Here is the transcription from Episode 55 How Remain Open For Business and Stay Relevant Online During The Coronavirus Pandemic;
Jesse Dolan: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics where we bring you tips and tricks to help you get found online. I’m your host Jesse Dolan joined this week for the first time in a few sessions with Bob Brennan. Yeah. Say hi Bob. Makes everybody recognizes your voice and face on video here. Right?
Bob Brennan: Hey guys. It’s been a while. Sorry.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah and hopefully this goes smooth. This is our first kind of remote podcast session doing it over Zoom here. So we talked a little bit before this. Everything looks like it’s working fine and hopefully we get through this without any glitches. So we’re going to continue our kind of pivoted topic here this week of I should say this episode for the Coronavirus pandemic situation. Talking about what you can do to adapt, how to stay alive, maybe even thrive if you’re lucky enough through this situation and put your business in a good spot.
Jesse Dolan: I’m not going to get super technical on some specific SEO topics, but just more generally online marketing, digital marketing, and how to kind of leverage the situation to get some kind of benefit or traction out of it if possible. I want to mention like we do each week, if you haven’t taken advantage of our instant SEO audit, go to localseotactics.com. Check that out, top right corner, a big yellow button. Click it. You can input your websites or a competitor’s site along with the keyword. Get a score and a checklist and a punch list of things that are good with it, things that are bad with that, things you need to fix. Yeah, it’s just a great tool. Check that out.
Jesse Dolan: Secondly, some other housekeeping real quick. I do want to introduce Sue to everybody here. Susan, new member of our team here at Intrycks. She’s heading up a new customer success role and she’s going to be engaging in future podcast episodes. She’s going to be engaging in some email communications that are going to go out to everybody and you’re going to hear her name and see communications from her a lot more in the future. Her role is going to be to help Bob and I kind of run the business a little bit, to deal with customers, to help engage them and just like the role says customer success. So be on the lookout with that. Sue and I have been working on something that we’re going to release here in a couple of days. Some offers that we’re going to put out to everybody to see if we can help you, see if you need some help really and just what we can do to help you keep your business going. And again, try to grow and make sure you’re getting exposed online right now. So-
Bob Brennan: Sue’s got some pretty good chops, doesn’t she? I mean, her background I mean is pretty impressive. I mean, when it comes to advertising, marketing, the whole nine yards.
Jesse Dolan: It is, and thanks for bringing that up too. I’m kind of in the mode, I’m just buzzing on the list here. So we should pause, not just introduce her, but yeah, give her some edification because she has not a technical SEO background. She has more of that marketing, branding, really again, the customer awareness and all that in the background. So she’s a great addition to the team. Adds some talent and some resources where we had a gap. And I think everybody’s kind of stronger together. So yeah, she’s going to be great. And all you listen and watch and hear, if you’ve engaged with us, you’re going to see even better things with her.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. I’m excited. She’s going to be a great addition.
Jesse Dolan: And I guess we should say just a cool quick back story. And Sue, I didn’t tell her some of this we were going to be talking about. So when she listens to this, she might be freaking out a little bit. But she actually contacted us from this podcast. Again, she’s in marketing, she wanted to learn more about SEO. She’s local, happens to be up in Minnesota with us and we got to talking and then just as things progressed, we saw that there was a mutually beneficial fit for us and for her. And yeah, super excited to be working together and kind of cool how it all came together. So welcome aboard Sue and everybody else out there, you’ll be seeing her pretty soon. So-
Bob Brennan: So Jesse on a side note, what’s your plans for Coronavirus haircut style? I mean, what are you … are you just going to go full bore let it grow or what are your plans?
Jesse Dolan: I did for a little bit. What you’re looking at here is my lovely wife Tanya. Her first haircut she’s ever provided. So cheated a little bit. She didn’t have to do anything with the top. It was just a clipper cut. My son Garrett who is about 14 here got a similar treatment. So I think we’ll be able to maintain the sides, give it a one fading up to a two here, no problem. Every couple of weeks. But the top, this might get out of control sooner than later. I don’t know. I’m thinking about was it that Flowbee, back in the day hooked up to the vacuum to kind of be able to do that. We have to get into that here pretty soon. But yeah, no, I think there’s little things like that that we all maybe took for granted before.
Bob Brennan: Isn’t that something?
Jesse Dolan: Right now seem like very big luxuries. Right?
Bob Brennan: I’m going for the bald man mullet. So nothing up front but just full on Minnesota mullet in the back. So that’s my strategy. But I think I am going to have to at some point break down and get a wall clippers or whatever, put it on two and just let her back and just do the whole melon and just call it good.
Jesse Dolan: That’s what I told Tanya, she was a little nervous. I had her experiments on me before she did Garrett. I said, “Look, I’m a guy, worst case scenario, well you can just buzz the whole thing down. Like I’m not going out anywhere right now and I can wear a baseball cap. So we don’t have to be worried about too much-“
Bob Brennan: Yeah. No, the ladies have it tough. I mean they’re really, very few of them have that option. The Sinead O’Connor look, not many of them can pull that off. But yeah, it’s all these different things like you said, we took for granted that we’ve got to deal with now. It’s a different time.
