Help Our Community Be Counted: 2020 Census needs your voice

As of August 24, Cuyahoga County’s response rate to the 2020 U. S. Census stands at only 64.6%. The County’s response rate is lagging behind all of our neighboring counties and behind many of our peer counties. The current rate is also lower than the 2010 Census, which was 67.1%.  

The Census impacts federal representation and funding for things like roads and bridges, health care, education, food assistance and so much more. For every person not counted in Cuyahoga County, $1,814 is lost in federal funding for these programs. 

  • A quick tally of the numbers indicates that over 400,000 people in our County have not yet completed the Census, which equates to close to $762 million in federal funding being left on the table.  
  • Large companies use Census data to determine which markets to move into and which ones to exit.  
  • During this pandemic and subsequent economic downturn, Cuyahoga County’s Census numbers are even more important than in past counts. 

Business owners are trusted, well-known figures in the community, and we need your voice now. We need your assistance in sharing the importance of the Census with your employees and customers. Can we count on you to employ every communication method in your toolbox for the next 30 days?
Social media, newsletters, public meetings, signage, door-knocking and outreach events are key opportunities for you to share a personalized message with residents. To learn more about messaging and view a social media toolkit, click here.

The 2020 Census is a marathon that has just turned into a sprint. Too much is at stake. The time to respond is now!


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  • Next up: Developing the Talent Pipeline at the 2020 Cleveland Internship Summit

    Developing the Talent Pipeline at the 2020 Cleveland Internship Summit

     

    Cleveland area educators and business community representatives attended the 2020 Cleveland Internship Summit last week at Tri-C’s Corporate College East Campus. Attendees heard from Keynote Speaker Jeff LeBeau, who started as an intern in 2006 at WRL Advertising and is now the company's president.

    In his presentation titled Create Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, LeBeau said that an employer’s focus should be on building an internship that works for both parties—one that is flexible, educational, challenging, and that provides real work experience and a clear an end goal.

    “It’s about exposing people to what they aren’t comfortable with and working to improve that,” he said.

    New this year, the summit featured programing that includes a track targeting those with long-term, established programs and a track of topics for those who are seeking the foundational information of building or growing an internship program.

    For newer internship programs, sessions included Intern Recruitment with panelists from CSU, Lincoln Electric and Union Home Mortgage, as well as Diversity & Inclusion in Internships with panelists from Ernst & Young and Tucker Ellis. For established internship programs, sessions included Innovation in Internships with panelists from FedEx Custom Critical, Sherwin Williams and Baldwin Wallace, as well as Bridging the Employability Gap with panelists from Oswald Company, Swagelok and Eaton.

    The summit wrapped up with a plenary session presented by Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans titled Building a Talent Pipeline Through a Winternship. The company’s Winternship is a week-long immersion experience in Detroit, Michigan, for students looking to gain professional experience over their winter break. During the week, students engage with senior leaders, shadow hiring leaders, attend exclusive events and other opportunities. At the end of the week, students may receive an offer to join the company for a summer internship or full-time role after graduation. Summit attendees heard about the challenges faced with the Winternship program, how the company measures success and where they continue to see it grow.

    If you want to learn more about GCP’s talent agenda and how your company can connect, contact us at talent@gcpartnership.com.

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  • Next up: 3 Powerful Types of Content Marketing Effective in 2020

    3 Powerful Types of Content Marketing Effective in 2020

    Content marketing has been a trendy concept recently and can be a really powerful addition to a marketing plan. But why should you consider making the investment in content marketing and how do you go about using it effectively? Read on to find out.

     

    The Covid-19 pandemic and its fallout has had a devastating effect on businesses of all sizes, but most profoundly on small businesses. If you’re a small business owner looking to not only survive but to thrive in today’s online world, no doubt you’ve heard of the need for content marketing. However, of all the various types of content marketing strategies out there, how do you know which to use effectively for your business? If you’re unfamiliar with the concept in general, why should you seriously consider investing in it in the first place?

