Harrogate-based Appeal has seen a run of new digital marketing contracts, won entirely by video call, from new clients in the US, the UK and Europe, shoring up revenues during a tough time under lockdown for marketing agencies.

A total of eight new business wins, won in partnership with international lead generation specialist sister-agency GBM, has replaced a number of UK clients that fell away as lockdown and furloughing hit revenues in April.

“We’ve been lucky to have established a growing reputation in digital marketing and lead generation in both the US and the UK. With digital engagement rocketing due to remote working, the lead generation techniques we’ve developed over the last few years have been able to replace the lost fees from other Covid-impacted PR clients,” explained Paul Snape, managing director of Appeal and GBM.

“It was a first for us to win a pitch purely by video in March, but by June we’ve now won seven more clients without any physical meetings, so we’re getting quite used to the move from doing business face to face to virtually, and its opening up markets we’ve never been in before.”

The five-strong team, based in Harrogate and Boston, has won competitive pitches remotely across many sectors including private equity, software and technology, oil and gas, IT provision and financial services.

“We’ve been blending our media relations with paid social and lead generation for a few years, and already had around 20% of our work internationally and in digital lead generation.

“With cancelled trade shows and networking events post-Covid, more and more firms are keen to get in front of B2B customers digitally. We have seen a steady flow of new clients come on board after some initial hard work and using our own digital lead generation techniques to win work in Germany, Rhode Island, the Netherlands and the UK,” Paul added.

The firm expects to hire a Harrogate-based digital executive and administrator in the second half of 2020, with further growth as ‘paused’ clients open their doors again in Q3.

“Like all businesses, we aren’t sure what the rest of the year looks like. When lockdown struck, we lost around 50% of our PR revenue in a month; we’ve recovered from that and hope that these clients come back on board as they staff up again and resume operations.

“We’ve seen a huge contrast in fortunes between some clients who have actually benefited from increased trade during this period, and some who may never recover. After 22 years in business, we’ve been through some challenging times - we’re determined to make sure we bounce back from this global crisis, especially through continued growth of the lead generation and digital side of the business, which will play a valuable role in helping other companies to rebuild their customer base,” he concluded.