Jesse Dolan: I’ll tell you what I will take for granted hopefully sooner than later once we get out of this thing is how frequently, I shouldn’t say frequently, how much traction I get out of my clothes each day. I can wear the same outfit like all day long or even multiple days if I’m being honest. So-
Bob Brennan: Well, and it’s interesting. My parents grew up in the depression era and so it wasn’t unusual that they wouldn’t shower or bathe for a day or two or whatever. And they’re like, “Well, we didn’t have that option. We were growing up in the depression and stuff.” So Jesse, you obviously know this, but I’m actually living here at the office. So I’m living literally in the conference room-
Jesse Dolan: Right there. Right where we’re seeing.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. Right where you folks, if you’re seeing this. But basically my wife suffered a stroke about four years ago, so her health is compromised. So what we’re trying to do is isolate her at home with our kids and then I’m part of a central business in terms of we have a IT office equipment business that we’re public facing or what have you. And then we have a phone repair business, so I’m jumping back and forth helping our team out and I’m actually dealing with the public. So I’m trying to isolate myself from her so she doesn’t get it. And I go home every night. We go for a walk, she’s on the other side of the street. Hi. And then I take a shower about every other night. To your point, how far can you go with the minimal resources is the name of the game. And it’s cool. I mean, it kind of goes back to Tim Ferriss talks about that stoic, really appreciating what you have and working with what you have and not really getting a lot of anxiety of what you don’t have, so to speak.
Bob Brennan: And if you can get in that mindset, it’s a lot easier journey than the mindset of, okay, I’m without my various luxuries. Well, we’ll get through this, but we’re all going to have to make those adjustments and then become better from it, so to speak. So I know where we’re going with that. I guess your point is we can get by with a lot less than we realize. And that if you can get in that mindset, then I think you can get in that growth mindset as we talk about some of these topics and not the woe is me and then everything else that goes with it.
Jesse Dolan: I’ve got a quote here for this episode that this is just a perfect segue. This is from Charles Darwin, and he says, “The most important factor in survival is neither intelligence nor strength, but adaptability, adaptability, adaptability.” That’s what he said. I think that’s this right here, right? Like to survive and what we’re talking about in the episode here, still pivoting your business to a survivor in a Coronavirus. It is that adaptation. It’s not how strong you were, how smart you were on their own, but how you can pull off together and adapt and go with the flow and change. And whether it be personally or professionally here, this isn’t going to be done next week or the week after. Even if the peak if you will, are all these … these are from milestones we like throw out there. I think we’re all realizing this is the new normal.
Jesse Dolan: As much as I hate that phrase, this is the new normal for a year, year and a half, and businesses are going to have to adapt and change. So kind of segueing in there to that, a couple more kind of quick news updates or housekeeping within the sphere of running your business. With Google my business, the GMB, which everybody knows is kind of the number one thing always here for Local SEO. A couple of things going on in the GMB space. Reviews through the Google my business, GMB, the reviews are still not flowing out. Google’s very, very busy. They’ve allocated a lot of resources in their GMB department, if you will, to COVID related updates and features they’ve been rolling out. You can temporarily change your hours or provide Coronavirus related updates and things like that with your GMB.
Jesse Dolan: Due to that and them allocating their team, there’s other areas that they’ve kind of slowed down or shut down entirely. Reviews is one of them, which kind of sucks for all of us out there because if you were a business, we’ve talked, Bob in multiple episodes, identify your competition, see where they’re at for reviews and work like heck to get the same or even higher than their reviews. So a lot of businesses are out there doing that right now, but we’re not seeing those rewards. They’re not able to reap that because those reviews aren’t getting online. You can still get reviews. Customers can still leave reviews. There’s not a showing. So with respect to that, keep pushing ahead. If you did know this or if you didn’t know it, don’t be afraid if you’re not seeing the reviews, keep getting them.
Jesse Dolan: Google has said that there’s not a problem accepting reviews, they’re just not releasing them. There’s various reasons as to why people are speculating, but at the end of the day, that is where it’s at. Another key SEO feature, the questions and answer part of the Google my business is actually down. There is no one way street, like there is with reviews. They’re just, they’re not showing it and they’re not allowing you to ask or answer questions mainly because a lot of it was just overwhelmed initially with Coronavirus related questions and answers. And so rather than just have this huge stream of stuff to moderate, Google just developed some widgets to communicate some of this information. And likewise in the GMB, some areas that are unaffected, Google posts. Keep posting, do at least one a week for Google post.
