded with anything that isn’t useful or relevant to your purpose. Actually, we promise to not flood your inbox — period. We’ll see you here every Wednesday. And in the meantime, you can get your SMB news fill on The Manual’s site

Now, onto the news.  


D&I ALERT

How your business can improve diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion? What’s the difference?

Diversity is about the differences and similarities between people. Inclusion is about creating a culture where people feel they belong.

Or, in the words of Dr. Steve Yacovelli, a D&I consulting expert, “diversity is being invited to the dance — inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Dr. Steve Yacovelli, owner and principal of TopDog Learning Group

So, why do they matter?

Plenty of reasons. Having a diverse team in the workplace boosts creativity and innovation. That’s because having voices from different cultures, races, genders, and educational backgrounds provides a wider range of perspectives on problem-solving.

Plus, diverse teams see a 60% bump in their decision-making abilities. And companies who support diversity in their workforces can attract and retain talent more easily than those who don’t.

Okay, so how can my company practice D&I?

Here are a few tips:

  1. Make D&I a core part of your business. Don’t approach diversity and inclusion with a “tick box mentality.” You want these values to be a part of your business’s DNA. Infuse D&I into your company’s values and mission. And introduce policies that reflect these values.
  2. Lead by example. Your business’s leadership has to be the driving force behind any D&I initiative. Practice “leadership courage” —  if you notice any cultural insensitivity amongst your employees, you need to speak up. Show your team that you take diversity and inclusion seriously. 
  3. Change employee recruitment. Be more conscious of how and where you recruit new employees. Do you hire from a variety of schools and job sites? Are your role descriptions inclusive and accepting of people from different cultures and educational backgrounds? Even small changes can expand your pool of potential applicants.

👉 Find more tips.


WHY SO SERIOUS?

Lighthearted commercials are back for Super Bowl LVI

The bet:
Last Super Bowl Sunday, Several brands took the frank and honest approach when it came to reflecting the public's frustration with the pandemic. But this year, marketers say they don’t expect to see many messages with a serious tone.

Why?
Experts think that people don’t want to be reminded of the challenges associated with the pandemic. And that they’d rather escape the reality of COVID for a little while.

How it’s been:

In recent months, advertisers have pivoted their messaging to match the worldwide crisis. Like McDonald’s “we’re all in this together” campaign. Meaning, many businesses opted to position their products and services as the essential solution to pandemic woes. 

Some companies got their name out as they took steps to help the community through donating food or money to those in sudden need. Others would try to point to their business as a way to make living in the pandemic easier, practice self-care, prepare for product scarcity, and so on.

How it’s changing:

Now, advertisers are ultimately trying to get their consumers’ attention through everyone’s desire for the pandemic to end. So, brands are looking to themes like hope, resilience, and optimism. With plenty of humor thrown in.

In other words, they’re focusing on how the world “is coming out the other side” of this crisis.

What’s the risk?

Post-COVID times could be approaching (hoping that we’re past the peak). But of course, you want your messaging to land with your audience. Which includes being sensitive to the current moment.

So, when it comes to your own marketing strategy, be sure to hold tight to your customers’ trust by embracing uncertainty, understanding trends, and being ready to adapt. If you’d like to follow the footsteps of advertisers with a Super Bowl slot, leave some wiggle room to make changes as the nation’s mood changes.

And as you craft your ads, just remember: the whole world is going through it right now. In fact, an estimated 5.6M people in the US have seen firsthand loss associated with COVID. So think about your customer and how you can best support them right now. Whether it’s simply letting them know that your product can help them cope, giving them a well-needed laugh, or any other method that’s best for your business.

👉 View more 2022 ad trends


METAVERSE MADNESS

What Meta’s $200B loss means for SMBs

Have you heard?

The “Big Tech” giant formerly known as Facebook saw their biggest one-day drop ever last week: a 20%+ fall (which equals over $200B lost in market value).

What?! How did that happen?

The massive drop in value came after Meta released their latest earnings report. And it became clear that the company has a few problems to solve:

  • While Meta earned $33.7B in revenue last quarter, their public estimates for Q1 of 2022 will only reach $27-29B. In other words, below expectations.
  • The company could lose up to $10B in Facebook ad revenue this year because of Apple’s iPhone privacy changes. 
  • Facebook’s user count also dropped for the first time ever — the company lost half a million daily users in Q4 last year. CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes that the loss could mean users are moving to the increasingly popular social media platform, TikTok.

So, Meta might be in trouble. What does that mean for my business? 

If your business uses Facebook as part of your online marketing strategy, not much has to change right now. Facebook still has an average of 1.93B daily users. And as of 2019, 93.7% of businesses were active on the social media site. Plus, in 2020, about 18% of adults in the US made purchases through Facebook.

But if we consider the long term, Meta’s problems become more prevalent. If Facebook continues to lose users, then your ability to reach potential customers will also decrease. 

What should we do?

For business leaders looking for another online platform with high traffic and an easy-to-use ad management system, there’s a solution ready and waiting: TikTok. 

The short-form video app has steadily grown in popularity since its launch in 2016. TikTok has 1B monthly users globally and was the most popular website of 2021. Plus, they have a specialized account set up for companies who want to market through their site. 

Most notably, TikTok has a resource center for small businesses who want to grow their audiences and reach potential customers on the platform. So, even if Meta continues its downward trend, rest assured that you can still easily reach consumers online.


TL; DR

This week’s highlight reel

  • Fifty shades of brand. About 85% of people claim that color has an impact on what they buy. So, picking the right website color matters! This guide breaks down exactly how to do that. And these same principles also helped us to pick the color for our new website.
  • New logo, who ‘dis? Google Chrome is changing up their logo for the first time in eight years. And even though you’ll probably have to squint to notice the changes, it proves that even the most popular products need a refresh every so often.
  • Quicker ain’t better. At least when it comes to food delivery. Because Fridge No More, a company that provides 15-minute grocery delivery, lost about $3 per order last year. Meaning, the future may be bleak for quick delivery services.
  • Beautiful people. Target introduced 40 new beauty brands in stores and online; and half of them are from Black-owned or founded companies. This is part of the retailer’s initiative to spend over $2B with Black-owned businesses by 2025.
  • Be mine. Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach just under $24B in the US this year. So, how can you win your customers’ hearts (and wallets)? Facebook breaks down the hottest Valentine’s Day trends to take advantage of before the 14th.

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