In a rather unsuccessful attempt at escaping the bitter Chicago cold, I traveled to Texas for Digital Summit Dallas, a marketing conference focused on content, SEO, UX, strategy, and design. There were tons of great speakers from a wide variety of companies like Google, Cisco and Starcom. I was amazed at how much information they packed into two short days. Here are three quick insights, pulled straight from my 25 pages of type-written notes!
- Marketing is a massive fight for attention and we are rarely given permission. Keynote speaker and bestselling author Seth Gogin [google “Seth” to find his blog] explained how we are constantly vying for the attention of people online. The internet is the first form of mass media not intended for marketers but indefinitely abused by them. We demand a lot of our audience, with very little pay-off for them. Wouldn’t we be more effective if we talked to people who want to be talked to? Permission is letting your audience decide what is valuable to them and what is not. If you have the permission of people who a truly interested in what you’re selling, you can build a real and lasting relationship.
- Leverage your existing content to increase organic search traffic. 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search. Marketers can improve their organic search results by keyword-optimizing content already on their site. Vertical Measures Director of Marketing, Quinn Whissen, advises that you look at pages that are performing poorly and revitalize the content with 1-2 target keywords and a couple of synonyms (semantic keywords). Republishing pages is a great way to get a lot out of your marketing efforts, and timely content does better in search engines. Quinn astutely quoted John F. Kennedy’s “a rising tide lifts all boats” to illustrate the SEO benefit to your website from refreshing its content. Increasing the search value of your pages will go a long way towards generating more traffic and leads site-wide.
- The website should be the focal point of the marketing mix. A common goal of PR, email, social and SEO/PPC campaigns is to drive traffic to the website. If the onsite user experience is horrible, all your marketing efforts are essentially nullified. No amount of traffic is going to capture qualified leads when your users can’t figure out what your services are. Why spend time and money on a PPC campaign that directs users to an overwhelming landing page with outdated messaging? Make your website worth your users’ time. If conversions are low and exit rates are very high site-wide, it might be time to revisit your website strategy and UX.
Overall, the conference focused on improving the experience of users across all marketing channels and provided a good combination of tactical and aspirational insights. Anyone who is involved in marketing would benefit from this conference series; there are multiple U.S. events throughout the year. I am thankful for the opportunity to experience a new city and receive some great takeaways for the new year in digital marketing.
Last week, we wrapped up our fourth annual toy drive to benefit La Rabida Children’s Hospital by lending some hands at the organization’s holiday party. While at the holiday party, we were able to get to know the families behind La Rabida’s Child and Connections Program, which caters to infants and toddlers who have developmental delays or who can be at risk for such delays.
A group of volunteers from Walker Sands recently ventured over to Harris Park to help out with the annual holiday party. Our responsibilities ranged from setting up tables and serving lunch to doing holiday-themed crafts with the kids and their families. We had a great time giving back and celebrating the holidays with the families who came out to the party!
As a part of our One Step Forward philanthropy program, we also collected and donated toys to to La Rabida’s Child and Family Connections Program. Throughout the holiday season, our employees generously brought in a variety of toys to ensure the kids from La Rabida have something new to enjoy over the holidays.
We look forward to working with La Rabida again in the future to continue giving back to our community during the holidays. Check out more photos from our volunteer day here!
Several weeks ago, the Walker Sands team began the countdown to the annual holiday party. Last Friday the long awaited event finally arrived! Every year we look forward to celebrating all we accomplished in the preceding months.
The holiday party denotes time spet aside each year to take a break from working hard and to have a little fun together.
This year’s celebration was different than those of year’s past. Last Friday, our co-workers braved the cold, dressed in their holiday best and gathered at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum for an evening of Karaoke filled entertainment and museum exploration.
Good times were had by all and memories made by many. Take a look at more of the evening’s festivities here!
Happy Friday! Read on to catch up with this week’s tech and social media hot topics:
Apple Maps now shows EV charging stations – TechnoBuffalo
The country’s largest provider of electric charging stations, ChargePoint, recently announced that consumers will now be able to use their iPhone’s native “maps” application to find directions to any of its 31,000 charging locations. In addition, iPhone owners will be able to use Apple’s virtual assistant, “Siri,” to receive information on charging station pricing and hours of operation and Apple’s mobile wallet feature “Apple Pay” to pay for the “charging” service at the charging station.
The Top 7 Social Media Trends That Dominated 2016 – Forbes
From the introduction of Instagram Stories to the rise of live streaming video services like Facebook Live, 2016 was definitely a year for emerging social media trends and features. Certain trends, like mobile messaging, are predicted to continue to expand in 2017. For example, Apple’s introduction of new features like stickers, games and effects to its iMessage service was created in response to growing consumer interest in mobile messaging applications like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger.
The growing importance of social media influencers is no surprise. According to eMarketer, 81 percent of marketers say influencer marketing is an effective channel. Entertainment companies are recognizing the enormous impact of social media influencers and are beginning to cast them in shows to attract younger, digitally connected viewers. Disney, for example, cast Vine superstar Jake Paul to serve as the host of “Bizaardvark,” a show about two teenage girls who make vlogs. Disney has also cast other online influencers like Vine phenomenon Thomas Sanders and YouTube personality Lily Singh for appearances on the show.
I recently sat down with Sarah Hale, an account director for the Marketing Technology team, to learn more about her experience at Walker Sands and her goals for the practice area. During her three and a half years at Walker Sands, Sarah has played a key role in leading the agency’s efforts to deliver strong, measurable results for our clients. She has witnessed Walker Sands double in size and expand our services to provide an integrated approach to PR and digital marketing. She’s excited to see how our agency will continue to grow and to do her part in finding new, innovative ways to help future clients achieve their goals and objectives.
Here’s what Sarah had to say during our Q&A:
1. What is your role at Walker Sands? What does your day-to-day look like?
My role is serving as an Account Director for the marketing technology team. My day-to-day schedule consists of collaborating with account executives and other teams, such as the digital or social teams, to develop and implement high level strategies that help our clients reach their goals and objectives.
2. How has Walker Sands changed since you first started at the company?
We’ve matured and grown a lot in just three and a half years. Formerly, our digital offerings (web design, SEO, PPC, etc.) were fully distinct from our PR offerings. As we evaluated the journeys that B2B buyers take in evaluating tools and options, we realized that didn’t make sense. As our research has shown, multiple decision-makers and dozens of touchpoints are involved in a single B2B buying decision- and you can bet they are neither all media placements nor all digital touchpoints. We now offer an integrated offering that responds to where buyers are, but my sense is that we’re slightly ahead of the marketplace in doing so. Most importantly, an integrated approach is the best way to help our clients meet their marketing, sales and overall business goals.
3. What do you like most about working at Walker Sands?
The level of freedom Walker Sands gives its employees is definitely my favorite thing about working here. This freedom is what allows me to strategize and think in innovative ways that help me make a client’s campaign or account as successful as possible!
4. What sets Walker Sands apart?
I think one of the things that sets Walker Sands apart from other agencies is our versatility. Many agencies tend to stick to what they’re comfortable and familiar with, while we’re ready to accept a challenge and work in areas we haven’t necessarily worked in before. I also think Walker Sands is a bit more responsive than other agencies, that is, we pay careful attention to a client’s unique needs and do our best to satisfy them and help them reach their goals and objectives.