On Tuesday June 14 I’ll be leading a free Webinar presented by the fine folks at MarketMotive, on the topic of Quality Score (surprise!). You can reserve a seat now.
This will be a one hour introduction and overview of quality score, but it will include some great details and tips that I think any paid search manager will enjoy.
Also, our friend Josh Dreller interviewed me recently about quality score and my new book – that interview is now live on SearchEngineLand.
Today, MarketingProfs is hosting the search marketing version of their free, virtual conference: Digital Marketing World.
Paid search/PPC, properly integrated with display/banners, and related media types are still far and away the single largest online component of discretionary online marketing budget, dwarfing SEO, Social Media, Mobile, and any other online marketing spend category. Every quarter the landscape gets more competitive, as more and more traditional media dollars get redirected online. Don’t despair: The great news is that there is a range of strategies and tactics that you can easily use that will swing the financial terms back in your favor, and put a new pep in your PPC step. Insights and concepts will be illustrated with real examples of companies like yours that have succeeded.
You will learn to:
- Have a fundamental tactical structure underneath your paid search accounts that maps to your strategy
- Determine the REAL Return on Investment and the right amounts to bid
- Create better text and graphical ads that outperform the competition
I was recently on a panel at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) where we talked about the idea of man vs. machine. Matt Van Wagner baited me the question: Who is better at PPC, people or technology?
It what might have been a surprising answer for a guy marketing ppc technology, I voted for people.
At the end of the day, you’ve got to have talented people driving the ship, regardless of what technology you use. Strategy and creativity are fundamentally human talents.
But, as anyone who has worked in search knows, creating a great PPC team is easier said than done.
That’s why I’m excited that ClickEquations is sponsoring the upcoming American Marketing Association webinar: How to Build a World Class PPC Team.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
A great paid search team can make the difference between okay results and rapid business growth. But how are today’s CMOs and VPs of Marketing are supposed to build highly effective and accountable teams when they face intense challenges? We know that:
- Paid search talent is hard to find
- Paid search is changing at an incredible pace
- It’s hard to know if a campaign is truly optimized. Could the ROI be higher? Could volume increase?
In this webinar, you’ll hear two case studies of companies who have created world class paid search teams and, most importantly, improved profit:
- Ian Lurie – President, Portent Interactive
- Drew Fortin – Senior Manager, Internet Marketing, Compete
You’ll learn why it’s critical to:
- Hire a complementary mix of creatives, technologists and analysts to meet the demands
- Build cross-functional teams with complementary skills
- Create an infrastructure of tools and technologies to leverage the team
The webinar is tomorrow (Tuesday), 3/29 at 1 EST / 10 PST. Register right here!
I’ve lost count, but this will probably be my 9th SMX conference. Along the way, I’ve figured out a rhythm that works for getting the most out of the conference and I thought it would be helpful for other folks.
If you’re coming, stop by the ClickEquations booth (#223) to say hi or shoot me a note ahead of time acohen @ clickequations . com
The biggest value you’ll get out of the conference is the networking and the war stories you swap with other attendees. You don’t have to wait until the conference starts, though. Everyone gets an invite to SMX Connect. I recommend that you find attendees you’d like to meet and flag them as “want to meet”. It makes it easier to have a good lunch conversation.
Speaking of lunch, you should definitely log into SMX Connect early to sign up for the Birds of a Feather lunches. They’re tables organized for people who want to talk about specific topics, e.g. Paid Search or SEO.
Let’s be honest, if you care about, say, local search, then you probably don’t want to eat lunch with a bunch of Twitter nerds. The BOAF lunches are an easy way to make sure you get to chat with folks who are interested in what you’re there to learn about. You can only sign up for them on SMX Connect and they always book up in advance.
Craig and I are both hosting a BOAF lunch on Tuesday (Day 1)
- Birds of a Feather Table 2: Paid Search – Craig Danuloff
- Birds of a Feather Table 8: Search & The Complex Sale – Me (Alex Cohen)
Pre-Conference – Monday 3/7
Monday is when most people arrive. That night is the SMX Meet & Greet from 6 – 7:30 in the 2nd Floor Ballroom Foyer of the San Jose Marriott.
The event is casual drinks. It’s worth going in particular if you want to meet certain speakers and veterans. They’re not swamped after a panel and the event is more intimate. Plus, you never know if you’ll get invited out to a dinner or more drinks with a good group.
