CIRAS’ Internet Marketing Boot Camp Brings Big Benefits

gormley seminar

A three-day program, now in its fourth year, is paying off in page views, clicks, and sales for Iowa businesses.

The Internet Marketing Strategy Boot Camp, first launched in 2012, has benefitted Iowa firms of all sizes, said CIRAS project manager Paul Gormley. The course covers five main points: Marketing Message Development, Web Development Best Practices, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, and Analytics.

“The Internet allows small- to medium-sized companies to compete with larger companies with much larger advertising budgets,” Gormley said. “But, if they can’t be found, have a lousy message, … or don’t take full advantage of the information available from analytics, then they probably won’t do as well as they could with their online presence.”

Gormley preaches that it’s OK for small companies to use outside help, “but it is not OK to divorce yourself from the message and strategic vision of your online presence.” Boot camp participants learn “to instruct those they hire, not simply allow them to do whatever they want.”

Geri Wester, owner of Affordable Buckets in Victor, attended two Internet marketing events in 2012. She translated that into a $325,000 economic impact for her business. Wester said she learned how to target potential clients and make her business stand out online.

A key was focusing on the correct search terms, she said, because “if you’re on the Web and you’re not getting on that first or second search page, you’re kind of lost.”

For Rod Rensink, owner of Double R Industries Inc., a Boyden-based maker of hydraulic jacks for farm equipment, the camp proved that a better Internet presence is vital. Rural businesses don’t get much drive-by traffic or visibility.

“You learn about how to define content, why Internet marketing works, how to promote yourself online, and how not to promote yourself,” Rensink said. “It teaches you all the wheres, why-for’s, and how-to’s to make it work.”

The next Internet Marketing Strategy Boot Camp will be April 5–7 at Stoney Creek Inn in Johnston. Register by April 1.

You can find testimonials here.

>For more information, contact Paul Gormley at or 319-721-5357.


This article originally appeared in the Winter 2016 edition of CIRAS News. You can find the rest of this issue and more of CIRAS News on our website.