You’ve got pent-up demand because there are consumers out there that do want to get out and buy again.
COVID-19 has been tough to a lot of businesses. As fellow business owners, we understand how overwhelming this can be, and we try to help others during this challenging time. Here are a few pointers on how to make sure your business survives in a post-COVID world:
- Make your clients’ and staff’s safety a priority.
- Cultivate a strong digital presence.
- Update your customers about the changes in your business, and more.
Roger: Welcome to Local SEO Today. I’m Roger Murphy.
John: And I’m John Vuong.
Roger: We want to welcome all…we want to welcome you to our podcast today. We do a number of these on a regular basis but today the topic we want to talk about is very topical and John, it has to do with the environment we live in and we’re all living in which is Covid and hopefully you know, yes there’s some research, etc. But we’re talking about clients, business owners, tips to thrive in a post-Covid environment so we’ve got four good things we want to talk about today so let’s if you wouldn’t mind let’s talk about them.
John: Yeah and as you know business owners have been impacted the most, small medium-sized business owners especially the retail outlets ones that are storefront and you know, that’s the biggest challenge, right? How do you get people’s mentality and mindset to really go back to outdoor shopping again, consuming stuff, products and services and that’s very difficult today and people are only gonna go out if it is a necessity item, a product or service or if you’ve built a really really strong brand or relationship with these customers that you’re staying on top of them you’re you know, communicating with them on a regular basis and letting them know what’s going on in your or business, right? So the first thing I think you can go ahead and start Roger.
Roger: Yeah, certainly John and I would just want to touch on the idea that this is at the time of this recording we’re really in the fall of 2020. We have all, everywhere around the world’s lived with this Covid thing for at least seven months now and we were all on lockdowns and John, think about you, myself, everyone we did such…so little. We were all home based or not going anywhere human beings want to reach out and be social so business owners you’ve got pent up demand because there are consumers out there that do want to get out and they want to, they want to buy again, they want to enjoy the outside weather sit on a patio, etc. Or go to the mall just do things that were normal so the idea of making things or prioritizing safety…safety for your your staff if you have a store, safety for your customers if they’re coming to see you. What do you do and I can tell you just real quick one of our clients that came on board this year a dental practice, they were very very very focused on sanitizing and the efforts that they were going to make sure all their patients coming in would be safe so we had to articulate that for their…on their website with the…with certain you know, content to say that we’re all about safety sanitation for your protection so people then would feel confident to come out and go visit them and do business with them.
John: And so vital the digital presence and what does that really mean like having a website’s one thing but you have to update them. You have to update with fresh content that’s resonating with your customers or ideal customers are time focused, right? Especially during this Covid environment. You need to inform your customers, your tribe on what you…changes you’ve made. How would your customers feel when they come in, what do they expect what are the new procedures and processes, maybe even create like a montage or video or images on what your new you know, inside looks like, right? A video tour would be great. Yes, it is an investment but it’s an investment for people to start shopping again because you don’t know how long this is going to last for and this could last for a couple months, it could be lasting for a couple quarters or it could be a couple years so just prepare yourself because again as you evolve, as long as you continue growing and pivoting and understanding your customers demands there’s going to be business owners that don’t make it right past this first phase second phase and what you will you know equip yourself is way more knowledge, way more brand building connectivity to your customers and tribe and people will feel like you’re really taking care of them. You really want to help them.
Roger: Exactly. There’s and you know just even something to say John, maybe doing a quick video but just show the outside of your office building, store whatever it is just to show that you’ve got notifications of to enter you have to have a mask on or things we’re doing inside you know so really letting people, your customers and potential customers know you take this seriously and it’s not loosey-goosey you know? It’s like the old saying of No Shirt, No Shoes, No service, Well, No Mask No Entry. I mean if people see that then what it does it makes them feel…some people are okay but some people might be a bit more nervous so if they see that you as a business owner are taken seriously with the PPE, the personal protection equipment and you know all the different sanitizing strategies you’ve got…it just makes them feel more comfortable to come spend money and spend time with you so…
John: And a lot of people are yes, taking it seriously for the people that are actually in the location storefront but they forget to update it on their website or their email to their active clients or prospective clients because it’s so important to then update your Google My Business Listing, your social media assets, your actual website and also inform your existing base of clients, right? So make sure that it’s priority because it’s all about your customers when they feel comfortable they’ll continue coming back to you. It’s when they’re fearful and they’re not ready, that’s when they have doubts and that’s where you use your website because it is a living breathing document. It can be updated all the time but even to have a notification a pop-up right in the middle to say we’re now open and we’re ready for you and here’s what we’ve done so you’re…you’ll be protected when you come here.
Roger: And maybe you use your website messaging.
John: Exactly, cause that’s something you own, right? As a big asset piece and then maybe writing a blog or like letting people know in your home page with what exactly the new process is, the protocol, right? What steps have you made and it’s all about articulating and pushing it out to your active engaged customers because without letting them know and they’re going to vet you they’re gonna check website out first before they even leave the house today, right? And more than ever I mean the ability to find things online and navigate and vet and ask questions via email or phone or text or social that’s the new way of communication, right?
Roger: And you’ve talked to John, about the idea of communicating that everyone’s safe and you’re doing the sanitizing, etc. But what about we can talk about business if you’re a business owner you’ve got to give those customers a reason. What do you have that’s special for them? Do you have some new product in? Is it…there’s some seasonal things is there a sale going on? Have you increased or lowered or have you added more services? Those are the things you’ve got to bring across on your website. Content fresh, updated content with a real message to say we’re ready for you and look what we’ve got in stock and in store or curbside pickup, whatever. those different techniques are going to be.
