Increase Online Customer Engagement And Make Your Brand More Visible

Since we can’t escape the current coronavirus pandemic, we will again embrace it in this week’s episode!  Learn some of the tips and tricks that businesses are using right now to adapt to the current marketplace, and how to communicate those changes to their customers and prospects.  You can leverage your website and social media in new ways, to stay connected and give customers the information they are looking for.  Adapting to these customer expectations and providing them solutions will win you new business now while positioning your brand for operating in the future COVID-19 era, however long that may be.

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YOU’LL LEARN

  • What people are doing to make sure their businesses stay open and active
  • How to let everyone know you are open for business still
  • How to better communicate with customers about your business and status
  • Opportunities with social media and digital communications
  • Position your brand to survive the coronavirus pandemic

Here is the transcription from Episode 54 Tips To Attract Customers Right Now While Positioning Your Brand For The Coronavirus Future;

Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan. You’re joining me again by myself this week from my home again this week here as we all are enjoying our stay on lockdown. Lucky that I get to work in the digital marketing and SEO space so I can continue to work in at home even though I do wear the hat of a teacher, lunch lady, lunch man and everything else during the day here.

So shout out to everybody who is making it work right now literally at home, at the office, whatever is that you’re doing. The common message across all America right now and in the world really is we’re in this together. And so I definitely feel blessed that I can continue working on my craft and doing this and putting on the show for you guys.

Bob’s not joining us again this week. It’s just quite frankly easier to just kind of do them by myself here without worrying about getting Skype in there and everything else.

I’ve been pretty busy. I keep thinking next week it’s going to be not as busy as the current week. Right? So I can do more, maybe put out a couple more episodes of the show, and put some more content out here for you guys and gals. And bring Bob in and do Skype and kind of make this work while we’re not in the studio. But, hey, it’s just not working out like that.

So we’re going to have a pretty good episode this week. Still continuing our pivot from last week, talking about the current situation with the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, what that means for your business, how you can still accelerate, get found online and grow your business, or at least position yourself to have growth. If your business can’t be open right now there’s some things you can do online to set yourself up for the future. And if you are able to stay open right now, there’s definitely some things you should be doing to get that exposure, let your customers know, and engage with them. So we’re going to get into that here today.

Want to make sure I mention to everybody, our free instant SEO audit. Say it pretty much every episode, but if you haven’t used it yet, go to localseotactics.com. I’m looking at the top right corner and yellow button, free instant SEO audit. Plugin your website, your page, your keyword, your email, and it’s going to churn out a great report for you telling you everything that’s good, that’s bad with your website. It gives you a cheat sheet for things to work on and kind of scores things and grade things. Super handy. Great way to kind of get a baseline and start making improvements on your website right now today.

You can also use that for any of your competitors to kind of reverse engineer what they’re doing, see how they score compared to yours. Because really at the end of the day, we’re not doing search engine optimization on our websites and web pages to be found in Google per se. We’re trying to do the SEO to our website, to trump the competition who is already ahead of us in Google. So if you haven’t used it for that feature, definitely do that as well. You can learn a lot about what you need to do by looking at what your competitors are doing. You just need to be better than they are. So use it for yourself. Use it for your competitors, completely free, localseotactics.com, check it out.

So we’re going to get into today, like I said, some more topics about the current situation and how that does apply to your business. Last week we talked about a few things. Mainly technology-based, how to adapt to some technology, how to utilize some technology. And I asked everybody out there to kind of shoot some questions over. What are some thoughts, what are some challenges, and kind of compiled some of those and I’m going to go through them here. So we’re just going to dive right into it.

So one thing, kind of a common theme, distilling these down into kind of three big chunks here for us today. The first one is what are people doing to make sure their businesses stay open and stay active? So with that, even if you’re not at your brick and mortar shop, if you’re working remotely, your business… And maybe your business is still open if you’re not serving customers at your location.

One thing that people kind of overlook is forwarding of the phones. Depending on what kind of call management that you’re using, just because you’re not at the office doesn’t mean, in today’s world with today’s technology, it doesn’t mean that your phone can not be answered. You should have the ability to forward the phone to your home, your cell phone. And even depending on what kind of system that you’re using, some kind of a round-robin or a answering pool of people. A queue, depending on how many people you have at your office or on your team, where if it rings to you for two or three times, you don’t pick up, it might ring to the next person for two or three times. And then go to voicemail if they don’t pick up or things like that.