Jesse Dolan: If you don’t have an offer or if you have offers, make sure you’re leveraging that, events, all that standard stuff and photos as well. Keep posting photos at least one a week. And with that, like we’ve talked in previous episodes, unique photos, not stock photos is best. User generated content, if somebody does a review with a photo or just submits a photo of themselves, location onsite from a cell phone, all those things that we’ve talked before are super relevant. Keep doing those. Those are flowing through and those are showing up and that’s going to help you out and move the needle here in the meantime too. So that kind of GMB news and update stuff aside. And just to note, it’s April 22nd here, 2020 as we’re recording for a date mark.
Jesse Dolan: So hopefully that stuff changes in the coming days or weeks. Everybody’s kind of waiting for those to be released. So back to the overall topic though. Again, kind of talking about how to pivot your business to remain relevant and remain open right now. So Bob and I are going to kind of bounce a few examples around. I had some of you provide some examples here that I’m going to go through for what businesses are doing and we’re going to try to spin those in kind of a free flowing dialogue here on what does that mean for your online business, for your digital universe? Because you have to stay open, not just physically as a store or as a service, but also like we talked in previous episodes, customers are going online to find you now more than ever which is where the show comes in here and that’s our focus.
Jesse Dolan: So starting with that, just to put a couple of examples out that have been shared and these are pretty obvious. But still we’ll go through them. Restaurants. You can’t dine in, at least again right now, April 22nd, pretty much anywhere in America. You can’t dine in. Restaurants still need to survive. It’s curbside now, right? Or a drive through if you’re more of a fast food type place or maybe you weren’t a fast food place but you put in a drive through window or a drive up window or things like that. That’s a basic and easy example of pivoting that everybody can kind of get their head around because we’ve all patronized the restaurant at some point in time. So rather than just shut their doors, which you could do for a week or two, you can’t do it for a couple of months. They have to find a way to stay open.
Jesse Dolan: And again, bringing that around to the digital side of things, it’s not just enough to say we offer curbside and maybe throw a sticker in the window or a flyer in the window. People are looking online. They’re looking for, maybe not your restaurant near me, but just curbside service, what restaurants have curbside. Right. Or just, it’s kind of changing that convention of how we searched and what we looked for. Or even if they’re looking for your business, if it’s Bob’s Burgers. I know that’s a show, but I like to use Bob or myself as examples always here. If it’s Bob’s Burgers, they’re looking at your website at Bob’s Burgers to see if you’re still open, not just who are you, where are you or finding you as that service or product, but seeking you out to see. So you may be, if you’re open for curbside or drive up, but you don’t have that on your website, they may just assume that you’re not open. Right. So you want to make sure-
Bob Brennan: Yeah. And you’ve got a split second to get that across to them. Right. And it isn’t like everybody’s ADD, but in some ways, if you can’t, you may miss 20% of the people that you might’ve gotten if it was instantly, it was a Starburst that said, “Hey, we’ll deliver it to you.” And I think rom what I’m seeing in my own family, we’re all sacrificing in one area that we don’t like to sacrifice is food, right? And that is a comfort, like for my family, it’s Outback Steakhouse and it’s kind of a tradition for birthdays and whatnot to do that. And we have like three birthdays all in a row and I’m like, “Hey, you got one Outback shot for all of you. Sorry. We’re all cutting.”
Bob Brennan: But to your point, that’s what people, there’s certain things where people won’t make that sacrifice and they want that comfort. And the various coffee shops, Starbucks, Caribou, I mean, they’re busy and you’ve got to convey and communicate to that. And one thing I would throw out too that we’ve done as a company, there’s a handful of people that are working from home. And even working from home, they’re at probably 50, 60% capacity, but they’re getting paid full time. What we’re doing is having them help us generate content on our … Our strategy is we’re going to take this time that business is down and we’re going to reallocate those resources to when the doors open in terms of more of a free flow society that we’re at the top for every term we can even think of. And I don’t know if you want to talk about that a little bit as far as the strategy and what we’re doing.
Jesse Dolan: No, I think that’s perfect because again, whether you provide a tangible piece of equipment, a cell phone, a printer or copier or food or a service, again, people are going to your website where maybe they would have engaged with you in the store or in person. And so, yeah, let’s go through a couple of things. This is a great example Bob of what we are doing internally within our company. So there is the one hand which is developing the content. Like you’re saying, identifying from an SEO standpoint, excuse me, identifying what keywords you want to show up for and then finding where you’re not showing up. Well, you have to develop content for that. So leaning on the experts, the true experts, the people that are providing those services or providing products to say, “Hey, give me a couple of paragraphs on this topic, on that topic or give me a list of these things that we offer or a list of these questions and answers and FAQs.”
Jesse Dolan: And then that can be an inventory for you to put on your website, whether you create a brand new page out of that or maybe you update existing pages. Again, I would definitely attack it through the scope of finding out where you’re currently weak and where you need that content and you want to improve your rankings and then developing the content for that. If you’re already dominant on a certain thing, don’t waste your time there. Like to your point Bob, now’s the time to boost up your rankings and make sure in the coming weeks or months when we are released and everybody’s back out to the normal, that now you/we are in the position to dominate because you’re found at the top of the search engines.
