Business Connection


April 2014

Lancaster Chamber of Commerce

 Executive Board

Chairman of the Board
Gene Melchers, Melchers Construction Co.

Chair Elect
Tamara Stoebe, Stoebe Services

Monica Grado - Treasurer
George's Cleaners

Ann Hill - Past Chairman of the Board
Business Mastermind Queen

Paul Kinison - Vice Chair
Aerotech News

Josh Mann - Vice-Chair
Mojave Partners

Dr. Douglas Weber - Secretary
Douglas B. Weber, DDS

Sandy Smith - Ex-Officio
Chief Operating Officer  
Board of Directors
Chris Chapleau - American Business Machines


Sgt. Theresa Dawson - Lancaster Sheriff's Dept.


Rosemary Mann - Camille's Sidewalk Cafe


Paul Porteus - Prospect Mortage, LLC


Nelson Rasse - High Desert Broadcasting


Bridget Razo - Antelope Valley College


Gina Rossall - Westside Union School District


Lynn Roth - SOL Graphix, Inc.


Dave Saltman - Passantino-Andersen


Chris Spicher - Antelope Valley Florist


Stan Turner - Edwards Federal Credit Union

Business After Hours Mixer

Business After Hours Mixers Will Now Be Hosted Quarterly


Beginning in 2014, the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce will transition from Monthly Mixers to Quarterly Mega-Mixers!  Based on feedback from many of our members, we have made the decision to plan large-scale business mixers  that will draw 100 or more members. With Mega-Mixers, your opportunity to network with others is greatly increased as these mixers are large-scale and are FREE to our members!  


If you are interested in hosting a mixer at your place of business, please contact Sandy at the Lancaster Chamber office for more information:

(661) 948-4518 

Click here for Chamber Events Calendar

A Special Thank You 

to Our Fantastic



 We appreciate all of your efforts!

For more information on becoming an Ambassador
please call the Chamber: (661) 948-4518



 Law Offices of



A Professional Corporation




Mark E. Thompson

Kevin L. Von Tungeln Leonard A. Cosgrove


 Visit our Learning Center

(661) 945-5868


  The State Bar of California - Board of Legal Specialization




Helping Support Your Local Chamber is a


Take advantage of these special rates for chamber members!!


Newsletter Ads

Color or Black & White


Business Card - B&W: $50.00


Business Card - Color: $100.00


3 x 5  Blank & White: $100.00


3 x 5 Color: $200.00


Web Page Banner Ads


Please go to

and look under Services/Internet Ads for description and pricing.


Chamber Membership Lists


Alpha & Category on Paper: $30.00

Labels by Alpha or Zip: $50.00

Email Data: $50.00


2014 California Packets Are Here!!!


Employer Poster Set: $25.00

UI & SDI Pamphlets (10): $17.00

Sexual Harassment 

 Pamphlets (10): $17.00

Paid Family Leave

Pamphlets (10): $13.00

Workers' Compensation

Pamphlets (25): $14.00


*Employer Poster Set Available in Spanish & English - Laminated Upon Request w/Additional Fee


Please call the Chamber for more information:

 (661) 948-4518 





What can the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce do to help grow YOUR business???


Membership Benefits 

  • Chamber Website
  • Business Connection Newsletter
  • Membership Directory
  • Membership City Map
  • Radio Talk Show - Free
  • Super AV Expo


Monthly Events 
  •  Membership Luncheon
  • Business After Hours Mixer
  • Business-4-Breakfast 


Discount Advertisement 

  • AV Press - Chamber Page
  • Video Commercials
  • Web Video - Business Showcase


Please call the Chamber for more information:

 (661) 948-4518 



Mission Statement 


To Serve the Community by Promoting, Protecting, Encouraging and Developing Local Business




Most of our members are familiar with both our semi-annual Flea Market and our Super AV Expo--this year, we are bringing the best of both events to you in one exciting production! While our May 4th flea market will continue to feature your favorite vendors, second-hand "treasures", antiques, and great food, you will now have the opportunity to shop our local retailers and service providers in the Van Dam Pavilion!  We are proud to roll out the "Shop Local Showcase", featuring upgraded booth space, a "retail" feel, and a venue to get to know the businesses that make the Antelope Valley a great place to live and shop! 


Click here to download Flea Market application


*Shop Local Showcase

 application coming soon!


 For more details and information on how your local business can be a part of this exciting opportunity, please contact:


Events Coordinator, Anna Zarley,  (661) 948-4518!



