We are excited to show you this client highlight for BW Concepts! It’s the perfect example of a small business that created its own website, and then came to Hammersmith Support when ready for something bigger and better. Beth Wand of BW Concepts specializes in creating organic digital content for her clients. Her services range from blog posts, to website content, biographies, and social media content creation and management – which is a lot to explain clearly and succinctly. We were able to accomplish this with the use of icons and visual breaks using color too.

Before

Beth built her previous site herself on WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org). At the time, her goal was to have a place to house links to her publications, contact information, and a contact form. The previous site was not only visually very simple, but it was also lacking in SEO. The entire site laid out more like a blog than a professional’s website.

After

We really love the look and feel of the site now. Not only is it visually pleasing, but the functionality has increased dramatically. Beth provided content updates as well as new photography, and the layout was updated to make BW Concepts services easy to understand. Calls to action, as well as an updated blog layout and services page, were added. The color scheme was updated to visually elevate the site, too.

BW Concepts is also now a Hammersmith Support maintenance client! Beth shared that while she knows she can do a lot of this on her own, it’s so nice to know that maintenance is now one less thing on her to do list.

We’re Here to Help Your Business Too

If you’re thinking it’s time to upgrade your current site, or if you are starting from scratch, we can help. Book a free 30-minute consultation through our Calendly link and let’s talk about your business website needs.

Have you ever had an idea or a need for your business and didn’t know where to start figuring out how to make it happen? Enter Kelly Lorenzen of KLM Consulting. As a full-scale business project manager, Kelly specializes in helping small businesses “wherever they need it.” Kelly’s goal is to give back the one thing her clients often need most – TIME. By improving existing practices through training and consulting, or designing entirely new practices in order to improve workflow, KLM Consulting really can do it all.

Collaboration Is Key

One of the ways in which Kelly has been so successful is by connecting with other small businesses. For her, bringing people together to foster and build community is one of the most important parts of her business. The primary way she does this is with Collaborative Connections, her live radio show that is converted to a podcast, then posted on her website and on podcast platforms, as well as YouTube and a blog post – so much fresh content from one show!

Each show focuses on various business topics and fostering collaboration between her clients and others in the community. The result? It’s 3 fold; it is a value add for Kelly’s clients, all guests get to highlight their business, and guests and listeners alike walk away with a tip and/or a new resource for their business.

If starting a podcast has been on your mind, we’ve got Kelly’s best advice on why you should get started and the best way to do it.

Technology

When it comes to actually creating a podcast, Kelly says not to let the technical side slow you down.

“Outsource what you don’t know / what is slowing you down. The value of the podcast is having it out there, not in learning how to produce it. Having a professional do the technical side will make the process much more smooth.

Kelly relies on Phoenix Business RadioX to host and produce her live radio show and podcast. They take care of everything – not only is it professional quality, but the final product includes all the bells and whistles so it’s fully optimized as well.

Best Advice

“Just do it! Jump right in and start. You can always change your strategy later. Don’t become paralyzed trying to figure out the best approach.”

Her other important tip is to leave your opinions at home. Listening to someone on a soapbox is only going to keep someone entertained for so long. Focus on creating a collaborative space with varying topics and opinions in order to keep your audience interested. In addition, be sure to provide value for your listeners with free tips, information, and good advice.

Listen In

Our very own Heather Locke of Hammersmith Support, along with several other small business owners, was featured on the Collaborative Connections Radio Show to discuss the importance of technology in this digitally-focused time. Listen here!

Let Hammersmith Support Help

Got questions about how you can add podcasts to your website? Thinking your site may need some additional work? We’re here to help! Book your free 30 minute consultation to talk through all your questions.

Estate planning is a very important process for everyone, especially small business owners. Creating a thoughtful business succession plan to accommodate all aspects of your business is vital, including and possibly most importantly the business’s digital footprint. For some businesses, their domain may be a very high-value asset of the business and if the domain is lost, it could be gone forever, or be very expensive to get back. Allison Kierman of Kierman Law is our guest blogger this week to explain what to do should you find yourself in the unfortunate position of trying to gain access to the digital side of a business.

How to Gain Access to Website Domains and Back End Accounts After an Owner’s Death

When it comes to administering a loved one’s estate, the big-ticket items generally take priority – the home, life insurance, and bank accounts. These assets are important, but estate administration also needs to include business and personal websites.

However, it can be complicated trying to figure out how to take over a deceased’s website. If you are trying to gain control to a loved one’s digital assets after their death, there are some important steps you will need to take.

