3 Reasons to Register for the COSE WebEd Series: Ship Smart and Save

The start to the COSE WebEd Series—Ship Smart & Save Money—is less than a month away.

Why should you register to attend this webinar series? You're extremely busy, but are you too busy to save time and money?

To help you become your company's next shipping expert, you're invited to attend the three-part COSE WebEd Series coming up on Sept. 27, Oct. 18 and Nov. 15 (all at 11 a.m.).

RELATED: Register for the WebEd Series Webinar “Ship Smart & Save Money” today

Here are the top three reasons why you should register:

1. Save Time, Money and Resources

• Do you know how carriers calculate rates for your shipments?

• Are you aware of common freight classification errors?

• Could the packaging of your freight be costing you extra money?

• Do you know the basic import/export process so when you receive the first international business opportunity you can proceed with confidence?

If you hesitated answering any of these questions, you should register to attend!

2. It's Free to Attend

Speaking of registering, the webinar series is completely free to COSE members! Why not take advantage of a free educational opportunity? Don't handle shipping for your company? Forward this to who does and let them save your team time and money!

3. Connect with an Expert for Future Questions and Help

You never know how much you need an expert until your customer has questions you just simply don't know the answers to. If nothing else, get to know our shipping experts and have a lifeline next time you need professional guidance. Don't let business opportunities that are outside of your comfort zone or geographical region hold you back!

Don't wait! Register for the September webinar today.

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  • Next up: 3 Things to Know: How to Make the Most of Small Business Saturday

    3 Things to Know: How to Make the Most of Small Business Saturday

    Will you be involved in this year’s Small Business Saturday? We are here to help your small business cash in on the Shop Small movement.

    The Saturday after Thanksgiving is no longer a day to be lazy. Increasing numbers of consumers everywhere are shaking off the turkey coma and eagerly supporting their locally owned businesses. In fact, the National Retail Federation estimates that 59% (or nearly three in five) consumers are launching their holiday shopping in November. Small Business Saturday, which this year takes place on Nov. 24, is a big part of the holiday shopping rush. Last year, 58% of the people who shopped on the day reported shopping or eating at more than one independently owned business.

    With that in mind, it’s important for small business owners to understand why and how to take advantage of the Shop Small movement. Here are three things you need to know to take full advantage of this impactful day for small business.

    The first thing you need to know: You can’t afford to skip out on Small Business Saturday. During last year’s Small Business Saturday (SBS), it was estimated that 108 million people shopped or dined at their local independently-owned businesses. This increased action for small businesses generated nearly $13 billion. And that’s not all. Consumers report that they have a positive outlook on SBS businesses and that the Shop Small movement has helped create more vibrant communities. Check out these four reasons why you should encourage everyone to take part in Small Business Saturday.

    The second thing you need to know: It’s not too late to be part of Small Business Saturday. And not only is it not too late to participate, there’s still time to ensure your SBS profile is as successful as possible. From showcasing merchandise that will make great gifts to offering door-buster deals, here are six ways to go about participating in the Shop Small movement effectively.

    The third thing you need to know: Small Business Saturday can be free and easy. Promoting your business and the Shop Small movement itself doesn’t have to cost you money and it’s probably easier to do than you might think. In fact, a lot of the legwork has already been done for you. Click here to find downloadable posters, email templates and social media posts. When it comes to free publicity for your small business on SBS, here are three ways to drum up excitement on social media.

    We want to help you get the word out about your own Small Business Saturday deals. Let us know what special promotions your business plans to feature this year and we’ll promote them on the COSE Twitter account.

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  • Next up: 30 Seconds or Less: What Would You Tell the Younger You?

    30 Seconds or Less: What Would You Tell the Younger You?

    Let’s say you had a time machine and had the opportunity to go back and talk to the younger version of yourself just as you were venturing out on your business career. The catch: You have no more than 30 seconds to give this person advice. What would you say?

