Digital Marketing Center (DMC) is a nonprofit organization which is trying to close the workforce gap in digital marketing skills and help other nonprofits and small companies that do not have the resources to market themselves. Their model is simple: they provide in-person training to people who want to upgrade their qualifications and establish partnerships with organizations in need of a digital marketing makeover.
DMC’s curriculum is based on three different tracks covering everything from social media, web analytics, to handling AdWords campaigns. In just over a year of operations, the nonprofit organization already helped more than 100+ people get digital marketing skills.
Read the interview with Jonathan Day, Executive Director of DMC, where we talked about the power of ratings and reviews, how they can help small businesses and what is the effect of displaying star rating below your Google Ads.
eKomi: Tell us more about DMC? How did the idea for a nonprofit organization teaching digital marketing came around?
Jonathan: Around two years ago I was at a networking event where I met Mark Galvin (currently the president of our Board of Directors). At the time he was running an incubator firm and realized that finding resources and people with digital marketing skills is the biggest challenge his company ever had. So, me and Mark had a chat and laid down an idea of a center of excellence, which would teach people these skills through practice. So that was the idea that came to become DMC.
Today our organization has two primary missions: The first one is closing the job skills gap, through teaching people digital marketing skills. And second is helping small businesses and nonprofits advertise and grow.
eKomi: And can you tell us more about your education program? I am especially interested in the concept of an”experiential learning program”.
Jonathan: The concept of “experiential learning” can be summarized into three words which are “learning by doing”. Of course, everyone can watch video tutorials of how to work with AdWords but a lot of people learn better by practicing. Our model is based on instructors walking you through the whole process while you are doing it on your laptop. If a student has problems he/she can immediately ask questions. After completing the course in approximately six weeks you already have some hands-on experience.
eKomi: You teach small companies how to use digital marketing- Would you recommend that they collect and display ratings and reviews in the early stage of developing their business and why?
Jonathan: Absolutely! Businesses in early stages of development are still learning. And collecting product and/or seller ratings and reviews can be a great tool to understand what they are doing right and what they’re not, it is a form of market research really. In that case negative reviews can be a great teacher and since we are talking about “young” businesses, they can easily change course and improve.
eKomi: You have a lot of experience in digital marketing (more than 15 years), can you tell us from your perspective why is it important for a company to collect and display ratings and reviews.
Jonathan: Consumers nowadays are very well-informed. It is not a secret that before buying a product or using a service most of the clients are doing their research and part of that research is reading reviews and looking at the star rating of a company. In that line of thought if a company has zero reviews online for many prospects that will be a red flag.
Collecting seller and product ratings and reviews is important but so is the quantity of those reviews and ratings. Let’s say if I, as a customer, am looking through Yelp for a restaurant and have a choice between two establishments, one has 5 stars and 5 reviews, and the other has 4.4 stars and a hundred reviews I will go to the latter restaurant because of the value the quantity of the reviews is bringing. I am more inclined to trust the opinion of larger sample of customers than the one of a smaller audience.
eKomi: And what is your opinion about negative feedback?
Jonathan: Many small and medium sized businesses are scared to collect ratings and reviews because they don’t want the negative feedback to be public. However,negative feedback can be useful and provides extra authenticity for a company. As I mentioned earlier, negative reviews can be a great teacher and a source of inspiration for what can be improved in your business model.
Negative feedback is not scary and if treated properly it can have a positive effect. If a company does not ignore the given feedback and responds to it by writing back, correcting their mistake, and learning, that is a more powerful message than only having positive reviews.
eKomi: In more specific terms, one of the courses of DMC’s curriculum deals exclusively with AdWords campaigns- so as an expert can you tell us how can ratings and reviews increase the effectiveness of your ads? According to Google, displaying star rating under your Google Ads can increase your Click-Through-Rate by 17%!
Jonathan: Well, displaying star rating does in fact make your ads a lot more attractive to click on. This increases traffic coming to your website. Even only having a few collected ratings and reviews improves the CTR andshowing a good rating can really make a huge difference.
eKomi: You are an eKomi partner since 2017- how did you hear about eKomi?
Jonathan: I got contacted by one of your sales consultants in early 2017. He was very friendly and willing to understand our needs as a nonprofit organization.
eKomi: What were your reasons to become our partner?
Jonathan: The most important feature of eKomi for me was that your company is an official Google Partner. We also liked the idea that you collect only verified reviews and give a platform to your clients to communicate with their customers and maintain their online reputation. And finally quite frankly just the fact that your company was willing to help and cooperate with a nonprofit organization’s budget was great plus.
eKomi previously has collaborated with DMC on a class focused on Ratings and Reviews and their benefits. The organization puts a lot of work into making their courses engaging, hands-on and practical, and it was a great experience to work with them! We endorse their model not only because it is innovative but also in-line with current labour market demands. Their students share our opinion as well (check their reviews here)! If you are looking to acquire digital marketing skills or you are a small business without the needed resources to advertise don’t hesitate to contact DMC at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (603) 769-3402.