First, in order to access to a website domain and back end account after its owner’s death, you must be the Estate Administrator (i.e., Personal Representative, Trustee, or Executor) or the next of kin of the deceased.

Second, gaining access may vary slightly depending on the domain and website host, but generally you will need to submit the following documentation to the domain registrar and/or website host:

  1. A completed Change Request Form (may vary depending on the host) with the Estate Administrator listed as the requestor.
  2. Legal documentation listing the name of the Estate Administrator, such as a Will, Trust, or Court Order.
  3. Death Certificate of the deceased.
  4. Photo identification for the Estate Administrator.

Third, if a business is listed as the registrant/account holder, you will also need to provide a copy of the business ID. Examples of acceptable government-issued business identification are:

  • A copy of a government-issued business license from a local, county, state or federal agency.
  • For U.S.-based businesses, your domain/website host may accept an IRS “Determination Letter.”  You may request a copy of this letter by contacting the IRS at 1-800-829-4933.

Many websites these days have financial implications, both in terms of the profit they make and sales they generate, as well as the ongoing costs of maintenance. Make sure you understand the value of your loved one’s website and take control of it.

Get In Touch

If you need help administering this portion of an estate, feel free to reach out to Allison Kierman, Kierman Law, PLC, www.kiermanlaw.com and contact information below:

Phone: 480-719-7333
Email: info@kiermanlaw.com

This week, we are continuing to highlight local organizations that are doing great things for our community. Hammersmith Support is a member of Local First Arizona, a network for small businesses in Arizona. Local First Arizona is a nonprofit organization that works to create a community, a voice, and a network for small businesses. They offer resources, promotion, and also advocate for a strong and competitive local economy.

What Is Local First Arizona?

Founded in 2003 by Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona’s goal was to create a community for small businesses. By creating this network for small businesses, owners were able to find resources, connect with other companies, find mentors, create collaborations, and more! The result is a vibrant, unique, local, small business economy that brings excitement and diversity to our state.

Our vision is an Arizona economy that is sustainable, resilient, and celebratory of diverse cultures.

Indie Week

Each year, Local First Arizona celebrates Indie Week where individuals and other small businesses are encouraged to purchase from or support a local business. Because 2020 has been quite a different year, Local First Arizona is hosting Indie Week the entire month of September! This year is even more fun because there is a prize associated with your patronage. Complete 5 calls to action in the card below and enter to win a gift card.

Why We are Involved

One of Hammersmith Support’s foundational beliefs is that we need to foster and give back to our community. We do that in several ways, including choosing a local nonprofit for whom we provide pro bono maintenance services. But we also believe that a rising tide lifts all ships and our support for other small businesses is vital to our community and our economy!

Hammersmith Support is Here to Help

While we work with businesses of all sizes, we understand the unique challenges that many small businesses face. Schedule your free consultation today and let’s talk through how we can help you and your business.

When consumers are looking for a product or service, they will likely have a variety of businesses to choose from. Large companies, small ones, and some middle-sized as well. According to a recent survey, when it comes to choosing who they are going to buy from, 91% of respondents indicated that they prefer small businesses when convenient, while 74% actively search for opportunities to support small and medium businesses even when it is not convenient. Why is that? Many like to support smaller businesses, hoping that it will also support their community. But there are some other distinct advantages that small businesses have over larger ones:

Quick Reflexes

When there are fewer people in a business to train, consult with, etc., companies are able to move faster. The COVID-19 pandemic is the ultimate example. Larger companies were still scratching their heads as to how they should work to accommodate their customers. Where small businesses, like many restaurants, were able to quickly adjust to take-out only options. They streamlined menus, utilized social media to send out details, hung banners announcing safe pick-up, and maneuvered their teams to safely make food and deliver it to customers.

Flexibility

When there’s no chain of command that needs to be involved with changes, actually making those changes for clients becomes so much faster and easier. A lack of hierarchy means that the person you’re talking to likely has the authority to make a decision, and can make it quickly. If a client needs a different service model, there’s no “checking with the manager.” Instead, the change can be made quickly and easily to accommodate the client’s needs.

Connections

Is there anything as frustrating as calling a company, knowing who you need to talk to, only to get placed on hold or sent straight to voicemail? Of course everyone can’t be available every moment of the day, but there is certainly something to be said for having a direct connection to the company you do business with. Knowing that your phone call or your email will be answered and by whom makes a big difference to customers.

In addition, having a consistent relationship with clients means that you’re likely to have a slightly more personal interaction. When a business knows their customer’s children’s names, their spouse, or important events happening in their lives, their customers feel appreciated and comfortable – two aspects of a business transaction that can only be done with genuine customer service.