    Let’s say you had a time machine and had the opportunity to go back and talk to the younger version of yourself just as you were venturing out on your business career. The catch: You have no more than 30 seconds to give this person advice. What would you say?

    We posed this question to attendees of COSE’s Annual Meeting. Watch the video to find out the words of wisdom they wished to impart on their earlier selves. 

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  • Next up: 3 KPIs in Google Analytics All Businesses Should Be Checking

    3 KPIs in Google Analytics All Businesses Should Be Checking

    The amount of information a business can pull from Google Analytics can get overwhelming. Here are three KPIs you should check everyday.

    As any business owner or marketer will tell you, there never seems to be enough hours in the day. There’s always another task that needs completed or another meeting to attend.

    This is why navigating the vast amounts of data provided by Google Analytics can seem like a daunting and time-consuming task. But, as one small business owner to another, I’m here to tell you about three key performance indicators (KPIs) you should focus on as you review your Google Analytics account.

    A quick overview of Google Analytics

    Before we dive deep into the key data you should be checking, let’s first look at the benefits of implementing Google Analytics on your website.

    Google Analytics is a free, easy-to-use tool that provides you with a wide range of data relating to your website. Just embed the unique code into your site and in time you will have access to data such as:

    • Website traffic;
    • top landing pages;
    • where users are coming from;
    • what devices they are using; and
    • bounce rate.

    Today, however, we are going to focus on some key performance metrics that all business owners and marketers should be looking at as part of their digital data analysis – sessions, traffic by channel, and goals/e-commerce data.

    Sessions: Overall and unique

    One of the first things I like to look at when reviewing Google Analytics is the sessions and unique users.

    • Sessions (formerly referred to as visits)—a metric that gives you an idea of how many visits you are getting to your website
    • Unique users (formerly referred to as unique visitors)—a metric that tells you how many people are visiting your website

    For instance, if someone visits your website several times within a given month, each session (visit) will be tracked, but they will only be counted as one unique user.

    Obviously, we want to see the number of sessions increase each year to help indicate the success of our digital marketing efforts, but it’s also equally important to see the number of unique users increase year to year as well.

    This allows you to track how effectively your marketing efforts are at bringing in new potential customers to your website.

    Traffic by channel

    The next KPI metric you should be looking at is the traffic/sessions by specific channel.

    Google breaks down your traffic in terms of specific channels, allowing you to better determine which of your marketing efforts is working best so you can decide where to focus your efforts moving forward.

    The main channels we tend to focus on include:

    • Organic—This refers to any traffic that comes through people performing a search via search engines such as Google or Bing and clicking on a link to your website. This is where digital marketing efforts like search engine optimization truly show their success.
    • Direct—This is anytime someone types your website’s specific URL into the address bar. Direct traffic tends to be either returning users or someone who saw your URL from some form of traditional marketing.
    • Paid—Paid can include traffic coming from any type of pay-per-click campaigns you might be running, including Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads or LinkedIn Ads. These users are people who clicked on one of your ads and were taken to your website.

    By reviewing the individual traffic channels, you can get a better idea of the ROI of your digital marketing efforts.

    Goals and e-commerce Data

    The final KPI metric you should be reviewing is your goals/e-commerce data.

    Once you implement goal tracking and/or e-commerce tracking on your website (which is not set up by default), it not only allows you to see how many people are reaching out to you/purchasing through your website, but it also allows you to see which channel your leads came from.

    There are many goals you can set up on your site, but I typically create thank-you pages for clients to track form submissions on their sites. I’ve found this helps provide a more accurate assessment of the digital efforts.

    Whatever you decide, though, make sure you’re tracking it! This will help you prove ROI and track sales through your pipeline long term.

    If you have a question about this or any of the other KPI metrics in Google Analytics, feel free to reach out to Sixth City Marketing! We also have a YouTube webinar that walks you through Google Analytics too.