Jesse Dolan: So definitely one of these make hay while the sun shines even though it’s the sun shining is not a great metaphor for what’s going on right now. That definitely holds true. Another example of what we’re doing in that same space that you’re talking Bob is recording videos. So maybe where, let’s just take like the copier business. Maybe where we would have done a demonstration for somebody in person before or they would come into a showroom to take a look at something and kick the tires so to speak. That’s not happening. But you still need to be able to show people what it is. So you can take video. It’s a one way conversation. If you’ve been in business for any stretch of time, you should know the questions people are asking and kind of go through those in your video, show the features, show the specs, but also how it’s a solution, how it solves a certain problem and then you can put that in your website.
Jesse Dolan: So whether you email … and then you can email that to people or and I should say in two ways. One, you can email it as a mass email to promote it. But two, if people call you and inquire, “Hey, what about that ABC widget?” Yeah, here’s the deal on it. And let me send you a link to our website where we just did like a video tour for that thing to really help you see what it’s all about. Those are very effective ways to engage with your customers, to provide that content online. And again, the more content, like we say it’s content is King, the more content you can provide, the better off you’re going to be. And that’s a great intersection of using the spare time people have to accomplish your online goals for SEO and in your business.
Jesse Dolan: And some of that may … some of you out there are rolling your eyes like that sounds like a lot of work or a lot of busy work for people to do. Once this is on your website, it’s there forever. I mean, you’re going to get a longterm benefit from this. It’s not just for the pandemic right now. This is great for the future. And something I’ve been kind of preaching to everybody too is we’re developing conventions right now on how we’re going to act. Not that people are never going to be closer than six feet apart again, not that people are never going to come into a store again. But if this thing lasts for six, 12, 18 months like it’s expected to, we’re going to get used to finding some of this stuff online.
Jesse Dolan: We’re going to get used to some of these habits we’re going to be developing. So even more so, investing into these tactics and doing these things we’re talking about here are going to pay off for you in the longterm. It’s not a short sighted deal. So a couple of … so we kind of started there with talking about like a restaurant, how they’re pivoting, how you as a restaurant or just a business owner in general or a marketer can take this time, this downtime with people working remotely and repurpose their time for content development, what kind of content to provide and produce.
Bob Brennan: Sorry.
Jesse Dolan: No, if you to take that, we can.
Bob Brennan: No, no, we’re good.
Jesse Dolan: Now let’s just go back into a couple other business ideas that people have shared and then Bob and I have a couple too that we want to toss out there as examples. So another type of business that’s been really hit hard on this is the retail shops, especially smaller ones. Like the Targets and the Walmarts of the world and the big grocery store chains, they’re able to stay open because they provide essential products and services, right. But a clothing store or particularly like a small boutique clothing store, they’re shut down. And usually that’s tying up a lot of cash in inventory. You’re still probably paying rent. And if you’re trying to pay your employees, I mean, it’s definitely a scary situation.
Jesse Dolan: So some things that we’ve been seeing as people, let’s take like again this boutique clothing shopping as example. If you were just a walk in type of business before, you can’t do curbside. Things like that aren’t going to work. So you have to go online and let people buy online. I was talking with one woman who has a boutique and she was talking about how her boutique is very curated. And so what she’s doing is putting everything online but then making sure not just to put it online as a catalog or a Shopify page because anybody can kind of do that, but making sure the same spirit of the store still comes through. Saying these are our hand selected items or these are the things that go with this or finding a way to not just have an online catalog, but whatever your experience was in your store, if your customers are going to patronize you, they kind of want that same thing. So whatever, if you’re a retail store [crosstalk 00:23:08].
Bob Brennan: And I do a video. I mean, I’d throw a dress on, not me personally, but somebody-
Jesse Dolan: That’d go viral.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. Have your best person throw a dress on for that specific dress and have her do a twirl and walk around and you got the time to do it. So take the time, at least for your most popular items and give people that virtual tour as best you … it’s about the best communication you can do. And if you can pull that off, if you have time in that retail piece, that’s what I’d do. Because anybody can take a picture and put it up there, but I’d have that picture in a video so somebody can really get a feel for how would this look on me, so to speak. And I think you’re going to get better success.
Jesse Dolan: I think that is a great addition to that topic. So kind of like, I’ll draw a parallel to a local restaurant we have in my town. It was a standard restaurant before you could go in and order off the menu. Right? Now they do have curbside pickup. But you just can’t order off the menu. What they’re doing is they’re releasing a menu each week for family size take home. Like here’s Monday, here’s Tuesday, here’s Wednesday. It’s like the one thing for the day. You tell us how many people you want, here’s the price and come pick it up. I think there’s something interesting taking that kind of approach and marrying it with your video thing for their boutique is you don’t have to list everything in your store even. Maybe you don’t have a time to take videos for everything or even your top things like you’re saying.
