Then came a CIRAS Strategic Marketing Boot Camp, led by CIRAS project manager Paul Gormley and sponsored by the Quad Cities Manufacturing Innovation Hub. And the clouds parted in a hurry.
“I made the changes they wanted me to make, and all of a sudden I started getting hits,” Nelson said. “My website became my storefront again.”
Nelson, who followed up the February 2018 boot camp with two months of CIRAS-arranged coaching from a search engine optimization (SEO) expert, said the difference he’s seen since embracing the CIRAS assistance has been stark.
The CIRAS consultant “essentially helped me define what I was selling,” Nelson said.
With the consultant’s help, Nelson changed ESCP’s brochures, updated keyword searches, and learned how to properly monitor the web analytics. He was rewarded with an increase from roughly 20 web hits per month to more than 400—including 10 requests for quotes during the initial month, four of which have turned into sales.
“Before, if I went out to get 10 RFQs, I would have to go to several trade shows and meet quite a few people, then bring back their cards and follow up with them the old-fashioned way,” Nelson said. “This is more concise. You spend the money on your website and learning how to manage the website and getting good data, then your website becomes your marketing.”
Gormley, the CIRAS project manager, said many businesses incorrectly assume that the web developer who built their site will automatically take care of their search engine optimization needs. Company leaders need to actively manage the process, he said.
“You either need to understand SEO yourself or find someone you trust who understands it to represent you,” Gormley said. “You’ve got to stay on top of it.”
Nelson praised CIRAS experts as “guys who know what they’re doing” and urged all business owners to embrace web expertise.
“You can’t afford not to have a website,” Nelson said. “You can’t afford not to know how to use it, either.”
> For more information, contact Paul Gormley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-721-5357.