Tortoise and Hare Software Featured On #JaxBusinessStrong Podcast

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Running a business during coronavirus is a challenging task for companies in any city, and Jacksonville is no exception. There’s a lot of angst circulating about in regards to many Jacksonville business’ future and people have questions on how to survive and adjust to the new economic climate. One local company, Studio Podcast Suites is helping to bridge the gap by hosting a series of short 12 minute podcast episodes covering local Jacksonville businesses. The series is called #jaxbusinessstrong and recently Tortoise and Hare Software was featured on an episode discussing how to adjust to the new normal with deferred return investments in brand building and top of funnel awareness among the future customer base. Below is a link to listen to the podcast on your preferred platform.

Listen To The Podcast

If your somewhere without your headphones, we’ve included a transcript of the podcast below.

Episode Transcript

Gary Spurgeon:

From Jacksonville, Florida. I’m Gary Spurgeon. Welcome to the podcast, everybody. My guest today is Hunter Nelson, owner of Tortoise and Hare Software. Hunter, welcome to the podcast.

Hunter Nelson:

Thank you. Good to be here.

Gary Spurgeon:

Well, tell everybody about your business and how long you’ve been in business and what exactly the services and products that you’ve sell.

Hunter Nelson:

Okay. Sure. Tortoise and Hare Software is a boutique marketing agency and web development agency, here in the Jacksonville area. I work out of my house in Atlantic Beach and work with a small network of contractors that I send out work to. Some of the services that I offer to clients are PPC, SEO, web development, and the niche that I’ve carved out with the Tortoise and Hare Software, is to come in, in a post branding world, post branding capacity and help round out some of the technical challenges of marketing, by getting people set up with measurement and conversion tracking and starting to expand their digital presence with digital advertising.

Gary Spurgeon:

When you use the word PPC, what is PPC?

Hunter Nelson:

PPC encompasses search engine advertising and social media advertising. It’s basically just, you’re buying a premium placement with a digital banner or text ad or any number of formats to get in front of customers.

Gary Spurgeon:

What’s the term PPC mean?

Hunter Nelson:

Pay per click.

Gary Spurgeon:

How are you managing right now in leading this climate? What’s going on in your business?

Hunter Nelson:

Right now, there’s the COVID-19 crisis. There’s an element where some industries, you just can’t force demand.

Gary Spurgeon:

Yeah.

Hunter Nelson:

People aren’t going to be going around on cruise ships, things like that. But you still have budgets to spend and people that you need to keep busy and things like that. So, we’ve shifted strategy in some of my clients and some of them are still doing great, but others are shifting to what I call deferred return investments. That’s, instead of advertising in direct spend for customers in the now, they shift to content marketing with blogging, which generates returns over time, branding activities, such as display marketing, that help get your logo out in the marketplace and focus on that top of funnel, in the hopes that there’s a recovery over the next three to six month period. Those people that you are filling up the top of the funnel with now, start to convert as the recovery progresses.

Gary Spurgeon:

Are you seeing that people are just, are they just laying off or either cutting back? What are you seeing?

Hunter Nelson:

There has been cuts, but really it’s more about shifting and a recession like this really is going to expose weaknesses.

Gary Spurgeon:

Right.

Hunter Nelson:

… in a marketing infrastructure. With those rising tides, when it’s like good times, you can do a whole lot of anything and it can work.

Gary Spurgeon:

Right.

Hunter Nelson:

But, I’ll give you an example. If you’re doing a pay-per-click campaign, sometimes you can send people directly to your just general website pages and you’ll drive conversions. But as a PPC, pay-per-click best practice, you really want to have a landing page that has no navigation. It’s not tied to your website, and it’s really, just gives you an information, gives you the offer and you have two choices. You either convert or do the main call to action on the webpage or you bounce and you don’t convert. That’s one of those things, it’s like in good times when there’s a lot of demand in the marketplace, you can get away with just sending people to your generic website and they’ll figure it out and convert.

Hunter Nelson:

Whereas, now we’re rolling out messaging that’s specific with those dedicated landing pages that are coronavirus-oriented campaigns. For instance, I’ve got one client, that’s an IT company and there’s number of people shifting to remote work as part of this crisis.

Gary Spurgeon:

Yeah.

Hunter Nelson:

We’ve rolled out a dedicated landing page to help them generate leads for people that need help managing that remote workforce.

Gary Spurgeon:

Getting, going backwards a second, how long you’ve been in business, you said?

Hunter Nelson:

Since September 2018, is when I took it full-time. I founded it soft launch in January 2018, so two years roughly.

Gary Spurgeon:

How have you found business progressing for you in those two years?

Hunter Nelson:

It’s been going good. It started off slow. I had a strange journey, in that I was a software developer immediately before I started my business. I tried to go at the software angle, which I was finding a little bit difficult, because that’s a little bit more of an enterprise activity and that’s a lot harder for a single person to sell to the larger companies. But, through that process of trying to sell software, I kept having a lot of people ask me about business websites and I had done some marketing in the past. You may notice the business’s name, Tortoise and Hare Software.

Gary Spurgeon:

Yes.

