Are You Ready for the 2014 SEO Conference Season?

Springtime means the beginning of the conference season. Whether you’re looking to learn more about social media, marketing, SEO, conversion, paid search or web design, there’s a conference that’s right for you. You might be asking yourself if it’s worth your time and money to attend a conference. Here are things you should consider if you do want to attend a conference this year:

seo-conference-season

Planning, Budgeting and Timing

Conferences are pricey when you have to consider the cost of admission, travel, housing and other extracurricular expenses. Unless you really do have the resources, it’s likely that you’ll attend 1 or 2 conferences a year. Make sure that you check out the agenda or list of speakers to make sure that you’re getting the most bang out of your buck. The timing of the conference shouldn’t coincide with anything big going at work. Which means that you should plan it so that you’re not freaking out over a big project or deadline while you’re at a conference.

Choosing the right conference means considering which topics will be most helpful to your business in the end. Sometimes, conferences can be quite general and appeal to the general audience. In this case, you might not want to spend your time at a conference like this but look into a more specialized and advanced conference or even a training program instead.

Show Clients You’re On Top Of Your Game

Let’s say that you own a social media company. The industry changes and is always in flux. Attending a social media conference shows that you’re interested in what’s relevant and value further education in the field. Conferences are helpful in that you learn new things that you haven’t learned before. You can also get a new perspective into what you already knew. It’s also helpful when experts and peers confirm what you already know to be industry standards and best practices.

Another aspect of attending a conference is that you can show clients, peers and competitors that you’re at the conference. Being at these events gives you content to push through your social media channels, website, and even newsletters. You can be part of the events through live tweeting, Facebook updates and even tagging pictures of the event on Instagram. Clients want to see that you’re out there doing new things that will help you be more useful to their business.

Networking

It takes a certain type of person to mix and mingle at conferences. But whether you’re a Type A or Type B personality, there are different aspects of networking that you can do. Meeting new people in a social environment can be exciting and scary. At the same time, you’ll get a better feel of what types of businesses are out there and consumers who are looking for different solutions.

Networking at conferences gives your business a chance to be out there. Brand recognition is important and attending a conference will help you be more well known to competitors, peers and customers. It also doesn’t hurt that you’ll get to mingle with top experts in the field either.

Inspiration and a Breath of Fresh Air

Being in a certain business/industry for a long period of time can be stifling. Whether you work at a company that employs 50 or 15, there are times when you could use some outside opinions and ideas. This is where conferences come in handy. Meeting new people, listening to industry experts and peers will help open your mind and expand your knowledge. Surely, you can’t think that you know and have all the answers to everything when it comes to SEO. Attending a conference is a breath of fresh air and like a vacation without actually taking one. Although you’re not actually at work, having business on the brain is healthy and can help invigorate your business.

Check out the comprehensive list for 2014 here and let us know if you plan to attend any events in the near future!

Recap of 2011 Google Agency Summit

Here’s the recap of our visit to the Google Agency Summit that we’ve been promising!

We’ll take a quick overview of marketing spending, display ads, mobile ads, and video in terms of small business use. The overall focus throughout the day was on small business (SMB) growth. Makes sense, doesn’t it? The small business segment is a promising category with big opportunities. Here are some key points that we learned:

SMB Spending and Growth

  • Total SMB digital ad spend is growing at 25% YoY (year on year)
  • Growth is happening within Google local services and beyond on platforms like: Facebook, Groupon and LivingSocial
  • According to Google’s (see graph), total US SMB marketing spending is expected to almost double by 2015. This is a self-proclaimed “conservative” forecast, so we could see numbers even higher than that!

Display Ads

With over 2 million sites, Google now has the largest ad network . What does this mean for the potential of display ads? The emphasis here was on the concept of remarketing. Remarketing allows you to target and show ads to users who have already visited your website. This is helpful to help them recall your products and services, something that they’ve obviously been interested in since they have already been to your site. This is an innovative new way to match the right customers to your message.

Mobile Ads and Video

Mobile ads are evolving and should be a different and more helpful experience for mobile users. There is less space on a mobile screen, which means that functions like “Store Locator” take priority over plain old text. People searching on their phone aren’t going to have the time or space to read text. Learn how you can build a basic mobile site with this free Google tool.

As for video, the big push is for small businesses to come on board, given the massive potential and size of YouTube. Small businesses could utilize video marketing by using banners, pre-roll commercials and even encourage user created content. With so much up and coming news, you can always stay updated with Google’s latest ad products here.

Marketing Goals

At the end of the day, it’s clear that Google is trying to make things easier for everyone – small business owners and their customers. This is why Google is so intent on integration and working closely with with agencies like Emarketed… so that we can help our customers!

It looks like there’s a lot in store in the future for small businesses. As a small business owner, it’s important to stay informed so that you don’t get left behind. Here’s a list of some helpful information on topics related to what we just talked about:

Mobile Web Sites
Video Marketing
Website Marketing
Landing Page Optimization

You can also comment, or find us on Facebook or Twitter if you have any questions!

Attended: CalTech/MIT Enterprise Forum’s Crowdsourcing Seminar

The latest from the CalTech/MIT Enterprise Forum provided insight on the power of “crowdsourcing”. The seminar entitled, Crowdsourcing for the Entrepreneur: Unlocking the Power if Online Communities showcased an exceptional panel of speakers, including representatives from Microsoft, Profounder, and Salesforce.

What is Crowdsourcing?

The morning began with a general overview of what crowdsourcing is, and why it’s a useful tool that should be utilized in all businesses. Using this form of outsourcing is not only a problem solving mechanism, but also a way to access low cost marketing opportunities.

As it turns out, feedback is the still the most constructive way to product improvement and achieving customer loyalty. It’s no surprise that asking consumers to provide thoughts and opinions is an easy way to build on existing products and services – but Peter Coffee of Salesforce reinforced this idea with an emphasis on customer satisfaction.

Positive engagement with the people who are actually using your product, will allow the crowd of users to get what thecrowdsourcingy want by voicing real, quality feedback, therefore creating the knowledge you need. When customers are happy, the product gets better and the loyalty is effortless. Several of the panelists suggested an “idea exchange” to coincide with the feedback analysis of crowdsourcing. Letting the crowd discuss your product in a forum setting can lead the way to new markets and new customers.

Another aspect that came up during Q&A with the panel was how to direct crowdsourcing and how it can show results. We already know most marketing strategies are an investment, but crowdsourcing is one of the only tools that is cost efficient and works off the assets you already have, customers. According to the panel, making sure there is a clear direction for your crowdsourcing technique can show a powerful result. What will keep your existing customers loyal?

Ultimately, adapting to local and different markets is what is going to drive business. Take the iPad for example. Apple used its existing laptop customers’ complaints and suggestions to envision a whole new product that came with an entirely new market. It’s this type of information that can keep your company innovative.

Now, how can you use a crowdsourcing tool to fuel your business? Find out what works, what people want from an existing product, and what will keep customers referring their friends.