    A Real-World Content Marketing Proof of Concept

    Let’s address the second question first.

    Imagine you’re shopping for a new washing machine and you don’t want to spend more money than you need to. Like most people, you start your search on the internet. You type “affordable washing machines near me” into Google. About 13 million search results pop up.

    Here’s the problem: They all look pretty much the same. There are links to the names of local hardware stores and big-name national appliance stores. Clicking on those links tells you a little about those businesses and shows you row after row of shiny new washers, each with its attendant price. Not much help there—you’re no better off than before you started your search.

    One result is different. It links to an article, “How to get the washer you need—without breaking the bank.” The writer wants you to give him your email address in exchange for the article. That seems fair, because you really want to read that article. 

    The article explains that most consumers overspend on washing machines with fancy features they don’t need and will probably never use. It shows you how you can save a boatload of money buying a washer with just the features you need. It even names some of the best affordable washing machines on the market and shows you how you can buy one.

    The business that wrote the article answered your question. It helped you solve your problem—and it helped you save money. You like the way that company seemed more interested in helping you than in increasing its profits. When it comes time to buy your new washing machine, that business is going to be at the top of your short list.

    What is Content Marketing?

    On average, American consumers see about 4,000 ads a day (according to The Business Journals). Most are for products they don’t want and don’t need. And, to put it mildly, they’re fed up with it. They’re so fed up with TV commercials, they get their DVR to fast-forward through those ads by the millions. Millions more put their names on “do not call” lists to steer clear of irritating telemarketers.

    Fortunately, some marketers understand the disconnect. To break through the noise, they create blogs, videos, eBooks, white papers, podcasts, case studies, and webinars to rebuild the consumer trust all those ads have chipped away. 

    Said differently, these forward-leaning marketers understand that you can sell more products and services if you help people solve their most intractable problems before talking sales. This innovative approach to marketing is (not surprisingly) remarkably effective.

    This is how Content Marketing Institute explains what content marketing is—and why it’s so effective:

    “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.”

    4 Ways Content Marketing Can Improve Your Small Business

    Arguably, one of the best ways to leverage all types of content marketing is to generate more leads for your business. When you “gate” content that consumers want and need, they’re willing to provide their contact information in exchange for the content. 

    They get the content they want, and your business gets a new lead—a win-win scenario. And the win for your business can be a game-changer. It’s one of the reasons marketers spend, on average, almost 30% of their entire marketing budgets on various types of content marketing. But increasing lead generation is just one of the ways content marketing can push your business to the next level.

    In fact, content marketing has numerous benefits, including the following four:

    Benefit No. 1. It boosts customer retention
    The more your business helps customers solve their problems, the more likely it is that they’ll want to do business with you in the future. Content marketing is among the most effective strategies for retaining your best customers—and increasing their customer lifetime value (CLV).

    Benefit No. 2: It enhances social media marketing
    According to HubSpot, almost 75% of Facebook users go to that site for “professional purposes.” Translation—they’re looking for products and services like the ones your small business offers. The types of content marketing you use will help your business gain traction on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram and, as a result, increase your profits.

    Benefit No. 3: It increases conversions
    Customers and prospective customers are more likely to take the actions you want them to take—like filling out a contact form or buying a product—when you give them the information they need to make decisions. According to Neil Patel, for example, businesses that prioritize content marketing have conversion rates 6 times higher than those that don’t.

    Benefit No. 4: It improves SEO
    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be a tough nut to crack, but an effective content marketing strategy tends to soften the shell. Because content marketing provides internet searchers with real value, it tends to boost rankings in search engines. In fact, companies that blog 16 or more times a month generate, on average, almost four times more website traffic than those that blog four times or fewer a month.

    Which Types of Content Marketing are Most Effective in 2020?

