Internet Marketing Boot Camp Brings Big Benefits

It’s an Internet world out there, but it’s not easy. Those page views, clicks, and online sales don’t just happen automatically when you turn on your company’s computer.

Are you sure your website is actually working?

“The Internet allows small- to medium-sized companies to compete with larger companies with much larger advertising budgets,” said CIRAS Project Manager Paul Gormley. “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.”

To help with that, CIRAS is now in its eighth year of hosting its Internet Marketing Strategy Boot Camp, a two-day dive into the details of what it takes to generate online sales. Attendees learn the basics of search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social media marketing, content development, web development best practic3es, and website analytics – as well as how it they all fit together to form an Internet marketing strategy.

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.”

Beth Saxton, marketing and channel manager the Lauridsen Group in Ankeny, said CIRAS boot camps “will open attendees’ eyes to all of the options and possibilities that there are in developing a website and the considerations that they should weigh from the start.”

Geri Wester, owner of Affordable Buckets in Victor, saw the two Internet marketing events she attended in 2012 translate 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.”

Scott Lovell, president of Smithco Manufacturing in Le Mars, said he attended CIRAS training at the end of 2018 because the company then had “no targeted effort to make the website work for us.” Smithco since has made several rounds of improvements, culminating in a brand new site scheduled to launch March 1.

“We came out of that boot camp with a clear idea of how we wanted to be represented on our website,” Lovell said. “We had a clear idea of what we needed to do from a structure standpoint, and we knew what questions we needed to ask… We came away really empowered.”

Similarly, Deco Products in Decorah was using its website “mostly as a billboard” before Dave Magner, the company’s sales and marketing manager, began attending CIRAS boot camps. The company since has improved its marketing metrics and Google search rankings, and more work is now underway.

“We’re seeing some positive results already,” Magner said. “But there’s still more to do.”

The next Internet Marketing Strategy Boot Camp will be April 21-22 in Ames. Register here.


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