Sunday & Monday Wrap Up

Once I got settled into my hotel Sunday evening, B came over. It was so good to see him and get caught up. He's having some work issues that suck. Sounds like one of his colleagues is a dumbass. I told B I'd talk to him and get everything sorted out. 😉

We were feeling lazy so we ordered room service. Our bill was $76! We ordered yummy mozzarella sticks (low fat) which were delightful, except for a few that were just empty, fried cylindrical casing. I got yummy mac and cheese and a piece of chocolate cake and B got parmesan chicken and a banana split. B watched the Sopranos (while I covered my eyes because it's so violent) and then we both watched Big Love. I can't believe how the season ended! Is Alby going to live? Will Bill be arrested? How long do we have to wait??

I forgot to mention that when my boss and I registered on Sunday, we got sassy tote bags, packed with a big fat notebooks and all sorts of ads and promos. We also got fancy lanyards. You're jealous, aren't you?

There were several speakers on Monday, but the actual workshops didn't begin until Tuesday. Some of the speakers were great. There were presentations on search engine marketing and optimization, affiliate marketing, e-mail marketing, and site search. I learned quite a bit, especially during the presentation by the Internet director from Edwin Watts Golf. He explained how they gathered data and figured out what about their site needed to change. He walked us through each step of the process, which was SO relevant and helpful. He talked about the important metrics to follow, dos and don'ts, trouble spots, and their results, which were incredible. He was very energetic and entertaining and told great stories.

For lunch Monday, there was a buffet lunch of salads and sammies. Since we were in Chicago, there was also cheesecake for dessert. There were 1500 attendees, (3000 the remaining days!) so the scene was PURE chaos. The salad, bacon, and gorgonzola were yummy but the dressing made me want to rip my tongue out. On a positive note, we met a father and daughter from Germany. The dad invented an automatic pool cleaner, which they sell. The daughter recently designed their Web site, and they came to the conference for ideas about improving their sales online. They live in CA now, but have lived in Germany, of course, and South America. They were so funny and interesting and said "shit" enough that I get the feeling no one has told them it's not appropriate for polite company. I didn't tell them I minored in German, fearing I'd get nervous and be unable to speak. (On day two, I overheard them speaking German to some others and I totally understood what they were saying! Yay me!) Here is their Web site. If you need an automatic pool cleaner, get it from them! They're cool. (Both father and daughter noted that many Californians are snobby and rude. I believe it after meeting my brother's wife's hideously rude and low-class friends and family, ALL FROM CALIFORNIA, at their wedding.)

Let's see, what else did I learn the first day?

  • One of the presenters suggested posting press releases about your company at PR sites. He cited specific examples of how this bumped companies up in their search engine rankings.
  • Companies experience higher conversion rates after promoting or plugging a particular product (tank top) rather than a class of products (women's shirts).
  • Send order confirmations and other communications from a person as opposed to an entity. In the from line of messages, you want users to see a person's name, rather than the company's name or some generic department name.
  • Identify and target different types of shoppers, for example, the brand loyal shopper versus the bargain shopper. Different types of sales and marketing will appeal to them.
  • Quietly gather data over time from your users, instead of bombarding them with overt surveys.
  • Analyze the terms users search for that return no results to identify possible problems and methods for redirecting users.
  • Understand different types of searchers. "Make me an expert so I can decide" vs. "I want to see all your info the way I want to see it" vs. "Just tell me what to buy" vs. "Leave me a lone, I know what I want."
  • Speak in the users' language as opposed to the company's or marketers'. For example, Yankee Candle had problems selling a candle in a jar called a Housewarmer. The term "housewarmer" was used in the site's navigation and most users didn't know what the hell a housewarmer was. Once Yankee started using their customers' language in the navigation, sales grew.

When I got back to my hotel room, I checked my e-mail and relaxed for a bit. Observe, Mymsie in repose:

Me at arm's length in my hotel

and

Me at my hotel

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