Inspiration. It’s what prompts you to keep a notebook by your bedside in case 3:00 a.m. ideas strike. It’s that feeling you get after reading a post from your favorite entrepreneur. Most of all, inspiration is what drives you to do what you love and do it better than the next person.
SearchLove San Diego’s recent conference at Paradise Point left attendees with notebooks and minds full of inspiration and a game plan to help grow their businesses in a meaningful, strategic way.
The stunning venue overlooked Mission Bay and was trumped in impressiveness only by the extensive roster of renown speakers. The list included the ever-popular Rand Fishkin, the insightful Chris Savage and the savvy Mike King. Rob Ousbey and his team at Distilled truly outdid themselves.
Feeling left out? You shouldn’t! I’ve detailed my favorite tips from speakers below, just for you.
1) John Gagnon @gmgagnon #SearchLove: ‘Trends and Techniques for Marketers and Data Geeks’
Gagnon is Senior SEM Manager and Digital Marketing Lead for Microsoft
Gagnon is a Bing Ads evangelist who spoke passionately about the importance of context. He talked about building a predictable strategy, using ‘Black Friday’ as an example. Each industry has its own ‘Black Friday.’ Gagnon suggested figuring out the seasons of the different industries and the context to build strategies. Once you’ve determined this, you can find moments of “exponential profitability.” He stressed the importance of seasonality, breaking it down into “predictable and measurable micro-events.”
- Context is vital to unlock profitability
- Work hard for top spots on mobile
- Statically, you get 32% more clicks if you run rank at the top in PPC and Organic spots
My favorite tool from Gagnon’s talk:
TableAU/ A free software for data visualization
2) Simon Penson @simonpenson #SearchLove: ‘Using the Machine to Target the Man – A Guide to Laser Targeted Content Strategy’
Penson is Founder and Owner of Zazzle Media
Penson spoke about creating a data driven content strategy. As Penson says, “Nothing of value dies, it just changes form.” We need to be prepared to embrace changes as they unfurl. We have search and social data that can tell us exactly who we are talking to. That’s powerful stuff. We should use it to our advantage.
- Facebook Graph Search* is the future and has vastly improved recently – it’s a great way to scour social data
- Understand where your product or brand fits into someone’s natural life and conversation (ethnography)
- Google allows you to target via ‘affinity segments’ so you can target people instead of keywords
*Here’s an example of how to use Facebook Graph Search:
EX: Search: Favorite interests of people who like “fan page”
EX: Movies watched by people that like “Fan page”
EX: Restaurants visited by people who like “Fan page”
My favorite tools from Penson’s talk:
Audience-Centric Content Strategy Toolkit
Freebase A community-curated database of well-known people, places, and things
Fresh Web Explorer by Moz Analyze mentions of your brand, competitors, and keywords
3) Adria Saracino @adriasaracino #SearchLove: ‘Beyond Manual Outreach: How to Leverage ALL Content Distribution Channels’
Saracino is Head of Content Strategy for Distilled
Saracino spoke about outreach and echoed the popular sentiment that ‘Content is King’, but added that it needs distribution. Social media holds a wealth of knowledge to help you understand and target your audience. As Saracino says, “Embrace the creepiness of Facebook!” Saracino’s talked blended strategies to improve content and distribute it effectively to a targeted audience.
- Use Outbrain or UsabilityHub to split test headlines
- Visit popular websites like BuzzFeed and analyze which CTA’s might work for your brand
- Install Open Graph Meta Protocol to control how your content is shared on Facebook
- Use YouTube to see who embedded your videos
- If you have a Google+ page with over 1000 followers you can use hover ads
- Target bloggers that already follow you using FollowerWonk (sift through bios that have ‘writer’ ‘editor’ or ‘blogger’)
- Monitor (stalk) journalists on Quora then target them on LinkedIn or Facebook
My favorite tools from Saracino’s presentation:
Resonance A tool to help set up retargeting and content mapping
Kaggle A platform for data prediction competitions
4) Chris Savage @csavage #SearchLove: ‘Why your Next Hire Should be a Video Producer’
Savage is CEO and co-founder of Wistia
Savage shared his passion for videos and shared how to create ‘conversation videos.’ Video production tends to be scary because it is expensive and complex. But videos can be easily measured. Having an in-house video team can help capture culture and personality. Videos can convey your brand’s message in a lively, powerful way.
