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  • Get Your Business Online!

  • Getting started with building your online presence can seem intimidating and overwhelming, which is why we're here to help! With our "Get Your Business Online" program, we'll do an intake assessment of your current online presence and walk you through small, manageable steps that work best for your business to grow your online presence. You can view our full library of resources below to walk your business through the process of getting online.

    Want us to walk you through the program? Click here to schedule a meeting with Alex Castillo, Events & Special Projects Manager at the Chamber to learn more about the program how to get started with our intake assessment. Prefer to fill out the assessment on your own? You can do so at the link below and we'll connect with you once this is complete.

    Let us help your business get online and grow!


  •  

    Create & Manage Your Google My Business Listing

  • It is critical your business has a Google listing and is keeping your business information up to date through Google My Business. Having a Google listing increases your business SEO (Search Engine Optimization), making your business more likely to appear in online searches. It's also an easy way for customers to quickly view your location, hours of operation and more. When buidling an online presence for your business, your Google listing is the perfect place to start.

  • 1. Create/Claim Your Listing 1. Create/Claim Your Listing

    Creating your Google My Business Account allows you to add your business information to Google Maps, Search, and other Google properties with Google My Business.

    • CLICK HERE  to create or get access to a Business Profile on Google and manage how your business information appears across Google, including Search and Maps.

    2. Verify Your Listing 2. Verify Your Listing

    Once you have your Google My Business account set up, you may need to verify your business listing. When you verify your business, you can check that your business information is accurate and that only you can access it.

    3. Manage Your listing 3. Manage Your listing

    Once your Google business listing is verified, you can manage your listing by adding photos, updating hours, posting updates, and more.

    • CLICK HERE for the Google My Business Help Center, which details how to take full advantage of all of the features of your Google My Business page and listing.

    Local Marketing Firms Local Marketing Firms

    If you'd prefer someone to set up and manage your Google listing for your business, these local companies can help with that as well as other services to help get your business online:

    Great Business Marketing
    (ask about their Chamber Member discount!)

    www.greatbusinessmarketing.com
    (805) 626-8282
    support@greatbusinessmarketing.com

    Beach Betty Creative
    (offering 25% off for Chamber Member businesses!)

    www.beachbettycreative.com
    (805) 757-7772
    shelly@beachbettycreative.com

    Additional Resources Additional Resources

    Community Resources:


    Articles:


  •  

    Build Your Website

  • Building a website main seem intimidating, but there are many free website builders that offer pre-built templates and drag-and-drop formatting that makes the process simple. Having a website for your business will strengthen your online presence and SEO, and is a tool you can grow over time to include components lilke a blog or online store.

  • 1. Preparing to Build Your Business Website 1. Preparing to Build Your Business Website

    Before you begin building your website, here are some questions to ask:

    • What purpose will your website serve your business?
    • What content will you include on your website?
    • What features will your website need (blog, e-commerce, etc.)?
    • What will visitors accomplish on your website?
    • Do you have the time to build your own website, or does outsourcing the project make more sense?


    Being able to answer these questions will help when determining content for your website and the best website builder to use.

    2. Create a Website: Free Website Builders 2. Create a Website: Free Website Builders

    There are a number of free website builders you can use to create a basic website for your business. Here are some user-friendly options we recommend:

    • Google My Business Website: Google will build a very basic website for you from the information provided in your Google My Business listing. If you do not wish to build a more elaborate web presence and just want your basic business information listed, we recommend this option. This option is not good for businesses who want to include items like blog posts, online store, etc. on their website. Learn more here.
       
    • Wix: Wix is user-friendly with many pre-built templates to choose from that are highly customizable. Wix also offers an e-commerce platform, making it a good option for businesses who plan to have a small online store as part of their website. Learn more here.
       
    • Weebly: Weebly is also very user-friendly and a good option for brick and mortar shops. Their platform is a good option for businesses who plan to have a larger website with multiple pages. Like Wix, Weebly offers e-commerce as part of their platform. Learn more here.
       
    • WordPress: A good option for a more advanced user, WordPress offers a wide variety of themes and plugins, but is not as user-friendly as other website building platforms. It also offers e-commerce through WooCommerce. Learn more here.


    A more detailed look at the difference between these platforms can be found here.

    A note on website domains: Many of these free website builders do not require you to purchase your own domain name. However, if you do want a fully custom domain name you will need to purchase it. Learn more about purchasing a website domain here.

    3.Share Your Website 3.Share Your Website

    Once your website is created - spread the word! You'll want to make sure people know where to find your business online.

