Ecomomic & Business Development

Economic & Business Development

Digital Ready Businesses

Watch this introduction to online presence strategies

Purdue Extension Community Development’s Digital Ready initiative advances the capacity of small businesses to strengthen their knowledge and application of broadband strategies.

Through interactive workshops and online courses led by a statewide team of Purdue trainers, participants learn about the importance of the digital economy, how to incorporate digital strategies into the workplace and build technical knowledge.

Overview

Expand Your Business’s Online Presence

Digital Ready Business modules were designed to increase the online presence of small businesses and entrepreneurs, resulting in expanded customer engagement and increased profitability. Through these basic to intermediate level modules, participants receive in-depth instruction on how to get a business online in order to better reach existing customers and gain new customers.

How have the Digital Ready Businesses workshops helped businesses grow? When we asked workshop participants that question, this is what they told us:

  • 73%  increase in sales
  • 91%  increase in customer base
  • 100% increase in customer engagement

Over 90% of entrepreneurs and businesses participating in the Digital Ready Businesses workshops stated their knowledge of online presence strategies increased after completing the modules and recommended the series to others.

Modules

We offer twelve modules on online presence topics most relevant to entrepreneurs and small businesses. These modules can be taken “a la carte”, or you can take them all! Each module is no longer than an hour and includes a presentation and hands-on activities.

  • Claim Your Online Turf: Learn how to claim your bubble and identify multiple management/claiming bubble platforms, such as map platforms and review sites.
  • Website Basics: Learn how to create an online presence by learning key concepts, formats and content considerations by understanding what goes into planning and designing a website.
  • Search Engine Optimization: Study how search engines work, receive tips to improve your business’s SEO and learn about tools to test that it’s working.
  • Grow Your Virtual Customers: Identify, connect with, respond to, and expand virtual customers.
  • Digital Storefront: Discover the value of eCommerce, plan how to reach customers, learn how to setup a digital store, and identify strategies to market it.
  • Email Analytics and Marketing: Evaluate your email reach by understanding key indicators regarding email marketing, including conversion and ROI.
  • Podcasting 101: Learn about the types of podcasts, elements of a podcast, equipment needed, recording and editing process, hosting platforms, and how to create your audience.
  • How to Blog Successfully: Understand how blogs can help grow your business, the steps for a successful blog post, how to analyze reach, and best practices.
  • Introduction to Social Media: Find out how to identify the platform or platforms most suitable for your business by learning what social media is, what is available and how it differs from other digital platforms.
  • Social Media Plan & Content: Learn a six-step social media planning tool, benefits of social media and best practices regarding social media content.
  • Social Media Analytics and Marketing: Evaluate your reach and paid marketing by learning analytics key terms, Facebook Insights and ad campaigns.
  • Emerging Business Technologies: Learn the basic concepts behind artificial intelligence and what steps your business can take to take advantage of this technology in the future. Discuss trends, key concepts and case studies to introduce the use of augmented, virtual and mixed reality technology.

Participants who successfully finish all modules typically devote 20 hours to study, which includes about 14 hours of facilitated lectures and 6 hours of other coursework. Once you have completed all modules, you can apply for the Digital Ready Businesses Certificate!

Flexible Learning

We know you’re busy so we offer two ways to take modules through the Digital Ready course. You can choose one, or a combination of, the two options:

Course Prerequisites

Before taking a module, we recommend you view these brief videos in order to become better prepared:

Digital Ready Certificate

Earn a Digital Ready certificate to indicate proficiency in basic level business-related digital skills. A Digital Ready Businesses (DRB) certificate may be awarded upon completion of the required modules, successfully passing the quizzes to assess knowledge and completing a final project.

The final project will reinforce skills learned and provide you an opportunity to demonstrate your ability and skills in real-world experiences. Earning a Digital Ready certificate exhibits to employers that you have the competence needed for strategy, planning, management, promotion and measurement.

Final Project time investment is approximately 15-25 hours. Students have up to one month to complete their project. The total time commitment to earn the certificate is around 35-45 hours. This includes completion of the 12 modules and final project.

Cost

Purchase modules individually, or save money by buying the package:

  • Indiana residents
    • $25/module or $250 for the package
    • Certificate: $225
  • Non-Indiana residents
    • $30/module or $300 for the package
    • Certificate: $250

Business Testimonials

Stories from a few small businesses after implementing strategies learned from the Digital Ready Businesses workshops:

“The information was very helpful in how to market on each platform. We have a long way to go but at least now have a plan in place! Since our workshop I started concentrating on Facebook and Instagram with the help of my daughter. She started to post daily even though our content/backdrop was not exactly how we wanted it we have played along tweaking as we go. We grew Facebook from 1547 to 2079 and Instagram 676 to 2013 so far!”

“When photos are posted, we see a direct increase in traffic.”

“I’m doing PR and their business has expanded.”

“Our services in particular have improved and we have become more aware of how to improve engagement with customers.”

“The Digital Ready workshops helped put additional social media information in my hands that I didn’t know were available before.”

“This was a great series of workshops, especially for those just beginning their business.”

“Our business has increased in the 1st year!”

Resources

Team

Roberto Gallardo
Director, Purdue Center for Regional Development, and Community and Regional Economics Specialist, Extension
robertog@purdue.edu
Cheri Brown
Extension Educator, Blackford County
brow1334@purdue.edu
Claire Collett
Economic Development Manager, Boone County
Claire@betterinboone.org
Emily Del Real
Engagement Specialist
edelreal@purdue.edu
Mary Foell
Extension Educator, LaPorte County
mfoell@purdue.edu
Cheyanne Geideman
Engagement Specialist
cgeidema@purdue.edu
Tanya Hall
Regional Extension Educator
tjhall@purdue.edu
Nicholas Held
Extension Educator, Spencer County
nheld@purdue.edu
Bill Horan
Extension Educator, Wells County
horan@purdue.edu
Jeff Pell
Extension Educator, Hendricks County
jpell@purdue.edu 
Julie Rigrish
Regional Coordinator, Purdue Center for Regional Development
jrigrish@purdue.edu
Hans Schmitz
Extension Educator, Posey County
hschmitz@purdue.edu
Heather Strohm
Community Development Regional Educator
strohmh@purdue.edu
Jose Valtierra
Extension Educator, Lake County
jvaltier@purdue.edu
Kristi Whitacre
Extension Educator, Vigo County
kwhitacr@purdue.edu
Elisa Worland
Extension Educator, Wayne County
eworland@purdue.edu

Contact

To learn more about Digital Ready Businesses, contact:

Roberto Gallardo

Roberto Gallardo

Director, Purdue Center for Regional Development, and Community and Regional Economics Specialist, Extension

robertog@purdue.edu
765-494-3525

Emily Del Real

Emily Del Real

Engagement Specialist

edelreal@purdue.edu
765-496-3431

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