Day one of PubCon Austin was filled with high caliber sessions and awesome opportunities to meet interesting people passionate about online marketing. Acting a bit like the lone pilgrim, I embarked through a never ending downpour of useful advice, insightful commentary and the occasional comical outburst to bring the best of PubCon to you, the Marketing Pilgrim readers.
My day started out by watching the keynote presented by best selling author and social media expert Jeffrey Eisenberg which I covered in detail in a previous post.
Then, like a swarm of ants, the attendees flowed out of the main conference room into a series of smaller rooms to begin their day. I started with a stiff cup of coffee to help ward off the effects of free beer from the PubCon Kickoff Party the night before, but after a little caffeine and a brief chat with @andybeal I was ready to embark on my journey of knowledge.
98% of affiliates sign up for affiliate programs and do nothing. Weed out these time wasting affiliates and focus on those who will run your offer and send conversions!
In affiliate marketing, relationships are everything. Be open, honest and responsive with your affiliates to help ensure your competition doesn’t get the referrals you should be getting.
Keith Posehn advocated the support of real time tracking pixels for affiliates to help them optimize their PPC campaigns.
Everyone advised merchants to be very clear with program agreements especially with points like cookie length, which click wins, payment terms and approved/disapproved keywords for search marketing. I especially liked the tip by Geno to include a summary in the agreement for people who don’t read the agreement in full. Of course, you should always read every agreement in full.
Try providing content packages to affiliates including things like your logo, banners, canned descriptions and other promotional material. This goes along with my personal philosophy of “give the customer the tools to make the decision”. You’re going to have a lot more luck with people running your offer if you make it easy for them.
Missy Ward covered affiliate prospecting in detail including a few horror stories of what she labeled “stalkers” guessing at her email address, posting on her Facebook account and reaching out to her on Twitter. It was a good reminder for affiliate managers to be respectful when trying to reach out to publishers.
Over 4 million Google local business listings have been claimed and there are nearly 2.2 billion local searches per month. 90% of search engine users perform local searches.
David pointed out a neat little trick using Google maps to determine what Google knows about your geolocation. Apparently Google streetview cars also detected wifi networks, stored that data and can then use the data to help triangulate your location. The trick to see what Google knows about your location is to connect to wifi, open Google maps and then click on the little circle above the zoom bar. Bingo, you know where Google thinks you are.
Brian gave a nice tip on how to merge multiple Facebook places and pages into one. The method involves using the “merge facebook page” button starting with the “worst” place pages continuing through to the best Facebook page. The reason for this is that the last page you merge to wins.
Brian also noted that businesses interested in obtaining more local search traffic should take advantage of tags (Google maps, etc.) and Deals (Foursquare, Facebook Places, etc.) to help their listings stand out.
William stressed the need for local businesses to obtain citations from organizations like chambers of commerce and other high-value sources to help with local search optimization.
Shawn rocked his presentation as always and provided insightful observations on things that publishers often overlook when launching their campaigns. Shawn covered key points like making sure to read program agreements, choosing your audience, selecting your ad inventory, staying available to users, capturing leads (people who don’t convert directly) and sticking with your campaign long enough to see results.
Shawn was cool enough to provide his presentation on Slideshare so check it out.
I don’t usually gush about speakers, but Rob Snell is awesome. His fast paced colloquial southern accent punctuated with a common sense ROI approach to SEO was a pleasure to watch.
His main advice was to follow the money. He showed a series of slides illustrating keywords from his hunting dog website and which keywords where actually driving revenue. He then groups these keywords into million dollar buckets (apply your own revenue buckets) and then plans his SEO efforts based on the bucket he want to address.
Rob also has a really neat trick for finding pages on your site that are lacking backlinks with specific anchor text. Out of respect for the sanctity of Pubcon I won’t detail the specific method, but if you beg Rob on Twitter maybe he’ll cough it up (sorry Rob).
This session started out with a bit of a scary moment. The speakers all agreed to abandon their presentations and jump right into Q&A. Luckily having access to such a great set of link building minds created no shortage of questions to fill up the time.
Michael Gray provided a non-stop stream of one liners and funny analogies covering link building including “You want your links to work more like a push-up bra rather than a breast augmentation” (I still don’t know what that means) and the phrase of the conference #spamoflage (making paid links look natural).
Several key points from the session included the reduced value of article submission sites after the Farmer update, how being number 1 makes you a target for manual review, networks for link building are bad (duh) and a reference to a great case study regarding link building called the “Mormon SEO Strategy“.
After all the sessions ended and all the attendees streamed out into the parking lot, minds spinning with a wealth of newfound knowledge, the nighttime festivities began with the unofficial PubCon party hosted by @davidgonzalez.
Brett Tabke and Shawn Collins gave a rousing account of their use of Twitter to grow their businesses. Their inspiring stories where littered with great tips, tricks and a variety of tools.
Networking was in full swing with liquor fueled Internet marketers rambling around talking about SEO, PPC and affiliate marketing.
Day 2 has already begun as I pound out the last few lines of this post. I’ll do my best to get the daily update for day 2 up today. In the mean time, try to check your jealousy and hurry up and register for PubCon Vegas in November!