Adapt With Technology Today To Position Your Business For The Future

Coronavirus is having a major impact on businesses large and small.  In addition to the economic impact of COVID-19, customers are changing the way they interact with businesses, and businesses are forced to pivot and offer services or products they may not have in the past, in order to survive.  Luckily there is a host of technology solutions to enable more dynamic online interactions with your customers, as face-to-face retail becomes an issue in the coming weeks or months.  In this episode, we’ll focus on some popular video and communications tools, and discuss how to use them to operate your business, and also to engage with your customers in new ways.

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YOU’LL LEARN

  • How the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we interact with businesses online
  • People are rapidly changing how they look for a business online
  • Businesses are shifting to more online and website-based communications
  • Use tools like Zoom, Loom, and Google Hangouts to interact with customers in new ways
  • Leverage video recordings and YouTube to enhance the content and purpose of your website

Here is the transcription from Episode 53 Coronavirus Pivot – Adapt Your Business Now To Thrive Beyond The COVID-19 Pandemic;

Jesse Dolan: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics where each week we’re bringing you tips and tricks to help you get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan, flying solo this week due to coronavirus lockdown. I suppose everybody is probably listening at home or a lot of you are working from home or have your schedules upended like the rest of us.

This week we’re going to pivot a little bit here and we’re still going to talk about SEO, digital marketing and things of that nature, but I am going to pivot and tie it into the coronavirus situation. It’s very unprecedented what’s happening right now out there in the global economy and let alone the United States here. If you’re a small business, you’re probably struggling right now or you’re worried about what’s going to happen just like the rest of us.

Right now is a great time to take advantage of some digital marketing, some SEO tactics, but then also take a look at maybe how to reinvent yourself, whether it be in this time or going forward for the future with some technology and notice how people are shifting and what’s coming down the pipeline. We’re going to take a little bit of a shift today and get into some of that to help you guys not just get your businesses found online, but also to stay open and serve your customers and communicate online and take advantage of some of the technology that’s out there to do that.

So let’s get into it here. A couple of things here. So I was just reading an article before we jumped on, on the New York Times, for example. It’s insane how much internet usage is happening right now. I think we’re looking at anywhere from 20 to 30% more traffic just throughout the course of the day. At peak times, you’re talking 70, 80% increase. People are streaming Netflix, people are doing Zoom meetings, they’re working from home, kids are doing school remotely.

It’s pretty nuts. We’re up here in Minnesota. My kids are going to be starting on Monday coming up, recording this episode Friday. I’m getting it out super late for you guys, by the way, this week has just been incredibly busy helping you guys and customers with all kinds of questions coming in and people looking to take action.

Anyway, just looking forward to next week, our kids are going to be starting distance learning from school from next week, which is going to be an entirely new experience. Just speaking of internet traffic, they’re going to be for probably two to three hours a day on Zoom meetings or Google Hangouts with their teachers and their friends, learning and studying and trying to do classwork for the next month up here in Minnesota. It should be pretty interesting.

Let’s transition this back to all of us running our businesses for how we can apply this and things that we need to do to be able to still be found during this time and to let our customers know that we’re open. Going to run through a few things that are kind of basic and then turn into some of the things that are maybe a little more advanced things, that you’ve been experimenting with in the past or things that you may be heard about, but now is the time to experiment with them.

There is kind of one thing to remember here as … Particularly the United States, we adapt with technology, right? We rarely go backwards on technologies. So out there right now, there is a huge shift because of all this social isolation and work from home to online services, things that you maybe would drive to before. Now you’re looking for them online or things that you would maybe get advice from some of your friends and family members. You’re doing your own research. So things are definitely shifting, and as businesses, we have to take advantage of those to not only stay open and communicate but also adapt right now.

These conventions that we’re building into our psychology and into our processes aren’t going to go away anytime soon. Whether that’s the timeline of the virus being months. Obviously we’ve heard reports, we’re talking maybe into the summer of 2020, maybe even later. Even if things cool down in the next couple of weeks, again, this is Friday, March 27 here as we’re recording this, these conventions and these things that we’re building in for how we operate and how we do business and commerce are going to linger for a very long time.