- Follow Common Craft for an example of conversation videos done well
- Take a new look at Kickstarter – it’s basically nothing but conversation videos
- Mixer Direct is another great company to follow for video inspiration
- Try using drones, like Hexo+, to take creative videos
- Visit http://Wistia.com/community to connect with producers, share work, ask questions and watch videos
Take a leap of faith. As Savage says, “With in-house video production you are free to fail so you can take more risks.”
5) Justine Jordan @meladorri #SearchLove: ‘Designed for Success: Optimizing the Email Experience’
Jordan is Marketing Director at Litmus
Jordan gave great insight into creating clickable emails. She seeks to abolish the word “BLAST” from our email vocabulary. “Email is direct quantitative and real-time,” Jordan explained adding, “Email is not dead, it’s a moneymaker, it’s a way to engage with your users and build relationships.”
- Make sure you are sending your emails in multipart mime. Have the pretty part with all html and graphics, then a version of straight text
- Pre-header shows up in about 75% of email inboxes
- Take a more creative, problem-solving approach to “are you having trouble viewing this email?” prompts
- Any font less than 13 px is auto resized by iOSMy
My favorite tools from Jordan’s presentation:
Guide to email image blocking
Guide to bulletproof buttons in email designs
Email marketing plan
6) Adam Monago @adammonago #SearchLove: ‘Responsive Delivery: Effective Practices for Digital First Organizations’
Monago is VP Digital Strategy at ThoughtWorks, Inc.
Monago spoke about the “Principles of Mission” which expresses the importance of having strong leadership that sets the tone and vision for a company. It also means letting the staff iron out the details.
- Feature toggles, aka configuration flags, allows you to turn features on your website on and off
- The demands on our content are increasing and you have to adapt
- Your team’s content delivery approach needs to be responsive to change and ﬂexible enough to deal with changing business needs
7) Krista Seiden @KristaSeiden #SearchLove: ‘Building a Culture of Optimization: Tips for Accelerating Your Testing Program Through Cultural Change’
Seiden is Product Marketing Manager at Google
Seiden spoke about creating a culture of Search and how to build optimization by having your entire organization involved. By gathering ideas and sharing data, this allows them to help analyze efforts effectively.
- True testing is better than “time testing” which doesn’t account for all variables
- “Content Experiments” is an A/B/n testing tool integrated in Google Analytics. The setup is easy: Choose objectives, tell it what goals you are driving towards and what percentage to split traffic at
- Use a fake goal when setting up a “content experiment” in Google Analytics to run longer than 2 weeks
My favorite tool from Seiden’s presentation:
A/B split testing tool
8) Mark Johnstone @epicgraphic #SearchLove: ‘Ideas with Legs: How to Make Content that People will Share’
Johnstone is the VP of Creative at Distilled
Johnstone shared insights into creating content that will attract and retain your target audience, as well as journalists.
- Journalists will cover the same content over and over again. Your topic doesn’t always need to be super unique
- When pitching journalists/clients don’t just pitch ideas show them visuals
- Keep things on track: simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, tell a story
Remember: Old Spice and Red Bull were once ‘boring’ brands. They found something relevant and interesting to build upon and created powerful brand stories.
9) Dana DiTomaso @danaditomaso #SearchLove: ‘Taking Down your Local Competition’
DiTomaso is a Digital Marketing Partner at Kick Point
DiTomaso shared her top tips for finding potential local clients, what to report on to help you retain current clients and techniques for creating pages that rank.
