Going to School for Local Search- GetlistedU

How does anyone learn things, these days-school of course. In continuing my topic of local search DIY (do it yourself),  I interviewd my good friend David Mihm about his GetListedUniversity. This appears to be an excellent opportunity for small business owners to get some hands on training in local search.  Getlisted, just recently expanded to include a UK branch. If you are interested in see if a class is coming near you, David has provided his contact info below.

Q. What is Getlisted University?
A. Local University is essentially a four-hour crash course for business owners in local search engine marketing.  We bring in Google Places and Bing Local reps for the day, along with some top-notch experts in Local SEO, and try to get business owners up to speed, as best we can, for how to get found online.

Q. Why did you start it?
A. Mike Blumenthal, Mary Bowling, and I started tossing around the idea of a Local roadshow at SMX East last fall–an idea that Pat Sexton and I had discussed internally since before we even started what became GetListed.org.  All of us were committed to getting beyond the search marketing community, right to business owners, to cut through the snake oil and bogus internet marketing sales pitches they receive every day.

Q. Who should attend?
A.  Our seminars are definitely geared towards business owners themselves, but we’ve had considerable interest from chambers of commerce, offline media, and online marketing agencies who have sent their clients or member business owners–and in some cases junior employees or account managers.

Q. What should one realistically expect to get out of the course/seminar?
A.  We hope that attendees leave with an overall idea of how the search engines work–especially for local keywords–and a few tactics they can implement immediately to get their business to rank better.

Q. Is it just another sales pitch?
A.  We’re 100% sales-pitch-free.  Every tool, product, and service we talk about in our presentations is a legitimate recommendation, and none of the speakers are shilling for more clients.  In fact, our goal is to partner with local marketers and agencies so that business owners have someone to talk to in their own area after we leave town.  I think we all have a pretty good reputation in the search community, but outside of our little world, we’re not exactly known entities :).  So we’re really proud of the number attendees who have remarked to us “You guys really knew your stuff–it was great that it wasn’t a sales pitch” or something along those lines.

Q. Where will you be having your next seminar(s)?
A.  We’re geared towards less traditional (and more affordable) venues than those of the typical SEO conference circuit.  So next up are Cleveland/Northeast Ohio (June 30), Denver and New Orleans in the fall, and Phoenix in the winter.  We’d love to do events in towns even smaller than that, but it seems like we need a critical mass of business owners
in order to break even on our travel expenses.  We’re still trying to find out what that critical mass is, though & are open to entertaining ideas from any area.

Q. If folks want more info, where should they go?
A. We put up a landing page a couple months ago http://getlisted.org/university which has some high-level bullet points, but people can feel free to email me at david@getlisted.org if they’d prefer, too.

Q.  In your opinion, how realistic is it for SMBs to DIY local search?
A. I think it’s very realistic for the ones who are motivated.  A lot of SMB’s do need their hands held by a trusted (and trustworthy) advisor but there are an incredible number of low- or no-cost positive steps that they can take to get themselves started.  As the online space becomes more competitive, or more sophisticated, they may need more help, but one of the things that I love most about the local search world is that there ARE so many non-technical things business owners can do to improve their visibility, without even touching their websites.  They just need a push in the right direction–which we hope to give them with Local U!

Thanks David for your time and hope to see GetlistedU in my neck of the woods soon.