18 Pubcon Takeaways from the Experts

If you missed Pubcon earlier this month then I feel bad for you son. You got 99 problems but finding out what happened there isn’t one. That’s because 9 experts agreed to share their top two insights from Pubcon! That’s right, one epic post with all the best of Pubcon material. If you want more you can also checkout the Pubcon 2014 Collaborative Notes where the top experts participated in taking notes from nearly every session.

Sean Dolan@_seandolan 

Session: Creative Techniques for Selling Your Services and Retaining Your Clients Speaker: jabezlebret (@jabezlebret)
  • Takeaway 1: Write a book on a niche market, and send it to your friends and clients asking them to purchase. After only a few sales, you can become a top seller in a small category. When you have “Amazon’s #1 Best-Selling Law Practice Marketing Book” on the front of the book you hand to your current and prospective clients, they have something physical to hold onto. It goes a long way in building your credibility. See Jabez’s book here.
  • Takeaway 2: Mouseflow.com. Jabez mentioned Mouse Flow in his presentation. I checked it out the day I returned from Pubcon, and I’ve been blown away by this tool. I’ve used heat map tools in the past, but wasn’t aware of a simple solution for viewing mouse movements of my site visitors. This tool is my most exciting takeaway, as I’ve already implemented it on a client site and can’t wait to show them the data we now have on live shopping behavior for their ecommerce site.
  Jesse Semchuck@jessesem Having been to many other marketing conferences, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Pubcon. I’d heard great things, but that doesn’t always translate into tactical takeaways. I was pleasantly surprised by the high level of expertise and overall tone of the conference. Link building from here on out can be classified into two distinct buckets.
  • Repeatable processes. These are the tried and true tactics we’ve been using for years. The broken link building, resource links, and outreach. While these are still very important, the value of these types of links could continue to degrade unless placed on highly relevant sites. Relevancy becomes even more important as Google continues to roll out Penguin algorithm updates aimed at targeting organizations that value quantity over quality.
  • Big ideas. These big ideas need to be something that appeals to the influencers, the linkerati that exist in your space. For example, Caterpillar (the bulldozer company) created a video where they played Jenga in an arena with two huge excavators. Now, does this video help them sell more excavators immediately? No, my guess is the viewer of this video won’t be clicking an Add to Cart button for a shiny new bulldozer. But what it does do is build links through press syndication and social shares in a boring industry where it could be tough to acquire them otherwise. These backlinks can help build a website’s domain authority and allow them to rank for the valuable head terms they can monetize. Stephan Spencer’s presentation with more big idea examples can be found here (PDF).
We are just now at the early stages of ad personalization. Google is collecting every piece of data it can about our lives online and offline. From Android and Google iOS apps, Chrome, and now Google Fiber they are just now beginning to get a clear picture of who we are and the types of products and services we’re interested in. It might sound a bit intrusive but I’m excited at the concept of a service that can anticipate my needs and help streamline my life. Google has proven they’re experts in data collection, and they’re just getting started. I can only hope this will lead to Google knowing which Netflix show I want to catch up on while driving me to work in one of their self-driving cars. Of course, not without displaying an ad for my favorite coffee shop.  

Erin Sagin@erinsagin

  • Optimize Your Cancellation Page (David Vogelpohl, Creative Techniques for Selling Your Services and Retaining Your Clients): Given that I come from a Customer Success background, this point really hit home for me.  When clients cancel, most companies just let them walk away.  Instead, this is the perfect point to reengage them!  At best, you are able to address their problems and keep them on board.  If you’re not able to retain them, at least you can glean some valuable data to improve other customers’ experiences.  It’s a total win-win. David’s recommendation was to revamp your cancel page to include video tutorials on common problems, lower priced packages or subscription variations and a live agent chat.  This is especially poignant because it can be applied to nearly every industry.
  • Identify and Focus on Buyer Personas and Audience Personas (Michael King, How to target Visitors Using Personas): During his presentation, Mike highlighted the distinction between audience persona (people looking to consume content for education or entertainment) and buyer persona (people looking to consume content, but only as a means to make a transaction) and he encouraged SEOs to keep BOTH in mind as they develop content.  This is critical because oftentimes these personas overlap or users transition between the two types.  I feel as though we are often so focused on that buyer persona that we neglect to cater to the audience persona.  This was a good reminder to keep both in mind.