Jesse Dolan: But if you focused on even one a day, like here’s the featured thing for the day today or the featured outfit, if it’s a clothing boutique store, whatever makes sense for your business. But just taking one or however many a day you can do and featuring it and kind of putting that out there as this is the thing we’re featuring this week. This is the “meals” for tenure for this week. And as you’re doing the video like you’re talking Bob, not just to showcase the thing, but also explain what’s happening right now. Like, hey, here’s the video so you can see it. How do you buy this? Or how do you access this or how do we give it to you or anything that’s relevant.
Jesse Dolan: Again, people aren’t just looking for businesses that are open, they’re looking for businesses that are open and then also for your restaurant, are you using gloves? How are you getting this to me into my car without coughing all over it or getting disease all over it. So getting into those, not just showcasing the product but with the context of the pandemic. Here’s the product, here’s how we can serve you and here’s how we can all move forward. Anything you can inject in that is what we’re all looking for right now.
Bob Brennan: You know, we’ll get into the topic of UV lights at some point. But basically if I owned a restaurant, I would make a video of a … I don’t know what it would be described as. But basically something you open a door up, put the food items out in this little slot or chamber, throw on a UV light with the video on the UV light shining down on let’s say the containers of food because you don’t want to necessarily zap the food itself with UV light. But you would zap the containers with UV light and then have another door where the customer reaches in and grabs it. So that’s one way of showing disinfection or whatever you want to call it that. Because my biggest concern is in terms of takeout food is, is it contaminated?
Bob Brennan: Here in Minnesota we have Smithfields and JBL which are big meat processors and have a huge outbreak of Corona. And so therefore, like 30% of the workers who are usually migrant or immigrant workers are contaminated. And these things are shut down. So me as a consumer, I want to know, okay, what is everybody doing about this to make it better and in my world that’s one thing. I’m not letting my family have takeout. Now my wife’s at risk and that’s why. Now, if it was a different situation, we’d probably be eating way too much takeout. But ultimately the thing that’s going to go through my mind is what steps are these businesses taking to keep me and my family safe? And to your point, you need to communicate good videos and then have good processes and show customers why they should have take out. In fact, it’s cleaner than ever or whatever the case is.
Bob Brennan: It’s caused us to rethink how we’re doing things and now we’re going to do things better and you’re going to have to going forward. So it may not always be, is your food the best food, best tasting food or hottest? It’s your food’s actually the heads and shoulders above everybody else for absolutely clean. You know what I mean? Contaminated free or whatever the case is. And by doing those videos, I think you can get that across.
Jesse Dolan: And I think the last thing I want to make sure I add here on this topic of … and it fits well with the restaurant example. So just to carry with that is not only are people looking to make sure you’re open, looking for the stuff that you’re talking about to make sure you’re communicating how to be safe and everything else. In a situation like a restaurant, let’s take your family Bob, and just go with that. If you guys were to eat out multiple times per week just to say that before, now if you do it all, I understand you’re not, so probably a bad example here. But if you were, if you did it once a week or once every other week, whatever it is right now, eating out is kind of more of a luxury than it was before.
Jesse Dolan: I mean, before it might’ve been the norm, now it’s a luxury. And with that, I feel pretty strong. This is something I’m kind of doing off the cuff. I have it as a note, but I don’t have anything to corroborate this other than my own personal opinion is that you’re not just going to go with the first or the closest or the cheapest place for takeout. You’re going to pick one that’s doing some things like you’re talking about. Like if I’m going to pick a restaurant to go pick up tonight, I want to make sure that I’m not going to get something contaminated or what are their steps? And as a business before, you probably didn’t have to maybe worry about some of these things, right? Now that you could be a health risk, people would still patronize you. But on that end of the spectrum, some of these things weren’t as important. They just want a good food, cheap food, hot food or whatever the case may be. Now, we’re looking for a lot more to make that decision because it’s not-
Bob Brennan: Yeah. And I would throw out too Jess that okay, so you’re at home. You’re sheltered in place or whatever the term is. My dynamic’s different, I’m a little more mobile. But there are essential workers that are, they’re needing takeout quite honestly. They’re [inaudible 00:30:00]. I mean, these poor nurses are working 12 hours a day and it’s like the last thing they’re going to want to do is go make any kind of dinner. So they’re going to want to hit up a takeout place on the way. And so we all have to understand that there’s 22 million people unemployed. Now I don’t know what the employment level is, is it a hundred million? Is it 180? I mean, who knows? My point is there’s that demographic of people that are essential, that are busy, that are working 12 hours a day and they need this.
Bob Brennan: And then to that end with your marketing, you have to figure out how to market to them. So they’re going to choose you over all their choices. And that could be anything from cleanliness to you won’t have to wait. Okay. So what I’m witnessing with let’s say, we’ll just use Chipotle from what I’m seeing, there are people wandering around in the parking lot. There’s probably at any time 10 to 20 people waiting, right? So I’m kind of curious how they’re doing that or whatever the case is. And if I was a restaurant, I’d say, “Hey, no wait or 30 second wait or whatever the deal is, or if you call ahead …” And that action might be more of an action now than it was before. And having a good phone system or people answer the phone and everything that goes with it.