    Every business is different, of course, with different customers, different challenges, and different marketing goals. That said, the most effective types of content marketing strategies are the ones that push a variety of content formats; this is because different customers like different types of content. For example, some people like infographics while others prefer stand-alone text. Publishing a blog that includes both will satisfy both groups. To maximize the impact of your content marketing strategy, you should, at a minimum, be leveraging the following three types of content:

    Content Type No. 1: Blogging
    As noted above, creating a variety of valuable information-rich blogs is among the best ways to provide customers with the answers and solutions they need—and one of the best ways to dramatically boost lead generation. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to establish yourself as an authority in your space and demonstrate expertise to potential customers and clients. Expertise and authority are two of the three critical components of E.A.T. (Expertise, Authority & Trust) which are huge factors for effective SEO.

    Content Type No. 2: Email marketing
    It’s not enough to generate new leads—you need to nurture those leads to move them from window shoppers to loyal customers. You can accomplish this with a solid email marketing strategy, especially one grounded in marketing automation. The benefit of leads generated from your email campaigns is that they are likely to be qualified leads rather than random traffic.

    Properly done, a qualified email list is one where the potential customers or clients expressed enough interest in what you have to say, sell or service that they signed up to hear from you in the future. Most importantly, email marketing is extremely effective—and extremely cost-effective, with the potential to increase the ROI of your marketing efforts by as much as 4,300%!

    Content Type No. 3: Video 
    Video has the power to do one thing better than any other type of content: create an immediate, compelling, and indelible emotional connection with your target audience. It’s one of the reasons the number of small businesses that use video marketing has increased by almost 40% in the past three years. With almost 75% of consumers now saying they prefer video to text, your business should seriously consider adopting a solid video marketing strategy if you’re not doing so already.

    In Conclusion

    In a world where consumers are bombarded with intrusive and not especially helpful advertising, the businesses that outpace the competition will be the ones that help customers and prospective customers solve their problems and make informed buying decisions. A smart content marketing strategy is unequivocally the best way to do that—and to take your small, local business to the next level. Of course, some types of content marketing—or for that matter any type of digital marketing—can be both complicated and confusing. That’s where we can help.

    To learn more about our content marketing & Local SEO services—and to see how they can help you create the types of content marketing that generates more leads, boost conversions, enhances SEO, and increases profitability, contact the experts at LocalBizGuru today.

    Nachum Langsner is the Co-Founder & CMO of LocalBizGuru, a full-service digital marketing agency based in Cleveland, OH. He has over 10+ years of experience in the SEO industry and is a frequent presenter and instructor of digital marketing and SEO seminars for entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Greater Cleveland area for organizations such as COSE, Jumpstart, the Better Business Bureau, Score and the Ohio SBDC at CSU.  

     

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  • Next up: 3 Things to Know: Benefits for Your Business

    3 Things to Know: Benefits for Your Business

     

    The benefit of having so many experienced entrepreneurs writing for Mind Your Business is that we have a lot of valuable information to share regarding benefit programs—which can really come in handy during this time of year.

    Here are three things our experts would like you to know about benefits and your business.

    The first thing to know: Employees who are well, do well.

    From reduced health care costs to increased employee morale, there are many benefits of a workplace wellness program. Learn more about the costs associated with employee wellness programs, the benefits of them and examples.

    Healthy, engaged employees are more productive than those who aren’t. Check out this explanation of how to put wellness programs into action.

    The second thing to know: A good benefit package helps attract and keep employees.

    Finding the right talent in any industry is tough. Trying to stand apart from the crowd and be an industry leader in attracting top talent can be even more difficult. Having a solid benefits program that includes things like wellness opportunities, flexibility and more can help.

    When it comes to hiring the newest generations of workers, benefits are even more important than ever before. Research shows that while adequate compensation is important to millennials, so are things like increased vacation time and the ability to work remotely. And, check out what benefits are important to Gen Z when it comes to accepting a position and staying in it.

    The third thing to know: COSE’s multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA) could be perfect for your small business.