New and Renewing Members




 Introducing Our Newest Members!



City of Hope

Lauren Gallant

1500 East Duarte Road

Duarte, CA 91010

1-800-826-HOPE (4673)



Barclay Digital

Barclay, Alex
[email protected]



Mr. Happy Grout

Allen Veil

[email protected]

(661) 940-8474


M.B.S. Image

Murray McKnight

 [email protected]

(661) 418-1452


Mary Kay

Mrs. Angela Forbes

 [email protected]

 (661) 547-2876




We Are Pleased to present our Renewing Members


Richard Spann

Lancaster, CA 93536

Member Since: 1975


Hunter Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram & Fiat

Tim Fuller

1130 Auto Mall Drive

Lancaster CA 93534

Member Since: 1978


Camacho Auto Sales

Gus Camacho

1358 East Palmdale Blvd

Palmdale CA 93551

Member Since: 1985


Mayflower Gardens

6570 West Avenue L12

Lancaster CA 93536

Member Since: 1987


So California Edison Company
42060 10th Street West
Lancaster, CA 93534

Member Since: 1987


Desert Christian Schools

44662 15th Street West

Lancaster, CA 93534

Member Since: 1990


Kwik Oil

Nancy Welty

45333 1/2 Trevor Avenue

Lancaster CA 93534

Member Since: 1992


Donnell Printing

Beth Hurzeler & Ed Borkowski

44154 10th Street West

Lancaster CA 93534

Member Since: 1993


A V Air Conditioning Heating & Plumbing Inc

Phil Kincaid

132 East Avenue I

Lancaster CA 93535

Member Since: 1993


Sierra Towing

Stan Ulvin

45813 Division Street

Lancaster CA 93535

Member Since: 1993


Fletchers Fire Protection

John & Belle Fletcher

3318 West Avenue L 4

Lancaster CA 93536

Member Since: 1994


Michael P Giovannini DDS

Michael Giovannini

1051 West Avenue M 14, Suite C

Palmdale CA 93551

Member Since: 1994


Antelope Valley Christian School

3700 West Avenue L

Lancaster, CA 93536-4137

Member Since: 1994


Kaiser Permanente

43112 15th Street West

Lancaster CA 93534

Member Since: 1995


Koso/Pacific Seismic

Products, Inc.

