emagine is Coming to a WordCamp Near You (if you happen to like warm weather)
The emagine team is very active in the WordPress community and that includes speaking and attending WordCamps all over the United States. In 2016, we spoke at 10 WordCamps. 2017 is starting off with Krystal Galewski and Leah Halbina from emagine’s sales and marketing team speaking to freelancers and business owners in the WordPress community on the business tracks at WordCamp Atlanta and WordCamp Miami.
The Loudermilk Center in downtown Atlanta is hosting WordCamp Atlanta Friday March 18th – Sunday March 20th and you can check out the full schedule here.
Krystal and Leah will be speaking Saturday, March 19th at 11:00am on Finding Your Pot of Gold Isn’t About Luck: How to Prospect, Nurture and Close the Right Clients. Krystal will kick off the talk with expressing that lead generation isn’t about luck. It takes much more than luck including defining your ideal client, identifying the companies you want to work with, finding the right contacts and attracting and nurturing prospects. Leah will finish the talk off by explaining how to reach your “pot of gold”, which includes, researching and understanding a potential client, creating a personalized proposal and how to set yourself apart and seal the deal.
The 9th Annual WordCamp Miami is Friday March 24th – Sunday March 26th at Florida Atlantic University’s School of Business and you can see the full schedule here.
Here, Krystal and Leah will be at the Freelance Workshop Friday, March 24th with their talk on From the Front Lines: Finding and Closing the Right Clients, where they will personally discuss strategies, tactics, steps and principles to find and win new business.
Be on the lookout for pictures and recaps of our March WordCamps! You can follow both WordCamps by using #WCATL for WordCamp Atlanta and #WCMIA for WordCamp Miami.
My Growing Pains in B2B Sales for Web Design & Digital Marketing
“Growing pains are often described as an ache or throb in the legs – often in the front of the thighs, the calves or behind the knees. Growing pains tend to affect both legs and occur at night, and may even wake a child from sleep.”
– Mayo Clinic
My “growing pains” are different. I am an adult and they pertain to my job in B2B Sales. I have been a Business Development Representative (BDR) for emagine, a Digital Marketing agency for B2B and Healthcare, for five years now. 90% of the time, I am rejected at work. Some prospects don’t answer me, some are mean, some are nice and some are nice then mean depending on what day it is. It’s not easy. Why is that okay with me? Because that 10% who need an improved website or an enhanced SEO strategy is what I live for.
I happened to have started my career at a time when the world of B2B Sales and Marketing was being completely transformed. Today, we live in a world where the digital consumer is empowered by endless information across the Internet and directly on a company’s website while choosing partners and therefore, are less receptive to more traditional, outbound tactics like cold calls.
Here are a few pointers that I believe are important to remember:
Don’t take it personally
This was a bit difficult for me the first year as a BDR. I thought “what is it about me?” Although I am always willing to learn and do thing better, I now know that it’s not just “me.” Prospects aren’t saying no to “me” they are saying no to a website redesign or digital marketing services like search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, for now. And usually they are not saying no at all. Prospecting is a world in which you are mostly ignored, therefore not being accepted or rejected.
Have patience and a pipeline
B2B sales is about building a relationship and trust first to get to the next level. If a prospect has an immediate need to redesign their website, that’s just great timing. But chances are, they won’t have an immediate need. The important thing is they might have a need down the road. That can take 3 months, 6 months or even a year. There are many times when a prospect is finally “ready” and they tell me “Sorry the web design project is on hold.” Then, what are the chances of them coming back to me? Very slim unless I nurture and follow up persistently.
Prospects have pains, too.
The only way to identify and diagnose a prospect’s pain points is to pay attention. Buyers want to be educated and know that their partner can solve their problem. What are their current frustrations with their website? Have their optimization efforts increased visibility in search engines? Is the design of their website differentiating their company online? I know that our team of web designers, user experience designers, digital marketing strategists and web developers can diagnose and treat their pain points, but I need to let prospects receive that message.
Always be innovating
In addition to the fact that I am always testing and experimenting with different types of content, I am fortunate to work for a company that is always testing, refining and innovating as well. For instance, this year the Sales and Marketing department is implementing new technology to improve our outbound sales efforts, including HubSpot for CRM and Marketing Automation. That, in addition to embarking on a content marketing strategy to support our prospecting and sales efforts.