Bob Brennan: So understanding your market and how it’s shifting today with this virus and then catering to that where 30% of the market like you’ve used this analogy, 30% of the market isn’t even going to do it, right? The other 30% of the market’s going to do it part time. And the other 30% of the market’s going to live and breathe your service or product. And that’s what you have to develop that empathy for the customers to figure out, okay, what are these essential workers needing if that’s my target and then, and or … Because I’m not going to worry about Bob Brennan and his family because for now they’re just a non-factor. But for the nurse family and the physician family and for the construction worker that it doesn’t really matter, they’re still out there hitting it, they need to be fed. And that’s how you kind of … I would assume you’d sit down and think about that and shift for that to fill that need that for those people that are productive at this point.
Jesse Dolan: I’m going to use that to get into another topic I had here which has gift certificates. That’s something-
Bob Brennan: Oh yeah. Good idea.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah, and that’s something a lot of businesses are doing where maybe if he can’t come into my store right now and patronize me, you can buy a gift certificate to still support me. Just like I was saying with the food, people are going to be looking at something maybe it’s more of a luxury in the stay at home model. They’re going to pick a local business to support. They’re going to pick something that kind of meets all those needs we’re talking about. Likewise, people still want to support local businesses out there aside from food. So if you’re not offering a gift certificate right now, that’s definitely something to think of. I know PayPal kind of has a slick way for you to be able to do that. If you don’t have any online ability right now, people can call in and provide credit card information.
Jesse Dolan: I mean, there’s ways for you to facilitate the gift card and I’m not going to try to get into that too deep. But I do want to talk for a second about leveraging the gift card. And I’m going to go back to your example right there, Bob, about it’s a standard restaurant and let’s talk about maybe frontline workers, first responders, things like that. Essential workers. I think we’ve all seen in the media where are people, usually more celebrities, people with a lot of money have donated money or fed maybe an entire hospital lunch on a certain day or things like that. And that’s kind of extreme with people with deep pockets. But as a business, if we take this gift card idea, one to offer gift cards is something great. Two, now how do you market that?
Jesse Dolan: Maybe you say, here’s a gift card. Buy a gift card and we’ll donate to the local hospital one meal if you’re doing restaurant. Or hey, we sell gift cards. Would you like to buy one to donate? Not just that as a business owner, you don’t have to just give away something to sell a gift card. You can tell people, “Hey, would you Bob Brennan like to pay $5 on a gift card to provide a lunch to somebody at the hospital?”
Bob Brennan: Yeah, that’s a good point.
Jesse Dolan: You know what I mean? So I didn’t have that in the notes. That’s just kind of on the fly running off your example there. But again, getting creative, pivoting is the whole thing here. Offering different ways for customers to interact with you online, different ways to patronize you. And I think the main point there that I’m taking from you is paying attention to that market out there. Looking at the pain points, what are your features, what are your benefits, all that typical sales and marketing positioning stuff, but reevaluating that with what’s happening right now. And is there a way you can position your business to take advantage of that? And then anything you’re doing with that positioning, that needs to be online. I’m definitely talking about your website and your Google my business. But also Facebook, Yelp, Pinterest. Wherever you’re active and wherever you know you’re engaging with your customers, get the stuff out there too and leverage the heck out of it. Not to be capitalistic and take advantage and get yourself your golden parachute here but just to stay alive instead of-
Bob Brennan: Yeah. And you could serve those people in the front lines and definitely serve them and then at same time somewhat serve your business in that if I was an auto repair place, I would offer for the nurses and doctors and really anybody in the health front frontline, hey, we’ll come out and we’ll sanitize your car. We’ll clean your car for free, type of a thing. And we all have that opportunity to serve these people and whether it’s buying them lunch, whether it’s trying to get them an N95 mask. I found an N95 masks in my welding equipment last week. I gave it to my neighbor who is a nurse. I don’t know, she offered to marry me. It’s like, okay, well …
Bob Brennan: It’s like these people need our help. And so it’s one of those things where we can serve them in so many ways and as business people, we don’t necessarily need to get something out of it. But if we’re all slow, why not serve the people on the frontline and whether it’s UV cleaning their car or just disinfecting their car for them, they’ve got families that they have to go home to and sometimes there’s multiple family members are using the same car. And that if that gives them peace of mind, where they’re trying to do their job and we can look at things like that and figure out how to serve people because we’re all down 30, 40, 50%. We still have time and energy in our lives that we can help these people out and then somewhat promote it in our business if that’s what we need to do.