Now’s the time to take advantage with your business and start dipping into these things. So a couple of things here just for communications. I mentioned them earlier, Zoom. If you’re not familiar with Zoom, it’s an online video conferencing service. Extremely easy to use. There’s some other ones that are out there, GoToMeeting, Citrix is a big player, but Zoom is kind of the new kid on the block over the last couple years. It’s very affordable, they have some free plans right now as well, but also very easy to use. You can have multiple people jump on to a Zoom meeting, you can record these and archive them for later and they’re just very dynamic and easy to communicate with each other visually, not just over the phone.

If you need a group meeting, if you want to see people, they do some pretty cool things where everybody can see your camera, which you can turn on and off if you’re in your pajamas or whatever it is and you don’t want people to see, but you can also kind of have the grid view where you can see everybody at the same time, or if somebody is sharing their screen, they can share that with you and you can all see it and have the visibility.

This is a great tool. I’ll link to Zoom down in the show notes of this episode. If you’ve never gone to our website after these episodes, we kind of mention this all the time, but on the show notes, if you go to LocalSEOTactics.com, every episode that we cut is going to have a page on our website with a transcript of this episode with the YouTube video of this episode.

Every episode is also recorded and shown with YouTube and then also all the links and all the information we talk about. So I’m going to rattle through a bunch of stuff here. If you don’t write it down, that’s fine. Just go to LocalSEOTactics.com, check out this episode, the show page, and you’re going to get all the information that I’m talking about here. We’ll put a link to Zoom on there.

Another tool we’ve talked about in the past is Loom, L-O-O-M. If you go to Loom.com, they also I believe have an extended free trial or extended free plan right now, but you can do a paid plan and what that does is it allows you to record your screen. Where this is a very useful is training people. Whether you’re training somebody that’s working from home on how you want a certain process done, if you’re delegating it or depending on your business, maybe you want to show a customer something on the screen or walk them through a sales presentation. Loom is awesome because it’ll take your webcam and it’ll record your screen and it’ll record you at the same time.

So you can record your screen, you can talk, they can see your mouse clicking around, you can share everything, and then you can also have a little video or even a photo of yourself down on the corner, so when you record this, you’ll end up getting a link so you can copy and paste the link to the video and send it off in an email. When that person opens the email and clicks on it, they’re going to get that video presentation that you made. They’re going to see you down on the corner, they’re going to hear your voice and we’ll let you walk through it.

We find it’s a great tool for a sales pitches. These are one-way conversations of course. The customer is not responding to you, it’s not a video communication, it’s just you doing a recording, but still you can record your sales pitch. Again, this is great for training and any kind of communication where you’d like to show what’s on your screen to anybody. So check that out as well. We use it here all the time. You can download the videos, you can host them on any other platform if you want afterwards, but quite simply, just to capture some thoughts for a minute or two to record it with your own voice and your own words and illustrate something to somebody.

It’s great and it’s free. So check that out as well, you’re going to get a lot of traction with that, and you can also use that the other way.
As somebody pointed out to me yesterday, not just for you as a business to train, to delegate, to disseminate it to other people, but also let’s say maybe you’re in the computer repair business.

If a customer is having a problem with the computer and you can’t be there on-site or looking over their shoulder to help them out, you can have them use Loom and record what’s happening, not just take a screenshot but to actually walk through it in video and then they can share it with you, so you can say, “Aha I, see exactly what’s happening.” Think about how to not only use it yourself but maybe on the other end of the communication if you would have somebody that could capture that information and provide it to you for a product that you provide or a service that you provide. Think how that might be interesting as well.

Another use some people are using here is, I’m sorry, another product people are using is Google Hangouts. Kind of similar to the Zoom meeting where you can use that to collaborate and connect with people. You do have to have a Google account, like a Gmail to use that, but just like Zoom, it is super productive. You can get multiple people on there, share screens, look at it in grid form so you can see everybody and kind of congregate and really hang out. It’s a great tool for that as well.

