NB: This piece will be published in the Career Moves section of the Evening Echo on Monday 24 March 2008

We all know how important training is to a successful career. Lifelong learning has become a bit of a “buzzword”, but we shouldn’t let its overuse dilute its significance. Whether it’s learning to use a new software package, how to implement the latest Health and Safety regulations or how to better mange our time, training helps us to realise our potential, and the right training can really give us a leg-up the career ladder.

The trouble, of course, is that these days we never seem to have enough time for learning… because were all so busy doing. People are chasing their tails from nine-to-five trying to cram 12 hours worth of of work into an eight hour day. And they’re the lucky ones – for many eight-to-six is a more likely scenario. We don’t even have time for a proper lunch break, let alone to contemplate a couple of days out to attend a training course.

How refreshing it is, then, when someone comes along and manages to shoehorn a couple of days worth of learning into an intensive half-day session. Talk about maximising the use of your valuable time.

Last week I was invited to attended just such an event – a half-day seminar on internet marketing at the Clarion Hotel in Cork. Called “Getting Results in Online Marketing”. It was being run by PraxisNow, one of Ireland’s leading internet marketing companies. This was a follow up seminar to the company’s seminal “Internet Marketing for 21st Century Business”, which I’d attended last October.

The internet is all pervading in business today, and a company website is practically de rigueur, but most webmasters and marketing managers know that their websites could be working so much harder for their business… they just don’t know how to make that happen.

To the uninitiated the world of online marketing can be a scary place. It’s shrouded in mystery – an arcane world of search engines, keywords and a legion of confusing acronyms. But with online stealing more of the marketing budget every year, if you have a career in marketing, are a business owner or look after the company website then you absolutely need to know this stuff.

Enter John and Noel Coburn of Praxis Now with their non-technical internet marketing seminars. The two seminars, each four hours long and both crammed with myth-busting, demystifying information, will open your eyes to the massive potential of the internet to drive targeted, pre-qualified business to your virtual door. And then they tell you how to make it happen.

The first seminar focusses on the basics of internet marketing and driving qualified visitors (traffic) to your website, the second more on what to do with that traffic when it arrives: how to turn visitors into something of tangible business value. The pace was frantic, the content intense, but at the same time absorbing and compelling.

John Coburn is something of an enigma. A presentation style that’s simultaneously energetic and relaxed shouldn’t be possible. It’s a contradiction; one that he manages to pull off effortlessly. As for the content, while there were one or two points that I wouldn’t necessarily agree with, on the whole this is an excellent follow up to the first seminar.

“Internet Marketing for 21st Century Business” will give you a superb grounding in the basics of online marketing, “Getting Results in Online Marketing” takes things to the next logical level, covering things like how highly focussed landing pages can help convert traffic into measurable results, how to build relevance and authority in the eyes of users and search engines, and much more besides.

If you want to get more out of your website, or are looking for a thorough grounding in Internet Marketing, both seminars are well worth a look. For more details and seminar schedules visit the Praxis Now website or call 01 2360076.

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