Sharon Harper

233 East Avenue H 8

Lancaster CA 93535

Member Since: 1997


Children's Center of A V

45111 Fern Avenue

Lancaster, CA 93534

Member Since: 1998


DCS Satellite & Security

Pete & Vickie Share

Member Since: 2000


Aurora Village

Amber Smith

43862 15th Street West

Lancaster CA 93534

Member Since: 2001


Storage Express

Nicole Gray

2103 West Avenue J

Lancaster CA 93536

Member Since: 2001


Sierra View Gardens

David Smith

37850 20th Street East

Palmdale CA 93550

Member Since: 2001


Arrow Enterprises, Inc

Christy Savoie

44932 Yucca Avenue

Lancaster CA 93534

Member Since: 2002


Fastrip Food Store/Jaco Oil Company

Shahid Khurshid

2968 Sierra Highway

Rosamond CA 93560

Member Since: 2003


Adelman Radio Broadcasting

Robert Adelman

42010 50th Street West

Lancaster CA 93536

Member Since: 2004


John P. Eliopulos Hellenic Center

Autumn Ward

43404 30th Street West

Lancaster CA 93536

Member Since: 2007


Laurel Crest Apartments

531 West Jackman Bldg. East

Lancaster, CA 93534

Member Since: 2007


Black Angus

44690 Valley Central Way

Lancaster CA 93536

Member Since: 2008


Barber Shop

Teresa Rosenberg

1221 West Avenue I

Lancaster CA 93534

Member Since: 2008


The Tire Store

Nick Roghair

43923 Sierra Hwy

Lancaster CA 93534

Member Since: 2009


A V Heritage Builders, Inc

John Bell

4652 Sweetser Road

Rosamond CA 93560

Member Since: 2010


Sim Sanitation, Inc

PJ Simunovich

Member Since: 2010


Town House Motel
Upali De Silva

44125 Sierra Hwy

Lancaster, CA 93534

Member Since: 2011


Sausage King

Nipa Daruty

Lancaster, CA 93539

Member Since: 2011


Ace Canopy

Steven Benson

38940 Trade Center Drive

Palmdale CA 93551

Member Since: 2012


Love & Grace Christian Fellowship Church

2052 West Avenue L

Lancaster, CA 93536

Member Since: 2012


Palmdale Auto Mall

412 Auto Center Drive

Palmdale CA 93551

Member Since: 2013


SOL Plaza

Marshall Keyes

1140 Commerce Center Drive

Lancaster CA 93534

Member Since: 2013


Americana Referral Services

Emily Fife

1712 West Lumber Street

Lancaster CA 93534

Member Since: 2013


Budget Self Storage

Soledad Tejeda

41843 10th Street West

Lancaster CA 93551

Member Since: 2013


Care 1st Health Plan

Twyller Weary

44426 10th Street West

Lancaster CA 93534

Member Since: 2013



Cathy Bartram

Lancaster, CA 93535

Member Since: 2013






For those of you who have utilized all the wonderful features of our new website, we are confident that you have seen interest in your business grow!  We are seeing triple the traffic on our site since we rolled out the new product in late October!  It's easy for our members to use and navigate and the free marketing tools that are included are state-of-the-art!  If you have not yet had the opportunity to request optimization of your member page, upload coupons, classified ads, and member-to-member discounts, or submit your events and meetings to our community calendar, please log in to your account and take full advantage of these exciting ways to market your business on both our website and our mobile app!  If you need us to re-send your log-in information, please contact us at


 (661) 948-4518




In the coming months, the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with

Destination Lancaster, will
be opening the official Lancaster Visitor's Center!  This center will be housed in the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce lobby and will feature information on local businesses, lodging, dining, and events for our out-of-town visitors!  We plan to offer small souvenirs and local postcards as well--stay tuned for more information on this exciting new venture!


In This Issue
New and Renewing Members
Ensuring Your Financial Success in 2014
City of Lancaster News and Events
Tips for Small Businesses
The Month In Pictures

Membership Luncheon Program

Work Ethics Scholarship Awards Presentation


Member Luncheon and Work Ethics Scholarship

 Awards Presentation


This year our career education committee has selected twelve exceptional students to receive our work ethics scholarship. Through their academic dedication and exemplary work ethics these young people have demonstrated that they truly are deserving of this award. We hope that you will join us in honoring their achievements and acknowledging their gracious sponsors who continue to make this scholarship program possible year after year.  



The Lancaster Chamber of Commerce

2014 Work Ethics Scholarship Recipients


Ms. Michaela Polacca

Ms. Jessica Hernandez

Ms. Mabelle Erhahon

Ms. Kinsey  Wolanski

Mr. David Orellana

Ms. Kasthuri Sivagnanam

Mr. Walter Marquez

Mr. Silvo Conrado

Mr. Cesar Trujillo

Mr. William Strong

Mr. Phoenix Trejo

Mr. Khalil Small


2014 Work Ethics Scholarship Sponsors


Southern California Gas Company

Southern California Edison 

High Desert Health Systems Auxiliary

5th District Supervison Michael Atonovich

Bruce MacPherson

 First City Credit Union

Kimberly Perkins

Tamara Stoebe/BNI

Zonta Club

Choices In Learning Foundation

Gene Melchers, Melchers Construction



RSVPs are strongly suggested for this event.


Lancaster Chamber members:       $20 (pay online) or

                                                                   $25 at the door


Non-Members:                                 $25 (pay online) or

                                                                   $30 at the door

                    EVENT INFORMATION


Date: April 9th


Time: 11:30am - 1pm


Location: J.P. Eliopulos Hellenic Center 43404 30th Street West, Lancaster 93536 



Chairman's Message


It's hard to believe that I have just completed my ninth month as Chairman of the Board! With only three months left until my term is fulfilled, I continue to be extremely proud of all the great things that we have accomplished in the past several months. Our membership numbers continue to climb, our educational programs are thriving, traffic on our new website has quadrupled, and it seems that every week brings new ideas and plans to engage our members!

In the coming weeks, you will be learning more about a fabulous program that the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce will be bringing to our community. Working in partnership with public, charter, and private schools, as well as Antelope Valley College, we will be launching the Young Entrepreneur Academy, a program that will give 24 middle school students the opportunity to attend a 30 week course on the campus of Antelope Valley College where they will learn to build, launch, and market their very own legal businesses. In a "Shark Tank" fashion, these youth will also pitch their ideas to an investor panel and will receive funding to support their future business ventures.  We are seeking sponsors and volunteers for this program -- if you are interested in hearing more about this opportunity, please contact Sandy at (661)948-4518. We would specifically like to thank Merrill Lynch/Bank of America for coming in as our presenting sponsors this year and to the US Chamber of Commerce and MidAmerican Solar for their recent sponsorship commitments.