Research is more important than anything else you do
My boss told me early on that no matter what I am offering or how I’m offering it, 50% of my success will be based on who I’m reaching out to. Know your target markets, find the right companies and find the appropriate contacts at those companies.
When I was a teenager and needed a pep talk, my Dad always gave me a good speech:
“You are going to have bad days, but they won’t all be bad. Statistically, good days have to be mixed in there.”
The same thing applies to my job in B2B Sales for web design and digital marketing. In sales, I might not always have my Dad here to tell me that, but it’s important to remember those words of wisdom after every call I make and every email I send.
Are Patients Losing Patience with your Hospital Website?
After recently attending three of the nation’s biggest Healthcare Marketing conferences, I can’t help relating everything to a hospital website.
Right now, I’m reading The New Rules of PR & Marketing by David Meerman Scott. In one particular section, Scott (referring to a real estate company as an example) explains the difficulties in transitioning from traditional advertising to modern-day digital.
Largely, hospitals (many by their own admission) are behind the times when it comes to their website and digital presence. Let’s be real – a hospital website is the first place most patients visit to conduct research.
In fact, it’s been found that:
- 35% of U.S. adults say, at one time or another, they have gone online specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they or someone else might have.
- 48% of patients research online more than two weeks before scheduling an appointment.
- 51% of patients would feel more valued as a patient via digital communications (i.e. hospital website, blog, social media, email marketing)
- 61% of patients visit two or more hospital websites before converting.
I’m a Business Development Representative at a digital marketing agency for the Healthcare sector – but I’m coming from a patient’s prospective here (which we all are at some point or another).
So, are patients losing patience with your hospital website?
Below are some major factors that should be noted on a hospital website. In the age of digital, these might seem obvious but I’m always looking at healthcare websites and few have even accomplished these basic objectives:
I don’t need to provide statistics on how many patients are researching hospitals and visiting a hospital website on a mobile device. If you’re in a public place right now, look around and see how many people are looking on their mobile devices. But for formality reasons, here are some statistics from emagine’s white paper: “Roughly one in three patients have used mobile devices daily for healthcare research and/or to schedule appointments.”
If your hospital website isn’t mobile responsive by now, you might as well be Fred Flintstone and living in the Stone Age era.
Patients must find what they need
People don’t typically search for a specific healthcare facility. Our white Paper states the percentage of people that search for hospitals and doctors online aren’t actually searching for the hospital website or specific doctor at all.
38% search for terms related to a symptom or department (e.g. runny nose, pediatrics)
37% search for terms related to a condition (allergies, cancer)
19% search for terms related to the hospital brand
6% search for terms related to treatment.
This all comes down to the word marketers love the most – content. And not just ordinary content, but high-quality content.
A hospital website should adequately support each user persona coming to it and serve as a helpful tool to quickly get them the information they need and want. This might mean a patient who wants to make an appointment or caregivers who are researching doctors who can treat their loved one. Mapping the site architecture and content delivered throughout a website visit and aligning those with the phases of the patient journey will ensure your website is relevant and helpful to each user persona at each stage of the patient journey.
The online experience of your hospital website should also reflect the offline experience people will have when during their hospital visit. Imagery that exudes empathy and comfort and an intuitive user experience will translate into a hospital visit that is seamless with clinical staff who are empathetic and comforting.
Remember – a hospital website influences 80% of care choices and with patients being more empowered than ever before you want their experience with yours to be a positive one.
For more information on how you can improve your hospital website, download our white paper, “The Digital Journey to Healthcare Success: A Guide to Updating and Improving Your Hospital’s Online Presence”
WordCamp US 2016 Recap
emagine is an active participant in the WordPress community. Many of our team members have spoken and attended WordCamps all over the United States (a conference focused on everything WordPress.) For the second year in a row, 16 emagine team members traveled to Philadelphia, PA to attend WordCamp U.S. Besides the delicious food, bowling, jenga, karaoke and dinosaurs, it was an awesome team-building experience. Here are some of the many takeaways our team got from WordCamp U.S. this year:
- I’ve learned that phone numbers shouldn’t be required on forms … as more and more people are moving away from phones to text messaging… in the year 2007, text messaging overtook phone calls as the primary means of communication and since then hasn’t relinquished the title.
- I also learned some interesting things about AMP/html and a few tidbits about Google and SEO and all that.
- Chris Lema was very engaging. The way he talks, he’d be a perfect pitchman for Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan.
