Last night, I attended the May 2013 monthly SOFTEC dinner at the Madonna Inn. The attraction was a panel of five leading San Luis Obispo Digital Marketing Experts.
The panelists were: Michael Boyer (Elements Local), Scott Brennan (Access Publishing), David Cox (Barnett Cox), Justin Couto (Couto Solutions), and Bob Dumouchel (Systems and Marketing Solutions). The panelists took direct questions from the audience in an extended Q&A session, and there were also many good insights and suggestions from the tech-oriented audience as well.
Following are some random insights as I interpreted them. (No guarantee that any or all of the panelists or attendees agrees with this list.)
• If you tweet, use the #hash tags to give your tweets greater visibility.
• Repetition that businesses should be going after “owned”, “earned” and “paid” media. Of these, “Owned” should be the priority.
• Make sure your website says Who You are, What You Do and Where you do it. This info helps visitors – and Google Search Engine Optimization. Too many sites assume knowledge of these points.
• Paying for Google Adwords helps Organic Search Results by increasing traffic, and can help point out SEO weaknesses to be addressed.
• “Local” Search optimization is the “Biggest thing on the internet right now.”
• Businesses should make sure they claim and verify their Google+ Listing.
• Be careful of encouraging too many positive reviews in a brief time. Review sites will probably be suspicious and “filter” them – aka not rank as strongly.
• Businesses are moving away from dedicated “apps” and moving over to having fully functional mobile websites, which also handle all sizes in between. These mobile-friendly sites are much more popular for visitors than an app that needs to be downloaded. A good example of a site that changes dynamically with screen size is (ironically?) www.microsoft.com.
• The best way to get people to join “loyalty programs” is actual one-on-one human interaction, e.g.. a salesperson at a store with a customer, not on-line.
• QR codes have not taken off in popularity, partly because iPhones do not support them well. However, there is a new invisible “watermark” technology that may make them obsolete.
• Despite much talk that iPhone users are much more likely than Android users to use apps and surf the web, one major panelist saw no real difference in usage among thousands of client sites monitored.
• There was doubt about the effectiveness of Facebook ads, though one audience participant thought they worked well for events.
• Some panelists had good experience gaining B2B clients through advertising on Linked-In.
• See who uses Twitter near you geographically, since this info may be useful for marketing.
• There was disagreement on how to best use Linked-In contacts for marketing purposes. However, consensus was to have a conscious plan on who you accept, and who you go after, and why.
• Major hotels often check the “Clout” scores of people making reservations, and work to make those that are likely to review the hotel have a better experience than they might otherwise.
• Sign Your Blog Posts, which I will now do consistently: Dave Kastner