    John Sammon is the CEO of Sixth City Marketing, a Cleveland-based agency focused on helping businesses create a revenue-generation system through online marketing channels (such as SEO, PPC and social media).

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  • Next up: 3 Things to Know: Social Media and Your Business

    3 Things to Know: Social Media and Your Business

    You know you need to promote your business on social media, but is what you’re doing really working for you? We’ve pulled together articles from Mind Your Business that can help you maximize your social presence.

    Our Mind Your Business authors have provided important advice over the years regarding the use of social media for small businesses. Here are three things our experts think you should know when it comes to establishing an effective social presence and growing your business on these platforms.  

    The first thing you should know is that running social media for a business is much different than running your personal page. It takes time and effort to effectively use social media in a professional setting. Here are eight tips to perfecting your approach. Additionally, with the casual atmosphere of social media, it can be hard to know how to keep it professional. Here’s how to connect effectively with your audience while still staying businesslike.

    The second thing you need to know is that effective social media is more than just getting some likes on Facebook. Vanity metrics (likes, shares and retweets) can be useful in determining which content users find the most appealing. But regularly checking out link click statistics will really get to the heart of how effective your posts are and if they are driving traffic where it matters most. Optimize your campaigns and reach real customers with these five tips. And, there are some social media channels you may have not yet heard of, but that can do wonders to help build your business. Learn which under-the-radar platforms might be a good fit, and perhaps challenge yourself to fold a new one into your current social media strategy for 2019.

    The third thing you need to know is that social is not a standalone strategy. A social presence has shown to be an effective and easy way to establish a connection with prospective and current customers, but it is definitely not the only way. A successful business will not merely throw some posts up on its Facebook page and call it a day. It is important to incorporate other tactics into an overall, cohesive marketing strategy. Here are five reasons why you need to be in the business of making videos, as well as three questions to ask as you’re creating your video strategy. And don’t just post it and forget it—repurpose your copy and give it new life by turning it into a blog post, digital ad, video, etc.

    Video is also a big part of social marketing. Want to learn more on using video to amplify your marketing and drive results? Register for our free WebEd Series webinar on February 20 where we will be joined by Sixth City Marketing CEO John Sammon, who will tell you how to optimize your video marketing strategy and bring new business to your company.

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  • Next up: 4 Issues to Know in November: A Voting Guide

    4 Issues to Know in November: A Voting Guide

    Voters on November 3rd will be confronted with a bevy of important issues when they arrive at the ballot box. (By the way, early voting has already begun. Contact your County Board of Elections and cast your vote today!) As Election Day draws nearer, COSE is providing the below voting guide to help further explain what the following issues are all about. After careful consideration with the COSE Advocacy Committee and COSE Board, as well as business leaders from around Northeast Ohio, here are COSE’s recommendations on each of the four issues listed below.

    Voters on November 3rd will be confronted with a bevy of important issues when they arrive at the ballot box. (By the way, early voting has already begun. Contact your County Board of Elections and cast your vote today!) As Election Day draws nearer, COSE is providing the below voting guide to help further explain what the following issues are all about.

    After careful consideration with the COSE Advocacy Committee and COSE Board, as well as business leaders from around Northeast Ohio, here are COSE’s recommendations on each of the four issues listed below.

    Vote NO on Issue 3: Legalized marijuana

    One of the more polarizing issues to be decided was brought forward to grant blanket legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational use. If passed, this would make Ohio the first state in the country to legalize recreational use and medical use of marijuana at the same time. In the small number of other states that legalized recreational marijuana (four states and the District of Columbia), medical marijuana use laws were in place first before taking the step to legalize recreational use.

    The group pushing for this ballot measure is dubbed “ResponsibleOhio” and is made up of a handful of investors that stand to reap the financial benefits should the issue pass; commercial marijuana would only be grown at 10 sites belonging to these individuals. The marijuana monopoly that Issue 3 would allow for has even caused long-time legalization advocates to publicly oppose it.  But, beyond the questions this proposed Constitutional amendment raises and the unknown effects of legalization, there is also the issue of timing and the fact that the state is ill-prepared to manage the potential repercussions.

