Marketing Crash Course
About Online Marketing
One of the most confusing things businesses have to deal with is marketing, especially online marketing. The Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) in Traverse City wanted to clear up some of that confusion with a Marketing Crash Course: Fix Your Mix.
"Compared to traditional marketing the online marketing pieces such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, even website development, ... have dramatically changed the landscape of advertising and marketing in the last ten years," said Chris Wendel, the SBTDC Regional Director.
Two local businesses, Up North Media and Brassy Marketing, helped sponsor the Crash Course. The presenters included Matt Birbeck, from the MSU Product Center, who talked about the importance of branding.
"The customer in choosing your services or products, fifty percent of that customer relationship is who you are, what you do, and how you do it," said Birbeck. "They want to see beyond the product."
Along with branding, seminar participants had an opportunity to learn about using social media like Facebook and Twitter as part of their marketing mix.
"Everybody has to have an online presence now because that is where people go to get their information," said Meg Havenga, an SBTDC Business Consultant. "If you want to talk to them and listen to them that's where you go to get your message out there."
The seminar also covered another key element of online marketing-search engine optimization. Erica Joneson of Brassy Marketing says it's important for businesses to use the right key words to label their business online. They should also offer original content on their website and establish connections or back links on other websites. The goal of doing all that is for a business to have its website at the top or near the top of a list of relevant internet searches.
"Nowadays, eighty percent of people are going online first, some sort of online directory, before they go to a paper directory," said Joneson.
Whether it's being in the right place in an online directory or using social media, it's important for businesses to recognize the value of online marketing.
"If you stay where you are and don't accept what's coming along with some of the new mediums and some of the ways of advertising and marketing, you're going to be left in the dust compared to the ones that are able to adjust and do something with it," said Wendel.