By Sarah Gregory
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -- High Road Digital, a new digital marketing company based in Greeneville, hosted several free seminars last week designed to provide information to leaders of local businesses concerning the value and methods of Internet marketing.
High Road Digital (HRD), a sister company of The Greeneville Sun, is a subsidiary of Jones Media, Inc.
The new company offers digital marketing services and other solutions to deliver increased revenue to local merchants and other businesses, a company spokesman said.
Services offered by High Road Digital include targeted advertising, web design, mobile site design, social media marketing, reputation management, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, e-mail marketing, text message marketing, online video marketing, and digital promotions.
Prior to the formal launch of the new company, which takes place this evening, High Road Digital and Jones Media employees undertook a major effort to identify and invite local business leaders and other interested parties to the informational seminars.
Three seminars were scheduled throughout the day on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Attendees were also treated to a meal prior to the seminar they attended.
The featured speaker was Daryl Hively, of Milwaukee, Wis., a veteran digital marketing professional with 17 years of experience who works to develop digital strategies with companies nationwide.
FREE, ACTIONABLE TIPS
At the seminars, Hively offered what Jason Edmisten, High Road Digital partner and Jones Media Chief Financial Officer, called "actionable tips that can be implemented as soon as today."
Hively's presentation was filled with "free practical tips" that business-owners in attendance could put to use to achieve increased results, Edmisten said in introducing the speaker.
Hively then gave a multi-media presentation and discussed the habits of Internet consumers.
He also focused on actions that local merchants can take to change those habits and create opportunities to increase their business.
Seminar participants also completed "digital road map" surveys about their businesses' Internet habits that will allow High Road Digital to conduct free assessments of their online presence and provide recommendations.
Each session wrapped up with the giveaway of one iPad mini tablet, based on a drawing. Winners of the iPad mini devices were:
* Joyce Keisling, of Mortgage Investors Group;
* Sam Riley, of Accurate Realty, Inc.; and
* Pam Hughes, of Brown Brothers Paving.
To see photos of the winners, click WINNERS.
One key topic Hively focused on was search engine optimization.
He stressed how important it is for businesses to craft their websites in such a way that they are present in the first page of Google search results.
Hively highlighted that point by offering what he called a "staggering" statistic:
"Only 5 percent" of Google search-users continue to the "second page of search results," he said.
"Your business not being there [in the first few search results] can be a big problem" if a competitor's business is there," he continued.
"Pretty mind-boggling stats there," he commented, adding, "That's what High Road Digital does -- help businesses with their moment of truth [on the Internet]."
"Think of your website as an online brochure," he said. "It's sort of your living, breathing brochure about your business, and is easy to keep up to date."
MOBILE WEBSITE TIPS
Hively also gave tips about mobile websites, which are alternate versions of websites that are specifically designed for viewing on mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones -- for example, Apple iPad or iPhone devices.
He noted that a business may have a nice website, but if the website isn't optimized for mobile devices, it can have a poor appearance when viewed in such a manner and offer a poor representation of that business.
"Use all of your assets -- online and offline -- to promote your business," Hively urged the local business representatives.
He emphasized the importance of maintaining an online presence on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Maintaining that presence, he said, is a commitment that a business-owner has to "stick with" over the long-term in order to see results.
"If you're half-hearted about it," he said, referring to businesses that do not maintain their social media profiles over the long term, "users -- potential customers -- are not likely to come back."
MEETING THE NEED
High Road Digital can help business-owners save time and maximize results with the variety of services offered, Edmisten told participants at the three seminars.
Business-owners are busy individuals, often hard-pressed for extra time, Hively noted. He highlighted how difficult it can be to balance the day-to-day operations of a business with marketing and digital initiatives.
High Road Digital is "designed to fill the need that is unmet with your business," Hively stated.
The company offers several different "bundles" of services available for local businesses, but customized programs can be perfectly tailored to each business client's particular needs, said Brett Hulsey, general manager and partner of High Road Digital.
"Our goal is to be your trusted, local, digital marketing experts," Hulsey summed up.
Additional company information is available on the website http://www.highroaddigital.com.