Day 1 – Tuesday – 3/8
This is the first day of the conference. The sessions change every show, so I can’t use past experience to recommend certain session.
What I can say is that the value of the session has almost everything to do with who is presenting. A speaker who can convey actionable tips in an easy to follow way is worth seeking out. Here are some I’ve personally seen present and enjoyed at past conferences:
- Scott Brinker – President & CTO of Ion Interactive
- George Michie – CEO, Rimm-Kaufman Group
- David Roth – Director, Search Marketing, Yahoo!
- Frederick Vallaeys – Adwords Evangelist, Google
- Matt Van Wagner – President, Find Me Faster
- Marty Weintraub – President, aimClear
Day 1 is also when Craig and I are hosting our Birds of a Feather lunches (see above).
This is also only 1 of 2 days that the expo hall is open (it closes on Thursday, which people sometimes forget). Check out the list of exhibitors. I’ll be working the ClickEquations booth, #223.
At 6:00, you can get free drinks at the Cocktail Reception in the expo hall (they give tickets to you at registration). It’s a good chance to unwind and see some of the vendors before heading off to dinner. See the section below on how to make the most of the expo hall.
After the Cocktail Receptions, people will generally splinter off for a quick bite before heading to the Internet Marketer’s Charity Party (Agenda Lounge, 99 South 1st Street). It’s $50 to get in, but the money goes to 2 good causes, it’s open bar and there are a bunch of great prizes that are given away. I recommend it.
How To Explore the Expo Hall
Most conference attendees will never work in a trade show booth, but I have quite a number of times. Let me share a few tips on how to get the most out of the conversations you have there:
- The quietest times are, obviously, when the conference is in session. If there’s a time when there isn’t a session you want to attend (it happens), consider swinging through the Expo Hall then. You’ll get undivided attention.
- Make sure that you attend some of the Theater Presentations. Theater presentations are 20 slots where vendors can do a presentation on whatever they like. They’re like a conference within a conference.
As you may suspect, some can be overly commercial. Good vendors (like us!) make them educational, because no one wants to hear us talk about our admittedly awesome paid search software forever. You can always leave if you don’t like it and there is often a giveaway.
Check out our Theater presentations on Tuesday at 2:00 – 10 Ways to Improve Paid Search Campaigns. Craig Danuloff, our Founder & President, is presenting.
- A note on trade show giveaways (aka swag or tchotchkes). If you just want the free stuff and don’t have an intention of ever buying the product, just take it and enjoy. You don’t have to pretend to be interested. It’s better just to either not take it or politely ask for some and make way for folks who want to talk shop.
Also, be sensible! I once saw a woman take 15 stuffed monkeys from the shocked booth next to me. I felt sorry for that poor marketer’s budget.
- Not every vendor in the expo hall is a fit for every attendee. For example, the first question I always ask folks is how much they spend on paid search advertising every month. If the answer is “$1,000 a month”, I’ll honestly say that it’s not a fit and give them a white paper with tips on how to help grow that spend profitably. You and the vendors have limited time. Focus on the conversations where it’s a fit.
- Don’t forget your business cards! If for nothing else, you can enter raffles
Day 2 – Wednesday – 3/9
Assuming you didn’t go out after the IM Charity Party, there are plenty of good sessions in the morning. Here I’m going to give an admittedly biased plug for the two we’re on.
- 10:45 – Paid Search Testing and Reporting – Craig is on this panel, but it’s also moderated by Matt Van Wagner (who always does a great job of organizing) and Addie Connor, who is just plain awesome and brilliant.
- 1:30 – Search and The Complex Sale – I’m excited to present on this panel with a lot of folks I haven’t presented with before. Patricia Hursh is moderating and she’s a veteran of B2B panels. Sneak preview: I’ll be talking about how to use increase form registrations without losing contact information and how to use that effectively in managing your campaigns.
Note that the Expo Hall closes at 3:30 and they seriously mean it closes then. They literally start rolling up the carpets! It’s best to get there earlier in the day.
There are no dinner time events (though some vendors plan them), but the final networking event, SMX After Dark, is held at Motif (389 South 1st Street) starting at 9. It’s free, so most folks will be there enjoying the open bar.
Day 3 – Thursday, 3/10
A lot of people leave before the last day. Don’t. Most of the expense of going to a conference is in flight and hotel, so it’s best to get your money’s worth by hanging out for the third day.
