Digital marketing workshop offers tips to businesses


Brian Matson, senior director for strategy and education at TwoSix Digital, gives a digital marketing presentation in the auditorium at Museum of the Albemarle, Friday. Addressing an audience of nearly 50 people, Matson discussed ways small businesses could make their websites more efficient.


By Chris Day
Multimedia Editor

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Officials are hoping a digital marketing workshop held Friday helps small business owners improve how they promote not only their businesses, but the city as well.

Nearly 50 people, some of them small business owners, attended a presentation on best-use strategies for online marketing in the auditorium at Museum of the Albemarle, Friday. The event was hosted by the Elizabeth City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and overseeing the block of instruction was Brian Matson, senior director for strategy and education for the tourism marketing firm, TwoSix Digital. 

In a presentation titled “The Essentials of Maximizing Your Website for Success,” Matson provided tips that businesses can use to improve their websites. 

For example, businesses should always post their “call to action” at the top of their website, not further down under other material. 

“What do you want people to do?” Matson asked. “Tell them.”

An example of a call to action could include a graphic telling site visitors to take advantage of a current sale on a certain product.

When designing a new website, businesses should not be afraid to leave areas open and free from copy, photos or graphics. This area is known as white space. 

“White space is your best friend,” Matson said, adding humans view several pieces of advertising a day. “People need to rest their eyes.”

When posting a business promotion to the business’s Facebook page don’t get carried away with the copy, he warned. The optimal Facebook post is no longer than 40 characters, he said, and use Facebook as a supplement to the website, not the main source for customer information.

“Don’t give it all away on Facebook,” Matson said. After all, the point is to drive visitors to your website. 

Another tip, when designing a business website, don’t use stock photos, or photos that were pre-produced and sold under license to be used by a variety of businesses for a variety of reasons.   

“Avoid stock photos like the plague,” he said, adding they just look cheap and generic. 

Also, make sure the website’s URL is search engine friendly, for example, by using hyphens instead of underscores in between words, he urged. Use keywords in the website’s domain name, too. For example, if plumbing is the business, then the word plumbing should be in the domain name. Another good idea is to integrate user reviews and testimonials into your website, Matson said.

Matson also gave an overview of Google Analytics, a free service businesses can use to monitor the data associated with traffic flow on their website.

Representing the Elizabeth City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau at Friday’s presentation was its executive director, Corrina Ferguson.

She explained that the job of the visitors bureau is to attract visitors. Once they’re in Elizabeth City those visitors need to be able to find the services, businesses and opportunities available. It’s important that local businesses have effective websites to help market not only themselves, but the city, she said.

“It really does help the collective whole,” she said. 

TwoSix Digital is headquartered in Brighton, Michigan, and has done marketing work for the visitors bureau in the past, according to Ferguson.