    • Update your Google My Business listing to include your website
       
    • Update your social media platforms to list your website
       
    • Include your website on business cards and other marketing materials

    4. Track & Monitor Your Website 4. Track & Monitor Your Website

    Once you have your website up and running and have shared it with your network, you'll want to track its performance and see how many visitors you are getting, how long they stay on your website, and if they take any actions like sending you an email or going to your social media.

    Google Analytics provides great website metrics and analytics. Learn how to set up a Google Analytics account for your website here.

    Local Web Designers Local Web Designers

    If you'd prefer to have a local expert build a website for your business, these local businesses can help:

    AMF Media Group
    www.amfmediagroup.com
    (805) 788-4432
    val@amfmediagroup.com


    Poor Richard's Press
    www.prpco.com
    (805) 543-6844
    info@prpco.com

    Additional Resources Additional Resources

    Community Resources:

    • Grow with Google has video lessons and training for small businesses
       
    • SCORE Mentors offer free workshops and mentors for small businesses
       

    Articles:


  •  

    Build & Manage Your Social Media Presence

  • Social media is a great way to engage with current customers and promote your products and services to a whole network of potential customers! When setting up a social media platform, it's important to post consistently to grow your network on these channels and keep them engaged. For local businesses. we recommend you begin building your social media presence by creating and managing a Facebook and/or Instagram account for your business.

  • 1. Creating & Managing a Facebook Business Page 1. Creating & Managing a Facebook Business Page

    Facebook for Business provides step by step instructions for setting up your Facebook Business Profile. Learn more here.

    2. Creating & Managing an Instagram Business Page 2. Creating & Managing an Instagram Business Page

    Instagram Business provides set by step instructions for creating a business page in minutes. Learn more here.

    3. Content Creation & Scheduling Tools 3. Content Creation & Scheduling Tools

    There are plenty of free tools online for creating content and scheduling social media posts. Here are some of our favorites:

    • Canva is a free tool to create engaging posts for your social media channels. Learn more here.
       
    • If you are active on multiple social media channels or are looking to schedule content in advance, Hootsuite can assist with keeping everything organized. Learn more here.
       
    • Looking for inspiration for content to share on your social media platforms? Pinterest is a great place to search and pull inspiration from what others are sharing. Learn more here.

    4. Social Media Advertising 4. Social Media Advertising

    Advertising on social media is a cost-effective way to target specific audiences for your products and services.

    Local Marketing Firms Local Marketing Firms

    Want help setting up or managing your businesses' social media presence? These local agencies can help:

    AMF Media Group
    www.amfmediagroup.com
    (805) 788-4432
    val@amfmediagroup.com

    Beach Betty Creative
    (offering 25% off for Chamber Member businesses!)

    www.beachbettycreative.com
    (805) 757-7772
    shelly@beachbettycreative.com

    Great Business Marketing 
    (ask about their Chamber Member discount!)

    www.greatbusinessmarketing.com
    (805) 626-8282 
    support@greatbusinessmarketing.com

    Poor Richard's Press
    www.prpco.com
    (805) 543-6844
    info@prpco.com


  • Build a Customer Database

  • You're going to want a way to directly communicate with past, current, and potential customers, and for that purpose, it is important to have a database to manage your customer information. The types of customer database solutions vary from simple email marketing platforms, where you can collect and sent emails, to more advanced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems that track, manage and analyze interactions with any users you put in the system.

  • 1. Determine The Best Type of Customer Database For Your Business 1. Determine The Best Type of Customer Database For Your Business

    • Basic Customer Database/Email Marketing Platform: If you are a smaller business and looking for a free or low-cost solution for managing and communicating with contacts, we recommend an email marketing system like Mailchimp or Constant Contact.
       
    • Advanced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems: If you are a larger business or have a large customer database and a lot of repeat customers, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system may be a better solution for you. In addition to storing customer information and sending mass communications, CRMs also offer more advanced features and track more detailed customer information. CRM systems do tend to have a fee associated with them and a steeper learning curve to implement into your business, but when used correctly they can have a high return on investment.

     

    2. Set Up & Manage A Customer Database 2. Set Up & Manage A Customer Database

    Once you determine which type of customer database is the best fit for your business, you'll have to choose a platform to begin using. Here are some platforms we recommend

    Basic (free or low-cost with basic database management features):

    • Mailchimp is an email marketing platform that allows you to store basic customer information, send out mass communications to your customers, and also includes more advanced features like drip campaigns and audience segmentation. Learn more about the platform here.
       
