Last week, the New England Direct Marketing Association held its 10th annual marketing technology summit at Bentley University, where several of the industry’s distinguished people came together to discuss digital marketing. The summit had a program of 7 different topics, which included a different speaker for each section. Among the speakers were Harry Gold, CEO of Overdrive Interactive, and Jeff Selig, VP of Earned Media & Analytics at Overdrive Interactive. Each of the speakers that presented was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their field, which helped me leave the event with several takeaways about the current digital marketing landscape.
Defining Goals and Making a First Impression
One of the first speakers of the day was Harry Gold, who is the CEO of Boston-based marketing agency Overdrive Interactive. Gold talked about a variety of ways that marketers can enhance the customer journey, and there was one quote that struck a chord with me during his presentation; when mentioning the importance of making a first impression on a user, he said: “The battle is won on the landing page”. Although this might seem cliche’, having a simple and concise landing page makes it much easier for users to locate the information they are looking for on your site. The reality of the situation, as Harry explained, is that companies tend to squander opportunities when it comes to bidding on keywords.
Overdrive Interactive CEO Harry Gold
A point of advice that Gold provided is that when it comes to keywords, you can’t be afraid to “dump your losers” (terms with no conversions). For instance, Gold went on to say that in the last 36 months, some of his clients spent a combined $500K on terms with almost no conversions. The cause of that budget disparity was that those clients didn’t have conversion oriented landing pages, or a goal based auto-bidding strategy in place. What this illustrated to me was that in today’s marketplace, you need to define a goal that you want your decision making strategy to revolve around. Without having a clear strategy that is centered around specific goals, it becomes very easy to lose sight of attracting users to whatever product you’re attempting to sell. Consumers today have so many alternatives to choose from, so it’s important to stand out on your landing page.
Expanding Your Footprint in Organic Search
Towards the end of the day, after all the summit attendees had reinvigorated themselves with lunch, there was another speaker that I learned a lot from, which was Jeff Selig. Selig also works at Overdrive Interactive, and his talk was more focused around enhancing your organic strategy heading into the new year.
Selig started out by listing different elements that affect organic volume, the first being Domain Authority. With regards to this element, Selig explained that there is essentially a “patent” attached to a person’s credentials and recognition in their area of expertise. This is relevant when you want to add accurate content to your site, in which case it’s important to have a credible source to validate that content. Selig went on to say that Domain Authority gets passed down, and to illustrate this, a screenshot from a Search Engine Land blog was displayed, which was authored by Barry Schwartz, a well-known SEO blogger. In that case, the authority of the blog gets passed down from the author. The main takeaway I had from this section is that the higher the number of credible sources you have about a specific subject, the greater your domain authority within that subject.
Furthermore, Selig talked about site structure. He discussed capitalizing on schema development, which involves adding schema markup on your site to improve search engine visibility. It sounded very technical, but this just involves adding extra context into your web code, which allows your content to rank higher on a SERP.
Some of the other strategies that Selig touched on was improving your site speed by updating site scripts, consolidating image sizes on your site, and using a CDN (content delivery network). Lastly, Selig made an emphasis on utilizing images as the basis for online searches, since so many users today rely on images (i.e. Instagram and Pinterest users continue to soar) to search for information.
All of these suggestions caused me to think about the importance of not putting too many eggs in one basket when it comes to SEO. Before the summit, I had always thought that SEO was mainly about writing good content and researching the proper keywords to help content rank higher. While that is true, Selig brought to light many other overlooked aspects that also play a key role in growing your organic volume.
Overall, the conference gave me great in depth perspective into how top digital marketing experts value diversifying your strategy. All the speakers that presented didn’t recommend for marketers to stick to just one strategy. You have to keep your options open, because in marketing some strategies will work out while others will inevitably fail. Ultimately, the biggest takeaway I had was that being able to implement multiple initiatives will help prepare you for the rapid changes that take place in digital marketing.