Startup Spokane

I have a lot of respect for people who stick their necks out and become entrepreneurs. They start a business on nothing more than an idea and a lot of passion. They work for what they want, what they believe in, and what they expect to become. Dave Cotton and I were more than pleased to meet with several of those people last night at a workshop held at Startup Spokane. What a night!


Seventeen small business owners met with us last night for our presentation titled “Dominating the Digital Domain: Internet Marketing Essentials for New Businesses.” We covered everything from mobile website to Search Engine Marketing (SEO) and social media. There was a lot of back-and-forth, several good questions, and a lot of good ideas exchanged.

Here were my main takeaways.

  1. People get mobile. They understand, now more than ever, the need for mobile-friendly websites. They understand the need to present a consistent brand experience across all screens. After all, 90 percent of people said in a recent survey that they multi-screen – go from mobile to tablet to desktop. They expect a similar experience on every device. Don’t you? They aren’t surprised when they learn people search for a local business on a mobile device at least once a week, and many people do multiple searches in a day.
  2. Search Engine Optimization is as much an art form as it is a science. While small business owners can do themselves a favor by making sure their website is mobile friendly and that their major business listings are claimed, there is a lot of work under the hood that can be hired out at a reasonable price. And quite frankly, it should be. If you’re an entrepreneur, you want to make widgets; you don’t want to spend all of your time writing content for your website and optimizing title tags. Do you? Don’t be afraid to hire someone to optimize your website in the beginning - even if it’s only for a few months.
  3. When it comes to advertising, there isn’t a one size fits all solution. Every goal is different. Every budget is different, just like every audience is different. There are advertising principles that apply to everyone (i.e. reach, frequency, audience, messaging, and more), but strategy and execution should differ from business to business.

(I will say, however, that a good targeted display campaign that involves a good mix of tactics, paired with end-of-funnel search marketing can be a really powerful. But then again, I guess I’m biased.)

I love this stuff! I love that we can help local businesses succeed. I’ve seen what we do improve a business’ bottom line, and that is without question really, really satisfying. So, here’s to more workshops – whether they be at Startup Spokane or somewhere else. And here’s to you, brave business owner. Go and do great things!

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