Alma Smith@Alma_Smith

  • The changing role of SEO – The role of SEO is more about collaboration, training and managing relationships. With semantic search, not provided keywords, and other updates the focus has shifted away from SEO as a silo function. SEO practitioners should now be spending their time training other departments on SEO best practices, collaborating on content strategies, and managing SEO related projects.
  • This ain’t about you! – Several times throughout the sessions and particularly during keynotes it was brought up that marketing is really all about serving customers. This seems like a no-brainer, but in the world of online marketing where we spend so much time working with numbers, it’s easy to forget that there are real people behind those numbers. Focusing on providing what customers want rather than what we want them to do can make the difference in success or failure. Or in the immortal words of Dr. Phil: This ain’t about you! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpBxGJzmbfE

Larry Kim@LarryKim

  • The social events were the best part of the conference. great to meet so many search marketing friends and catch up.
  • Facebook Atlas / Facebook Audience Network is a big deal. The New concept of people based marketing (targeting people) is a big shift.

Greg Young@PPCJedi

  • In testing/improving search ads and landing pages, making small changes will only get you small results.  Changing the wording slightly or adding punctuation isn’t going to make your ads magically awesome.  Write a completely new ad that triggers an emotional response, if you want to see big CTR jumps.  The same applies to landing pages.  Changing button colors, images, fonts… those will get you trivial results.  Come up with a completely new offer to test and triple your conversion rates!  -From @LarryKim’s The Top 10 PPC Hacks of All Time
  • Marketing Conferences are an awesome way to network.  Just do it.  You’ll gain valuable insights from the speakers at the conference, but don’t let the learning end there.  Make connections, follow them on social media, and stay engaged.  So  many great discussions in the PPC industry take place daily on twitter (#PPCchat) You can build great relationships with peers in your industry by promoting their work online, then share your own work with them as well.  Your network will lift you up naturally, as you lift others.

Garrett McGregor@McGregor212

  • We (PPC Managers) are the assists that make things better. -Katie Lawler While third party software is important and useful we must not forget that we are the difference makers.Our time must be spent on improving accounts and not over loading ourselves with too many automated tools…etc. I’m not saying tools are bad but we should only take on what we can handle.
  • Rely more on Facebook’s Resources. Similar to Google, Facebook has tools/resources that can help improve account management and management skills. These educational categories range from; Product Guides, Case Studies, Measurement & Research and Resources/ tools. Each category can be applicable to every account and can help stay up to date on best practices and optimization. Facebook-studio.com is a tool I want to get more familiar with.

Katy Tonkin@KatyTonkin

  • Network your face off. Pubcon networking happens at night, on the town, in bars, casinos and the lot. You have to be ready for that and my best advice is line up your networking in advance. Figure out who’s going where, have a list of who you want to meet, wear comfortable shoes, and get after it.
  • The US Search Awards are where the best and the brightest are at for one night. The most talented folks in the industry in are in one room for almost 4 hours and there is ample opportunity to go up and introduce yourself. Buy a ticket – it’s worth it! And it’s just darn good karma to support the recognition of some of the industry’s leaders and up-and-comings.
Luke Alley@LukeAlley
  • Remarketing Lists for Search Ads – these are the HOTTEST thing in search right now. Remember when shopping results went to a paid model and you got incredibly cheap clicks and lots of sales? That’s RLSAs right now. Even though these were rolled out last year less than 10% of accounts have them implemented. For your RLSA campaigns, make sure you have higher bids than other keywords, choose more broad terms, and have copy tailored to the already-visited-your-site audience.
  • Try New Remarketing Strategies – do you ever think you’ve tried nearly every PPC strategy out there? I did, but was humble by Sean Dolan (one of our very own contributors) in his remarketing session. One idea was using “parameters” in your URLs to create remarketing lists depending on where they came from. This way you can target different audiences although they are all going to the same landing page. You can also turn on or off your list based on the time for the next service (haircut, oil change, pest control service, etc.) and time it when they are looking for the next round of service.
Were you there? Do you have some other tips? Share them in the comments!

1 thoughts on “18 Pubcon Takeaways from the Experts