Last week I had a chance to attend PubCon in Las Vegas. For the record, I highly recommend the conference to anyone in the internet marketing industry from PPC to SEO to affiliate marketers. The keynote speakers were great, the sessions were fantastic and the parties were first-rate. But what did I get out of the conference besides a lack of sleep and some free swag?
Tony Hsieh’s Keynote
Tony is the CEO of Zappos.com, which was recently purchased by Amazon for around $1.2 billion. Zappos is famous for their customer service and Tony explained how that is an outgrowth of the company culture. Each new hire is given two sets of interviews. One is for technical ability (just like you would have at any other company) and the other is strictly for cultural fit. You have to pass both to be hired, which means that Zappos turns away many highly qualified applicants (who could make the company a lot of money with their contributions) because it wouldn’t be a cultural fit.
Another method Zappos uses to ensure they have the right people is the $2000 quitting bonus. After an employee is trained (about 5 weeks if I remember correctly) they offer them $2000 to quit on the spot. If someone takes the money they weren’t a good fit for the company and Zappos is willing to pay that much to avoid a bad hire. Are you that committed to hiring the right people?
Since I’m from the PPC world, this was a highly anticipated session for me and the panel didn’t disappoint. First up we got to listen to Christine Churchill, president of KeyRelevance. I got three main points from her presentation:
- Test Messaging – Need a new subject line for your email campaign? Don’t know what headline to use on your whitepaper download page? Test these short marketing messages with PPC ads. It’s fast and measurable.
- Reputation Management – You probably don’t want your homepage ranking for “[Your Company] Sucks”, but you do want to be able to tell your side of the story. Use PPC to have a presence on these searches.
- Mobile is Growing – When viewing search results on a smartphone, the paid ads can occupy up to half of the page above the fold. Create mobile-specific campaigns that target the top-2 spots and write copy that speaks to a mobile user. For example, a mobile user searching for Burger King may be more receptive to a text coupon offer than someone sitting at home. Someone searching JC Penney on a mobile likely needs directions or store hours and isn’t looking to buy online right now.
If you use AdWords you should already know that Brad Geddes is behind www.bgtheory.com and is a true PPC wizard. He spoke almost exclusively on managing your PPC based on profit, not ROI. To understand the difference he provided several examples where a higher ROI product didn’t necessarily have a higher profit. I’ll likely revisit this in a future post because it’s hard to explain in words.
He also mentioned that often times we do our best PPC optimization outside of AdWords, MSN and Yahoo. Conversion path optimization, landing page optimization and improving the sales nurturing process can often yield much greater results than time spent on keyword bidding and ad copy writing. Lastly, he mentioned that studies have found conversion rates do not vary much by position (only 0.1%). This means that your average position really only affects the volume of clicks you get and how much they cost you. Find the spot that maximizes your profit.
Another of my favorite PPC guys, David Szetela is president of Clix Marketing and has a weekly web radio show every monday at 4 pm EST titled PPC Rockstars. He talked about some “gray hat” PPC tactics which I won’t get too in-depth with here, but I will share a couple nuggets. First, you can use ASCII codes to insert trademark or copyright symbols into your ads. These symbols only take up one character and add trust. However, to get through the AdWords filters you need to submit them through AdWords Editor. Second, using dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) you can get a title up to 28 characters long.
That’s all the time I have for today, but I’ll be posting more PubCon takeaways soon. Let me know what you think.