Jesse Dolan: Let’s stay on the cleaning topic. This is probably our last chunk for the episode here. But you mentioned earlier sanitizing and UV lights. I don’t think that’s something people are very familiar with at all.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. So it’s done in the medical community at a higher level. And when I say UV lights, this is UVC. So there’s UVA, B and C. A and B are harmful or somewhat harmful. C is absolutely deadly, and that there’s no natural defense to it on earth. It’s 90 some percent of it is stopped by the ozone layer, the Earth’s ozone layer. So it never hits earth. So if you can produce or reproduce UVC light and I’m going to get a little nerdy, but in between 180 and 254 nanometers, you’re going to kill bacteria, fungus and you’re going to definitely kill viruses. Now to this date, there’s nobody that’s got a confirmed study on COVID. But to give you some insight, this kills Ebola. It kills MERS, it kills SARS, it kills every other virus out there. There’s nobody that’s got the golden seal that says, yeah, it kills COVID or I should say Corona, COVID-19, whatever the case is. Nobody’s done that study yet.
Bob Brennan: Now to do that study takes months. And so there’s an asterix in this in terms of nobody has confirmed that this absolutely kills it, but it kills everything else. And so what we’re trying to do is launch a service that can go out and utilizing UV lights clean various places in. And we’re looking at it from restaurants. Well, can we go out and clean restaurants at the end of the day for them with these UV lights as a service or design a system that they can lease from us and use it. And the reason again, everybody has to be careful with this topic is it causes skin cancer like instantly. Not instantly, but I mean, it’s pretty bad. You cannot look at it for any length of time or else you’re going to get like cataracts and you’re going to have eye problems and things like that.
Bob Brennan: So it’s not to be taken lightly on how it’s dealt with, but it is extremely effective in terms of killing viruses, bacteria, the whole nine yards. So there is a service or an opportunity there to help out businesses. Again, if you’re a daycare, I would want this done either twice a day or at least at night where we take these lamps and we’d be moving them throughout the facility to make sure we’re zapping everything. And it takes probably 20 to 30, I’m sorry, two to three minutes max. It’s actually 30 seconds will kill it. But two to three minutes for sure is going to definitely obliterate everything. So what we’re working on on this end is proof, right? So if somebody says, “Okay, yeah, I believe in it. It works.” So you go in there and you turn on some lights. It isn’t like cleaning with bleach
Jesse Dolan: It’s not very tangible.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. It’s like, sure, it’s clean. So what we’re working on is equipment that verifies that that in fact has cleaned or the UV light has cleaned this level of disinfection. And once you have that, then you or your technicians can sign off on it. The customer has a tangible proof in their hand and that’s done all the time in a hospital industry. So this technology is used in surgery rooms. They’ll do the traditional disinfectant and cleaning, but then they’ll flip these lights on that they have as permanent fixtures in the surgery room. But it is like lock and key for a switch to turn it on. So there’s like a certain person, it’s like the nuclear codes, right? You just, you have two switches and you turn them.
Bob Brennan: But they run it and it has reduced postop infections by 30%. So it works. And then you will see devices that are being used in the actual hospital rooms. They look like a Roomba vacuum cleaner, but only it’s they’re like four or five feet tall. And then these lights come out and then it literally walks around or crawls around the room and zaps. It takes like 10 minutes. But again, it’s dangerous stuff. You cannot have a cat or anything living in there, let alone a human. And then there is a time where you have to leave the room alone because there’s residual ozone that if you go in there right away, it’ll damage your lungs. But it’s crazy cool technology and then we’re looking into it as offering as a service because we can’t fix copiers, right.
Bob Brennan: There’s stuff, nobody’s going in the offices but eventually they are going to go in the offices and they are going to need some reassurances that it’s clean and environment type of a thing. So that’s one way to pivot. In addition to, you’re going to offer this service in a household too. So if somebody has contracted this virus in a house and for whatever reason the other family members may not have it. And so they want to move back in the house or they want some assurances that the house is clean. You can do this along with traditional disinfection and stuff like that. So that’s kind of our attempt at a spin, if you will along with we launched, what was it, two weeks ago. We were intending to do this, but the timing actually worked out pretty good that we have a mobile phone repair lab.
Bob Brennan: So it’s a big sprinter van with work benches in it that facilitates coming to your house, picking your phone up, disinfecting it obviously, repairing the screen, disinfecting it again, and then handing it back to you. So that’s in the throws of just starting and so far it seems to be received pretty well. So I think there are services out there that are traditional services where customers come to you. You’re going to have to figure out a way to come to them. So if you’re the shoe repair guy or whatever the deal is, you may have to get creative and come up with a spin to make it happen.
Jesse Dolan: Well, I think a couple of points out of those are real world examples from like you said, from your own business. Those aren’t a second hand from people really in our other stories. Important parts on there is again, pivoting. You’ve got a certain overhead and infrastructure built in place. What kind of product or service can you offer with that now that’s still somewhat pumping the same flywheel as the rest of the business? But then to understand those unique things you have to communicate with the marketing. Again, like you said, for the blue light stuff and if anybody’s curious about the blue light stuff to reach out to us through the show, localseotactics.com. If you want to talk with Bob about that topic for your market or just that kind of is interesting to you, Bob has dove headfirst into this last few weeks. So he’s got a ton of knowledge and I’m sure he’s willing to share and collaborate on.
