With the prevalence of online businesses and consumer use of the Internet, Nevada County Online seeks to help businesses and individuals improve their social media and online presence.
The group hosts free meetings the fourth Tuesday of each month with experts who cover topics for all experience and age ranges that include business planning, web design strategies, social media and networking, email marketing, search engine optimization, blogging and more, according to the website.
“I think it’s great. It really fills a need in our area,” said Robert Trent, executive director of both Sierra Commons, a local business organization, and the Nevada County Economic Resource Council. “There’s so many people interested in social media and applying it to their business, and this is a great way for them to keep up on latest technology, and they bring in some great speakers and expose people to new things, and the camaraderie seems to be really strong, and they consistently have a packed house, so they’re really hitting a sweet spot.”
The group is not only for learning about online business strategies but also networking with other business owners in the community through the meetings and the website, said Coryon Redd, one of the Nevada County Online organizers, SEO expert and owner of coryon.com and batteries4less.com.
“As a feature, we can say, ‘OK, if you are a service provider, you can simply have your information available for the website,’” Redd said. “We have businesses that know how to do this stuff, we have independent people, web designers, marketers, graphic designers, businesses that can find the right team and people, or if you’re on a short budget, you have a lot who will answer your questions and teach you how to do it directly.”
The group began about three years ago with Brenda Horton, who eventually moved locations and passed the gauntlet to Redd and Machen MacDonald with the later addition of co-organizer Suzie Daggett.
During that time, the group expanded from 100 members to 311.
“There’s no cost to attend, no cost for membership, and we are on a donation basis, so we can rent the room and take care of things and bring in subject matter. Experts either from nearby or from people as far away as San Francisco, Tahoe and Reno, come down to share with us their insights on how to grow,” said MacDonald, who is the owner of ProBrilliance Leadership Institute, a business planning company.
Nevada County Online is funded through donations and is a volunteer-based effort, he said.
“It’s a great group of people, a service and offering and gathering that people are craving.
“The different business organizations that are out there don’t provide this expertise, and we’ve actually been able to collaborate with the chambers (of commerce) and Economic Resource Council.”
The group is not limited to just business owners, as anyone marketing a service or product can benefit from the meetings, MacDonald said.
“As an example, we have a couple authors in there who … learn to market their books through social media and having a website and learn how to drive traffic. We’ve had health care providers, holistic providers who benefit from the group as well, so it’s not just for businesses, but really anybody that’s offering a service of some kind that’s wanting to get it out there into social media or online.”
One such author who said he benefited from the meeting was Jim Britt, author of 12 books and CEO of Jim Britt International, a personal empowerment and business company.
“It’s actually kind of taken my business to a new level because going into it, I didn’t really know a lot about online marketing and how it all worked,” Britt said. “I’ve got a lot of presence on the web, but I didn’t know what to do with it. I started going about a year ago, I think, and every time, I learn something brand new.
“I’m sure just going there alone has probably increased my sales online 50,000 or 60,000.”
One meeting involved a round-table panel discussion from several experts, as organized by Ina Lejins of DigitalMarketing BusinessServices.com.
“This year we decided to start off the new year with a round-table format, which was very well-received,” Lejins said. “I became involved as a way to help, and it sounded like something I’m interested in.
“I’m a digital marketer, so keeping on top of what’s new is important, and things change so fast with marketing online or businesses online, things are always evolving, so things have been really fun and helpful to learn and keep on top of things and meet people in the community.
“It’s always great to network with people in the community, and I’ve had some really great experiences, I’ve been able to help people with their businesses, and it’s brought me business.”
The meetings take place 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the last Tuesday of the month at Grass Valley Courtyard Suites at 210 North Auburn St. Meetings can only accommodate about 60 people, so signing up ahead of time is advised.
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.