Conference Tips and Tricks | Digital Summits and Beyond!

As digital marketers, it can be in our nature to deal with things from the comfort of a computer screen — and yet as much as we’d like to forget, digital marketing takes as much real-life, human interactions as it does strategic marketing wizardry! With Track5Media’s marketing team preparing for the upcoming Digital Summit in Philadelphia, we thought we’d share some of our most coveted conference tips and tricks.

Whether your team is headed to an industry-related conference for the first time or you’re flying solo, there are lots of things to consider before even stepping foot in the venue. So let’s get started!

5 Major Conference Tips and Tricks

conference tips and tricks

1. Organize your Pre-Conference Plan

They’ll be dozens of sessions led by some of the top influencers from far and wide, so that means you’ll need to pregame! No, not the type involving shotgunning beers in the parking lot, I’m talking about getting your plan together ahead of time. Of all the conference tips and tricks listed here, this one might be the single most important!

If you think you’ll just “figure it out when we get there” you may be on track to throwing away hundreds of dollars and missed opportunities for networking! Believe me, you’ll want to plan out exactly just which presentations you’ll be attending, scouting out any meet-and-greets, and of course, maximizing each intermission to keep everything running smoothly. If possible, grab a map ahead of time in order to avoid walking into a speaker’s presentation halfway through — ouch!

2. Hit the Biggest Keynotes

There’s nothing worse than checking Twitter and seeing valuable industry news you missed while wasting time elsewhere. If there are any big announcements, insights, or reveals during a keynote speech you should absolutely be in that room! In a lot of cases, keynotes don’t often hold break out sessions, meaning you won’t have to worry about missing other speakers or events… as long as you mind tip #1!

In any case, these keynote presentations are the crux of any conference, helping you and your team to really engage in the conversation and find solid talking points for anyone else you may encounter during your time there. You may not have much to relate to someone, but attending the same session can really get the ball rolling!

3. Don’t limit Your Scope!

Although most conferences are unified by a central theme or industry, that doesn’t mean every session offered will apply to your day-to-day needs at work. At the same time, some of the best insights can come from seemingly unrelated topics. They say you don’t know what you don’t know, and besides being stupidly redundant, there’s truth in that.

conference tips and tricks

Even sessions that are less-relevant to your focus can be useful if they are highly strategic. You’ll find that most marketing topics are extremely interrelated, so all it takes is one unseen connection between two topics to spawn your next breakthrough campaign — who knows!

4. Have the Right Gear Ready

Most conferences are not said and done in a single day, so you’ll need to be sure you can keep your momentum going the whole time. There’s nothing more stressful than trying to enter a new contact or follow someone on social media just to have your phone die! Extra battery packs, memory cards, and other accessories can be quick fixes to an electronic pickle.

We can’t stress this next point enough: Pack enough business cards! In the event your phone dies or someone else’s kicks the bucket, having a good ol’ fashioned analog business card may just save the day when meeting new or potential clients. Maybe they’ll get flung into the trash, or maybe fall out of a folder at a perfectly serendipitous moment — either way these little pieces of cardboard are never without their use!

If you have products to display or demo, make that a high priority. No one likes to watch you fumble around with faulty internet connections or other difficulties when a potential sale is on the line. Additionally, we mostly buy products because they make things easier, so don’t be your own worst enemy when it comes to demos!

5. Follow Up However Possible

So now that you’ve had your fun, it’s time to return home and get digging through all that swag, those business cards, and your notes (you were taking notes weren’t you??). You can do all the pitching and networking you want, but if you never follow up with anyone… did it really happen?

Send whatever follow up emails you can, reminding your contacts where you met, what you discussed, and about any ways to further collaborate or connect. Conferences can be hectic, exciting, but ultimately very productive so long as you really take the time to digest the experience. If nothing else, be sure to hold a team meeting where everyone can integrate whatever valuable conference nuggets they’ve prospected!

Finally, the Track5 team is headed to the Digital Summit in Philly at the end of August. If you’re going- be sure to hit us up!

conference tips and tricks

Did you find these conference tips and tricks useful? Let us know how you’re preparing for your next big company event in the comments below!

2016 Insight Lancaster Marketing Conference Recap

Yesterday I had the privilege and honor of getting to speak at the Insight Lancaster Marketing Conference. It was the first full-day marketing event of its kind here in Lancaster, and it was my first marketing speaking engagement. It was a day full of marketing information and keynotes from Kerry O’Shea Gorgone, and Mark Schaefer.

Oliver, our fearless leader of Track5Media, and I spoke to the audience about search engine optimization. In our session, Leveraging SEO to Rank in a Competitive Market, we told attendees how they could use on-site and off-site SEO strategies to get their web pages to rank on Google. The slides are available at the bottom of this post if you missed it.

SEO and Content Marketing Tools

For those of you that joined us at Insight Lancaster yesterday, I promised that I would post a blog further discussing some of the different marketing tools that we touched on during the presentation. Though there are some paid platforms on this list, most of them are absolutely free!

Schema Markup

One way that you can boost your SEO is to use schema markup. Schema markup is code that you put on your site to help tell search engines what your data means. When you use schema markup, your data can be presented in rich snippets in Google’s search results. Rich snippets are visually appealing, show more information, and have higher click-through rates than the average search result listing.

Google rich snippet screenshot of an event

This is an example of a rich snippet showing future events at a venue. Source: Google

There are many different types of schemas you can use to mark up your site. At the very least, you can add your business information, which will help you rank better locally. Not only can you add your business address and hours of operation, you can add payment options, your logo, professional membership information, and more. There are schemas for product information, events, traveling, reservations and more.

You can visit schema.org to view all the documentation and various markups you can use. If you look at that site and feel overwhelmed, fear not. Google provides a Structured Data Markup Helper tool that will help you markup your web pages.

Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer is a link research and backlink checker tool from Moz. During Insight Lancaster, we briefly mentioned this tool and how you can use it check your website’s link profile. Not only can you view your link profile, you can also view your competitors. This is beneficial for you because it can help you discover new linking opportunities. You will be able to access a large part of their filtering and comparison elements free, however, for reports and advanced features you will need to pay for a Moz Pro account.

Moz's Open Site Explorer tool

To use the tool, enter the URL of a website. When it loads, at the top of the page, you will see metrics for authority, page links, and social shares. Below you will be able to view inbound links to your site, as well as their domain, page, and scam scores. When you have Moz Pro, you will be able to export all of that data to a .csv file.

There is also a link comparison tool. You can also compare link metrics between up to five different sites. This is beneficial to be able to see where you stack up against other competitors.

Follower Wonk

Follower Wonk is a great tool for Twitter that you can use to find influencers and build you community. We discussed this tool at Insight Lancaster and gave you just a snapshot of its capabilities. Use the Search Bios tab to search Twitter profiles and bios to find the most influential Twitter users in your industry. You will be able to see metrics like how many tweets they have, how many people they are following, how many people are following them, how many days old their account is, and what their social authority score is.

Moz's FollowerWonk

There is another feature that allows you to compare users using metrics like engagement rates, average followers per day, and average tweets per week. In the Track Followers tab, you are able to view analytics about your followers or the people that you follow. You can also see how your follower rate compares with your competitors.

Using their analytics tools, you can find out a lot about the behavior of a particular user. You can find out their most active hours, the most used words of their followers, the location of their followers, demographic information of their followers and more. There is really so much you can do and see with this tool, but you’ll want to check it out yourself to see everything it is capable of.

Tools from Google

Google has many free tools that allow you to evaluate your website’s performance and analyze user behavior on the site.

Mobile-Friendly Test

Google provides a free tool to test the mobile-friendliness of your site. You enter your site and it will give you three scores based on mobile friendliness, mobile speed, and desktop speed. For each category, you can view details that will tell you how you can improve your site in that area.

Google Mobile Friendly Test

PageSpeed Insights

Google provides the PageSpeed Insights tool to test the speed of your site on desktop and mobile. Though the mobile friendly-test will give information about speed as well, this evaluation gives a little more detail. This tool also provides a score on user experience as well. When you enter your site into this tool, you will get suggestions of what you should fix, and Google will even tell you how to fix them.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to monitor your website and gather data to be able to make smart business decisions. With so many features, I could write an entire post dedicated to Analytics however, I will just focus on some key points.

Google Analytics Screenshot

Under the Acquisition tab, you can view your traffic segmented by channel. Looking at your organic users, you can view the number of visits, the bounce rate, the number of pages visited per session, and more. Like Oliver said during the conference, it is incredibly important to compare your data year over year. When it comes to the internet, there are seasonal fluctuations. For example, during a holiday, you see web traffic drop to most sites.

If you connect your Analytics to Search Console (which I will discuss in a moment), you will be able to view the search queries users entered to find your site, top landing pages, and more without having to log into Search Console.

Another point Oliver made during Insight Lancaster was that you need to set up conversion goals in Analytics. Even if you don’t have an e-commerce site, you should still be measuring conversions. Even if you do not sell products on your site, you can still track other things such as page views, downloaded items, phone calls, or almost any quantitative or qualitative metric.

If you are new to Google Analytics, visit their help center.

Google Search Console

Search Console, formerly known as Webmaster Tools, is a free resource that will help you manage your website. Again, I’m going to focus just a few key points that will help you get started.

Google Search Console

From the dashboard when you log in, at a glance you can see if there are any important messages Google wants to tell you about your site. You can quickly view any site or crawl errors, as well as any issues with your sitemaps.

Under the Search Traffic drop-down tab, you can view your external and internal links. You can view your most linked content and pages and see who links to you the most.

Check the Crawl tab so that you can view any crawl errors your site may have.   Search Console will tell you if you have any 404 errors on your site, which is something I mentioned during my presentation yesterday. You want to make sure you are paying attention to these errors so that you can fix them and create a better experience for your users.

Under the crawl tab, you can also test your robots.txt file. Search Console will tell you if you have any errors in your file, and you also test any page of your site to see if it is blocked or not. You can also upload or check your sitemaps. If there are any errors or warnings, Google will tell you.

I suggest logging into Search Console and exploring all it has to offer. The Search Console Help Center provides instructions and various resources to help you get started.

Reflecting on the 2016 Insight Lancaster Marketing Conference

Track 5 Media had a blast at the conference yesterday, and not just because Oliver and I spoke! On behalf of all of us, I would like to give a huge thank you to Lancaster Marketing Group (LMG) and all of the event sponsors for hosting the Insight Lancaster Marketing Conference.

If you didn’t get a chance to listen to our presentation, please feel free to view our slides from our session, Leveraging SEO to Rank in a Competitive Market.

insight-lancaster-marketing-conference-slides

Travel Nurse Source to Speak at Traveler’s Conference 2015

Travel Nurse Source is packing their bags and heading to the one and only Sin City this weekend. And odds are, it’s gonna be a devilishly good time….

The Traveler’s Conference is an event that happens every year to bring traveling healthcare professionals together with key members in the industry as well as  top-notch opportunities to network with fellow travel nurses, physicians, allied health professionals, and more. This year it takes place September 13th-15th at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

COaCYcsUAAANq70.jpg_large

Our company’s president is even going to speak at the event Monday morning in a presentation called The In’s and Out’s: Lead Generation for Healthcare Travelers. He’ll be covering all the bases for the audience going over what exactly lead generation sites are, how they work in travel healthcare staffing, basics about job boards, best practices, and busting the myths about the industry.

Other speakers at Trav Con 2015 include:

  • Candy Treft, RN (AKA The Gypsy Nurse) will talk about pre-flight checklists for travelers.
  • Britney Wilson, BSN, RN will talk about how traveling healthcare professionals should utilize social media and another speech about using the cloud for all your important documents.
  • Joseph Smith, of Traveler’s Tax, will go over the basics over things such as non-taxable income, tax rules, etc.
  • Jeff Solheim, MSN, RN-BC, CEN, CFRN, FAEN will give healthcare practitioners the ropes on how to deal with a patient that shows signs of drug abuse or misuse. He also serves as this year’s keynote speaker and he’ll discuss traveling with medical teams to some of the most desolate areas in the world.
  • and many more!

Other sponsors attending in addition to Travel Nurse Source this year include: TotalMed Staffing, Medical Staffing Solutions, Talemed, Trinity Healthcare Staffing Group, Fastaff Travel Nursing, Accountable Healthcare Staffing, Advantage Nursing Services, Adex Medical Staffing, Aureus Medical Group, Cariant Health Partners, and more!

TNS is super stoked to network with travel healthcare professionals some of the shining stars in the industry this weekend. In fact, the team members who are going to be hitting the strip are more than ready to rock the City of Lights.

The only question left is…..are they ready for us???

blog-post-2_ready-to-partay

We just hope the weekend doesn’t end up like this…….

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 2.39.45 PM

 

AllTruckJobs.com Does Dallas: TAKE 2

Some of the Track5 team are representing our All Truck Jobs brand right now in Dallas for the Great American Trucking Show (GATS) for the second year. This also marks the succesful 1 year anniversary of the website’s launch that happened last August.

Locum Jobs Online to Exhibit at NAPR & NALTO

A few of the Track5 team are eagerly anticipating a wonderful time in San Antonio, TX next week to exhibit Locum Jobs Online (LJO) at the NAPR & NALTO 2015 Annual Convention.

Locum Jobs Online is a career resource for physician and advanced practice providers looking for lucrative travel assignments. LJO connects qualified locum candidates with leading staffing agencies that offer the most sought-after travel opportunities across the US.