Innovation

So often in a small business, the owner wasn’t trained to be in their position; they created that position, that business. This level of innovation is so appealing to customers because they know that when they have a problem, this company is going to know how to help them solve the issue.

We’re Small, Too

We know so much of this to be true because we’re a small business, too. We certainly enjoy working with our large-scale company clients, but our small business clients and our nonprofit clients are extra special to us.

Thinking about making some changes to your website? Or do you need some advice about where to start, or what changes you should consider for your website? Need a little help keeping up with your website information? We’re here to help – reach out and let us know what we can do for you and your business.

We are fortunate to know Katrina Oko-Odoi of ContentWorm from The W Source Scottsdale / Arcadia Chapter and we are so thrilled that she has shared her thoughts on how we can still be creating content marketing in the current climate. The coronavirus has crippled some businesses while bringing a huge influx of clients to others. This shift and the uncertainty of how long these changes will last creates interesting opportunities for supporting both those hurting and those flourishing. Here are Katrina’s thoughts on how to market during this time:

Don’t shy away from content marketing during a public health crisis. Chances are the heart of your content is still valuable, but it may need to be presented in slightly different terms or with a more sensitive approach. Your expertise hasn’t changed, but how it can be of benefit to your audience might. Follow these steps to attune your content to today’s climate.

  1. REACH OUT – Contact current clients and stakeholders. Express your concern and the actions you’re taking to keep the public and/or employees safe (if people don’t hear from you, it could leave a negative impression).
  2. ADJUST SCHEDULED CONTENT – Review all drafted content that’s already scheduled to publish (social media, blog articles, newsletters, PR coverage). As needed, adjust wording to be more sensitive and in tune with the climate. If the content is absolutely not usable right now, table it for later.
  3. DEVELOP NEW CONTENT – What unique insights can you offer that are immediately relevant to your audience? Focus on your expertise and how you can address the current reality of social isolation and quarantine. Opt for free, actionable resources that people are likely to engage with and share—this will help boost your visibility to a captive audience.
  4. REVIEW CURRENT CAMPAIGNS – Reassess current ad, product launch, or event campaigns and determine whether to adjust strategy and continue the campaign, delay, or cancel altogether.
  5. RESTRATEGIZE – Don’t halt current marketing efforts! Instead, rethink your strategy to be sensitive and helpful to current and prospective customers. Stay in communication and offer regular content for people to engage with: you have a captive audience looking for inspirational, practical resources. Position your brand as a go-to source for insights in your market. Start a new campaign to advertise any offerings of immediate need during this crisis.
  6. BE RESPONSIVE – Remain responsive and helpful to current clients. Even if you’re closed down temporarily or have limited staff, be transparent and offer any alternative solutions available. Customers will appreciate your communicativeness.
  7. STAY AGILE WITH YOUR CONTENT – Continue to monitor the situation and adjust efforts and messaging as needed. Send updates to clients and stakeholders as often as appropriate.

Above all, trust your instincts and stay true to your brand. Don’t try to be something or someone you’re not—focus on sharing the best of your organization during this time and the rest will flow from there. If you’re looking for more content support, please get in touch.

Katrina Oko-Odoi, PhD, ContentWorm Founder & Chief Content Strategist

katrina@contentworm.com | (619) 554-8595 | LinkedIn & Facebook

This is a topic that has plagued all small business owners at one time or another; how do I use social media for my business? Which platform? What’s appropriate? We sat down with Ashley Richards of E Squared Marketing to get the scoop on business and social media.

How Do I Decide Which Social Media Platforms to Use for My Business?

This is a question we get often and it all depends on your business and where your ideal audience is. However, we always recommend you have a presence and business page on the most popular and active social media platforms which include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The other social media platforms like LinkedIn, TikTok, and Pinterest will be variables depending on your end goal and campaigns you are trying to promote to evaluate if it makes sense to use them. A bonus tip for you – if you have a social media profile on specific platforms, be sure to keep it active and relevant. No one wants to see that your last post was from November 2016.

Facebook and Instagram Stories…Do We Really Need Them for Our Business?

Stories are a large component of these platforms, and we highly recommend using them often. A few tips for stories: Every post you add to your feed, you should add to stories to let your audience know you have a new post. Use gifs, stickers, polling, and fun hashtags to liven it up. If you have content that is not grid-worthy, stories are also another great place to showcase it. Behind the scenes, sneak peaks, consumer polling, and tagging other business partners and clients is a great way to use this feature as well. It helps keep the ‘social’ in social media, driving more attention and engagement to your pages.