So those are some things you can do that cause minor disruption to your customers when they’re trying to contact you. And it’s much better than leaving and going unattended. Now, I’ve had some customers that even say, “Look, I’m closed,” but I’m still forwarding the phones to my house because I still want to engage with those customers and say, “Hey, just so you know, we are closed, but we intend to be open X date or X weeks from now or as soon as we can.” Just so they can kind of have that conversation with the customers and let them know that they are around still and they’re weathering the storm.

Just because not all businesses are immediate service transactions. Some people need to do research for weeks before they make a purchase. Some of these services and products that you guys sell out there are long-term decisions. So even if you’re not open today for a transaction, if you can still be open to receive phone calls, there’s potentially a lot of opportunity that you can do there. So make sure you’re doing that.

Again, like I said last week, if you need help or ideas or just want to kind of get some advice on any of the topics I’m talking about today, please reach out to me. You can do that through the localseotactics.com. We’ve got plenty of contact forms and feedback forms there and definitely help wherever we can.

Another thing is your social media. Some people are glued to your phones anyways and you’re not going to miss any Facebook messages, whether it be on your own personal profile or for your company pages and your brand pages. But that is something to definitely not overlook. If you’re listening to this and you have a business and you’re involved in a business and you’re not sure if somebody is monitoring your Facebook page during this, definitely raise a hand and make sure that’s explored. Obviously you can access Facebook from your computer and from your phone anywhere.

Some shops have been set up where you know maybe they are only are pulling up their corporate Facebook when they’re at work, behind the computer at work. If that’s not the case for you right now, if you’re not in the office, or there’s some kind of rotating shift or all kinds of dynamics that you guys are sharing, make sure that you have people appointed to Facebook. To see if there’s comments, and see if there’s questions, see if there’s messages.

Now, more than ever, people are on their phones and they’re engaging in Facebook like never before to contact businesses to find out information about businesses. There’s an interesting wrinkle happening right now where people are checking to see if a business is open or not. Right?

You roll back a few weeks or a few months. We weren’t using Google for that, or Facebook for that, or anything else. We were trying to see what was the best product or service. What’s the closest product or service? What’s the cheapest product or service? Now we’re just saying, “Is this company open?” You know? Can they serve me? What’s their capabilities?

Totally different dynamics. So you’re going to want to make sure that you are able to be contacted in all these ways and somebody is on point for that because there’s people right now that are searching for businesses through their Facebook pages just to see, “Hey, maybe I can get quicker communication that way.” They’re kind of assuming if their website maybe is not as agile so it’s not as up to date. They’re going to social media and Facebook to find out more up to date information on the status of your company.

So due to that, somebody should definitely be on point for Facebook. And not just Facebook, really all social media. Or all, even framing that up even further, all non-website related portals. It could be, what do we got? Here are some examples from you. Yelp, right? People can message you and reach out to you through Yelp or take advantage of coupons and offers through Yelp. Twitter, I mean you guys kind of get the idea. Any portal that you’re using, any social media that you’re using, make sure you have people on point for those communications and you’re still monitoring those.

Not only, again, are the customers looking for you in much more frequency than they were before, a lot of these applications also have response timers. On Facebook, if somebody messages your company it says how long they take to respond. With Yelp, if somebody’s going to get a quote from multiple businesses providing what you do, it says on there how quickly these businesses respond. So this can also be a conversion factor of you even being contacted if you’re slow to reply.

You don’t want to have this situation over this short-term. Really in the grand scheme of things, this is going to be a short-term thing, this lockdown. You don’t want to have this be something that kind of ruins your reputation or your scores. So stay on top of your social, stay on top of your phones.
Also, it’s pretty common now we’re a couple of weeks into it, but home delivery. Or business to business delivery, curbside pickup. What kinds of things can you do to pivot, to stay open, that maybe you didn’t offer before? People may not, for your industry and your niche, people may never have expected curbside or delivery type services. It just wasn’t the norm wasn’t the convention.

Well now, if your competitors are staying open offering these scenarios and offering these kind of pivot type solutions, you’re going to have to do that too. And the more that businesses do that out there, the more consumers are going to quickly adapt to looking for that. Again, they’re going to go back to your web page or your Facebook page and they’re going to be looking for, do they offer curbside? Not only are they open, do they do curbside? And things like that. So definitely being frontal about that kind of stuff.

Another main section here is how to let everyone know that you are open for business still. So the other chunk was kind of what are you doing to make sure that your business is open? Another thing is making sure that your customers are aware of that because again, there’s just this odd dynamic right now where people are searching and just wanting to know if you’re open or not. Which is just something that we never thought people would be looking for in our businesses even a few short weeks ago.

