Well I'm back from a long and rather exhausting day presenting an Internet Marketing Course to a fantastic bunch of Cornish businesses people; a course promoted by DPN the Digital Peninsula Network.
The array of people and businesses was staggering, with hotels, eCommerce sites, event producers, a hotel for special needs folks, a great designer friend of ours, architects, tourism operators, artists - heck I could go on.
As usual I'm struck with the variety of people that come along, and the near herculean efforts that many of them have made or are making to get their Internet business or company web sites off the ground. Sometimes a massive range of efforts that are broadly along the right lines, but with important minor omissions, or just not sticking with it in a long enough term to yet reap the rewards.
It is rather humbling (remarkable you may say!) that these people choose to listen to yours truly going on about the Internet, but its clear that many of them can see that the net represents their biggest opportunity to make their businesses fly, and even or especially in these troubled times, they're right.
I sometimes feel like the bearer of bad news however, telling people the amount of work that will be involved in getting their sites and web businesses up to the standard, level of traffic and sales that they aspire to. Its like any business - you put in lots of work up front, and then if you did it right you should reap the rewards later.
Some of course are very well down the track towards a successful on-line business, to the point that I have to suggest they come up to the front! Others are very new to it and not especially technical, so one of the major challenges for me on these days is to pitch the content at a level where the former are not bored, and the latter are not switched off for ever.
Today was interesting from another aspect, as the number of people booked by DPN was considerably larger than we normally take, and with no tables I could not put name labels anywhere, so I have to apologise to everybody for getting their names wrong for most of the day.
There was a bit of a comedy scene in the morning, when the projector at the hotel had an internal disagreement with the mouse of my Laptop, meaning that the course notes started scrolling themselves through uncontrollably when I was showing something on a particular slide. Who would work with computers - I wonder if they are in the same category as children and animals yet?
The real challenge now is for the people on the day, armed with the mountain of information that they have now gathered to go away and start putting it into practice on their web sites...... Consistently.
So I would just refocus on the absolute core concepts:
1. Research Keywords so you know what people are really looking for.
2. Write lots of great content and put it on your site.
3. Get links to it when you can.
4. Get Analytics and Webmaster tools on it so you start to collect a history of results.
5. Once your traffic is up then lets look again at email marketing and an opt-in to enhance the relationship-building and conversion aspects of the site.
That's it really, not sure why I talked all day, I know Mike keeps telling me to keep it short but that's ridiculous! But of you're not especially technical and just want to make progress, focus on that and you'll not be far wrong.
I should add at this point that the link building and blogging "kick start" day will be available in a day or two, and all those who have previously been on the course will be welcome to attend, and work with us to put into practice the theories they have learned on the course. This will be practical day of working on your sites, so I'll notify you as soon as the date is available.
Thanks to all those great Cornish businesses for taking the time to attend today, and all the best with your on-line endevaours. Thanks to the DPN for putting the event on, and to the Crossroads Hotel for a friendly reception and a pleasant lunch. If you were on the course please feel free to mail me with any further questions, and the course notes eBook will be coming out to you soon.