Co-market for Bigger Impact from National Small Business Week Locally in Torrance

As a small business owner, and with many of our clients also being local businesses in the Torrance area, we’re believers in promoting Small Business Week.

Small Business Power!

Did you know that more than 50% of all Americans either own or work for a small business, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, and they create 2 out of 3 new jobs in this country?

This year’s SBA’s annual National Small Business Week is April 30 to May 6. 

If you’re a consumer, you can help celebrate the big impact small business owners have on the economy, the job market and our daily lives by visiting and patronizing your local Torrance and South Bay businesses. They appreciate you!

If you’re a Torrance business owner, encourage your local community to Shop Local. Co-marketing is a creative way, especially for those of you with a brick-and-mortar storefront or office.  And your co-marketing collaboration efforts may reap longer lasting benefits by strengthening your relationships with your neighborhood businesses.

START PLANNING NOW!

Collaborate with your neighborhood Torrance businesses to make Small Business Week a FUN event.

  1. Advertise “Meet Your Local Businesses!” Spread the word through each of your social media accounts, newsletters, ads and in-store banners about all the fun things you have planned.
  2. Offer free refreshments at each business stop.
  3. Put up balloons or other decorations.
  4. Create punch card for shoppers to visit each of your businesses and give a gift for doing so; maybe a grab bag with a little something from each shop, or pick from a choice donated by each of the businesses.
  5. Create coordinated promotion, e.g., get a haircut today, and get a free cup of Joe next door.
  6. Feature music or other entertainment in the parking lot (maybe using a local band.)
  7. Offer incentives you can provide to encourage first-time visitors to return, e.g., coupons.
  8. Have a fun photo booth or area (it’s a good way to get more publicity via social media too!)

What the best Small Business Week or Co-Marketing idea you’ve seen? Please share it with us!

>> READ MORE EXAMPLES OF CO-MARKETING FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES

4 Reasons to Add an SSL Certificate to Your Website Now

We’ve always installed SSLs for clients with websites accepting online payments.  We did not necessarily recommend SSLs for non-ecommerce sites.  This is not the case any more.

Do you I reallly need an SSL Certificate? How will it benefit my online business? These are some of the questions you might be asking yourself.

It turns out you need an SSL for your website more than ever.

SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a technology that encrypts connections between an Internet browser (and other “client” devices) and a web server so that hackers can’t intercept sent data. When used in an http connection, the connection becomes https (secure https), the “S” being a sign that your site has an SSL Certificate. For example, https://umeworks.com (secured) vs. http://umeworks.com (not secured).

If the connection between your computers and your server isn’t secured, hackers can use specialized tools to intercept the data on transit, e.g., use it to access consumers’ bank accounts.

So, the number one reason to use SSL is to protect sensitive information being sent across the internet. The SSL technology does this by encrypting all data before it is sent. This way, even if somebody intercepts it along the way, they cannot make use of it because the encrypted information will only be readable to the server it is being sent to.

However, even non-ecommerce sites should use SSL Certificates because of recent changes.  Small businesses can benefit in using SSL four ways:

  • It’s important for trust

Web browsers such as Firefox are currently giving visual cues to help users determine whether or not a website is using SSL. For a secure https site, there will be a green padlock right at the beginning of your URL. In some cases, the entire URL bar may be colored green – all of these aimed at telling the user that your site is safe. HTTP sites don’t have the green padlocks. For a business, these cues can have a big impact on user trust.

  • Chrome has taken it one step further

While other browsers just display the green padlock, the new version of Google Chrome which was released at the end of January is blatantly warning users against visiting insecure sites. Just before your URL, there will be a “Not Secure” warning which could deter users from visiting your site. Google has said that at a later stage, they will in addition to the “Not Secure” warning place a danger sign next to your URL to further advice users against visiting your site.

  • Google Search Engine is giving a ranking boost to HTTPS sites

Actually, this started back in mid 2014 when Google announced that having a 2048-bit key certificate on your site will give you a minor ranking boost. At that time, Google said that SSL Certificates would have only a small impact on search results. But in their renewed efforts to make the web a safer place, the company has made SSL a permanent ranking factor and has mentioned being open to giving it more weight than other signals.