John: Exactly, and if you haven’t even built a website or you haven’t focused on pivoting to the new demands of your customers, right? I know for a lot of restaurants maybe they’re the foot traffic, they’re in you know, dining is low so what are you doing to attract takeout or delivery, right? Like what are the trigger points what are some of the the promos that you have to offer? Those type of people because they’re still needing your product or service they may not find you so you got to be out there and more visible for active customers.
John: That’s it so in terms of do we want to talk about the next topic John, which is really change or embracing change.
John: Yeah, definitely.
Roger: Man, we again look at the last seven months. Who knew a year ago if we all think back which was a very short time but it was a long time ago what were we all doing the fall of 2019? Things were under control, free you know. you could travel anywhere you wanted. Healthy everyone’s you know? Good weather, etc. The economy is going well. Here we have been in this world of Covid so you have to embrace that there’s been change. And John we always talk to our clients too about pivoting. Pivoting means you see something or you notice there’s a change. A substantial change to your business or the business environment. You’ve got to change direction that’s known as pivoting so you just got to embrace it.
John: And understand your customers because they’re seasonal trends, there’s global trends, there’s understanding how people are consuming your product or service. What are the multiple touch points, where are they consuming, how are they consuming, what do they want in for in terms of your service offering or product offering, right? And you have to understand how you’re gonna capitalize on it, right? Like but ultimately it’s all about understanding your customers and who they are, what they’re looking for and making sure you’re you have an alignment, right? You’re actually fitting a need, a demand, right? Of what your customers want.
Roger: And there’s all sorts of techniques, there’s the zoom meetings now look what we’re doing here of course we’re on we’re recording ourselves right now but you…there’s so much, there’s so many opportunities for a business owner to interact and engage with the client based on the new world of distancing so and I have clients, we have clients John, that are doing virtual consultations literally they don’t need to come into the store, come into their clinic whatever it is. It can be done online and and basically understand and go over the entire situation. What they need before they even step in the store. That limits keeps them, keeps the distance, minimizes their exposure but utilizing technology, pivot to technology.
John: Exactly, if you haven’t invested into like different modes of communication such as zoom chats or google hangout. Start learning about these new ways of communication being an SEO agency like we’re…we kind of understand the importance of virtual and everyone in our team is home based so we’ve been communicating with them for the last couple years but a lot of these new technology is not for every single business owner, right? Like they have to embrace it, they have to understand the change, the new ways of how people, your customers are searching for you, right? And without understanding the importance and doing it yourself or understanding your customers it’s very difficult for you to evolve and stay with what’s going on and I look at the prime example of where we used to work which is yellow pages they did not change quick enough, fast enough and that’s why Google really replaced the whole medium of directory businesses.
Roger: Yeah so change and embracing it and I know it’s hard and people want to get back to where it was to your point John, which we’ve spoken before it may not get back to the way it used to be. This is just a newer reality. Maybe it’s this way for two more years we’ll all be wearing masks, we’ll all be doing some distancing you never know. It’s you just got you have to be flexible and pivot and make it easy for your business, your customers to still do business with you.
John: Yeah and the last thing I wanted to mention was it’s all about the leaders, right? Leadership and communication because it all starts with you as a business owner and if you focus on you know, being transparent, understanding what really is going on. Yes, you might have to follow the rules regulation guidelines from your association or governing parties but understanding that and then disseminating it across every single person that’s involved in your organization from your employees, to your customers to all your vendors and suppliers like you have to lead by example, right? And these are skill sets that you have to now really understand more than ever, right? Like embrace technology, embrace what’s out there but communicate and let people in on the new process the new guidelines.
Roger: And of course if you communicate with your staff let them know and the best business owners do this. They communicate, they’re transparent because the best business owners know that their staff are probably their number one asset next to maybe their brand or the product itself but your staff are the face of the business without them you just can’t succeed so keep them like a partner, keep them involved keep them informed of what’s going on so that they and maybe they’ll bring ideas to the table how to adjust for this new world but it’s all about communicating and involving your staff.
John: Exactly, they’re the biggest advocates of your business, right? They are wearing your brand every day and take care of your customers but also take care of your employees more so because it’s so hard to replace really good talented loyal employees. Customers I mean there’s way more customers and really good employees.
Roger: Exactly so I think we touched on a lot of those John, appreciate this. Are there any other tidbits you want to share on that?
John: Yeah, I mean with this new pandemic and post-Covid world like you mentioned we may never go back to what pre-Covid was, right? So we have to understand that this is maybe the new norm even with a vaccine even with you know, technology and maybe storefronts will be closed for good, right? Because people may not want to go back the same way. The level that they used to with the comfort level, right? They may want to expect more digital ongoing meetings, right? And communication and touch points they might not need you know, to see you anymore in person so just adapt to it. Understand what the environment has and embrace it for your business.
Roger: That’s it so these were tips on post Covid. And we were all hopeful that this Covid thing will be tamping down and will be you know, under control with the medical communities, etc. But in the interim you and I John, every business owner, every person in the community we’ve got to live our lives so we just have to focus and pivot and modify in this world.
John: Exactly well, thanks a lot Roger that was great.
Roger: Thank you for your time today and everyone watching today. Thank you. Like this podcast, share it with your friends. We have lots of different topics we’ve talked about before so thanks for today and we’ll see you again at Local SEO Today.
John: Thank you. Thanks Roger.