I spend a lot of my day, not actually performing Internet marketing for my clients, but also educating them about Internet marketing. I don’t mind at all; I enjoy explaining what I do and what I can do for people and providing examples to all the possibilities there are for improving traffic and sales.
However, if you are not a client of mine (or even if you are), you can still find plenty of free resources available locally for learning about web design, social media, blogging, search engine optimization and a host of other web-related resources. And by resources, I don’t mean reading more boring white papers or extending the length of time your poor eyeballs are already glued to your computer screen — I mean the best kind of resources — PEOPLE.
Whether you are a small business owner, a marketing professional, or perform many different roles at a nonprofit organization, you are going to need the Internet to keep people interested in your products or services, attract donors & customers, and find new ways of reaching out to clients, donors & customers.
There’s plenty of networking events out there, but you should be aware of the “meet-up” groups and professional groups that meet regularly (for free or small fees). These groups of people are the best kinds of resources, because you are connecting with people and building relationships and trust.
SEMPO Pittsburgh & The Internet Marketing & SEO Group: Free; meets monthly in evenings. Holds seminars on how to optimize websites, internet marketing, pay per click advertising, and other search engine marketing techniques. SEMPO is a national Search Engine Marketing Professional Agency.
PodCamp Pittsburgh: A yearly FREE 2-day conference with seminars on social media, blogging, web design, twitter, podcasting, and other Internet-related subjects. This year’s PodCamp will be held October 10 & 11th at the Pittsburgh Art Institute.
Pittsburgh Web Design Meet-up Group: Free group that meets monthly in the evenings.
DevHouse Pittsburgh: A free networking group for web developers in Pittsburgh; free; meets monthly.
Someone once told me the reason people never ask a question is either a) they know everything or b) they know nothing. I think the same is true for attending business and networking events – If you are already a top dog and know everything in your industry, you don’t think you need to go to these types of events. Likewise, if you feel as if you know nothing about the industry or related subject, you don’t want to make a fool of yourself.
I think both groups of people are missing out on huge opportunities. First, if you are a leader in your industry, you’re going to need new clients someday. Better to get out there now and start building relationships and keeping your status. Second, if you are new to a particular industry and ask a question, a smart person isn’t going to gape at you in horror at your stupidity. Rather, they will gladly answer your question and hope that they can someday rely upon you for referrals. And if not, they aren’t very smart:-)
I would love to see comments about any groups that I missed or that you would be interested in seeing formed.