On April 9, at our monthly membership luncheon, we will be presenting $7,500 in Work Ethic scholarships to twelve deserving high school seniors. We hope you can join us for this event as well as our upcoming Miss Lancaster pageant on April 27 where we will be crowning Miss Lancaster 2014!

Also, don't forget about our upcoming Flea Market and Shop Local Showcase! On May 4, at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, our Flea Market and our former Super Expo will come together as one large-scale event! We still have a few booths available for the Showcase where your business will be exposed to the thousands of people who attend our flea market! There truly is no better marketing "bang for your buck"! We hope to see you there!

Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank Connie Wilson for her 26 years of service to the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce. Connie retired at the end of March and, although she will continue to contribute to the chamber as a volunteer, her daily contributions will be sorely missed. Mary Jo Bozigian has been hired as our new office manager-come by and say "hello" to Mary Jo and welcome her to our team!

Have a wonderful April and thank you for your support of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce.


Gene Melchers

Chairman of the Board


 7  Common Small Business Tax Misperceptions




Courtesy of Cobb Doerfler & Associates, CPA    Accountants and      Tax Preparers    





One of the biggest hurdles you'll face in running your own business is staying on top of your numerous obligations to federal, state, and local tax agencies. Tax codes seem to be in a constant state of flux making the Internal Revenue Code barely understandable to most people.


The old legal saying that "ignorance of the law is no excuse" is perhaps most often applied in tax settings and it is safe to assume that a tax auditor presenting an assessment of additional taxes, penalties, and interest will not look kindly on an "I didn't know I was required to do that" claim. On the flip side, it is surprising how many small businesses actually overpay their taxes, neglecting to take deductions they're legally entitled to that can help them lower their tax bill.

Preparing your taxes and strategizing as to how to keep more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket becomes increasingly difficult with each passing year. Your best course of action to save time, frustration, money, and an auditor knocking on your door, is to have a professional accountant handle your taxes.


Tax professionals have years of experience with tax preparation, religiously attend tax seminars, read scores of journals, magazines, and monthly tax tips, among other things, to correctly interpret the changing tax code.

When it comes to tax planning for small businesses, the complexity of tax law generates a lot of folklore and misinformation that also leads to costly mistakes. With that in mind, here is a look at some of the more common small business tax misperceptions.

1. All Start-Up Costs Are Immediately Deductible

Business start-up costs refer to expenses incurred before you actually begin operating your business. Business start-up costs include both start up and organizational costs and vary depending on the type of business. Examples of these types of costs include advertising, travel, surveys, and training. These start up and organizational costs are generally called capital expenditures.


Costs for a particular asset (such as machinery or office equipment) are recovered through depreciation or Section 179 expensing. When you start a business, you can elect to deduct or amortize certain business start-up costs.


Business start-up and organizational costs are generally capital expenditures. However, you can elect to deduct up to $5,000 of business start-up and $5,000 of organizational costs paid or incurred after October 22, 2004. The $5,000 deduction is reduced (but not below zero) by the amount your total start-up or organizational costs exceed $50,000. Any remaining costs must be amortized.

2. Overpaying The IRS Makes You "Audit Proof"

The IRS doesn't care if you pay the right amount of taxes or overpay your taxes. They do care if you pay less than you owe and you can't substantiate your deductions. Even if you overpay in one area, the IRS will still hit you with interest and penalties if you underpay in another. It is never a good idea to knowingly or unknowingly overpay the IRS. The best way to "Audit Proof" yourself is to properly document your expenses and make sure you are getting good advice from your tax accountant.

3. Being incorporated enables you to take more deductions.

Self-employed individuals (sole proprietors and S Corps) qualify for many of the same deductions that incorporated businesses do, and for many small businesses, being incorporated is an unnecessary expense and burden. Start-ups can spend thousands of dollars in legal and accounting fees to set up a corporation, only to discover soon thereafter that they need to change their name or move the company in a different direction. In addition, plenty of small business owners who incorporate don't make money for the first few years and find themselves saddled with minimum corporate tax payments and no income.