  • SSL Certificates are no longer expensive

Initially a barrier to acquiring the technology, SSL prices are now within reach for small businesses. GeoTrust, for example, offers a number of SSL certificates, including the Quick SSL Premium which goes at just $149/year. Thawte also has a low priced offer, the Thawte SSL, which is priced at $149/year. Pricing depends on several factors including brand, warrant and encryption levels. Many hosting providers offer SSLs you can purchase from within your control panel; some for less than $100/year.  So, installing an SSL certificate on your website via your current hosting company may be inexpensive and the fastest way. You can now acquire SSL Certificates free with LetsEncrypt.com, a service run for the public’s benefit by Internet Security Research Group.

Check to see if your hosting company support Free SSLs

Summary

For these reasons, if you don’t have SSL already, you need to make it a priority. It will be of immeasurable benefit to both your business and your customers.

Need help? UmeWorks can install your SSL for a nominal fee. Contact Us

How to Respond to a Bad Review

“How should I respond to a bad review?” “Should I respond to bad reviews?”

These are questions I am asked from time-to-time.  Unfortunately, for various reasons, sometimes businesses receive bad reviews.

Numerous studies have found that consumers highly value online reviews. In fact, a majority of people will never make a purchase without checking places like Google+, Yellow Pages, and Yelp to read a few reviews.

One of the reasons they read these reviews is to find out if previous customers have had any bad experiences with your brand. Did you fail to meet a customer’s expectations? Was one of your shipments unnecessarily delayed? If any of these were to happen, the angered customer will often head to one of the review sites and pour their hearts out, calling you all sorts of names.

This can seriously damage your reputation on and off the internet, and may cost you sales and customers.

So, how do you deal with these negative reviews? How do you ensure that they don’t ruin the reputation you worked so hard to build?

  • Always respond

Failing to respond to a negative review is the biggest mistakes you can make. First, when you don’t respond, you’re worsening the damage. Other people visiting the review platform will be swayed by the reviewer’s comments. Secondly, failing to respond is a way of telling customers that you don’t care. No one wants to deal with an uncaring business in today’s world.

  • Be prompt

Don’t wait for days to respond. The longer you wait, the worse the situation will get. If possible, respond immediately. However, since you may be busy, make it a point to respond within at most 48 hours. Beyond that, it might be too late.

  • Keep a cool head

Don’t lose your temper over the matter. You’ll lose that customer and a couple of his or her friends. Even if the comments were overly harsh, to protect your business and avoid a publish backlash (which isn’t uncommon), keep your cool and soberly analyze the comments to determine what exactly might have angered the customer so much.

  • Say “I am very sorry”

If the review’s name is Jackie, say, “Hi Jackie, I am very sorry…” Addressing the customer by name always has a positive effect as it makes conversations personal. Saying “I am very sorry” shows that you’re taking responsibility for whatever happened. Such an opening line will almost always win them over.

  • State the measures you’ve taken

Tell them what you are doing or have done to ensure such a thing doesn’t happen again. If it was poor customer service, you can inform them that you’ve since spoken about that with your staff.

  • Directly call them

For an even more personalized experience and to avoid public scrutiny, you can call the customer and directly speak to them. During the call, introduce yourself, thank them for using your service, thank them for the feedback, apologize for the bad experience, and assure them that it will never happen again.

  • Close that chapter

When the matter is finally resolved, ask the once again happy customer to review you positively to even things out. They’ll do so gladly. With that done, move on!

Benefits of Using Inbound Marketing for your Los Angeles Business

Los Angeles has been a world center for trade, business, culture, technology and education for a long time. As the home of entertainment, it is a leader in creativity and innovation. This traits trickle down to its residents who are in a storm of information, constantly being bombarded with cute cat videos, glossy social posts and breaking news. So how do you capture the attention of individuals who are in this digital chaos? The best way is not to throw at them digital information telling them to buy your product and service, but to guide them out of the chaos by providing engaging information for which they are searching.

Inbound marketing unlike traditional digital marketing strategies is geared towards content creation that will add value to the life of the reader, then optimizing it so that it can rank well on search engine results. This is used to find warm leads, and then convert them into paying customers.

The current crop of buyers are particular and want to carry out their own research before purchasing a product or service.  A recent survey findings showed that 68% of consumers skipped television ads. This clearly shows a shift in consumer attitude.  Think about it – are you turned off by robo cold caller soliciting your business? If that does not change your mind, here are some stats that will encourage you to go inbound.

