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Takeaways from SES Chicago 2012 – Part 1
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of seeing Avinash Kaushik give the opening keynote speech at SES Chicago 2012. For those of you that don’t eat, breathe, and dream web analytics and marketing, Avinash is the author of two best-selling books: Web Analytics 2.0 and Web Analytics: An Hour A Day (all proceeds from both books are donated to The Smile Train, Doctors Without Borders and Ekal Vidyalaya – talk about awesome). He is also a digital marketing evangelist for Google, which basically means that Google pays him to fly around the country talking to people about the power of web marketing. All this aside, Avinash is also an all-around awesome guy. SES is Search Engine Strategies, an industry conference for online marketing professionals to learn the latest and greatest tools, strategies, and techniques for PPC, SEO, and social (not sure why social gets grouped as a search engine strategy, but I digress).
Lessons from Avinash at SES Chicago 2012
The thing about these conferences is you get blasted with information as if it is being spewed from a fire house (and not all of it is good).
Here are a handful of key takeaways I got from Avinash’s keynote speech:
1. Get Good at Quantifying Total Economic Value
According to Avinash, there are an awful lot of companies with really “sucky” websites. Why? Because they [the companies] haven’t taken the time to quantify the total economic value of digital.
Avinash explains that the conversion rate for the top 50 e-commerce websites in the world is a mere 2%. The mistake, he says, is ignoring all these other visitors and failing to expand what constitutes a conversion (or a valuable action taken on your website).
The companies succeeding online are doing so, in part, because they have taken the time to:
- Accurately track everything
- Invest in analytics (more on this in a minute)
- Identify the economic value associated with multiple visitor actions
This line of thinking doesn’t just apply to large e-commerce websites. Let’s say you own a local remodeling business. If the only value you can tie to a click is a lead, you’re not going to be willing to pay as much for each click as the remodeler that understands – and has taken the time to quantify – the true value of other visitor actions – things like: email newsletter sign-ups, e-book downloads, visits/views on the showroom directions page, Facebook likes, etc.
If you want to create a successful online marketing strategy to grow your business, you have to expand your thinking beyond the sale or the lead. You’ve got to take the time to think about and quantifiy the total economic value of a visit to your website (at Blue Corona, this is exactly what we do, so if you need help – contact us!).
2. Most Businesses SUCK at Social
Most businesses treat social like they’ve treated traditional advertising – as a one way street. They sort of shout at their audience (if they even have one) and schill their wares on people – even begging for “likes” and “friends.”
When you think about it, it’s pretty pathetic. It reminds me of the movie, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” but I digress. According to Avinash, what they should focus on is adding real value to their audience. Avinash claims (and I’m not sure I agree) that companies should stop trying to move people from Facebook back to the company website. That they should just build an audience and engage people on Facebook.
This is the way companies should use social:
Instead of shouting at people, companies should use social media to engage them first in a two way dialog (company to prospect) and then get them into a three-way dialog (company to prospect and prospect to prospect about the company – hopefully in a positive way).
Companies do a terrible job of quantifying social media. At best, they try to apply the same metrics they use to track their website(s), but social media is different and should therefore be measured in a different way.
Avinash argues that the metrics they should be measuring are:
- Conversation rate (not to be confused with conversion rate)
- Amplification rate
- Applause rate
- Economic value
The goal with social media should be to build an audience that you own vs. renting an audience from someone else. Again, this isn’t something only of value to a major brand like Doritos or Coke. It applies equally to the local plumber, hvac guy, roofer, remodeler, etc.
3. Having a Mobile Strategy isn’t Optional
Every time you send a mobile visitor to your regular website, a puppy dies. Avinash did NOT say this (he said the same thing about Flash though). Seriously though, having a mobile-optimized or smartphone friendly website is NOT an option – it’s a requirement. Not only that, but you have to continually assess and re-assess your mobile marketing strategy.
At Blue Corona, we track advertising. When you accurately track and quantify your marketing, you start to see bubbles and leverage points. A bubble is when the cost of the advertising is rising higher than the value actually delivered. Right now, PPC and SEO offer an enormous value, but as awareness grows and more (largely unsophisticated) marketers and business owners invest in them, the bubble starts to grow. This is what happened with the print yellow pages in the late 90’s. The cost exceeds the value – until finally things explode and reset occurs.
Right now, the number of eyeballs on digital media is growing faster than the advertising investment. The cost of digital is lower than the actual value. The same is true to the extreme on mobile. Mobile IS the next big thing. If you need proof, go to any mall and watch the number of people walking around glued to their phone. It’s staggering (and frightening).
I’m off to today’s sessions. Updated: Click here to read the second round of my thoughts from SES Chicago 2012!
About The Author: Ben Landers is the President and CEO of Blue Corona, a data-driven, inbound internet marketing company. Submit an inquiry to book Ben to speak at your next conference or event.
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