4. The home office deduction is a red flag for an audit.

While it used to be a red flag, this is no longer true--as long as you keep excellent records that satisfy IRS requirements. In fact, so many people now have home-based businesses that in 2013, the IRS rolled out the new simplified home office deduction, which makes it even easier to claim the home office deduction (as long as it can be substantiated).


Because of the proliferation of home offices, tax officials cannot possibly audit all tax returns containing the home office deduction. In other words, there is no need to fear an audit just because you take the home office deduction. A high deduction-to-income ratio however, may raise a red flag and lead to an audit.

5. If you don't take the home office deduction, business expenses are not deductible.

You are still eligible to take deductions for business supplies, business-related phone bills, travel expenses, printing, wages paid to employees or contract workers, depreciation of equipment used for your business, and other expenses related to running a home-based business, whether or not you take the home office deduction.

6. Requesting an extension on your taxes is an extension to pay taxes.

Extensions enable you to extend your filing date only. Penalties and interest begin accruing from the date your taxes are due.

7. Part-time business owners cannot set up self-employed pensions.

If you start up a company while you have a salaried position complete with a 401K plan, you can still set up a SEP-IRA for your business and take the deduction.

A tax headache is only one mistake away, be it a missed payment or filing deadline, an improperly claimed deduction, or incomplete records and understanding how the tax system works is beneficial to any business owner, whether you run a small to medium sized business or are a sole proprietor.

And, even if you delegate the tax preparation to someone else, you are still liable for the accuracy of your tax returns. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to give us a call today. We're here to assist you.


We Can Help

If you'd like to better understand the ins and outs of your business and create sound guidance for internal decision making, you might consider cost accounting.
And we can help. Allow us to evaluate your business from top to bottom and determine the real cost of each component. With that as a foundation, we can help you draft budgets, adjust pricing, keep an appropriate level of inventory, and much more. Give us a call today.





      Join us for business, stay for breakfast!


               7:00 a.m. Thursday, April 24, 2014


Event Location


Schooners Patio Grille

2797 W. Ave L, Lancaster 93536 (30th St. West)
Table Sponsor


 American Referral Services
 Emily Fife (661) 726-5400

To RSVP please contact the Chamber Office

Phone: (661) 948-4518

Fax: (661) 949-1212

Email: [email protected]



Cash Prize $50.00 - 1 Winner will be chosen at every breakfast


 Sponsored by: Edwards FCU, Laura Motes



*Please note - If you RSVP and do not attend you will be invoiced for $10.00





City of Lancaster Announces Completion of Recycled Water Irrigation System at City Park

Lancaster, CA. March 24, 2014 - Today, the City of Lancaster announced the completion of the new recycled water irrigation system at Lancaster City Park.

"This park conversion, and more importantly the infrastructure feeding it, is a monumental achievement," said Councilman Ron Smith. "This advancement in water conservation, which will allow us to save thousands of dollars each year at this park alone, has huge implications for our valley. Recycling water not only saves money, it frees up valuable potable water resources during this drought. For every gallon of recycled water we use, we free up a gallon of potable water."

The City Park Recycled Water Conversion project allows the nearly 70 acre park, which includes Lancaster's Big 8 Softball Complex, to be irrigated entirely by recycled water. The project will save approximately 125 acre-feet of potable water per year; an equivalent of nearly 40,730,000 gallons annually. The City Park Recycled Water Conversion project, which cost approximately $456,000 to construct, is expected to save 625 acre-feet of potable water and more than $156,000 in water costs over the next five years.

The project, approved by both the Los Angeles County Health Department and the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, utilizes recycled water from the local Lancaster Water Reclamation Plant. At the plant, reclaimed water goes through a three-stage treatment process, resulting in tertiary-treated water. This grade of disinfected water has many applications. Recycled water can be used for irrigation of parks, golf courses, nurseries and even agriculture; firefighting and street cleaning; industrial reuse; toilet flushing; as a water supply for livestock; and much more.

The water from the reclamation plant then travels nearly 8 miles through a series of special recycled-water pipelines which stretch from the reclamation facility on Avenue D to Lancaster City Park on Avenue K-8. This new pipeline, constructed over the past eight years with assistance from the Army Corps of Engineers, is the main artery of the City's recycled water system infrastructure.