    • Constant Contact is another email marketing platform that allows you to store basic customer information, create events and send mass communications including emails and surveys. Learn more about the platform here.
       

    Advanced (often fee-based and steeper learning curve, but offer more advanced features):

    • Hubspot is a popular CRM for small businesses because it offers a free plan that includes the ability to keep track of your company’s activities, including contacts and company profiles, assign & track deals, and more. Learn more about the platform here.
       
    • SalesForce is one of the most widely used CRM systems. Their platform is focused on customer service, marketing automation, analytics, and application development. SalesForce allows you to integrate your businesses' marketing, sales, service, and more into one platform. Learn more about the platform here. You can also schedule a free demo using the contact information below:
      • Olivier Alberigo, Discovery Team at Salesforce 
        Email: oalberigo@salesforce.com
        Office: 437-828-0317
        Mobile: 905-926-8612
         
    • Salesmate is a less expensive alternative to SalesForce that allows you to manage your contacts effectively and keep track of all related sales activities. While it has fewer features than SalesForce, it is still a good option for businesses who are looking for a CRM with flexibility and scalability. Learn more about the platform here.

    Local Marketing Agencies Local Marketing Agencies

    If you'd prefer to have a local marketing agency help you set up and implement your customer database, here are some local businesses that can help:

    Great Business Marketing 
    (ask about their Chamber Member discount!)

    www.greatbusinessmarketing.com
    (805) 626-8282 
    support@greatbusinessmarketing.com

    Additional Resources Additional Resources

    Community Resources:

    • Grow with Google has video lessons and training for small businesses
       
    • SCORE Mentors offer free workshops and mentors for small businesses


    Articles:


  •  Sell Online

  • Being able to sell online means your business can reach a whole new segment of potential customers! Whether you're a retail, restaurant, or service industry business, there are tools you can use to make ordering your products and services online easy for your customer base.

  • Retail Industry - Online Store Retail Industry - Online Store

    Before setting up an e-commerce store for your business, there are a number of factors to consider. Read this article from SCORE that walks you through 8 considerations to make before starting your online store. 

    E-commerce platforms: there are countless different platforms available for hosting your online store, and what you choose will depend on the size of your business and the platform you're using to host your business website. Here are some e-commerce platforms we recommend:

    • Square Online is free e-commerce platform with options to build an online store on their platform, or use their Square Checkout online to allow purchases through social media channels and other platforms. Learn more here.
       
    • Wix E-Commerce is a great option if your business website is already hosted on Wix. Their platform makes it easy to build and scale your online store. Learn more here.
       
    • Shopify is a good choice for larger businesses, or small businesses planning to grow. Their platform helps you find customers, drive sales, and manage your day-to-day. Learn more here.
       
    • Woocommerce is a good choice for the more advanced user looking for a lot of customization options. Their platform is built through WordPress, and works best for businesses who already have a website hosted by WordPress. Learn more here.

    Restaurant Industry - Online Orders Restaurant Industry - Online Orders

    In today's digital age, offering online ordering and delivery gives customers an easy and convenient way to buy from your restaurant. When it comes to online ordering, there are three main options to consider:

    1. Use your own website, using a website builder or WordPress to process orders.
       
    2. Use a third party online ordering app.
       
    3. Use a third party online ordering app combined with a POS system.
       

    Full details on each of these options, including suggested platforms to use for each, can be found in this article.

    Service Industry - Online Appointments Service Industry - Online Appointments

    There are a number of website integrations that will allow your customers to book, reschedule, and cancel appointments online, a feature that allows customers to schedule at their convenience and outside of your normal hours of operations. Here are some appointment schedule applications we recommend:

    • Acuity Scheduling has a wide array of customization features including whether or not to require payment when a client schedules, how far in advance clients can cancel appointments, and more. Learn more here.
       
    • Appointlet is a great option if you are not ready yet to invest in a scheduling application, as it has a free version and offers a good amount of customization features. Learn more here.
       
    • Setmore easily integrates with a variety of apps and website platforms, and its booking features are intuitive and easy to use. Learn more here.


    Additional information about online appointment platforms can be found in this article.

    Local Marketing Firms Local Marketing Firms

    Prepare to have an expert help set up an online store for your business? These local marketing firms can help:

    AMF Media Group
    www.amfmediagroup.com
    (805) 788-4432
    val@amfmediagroup.com

    Poor Richard's Press
    www.prpco.com
    (805) 543-6844
    info@prpco.com

    Additional Resources Additional Resources

    Community Resources:


    Articles: