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Online Marketing Summit in Long Beach - What I learned....

I recently attended the Online Marketing Summit Conference ( in Long Beach.

The Online Marketing Summit (OMS) prides this conference as “no vendor pitches, no tradeshow booths, no selling -- just education.”

OMS is the only education based event of its kind focused on best practices in online marketing including Social Media, Search Engine Marketing (SEO & PPC), Web Analytics, Usability, Email Marketing and Integrated Marketing Strategy. Built on the premise that learning best practices from real “in the field” experts and sharing knowledge amongst marketing peers is essential to your success, OMS has a running policy of no tradeshow booths, no vendor pitches and no sales-folk allowed! In fact, OMS encourages "booing" if a presenter starts pitching their company or starts talking about themselves a little too much.

It was an interesting mix of attendees – some were very new to online marketing and some were well versed. But I wanted to recap, very quickly, a couple sessions that were particularly interesting to me:

  1. Web site usability: Top 10 Usability Mistakes NOT To Make
  2. Digital PR: Content Strategy Meets New Media Relations

Website Usability: Top 10 Usability Mistakes NOT To Make

  1. Do not make a website look like it was made by a used car salesman.
    • Referring to colors, design, not everything has to be thrown up there… the goal is to have visitors engage with the website.
  2. Do not wrongly use the principle of proximity.
    • Search bar, log in, etc. –should all be grouped together
    • Group things in a logical manner
    • If contact us and contact info is in the same area – likelihood of someone contacting you goes up
  3. Not using the principle of color
    • Your call to action (CTA) should be a complimentary color
    • Use the color wheel!!!
  4. Not creating a clear starting and ending point
    • Users scan from large to small, irregular shape to regular shape, dark to light, saturated to less saturated
  5. Not using lines to separate content
    • Create conceptual meaning with content
  6. Not dividing information into 5-9 meaningful chunks
    • Working memory theory states that people process 5 pieces of information at a time , plus or minus 2.
    • Grouping (either by lines or common colors) is considered 1 chunk of information
    • Embed SEO rich keywords in links
  7. Not denoting what is clickable
    • No preference on underlining links or different color for links – just be consistent throughout
  8. Not saving/retaining entered information when user uses the “back” button
  9. Not allowing users to control their own experience
    • Do not use flash for navigation – no user control with flash
    • Do not use video on autoplay – a big no-no and kinda annoying
    • Flash should only loop once and then stop
    • CTA – where do they find you?
    • SEO optimized
  10. Not doing user testing
    • Usability principles can only get you so far, you need to test to see what the real experience is like

Digital PR: Content Strategy Meets New Media Relations

“PR is the opportunity to change public perception.”

  • PR should align with marketing goals
  • There is a story in everything you do – just find it
  • Be your own publisher – stories are everywhere
  • Mix, match, reuse – repurpose your story every which way you can
  • Connect with the human reading your news
  • SEO for PR – have a baseline PR keyword strategy
  • Optimize only 2-3 key phrases per release
  • Syndication – don’t hoard all your info on your website
  • Place your content on your Web site first before distribution
  • Use RSS!!!
  • Blogger outreach –find the bloggers in your specific market

The biggest take away I got from this session is that PR is no longer about these formally written press releases that go out to the same usual channels. It’s about find the story in everything you do and repurposing what you have – and everyone DOES has a story to tell. Once you have your story, use social media to spread the word, don’t keep your stories on your Web site – use Facebook, Twitter, etc.

The day was certainly worthwhile – not only did I get reminded of all the things we should think about in technology marketing, but I also got some valuable perspective with looking at our “tried and true” (and frankly, legacy) ways in a whole new light.