The recycled water pipeline includes the capability to allow facilities with large-scale irrigation needs to tie into the pipeline, such as the new Kaiser Permanente medical office building being constructed near Avenue L & 5th St. West. In fact, the Lancaster University Center, located near Avenue I, has already connected to the recycled water pipeline and is now expecting to use 11 acre-feet of recycled water annually, thus saving 11 acre-feet of potable water per year (an acre-foot is roughly equivalent to 325,800 gallons).

"This recently completed recycled water pipeline is an excellent step toward becoming more environmentally friendly," said Vice Mayor Marvin Crist. "It allows us to better facilitate recycled water usage in our City, substantially reducing the drain on our potable water resources."

         Promote YOUR business FREE of Charge
  FREE Chamber Radio 
Talk Show
 "Minding Your Business"
    Saturday, 12-1pm
 Call Anna Zarley: (661) 948-4518
Expert Answers - Content & Search Engine Marketing

Article By: Jeremy Durant  Business Principal, Bop Design 

Having an online presence is an absolute must for today's small business. But once you have that presence, what is the best way to attract customers to your site?  How do you differentiate your business from the others that are competing for the same customers? The answer lies in content marketing and search engine marketing. 
Develop your content marketing strategy with tips from Jeremy Durant. Jeremy is the Business Principal of Bop Design, a business-to-business (B2B) marketing and web design & development firm. He builds relationships with B2B businesses and entrepreneurs in need of a marketing and branding strategy, helping them to develop their unique value proposition and ideal customer profile. In this interview, Jeremy will help you understand the content and search engine marketing strategies that will drive traffic to your site and grow your business.    


Q. I've heard a lot about Content Marketing, but what is it exactly?


A. According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience-with the objective of driving profitable customer action. For marketers, it's the tactic that combines all tactics. Marketing tools such as social media, blogging, multimedia, email marketing, SEO and more all play a role in (or are influenced by) content marketing.    


Q. What is SEO? What is SEM? How are they different? Why are they important? The difference between search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) is that SEM encompasses many tactics, with SEO being one of them.   


A. SEM is the act of utilizing paid (e.g. pay per click ads) and unpaid tactics to improve your visibility in search page results. SEO is an organic tactic that utilizes keyword rich content on a website.   


Both are important for an overall Internet marketing strategy in order to attract new customers, qualify leads and outrank your competition.     


Q. There have been a lot of changes lately in search engine algorithms and best practices. What strategies can I employ to get my site to the top of search engine rankings?


A. For a small business, it's critical you have a search-friendly website. Even a local accounting firm or consultant should put aside marketing dollars to ensure their website is up to date. Without a professional, well developed website, not only will it be neglected by search engine algorithms, but visitors to your site won't think of you as a credible business.    


Q. I'm a solopreneur (1-person business) with limited time and resources. What type of content marketing strategies would you recommend? What type of content should I generate for my small business? 


A. The simplest way for small businesses to start out in content marketing is either through blogging or social media. Start examining your current industry landscape and see what people are talking about. Another great content generator is listening to frequent questions about your business and focusing on answering them with original, owned content. Keep in mind that while both are cost effective for small marketing budgets, it can require a lot of employee time. Setting realistic expectations when starting out will greatly impact the tactic's growth. 

Q. How do I use content marketing or online marketing strategies to convert prospects to paying customers?


A. This is the whole point of content marketing-making the sale. It may take time, as different content can introduce individuals during different part of the sales funnel. A blog, for example, is a great way to drive traffic to your website. Think of the reader's journey to that blog post and what website tools you can enable to keep them interested and browsing your pages. It may be internal linking in the blog post to your services page. Even better, featuring at the end of the blog post a sign up for a free offer (such as a coupon, free trail or tip sheet) not only captures the lead for follow up but also keeps your brand name top of mind with the customer.   


Q. What is the best way to measure the effectiveness of my online marketing efforts?


A. Google Analytics is a great free tool to implement on a website and track your visitors. Creating goals and campaign URLs for every new strategy you implement provides realistic data on the success of an online marketing project. Remember that goals vary based on the project, so what type of data you pull from Google Analytics should also be modified to meet those goals.   

Q. What are some of the newest best practices I should consider when advertising online?


A. "Native advertising" is a growing trend among marketers and large publishers, but it's starting to roll over into B2B and small business marketing plans. Native advertising is a broad umbrella term that means paying for placement of your business's content within the context of a digital platform (e.g. a publication, social media channel).   It's a great way to target audiences with unique content, but most importantly a marketer needs to remember the quality of content will greatly impact the success of the investment.    


