Internet Marketing Conference Review

Online MarketingLast week I had the opportunity to attend the Internet Marketing Conference (IMC) in Calgary. Some of my favorite presenters include Patrick SchwerdtfegerDoug LacombeShauna CauseyChris GowardRyan Merket, and Ernest Barbaric.  I want to share some of my personal key takeaways from the conference were.

Internet Marketing, What’s the Big Deal?

Here are some statistics shared by Patrick Schwerdtfeger that paint a clear picture why Internet marketing and social media marketing is a big deal:

  • Google Search
    • In 2006: 2.7 billion searches / month
    • In 2009: 31 billion searches / month
  • YouTube serves 1 billion video views a day
  • Trust
    • 90 % of people trust recommendations by friends
    • 70% of people trust peer reviews
    • 14% of people trust advertisements (dropping for years)
  • Facebook has over 400 million active users
  • Over 200 million blogs. 54% post daily.

Internet Marketing Best Practices & Tips

  • Don’t try to outrun the technology, just outrun your competition.
  • Driving people to your website is difficult. Introduce yourself in a platform that is highly used (eg. iTunes, Facebook), then bring them back to your website.
  • Make your website or blog the centerpiece to your outreach campaign.  As technology platforms change, you can swap out the ‘spoke’, but your website remains constant.
  • Use Twitter to share tips.
  • Conversations are markets.  Interact and engage in the conversation.
  • Be defiantly who you are.  The Internet brings transparency, pretenses will be discovered.
  • Have a consistent brand or avatar across social networks.

Internet Marketing Case Examples

Naked Pizza
Naked Pizza is a restaurant in New Orleans that embraced Twitter as a tool to reach customers.  They replaced their storefront billboard to include the Twitter logo and call-to-action to follow them on Twitter for deals.  The result is that 68% of their orders and 85% of their new customers come from Twitter.

Kogi Korean BBQ
Kogi Korean BBQ is a restaurant in Los Angeles that sells Korean BBQ from inside a truck.  They found success with social media by tweeting the location of their truck during lunch time.  People would send this around and literally there would be line-ups around the block, people waiting to get some Korean BBQ.  Their Twitter account now has over 59,000 followers.

Wine Library
Gary Vaynerchuk inherited his parents wine store in New Jersey.  The business was profitable producing $4 million a year in revenue.  Gary increased the revenue to $60 million a year, $40 million of which from online sales – which Wine Library didn’t do before.  A large contributing factor to Gary’s success was the video blog he created,

Conversion Optimization

LIFT Model Developed by WiderFunnel

Conversion Optimization

Conversation optimization is the continual improvement of conversion rates of landing pages, micro-sites and websites. Chris Goward, from WiderFunnel present a model for improving conversion.

  • Value proposition – Is it clear what value you offer your visitors?
  • Relevance – Does your content relate closely to what your visitors expectations are?
  • Clarity – Your main call-to-action must be clear within 3 seconds.
  • Anxiety – Don’t scare or alarm your visitors.
  • Distraction – Provide one solution for one need.
  • Urgency – If they don’t act now, you’ve lost them.

Cause Marketing Tips

Cause Marketing involves the cooperative efforts of a “for profit” business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit (from Wikipedia).  Shauna Causey from Comcast, provided these great points about using social media for cause marketing:

  • Create a personal connection.
  • Promote social media offline.
  • Use Facebook events.
  • Stream events using USTREAM.
  • Approach as a real person (conversation) instead of marketing messages

What Does This Mean for Higher Education?

I realize that the case examples are about businesses, which are usually more nimble than higher education.  There are points that can serve as reality-check for higher education.

  1. Trying to recruit a student through advertising is becoming less effective. Consider building a tribe that can share your brand for you.  Social media has made it easier to do this.
  2. Driving prospective students to your website is hard.  How much do you spend on billboards, radio, print – all with the purpose of driving people to your website? Take Facebook, for example, that has 400 million active users.  I created a fan page for Lethbridge College, and in 3 days, has 180 fans – and is continuing to rise.
  3. Think of your website as a business tool.  Businesses are constantly trying to improve their tools for maximum effectiveness.  Don’t just launch your website or form and assume all is well.  Test. Test Test.  You won’t know how much more successful your website could be unless you test and compare.
  4. Prospective students are there.  Businesses are find success with it.  It is less costly than traditional marketing. Why doesn’t higher education use the Internet to it’s full capacity by marketing online and engaging our prospective students where they are comfortable?
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    It’s really nice that you learned a lot from the conference but what’s even greater is that you shared it with us.. Thank you so much!

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    Its a great review you shared with us, you know it’s really helpful for all, but especially only for those people who understand it.