When Bob Musilek brought his digital marketing message to Neosho last week for a Lunch and Learn event with the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, the event reached the maximum number of participants, a response large enough to shift the presentation from the local Chamber office to the Community Room at the Neosho Newton County Library. Around fifty representatives from area businesses came to hear Musilek talk about digital marketing and how using it can boost their business.

Lunch, catered by Sodexo based at NEO (Northeastern Oklahoma A & M) in Miami was provided free to all participants.

Musilek is the Upper Midwest Digital Director for the Gannett/USA Today Network.

Along with Musilek, representatives from regional Gannett publications were on hand, representing The Neosho Daily News, The Aurora Advertiser, The Grove Sun, Miami News Record and The Pittsburg Morning Sun.

Musilek, a Google Certified Multi-Media expert, walked those present through an overview of digital marketing today, citing how vital digital has become for any business.

Musilek told those in attendance that developing a website for a business has become essential for survival. It is more common for a business to have websites than not. Consumers tend to get turned off by companies that don’t have a web presence, he said.

“A website helps with company brand development,” Musilek said. “The brand makes a business more recognizable from other businesses, it becomes the personality that customers know and trust and it stays alive in the mind of customers.“

The website provides a place to land for digital marketing and allows the company to get the information they want out to the customer, Musilek said. Musilek said a good way to manage business websites was by using the tool, Google My business.

“Google My business has its own analytics that provides valuable information to businesses,“he said.

Google My Business listings are available for a variety of business types: Physical locations where customers must visit in person to make a purchase; mobile businesses where the business travels directly to the client; individual practitioners such as doctors, lawyers or accountants; service area businesses for brands that travel directly to their customers rather than conduction business in-store as long as staff is available at the physical location during the listed hours of operation.

Musilek said businesses should spend from 30 to 60 minutes a month putting new material on their website to keep them current and updated. Also, a site needs a couple of conversion points at the top of the site to reduce scrolling and bounce.

Every search on Google has been recorded and with 1.3 billion searches on the Internet everyday, Google My Business analytics can help the business owner discover where customers are searching, Musilek said.

Businesses can control what goes on their website. They can control what people see and how the business is perceived. It’s easy to see where visitors log in from, what they searched to get there and what time they searched. This helps reduce guess work on what people seek and find.

"What's the original search engine?" Musilek asked those in attendance, noting it's been around since before the Internet existed. When no one had the right answer, he held up a phone directory. "This is what people used to find information, they looked in the Yellow Pages, even the white pages."

According to Musilek, digital marketing is the future and the future is now.

Those who attended and those who didn't have the opportunity but are interested in exploring digital marketing can contact local Neosho Daily News and Aurora Advertiser sales representative Shaw Banta at 417-451-1520 or any of the regional Gannett publications.