Navigating the labyrinth of social media tips, online security pitfalls, and Internet marketing tactics without a guide is daunting for all businesses, even those with a staff dedicated to the field. For small and mid-sized businesses, it can seem like an impossible task, simply requiring more hours than a business owner has in a day. Business leaders in Roscommon County, Michigan, are giving local enterprises free online marketing assistance that requires just an hour of their time.
“We want to see how many businesses we can get to have websites,” said Rosalie Myers, Executive Coordinator for the Roscommon County Economic Development Council (RCEDC). “We have a lot of small businesses, restaurants, and resorts around the lake and we want them to be accessible to people who are traveling. Travelers are going to look for where they can eat and where to lodge, and our hope is for our businesses to have a bigger presence.”
Roscommon County’s Boost Your Business seminars cover web presence, Internet security, Internet trends, and social media during one-hour evening seminars to allow businesses and non-profits the chance to attend without disrupting business hours. Myers, with Brenda Bachelder of MichiganWorks! and Adele Woskobojnik of Marketing Sense Consulting called on local marketing, cyber security, and web development experts across the county and across Michigan to share their knowledge and experience with neighboring businesses. This will be the third year of the county’s business workshops and seminars. Myers, Bachelder, and Woskobojnik won Connect Michigan’s Connected Community Project Award last year, and they were able to expand the program while keeping seminars free.
The seminars began in late April at Houghton Lake Public Library with a Google and website presence seminar presented by Jeff Wenz of Wise Donkey Media. Businesses learn how to boost their website search ranking and build a mobile-friendly website. A seminar on Internet security presented by Michelle Thren, certified fraud examiner at Chemical Bank, covers another subject that concerns many businesses.
“We all need to be diligent,” said Myers. “There are things that people are thinking up to hack us that we haven’t even thought of.”
With warnings on what to look out for, instructions to guard against social engineering, and how to protect bank information, businesses will be fully equipped to safely buy and sell online.
For other counties and communities that want to help businesses be more active online, Myers recommends talking to businesses and finding out what they are interested in, and also leveraging local talent to make the classes low-cost.
“Economic development is about retaining and expanding businesses, and this is a way to do that. We want to assist our businesses, help them grow, and stay competitive,” said Myers. “Technology is constantly changing, and we want to give our businesses that knowledge. The more knowledge they have, the more they can continue to grow and be successful.”
If you’re in the Roscommon area and would like to learn more about the seminars, email Rosalie Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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