Jesse Dolan: But with that, that is, I want to dissect that real quick for a minute. That’s a super interesting pivot because it’s adding a new product and service to your business, A, which is what we’re talking about. B, you’re also having to market that online and show these things. And C, you’re also having to, with your marketing, the tangible proof like you said, right? To show that this light is doing something. It’s a little bit unique because there isn’t a service out there like this right now, at least widespread that people are familiar with. So not only are you pivoting, not only are you going to have to market this online, you’re also going to have to find a way to explain to people what this is, how it’s of value and how it actually works so you’re not coming off as a proverbial snake oil salesperson at the same time.
Jesse Dolan: So all that definitely has to be done right now. Again, spinning it back to your digital marketing, whether it’s promoting through Facebook, doing videos like we talked earlier. If people aren’t familiar with the service and don’t even know that they need it, it’s going to be a bit of a challenge and you got to put your marketing hat on to make sure you get that out there. Because you can’t just pivot with an idea. You actually have to pivot and market it and get it to be part of the business. So those are great examples. And again, like the mobile repair lab for the cell phone, same thing. If people aren’t coming to the store, the store has to go to them. And how do you get that done? It’s happening and these are in some cases of investments and maybe vehicles, kitting the vehicle out for the mobile repair lab or the equipment for the blue light stuff.
Jesse Dolan: But it’s an okay investment because you know this is at the very least going to be something that’s going to give ROI during the next six, 12, 18 months. And more than likely, this is going to be a permanent fixture in the business going forward because people are just going to be used to these things as we progress. So we shouldn’t be afraid of investing into these intelligent pivots where they make sense.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. And I look at it as … I pursued it because again, I go home once a week, not once a week, a couple of times a week to take a shower. And when I do, there’s a process. And I know I have nurse friends that do this. That they basically they come home, they strip down their clothes in the bathroom and the immediately … or they grab a towel or a roll or whatever. They immediately go to the laundry or laundry room, throw it right directly in the washer. And I throw all my dirty clothes in there at once. Turn that on or I don’t turn it on. I actually just leave it. I go take my shower. I get dressed in my new clothes and I take my towel, throw everything in there, fire it up. And then I take my UVC light, throw it in the bathroom and zap it for five minutes. And then unplug it, grab it and I’m out of there. And I just, I do it because obviously I don’t want to get my family … I don’t want to spread any of this if I have it.
Bob Brennan: So again, what the new norm is, that’s what I’ve had to do and I figure, okay, there’s nurses that need this. Eventually there is going to be a need for this and we will make a profit in this process, but it’s not an exploitive profit. Like, hey, I got 20 N95 masks for $2 and I’m going to sell them for $20 piece. I mean, that’s not the game we’re in. We’re in the game of helping people. We need to make a living in that process, but we don’t obviously need to gouge anybody in that process. So it’s coming up with ideas that help society, at the same time kind of help ourselves. We don’t need to get crazy rich, but we do need to pay the bills as it were. So I’m pretty excited about the idea. I just think it’s just educating people. Once you educate them on it and get them up to speed, I think it’s a good and valued service.
Jesse Dolan: Agreed. I could say too, and we shouldn’t feel guilty about making money during this. You’re not putting anybody in jeopardy. You’re not taking advantage of anybody. You’re just surviving as a business and that’s fine.
Bob Brennan: Right. Keeping our people employed.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah. None of us should feel guilty about any of these pivots or any of these things that we got to do. So that’s pretty much all I have. Bob, do you have anything else with this episode? Otherwise, we’ll get into the five star review of the week and we can wrap up.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. No, no. If you want to wrap it up, it was a long one. So sorry.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah, no, a long one, but lots of good stuff. Hope everybody got some benefit out of that and can kind of spin these thoughts back to your business or a friend’s business, talking about helping others. I mean, if you know people that don’t listen to our podcast, number one, love for you to share it with them, right? It’s always good for the show. But any ideas that can just help anybody else in your community and in your life, that’s kind of what it’s all about right now. So speaking of help, we’d love for you to leave us a review. See that segue there, how smooth it was? Love for you to leave us a review on the show localseotactics.com. Whether you go to Apple podcasts, Google my business, wherever it is, you can find those outlets for the reviews on our show page, localseotactics.com.
Jesse Dolan: This episode here, we got a five star review from Mike Malloy. He says, “Love it. This is a really great podcast. They make very complicated topics easy to understand, and most importantly, they do it in a way that is interesting. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing your knowledge.” Thanks for that Mike. We will keep it up as long as you guys keep listening and leaving us reviews. And like I mentioned before, that’s one way we know that this is making a difference out there. There’s not a ton of stats for podcasts there is in shows other than how many people view it or listen to it, to really engage. So getting these reviews, that’s you giving us direct feedback that you appreciate the show and what your thoughts are. So keep sending them in. We’ll keep reading them and thanks again Mike for that five star review. So with that being said, thanks for tuning in to this episode everybody and we’ll catch you next time.
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