Right off the bat, this was an awesome arrangement for anyone interested or involved with marketing local businesses.
The quality of presentations compared just as well with presentations in big conferences where you pay over $500 for a single ticket.
And this was FREE. So, hats off to the Local Marketing Summit 2017 for organizing this.
The topics and conversations were beneficial to both - business owners and marketing professionals. The set of speakers were all highly credible with the likes of Myles Anderson, the CEO of BrightLocal to Bernadette Coleman, the CEO of Advice Local.
They literally re-created a physical conference experience online with over 1500 attendees and the opportunity to share comments and network with industry experts. The only thing missing was the music and the fun stuff which can keep you from dozing off between sessions.
List Of Topics And Speakers
Let me begin by listing the set of topics presented on Day 1 and Day 2:
- A Complete Local Digital Strategy in 30 Minutes – Eric Shanfelt, Founder & CEO of Local Marketing Institute
- Social Media Tactics that Actually Work – Lissa Duty, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Rocks Digital, Social Media Trainer and Author
- Anatomy of a Well-Designed Local Business Website – Marcus Miller, Owner and Digital Strategist at BowlerHat, Moz and Search Engine Land Contributor
- How to Get More Reviews for Your Business – Myles Anderson, CEO of BrightLocal, Search Engine Land Contributor
- Keys to Successful Facebook Advertising – Dennis Yu, Founder and CTO of BlitzMetrics
- Get the Most from Google My Business – Joy Hawkins, President of Sterling Sky, Google My Business Top Contributor, Search Engine Land Contributor, Speaker at SMX
- Should You Use a Paid Local Listing Service? – Roundtable discussion with Joy Hawkins, Phil Rozek, Myles Anderson, and Bernadette Coleman
- Which Local Business Review Sites Work Best for You? – Collin Holmes, CEO of Chatmeter, Former VP of Product Management and Marketing for V-ENABLE
- How To Avoid Digital Marketing Landmines – Phil Nicolosi of Phil Nicolosi Law
- Tips and Tricks to Build Your Email List – Chris Davis, Director of Education for ActiveCampaign, Former Head of Marketing Automation at Leadpages
- Creating a Super Offer for your Local Business – Sean Daily, Founder / Lead Strategist at Social Media Ninjas
- Content Marketing in a Bloated Age – Laurie Macomber, President of Blue Skies Marketing, Local, SEO, and Content Marketing Expert
- Get the Most from Your Local Business Facebook Page – Bernadette Coleman, CEO of Advice Local, Contributor to Search Engine Land, Forbes
- The Local SEO Checklist – Eric Shanfelt, Founder & CEO of Local Marketing Institute
- Keys to Successful Google Local Advertising – Conrad Saam, GM of Mockingbird Marketing, Former Director of Marketing for both UrbanSpoon and Avvo
What Do The Topics Tell You?
The assortment of topics speaks a lot of about the conversations that are most current and relevant in the industry. To put all the topics in broader categories, they covered:
- Local SEO
- Web Development
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Google AdWords
- Email Marketing
- Reputation Management
- Legal and Regulatory Considerations
Outside of Analytics, the 2 days have essentially covered the full gamut of topics that are relevant to digital marketing for local businesses.
Of course, there can be a whole series of sessions on each of the categories and one hour sessions can’t make you an expert. Yet, they can serve as a great introduction or inspire you with ideas to implement or improve your ongoing initiatives.
Three Key Takeaways
At the CTA Conference in 2016, Carl Schmidt, the CTO of Unbounce told me he didn’t like noting down what speakers were saying. Instead, he’d keep a pen and paper handy to note ideas that he could implement which were inspired by the speakers.
This is the approach I adopted and some of the refinements I will make to our approach to digital marketing will include:
1. Implementing Customer Lifecycles
Being more diligent and articulate with breaking the digital strategies into customer lifecycles referencing the image included below -
Image re-created referencing a slide from Complete Local Digital Strategy in 30 Minutes – Eric Shanfelt, Founder & CEO of Local Marketing Institute
This was also referenced as AIDA by Laurie Macomber in her presentation Content Marketing in a Bloated Age. AIDA is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. It also translates to know me, like me, trust me, pay me - a phrase first coined by Barry Moltz.
2. Improving Local SEO Audit Process
Improving our local SEO audit process based on insights gained from the Local SEO Checklist session by Eric Shanfelt. This came in at a great time as I was already working on updating our internal local SEO audit checklist. While our current checklist covered most things that Eric touched upon, there were a few additional insights which I’m excited to incorporate. Here is an outline of the topics included in our local SEO checklist -
- Business Listings/Citations
- Mention and placement of business name, address and phone numbers on the website
- Link analysis
- Competitors link analysis
- Reviews audit
3. Considering Different Online Platforms
Lissa Duty’s gave a talk on Social Media Tactics that Actually Work. She encouraged us to think about the platforms which the future customers of a business could be using. She encouraged marketers to ask a bunch of questions before selecting the social media networks where the business chooses to be active.
She said, instead of blindly jumping on the Pinterest or Instagram bandwagon, it’s important to establish why.
While the who and the why were questions that we already ask, we have given less thought to where the future customers will be hanging out. There may not be a definite answer to this question because the future is uncertain and ever-changing, but one can analyze trends and user demographics to make educated guesses.
Digital marketers operate in a fast-paced ever-changing environment. To keep up with the changes, you need to be continuously learning. We often refer to blogs and resources on platforms like Search Engine Land, Moz and Digital Marketer. We also subscribe to industry experts like Neil Patel and Annie Cushing.
Along with the daily reading and courses, most marketers would recommend attending one or two major conferences every year – and I agree with them.
All learning resources can be great but summits and conferences can inspire ideas like nothing else. Attending the Local Business Summit was about as real as attending my first major conference of 2017.
If you attended the Local Business Summit, please do share your own experiences. I would enjoy hearing about the same. I also encourage questions and comments from business owners and marketers who did not attend the conference.