As I was introducing DigitalGroundUp at our booth at Techweek Launch, something struck me as I was explaining the decisions I've made. I want to share that thing with you.
DigitalGroundUp exists for a reason, a reason that extends beyond money. I truly believe, with everything in my heart, that something is wrong today -- both in the small business world and in digital marketing. Both sides need to come together to be successful -- and yet they are currently miles apart. Small businesses need to have an online presence to compete in today's economy. They need to be found when people search for them and have a social media presence to manage their reputation and customers. But they have no idea how to do this, and no one is really trying to teach them. Meanwhile, digital marketing agencies, consultants and specialists hawk their wares, knowing that there is a premium on their services because these businesses need it to be successful and can't do it themselves.
But there's a problem here, because most small businesses and entrepreneurs can't afford the cost behind an agency or a consultant or making another full-time hire, which can start around $60k per year. Sometimes they try to and fail, leading to a lot of turnover on the digital marketing side within small businesses, something I've witnessed over the last 4 years I've spent in Chicago start ups. Other times, they don't - and usually suffer the consequences as businesses.
This isn't okay, and it benefits neither side. Agencies aren't losing business -- it's business that they wouldn't have wanted in the first place. Small businesses are losing money -- do it yourself can be a challenge in a highly competitive and fast changing industry, especially when the resources are behind the people with the money and the ad spend. I don't mean this in a "how could you" kind of way -- no one is to blame for the state of things -- but we can stand up as a community to make things better.
DigitalGroundUp is here to help educate small businesses online on their own time and at prices they can afford. People tell me our course prices are low and they are, but they are that way so that small business professionals, unemployed college grads, students and sole practitioners can all take the courses and all gain this absolutely vital information. Knowledge is power and there's no reason we can't all benefit from disseminating it.