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SCORE San Diego helps small businesses effectively use Internet marketing

Editor's note: The month of May is National Small Business Month. The Daily Transcript will bring our readers a series of articles throughout the month aimed at helping the thousands of small-business owners in San Diego County. For more stories, log onto sddt.com.

As social media becomes more engrained in our everyday lives, small business owners must allot the time and resources necessary to grow their business using the many online platforms and tools available. SCORE San Diego offers seven low-cost workshops to local entrepreneurs focusing on the most effective tools to create efficient online marketing strategies including email marketing, search engine optimization and social media.

Often, small business owners are intimidated by the different social media platforms and the time commitment required to implement a successful online strategy. SCORE San Diego's Internet workshop series teaches small business owners how to save time by targeting and prioritizing the tools that work best for them.

The How to Use the Internet to Successfully Market Your Business workshop is led by future-ink, Inc., a web design and Internet marketing firm. Vice President of Marketing and Creative Director Jeune Ortiz introduces small business owners to key insights into working with web developers including how to choose a firm, as well as an overview of social media platforms, Search Engine Optimization, website hosting, domain names and branding.

"We're beyond knowing that websites are necessary. Now small business owners need to know how to create powerful and effective websites too," said Ortiz. "It is important to understand how to work with web developers to create effective websites and to know what questions to ask and how to find a developer that can meet the business owner's needs."

Matt Gordon, owner of Urban Solace and The Moonlight Lounge, worked with SCORE San Diego when opening his two restaurants and is an advocate for small businesses' presence online.

To help small business owners maximize their social media efforts, SCORE San Diego offers the Social Media: Harnessing the Groundswell workshop led by Teresa Siles, Vice President and Director of Social Media at Nuffer, Smith, Tucker Public Relations. The workshop help entrepreneurs develop their social media strategy by examining common platforms, addressing the pros and cons of social media and offering tips for helping entrepreneurs get started and decide which platforms are right for their business.

"The first step is always listening to what is being said about the industry or company, as well as the sentiment around the discussion," said Siles. "This critical step will help pave the way for your social strategy because you will learn not only what is being said but what your potential customers want to know, and you can create an engaging communications strategy."

Small business owner and SCORE San Diego client, Matt Gordon, worked with SCORE San Diego when opening his two restaurants, Urban Solace and Solace & The Moonlight Lounge, and is an advocate for small business' presence online. Gordon observed engagement and communication styles on the different social media platforms, and experimented with different techniques and styles to find an online communication strategy that resonated with his audience.

"There are definitely some dos and don'ts on how to use social media to its fullest, and SCORE San Diego helps to identify these," said Gordon. "Customers want to see businesses evolve. If they're not online engaging with customers, small businesses can be viewed as out of touch."

SCORE San Diego's workshops are available to all local small business owners and entrepreneurs for a small fee. For more information about SCORE San Diego's Internet initiatives please visit score-sandiego.org or call 619-557-7272.

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