Q. A SCORE client asks: "I have been trying Affiliate Marketing for two years but it seems to be unproductive. Could it be that this online venture is not worth it, or am I doing something wrong? Could you give me an Idea of how to go about setting up an Affiliate website and how to get traffic to the site?"


A. I would first review Google Analytics and determine if any of the affiliate websites are actually driving quality traffic. There could be a few existing affiliate partners that are helping your business. It all depends on the type of business. I would immediately look at your competition and market leaders and see if they are using affiliate marketing. Determine affiliate marketing best practices-which vary from product to product, industry to industry. You don't always want to follow the leader, but in this case you can learn from more established companies.   


Q. How do I determine how much money to spend on search engine marketing?


A. A great thing about SEM is campaigns such as pay per click ads can be relatively low in cost. There are two main factors to determine how much to invest in SEM: The current amount of traffic you draw in and how much you'd like for it to increase.  The industry you are in. A super niche business (such as a recruiting firm for the chemicals industry) will find it easier to penetrate their ad market over a more competitive industry (such as health & fitness).  Many of our clients experiencing 1,000 web visits per month or less invest $100 per month on a preliminary SEM strategy and scale up from there based on returns.   

Q. When setting my annual marketing budget, what provides the best bang for my buck? 


A. Online marketing should always be viewed as a complement to traditional advertising-never a replacement. It should be part of the marketing mix. In terms of providing the most "bang for the buck," where are your ideal customers congregating? If ideal prospective customers are more likely to be on the web and social media then most of the money should be allocated there. However, if your ideal customer is not web savvy, web platforms are not recommended. More traditional channels such as broadcast, print and direct mail are optimal tactics.   


Q. Why is working with a mentor important when developing my online marketing strategies?


A.  Mentors are a critical component to the growth of a company. It's important to recognize when you need to outsource certain services. For example, we're a boutique marketing agency with less than 10 employees. Without in-house HR or Legal department, we decide to outsource those specialties so we can focus on the core of our business. You should be considering the same and, as time continues, hire the in-house specialties that will contribute to your growth.    

Q. How do I choose a vendor to help with my online marketing strategies?


A. We receive the bulk of our new business through search engine marketing-not word of mouth. With this in mind, an online marketer should be employing the same tactics they're recommending to their clients. If you're looking for a marketing agency, see what pulls up in a simple Google search. Browse their website and portfolio (if applicable, which one should be) and make a judgment call from there. Online marketers pride themselves in helping brands speak to their audience, so their online presence should be doing the same for you.     


Want more content and search engine marketing advice? Get free, confidential mentoring or visit the online marketing page of today. And get more helpful tips and strategies delivered to your inbox by subscribing to SCORE newsletters.



The Month In Pictures


Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Troth, REALTORS 

 Ribbon Cutting and Grand Reopening


Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Troth, REALTORS 

Chamber Ambassadors Attending

Ribbon Cutting and Grand Reopening



$uper Bargain 

Ribbon Cutting & Grand Opening


Lancaster Chamber

MOAH Event with the Blue Angels




Lancaster Chamber

MOAH Event with the Blue Angels


Chairman of the Board

Gene Melchers

KaBoom's Birthday Celebration 

Lancaster JetHawks  


KaBoom's Birthday Bash

Lancaster JetHawks



Senator Steve Knight and GM for Jethawks Will Thornhill

KaBoom's Birthday Bash  


March Chamber Luncheon

 City Council Candidates


March Chamber Luncheon

 City Council Candidates Forum



Camacho Mitsubishi Grand Opening

Ribbon Cutting

Chairman of the Board Gene Melchers Presenting Plaque 

California Bank and Trust 

Ribbon Cutting

California Bank and Trust

Ribbon Cutting 

Chairman of the Board Gene Melchers Presenting Certificate to

 Angela Underwood

March Business-4-Breakfast 

Ambassador Kimberly Perkins Presenting Certificate to

Sponsor Jethawks General Manager Will Thornhill 


Executive Assistant, Connie Wilson's

Retirement Reception 

Norm Hickling Presenting 

Certificate of Appreciation from Supervisor Antonovich's Office


Executive Assistant, Connie Wilson's

Retirement Reception 

COO, Sandy Smith Presenting 

Award from the Chamber in Recognition of 26 Years of Service 



Executive Assistant, Connie Wilson's

Retirement Reception 

Chairman of the Board

Gene Melchers Presenting a Scroll  

from the City of Lancaster