It was a diverse crowd gathered for the first Prairie stop of the Yellow Pages Group’s free Online Marketing Seminar Series last week at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. There were representatives from the gardening and sewing industries, people who sold vacuums and dentures, as well as photography studios, dance studios and communications firms, and many others. Yet, they all wanted to know the same thing: how to more effectively use the Internet to market their business.
In terms of digital knowledge, the attendance was quite split. But even the people who were blessed with a 2.0 site wanted to know how to improve their effectiveness with search engines.
“We’re looking to enhance our customers’ online experience,” said Angela Gaune of Gaune Studios, who was attending with her mother-in-law, Margaret Gaune, of Greenway Tax Services. “That’s one of the things we have to work on, the look and the feel of the website, and maybe get some insight into the user experience.”
Allison Banman, owner of the Rising Star Academy of Arts, said that her school was expanding and that therefore she needed to be more visible online.
“I’d like to find out more about SEO (search engine optimization). I hear about it, but I’m vague about it,” said Banman, who does regularly test her website for results in various search engines’ rankings. “Last I heard, we were ninth.”
The morning’s first presenter, Matthieu Houle, product director (mobile and platforms) at YPG Canada examined how phenomena like social media, cell phones and smartphones had infiltrated our lives and how the marketing world may look over the next few years.
“By 2015, more searches will be done on a mobile than on a desktop,” he said.
Bill Barnes, the VP of Business Development with Mediative, was the second presenter, and dealt with the topics of SEO and SEM, as well as how people use search engines, noting that the search itself is the connection between intent and content.
“You only have a split second to impress someone, so make sure (your site) matches their intent,” he said.
After the seminar, many attendees wanted to immediately have a chat with the Digital Marketing experts. One of the popular topics was mobile optimization; would their sites be accessible via smartphones?
“Everyone uses their mobile (device) right now,” said Leanne Wolfe, of the Transcona Country Club, who also said she was surprised at future trends pointing to an even greater depth of mobile device use. The Country Club has had a website for years, but Wolfe wanted to gather more information. (She was also lucky enough to win an iPad in the draw after the seminar.) “I took down lots of info. I have all these ideas right now.”
Robert Fillion, from Vacuum Depot, a business in the outskirts of Winnipeg also seemed to have taken Matthieu Houle and Bill Barnes’ tips at heart: “I have to check with my IT guy if our website is good for mobile optimization. And I have to check with my competitors’ sites to see what keywords they’re using.”
For those who also want to add more to their IT guy’s to-do list, or just to improve your own online presence, you can check out where YPG’s next stop for the Online Marketing Seminar Series will be at http://360.yellowpages.ca/en/events-seminars.