Area businesses invited to venture into Web marketing

DONNIE BRYANT donnie.bryant@empiretribune.com

If the world of technology leaves you scratching your head in bewilderment, the Empire-Tribune is hosting a seminar to bring you comfortably into the digital era of business promotion. And if you are a person who has accepted social media as the most effective way to market your product, you will find Mike Blinder's “ABC's of Interactive Marketing” presentation will open up a wealth of opportunities to work your own cyberspace magic more efficiently.

Blinder has consulted hundreds of business owners in how to compete in the sale of goods and services through the use of Web marketing platforms. And the E-T is inviting their customers and other area business owners to take advantage of Blinder's considerable experience and know-how.

For the more reticent of merchants who are hesitant to dip their toes into the world-wide web, E-T Publisher Rochelle Stidham encourages them to give the symposium a try by reminding advertising customers the world of sales marketing is evolving.

“Web promotion is the number one growing market right now,” Stidham said. “And we want to educate our customers of what is going on online. It's surprising that some of them don't know they already have a great deal of information about their businesses out there, but they aren't monitoring that information. We want to bring that to their attention.”

Although a business may not consider itself as being online at the moment, different social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Yelp are posting information and reviews about businesses.

“As a consumer, I can go online and post whatever I want about anyone,” Stidham said. “It's important for our businesses to know that is happening, embrace it and take control of their reputations.”

To address what some would consider to be a conundrum of a business already going viral before the proprietor is ready to deal with cyberspace, E-T has invited Blinder to share his knowledge to help businesses acquire the skills to address information already being circulated via social media.

E-T's Regional Advertising Manager Scott Carr stressed the importance of ensuring online information about one's business is under one's own authority.

“Your business is no longer what you say it is,” he said. “It's now what your customers say it is. And the digital age has provided them multiple platforms to go out and do that through the abundance of social venues available. We are here to piece all of that together to help you effectively and efficiently monitor those.”

Those still not convinced they are ready to navigate through cyberspace are urged to keep in mind the E-T advertising staff is on hand to make the transition into the digital age of business a gentle one.

“Our knowledge consultants here at the Empire-Tribune are going to be able to work with you and assist you on a local market level,” Stidham said. “Even after the seminar is over.”

Blinder's program addressing effective ways to grow a business on the web is free to all area merchants. It begins at 11:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 26, at the Paradigm Building in downtown Stephenville. Lunch will be provided.

For more information, call 965-3124.