Small Businesses Surviving Covid

If you are a small business owner, there is no shame in just trying to survive the secondary effects of the pandemic COVID-19. Showing up in person to your business is a risk many customers are not willing to take. What can you do to minimize the effects of COVID on your business? Let’s talk about how your online presence is more important now than ever.

If customers do not feel safe coming to your store, they need access to your products online.  This can be done through images or better, try video. With the smartphone in your pocket or purse, you can record high-quality video and show your current and prospective customers your wares.  Think about new arrival videos or image slideshows. The videos are preferred for multiple reasons you might not be aware of.  Google and other search engines measure the value of your site based on how many people visit it and how long they stay on the site.  Most people are willing to watch a video because it requires so little energy unlike text which takes energy.  Video also keeps site visitors on your site longer.  That’s ideal for moving you up the Google results line.

If you are maintaining and editing your own site, switching out videos and images takes just a few minutes. If you would like to do that but don’t know how, seek out some individualized training like you can get from EFP Technology Solutions. This small business owner specializes in teaching you how to maintain your own site to save yourself money.  As a DIYer, you build skills and save money.

Now, whether you are maintaining your own site or paying someone else to do it, it’s imperative that you address the COVID situation.  Don’t pretend it doesn’t exist.  Use pop-up banners to let customers know you care about their safety as well as the safety of your employees if you have any.  Let them know you respect their wants and needs and that if we all work together to keep one another safe, we’ll get through it. Think about offering COVID discounts to draw in new and loyal customers.  Offer free delivery and curbside pickup.  Minimize contact as much as possible, and let your customers know how efficient the process will be.  Also, let them know what you are doing to maintain a sterile environment. Do you provide masks?  Will you have hand sanitizer available?  What will be required by all customers? What is recommended or merely a request?

I can tell you that I shopped in American Eagle Outfitters recently.  All customers and employees had to use sanitizer upon entering the store to minimize outside contamination.  All had to have a face mask as well.  If you didn’t already have one, you could take one for free after sanitizing your hands.  It seems they thought of everything.  All customers had masks on which made me feel a bit better because I didn’t want to risk touching or purchasing clothing that someone coughed or sneezed on or touched with contaminated hands.  It’s not failsafe, but it’s an improvement over nothing. The other stores I went into didn’t have any safety measures to protect customers or employees. As a result, I left those stores quickly just in case.  Why tempt fate, right?  Interestingly, I ended up going back to American Eagle and shopping some more.  That’s what you want from your customers.  You want them to feel comfortable and safe in your store.  For customer loyalty, they need to know their safety is of utmost importance to you.

Local SEO

One of the best sources for new customers is a free Google My Business Profile.  If you do not have one, get one.  It’s free, and you can set it up yourself.  Unlike Bull Durham, building it does not guarantee they will come.  There are some things you need to get right to make sure your business name comes up when people search for businesses like yours.

Here are some pointers to help you out.  If you don’t have time or aren’t sure you did it right, please call us at Xizzee to help you out.

Points to Improve Your Google My Business Local SEO

  1. Make sure you change your hours to reflect the current situation. If your hours are modified because of COVID, make sure your page reflects that.
  2. List all of your services and products, so when people type in your product as a search term, your business has a good chance of coming up. Be careful not to list every service available under the sun. Try to focus on your most important services that hit your most important keywords.
  3. You can post events and special offers.  This is free advertising for you.
  4. To help your business out, Google has set up a support system, so you can get support from customers during COVID-19.  You can encourage customers on Google to buy gift cards from and make donations to your business.
  5. If you need help building or tweaking your Google Business Page, Xizzee Web Design & SEO can help you out.

Social Media Can Save Your Small Business

With so many people out of work and not able to go out, more people are spending hours and hours on social media like FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tik Tok. Being present and visible to them is important for the life of your business.

