Earlier this month, several of our team members had the opportunity to attend Internet Summit 2017 in Raleigh, N.C. Below they’ve shared some of the key insights they got from this conference!
I was fortunate to finally see Seth Godin live, keynote at this year’s Internet Summit, with the Enventys Partners marketing team. Seth is one of the best presenters I’ve had the chance to see in my long marketing career. He challenged the audience to think small, noting that we’ve moved from an industrial economy to a connection economy. We used to build products for the masses, but the middle (in relation to the adoption curve) has melted, so our goal should be focusing all of our energies on serving the smallest market possible. Everyone is now your competition, as the center of the universe is only one click away. Nothing is scarce anymore as everyone has access for free, so think about when and how this will affect you and your company. It will always be a challenge for smaller brands to get attention and yell louder, but focus on the people like you and you will win in the connection economy.
It was great to get out to Internet Summit again this year and learn from a strong group of experts. I spent this year brushing up on best practices for UX/UI on landing pages and website design, and the same things that we’ve been hearing for years are truer than ever. Here are some of the best web design takeaways that I learned:
- You have 10 seconds to get a user’s attention for what your business is. The action item you should take is to put together a four word phrase about your business and put it right at the top of your site – even next to your logo – so that it’s front and center.
- Testimonials work. Get them on every page of your website to provide social proof to your consumers.
- Grid layouts for content are passe – users respond better to lists.
- My favorite takeaway: Build Smart CTAs into your site. If your first touch for a website user is to get them to sign up for your email list, make sure that’s the CTA that follows them around the site. But once they’re signed up for your list, make sure that the CTA for that particular user is something else that forces them further down the funnel. This is an awesome use of user tracking to keep them engaged.
I had a great time at Internet Summit this year and learned a lot of valuable lessons, but I want to focus on one key takeaway and its implications, which is the fact that video content is taking over the web. Already, 33% of the average person’s time online is spent watching videos and that percentage is only expected to grow heavily over the next few years. Creating enough content to keep up with video demands is tough, especially for a small marketing department, but it’s not impossible. Repurposing older content and using several still images are both great ways to supplement new video content and keep people coming to your social pages. Facebook is still reigning over the video world but other platforms, specifically Instagram (owned by Facebook) with its new live feature, are upping their video offerings, making it easier for brands to engage with users. The best part about video? Departments with even the smallest of budgets can get in on the action- for $100, you can purchase iMovie, a tripod mount and a microphone and you’ll be on your way to creating engaging video content for your brand. The most important thing to remember in terms of video content is to always relate it back to your brand and give the viewers value they won’t be able to find anywhere else.
It was exciting to experience my very first Internet Summit! I was interested to hear different speakers’ perspectives on the marketing world and where they think it may be heading. One key theme I noticed between the sessions I attended was to be authentic and relatable when telling a story.
When listening to Raleigh native Brooks Bell’s session, “The Power of Experimentation and How it Starts with a Great Story,” she told us a story of how she suffered a stroke in her early twenties. With this, she told the audience that her story of what happened was much more interesting to us than simply showing us her medical document or her x-ray. She wasn’t wrong. I felt more of an emotional connection to her once she told us her story and clearly it made an impact on me.
Even in a session I attended titled, “Making Lemonade: Traits Beyoncé Can Teach the Modern Marketer to Run the World,” a key takeaway was to be authentic through content and relate to your consumers, just as Beyoncé does through her music. For example, people raved over her latest album “Lemonade,” due to her emotional freedom and moving lyrics.
Because of these influencers, I will be more mindful when I produce content in order for email marketing, pitches, press releases and updates to feel less stale and more flavorful. By telling a story and becoming equal with the consumer, they are more likely to invest time and effort in a product or campaign.
Ultimately, as Michael Barber said as his number one tip in his “Making Lemonade,” session: “Slay all day.”
Internet Summit was very interesting and an incredibly educational experience. I was able to take something away from each session that I can use towards different areas of public relations. An overarching theme of the Internet Summit sessions I attended was that coming across as authentic can help you gain a more engaged following. In one of the sessions, “Story Matters: How to Create Story-Based B2B and B2C Content,” Heather Pemberton-Levy discussed how to create topics your audience cares about. She showed an amazing commercial targeting busy moms, using humor to relate to the everyday life of a mother. She used the “story comes first” method, where you start with a moment or a story and end with the “how,’ or how your product fits into the consumer’s life, unlike traditional marketing which works backwards. I think that this method is useful towards creating more engaging pitches.
A key takeaway from the Internet Summit was from the “Making Lemonade: Traits Beyoncé Can Teach the Modern Marketer to Run the World,” when Michael Barber said to be the best thing you’ve got. He said that while you have to give people the same experience day-in and day-out, you still have to give them something they have never seen before and “wow” them into clicking on a link or purchasing your product. This is another helpful tip that I can apply to the content I produce.
This year at Internet Summit it was great to see a lot of the focus not only on content, but also on UX. The many sessions on content always provide great refreshers on how to engage your audience and build your brand, but this year, I found the most value in a couple sessions that focused more on UX and PX. PX, or Prospect Experience Design, is the discipline of making it easy for your prospects to do what you want them to do. Even the most engaging, focused content strategy will not be effective if the vehicle for your content (website or landing page) is not strategically developed as well. Good PX is the result of a balance of objectives and execution. Without that balance, a marketing website will likely fall short of its purpose and, more broadly, threaten the success of your entire digital marketing strategy.
Attending my first Internet Summit in Raleigh this year was a blast. With a large mass of like-minded individuals, we had the opportunity to explore a variety of marketing trends, where they’re at now, and where they’re heading.
So, what were my key takeaways from Internet Summit? We’re marketers, which means we’re trendsetters and trend hunters. Being the change agents of the digital world means that we can’t be afraid to be different. As Julie Lellis mentioned, “being original and creative is what sets us apart from our competitors. Be original because creativity + identity = originality.” I felt that the overarching theme of all sessions that I attended focused on being fearlessly you. Set your core values, create a brand that represents who you are, and don’t stray from it. A company that’s detached from its brand is a problematic one, and I feel like that can apply to everything from social media to email marketing to website content, and even the culture of the company. Overall, I learned to be smart, yet fearless with your tactics, make mistakes, but learn from them, and most importantly do you and do it well. It will only help your brand and your content in the long run.
My experience at this year’s Internet Summit was nothing short of phenomenal. Each speaker was not only informative, but also engaging. In fact, after each 30-minute session was up, I often found myself yearning to learn more. One of the key takeaways I learned during my two days at the Internet Summit was that it’s extremely important to know (and get to know) your audience. This was a theme I heard throughout each session, so subsequently, this concept stuck with me.
As author Heather Pemberton-Levy said in her session, “Segmentation and personalization is a characteristic of any good content strategy.” Pemberton-Levy mentioned that it’s important to make sure to collect any and all information available about your target audience. She suggested use of Behavioral analysis rather than demographics. Segment your customers and personalize your content according to your audience’s distinctive characteristics and actions. “You will learn much more about your consumer by recognizing what they do rather than who they are,” she concluded in her segment.
Learning about how to keep content personalized and cater to a specific audience is something I’m absolutely going to utilize when writing pitches moving forward. I think this takeaway, specifically will help me become a better Communications Specialists overall.