So with that, there’s a few things here to run down. Physical signage in your business. If you have different hours, if you’re closed indefinitely if you’re closed with a timeline.

You might be a, I’ll say a retail space or a retail service type deal where you can still serve customers. And maybe you had two, three, four people there before. Now you’ve got one person and you’ve changed your business hours. And maybe you the owner or you have a trusted manager or some lone employee that’s bearing the burden of the day. They have to take a break.

So before, maybe you had to go to some touristy town and do some boutique shopping to kind of see on the front of the store, “Gone to lunch, be back in a half-hour,” type signs. But we’re starting to see that pop-up, right? If you’re dwindling your hours down to just support one person in the store and that person has to take a break, these are some conventions we haven’t seen before.

So physical signage, whether it’s saying that you are still open, whether it’s a change in your hours, or whether it’s some of this temporary signage. “Gone for the day.” “Be back in an hour, out to lunch.” Whatever it is to communicate with these customers because definitely a lot of people, especially… It depends on the proximity of your business if they can drive by, or kind of walk-up easily. Just making it as easy as possible for them to see this can definitely help.

And through all this, another underlying theme is you can build this trust and this reputation for serving your customers in this way during this period and maybe convert and gain some customers for a long time. So just kind of over-communicating your status and everything else because that’s really what everybody’s looking for right now.

In the same way, talking really about Facebook, being there to receive information. Also, you want to be proactive and put information out there. Again, people are going to Facebook like never before for updates, for information, and just probably to kill time, or escape from things for a little bit.

Due to that, you definitely have to be upping your frequency on Facebook. And the thing you should be putting out there right now is this same stuff. Are you open? What do you do? What are you offering? What kind of services do you have?

My local town here where we’re at, we have a restaurant. It’s a great local restaurant. Everybody loves it. Obviously they’re doing curbside now, right? Well not only are they doing curbside, but their pivot was to make like meals. We’re making one thing tonight. It’s not going to be an order off the menu, but you tell us how many people. You’re picking up one person or five people and it’s whatever. Meatloaf or it’s chicken or it’s going to be whatever the dinner is for that night. And they have a flat rate per person. You call, you tell them how many it’s going to be, they’ll have it ready between this time and that time. You come pick it up and you’ve got a meal to bring home.

So kind of taking that even further. Not just “We’re open, we have curbside,” but, “We’re going to make this easy for you. Come pick up the meal and bring it home and eat it hot.” Just kind of a kind of a cool way to pivot there. So for them, they’re posting that on Facebook. That’s great content. Every day, here’s the meal of the day, things like that.

So you cannot overdo your frequency right now. If you used to post once a week or a couple times a month before, try getting out there daily. Whether you just do a quick text, take a photo and type up a message, or you do a quick video, you can usually rip off a video in one to two minutes on Facebook, whether you do Facebook live, or just take a video and upload it on your phone to communicate all kinds of information. It does not take that long at all and it’s a great touchpoint to get out there and stay relevant and stay in front of people.

Another way, this was an awesome idea, that you can communicate your information to people is by changing your Facebook profile image or the cover image for your business. Again, people are seeking you out. Trying to find out if you’re open, trying to find options, or maybe you are posting like I just said, and they’re clicking to find more information about you. Leveraging those Facebook profile photos and cover photos to give a message about how you’re pivoting. Again, curbside delivery between 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM, or whatever it is. Taking advantage of those areas too to quickly communicate to customers what they’re looking for and with respect to your business.

Again, of course, back to your website, very same. Same concepts here, just apply them to your website. Front and center on everybody’s homepage, it should be something COVID related, coronavirus related. Whether it be that you’re open, that you’re not open. If you are open, what kind of measures are you taking? What different things are you doing now compared to what you were doing before?

All right, sorry about that. If you’re watching on the video, you might be like, how did the dude totally just glitch his spot in his chair? I had to pause it to do a little daddy, a little daddy teacher, teacher correction action there in the background. Hopefully, you guys didn’t hear any of that. The kids too loud there. So back to our show.

