Get Digital
Digital marketing seminars by Gorilla 76 and Evolve Digital Labs

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Get Digital Video: Derek on PPC

We’ve spent some time  revisiting last year’s Get Digital seminar, focusing on the individual presentations. Derek concluded the day with a solid overview of PPC – that’s pay-per-click for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term.

The process by which Google sorts through the different web pages to find solutions to queries is complicated. We don’t even exactly know how it works – but we’re familiar enough with it to understand that there is a right way and a wrong way to approach PPC. In order to not get ripped off and completely frustrated, you’ll have to understand how AdWords works. Google is a business, and businesses want your money. If you want to use Google AdWords successfully, you have to actually know what you’re getting into. Business owners who start up a campaign in AdWords typically move forward with Google’s pre-defined settings. But is that necessarily what’s best for them? For example, Derek mentioned that Google might suggest you allow your ads to be shown on mobile devices. Sounds great, right? More spread, larger audience. But what do you think the chance is of someone converting if you don’t even have a mobile-version of your site?

Non-believers of PPC haven’t succeeded in the search engine marketing realm. If you can grasp what it takes to harness the available resources and develop a holistic plan, then you will increase your ROI. Paid search grants brands the unique opportunity to reach users that are already interested – and even actively seeking a solution.

See Derek in action below.

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Recap in our own words

We want to whole-heartedly thank everyone who supported us, attended the event, contributed to the digital conversation on Twitter, and supplied us with rich feedback. Without you, this event would not have been possible. It certainly wouldn’t have been a success. We are happy to have formed many new relationships and strengthened existing ones. Hopefully you were able to meet some new faces as well.

 

What made Get Digital victorious is more than the valuable content that was shared from the stage. In my opinion, the reason Get Digital’s attendees left with the know-how that they did is mainly due to the copious amount of passion that seeped out of the speakers. The presenters were practically glowing with excitement, and not just because they were standing in a spotlight. It was clear to everyone how prevalent and electrifying this industry is. When the speakers are that eager to share about an industry that they respect and admire, the audience feeds off that passion and actually learns a few things.

 

The seminar kicked of with Derek Mabie of Evolve Digital Labs, who spoke of what it really means to Get Digital and how the different strategies, when implemented together, can fortify your overall success in the digital realm. He elaborated on paid search, since this approach is often misunderstood. Derek showed us how it can be possible to create a successful Pay-Per-Click campaign; it requires testing on a small scale, spreading your budget to search engines beyond just Google, and carefully monitoring successes or failures along the way.

 

Jon Franko of Gorilla 76 followed Derek with a presentation that everyone needed to hear. He explained to the audience that the quality and consistency of content on your site, blog, and social media accounts is extremely crucial for accumulating and maintaining brand loyalists. Jon provided a great deal of information regarding the different methods to go about creating good content and how to share it. Content is king, after all, and according to the #GetDigital stream on Twitter, the audience completely agreed.

 

After a tasty lunch, we congregated again in the theater to hear Jenn Cloud speak of her experience as the Young and Free representative in St. Louis. This brand, which is an affiliate of Vantage Credit Union, has awarded Jenn the responsibility of reaching out to the 25-and-under crowd of the St. Louis Metropolitan area. Jenn is challenged to utilize nearly every social media outlet, create and upload videos, and share freebies with the people she meets while cruising in her boldly-branded Nissan Cube. Jenn discussed what it takes to successfully reach an audience. As graduates of her How to Have a Conversation: 101 class, the Get Digital audience is prepared to face our targeted demographics with a new confidence and a few integrated marketing strategies in mind.

 

After a quick Q & A session, it was time for Chris Reimer to replace Jenn on stage. Mr. Reimer is very well known around St. Louis and specifically on the Twittersphere, where he has acquired a following of more than 55,000 for his handle, @RizzoTees. Chris shared with us a case study of the power of social media. Through very close monitoring, constant availability on more than 17 channels of communication, and immediate engagement, Chris and his team were able to prevent a historical St. Louis bakery from closing its doors forever. All it really took was a commitment to a cause. The rest of the work just fell into place.

 

Brad Hogenmiller spoke of the importance of influence. He showed a useful tool, STL Index, which uses a secret algorithm to define and monitor who in St. Louis is considered to be the most influential. Through use of tools like these, you can discover what’s being said and who is doing the talking.

 

To give us a break from social media, Derek once again took the stage to talk about Search Engine Optimization. He discussed both white and black hat methods, strongly encouraging everyone to avoid the unethical (and ineffective) black hat methods of SEO, such as link buying. Derek wrapped up by discussing the challenges he has faced during the launch of his company’s new site.

 

To complete the circle, Joe Sullivan of Gorilla 76 presented some radical solutions to monitoring your success online. Through useful tools, many of them free, you can follow the success of your website, social media and paid search campaigns along the way. There are even ways to set specific goals for yourself and observe the progress. Arguably the most beneficial factor of “getting digital” is having the ability to monitor activity and see instantaneous feedback.

 

We hope you enjoy the materials uploaded to your snazzy Get Digital zip drives. They will help you retain the information that you willingly (and wisely) immersed yourself in last week. We would appreciate any and all feedback of your Get Digital experience. Thank you for coming and stay in touch!

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Get Digital: Search and SEO

After a quick break, Derek Mabie reclaimed the stage to discuss the world of Search Engine Optimization.

