Things to Consider for Updating Your Business for COVID
Jesse, Bob, and Sue discuss how to make adjustments as the COVID pandemic continues. With kids going back to school and winter approaching in the U.S., chances of spikes in cases continue, and your business will have to plan for it. What approaches can you take to prepare for these contingencies, and how can you make your clients feel informed in the process? We help you understand your options when it comes to using your online platforms to deliver information to clients.
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What you’ll learn
- What to consider in terms of adapting to the current landscape.
- Why keeping your information up to date online is important.
- How to prepare for potential shifts in business as winter approaches.
Transcript For Business COVID Concerns – Update Your Online Business Information For 2021 4th Quarter – 128;
Caleb Baumgartner: Welcome to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I am producer Caleb Baumgartner and in this episode, Bob, Jesse and Sue discuss the ongoing impact of the COVID pandemic. Are there fresh approaches to take to improve your business in this time? Is there COVID related information on your website or GMB that needs to be updated? The crew discusses what changes your business can make to keep up to date on this situation. Got a question? Let us know at localseotactics.com/questions. Thanks for listening and enjoy the show.
Jesse Dolan: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan here again with Sue Ginsburg, Bob Brennan-
Sue Ginsburg: Hi.
Jesse Dolan: Answering questions and hopefully solving some situations for people out there. Before we dive into the episode here today, Sue with the question, we were just talking. We want to bring up the fact a few episodes ago, you had a quote that you mentioned on here that we weren’t sure exactly who authored it and we were just looking for some feedback. We did have a couple people, I think within an hour or two of the episode, drop in and send in their answer to track down who actually the quote was by. As promised, we’re going to fire off a couple of t-shirts to them, but I don’t know if you have their information off-hand, but we wanted to mention that, close the loop for everybody. That problem has been solved.
Sue Ginsburg: The quote was something about a wise man asks questions, not gives answers. Yes, a big thank you to Kim and to Michael for doing your research and getting us the source of that quote. Really appreciate that and appreciate you taking the time and effort to let us know that. For your effort, soon, you will both be the proud owners of the Intrycks t-shirt that everybody wants.
Jesse Dolan: Now you’re exaggerating a little bit, Sue. I don’t see them on eBay quite yet. I’ve got an eBay alert set up though. As soon as they pop up, I’ll know.
Bob Brennan: Just for the record I get paid in Intrycks t-shirts. I’m up to about 30, 35 is my current payment for Intrycks t-shirts.
Jesse Dolan: You’re either going to strike it rich or they’re going to be in a garage sale someday, we’ll see. We all thought it was cool just because that’s the first time, Sue, you’ve really asked for help out there outside of these questions. To get an immediate response from some sleuths was pretty cool. Some well-deserved t-shirts there.
Sue Ginsburg: Google sleuths, I like it. Google sleuth.
Jesse Dolan: Right. Sue, where are you at virtually today?
Sue Ginsburg: Today I am virtually and in real life in beautiful Minneapolis where it is a gorgeous summer day, I’ll still say. I especially wanted this backdrop with the sailboats because you will see in a few minutes that it fits in very well with the quote of the day.
Jesse Dolan: Super.
Sue Ginsburg: Today’s question. How can your online presence help you most during the stage of COVID about 18 months into it? Jesse, you talked about this probably about 18 months ago when COVID first hit because this was on everybody’s mind, especially so much of the world and work world went to online presence. Now, depending on where you are COVID is back or COVID is slightly back and there’s some modifications to our everyday lives, whether that’s masks or lockdowns or whatever, and people again are turning towards the internet. I thought it’d be a great question for you to talk about and refresh everybody’s memory on some tips and tricks that can help them during this stage of COVID as we revisit it, whatever that stage is depending on where you are.
Quote of the day today, “To reach a port, we must set sail. Sail, not tie an anchor. Sail, not drift.” Then I have sailboats in my background.
Jesse Dolan: It all comes together.
Sue Ginsburg: That quote is from Franklin Roosevelt. Who knew? I want to share a story about a conversation I recently had with one of our clients. Great teacher, a very natural teacher who was putting together some courses and realized that the courses she was putting together were actually training her competitors, training people much newer to the field than she is, who then went out and were offering some of the same services or similar services to her with much, much less experience. When she saw her students doing this, setting up shop and becoming her competitors, she realized that she had to change course and is redirecting her talents now to create training for her customers, not her competitors.
