Yesterday I was in New Ulm for a Chamber of Commerce meeting set up to promote their upcoming Tech Tuesday training. Yours truly is the trainer for the event and I’m really excited. (The Blandin Foundation is supporting the training through their Get Broadband program.)
Sheila Howk, New Ulm Retail Economic Development Coordinator, sent me a brief summer of the meeting:
We had a great turn out this morning! We had over 50 people who attended, and over 30 people who signed up for courses. Some feedback that I have heard already is the training that we have planned is short and too the point, exactly what we need. I also had people that were unable to attend the breakfast that would like to go to the classes.
But I also wanted to add my own notes.
The plan is to offer 2 classes a day over a series of consecutive “Tech Tuesdays”, starting July 24.
101 – Building a Web Site – we’ll talk about what a web site is, how it works and the characteristics of a good web site. Then we’re going to roll up our sleeves and create web sites.
201 – Online Marketing – we’ll walk through a web site assessment to see how you could improve your ranking with search engines. We’ll also discussion online marketing tools such as email newsletters, blogs and how to track traffic stats.
301 – E-Commerce and Adding a Shopping Cart – we’ll talk about how to sell items online from eBay to setting up a secure shopping cart on your site or adding a full catalog. We’ll also talk about legalities and user expectations.
OK on with notes from the meeting…
The goals of the Local-e-Shop are:
- Increase broadband usage
- Increase retail use of the Internet (apparently 62% have a web site now)
- Create a New Ulm online marketplace
- Train 25 businesses
They are focusing on creating a new and improved Chamber web site to promote local businesses, creating and acquiring tools that local businesses can use to improve their presence online (such as a scanner or digital camera folks can check out) and offering the training. (I think they are already looking to book more classes so the enthusiasm is high!)
There was a panel of 3 local online retailers:
Schell’s Brewery – they don’t sell beer, but do sell gift items like cool T-shirts
Country Loft – right now they promote their beautiful dolls online but you call to purchase
Canyon Outback – has had an informational site for years; a sister organization Twin Rivers has been selling for about a year.
The retailers each thought that their web sites had a positive impact on their business. Through them they sold to a new audience. Everyone wished they had more time to invest in their web site.
It was fun to see a Get Broadband project up close and personal. It was amazing to see the enthusiasm – cultivated by Sheila I’m sure but also a sign of the times. And it was fun to visit New Ulm. I will keep folks updated with how the training goes and will hopefully be able to link to some of the new web sites in late July.