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There’s a first time for everything…

Rise and shine! It’s the first day of SES (Search Engine Strategies) and I need some coffee!!! We arrive a little early to get signed in, get our badges and grab some caffeine. We got our badges and were ready for a little pick-me-up… But to our dismay, the coffee wasn’t out yet. No worries though, one of the friendly staff put in a call and in less than 5 minutes, we had coffee!

We sorted out our plan of attack moved through the growing crowd and headed to our first class.

The first class of the day was covering the importance and relevance of Long Tail, which is a search that‘s based on a number very specific terms.

Mary Bowling was up first and started off by talking about Local Search, the intention to find something specific based on geographic location.

She began by explaining how 30-40% of Long Tail searches include some type of local result or specifics. And it makes sense when you think of some of the terms we use everyday to find something on the online. Some of the terms she discussed were…

• Towns
• Cities
• Counties
• State
• Zip Codes

Mary also touched on such topics like how to easily optimize by creating a new page and linking it using Key Words, adding relevant terms into the title of an existing page and placing terms on a relevant page with good PR.

Mary finished up by talking to us about some simple and affective ways to increase Long Tail traffic, like, using your blogs to harvest Long Tail traffic. It’s a perfect place to be as specific as you’d like and also link those specifics up! How about seeing what other local terms are being used? Find out what other local terms people are using and which ones are being used the most. And finally, utilize the features of Google Maps and get specific geographic details.

So that was the first class of the day, which right off the bat was pretty interesting and taught me a lot!

After a quick break to get some water, it was off to hear about Viral Marketing.
This really sparked my interest. I think Viral Marketing is a pretty genius and affordable way to spread the word about, basically, anything you want, and make it interesting at the same time.

First we had Chris Winfield talk a little about how Viral Marketing works and what it essentially is. And that’s “word of mouth” marketing that’s done online.

Chris gave some examples of how socially motivated sites like blogs, which allow linking and commenting, and places like MySpace and FaceBook, which are user created profile based sites that give you the power of implementing video/audio, plus take advantage of some effective networking opportunities.

All of the above mentioned social medias are basically giant conversations online, which is where the “word of mouth” part comes into play!

Some other social medias that were talked about were message boards and groups, which are sites where discussions about various topics take place among the users and members.

Chris left us with a list of some really useful content and good practice tips that can be implemented quite easily and at very little cost. Here are some of the items Chris left us with…

• Lists
• How To’s
• Surveys
• Comprehensive (providing strong resources)
• Best Of’s
• Calculators/Tools
• Video
• Widgets
• Quizzes & Badges
• Have clear goals & objectives
• Promote good content
• Contribute to the community

Another panelist we heard from was Jennifer Laycock, who talked about everything from the importance of amazing marketing to managing and knowing what kind of budget you have available. You need to be able to know what realm you fit into before creating too much of a plan. Speaking of budgets, she also mentioned that, one good way to keep your budget down is by using as many in-house resources as you can. Doing as much work yourself as possible can prevent outside expenses, keeping your costs down.

She continued by promoting creativity and even trying ideas that may seem a little outrageous. Most viral efforts don’t take off right away anyway, so get creative and take a couple of risks. Every try improves your marketing capability.

Jennifer wrapped things up with by giving us some excellent pitching rules when trying to sell a customer, Like reading blogs regularly and commenting as well. Get familiar with the people you are trying to market to and make yourself relevant! How about NOT sending mass emails? It’s very impersonal and your customers won’t feel a sense of relationship between the two of you.

Don’t forget to familiarize yourself with the readers and users of the blogs or communities that you are marketing to. Build relationships and be transparent. Being honest can win people over very easily, even when you may have made a mistake.

2:45 rolls around and it’s off to the last class of the day

This class focused on the “other” relevant search engines besides Google that a lot of people tend to over look or may not even know about.

Sage Lewis got things going by jumping right into a list of some other search engines that can be utilized for many different areas of Search Advertising. – Very affordable and it’s easy to use. – Great for local or geospecific campaigns. AND it converts – Ideal for targeting particular demographics – This is good for targeting newspapers and magazines

Once again budget became a source for a topic with Sage recommending people allocate themselves at least 10-25% of their budget strictly for testing. This relates to what Jennifer Laycock was saying about not being afraid to test things out and allow yourself the freedom to explore a little.

Johnathan Ewert of Look Smart, briefly discussed some ways to make advertisers want to advertise with you. How about simply making it easy to buy? Generally, people don’t want to spend to much time trying to figure out how to give you their money, and they are giving you their money, so make it easy on them.

Well, that pretty much wraps up my first day and first time here at Search Engine Strategies, and I must say it was quite informative!!! There is so much to learn and I look forward to taking in as much knowledge as I can during my time here at SES.