I really acknowledge that shift in direction because it’s not easy. Whatever our direction is, we’re sailing, not drifting and being intentional about that is really, really important, I think an important key to success in and, and everything else. Similar to COVID hitting us and all examining how we need to redirect. I thought that that that was an apt story today. To our listeners and the business owners out there, I’d ask you to think back to when COVID first hit. Can you remember what that was like, particularly for your business? Everybody was making changes and shifts in our personal lives, whether that was kids now were being remote schooled or kids coming home from college or kids coming home from anywhere because they knew that they could be safe in their parents’ home. Looking at your business, what was that like?
Were you shut down? Did you have a brick and mortar location that was shut down or that was downsized, and now only a few people could come in? Did you have to reconfigure how you did business or how your employees worked amidst all that uncertainty? There were so many things to consider. Now, or sometime recently when it’s been some time and we seem to be in some new routine, COVID takes a twist and things seem to be changing again. I thought a good question to ask the experts and… The point being all businesses no matter what, whether it’s during COVID or at another point, need to find new ways of doing things and redirect their efforts. More intentional about it you are, I believe the more likely you are to find success in that new redirect. Hopefully Jesse and Bob can help us with some information on how your online presence can help you as you’re looking at the next redirect, whatever that may be for your business.
Jesse Dolan: I want to say, Sue, I think there’s a lot of real cool tie ins here for some of the stuff you’re talking, the stories. I think a good overall message on this, because who knows, as this episode stands the test of time what we may be facing six months, a year, two years from now. I think a good lesson here is, like you said, the sailing, the movement, the adaptation. I think there’s also parallels for keeping me keeping things in perspective to make sure you’re updating, you’re not letting things go stale. Whether it’s, as an example, I think we’ve all either had our own websites or visited websites where somebody has a blog or news and updates and it’s two years old or a year old, or you started something and you didn’t stop it.
I think there’s some connotations with this COVID stuff that’s very similar. Like you said, a year and change ago, everybody’s putting banners on our websites and things in the windows of what we do do, don’t do, and things like that. At least for us up here in Minnesota, and we’ll speak to this Bob, down south, they’re indoors in the heat of the summer. Up north we’re indoors in the middle of the winter. There’s a little different seasonality for how some of this has impacted people. Before, we were posting these things and doing special things with our stores or how we would interact with clients. Earlier this spring for us, we’re getting back outside again up north, we’re feeling like it’s over with.
Now we’re heading into the fall, about to be going back in doors while things are spiking in different parts of the country. I think a lot of business owners are thinking about what do we got to do again? What are our policies and procedures? Are we changing, are we pivoting? To your point here, Sue, if nothing else, that gives everybody listening a pause to say, “Do I need to update that? Is my information is stale, is it outdated? Is it reflective with how we’re actually operating nowadays?”
Whether you don’t do things anymore that you are sharing online or… You need to put some things online now that you are doing what people asking for. I think that’s one cool aspect of what you’re bringing up. The other is, and this, Bob, I’ll kind of defer to you. This is really one of your specialty areas is paying attention to the clients and the customers and the prospects. If they’re walking in, calling, whatever, what are these things they’re asking about and translate that to do you have it on your website or your business, or your front door. That’s pretty important to pay attention to.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. I think we’re in for another round of COVID, the whole Delta variant. Ultimately we’re in for probably another month or two, at least in the Midwest and other colder climates, probably even out east as we go inside. As a business person, I would say, how’s this going to affect me? How does that parlay into the website? We caught wind of things where, as COVID initially was breaking out, people were calling. We work and have a cell phone repair business so people were calling us and saying, “I do not want to come in the store. Can you come out and get the phone from me? I’ll give you my credit card type of deal.
You basically adjust to that. When you hear that multiple times, obviously you need to offer curbside service. We went to the extreme of offering a van that would come to you and we would do the repair at your business or home. That business evolved and seems to be going pretty good. You’re going to have to adapt, and I think it’s going to have to start with a fighting attitude that you’re going to make it through it and that nobody is going to be there to help you, so to speak. That’s easy to say since we’ve had some success, we’re on the other side of things. It’s not easy to say if you’re a restaurant owner or other businesses, it’s going to be difficult to adapt.