- Don’t report on page ranking–it’s a data trap
- Every page should have name address phone (NAP), phone/location in title and what’s the domain authority
- Place pages that are complete are more likely to rank than those that are not, that means you need video
- Don’t citation build once and then never citation build again. You need consistency, volume and accuracy
- There is a Yelp coordinator in every city – get in touch with them, find them on Twitter – they might host a Yelp event at your business
My favorite tools from DiTomaso’s presentation:
PlacesScout Use the tool within PlacesScout called ‘Find local clients’ to find new clients and for competitive analysis
WhiteSpark Manage and optimize your local search presence and reach
10) Mike Pantoliano @MikeCP #SearchLove: ‘It’s Customer Lifetime Value, Not Cookie Lifetime Value’
Pantoliano is Marketing Director at Ookla
Pantoliano gave the SearchLove audience strategies to acquire new customers and discover what it takes to retain them.
- Social sign ons are a must: “86 percent of people report that it’s super annoying to create a new account”
- Upload customer lifetime value into Google Analytics
- Go to Data Set Type – Can go into Cost Data, User Data, etc outside of Adwords and create advanced segments
11) Mike King @ipullrank #SearchLove: ‘Automation Demystified’
King was formerly Director of Marketing and Strategy at iAcquire
King says that “marketing automation is the intersection of audience research, content strategy, code and analytics.” It contributes to content marketing ROI. Personalization is the key. People complain about big data, but it’s been shown that people want information to be catered to their preferences.
- Marketing automation contributes to content marketing ROI
- Align content with user journey–your content has to make sense
- Build measurable user segments (like personas) to help figure out who to market to
- Have different tones and touch points for different users and push toward the next content goal
My favorite tool’s from King’s presentation:
TowerData Profile your subscribers to improve personalization and segmentation, reactivate dormant subscribers and increase response rates
Full Contact Import and export contacts from all of your address books
11) Lisa Gerber @lisagerber #SearchLove: ‘The SEO of storytelling’
Gerber is CEO of Big Leap Creative
Content is what fuels your brand’s story. Gerber spoke about the power of creating a unique, compelling brand story through content. Great content solves problems for your audience. Ask yourself ‘Are you creating value for your customers?’
- Know what your business’ story is and explain your happy ending, i.e. Weber Grill “Grill the perfect steak”
- Get reviews, get check ins, get case studies and share these stories via case studies, white papers, etc
- The most important on page SEO factor is start title with keyword
- Add modifiers to your title – like “2014” “best of” “guide” and “review” to help rank for long tail version of the keyword
- Longer content ranks significantly better, according to Advertising Age
- Sprinkle LSI keywords (latent semantic keywords)
- Earn traffic from social networks
12) Rand Fishkin @randfish #SearchLove: ‘Cracking the SEO Code for 2015: Tactics to Love vs. Leave’
Fishkin is CEO and Founder of Moz
“Critical SEO data still flows for the 1 percent (big brands!),” says Fishkin. But what about the little guys? Google is incredibly brand-focused. AdWords’ Exact Match is no longer exact. Google Analytics sampling is pervasive unless you pay. Is there a light at the end of the SEO tunnel for small biz?
Yes. Fishkin shared his best practices for navigating Google’s algorithm.
- Instead of using keyword research tools to expand, start with Search (news, images, YouTube)
- Take the concepts, topics, intents, popular stories and aggregate them into a keyword list
- Instead of grouping keywords by targeting and ranking ability, group keywords by overlap in Search intent
- Rather than building anchor text, go build relationships
- Create content that is uniquely valuable and provides information that’s unavailable or hard to get elsewhere, like Zillow for real estate
- Make sure your website has a great user experience and it’s enjoyable to navigate
- Craft web content that engines can interpret as on-the-topic to the searcher’s intent and phrasing
- Measurability is inversely Correlated with opportunity
My favorite tools from Fishkin’s presentation:
Conspire Conspire tells you exactly how to get the best introduction to whoever you want to meet — a customer, employer or investor
BuzzSumo Analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor and find the key influencers to promote your contentSocial authority
Whew! I know that’s a lot of information. If you have questions about the conference or presentations, I’m happy to share more of my experience with you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org