    While the exact economic impact this proposal would have remains unclear, passage would mean small businesses around the state would be forced to undertake new requirements for how they manage employees. For example, the amendment language would require employers to treat medical marijuana like prescription drugs and it could require employers to accommodate medical marijuana in the workplace. Employers need to review and update their human resource policies and how their business treats the use of prescription drugs. 

    Passage would also bring about a number of workplace safety concerns, as discussed here.

    COSE recommends voting NO on Issue 3.

    Vote YES on Issue 2: Limit monopolies and oligopolies

    Going hand-in-hand with the marijuana legalization effort is a separate, but related issue that aims to limit monopolies and oligopolies in the state. If Issue 2 wins approval, voters would still have the opportunity to suspend the prohibition on monopolies and oligopolies for specific future issues and vote on whether those issues are in the best interest of the people of the state.

    There would be a limited number of marijuana growers allowed if Issue 3 were to pass because it would maximize the profit for the handful of marijuana investors tied to the “ResponsibleOhio” campaign.  Supporting Issue 2 would help protect the Ohio Constitution from “ResponsibleOhio’s” initiative and make it more difficult to grant monopolistic enterprises in the future.

    COSE recommends voting YES on Issue 2.

    Vote YES on Issue 1: State legislative redistricting

    Gerrymandering has long been a familiar part of Ohio politics, where the majority party has had the opportunity to slice and dice the map to best suit their preferred candidates’ needs (and their odds of winning future elections.)

    One group is trying to change that – or at least limit the amount of gerrymandering that occurs when drawing state legislative districts. Fair Districts for Ohio is advocating for a bi-partisan plan to improve upon the way the state approaches redistricting for state legislators. This would be the first major overhaul to Ohio’s process of drawing state legislative districts in over 40 years and here’s, in part, how the plan would work:

    • Would create a new seven-member bipartisan panel called the “Ohio Redistricting Commission.”
    • The commission would have at least two members from the minority party.
    • Would require at least two votes from each party in order to approve a district plan, otherwise a temporary plan is put in place and the commission must reconvene to redraw it.
    • Would create a process for the Ohio Supreme court to order the commission to redraw the map if the plan favors one political party.
    • Keep communities together by requiring a district plan to split as few counties, municipal corporations, and townships as possible.

    The ballot measure has received overwhelming support from Republican and Democratic lawmakers as well as a wide array of organizations around the state extending from the Ohio Education Association to unions to the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

    COSE recommends voting YES on Issue 1.

    Vote YES on Issue 8: Arts and culture

    A renewal is on the ballot for arts and cultural institutions in the region that would continue to provide a dedicated revenue source for Cuyahoga County’s arts and culture scene. The amount of arts programming our region has to offer is a testament to the levy’s impact. The issue is not a tax increase.  It would continue the current 1.5 cents tax per cigarette sold in Cuyahoga County to support arts and cultural organizations.

    “People have seen the return on the investment,” says Tom Schorgl, President & CEO of the Community Partnership for Arts & Culture. And, the initiative has been held up as a national model for how to establish strategic public and private partnerships for arts and cultural programs.

    The tax, approved by voters in 2006, has funded such efforts as art education in schools, neighborhood programming and more. And, the funding is especially important for non-profits because organizations such as those can have a difficult time securing operating dollars needed to open the doors and actually run the organization.

    “I think one of the most important things is a lot of people have experienced first-hand arts and culture programming,” Schorgl says. “Over half of the programs offered that have received support have been free, so access has increased exponentially. People from all walks of life in every corner of Cuyahoga County have seen those results and have connected with it personally.”

    COSE recommends voting YES on Issue 8.

    As you can see, the outcome of this year’s vote will have a significant impact on Northeast Ohio. COSE encourages you to get out and make your voice heard!

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