So Should We Use the Same #’s for Stories as for Our Static Posts?

No, we always recommend adding 1, maybe 2 relevant hashtags to your story that go well with the image/video you are posting, but we always recommend using the tagging feature over anything else. This allows your brand to tag another brand/individual and the ease of sharing is incredible, giving you more exposure from that original story.

Do I Need to Separate My Personal Page From My Business Page?

Personal Vs Business Pages very much depend on your business and the model you are after. Current trends on social media are all about personal, raw, and authentic, so letting a little personal slide into your business is never a bad thing. A Happy Holidays from your family is a great example, where it is still business driven but has that personal side as well. All pages should be set up as a business, so you can take advantage of all the tools available to you on social media that are available with that type of page.

LinkedIn: Publish an Article or Link to a Blog on My Website?

One tip we give to our clients is to think—what if your social media page went away? What if that platform you rely on for business suddenly shut down? It is a scary way to think, however it helps our clients realize to never put your eggs all in one basket. Our goal is to get followers on all of your platforms and your web page to gain more brand recognition and trust in you as a business. With that said, we recommend sharing a link with a teaser in the caption to encourage followers to click to read more.

Does TikTok Have a Place in Business Marketing?

It can, but it really depends on that target audience again. As of January 2020, 60% of TikTok users are between ages 13 and 24, and 60% are women. Advertising is fairly new on this ever-growing platform, so they recommend adding content and staying extremely active to gain an organic following before investing money for ads. They did roll out a TikTok Creator Marketplace that is great for connecting with influencers on the platform to start a discussion about developing a campaign together. This will cost you and that price varies from person to person, but it’s a great way to expand your reach on the platform if you want to utilize it for business.

Is Twitter Dead?

No Way! Just a relevant platform for certain industries to capitalize on. Business types that generally do well on Twitter include politics, sports, and entertainment (including celebrities). It is a great conversation platform where you can jump in, make recommendations, sprinkle some humor, and also drop facts and tips. Most of our clients use the platform to share content but are utilizing ad dollars on other platforms since they don’t fall into the categories above.

Any Tips on How to Increase Organic Reach?

As the algorithms change on all platforms, so does the opportunity to reach your audience organically. There are several factors and things we recommend to increase your organic reach. Some of our favorites are:

  1. Post Consistently & Authentically – share content and tips, don’t just try to sell.
  2. Ask Questions/Utilize Polling – use the feature on your page to engage your audience to get involved.
  3. Tag Friends & Businesses – Tagging businesses and individuals helps get your post found and increases your engagement even more if that friend or business shares your post. Keeping that “social” in social media.”

About Ashley and E Squared Marketing

Ashley Richards

We’re a dedicated team of marketing professionals who take your business’ goals and knock them out of the park. We bring a personal touch to everything we do – And we’re just as committed to having fun as we are to flawlessly executing results-driven marketing strategy.

In 2017, Ashley launched E Squared Marketing to provide creative digital solutions and heightened value to small to medium-sized businesses. Whatever your needs, Ashley provides a fresh perspective and creative yet pragmatic leadership to lead your business to success. Ashley is a graduate of the University of Phoenix and when she’s not working, you can find this Arizona native enjoying hikes with her husband of 7 years, Brandon, and their two adorable children, Ellie and Eli.

Website: www.esquaredmarketing.com

Instagram: @esquaredmarketing

Facebook: E Squared Marketing

Want to read more interviews from women in business? Click over to our blog for industry topics and insights.

Two years ago California passed the “California Consumer Privacy Act” that went into effect on January 1st, 2020. The act is designed to enhance privacy rights of consumers by allowing them to know if and how their private information is collected and how it will be used. In addition, websites must now give customers the chance to opt out of having information collected. Do you know if your website will be affected and how to comply? We’ve got the breakdown for you:

What Is the CCPA?

The California Consumer Privacy Act is designed to let consumers know what information is collected about them when they visit a site – and what the company collecting will do with the information. This includes if the data is used for marketing purposes or if it’s being sold to other companies. If so, the buying company must be disclosed. Consumers are given options to:

A. Opt out of their information being collected

B. Access the information that is collected

C. Request that any information collected be deleted by the company

Lastly, consumers who enact any of the above are not to be discriminated against by the site for which they have opted out of data collection.

How Does It Work?

Websites must provide a process to obtain parental consent for minors under 13 years old who are visiting sites, as well as consent for minors between 13 and 16 years old. There must also be detailed methods for submitting requests for data, which needs to include, at minimum, a telephone number. The home page must include a link where consumers can opt out of the sale of information. All of the above must be detailed in the privacy policies on the website.