 

What does optimization truly mean? It really comes down to making things better, making things available, and connecting each other. Derek spoke about two kinds of SEO: black hat and white hat. “Black hat” SEO is what we avoid; paying for sneaky tactics to get you ranked will only results in your site being discredited by the search engines.

 

The more “white hat” you make your SEO efforts, the longer the benefits will last. Derek compared proper SEO to being a gentleman: Doing something on your industry or consumer’s behalf. This includes publishing valuable content, such as whitepapers and informational posts.

Why SEO? Simply: return on investment. It’s the most efficient pathway to success online. Content is recyclable. If you’re creating content with purpose, you can reuse it in different ways. Knowledge of your competition is incredibly useful because learning what they are doing online is relevant to what they’re doing in the real world. Having knowledge of your customers is also important. Through SEO, you can understand exactly what customers are searching for online.

 

How does it work? SEO works through time and money. Implementing “white hat” techniques is neither easy nor free. Without great content, you simply won’t thrive online. Building out impressive, authoritative blog posts requires a long-term commitment to quality. Another component of SEO is link building. Derek compared this to the connectivity of airports. They all lead to each other. The larger airports have more activity, longer lines, and greater awareness. Websites are gauged similarly through the quality and quantity of inbound and outbound links.

 

Derek then answered the question: How can you even know where to begin? Data, once collected, should drive your decisions. Start with keywords. These power tools will connect you with the consumer and ultimately tell a story. Using tools like Webmaster Tools will provide you, as a brand owner or manager, with a clear vision of what Google perceives your site to be about. Derek mentioned that keywords are the most actionable form of data on the web. Using the information collected from sources like Google Analytics and Google AdWords (preferably combined), allows you to discover exactly which pages of your site are ranked for specific terms. Unreal information. That liberating insight will allow you to optimize your site’s content to rank even more for those terms.

 

Derek concluded by listing the ways Evolve is trying to bounce back from selling its previous site domain, www.thescienceofsearch.com. Part of his strategized comeback included limiting the kinds of services that Evolve offers.  It also involved implementing a killer social media strategy and developing content at a much higher standard.

 

No one ever said SEO is easy. Especially “white hat” techniques. It’s worth the time and effort, however, if you want your brand to truly achieve awareness and success in the digital domain.

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Get Digital: Brad Hogenmiller

Brad of STL Index took the stage after Chris to talk about the importance of digital influence. How often do we check out a restaurant or band just because someone we respect recommended it? We usually do so more than we might realize. Influence is powerful.

Building connections is building trust. Every time you have an interaction with a person, product, or service, it all involves the same process of deciding whether you can actually connect with the other. This involves understanding the context of that individual or brand. Before you can have an impact on someone, you have to first find a mutual interest. Influence helps us connect to each other.

 

St. Louis Tweets takes a snapshot of the people of St. Louis and the things that are tweeted about. Then the data is all stuffed into one place to summarize what the people of St. Louis are tweeting about. Brad noted that we tend to talk about influence marketing like it’s a new thing. It’s not new, he said. It’s just more available.

 

St. Louis Index is a useful online tool that shows who we are as individuals; it displays whom we connect to and how influential we are. The algorithm ranks what people do and how they interact with people online. In other words, it gives insight to what matters to people in St. Louis. Thinking from a marketer’s standpoint, this is useful in understanding how you can make connections.

 

#Cardinals is one of the top hash tags in St. Louis, along with #craftbeer and #highschool. These hashtags prove that we are interested in other people’s backgrounds. They validate our connections with other Tweeps.

 

Influence is the way we start conversations. But it’s not the end. Context is what allows us to find a common ground and leverage our relationships with those influencers. Many thanks to Brad for the great information about STL Tweets and STL Index. They are both tools worth using.

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Get Digital: Chris Reimer

We were extremely excited to have Chris Reimer speak at Get Digital. According to STL Index, he is St. Louis’s most influential Twitter user – so in the digital realm, he is a local celebrity.

Chris spoke about a specific case study in which a century-old St. Louis business was saved from permanent closing. This campaign would never have worked solely on Twitter or Facebook, Chris said. It had to live as a blog post because blogs are versatile. A blog is your property.

He wrote in his post that Pratzel’s, a St. Louis bakery of 98 years, was for sale. In order to ensure that the historical business remained open, Chris offered a year’s worth of social media services to whomever bought the company.

Once the initial campaign was announced, Chris and a few others involved used their own social media platforms to broadcast a cry for help. That is how the fire began. Chris and his comrades responded to all tweets, thanked all RTs, and used a hashtag: #SavePratzels. When the feedback poured in, it was immediately responded to. The engagement was initiated and conversations were ignited on all platforms: Twitter, Facebook, the blog post, and LinkedIn.

Chris made himself available to be reached on 17 different channels of communications. 17! While that might seem overwhelming, he said it’s important to try to make yourself available in every way possible. Essentially, you need to be available to communicate with customers on their terms.

What were the results of this campaign?

Nearly 1 million impressions for the terms “Pratzels” and “#SavePratzels” over a 5 day period. And yes, the bakery was purchased.

It wouldn’t have been possible without integration of marketing efforts or completeness of response. If you’re going to use social media, Chris said, go all in. Social media is powerful and effective. These campaign results prove that.

Thanks to Chris for sharing that inspiring case study. It’s always a pleasure to be reminded of how valuable social media truly is.

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