You’re going to want to make sure you’re applying it specifically to your homepage. Your home page is always the most important, the most visible page of your website. But also any of your major landing pages. If you have products and services that people are searching for that you know you have very popular landing pages for, you’re going to want to put information on those pages as well. I’m reading here, just anything that’s specific information about that product or service. So not only, in general, are you open as a business, right? But about this particular product or service, do you provide it still? Do you not? Has something changed about this product or service? If there’s things like that that are very important for the buying information for the customer, put that up in front and center on the very top of the page. Don’t be bashful about it. Don’t bury it down under your product image or something else because right now people are hitting that page. This is on front of mind for everybody. It should be top of fold on your website.

Kind of along those same lines is not only are you able to provide this product or service still with the given situation but how are you doing this product or service differently? If it’s an at-home service definitely make sure you’re illustrating what you’re doing to be safe for yourself and for the customer. Everybody’s looking for that information right now. So that’s a very, very good tip to do on those pages, not just your homepage.

And then the last kind of major group here is, I got this sentiment from a lot of people, that this is not just a temporary reality. The current lockdown situation is going to be kind of short-term compared to the grand scheme of things. But we still don’t know at this point. Again here, what, April 2nd if it’s, at least in the USA, a couple more weeks? It could be a couple more months before businesses get back to normal and are open as normal.

During this time, we as people are going to be changing our habits. These things that people are looking for right now, they’re going to be looking for them down the road as well. Not just for habits, they’re forming now, but even extending into kind of the near future or the mid-term future. They’re talking that this could be a six to 18-month deal where we may rebound and the entire world is not on lockdown. But still having distancing, still having these issues, whether it be sneeze guards at your office to make sure there’s a distance between you and the customer, sanitation practices, things like that.

There’s no vaccine for this thing for at least 12 to 18 months from what all the experts are saying right now here in April. So even if we get past this distancing and past this lockdown and get back to a little bit of business as usual, it won’t be like it was before.

So these things that we’re building in, these ways of communicating, these new things people are looking for. And in sales, it’s always, what are the features and the benefits, right? Or outline the pain points for your customer. Solve your customer’s problems. Think about how those are changing right now. If you can adapt to them, to get through these next couple weeks or a couple of months, you’re also going to be setting yourself up to be in a good position for the next 12 months, 18 months, or even 24 or 36 months, as this thing continues to progress on and hopefully wind down.

But again, a lot of people are agreeing with the same sentiment of this is going to change how businesses are operating. And so the reason that’s important to know is you can’t take inaction. Taking no action is going to be bad right now because you’re not only going to hurt yourself right now for what people are looking for. But again, you’re not able to position yourself now as a company who pivoted and a company who was taking care of those customers.

And you’re not going to be seen as a company next time they need something in the next 12 months, the next 18 months. You have a chance right now to win customers, to win communities, and become a business people are looking at for support, and to help through this situation. Rather than one that they’re left with questions and confusion on about what is the status, what are they doing, and are they trusted?

So not that you’re taking advantage or being capitalistic on the situation. Unless you created it, you’re not. You’re just pivoting to serve your customers better and make sure you can survive as a business. So looking at it through the lens of this is a mid to long-term deal kind of changes your willingness to adapt. Your willingness to throw up that sneeze guard, your willingness to throw up that signage on the front door, or the quality of it and things like that.

And so I think this is a really good point to close on is just to challenge ourselves for how we operate. And maybe challenge what we’re willing to do with thinking that this is just a temporary bubble because it’s not. If it’s going to be going into a year or more, we can make some investments to get our companies through that that we wouldn’t make if we thought it was just this next quarter.

So, okay, let’s do our five-star review of the week. And this week we got a review from, let’s see, MST228229. Perfect resource, really enjoy the episode regarding WordPress plugins as well as so many others. This podcast will help anyone looking to grow their online presence. Highly recommended.

Thanks. As always, love the reviews. If you guys haven’t left us a review yet, check us out, localseotactics.com, go down to the reviews. Whether you share this with somebody else, whether you give us a five-star review on Google, Facebook, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, whatever it is. That all helps the show. We love reading them and just lets us know we’re doing a good thing and kind of gives us that feedback that there’s actual people out there listening to this and that it helps. So I really appreciate that. And again, thanks for the five-star review.

Everybody else, hopefully, that helped you out. Like I said last week if you do have other ideas, other topics, things like that, we’d love to hear them. We’re not playing any audio in the next couple of episodes just to kind of focus on this stuff. But still, if you want to call in and leave something, or you just want to send a text message. I should say not a text message, but a message in text form, you can fill out one of the forms on our website as well to help do this. Help communicate.

So check it out, localseotactics.com. That’s all for this week. Hopefully, this helps you guys out and take care. See you next week.

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