Who Has to Comply?

Here’s the good news, not all businesses have to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act. Any business that does business in California AND satisfies at least one of the following must comply:

  1. Gross annual revenue in excess of $25 million
  2. Possesses personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices
  3. Earns more than half of the annual revenue from selling consumer information

Need more information? Click over to the California Consumer Privacy Act website for more information.

If you are a parent. If you are friends with parents. Then you need to read this interview! We’re excited to introduce you to our Hammersmith Support client, Marni Steinberg of iGen Parenting.  Marni founded this speaker series to not only educate parents but also to start a conversation between parents and their kids about the important topics facing today’s youth.  We hope you enjoy reading about Marni and iGen Parenting as much as we have enjoyed working with her!

Tell us a little about you

As a University of Arizona graduate, my college experience is a big part of my life. Even today, I am still close with my group of friends from that time. After college I moved to New York City to start my career in advertising. As hard as it was to move across country with no job, money or friends, I am proud of myself for doing it and my experience was priceless. I moved back west through Colorado and then returned home to Arizona. Professionally, I have over 25 years of experience in project management and client services, including senior positions in advertising, marketing, public relations, sponsorships, fundraising and event execution. Personally, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, going to the movies, eating out, hiking and exercising. The majority of my free time is now filled with my daughter’s activities and social life and I am trying to enjoy every moment of it as she really is growing up fast.

What is iGen Parenting?

I decided to start iGen Parenting because I was hearing so much about the issues and concerns my friends were experiencing with their older kids. My daughter is currently in Second Grade but, time and time I again I have said “I can see the future” through what I am hearing as friends navigate tween and teen life. I want a resource in place to provide topical information and I believe that iGen Parenting can be that resource for parents. They always say there is no manual or handbook for being a parent and every kid is different. I believe that but I also think that information from experts can help guide you. iGen Parenting will bring those experts together for you in its monthly sessions and break down some of the important topics you need to know about.

What is unique about your style and product offering?

The idea of iGen Parenting it is not only to provide speakers who are experts in their field who bring information directly to parents but also to build up the community by enabling parents to share with each other as they tackle everyday situations with their kids.

As a parent myself, I believe the iGen Parenting series will inform parents by providing them with expert advice and information about a host of important topics like drugs, bullying, cyber-safety, tolerance and emotional wellness.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

If you see a need for a service, fill it! Let your passion be your fuel.

Want to learn more about iGen Parenting? Click on their contact information below! Their upcoming speakers series schedule is below as well:

info@igenparenting.com

Facebook

www.igenparenting.com

Tuesday, August 20 – How to Reach, Teach and Support Today’s Kids

Tuesday, September 17 – Drugs in Middle School

Tuesday, October 15 – Raising Good Digital Citizens While Keeping Them Safe Online

Tuesday, November 19 – Keeping the Conversation Going with Your Tween

Tuesday, January 14 – Your Tween’s Mood: When Is It More Than ‘Just a Phase’?

Tuesday, February 11 – Suicide Warning Signs

Tuesday, March 24 – No Place for Hate in the Schools (ADL Hate Crime Initiative)

Tuesday, April 21 – Arizona Laws and Your Tween: What You Don’t Know

Want to read more about women in business? Click on over to our blog page to find more!

The next level of service after a website build should be support. Why? Picture this; you build your dream home with all the beautiful details you’ve always dreamed of: paint colors, finishes, stunning kitchen – the works. You live in the house and love it, but you never change a light bulb. Patch a hole in the wall. Water the plants. Put up security lights. Within a few months, the house is a mess – the lights don’t come on, the plants are dead and someone broke in the back door. Suddenly your dream home is a disaster.

Just like caring for your home keeps it in a beautiful state, so does consistent support for your website. Scheduled checks and scans ensure that your site runs smoothly and securely. At Hammersmith Support, our monthly site maintenance support process encompasses:

  • WordPress core and plugin updates that include the oh-so-important security patches
  • Adding client-generated fresh content
  • Lead testing
  • Analytics review through recording traffic

While each of these is important on its own, the components work together to create a system:

–> Fresh content through blogs and/or updated product information creates new information for search engines to evaluate, which means better SEO

–> That content brings potential leads that are given the opportunity to sign up for a newsletter or submit their email for a free download

–> Analytics and lead testing shows us which option got more of a response, the newsletter or the free download, and changes are made accordingly

–> Lastly, all of these processes are done safely because the site has up-to-date security

The end result is a process that allows the business to more efficiently target customers and achieve higher conversion rates. More customers with less work? That’s a winning combination.