Have you ever left a conference with the energy, excitement and newly attained knowledge still coursing through you? The Internet Marketing Experience, put on by the BlueGlass team, was one of those conferences. The experience was so positive that I feel obliged to share some of the highlights, as they pertain to online marketing, in hopes that others can benefit as well.
8 Takeaways from BlueGlass LA 2012
Instead of slapping all of the notes I took into this one blog post I thought I would make my takeaways a little more digestible.
Please note that none of the information are direct quotes from any of the speakers. The information is presented simply as my interpretation of the sessions I attended.
Takeaway #1: Predict the Future of SEO by Looking at Its Past
Many webmasters are scrambling right now to recover from recent Panda updates and webspam improvements in Google. Some experts, like Greg Boser and Jeff Preston, advocated the importance of being proactive. Avoiding these “catastrophes” is possible by doing proper research on Google’s past and future plans and by taking advantage of the constant updates and recommendations that Google publishes.
Stay updated on Google’s patent filings to allow yourself to be more proactive about upcoming changes to search and social
Greg Boser, President of BlueGlass Interactive
Take advantage of OpenGraph and Schema.org to showcase better snippets in Facebook and Google’s search results
Jeff Preston, SEO Manager for Disney Interactive Media Group
Takeaway #2: Better Marketing Messages Lead to More Conversions
As the competitive landscape continues to become more challenging and users grow more savvy of worn-out marketing tactics, actual conversions become more difficult to realize. Proven industry experts, like Mark Suster and Jason Nazar, proved that with the right marketing message and timing, exponential increases in conversion rates can be realized, even today.
Ads should be integrated, targeted, personal and measurable
Mark Suster, General Partner of GRP Partners
The most important thing to drive an action on a landing page is the headline, not the call to action button(s)
Jason Nazar, CEO and Co-Founder of DocStoc
Takeaway #3: Delivering Targeted Content to an Audience You Understand is Incredibly Effective
Many marketers make the mistake of marketing to an audience that they don’t really know that well. Chris Brogan and Brian Clark, both extremely well-respected marketers, reminded us that highly targeted content and marketing messages to an audience that you know inside and out can do wonders for your business. Couple those things with effective tools, like email marketing, and you all of a sudden have a marketing powerhouse working for you, not you working for it.
Brevity and simplicity are key to effective email marketing campaigns
Chris Brogan, President of Human Business Works
Don’t talk like an advertisement if you want results from email messages or landing pages
Brian Clark, CEO of CopyBlogger Media
Takeaway #4: It IS Still Possible to Build High Quality Links
Very few marketers enjoy link building. It is tedious, time consuming work. The results of high quality links are impossible to ignore though so Jon Henshaw and Jamie Steven, seasoned link building professionals, explained how a little creativity and a regimented approach can make effective link building possible.
Maintain a consistent process to find, manage and attain the best links
Jon Henshaw, Co-Founder and Director of Product Innovation at Raven Internet Marketing Tools
Some of the best links come from business development and relationship building
Jamie Steven, VP Marketing of SEOMoz
Takeaway #5: Stop Worrying About Data that You Don’t Have and Work with Data that You Do Have
Ever since Google decided to start encrypting its data for signed in users, the entire SEO industry was in an uproar. Marty Weintraub and Alan Bleiweiss reminded us that we need to stop fretting over what we can’t control and work with the data that we do have available to us. They even showed us some valuable workarounds and helped us to use data readily available to us to get to the same place.
Cross-reference Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics data to find valuable information about what phrases your visitors are using
Marty Weintraub, CEO of aimClear
Sometimes “not provided” data is not that valuable anyways. Look at what those visitors are doing on the site before worrying about what key phrase they used.
Alan Bleiweiss, Director of Search Services of Click2Rank
Takeaway #6: Good Customer Service Trumps PR
So many companies continue to put their focus in the wrong place when it comes to PR. Peter Shankman and Sonia Simone reminded us that great customer service will always be more effective than forced PR efforts. Simple things like being responsive to your customers, having an active presence in social media and involving customers in the creation of your content can go a lot further than the thousands of dollars that many companies still pay for PR.
Get good at writing headlines
Peter Shankman, Founder of Help a Reporter Out
If you want people to talk about what you’re doing, then do something epic
Sonia Simone, Co-Founder and CMO of Copyblogger Media
Takeaway #7: Leverage Creative Content to Market Your Business More Effectively
Content comes in many forms. From articles to videos to infographics, the more targeted and creative the content the more effective it will be. Content marketing pros, Hiten Shah and Dan Tynski, showed real world examples of content pieces they used to effectively market their businesses. Beautiful infographics that displayed useful data in a visually appealing way helped them realize more traffic and leads than most other marketing efforts.
Use content marketing to promote content marketing
Dan Tynski, Director of Marketing of BlueGlass Interactive
You need to know who your customers are and where they hang out online before you create content for them
Hiten Shah, CEO and Co-Founder of KISSMetrics
Takeaway #8: Build Your Website on WordPress
When asked if there was anything that they would not use WordPress for, both Joost de Valk and Andrew Norcross, didn’t hesitate for a second in saying, “No, I’d use WordPress for everything”. These were strong words coming from two highly respected WordPress experts who have seen and built it all when it comes to website development.
Keep your WordPress plugins to a minimum and only use ones from developers you trust
Joost de Valk, Freelance SEO Consultant and WordPress SEO Specialist
Use single serving WordPress plugins when possible, but build all simple plugins into your WordPress theme
Andrew Norcross, Senior WordPress Developer of BlueGlass Interactive
As mentioned previously, this conference was easily one of, if not, the best conference I have attended. The mix of expertise, location, planning and content made BlueGlass LA a true Internet Marketing experience for me. I encourage anyone interested in experiencing one of these for themselves to try and make the next conference in December of this year.
I would like to personally thank the entire BlueGlass team and all of the speakers that took time out their busy schedules to drop some actionable knowledge on everyone in attendance.
I took tons of notes, met some fantastic people and learned a bunch. If you’re interested in learning more about my experience and would like to keep the conversation going, then please do so in the comments section below.
Looking forward to the next event…
(all images are courtesy of BlueGlass)