The expo hall is closed and there are no events planned in the evening. I’ll be hanging around until Friday, so shoot me a note if you want to grab a bite and talk shop.
Bonus: Things I Often Forget to Pack!
I travel a decent amount for work and I’m kind of a forgetful guy. To keep my brain from failing, I’ve created a packing checklist to make sure I don’t miss anything critical. I listed some of the ones you might also forget.
In particular, remember to bring extra business cards. I’d say 1/2 don’t bring enough (50-100 is a good range). Why do you need chapstick, cough drops and gum? You’ll be talking to people in dry, air conditioned rooms and nobody likes to talk to the guy with bad breath.
- Business cards
- Cell phone charger
- Camera/video camera
- Sweater/hoodie (it gets cold in those conference rooms!)
- Business cards
- Boarding pass
- Cough drops
There’s no shortage of educational material about paid search on the web. You could literally spend all day reading articles and watching webinars. But, there’s something about getting out of the office and talking to other people with the same challenges that stimulates new ideas. I always walk away from shows with pages of notes and new contacts. If you haven’t been to one, Fall is your last chance this year.
If you’d like to meet up at any of the events, shoot me a note: Alex Cohen, acohen @ clickequations.com
See Us in New York at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East (10/4 – 10/6)
We’re about to hit the road for a couple of great conferences. First up is Search Marketing Expo East at the Jacob Javits in New York October 4 – 6. You can catch us on the show floor in booth #419.
Use the code “smx10click” to save 10% when you register.
We’ll also be speaking on a few panels:
- Tuesday, 2:45 – Search Ads: The Next Generation – Craig Danuloff, President & Founder
- Wednesday, 10:30 – Industrial Strength PPC – Alex Cohen, Senior Marketing Manager
- Wednesday, 12:45 – eCommerce & Retail Search Marketing Tactics – Alex Cohen
Love Marketo & PPC? Come to the Marketo User Summit (10/13 – 10/14)
B2B marketers know that not every person who talks to you company is ready to buy right away. That can make paid search for products with long sales cycles tricky. Tools like ClickEquations help you get leads and tools like Marketo help you generate demand and nurture those leads until they’re ready for sales.
If you’re coming to the Marketo User Summit in San Francisco (10/13 & 10/14), stop by to see me present. The conference is open to Marketo users only. They’re currently running a 2-for-1 special and you can register here. You can get an extra discount if you’re willing to record a video testimonial. Shoot me a note and I’ll connect you with the conference organizers.
- Thursday, 2:00 – Customer Showcase: Search Engine Marketing- How to optimize PPC to increase demand and drive revenue – Alex Cohen
Search Engine Strategies (SES) Chicago – We’re Coming for You, Midwest! (10/19 – 10/21)
SES moved from the cold of December to the slightly less cold of October. Their annual Chicago conference is one of the few major search conferences to hit the Midwest, making it a great time to get some training without too much travel expense. It’s a more intimate show, so you get to know more people and the speakers are very accessible.
Use the code “SPG20CH” to save 20% when you register.
There’s no booth, but you can catch my presentation:
- Wednesday, 1:00 – Holiday Shopping Tactics – Alex Cohen
We’re back on the road this week at Search Engine Strategies in San Francisco. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can still register and get 20% off with the code 20CLIE.
If you’re coming, please say “hi”
- Stop by booth 321 to check out a live demo of our latest feature, Keyword Zoom. We’re also giving out hard copies of our popular “21 Secret Truths of High Resolution PPC” ebook and Quality Score white paper. Craig will be there to answer your toughest PPC questions.
- I’ll be speaking on the Search Marketing Toolbox panel on Thursday at 12 alongside David Szetela of Clix Marketing, Ariel Bardin of Google, Dave Snyder of Blueglass, Mark Jackson of Vizion Interactive and our moderator, Simon Heseltine of AOL. Check out my latest article on Search Engine Watch for a sneak preview of my speech.
- You can also catch me in the Search Engine Watch booth on Wednesday from 2:00 – 3:00 for their “meet the experts” series. I’d love to meet some folks who read my articles or the ClickEquations blog. We can even crack open a laptop and take a look at your account.
If you’d like to setup a specific time to swing by, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll also be at many of the networking events, so follow us on Twitter to stay in touch: @clickequations and @digitalalex
See you in San Francisco!
