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VT NH Marketing All Start Conference TicketsI had the good fortune to attend the VT/NH Marketing Group’s Conference at the Woodstock Inn at the end of May. It was a great gathering of direct marketers and the agenda was full of interesting topics and speakers.

There was so much information and so many good ideas were flowing, it was hard to keep up! Below are a few notes from the sessions I attended. Let me know if something piques your interest, we talk more about it.

“One State of Mind”
Key Note Speaker- Tori Ossola, VP of Tourism, State of Vermont

Tori talked about the power of the brand and how the names Vermont and New Hampshire have become symbols of New England.

It doesn’t matter if your product is cutting edge or a traditional staple; consumers are flooded with marketing noise. Don’t be afraid to make hard decisions.

Tori also talked about the power of collaboration and how businesses have formed co-ops in efforts to market their products.

“Search Engine Optimization 2015 Update”
Jonathan Hochman, Hochman Consultants

To maximize traffic and conversion (sales!), you need to ask these questions of your business: Where are people looking for us? How are people looking for us?

Google used to rank a search by word. They now rank searches by semantics. People are searching more and more by asking a question. For example: How much does a home generator cost. Marketers need to keep this in mind when optimizing websites for search.

Google also rewards page loading speed in your search ranking. You can find your website search speed by going to Google and typing “page speed insights.” It will show your speed rate for persons finding your webpage using either a mobile device or a desktop computer. It will also give suggestions on how to improve. Why does this matter? Because page speed is one (of many) factors Google uses to rank your page. Faster load times are rewarded in improved page ranks.

Videos in webpages work well. A visitor’s attention is naturally drawn to the motion. Don’t think you have to go out and invest in a fully featured capabilities video. “How to” videos work as do short unscripted videos.

And finally, link your social media pages to your webpage, not the other way around!

“10 Unbreakable Rules for Blockbuster Customer Engagement”
Donnie Steele, Chief Marketing Officer, SMARTPAK

In this session, Donnie talked about how to interact with your customers to both win and maintain their business.

  1. Have guiding vision.
  2. Obsess more over your customers and not your competitors.
  3. Humanize your brand.
  4. Bring your “A+” customer service everywhere.
  5. Be better in mobile.
  6. Know your customers.
  7. Segment your customers and target market to them.
  8. Get a sixth sense – anticipate your customers.
  9. Think like a customer, act like an owner.
  10. Celebrate with your customers.

“Time to Revisit Retargeting”
Mike Briggs, Digital Marketing Director, Paragon Digital.

In this session, Mike discussed the right way to use retargeting to get more results.

Types of retargeting ads: Website (including Dynamic), e-mail, social, search, CRM and video.

  1. Don’t start right away. If you have pushed ads to individuals and they did not respond/convert to a sale, give them time (a week or so), before pushing another message to them.
  2. Use bounce rates or short visits to your site to remove uninterested visitors from your list.
  3. Implement frequency caps and mix with different ads. People do not respond well to seeing the same thing over and over.
  4. Rotate ads by day, or better yet switch creative and offers over time.
  5. Optimize retargeting as you would other display campaigns; look for sites to exclude- use Google campaign exclusion settings to help; Bid directly for best sites based on performance: Keep ads up to date to reflect offers and message on your website.
  6. Look at your abandoned cart campaigns and consider separate campaigns for different abandon points. Example: If you sell water filters and a visitor did not buy from you, think about trying to up sell them.
  7. Take a cooperative approach and collaborate with other businesses/companies with similar offerings and create your own list to target buyers.

Use Google Analytics to your advantage. You should also try Google Smart List to help maximize conversions.