  • Inbound Marketing costs 61% less than outbound marketing.
  • More than 70% of consumers do their own product search via content rather than ads.
  • Companies that blog regularly acquire 126% more leads than those that do not.
  • Social media lead-to-close rate is 100%.

Below are some of the benefits of inbound marketing for your Los Angeles business:

1. Inbound Marketing Los Angeles Builds Brand Identity

Consistently producing and sharing content will help you put your company in a position where it is considered as a thought leader in the industry and this will grow its reputation significantly. This will improve your brand equity without the need for astronomical costs incurred with traditional marketing.

2. Inbound Saves Money

Inbound marketing Los Angeles is more efficient and ultimately cheaper than outbound marketing. This is because, instead of blindly firing advertisements in the relative direction in which your clients are, you allow them to come to come to you, learn them and interact with them. It is therefore pointless to use your marketing resources to target individuals who do not want your product.

3. Visible ROI and Metrics

By using inbound marketing, you are able to create more transparency to measure the success of your marketing initiatives. This will go a long way in showing you the areas in which your company can improve so as to leverage customer relations and cost-effectiveness.

4. Improves Customer Relations

Inbound marketing Los Angeles is customer centered and it is evident in the way it places customer-business relations at its core. This is achieved by providing customers helpful content and in turn learning more about the them. Advantages of offering value to customers are:

  • Increase in sales
  • Increase in leads
  • Improved branding
  • Increase in market reach

Want to start reaping the benefits of inbound marketing? Download our free campaign checklist. Want help setting strategy and managing inbound marketing for your Los Angeles area business? Contact UmeWorks at (323) 638-9328.

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Why Use Inbound Marketing For Your Los Angeles Area Business

Hey Los Angeles business owners–looking to grow your client base in 2017? Now is the time to ditch your outdated marketing strategy and ride the wave of the future by inbound marketing Los Angeles.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a term created by Hubspot to describe a style of marketing where companies attract potential clients through social media and search engine optimization (SEO) based on common interests. The Hubspot philosophy is “by aligning content with customer’s interests and attracting inbound traffic,” rather than resorting to outdated, invasive marketing strategies such as spam emails and cold calls, a company will create a devoted client base depending on the customer’s pre-existing needs and interests.

Also known as “permission marketing” or “content marketing,” inbound is the most effective online marketing technique because it requires a company to research, get creative and produce meaningful content specifically directed toward a desired clientele, therefore gaining the trust, and (hopefully) devotion of the people most likely to respond to that product or service. The idea of a company wooing customers by presenting information about and leading to what is offered in an appealing way is a revolutionary concept in marketing, tailored for today’s tech-driven marketplace.

Inbound Marketing Los Angeles

After creating a website and social media accounts that frame your business in the way you want it to be perceived, the next step to building a dynamic online presence is by inbound marketing Los Angeles, and bringing the city to you.

Appeal to the masses, one client at a time.

Everyone is on social media; it is our modern-day town hall, where each individual can display his or her unique voice and be heard. The magic behind an effective inbound marketing concept is your potential clients get to decide to engage with your company on their on volition, simply by following their interest. For example, when a stranger makes a decision to watch a video your company posted on social media, that person is more likely to feel as if they’ve discovered something, which is a whole lot different than bombarding prospective clients with spam emails they’re never going to open. The result is the effect every marketing campaign hopes to achieve: loyalty.

Campaign deliberately.

Use inbound marketing techniques to create a cult following in Los Angeles by speaking directly to the Angelenos most likely to be interested in your business. Inbound marketing is direct and a much more effective approach than an impersonal marketing shotgun-blast that may only strike a chord with a small portion of your constituency. In order to draw the local crowd to your business, utilizing SEO techniques such as fortifying copy with keywords related to”Los Angeles” is essential when writing content for your social media pages or website.

So what are you waiting for? Grow your local Los Angeles business by utilizing inbound marketing techniques to reach out to your ideal clients in the most interactive, personal and human way possible. Hop on your social media business page and create some meaningful content– Los Angeles wants to hear from you!

Download our free inbound marketing campaign checklist to get started.

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