[Newsday, Melville, N.Y. – by Patricia Kitchen]
August 22 – It’s not just the backpack gang who’ll soon be heading back to school.
The fast rate of change in the digital marketing world means plenty of cash-strapped marketing types, as well as small business owners, will be seeking out classes, coaching and webinars that will help them upgrade their skills or get caught up with the basics.
That’s especially true with the fourth quarter — and merchants’ online holiday promotions — lying dead ahead, said Andrew Hazen, founder of Prime Visibility Llc, a digital marketing firm in Melville. Upgrading those skills could lead to increased website traffic and sales as the holidays approach. One of today’s big issues, he said, is how to make websites viewable on mobile devices.
That’s a ways off, though, for Richard Selkowitz, owner of East Rockaway Veterinary Hospital, who earlier this month took a three-hour class in Rockville Centre that focused on the basics of online advertising and analytics.
“It definitely isn’t something I was trained to do as a veterinarian, but as a business owner you have to be progressive and try to stay ahead of the curve,” said Selkowitz, 39, who manages his own website.
He was one of nearly 30 professionals who paid $50 to attend a Google 101 workshop led by Seth Meyerowitz, certified by Google to conduct that and follow-up sessions. Meyerowitz is also chief executive of UBE Inc., a Bellmore-based online marketing company.
Other attendees came from an auto transport firm, menu printer, travel agent and divorce mediation practice. Some manage their own Web presences, but others came to learn some basics to help them work better with their Web consultants.
Most of the participants in that and previous sessions have come from “small mom and pops to medium-sized businesses,” Meyerowitz said.
Here are other low-cost ways to get up to speed.
Classes / programs
Hofstra University Continuing Education is offering this fall a new seven-session class, “Digital and Social Media Marketing,” on topics ranging from mobile marketing to Twitter and YouTube. The class is designed for marketing professionals and small business owners, said Debbi Honorof, director of marketing and communications. Price is $350. See ce.hofstra.edu.
Hazen said to keep an eye out for professional associations’ fall events calendars. He recently spoke to the Direct Marketing Association of Long Island about online reputation management. Coming up Sept. 20 is a session on mobile apps, to be put on by the Long Island chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals. See Aitp-li.org. On the Web
Check out the self-paced online courses offered by the SEMPO Institute, the education arm of the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization at SEMPO.org. Among the offerings, starting at $299, are “Keywords and Copywriting” and “Effective Social Media Marketing.”
Do It Yourself Search Engine Optimization, diyseo.com, is an online step-by-step guide that, for $49 or $129 a month, helps do-it-yourselfers increase their search engine traffic. You can also get a free report card assessing your site.
Besides sharing their know-how at association events, some digital marketing consultants will also provide training if you can’t afford the full freight of their managing your site and analytics for you.
Hazen, seeing an uptick in people running side-businesses to supplement their income, said this year he’s offered 10-hour training programs — at a range of $1,200 to $1,500 — to about six small organizations. “We cut right to the chase,” he said.
WORKING THE WEB
Trainer Seth Meyerowitz points to “market intelligence” that can be easily found about your website and acted on:
TARGET. If you see a number of customers from a certain ZIP code ask for directions to your establishment, you may have a new market to target, he said.
SIMPLIFY. If you see a number of customers start filling in an online form, but leave when they get to page three, you may need to simplify the form.
KEYWORDS. If you see a number of customers come to your site after searching for a certain keyword, perhaps you want to build out more information related to that word.
FINE-TUNE. If you know how people arrived at your website, you can fine-tune it or your advertising “to reflect the trends in what potential clients are researching.”