BUSINESSES were guided through the world of online marketing at an event hosted by the Daily Echo.

Three seminars, led by digital marketing expert Rachael Dunn, took people through the areas they should consider when making a digital marketing plan.

The free events took place at the Hotel Miramar on Bournemouth’s East Cliff.

Vincent Boni, Newsquest’s regional managing director covering Dorset, said: “The last 10 years have seen for all of us an evolution on an unprecedented scale. The world of the media has changed beyond all recognition and I guess your businesses have as well.”

He told how Newsquest itself was in the digital marketing business, through its company ReachLocal.

“Newsquest has spent tens of millions of pounds on buying this digital marketing company who are now part of Newsquest and they’re the leading digital marketing business in the world,” he said.

“There’s a mad amount of advice out there. Everybody’s an expert. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s possible to spend an enormous amount of money and get very little back from it. We like to think you see us as people you can trust. We’ve been here for 100 years.”

He added: “Much to people’s pronouncements to the contrary about the newspaper business, it isn’t in decline. We’ve never been as strong as we are now.”

He told how Newsquest’s brands had 70 per cent penetration in their local communities, and the Daily Echo in Bournemouth had 1.3million unique browsers a month online.

Editor Andy Martin said: “I’m very proud of the Daily Echo that lands on my desk every morning at six o’clock following 24 hours of really hard work by our team in the preceding day. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get a paper out every single day.”

He said he was proud of all the group’s print titles and also of the digital platform. The paper was attracting 11million to 15 million page views a month, with a record in June 2016 of 20million.

“Our audience, combined print and digital, has never been bigger,” he said.

“My belief as editor is that quality journalism is the key to a successful paper, whether that’s in print or online.

“The reporters don’t just gather news and write stories as they did when I joined the business in 1988. They write, they take pictures, they film video on their phones, they upload their stories to the website, they promote their stories on social media and they even write their stories on to the page – it’s called write to shape. 

“They deliver more than ever and they deliver faster than ever.”

Rachael Dunn began by talking about the three kinds of online presence – owned, earned and bought.

It was important to begin with your own website that was mobile-friendly and had good loading times, in order to satisfy Google’s algorithms.

She stressed the importance of having measurable and realistic objectives in any web strategy.

“Any good digital marketing company or reputable person looking after your activity should be setting out realistic goals to give a realistic overview of how much you need to spend to acquire a certain amount of customers,” she said.