A lot of people who come to ClickEquations have never used dedicated paid search management platform before. They recognize that the right paid search platform can give you a competitive edge – you can spend more time optimizing your paid search programs and less time dealing with repetitive issues.
But, the buying process can be often be overwhelming. It’s easy to get caught up in long spreadsheets of feature lists. If that sounds like you, you might want to attend PPC Summit’s free webinar, “The Top Three Mistakes Marketers Make When Choosing a Bid Management Tool” this Wednesday, 2 EST / 11 pst.
You’ll get glimpse inside PPC Summit’s 2010 PPC Management and Optimization Report, including:
- The one thing to help you make smarter buying decisions
- The common practice that leads to buyer remorse and what to do about it
- Where paid search is heading and why that matters to your business
- Important lessons you don’t have to learn the hard way
We’re sponsoring the webinar, but the report is not sponsored and is vendor neutral. It’s much more about how to approach the process of choosing a platform more effectively.
We’ll be in Seattle this coming week in full force.
The ClickEquations booth will be on the show floor, we’re speaking in several sessions, introducing at others, and hosting birds-of-a-feather lunch tables. We might even go out at night and have a few drinks. You just won’t be able to miss us if you’re there.
The sessions where we’re speaking:
- Tuesday, 10AM – Quality Score: I’ve been allowed to bust-out of the traditional 15 minute format, and really go wild to dive deep into the mysteries of Quality Score. We’ll cover the facts, myths, conspiracies, and even maybe have an audience quiz with prizes!
- Tuesday, 3PM – Text Ad Testing: Alex Cohen will entertain and inform on the text ad panel. Alex blew out the doors in London so expect a great presentation.
At the ClickEquations booth, we’ll be offering demos of our platform, and offering a sneak-peak at some truly amazing new features that will be made public later this summer. Stop by and ask to see the secret stuff!
We hope to see you in Seattle!
Alex and I are just back from SMX Advanced London. It was a really enjoyable event – great venue, nice city (hadn’t been in years), perfect weather (for the 30 second walk from the hotel), really nice set of attendees from an amazing array of countries, and for the most part very informative panels.
As at the US-based SMX shows, the PPC crowd is dwarfed by the SEOs. But there was a dedicated PPC track on Day 1 and there were about 50 folks in most of the sessions. On Day 2 social took over from SEO, and analytics replaced PPC, and split stayed the same – I guess social is more fun than analytics.
My personal favorite presentations were Karl Blanks of Conversion Rate Experts, who is clearly a super-sharp guy and did a killer job of explaining the how’s and why’s of serious A|B or MVT conversion rate testing, and the inimitable Marty Wientraub of AimClear who along with his colleague Merry Morud just absolutely tore-it-up in the FaceBook marketing session. (I have a video of that in its entirety, but you wouldn’t believe it even if you saw it – catch their act when it comes to town!).
Search the #SMX HashTag to review the play-by-play from this great show.
I was on two panels, the first was called ‘Exploring Google’s New Ad Formats’, and the second was ‘Amazing New PPC Tactics’.
In the first I talked about how to think about all the new ad formats, and ways to evaluate them and all the upcoming changes and new formats we haven’t even seen yet. The slides don’t really tell the story so I’m not posting them, but I hope to turn the ideas into a full blog post or maybe even a webinar sometime soon.
I have shared the slides from my PPC Tactics (below) because I think these do make sense without the audio. These are all topics that have been covered here in past posts – it’s sort of a greatest hits of High-Resolution PPC,
Alex Cohen gave a rip-roaring presentation on Day 2 at the ‘Top 10 Customized Search Analytics Reports’ session. His slides are below, but it’s a shame you can’t hear the great delivery and info as he presented it. Maybe one day a video will turn up somewhere…
We met a lot of new people at the show, and it was great to see and catch up with a surprising number of friends, clients, and people just about to add ClickEquations to their PPC tools arsenal. Thanks to Chris Sherman for setting up and hosting this great event.
Alex Cohen and I are in London this week, speaking at SMX Advanced.
If you’ll be there, come check us out at these sessions:
- May 17 – 10:30am : Exploring Google’s New Ad Formats
- May 17 – 1:00pm : Amazing New PPC Tactics
- May 18 – 1:15pm: Top Ten Customised Search Analytics Reports
To schedule a personal meeting while we’re here, just email us at email@example.com.