I recently attended the Online Marketing Summit: Boston, where marketers from all over Massachusetts met up to learn and discuss the newest trends in online marketing (and new spins on some older trends). This was my first summit/conference/etc, so I won’t lie to you; I was a little bit nervous. Having no idea what to expect, who to expect, or if having expectations was at all necessary; off I went. Here are the top 8 things that I learned from this event.
8. Don’t Take the D Train into Boston.
At least don’t start further away from Boston than the Reservoir stop. Unless you enjoy marveling at “Station Closed” signs and bus rides to the nearest T stop. It’s a long bus ride through the beautiful towns of Newton and Brookline, but such sightseeing will cause an unknowing commuter to arrive at certain Online Marketing Summits 30 minutes late. Or so I have heard.
7. What Do You Wear to a Summit!?
My suit needed to be dry cleaned. My official clothing advisor (the girlfriend) gave me “that look” when I walked in with a blue button-down and blue dress pants. So khaki’s and a collared shirt won out, and I looked like everyone else there. Crisis averted.
6. Search Engine Marketers Have an Undying Love Affair with Acronyms.
In case CPC, PPC, ROI, SEO, SEM, CPM, and CTR weren’t enough, you may want to add SMO to your vocabulary: Social Media Optimization. It is the way in which you can use social media to optimize your site. From having your content on the front page of Digg, to simply having a forum on your site where consumers can start dialogs with each other as well as company representatives. Social media is here to stay, and the faster you stumbleupon the bandwagon, the faster you can furl yourself to the top. (Shameless, I know.)
5. Clicks and Traffic are Not Measures of Success.
We all know deep down that this is true, but still there’s just something about BIG numbers that skews our thinking. In the end it’s all about the bottom line. How many conversions is a campaign producing? If you get 75 clicks but 50 conversions as opposed to 2000 clicks but only 20 conversions the 75 click campaign, despite it’s low traffic, is a keeper. So throw those data sheets of clicks and traffic away, focus on your bottom line.
4. Podcasts. Podcast. Podcasts.
If you have a 30 page whitepaper and it’s too chock full of knowledgy goodness to cut down. Podcast. If you just spent $15,000 on a whitepaper and want to get it to as many people as possible. Podcast. If you have any written material, video, or audio piece that you want people to know about. Podcast! For very little money (in the grand scheme of things) you can hire a good voice talent to read every piece of written material you own. People love having someone else do the reading for them. The demand for podcast business articles is still low (because there’s nothing out there to read so no one’s looking), but expect it to be on the rise as more and more companies begin to tap into this valuable channel.
(PS- Video Podcasts and YouTube uploads = free video distribution to potentially millions. Why wouldn’t you?)
3. 48 Hour Leads.
No, it’s not a new Fox spin-off or news team investigation show. It’s your window of opportunity to jump on your web produced leads. Remember the last time you bought something online. You probably had a confirmation email before you closed the browser. This is the type of response time people want from their online interactions. If you don’t contact your online leads within 48 hours of receiving their information you’ve lost ½ your money. Visualize half your campaign budget in a briefcase (that’s pretty isn’t it?). Now light that briefcase on fire and leave it in the dumpster (not as pretty anymore). That’s what happens to your money when you waste leads. So hurry up and read the last two so you can go contact them! Now!
2. It’s All in the Titles
This is where the user makes a key decision to start consuming your article/video/whitepaper…or not. The title has to make them want to read more. Tell them why they need this knowledge. Tell them what they’re going to learn. Tell them in as few words as possible. If this article was entitled “A Basic Overview of Some of the Key Speaking Points Brought Up at the Online Marketing Summit in Boston” Would you have made it this far?
1. Usability is King.
Find out how consumers use your site- Why do they use your site. How can you tailor your site to optimize that experience? When you can answer that and address it you will be giving the user exactly what they need.
Align URLs to Ads – When a user clicks on a digital camera ad they don’t want to see your homepage. They want to see a digital camera. Give it to them.
Don’t Analyze Time on Site– A user could have spent 30 minutes on your site because they were actively consuming ALL your content (good). Because they were wading through a confusing navigation system looking for some buried page (bad). Because they went to use the bathroom and left the browser open (could be good or bad…I don’t know the guy). The point is there’s very little use in the time on site statistic because it doesn’t tell you how users are using your site, or if they’re even using it. It only tells you browser open/browser close.
Keep it Simple– If a user has to go through a 3 page full life story registration process you will be losing so many potential leads. Keep your pages simple, quick, and easy and see instant results.
If you didn’t have a chance to attend the Online Marketing Summit at least now you have a few key tips and tools to keep in mind when trying to make your online marketing campaign provide the most bang for your buck.