    If you’re considering COSE’s MEWA but you’re unsure whether or not to move forward, here are five reasons why it could be a good fit. From the strength of network to cost savings, you and your business can unlock big benefits with COSE’s MEWA. Find out more.

    Get caught up on other topics we’ve explored on the blog by reading more of our 3 Things to Know articles.

     

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  • Next up: 3 Things to Know: Finding Great Talent

    3 Things to Know: Finding Great Talent

    You can't build a successful business without a talented team. Here are three things to know when it comes to hiring the best employees, and information about a free webinar to help position you to find great talent for your small business.

     

    If you want to run a successful small business, you need to build a great team around you. Make sure you carefully plan out your hiring strategies and that you have a good understanding of the best tactics for effectively filling your needs. And, read all the way to the bottom for information about a free webinar to help you win the race for talent.

    First thing to know: It takes some planning.

    Like most things pertaining to your business, it’s not recommended that you jump in head-first when it comes to hiring. Here are 19 tips to consider when planning out your hiring process—from identifying the type of candidate you want, to asking yourself qualifying questions regarding the type of culture you are looking to build at your business. And, plan out the best approach to finding the best candidate with these five smart hiring processes every business should know.

    Second thing to know: This isn’t your grandmother’s job market.

    Times change, candidates change, job markets change…and so too should your hiring tactics. Here are six ways to use social media to attract millennials to your business and the reasons why the hiring process needs to change when it comes to Gen Z.

    Third thing to know: COSE is here to help.

    You’ve already seen how our COSE small business experts have written blog posts full of advice on hiring great talent. But you can learn even more from the comfort of your office chair with an upcoming webinar, Get Serious about Winning the Race for Talent. Hear from Gallagher consultants, who will provide expertise and insights into how employers are attracting and retaining key talent to build a better future for their workforce. Register today—it’s free!

    Get more business advice in our 3 Things to Know series.

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  • Next up: 3 Things to Know: Internship Programs

    3 Things to Know: Internship Programs

    A good internship program can be a win-win for students and small businesses. Here are three things we think you should know before internship season comes, and be sure to scroll down for details about the 2020 Cleveland Internship Summit.

     

    There might be snow on the ground now but summer will eventually come to Cleveland. And it’s never too early to start preparing for your summer internship opportunities. In this edition of our 3 Things to Know series, we are focusing on internship program planning. And, scroll to the bottom for information about the 2020 Cleveland Internship Summit on February 27.

    First thing to know: Don’t wing it

    It might not sound like something you have to give a lot of time and attention to, but in order for an internship opportunity to be an effective experience for all parties involved, you’ll need to do some advance planning. Here are nine tips to help you build a best-in-class internship program.

    Second thing to know: Don’t discount high school students

    Many people automatically think of college students when considering potential interns. But high school students can bring a lot to the table for a small business. From being tech savvy to being eager to learn, here are four reasons why high schoolers could be a good fit for your internship program.

    Third thing to know: Take it from an intern

    You don’t have to just listen to us—hear directly from an intern. In this piece, one of Greater Cleveland Partnership’s former interns shares eight tips for making the most out of an internship experience. You can use this advice when thinking through internships from your end, but be sure to also pass it along to your interns.

    And, if you or your interns would like to share your experiences working together, please contact Marie Zickefoose so that we can feature you in an upcoming blog post.

    Attend the 2020 Cleveland Internship Summit

    But you know one of the best ways to get your internship program prepared and perfected? Attend the 2020 Cleveland Internship Summit on February 27 at Corporate College East.

    The Summit will bring together business community representatives and educators to discuss how to increase and improve internship opportunities in Northeast Ohio through a range of panels and conversations.

    New for this year is programming that includes a track targeting those with long-term, established internship programs, and a track of topics for those who are seeking the foundational information, or the “nuts and bolts,” of building or growing an internship program.

    All attendees, no matter how established your program, will learn valuable information from local employers and experts, and discuss the value of internships to building a strong talent pipeline.

    Learn more about the Keynote speaker and breakout sessions, and register today!

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