And Skype. A lot of people are probably familiar with Skype as a brand, maybe not having used it so much. You can do phone calls with Skype, you can do video conferencing with Skype and they have a lot of great tools. One of them that’s particularly awesome right now, especially with the work from home situation is you can blur your background or mask your background. So if you get your kids running around in the back or maybe your kitchen is pretty dirty behind you, they have some technology that’ll basically isolate you on that video conference and hide your background.

That’s super useful just to kind of keep the focus on you so people aren’t getting distracted with what’s behind you because a lot of us are just working in a different environment than we were before. Whether that means working with coworkers or again, if you’re trying to sell somebody or pitch somebody or meet with a client, even though we’re all working from home and there’s a certain level of comfort and liberty we can take with that, we still want to be professional and present the best foot forward. So check that out as well. It’s an awesome tool.

Really you have to remember that your team, your organization, everybody else, you want to try to leverage these things to make them a public-facing. So some other interesting ways of thinking about this is being that a lot of these video conferencing solutions and hangout solutions can record this or like Loom definitely records it, can you use this opportunity to create content for your website or maybe for your YouTube channel or like here, I am here, doing the podcast and the video from home.

If you’re watching it on YouTube or if you’re listening to the podcast, again, check out the show page. You can see the video, I’m in my home, not in the office or in the studio here recording this. We can take this time to maybe do some projects, to record some tutorials, record some demonstrations, some product pitches, whatever it is that we might otherwise not have the time to do.

You can not only send these to a particular client but maybe you can take that and turn it into a resource that you can put onto your website. So now if anybody asks about this product or this service, you have a library of videos that they can walk through to see the features and the benefits and things like that. So again, challenge yourself not just to think about how do I use these tools to collaborate and operate and keep my business open, but can I leverage these and put them online. Because again, people are looking for more of this information when they are searching for products and services right now. They’re not going to stores, they’re going to Google and they’re searching for products. They’re searching for services and then they’re finding your store that way.

So things that you would have done in person before, you got to find a way to put them on your website. I think we all know the way we are in society right now, we would shy away from calling somebody to ask questions about a product or service. We want to research it. So if I’m going to your website and I’m looking for your product or your service, if you have a video, even if it’s obviously somebody working from home, as long as it looks halfway decent, if you have a video that kind of gives me the sales pitch or walks me through some of the functionality, I’m going to be engaged with that. I want to see that.

Again, that’s a way to still operate your business, even if you’re remote, even if you’re closed right now indefinitely, people are still going to be checking you out and checking out your website. Taking advantage of these tools to communicate, take advantage of these tools to capture and then think about how to leverage these onto your website or your social media or your YouTube channel or whatever it is to not just use them as communication tools but also sales tools.

Mentioning YouTube a few times, if you don’t have a YouTube channel set up right now, that is another thing you should definitely explore in this situation. Not only can you do all the things we just mentioned with YouTube, taking these videos and these resources and putting them online, but you can also do live streaming with YouTube.

A lot of churches right now, for example, they can’t congregate so they’re trying to reach their congregation and get the message out and you can just set up a YouTube channel and do a Livestream, whether you embed that into the webpage of your church or you just provide your congregation with the link to that Livestream. Whatever it is, you can now take your Sunday congregation service that everybody would have been there and you can put that out there for everybody to still attend online virtually. It’s free. You just have to set it up and I should take a pause right there too.

If anybody needs help setting any of this up, if you have questions, I’m going a million miles an hour dropping all this information here. If you need any help, please reach out to us. You can go to LocalSEOTactics.com. If you have a question on any of these things, I would encourage you to use our submit a question feature. You’ll notice I’m not playing any user audio questions on this episode just to keep it short.

Thank you to all of you who have called in through that service or submitted a question online on the form. We’re going to get to those, we’re going to take a break from a few episodes before we get back into that, but in the meantime, I would encourage the rest of you, you don’t even have to submit a question in order to be on the show and get the T-shirt that we talk about, which are still available if you want to do that as well, but just reach out to us for help.

