Yesterday I was fortunate enough to attend The Turing Festival Full Stack Marketing Day in Edinburgh, with a line-up of speakers that you’d normally only find at the big digital marketing conferences in London or the USA.
There were three main themes that I drew from the day. In order to be a good SEO/Digital Marketer in 2016 you need to:
- Understand your customer’s needs
- Have empathy
- Analyse and test to make improvements
The world of SEO is so much more than keywords. Ranking for keywords can help drive traffic to your site but what happens when they get there? As Rand Fishkin said ‘Keywords get you in the game, but that doesn’t help you win’.
Many businesses only target people at the purchase stage. Samantha Noble of Koozai described how to target people with paid search at seven different stages: awareness, consideration, preference, purchase, loyalty, advocacy and attribution. Does your digital strategy include all seven of these?
How are you tracking your performance?
Andy Young discussed ways to more accurately carry out analysis of your businesses’ online performance using cohort analysis (we are growing, but are we growing better?), funnel analysis, lifetime value, cross-device tracking, brand vs non-branded search terms, first touch vs. last touch and user journey campaign fails. This is advanced analysis but may make the difference between your business succeeding vs. that of your competitors.
Oli Gardner of Unbounce covered the subject of conversion optimisation, again mentioning cohort analysis and the use of simple usability tests to make decisions about landing page wording and design that can make a massive impact on your sales or signups. He also emphasised the importance of social proof and how to create compelling testimonials.
How well do you understand your audience and their personalities?
Nathalie Nahai described the big 5 personality traits – extroversion, openness, emotional stability, agreeableness and conscientiousness – and how to engage your audience by using the same language that they would use. For example, if you are targeting an extroverted audience, using words like ‘strong’, ‘outgoing’, ‘active’, ‘excitement’ and ‘attention’ in your marketing will help attract their attention.
“Understand the whole customer problem”
Will Reynolds further highlighted the importance of ‘humanising the searcher’ and understanding what your customers need in order to minimise the number of queries they undertake to solve their problems.
Once you understand your audience and have created a useful/engaging piece of content, then how do you pitch to journalists. Lexi Mills’ advice was to provide as much information as you can – i.e. the full story, images, videos etc. Journalists are short on time and are unlikely to feature your story if they spend more than an hour preparing it. If you are not sure who to pitch to, do backlink analysis of similar stories to find out who featured them. Her advice was also to be mindful what content you put out there as we as SEO’s are helping to influence people’s reality and perspectives.
The last talk of the day was from Rand Fishkin of Moz, who described some industry fundamentals – the 80/20% organic vs paid search click-through-rates in Google, the number of visits to a site required before conversion, and the difference between Facebook and Google in that Facebook wants to keep you on Facebook (hence their declining reach) and that Google ultimately wants the opposite, to send you off to where you need to go. So search is far from dead.
(My favourite tool of the day was the brainwave of one of the speakers, Hannah Smith of Verve Search. The Festival Playlister by Expedia. Being a live music fan, I love this – you can type in any festival from any year and it’ll give you the bands and songs played. It has also been a very successful piece of content marketing for Expedia. Enjoy!)