Hunter Nelson:

But I wound up pivoting to a marketing agency, just because that’s where the demand was. After that pivot was complete, things were moving along great. I actually had the back-to-back best sales months ever in January and February of this year. Then the crisis struck, and it’s been a little slow this past month and a half. I didn’t lose any clients, which is great, but new work has definitely taken a little bit of a slow, but I think that’s something we’re seeing across the board in the B2B services industry, for sure.

Gary Spurgeon:

Yeah. You know, it’s interesting, I’m very close to the marketing and advertising industry and I’m watching numbers. We’re seeing that in some cases, business is off for the marketing companies, broadcast, radio, television, et cetera, down 30, 40, even 50%. everybody believes very strongly as this opens back up that we will start seeing that these services come back into play. I think that it’s not only optimistic, it’s realistic. People are going to want customers. They’re going to have to attract customers and how they go about it. Your services are definitely going to be in demand. Are you doing anything right now to attract new customers?

Hunter Nelson:

That’s where it comes back to the brand building. For instance, one thing I’ve done with my own personal businesses is shift pay-per-click campaigns from doing search advertising, so when people will actually click on a search query in Google and then come and have a chance to doing more display advertising. I’ve shifted from going after those near- term leads to doing brand building around the Jacksonville Beaches, specifically. I’ve got display advertising running on popular websites that shows the Tortoise and Hare Software logo. Then if they click on those ads, people are clicking on them regularly, it just gives them a chance to learn more about the business, and again, fill that top of funnel.

Hunter Nelson:

I’m also encouraging clients to go more on social media and demonstrate that company culture, not necessarily sell right now, but just sell your brand, again. It goes back to that brand building. Brand building, content marketing, those deferred return investments are really what you want to go on now and then focus on retention, because you definitely want to keep as many customers as you can right now.

Gary Spurgeon:

Who’s your typical customer that you like to attract in the Tortoise and Hare Solutions or Software?

Hunter Nelson:

I focused primarily on lead gen scenarios and not e-commerce, so people selling services, software as a service, those sorts of companies. Then I focused on the B2B space. It’s one of those things where I’m running a B2B services company that does lead generation. That’s become a wheelhouse and a focus. I did try a stint with some e-commerce and there’s just, it’s a different animal with B2B or B2C advertising. People are a lot more picky. There’s a lot more information, and there’s also a very tight budget you have to work with. Whereas, B2B services, there’s a lot more room to play because deal sizes are much higher, so there’s a lot more flexibility, and I like that.

Gary Spurgeon:

Looking into the coming months, how do you see it actually progressing through the rest of this year for your business?

Hunter Nelson:

For my business, I feel great just because I’m working with some exciting clients that were part of those best back to back best sales months ever right now, that are going to turn into some great case studies that I can go and socialize the marketplace, as this recovery happens. I know that’s going to be a big interest-driver. I’ve, over the past year or so really been working with very small budget clients. But I got a couple more in that two to $10 million range in revenue clients that have more sophisticated and attractive marketing problems to solve, that are going to be appealing when I can share those case studies as we move forward into 2020.

Gary Spurgeon:

One thing great about your business, you are actually your best customer. I mean, you’re doing, you’re practicing what you’re preaching, everybody. You’ve got really a hands on experience and you’re seeing how the dynamic or the results come based on what you do as a business yourself.

Hunter Nelson:

Sure. Almost everything I’ve sold to date, has been trying it out with Tortoise and Hare Software. Then when I see something works, I take it to clients and sell them on that package.

Gary Spurgeon:

That’s terrific. Is there anything you’d like our listeners in this podcast to, that they can do to really help your business or you like them to know about the Tortoise and Hare?

Hunter Nelson:

We do, do software. I would definitely like to share that aspect. As part of helping these clients, we’re doing a lot of web design, website building, building landing pages. We build it a little bit different website. You’ll see a lot of creative agencies that might not have that development talent, and they’re going to be more creative-focused. They’re going to have strong graphic designers, but you may notice some downtime and things like that. We have really solid development processes where we’ve got backups and can reduce your time to market, eliminate downtime and build really, would look like enterprise software in a marketing website.

Gary Spurgeon:

I really appreciate you coming in today. You epitomize the clientele and the people I want to talk to in Jacksonville. This is a challenging time for all of us, and how we work through it, as we work through it together, the ideals that you bring to the table can help another business out there, in maybe, some of the processes that you put in place. Thank you for being on the podcast today.

Hunter Nelson:

Sure. I felt great about Jacksonville’s chances. We’re a little bit spread out here so I think our recovery is going to be a lot smoother than some of the other areas of the country, so feeling optimistic.

Gary Spurgeon:

Thanks for being here.

Hunter Nelson:

Thank you.

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Hunter Nelson

Hunter has more than 10 years’ experience in the software industry building and configuring software for companies such as American Express, Black Knight, Homes & Land, Verizon and more. Hunter earned his bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from Florida State University in 2009 and began his career consulting for Accenture out of the New York City office. After accruing significant experience working with Fortune 500 Clients on complex software projects as an analyst, he discovered his love for coding and building software. While practicing the craft he earned an MBA from Florida State in 2017. In 2018 he founded Tortoise and Hare Software to begin providing business value in digital consulting engagements to small and medium sized businesses and helping them along in their journey toward the Fortune 500. See LinkedIn for more.

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