In an age of growing reliance on the internet, businesses are expected to maintain a strong online presence. Customers rely on most businesses to be online so they can contact them for services and read reviews, just as businesses want to attract the users using the Internet to their companies.
David Schuchman and John Biancamano are looking to teach business owners with emerging companies how to master this aspect of marketing, which cannot be ignored even by small, local enterprises. They will be co-teaching a single session class at Princeton Adult School titled “Digital Marketing for Small Businesses” on Tuesday, November 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Princeton High School. The course costs $30. For more information, or to enroll in other Princeton Adult School classes, visit www.princetonadultschool.org, call 609-683-1101, or E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schuchman’s professional career stems from information technology (IT). He has worked mostly as a programmer and later in management technology, always working for a company. Apart from this, he spent about three years managing the public data center for an organization.
He attended Hofstra University on Long Island, where he received a bachelor’s degree in computer science. After getting laid off from his job in 2012, Schuchman struggled to find a permanent position in another company.
He decided to start his own consulting business, Princeton Technology Advisors. Though based in Princeton, Schuchman brings in clients from diverse locations. As an IT general contractor for the company, Schuchman refers clients to other professionals in the area who offer more specialized assistance.
Biacamano, the son of a bank teller mother and an electrical engineer father, grew up in Jersey City and has worked for technology companies for his entire career. He received a masters in electrical engineering and has worked in product development for tech companies as well as in consulting for marketing e-commerce. He is also the chairman of Princeton SCORE, a non-profit resource that works closely with the Small Business Administration.
Schuchman and Biacamano met about four years ago when they were both laid off and soon realized that they could be helpful to each other. Schuchman has been teaching at Princeton Adult School for two years and is involved with six different classes this year. He is also an instructor at Mercer County Community College.
Though Schuchman has taught marketing workshops in the past, this is the first time this class will be taught at Princeton Adult School. Biacamano and Schuchman decided to introduce the class at this type of atypical venue so that they could attract small businesses in a small classroom setting, allowing for close discussion and interaction.
Schuchman expects variety in the types of students who will enroll in the course.
“Our expectation is that this will be a small business owner who is probably either at the beginning stages of a business and they want to find effective ways to promote their business, their services, and their offerings,” Schuchman says. “It could also be a business but has been active for a period of time, maybe a few years, and they are now ready to take their business to the next step.”
Biacamano, who teaches a two-hour seminar for SCORE, usually can expect around 20 students to participate in the class. He says that anywhere between four and 20 students would be the ideal size for the class, which would allow valuable discussion throughout the session.
The class will cover concepts of digital marketing and offer suggestions regarding how small businesses can begin. This includes a collection of various sites and forms that may be beneficial for business to promote their initiatives. Among these sites are several platforms of social media.
“We will start by talking about what trends are driving businesses today because digital marketing and online marketing are so important today,” Biacamano says. “All of the components we’ll talk about fall under the umbrella of digital marketing, so all the pieces we’re using will help to promote the business.”
The instructors will then discuss search engine optimization and other strategies for gauging how customers are responding to these efforts by companies.
In the future, Schuchman and Biacamano say they are interested in offering other courses depending on how this intro-level class is received by students. Because both of them have experience teaching small classes, they are also open to helping students individually once the session is over.
“Since this is the first time we’re doing this program in this venue, we thought an intro/overview type of class would be a good start for a small business,” Schuchman says. “Because each of us has a background in assisting small businesses, anyone that would want to contact us afterwards would be able to as well.”
“My big takeaway from this course is that you need to be online to be able to promote your business,” Biacamano says.
He recognizes that business owners often recognize the tools necessary for improving the company’s presence online — such as social media — but they do not have the skills to utilize these tools.
Even businesses that rely on referrals for customers need an online presence so that customers can read reviews and feel secure that they are receiving the services they want. Companies that do not stay active on the internet lose a lot of potential business in this way.
“When you go back to years ago, businesses usually had an ad in the Yellow Pages phonebook and there is essentially no real Yellow Pages phonebook anymore,” Schuchman says. “Companies that can’t be found electronically are socially irrelevant.”