Review your Facebook posts and consider setting up some ads to target your specific audience. Ever since Facebook changed its rules, you have to run ads to be seen by anyone who is not already following you. When you make your ads, be as specific as possible.  Set your zip codes and choose the profile of your current and potential customers.  Make sure you always include pictures.  When you run a paid ad, Facebook provides free stock photos for you to choose from.  Take advantage of this feature available whenever you place a paid ad.

If you have a presence on Twitter and/or Instagram, make sure you are posting regularly on those platforms.

I’ll post again soon about which apps help you post once and send the post to multiple social media sites simultaneously.

If there is a particular topic you’d like to read about in my blog, please note it in the comments section or shoot me an email.

For now, good luck and stay safe!

Helping Customers Create Website Content

Helping Customers Create Website Content

Being a teacher of 27 years, I approach problems differently than most people (to the chagrin of my husband).  You see, I am a problem fixer.  If something is broken, I analyze it, break it down, and fix it.  Having this skill was very handy in education because if a student didn’t understand something, I would figure out a way to help him understand.

“What does this have to do with helping customers create copy for their website?” you ask.  Well, I was recently working with a client to create her website copy (that’s a fancy word for website content).  This client is full of words.  She can talk to anyone anywhere about anything.  Strangely, though, when it came to her talking about what her business had to offer, she came up short.

Possible Issues

insecuritiesWhat’s the problem?  Well, could it be she doesn’t like writing?  Perhaps she doesn’t feel like she is a good enough writer.  Maybe she is the type of person who doesn’t feel comfortable tooting her own horn.  Maybe she talks better about other people than about herself.  Maybe she doens’t know what people want to know.

What should she put on her website?  That is a great question, so let’s begin at the beginning.  All SEO aside, the first job of a website is to share information with customers and to get them to stay on the site long enough to read what is there for them.  Following these simple steps will help you get over your writer’s block.  Guaranteed!

Content Creation Exercise for Customers

Step 1: Make a list of all the questions you get about your business.  This can be a team or individual effort.  The longer the list, the better.
Step 2: Organize the questions into related groups.
Step 3: Name each group – these might end up being the names of your pages or headings for your FAQ page. It’s okay if you repeat yourself.  This can get cleaned up later.
Step 4: Answer each question either on paper or by talking.  Yes, you can talk your way through the entire process without ever picking up a pen.  Read on.

Using Technology to Help You Write

Use your smartphone to record your website content.

Use your smartphone to record your website content.

With so much technology around, it is easy to forget the powerful tools at your fingertips.  How many business owners own a smartphone?  In my totally unscientific research, I’d guess a pretty large percentage.  A voice recorder is pretty much standard on a smartphone, so grab your list of questions, hit record, and start talking.

Using this method does require you to pick up a pen and transcribe what you said, but the next method will actually turn your speech into text.  Read on!

Speech to Text Apps and Add-ons

There are plenty of speech-to-text or voice-to-text apps available for both iOS and Android phones, but not all of them are reliable.  Check out these reviews from Computer Business Review and Entrepreneur to help you narrow your focus and target a reliable tool from the start.  If you are more comfortable on a laptop or desktop, move on to the next section.

5 free voice-to-text apps – Computer Business Review

3 Mobile Apps for Converting Voice to Text – Entrepreneur


Smartphones – Not the Only Game In Town

You can @harnessthepower of Google by allowing it to type as you speak!

You can @harnessthepower of Google by allowing it to type as you speak!

If you have access to a Google account, you can access Google Docs which has a Voice Recorder in its Tools menu.  I just tried it out, and the accuracy was amazing.  It even corrected itself when it thought I had said one thing but had actually said another.  There is also a Google Add-on for Speech to Text that you can download for free.  Directions for how to do this can be seen at the Xizzee YouTube channel.

So if you are coming up short when trying to generate content for your site, try these quick and easy steps.  Your webmaster will thank you, and you will be able to move forward.  For more tips like this one, follow us on and on Twitter @xizzee.  Good luck to you, and remember to #harnessthepower of the web.