NTC ‘08 big takeaways [for me]

Michaela in New Orleans

On the trolley with Rose, Amy, and Laura

I’m still behind on my personal wrap-up of NTC ‘08, but work keeps getting in the way and I’m trying to make sure I don’t forget the big lessons I learned with all you awesome folks down in NOLA. The personal impressions and friendships aren’t going to fade anytime soon, and will be waiting when I have a breath of fresh air.

The following is a summary of my favorite takeaways. The list may seem long, and some items may seem more elementary than others, but I think all have significant value in the success of an organization’s online strategy.

Google Analytics, Know your website, one hour a day

  • Never let your data be lonely. Pair up your data with other data.
  • Industry benchmarks - when you choose to share your data with the rest of the world, you get to see their data too.
  • Goal Conversion tab - segmentation. How well does direct traffic do with “goals” we’ve set.
  • Bounce isn’t always bad. If you’re a blog, they read 10 posts and leave. If bounce rate is 100%, you have to take it in context.
  • Setup Google Analytics filters to follow the analytics of paths you want your users to take.

For more summaries of Google Adwords, SEO, the new paradigm of marketing, and the joy of CMS, please keep reading :).

Intro to Google Adwords

  • Search Marketing is efficient in terms of cost.
    • Direct mail - $70
    • $8.5 for a direct search
    • 10x less expensive than most other mediums
  • Concept is getting in front of the right customer, at the right time, with the right message
  • Ads on right - ranked off a combination of relevance and how much you’re willing to pay.
  • Relevance is key and KING.
  • Keywords need to be directly linked to ad text, so it’s better targeted and creates better ROI.
  • Very few people go to the 2nd and 3rd pages of organic results on google
  • No more than 10 words per keyword phrase. Most people search between 2-5 words.
  • Relevant keywords accurately reflect products/services being offered, match what your audience is looking for, and target the audience without being too general
    • Rank = quality score * maximum CPC

    From Techie to Leader

    • The NMA ( Leadership Model
      • Set direction - envision the future, share vision,
      • Demonstrate Personal Character - foster relationships
      • Engender organizational capability
    • Understand strategic technology planning - too often the answer is no, orgs don’t consider tech.
    • Develop a vision - align Technology with mission and business goals
    • Build the team- benefits of buy-in from all levels.
    • Communication - build internal enthusiasm.
    • Role Model - continue to provide thought leadership in the organization

    The Seven Things Everyone Wants

    • People care about how an “ask” makes them feel
    • Marketing is a lot different than it used to be. We’re at a crossroads. Traditional folks are nervous. A new “tabula rasa” - reinventing new marketing for a new era. Time to “write on the wall”. Traditional marketing no longer works.
    • People want to be Seen and Heard - for their voice to matter, to be part of the conversation, and to “own” the cause an speak on its behalf
      • Does your homepage make your audience feel heard?
      • Real listening means giving up control of the final words (e.g. blogs)
    • To be CONNECTED to someone or something
      • Authenticity is key piece to true connection
      • People don’t build experiences around the brand anymore, they build experiences around REAL.
      • The messenger - and their authenticity - is key to success in connecting.
    • As we get more cynical of marketing, people are starved for a message of trust.
    • 70% of givers say they are most inspired by friends and family. Most do something because a close friend asked.
    • Most people stop giving money to organizations because they were treated like an ATM.
    • Coalitions of organizations working for the same cause is more compelling.
    • Important to have a product that doesn’t suck. If it’s not happening already, soon donors will be sharing their experiences with charities much more intimately.
    • If someone gives to an organization, they are likely to give to 7 other organizations too.

    Change of mindset for humanity. Marking once feared and now there is a critical need for authenticity and need for hopeful future, shift to goodness and humanity.

    Search Engine Optimization

    • The search engines have a direct interest in making sure you are NOT at the top unless you belong there.
    • The google toolbar for SEO: toolbar shows PageRank plus more useful SEO info. Sites’ back-links, cache, etc.
    • Make sure all content is readable by search engines. Text must be in spider-friendly readable formats: HTML, PDFS (properly formatted), Word documents, PPT files, Text files/RTF
      • If content is embedded in an image, it can’t be seen by the search engine.
      • Content search engines can’t read: images, graphics, animations, fancy flash movies, javascript DHTML content, dynamic content and media (AJAX, iFrames)
        • Use an inverted pyramid style when you write: Start with the meatiest part of the story…
        • How to make your site SEO friendly:
          • No javascript, flash or pull-down form navigation unless mirrored in text
          • navigational breadcrumbs and sitemap links
          • text link navigation
          • good url formation - no session IDs
          • Unique title tags, some other meta control
        • Links from trusted, reputable sites will generally improve ranking

        The Joy of CMS

        • Have content owners migrate the content so they can identify things that are out of date. Use it as a training exercise.
        • Use a tool like delicious to tag areas of content and archive them that way. Then you have them in a format where you can analyze all of it in one place and move forward.
        • Develop a quickstart guide, one page long, to teach new users how to work in the CMS
        • Educate your staff on how people should be writing for the web and what the differences are. Sub-heads, bullets, smaller snippets. Make sure to pick a good title for SEO!!
        • For RSS, pipe the entire article. Don’t grab the first 40 words and make it your title and the way that content is indexed.
        • Content often overlooked in CMS migration: Transitional, instructional information explaining how to get to content.
        • When does it make sense to put content in CMS and to use third party applications? Days of control are long over. Encourage users to develop their own content in 3rd party apps and they can further your mission. Don’t get in the way of this potential, the way of the new world.
        • Workflow best practices: attach rights to “groups” instead of individual users.
        • Don’t overthink your workflow - 1-2 people process

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