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Assessing Internet Marketing Skills

Another guest post from Joanne Steele!

What does a micro-business owner need to know to be a successful internet marketer?

person confused about social mediaWhat trainings should a micro enterprise development organization or SBDC offer that will have the greatest impact on a small or micro business’s financial success?

These are two questions that can be answered by a new survey tool, the Take Control of Your Internet Marketing, Internet Marketing Skills Checklist.

Internet marketing presents two huge problems for small and micro-business development organizations:

1. What trainings are essential?

2. The internet changes so fast, how can we afford to keep our trainings current and relevant?

What trainings are essential?

The Internet Marketing Skills Checklist can help your organization respond to this issue by zeroing in on your clients’ deficits. The survey focuses on the internet marketing skills that are most valuable for a client’s online success.

  • Consistency in their basic online information – their citations – beginning with their local business listings at major search engines.
  • Learning how to embrace the new internet “word of mouth,” and using it to greatest effect. You’ll notice I didn’t say “social media” or “Facebook” which are part of internet word of mouth, but for many micro-businesses, not their first concern.
  • Understanding how SEO and keyword phrases relate both to their customer’s needs and desires and to the unique things their business offers that people are searching for online.
  • Owning a business website that they confidently maintain.
  • Managing consistent, regular communication with customers and potential customers using internet tools that facilitate that communication.

These skills will remain relatively constant as the internet tools and platforms for accomplishing them change. Internet marketing fluency requires that small and micro business owners build skill and confidence in the foundational concepts, so that they can more easily embrace change in programs and platforms.

Brian Solis of the marketing firm, Altimeter Group calls internet marketing and social media, disruptive technology.

A small or micro-business development organization’s first responsibility is to teach the underlying concepts of this disruptive technology so that micro-businesses can more confidently manage the inevitable change.

The internet changes so fast, how can we afford to keep current?

Your organizations’ fear and concerns around changing internet marketing trends are the exact fears and concerns that are keeping your clients from embracing this vital marketing opportunity!

hot air balloon with moonInternet marketing is a little like hot air ballooning. When you’re on the ground watching the balloon in the sky, it seems to be sailing by pretty quickly. But the people in the balloon are riding the winds and feel virtually no movement at all!

As your organization climbs on board and starts riding the internet marketing currents, keeping your trainings current and relevant will become easier and more intuitive. You’ll hardly feel the winds of change – responding will become part of the internet marketing ride!

Your concepts based trainings that need an occasional tweak will make up the foundation of your internet marketing classes. And tools and techniques trainings that regularly change as the internet changes, such as “how to” classes in Facebook, Pinterest etc., will make up a smaller segment of your training schedule.

The included internet marketing assessment tool is yours to use to evaluate your own organization and to check your client’s skills. Feel free to use it in different ways. Herb Lawrence, a Center Director and Training Coordinator for Arkansas Small Business Technology Development Center used the questions to create his own assessment tool, which he emailed to his entire clients’ list. Here is a link to the ASBTDC survey. You’ll notice that he left off the explanations under each question, and modified some of the questions to meet the needs of his organization. Feel free to do the same.

After finishing this assessment, Herb has made a decision to use the Take Control of Your Internet Marketing video lessons to augment his organization’s training programs, and to reinforce concepts learned during his live trainings.

I’d love to hear how you use the survey tool and what kind of results you get. Call or email to learn ways that Take Control of Your Internet Marketing can partner with you to enhance your internet marketing training efforts.

Joanne Steele is an internet marketing and rural tourism expert who maintains the blog,, and the internet marketing training membership website, Joanne has conducted trainings, workshops and conference presentations throughout the US and western Canada.