We have some services that are paid for of course. You can hire us for jobs, hire us for services, but just generally speaking, if you have a question on how to use any of this technology, how to set up a YouTube channel, how to leverage that YouTube channel onto your website and these examples that I’m talking about, please just reach out, submit that question, use the feedback form however you want to do it, get in touch with us. We’ll answer your emails. We’ll help you out.

If it’s something that we just can’t do without some kind of paid service or referring you to somebody else to pay for it, we’ll be very clear about that. If it’s something we can help you with and give you resources and the free ability to do that, we want to help you do that too. Just to help people stay afloat, help people try to still earn some money and get through this stretch, whether it’s a couple of weeks or a couple months. Just taking a quick pause there. I’m talking about setting up a YouTube channel, wanting to remind all of you, we are here to help you, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Back to the YouTube thing. So again, think about how you can use this to leverage in your business or in your organization. Whether you set up a livestream in that example for the church or you just set it up to start producing this content that we talked about. You take these training videos or these product demonstrations and you put them on your YouTube channel, upload them as videos. You can then leverage that, again on your website.

You can embed that YouTube video on your website, whether it’s on your homepage, like an about us type video, or if you have a product page that you list the highlights and the features of your product and the pricing and maybe you have a demonstration on how it’s used. You can put that on YouTube and then you can drop that YouTube video easily right into your webpage and have a dynamic webpage and some great resources for your customers. In addition to that, if you’re not already on YouTube, it is the second most popular search engine, quote-unquote, out there next to Google.

Now YouTube is not a true search engine. It’s a video archive and a bunch of videos, but people search for things within it. Very popular angles on that is like how to do it yourself stuff, how to troubleshoot, how to fix things. So keep that in mind if that’s something you can put that kind of content out there. People are looking for that stuff more than ever right now. So just a couple ways you can leverage YouTube.

Again, how-to guides, doing the live stream, embedding into your website. Again, reach out to us if you need any help with that at all and kind of wrapping it up like I had said earlier, this is forcing adaptation. People are going to be looking for these things. People are going to be expecting these things where they didn’t have them before.

All right, so I hope that helps you guys out. Again, please reach out. It’s probably like the 17th time I’ve said it here in the last three minutes but reach out to us if you have any questions whatsoever. We are here to help, to help solve problems, to help get this set up for you. If you have a question may be that you want us to talk about on the show to help other people out in this time, maybe an idea, something that you’re doing that I didn’t mention that you think you’d love to share with everybody else. We’ve got a great audience and a great community. You guys are very active in engaging with us.

Let’s come together, let’s share some ideas and let’s help each other out. Go to LocalSEOTactics.com, use any of the ways to contact us. If you can’t figure it out, just go down the bottom left corner, submit a question, ask a question, and you can get in touch with us that way.

Let’s jump into the five-star review of the week and get this episode wrapped up. This week here we’ve got a five-star review from EMCC, says, “Interesting but no fluff, very impressed. Interesting yet very good. I’m a local business and learn much, even just starting listening. Thanks. We’ll be checking out their website.” Awesome. This is what we’re hoping to do. I say this pretty much every time after every review but love hearing that, lets us know we’re doing the right thing. If you haven’t left us a review yet, we would love to hear it. Again, this is how we know the show is working, that we know that you’re liking the show.

When I’m looking here on iTunes, we’ve got 68 five star reviews so far. It’s a pretty good number and I really appreciate the feedback from you guys out there. Go to LocalSEOTactics.com, go down to reviews and whether you want to leave us a review on Google, on iTunes, on Stitcher, any of the platforms, whatever your choice helps us out, helps get the show exposure, helps let us know we’re doing the right thing and you keep sending them in, we’ll keep reading them every week on the show. There you go, guys. Hope everybody stays safe out there. Hope everybody stays sane out there and if we can help you out, let us know.

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