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internet summit raleigh

My favorite digital marketing event was held this past week in Raleigh, North Carolina. Long-time subscribers know that I make an annual sojourn to the Internet Summit.

I did something different this year: I left my laptop at home. Usually during and in between sessions I manage client work, which is tough for taking notes! I decided I wanted to fully focus on the sessions so I spent time working the weekend before and worked longer days the two days before the conference began.

Something different I experienced at this year’s conference: I didn’t give out or get one business card. Usually the conference has rows of chairs in the back and 8-seater tables near the stages. Since I’d always have my laptop with me I would sit at the tables, which offered opportunities to talk with those sharing the table. Not only was I was without laptop this year, I noticed they ditched the circle tables for long tables. Instead of having an opportunity to speak to a handful of people you only had who was on your left and right. So I really got to focus on the sessions!

Evernote is overflowing with notes, but the five main takeaways you should know are:

  1. Save your LinkedIn profile. I sent an alert to my clients last week about potential LinkedIn changes forecast to happen soon. Like, maybe next week. Save a PDF of your profile (visit your profile while logged in and click the carrot next to ‘View Profile As’ – an option to Save a PDF copy is there. You can also find an archive utility in settings if you prefer.) The forthcoming changes have not been confirmed, but many parts of your profile and current search tools will likely be placed behind a paywall. Make sure your profile is as up-to-date as possible now.
  2. Future of Email Marketing. I implemented a few campaigns with my newsletter for writers this past summer and I’m glad I did. A main message at the email marketing sessions I attended is that list quality will become more important. If you have a list with a chunk of subscribers who regularly don’t open, it’s time to trim! Don’t just start cutting right away though. You’ll want to plan and roll out re-engagement campaigns down the road. Also, start gathering as many data points about your subscribers as possible. Hyper-personalized email is happening – and more is on the way.
  3. Content serves double duty. Many modern websites employ minimal text and high visual elements. This means the words you choose to display on site are highly powerful. They bear the optimization weight that a standard page of content generally holds. Choose your words wisely!
  4. Development v. Amplification. Discussions at several sessions underscored the belief that brands are focusing too much time on developing great content and not enough time on marketing it. This was a chunk of the talk at a roundtable on Content Marketing Trends with Steven Barnard, Lenovo’s Director of Commercial Marketing, and Amy Lavin, Temple University’s Director of Digital Innovation in Marketing. Stay ahead of your competition by refining your amplification efforts (social media, email marketing, events, webinars, etc.) and scale new development. Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz, said it best in his keynote: “Before you make content answer this question: Who will help amplify this and why?”
  5. Handwritten letters. What?! Advice from a digital marketing conference?! Yes, Melanie Spring, Chief Inspiration Officer of Sisarina, said to think about what you would say to your clients/customers if you were going to write a letter to each one individually by hand. Capture that feeling and message in your communications every time.

If you found this useful, you’ll likely find my re-cap of last year’s Internet Summit helpful. In that post there are links to all the other years I’ve attended. You can also check out social media feeds #ISUM16 for some good tidbits.

My calendar is already marked for Internet Summit 2017 – marketing legend Seth Godin is one of the speakers! #nerdinghard