We have a lot of clients that quite honestly, they couldn’t adapt and they had to duck for cover, so to speak. You can’t beat yourself up if you don’t come up with a solution. I mean, if you’re a restaurant, sure, you deliver and do what you can and get that out on the web. Point is, in this situation… We’re doing this September 9th is when we’re doing this and it’ll be published. Ultimately, if you’re in the north, you know what’s going to happen here in terms of things are going to spike. Things are starting going to start to either shut down or be monitored or be compromised. You should know right now and begin to develop a plan that you’re going to shift your business this way and start to figure out how you’re going to publish that on the web, or get that on your website and adjust accordingly.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah.
Bob Brennan: I mean, that short answer is start planning now because we all should have started planning back in July. You can make fun of certain states in the south and what’s going on there, which is a horrible thing to do, or you can learn from it and say, “Yeah, it’s coming. It’s coming to me.” The older I get, the more I make fun of somebody, it more than likely it comes back and kicks me in the butt. That’s the spirit of what I’m trying to tell you, is get ready. It’s not gloom and doom, and it’s not going to be the end of things, but there is going to be a hiccup. Hopefully we start to see an end evolving out of this in the spring, in the summer. It will be effectively two years, much like the Spanish flu, but we’re not out of the woods yet and we need to adjust. Adjust your site accordingly.
Sue Ginsburg: I’d also like to take that up a notch to the global level. You’re talking about the US but from what I understand, Australia’s in terrible shape right now COVID wise. I know Spain just essentially closed its borders because they’re having really high cases. Whatever the seasonality is, you talked a lot about weather, but I think it also is we expected and got a spike after Thanksgiving last year because we knew people would be gathering. There’s so many different reasons that can trigger this all around our country and around the world. Like you said, you just have to try and anticipate that as best as you can and react accordingly to keep people updated, let your customers know what they need to know.
Bob Brennan: Yeah, and develop a plan.
Jesse Dolan: On that, I think that’s another part to mention here is, like you’re saying Bob, you have a plan, so you’re saying let customers know. Let’s just talk real quick about some of the things, revisit it for everybody how you can do that. One of the things is your Google My Business listing. Again, if you don’t have a GMB, super important for your local SEO. Checkout a lot of our previous episodes, we’re not going to dive into what is a GMB, how to set it up, go do that. If you do have one, pay attention to the attributes. If you go into the info tab. Once you’re logged into your GMB there’s going to be a bunch of attributes that you can turn on or turn off, say you do or don’t offer. Those are changing all the time and they’ve changed a lot with COVID.
Depending on the business category you’re in, you can have options like curbside service, in-store shopping, at-home appointments. These questions people are asking, Google now has specific attributes for you to turn on or off. These are going to show on your GMB listing. When somebody searches for auto repair Minneapolis or whatever your product and your location is, in your GMB listing, they’ll show those attributes right on there. People will know before they even visit your website, whether you do or don’t meet whatever criteria they’re looking for. Again, depending on who your client base is, know your avatar. In some cases you may say, “No, we’re open, be damned.” If that’s your MO, make sure you communicate that. If you’re on the other side and want to communicate the safety and the things like that, staff gets temperatures. Staff must wear masks. There’s all kinds of attributes to communicate those things.
Take advantage of those on your GMB and of course, your website. Your website is yours, you can do whatever you want. The GMB stuff is pre templated, you choose between the options Google’s given you. But for your website, a lot of clients that we worked with, they had us put banners at the top. Just a quick dropdown, not to take up the entire page, just a notice at the top. Make it red or somehow stand out. What precautions are you having? Do you have to schedule appointments online. Again, whatever these things that you’re doing to pivot and Bob, to your point, if you’ve got a plan on maybe how it escalates or whatever, these are the areas you’d updated.
You have a little banner on your website that you can click, then go to a page with more information. You don’t have to take up your entire home page with your COVID protocol. I think very early on a lot of people did that because it was the A1 thing people wanted, but as we move forward, it’s more of now the convention is people know that it should exist somewhere and I’d click on and then I go get more information. Just make sure those pages are communicating what you’re doing to pivot. Make sure they’re updated again, that they’re accurate.
