Category Archives: Ask SCORE

How can a non-tech savvy small businesses improve its marketing?

by Ken Sethney, Kitsap SCORE

Trying to understand the effectiveness of your marketing efforts without access to measurable results means your business is flying blind.

Marketing data gives you the insight you need to make well-informed decisions about your marketing efforts and know how to adopt the right marketing efforts to drive the biggest return on your investment.

Reliable analytics will empower you to make data-driven decisions that improve the effectiveness of your marketing.

Just about every business needs an online presence regardless of what they sell. And, bringing customers and prospects to your website should always be one of your primary marketing goals.

Google Analytics is the website analysis platform most used by businesses to get real- time data for insight into how many people visit their website, who those people are, which products or services they’re most interested in, and much more.

Because of its ability to dig into the weeds of your web traffic, Google Analytics is one of the best tools for determining the effectiveness of your marketing and learning how to improve it. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a technology expert or SEO professional to use the platform.

By familiarizing yourself with how to pull some basic information, you can gain an understanding of how well your website is performing for your business. Even at its most basic level, Google Analytics is a tool that the non-tech savvy business owner can operate and benefit from exploring.

  1. Visitor Volume
    See daily and monthly web visitor volume, monitor trends, watch ebbs and flows during
    your marketing campaigns and compare traffic performance as time passes by.
  2. Average Time on Site
    Track how long visitors stay on your website as well as which pages they view.
  3. Bounce Rate
    Measure how many of your visitors quickly left your website after landing on just one
    page. Visitors who leave quickly likely did not read your content and are not interested.
  4. New vs. Returning Visitors
    Measure the ratio of new vs. returning visitors. This is useful data when measuring the impact of your marketing efforts on prospects vs. existing customers.
  5. Traffic Sources
    Determine where your audience is coming from – from different websites and different
    geographic locations.
  6. Conversions
    Set-up conversion tracking and measure the percentage of your website visitors who make a purchase, fill out a contact form, or take some other desired action.

    There are so many tracking capabilities available to small businesses through Google Analytics and these just scratch the surface. One of the best is its comparison tool that allows you to compare data year-over-year to identify trends. This can be hugely helpful in planning your long-term marketing efforts. Google Analytics has the ability to give you better insight into your web visitors’ behavior so you can use make more strategic marketing decisions.

    Fire up your analytics and start making more strategic, data-driven marketing decisions.

    Even if you’re a non-tech savvy business owner, you can still easily make Google Analytics work for your business with the right support. There are many resources available to help small businesses navigate this tool and make sense of the data. One of those resources is your SCORE mentor.

    For help with starting, growing or successfully exiting your business venture, contact SCORE — Mentors to America’s Small Business. SCORE is a nonprofit organization with more than 11,000 volunteers who provide free, confidential business mentoring and training workshops to small business owners. To contact Kitsap SCORE, email kitsap@scorevolunteer.org or call 360-328-1380.

Three Things You Should Understand Before Hiring a Search Engine Optimization Expert

A website is a critical sales and marketing tool for just about every business. It’s a hub for product information, a conversion point for capturing leads, the holding place for marketing materials and company news, and many times serves as your potential customer’s first impression of your business.

However, before any prospect can interact with your website, they first have to find your website. This discoverability is the culmination of a strong SEO, or search engine optimization, strategy and an SEO expert behind the scenes.

Most business owners are digital marketing novices making it hard to know what you’re really buying when you hire an SEO expert.

If you’re like most business owners, you understand the role of an SEO expert from a high level but aren’t as familiar with the full scope of what’s involved or the time required. This makes it a lot harder to confidently hire the right SEO expert and forces owners to take these professionals at their word. Continue reading

Should I advertise in a down economy?

by Ken Sethney, Volunteer Business Mentor, SCORE Kitsap

A recent article on money.com dealt with a couple of difficult questions: “What Is a recession, and are we in one?” Three experts answered the questions. From a technical perspective we’re not there yet, but we could be very soon. 

OK, fine. I’m not a college professor, a manager of economic research, or an investment strategies advisor, but from my perspective, we’re smack dab in the middle of a recession. The question we all face is what do we do about it?

If you own a business, you want to cut costs, but where? For some companies the decision is easy… the first cut they make is advertising. But you’re not so sure. Continue reading

What Tax Documents Should You Keep?

And which ones should you shred?

If your filing cabinet is bursting at the seams, you’re not alone. As a small business owner, you have a lot of paperwork to keep track of – everything from business licenses, employee records, lunch receipts – the list goes on.

Some of the more challenging records to manage are your business’ tax documents and all of their supporting paperwork. Navigating tax document requirements is complicated and is often unchartered territory for a small business.

As a default, many business owners end up unnecessarily saving every last receipt for years and years. Or, they become overwhelmed and throw away important information. Continue reading

Should I take on a business partner?

Are two heads always better than one?

When it comes to taking on a partner to start or grow a small business, there’s no right or wrong answer. 

Partners can complement each other’s management skills and bring benefits such as special expertise and client relationships. 

As with any relationship, there are trade-offs that must be carefully considered before deciding whether adding a partner is a wise move, and then you have to find the right person for the role.

If it sounds a bit like marriage, you’re not far off. Having the right partner can be a terrific advantage for a business. Making the partnership successful takes as much energy, effort, and positive feelings for one another as it does to make a marriage work.

There are several important things to consider before choosing a partner and entering into a business partnership. Continue reading

How to develop a successful new product.

Developing and launching a new product requires research, resources, and a determination to follow through despite roadblocks and setbacks. If you have a product idea, how can you better ensure your development effort goes smoothly, and the end result is a win for you and your company?

While product development comes with varying levels of complexity that depend on the type of product you plan to create, several key ingredients for success remain universal. Continue reading

Yes, you can manage your time more effectively.

With so many responsibilities as a business owner, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and fall short on what you want to accomplish. If you’re a new business owner who formerly worked for someone else, you may have discovered that managing time has become more challenging. 

That’s natural. After all, you’ve gone from having your work schedule and priorities set for you to needing to prioritize every project and task related to running your business. Time management doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it’s an essential skill that can be developed with some attention and effort.  Continue reading

What resources help women entrepreneurs succeed?

According to the 2017 State Of Women-owned Businesses Report commissioned by American Express, women-owned businesses now account for nearly 40 percent of all companies in the United States. With the increase in the number of women-owned firms a whopping 114 percent (compared to the 44 percent increase among all businesses) from 1997 to 2017, it’s evident women entrepreneurs are a powerful force within the U.S. economy.   Continue reading

What is the SCORE Business Learning Center?

The SCORE Business Learning Center (SBLC) provides aspiring and existing small business owners the business strategies and tactics needed to make sound decisions and achieve greater levels of success.

The SBLC supplements the business resources available on score.org. It fills the gap between the high-level content on our website and the personalized expertise obtained from a mentor.

At the end of a course, users will feel they have a better understanding of their chosen topic and the resources available for continuous learning. They will also have a mentor they can work with to apply the learning to their business.

You will find it here… https://www.score.org/biz-learning-center