If you throw this stuff up last spring or last summer even, and you’re thinking that it’s accurate for now, just give it a double check. If you don’t have anything implemented or at least have it on hand, Bob, like you’re saying with a plan in two weeks or three weeks or two months, you’re ready to deploy it. Keep it as a blog or anything else, something that you’re revisiting once in a while. Put it in your calendar once a month, maybe check it out or once a quarter to check it out. Whether it’s Delta variant or some unknown variants at the time of this recording, I think we all know that this isn’t just going to simply just go away.
It’s going to be something that has to be dealt with for awhile. There’s a lot of lessons to pull out of this, even if it’s not COVID, which is the topic here. Other things about your business, whether it’s seasonality, or a new product or new service, there’s lots of things to communicate. We talk, Bob, you especially a lot in episodes about giving answers to people. If they’re asking these questions when they call or when they stop in or when they email, try to give them those answers. In this vein, we’re talking pay attention to what they’re looking for for COVID because there is for sure people that will make decisions on who they’re going to patronize just based off of what the response is and what they’re looking for on a personal level.
That’s really speaking to your avatar and understanding them. I don’t know, I think there’s a lot to unpack there for everybody, some good reminders. No explicit action items or SEO tips here, but I think some of this does revolve around some of the conversion optimization or click through type stuff like we said before.
If you’re in a space, maybe you’re a restaurant and in your neck of the woods people are looking for that safe area. If you’re putting out those signals that you are complying and you’re taking these measures, if people are looking for that, you’re going to get those clicks. You’re going to get those visitors, your website and Google is going to see that authority and that prominence and it in an indirect way is going to help your SEO over time. There’s a slight SEO tie in here by paying attention to what your crowd is looking for, what your audience is looking for and providing that online. That’s kind of an underlying takeaway here. Again, I’m trying to spin it where it’s not necessarily COVID related, but just generally speaking. If you can pay attention to your audience and represent their needs online, you’re going to be in a good position for your business to win their business. Hopefully that helps everybody out.
Sue Ginsburg: Jesse, the flip side of that is it’s been going on for a very long time. I think most of us have experienced at least once where you go online, they say they’re open. You get there, they’re not open, or they say they’re open until eight o’clock or whatever. You do not want to make a negative impression-
Jesse Dolan: Yes.
Bob Brennan: Right.
Sue Ginsburg: On anybody who’s coming to ask for your services or your product.
Jesse Dolan: Stay up to date, stay accurate. Yeah.
Bob Brennan: Yeah.
Jesse Dolan: I think you’ve talked before about people that are way more prone to leave you a negative review for one negative interaction than if you had a knock-your-socks-off deal. Definitely want to avoid that.
Bob Brennan: Yep.
Sue Ginsburg: Yeah.
Jesse Dolan: I think that’s pretty good rounding it out for everybody. Sue, if you have some closing thoughts you’d like to share.
Sue Ginsburg: If you remembered one thing and one thing only, successful businesses sail, they don’t drift. Whether it’s COVID redirect or any other pivot, be mindful of the changes that you need to make and make sure you communicate that to your customers. You want to keep them in the loop and make sure they know whatever the change is. Again, quote of the day today, “To reach a port, we must set sail. Sail, not tie an anchor. Sail, not drift.” That’s what we all need to do.
Bob Brennan: Perfect.
Jesse Dolan: Keep moving with it. If anybody out there listening has a question, maybe on this topic, something to follow up, dive deeper into or something else that’s has been bugging you for awhile, we’d love to hear about it and answer it on the show. ThelocalSEOtactics.com, scroll down to the bottom, click on the link for questions. You can type in the form and send it off, Sue’s going to get that and we’re going to talk about it. Or, if you’d like to get a free Intrycks t-shirt, take the next step to call in. Leave the voicemail, record the question that you have on, we’ll play it on the air, answer it. Sue will still reach out to you because we’re going to get your t-shirt size and all that stuff. Hopefully, if you have a good question, you’re not bashful, you reach out to us, we’ll use it on the show. If, like you say, you’re thinking about it, I’m sure somebody else is, and we can all help each other out here. Good insight, guys. Appreciate the time and we’ll catch everybody in the next episode.
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