- I have to agree with Dan on the AMP plugin that we learned about during the Google talk, very cool and the stats that came along with that talk were real eye-openers in the vein of discussing how to write for the web to clients. 80% of b2c site content isn’t read and I think 60% of b2b content isn’t read. Along with that, we discussed https in depth in one talk. That really made it easier to discuss with clients the implications of using https and why it’s a good thing but not the end-all be-all to security. Also learned about an app called Zeplin that converts sketch files into CSS.
- I found the discussion about Accessibility interesting. They spoke about the importance of making sites disability-friendly. If you don’t consider the visually or hearing impaired, you’re neglecting an enormous number of users. Also, the discussion by Chris Lema I found very interesting. He did a great job of inspiring the audience to, when blogging, write as you speak. Your writing doesn’t need to be perfect. I know it wasn’t earth-shattering info.
- Most tracks I attended were business or blogging related and they were all great. Chris Lema’s talk on blogging inspired me. I don’t ever think that I have good ideas when I want to write a post on emagine’s blog, but he made me realized that I do have my own unique ideas and I can use my personality to write.
- It is always nice to “get away” with the emagine team members. We have a great group that always looks out for each other and everyone tries to come up with ideas that make emagine and even better place every day.
- CC0 (https://creativecommons.org/faq/#what-is-creative-commons-and-what-do-you-do)
- Fetch as Google: to see whether Googlebot can access a page on your site, how it renders the page, and whether any page resources (such as images or scripts) are blocked to Googlebot.
- AMP (and AMP plugins for WP); testing access to AMP pages on my iPhone blew my mind!
- SNI (Server Name Identification) and the myths about needing your own IP address for security or SEO purposes
- Let’s Encrypt’s free SSL offering (though it probably isn’t provide enough “insurance” for our clients)
- The ability to use Chrome’s Dev Tool to test speed of site/pages
- Based on the newest sites “launched” within the last 3 months, WP sites load slower than others… new initiatives are being put in place to turn this around
- Google’s impending crackdown on “intrusive interstitials”; i.e. sites that are not mobile-friendly (http://searchengineland.com/interstitialgeddon-google-warns-will-crack-intrusive-interstitials-next-january-257252)
- Google’s coming shift to primarily indexing the mobile version of a site
- PWAs (Progressive Web Apps)
- Use of hreflang tag BuddyPress as a tool for building extensibility into member.
- I honestly thought I was going to be an outsider looking in the entire time. In a world of Development, Design, SEO, etc. I wondered if is there was a spot for Human Resources ‘a people person’. Surprisingly, I was wrong. Shayda Torabi and Chris Lema were just great.
- Having us all together was a great opportunity for some team building was great. Working on the weekend is always better when you’re working with people you like
- Echoing what others have said about Chris Lema, his talk was pretty motivating even if you’re not a blogger, especially when he spoke on not allowing intimidation to stop you from getting your voice out there. I was also happy that accelerated mobile pages were discussed at Maile Ohye’s ‘View from Google’ talk as I’ve been noticing AMP sites at the top of my search results when Googling news stories on my phone. There’s a good 2-part article from Yoast that introduces the concept and their companion plugin to Automattic’s very simple AMP plugin: https://yoast.com/setting-up-wordpress-for-amp-accelerated-mobile-pages.
- My biggest takeaways were on the topics of security and performance. Google announced that they will start highlighting if a site is secure, or not, within search results. This means a user can pass your site by out of fear, which could have a big impact on a client’s brand. “If Google doesn’t trust this brand, why should I?” Matt Mullenweg also stated that, from now on, WordPress will only be recommending hosts that provide SSL certificates by default and is encouraging everyone to switch to HTTPS. With free services like “Let’s Encrypt”, the only barrier left standing is the effort of setting things up, which is minimal.
- As for performance, it needs to be at the forefront of every project. A beautiful design is great, but if a user bounces before it loads, it’s worthless. Design considerations need to be taken, especially for mobile, where data is king. With mobile traffic outweighing desktop traffic, we need to ensure that sites load fast on mobile devices, and not just at optimal connection speeds. Google mentioned in their talk that the average mobile connection speed is 2G. We need to test our sites at slower connection speeds to make sure every user has a great experience. The AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Project, is a great way to get started with this initiative. AMP optimized pages appear at the top of Google’s search results, which has obvious SEO benefits, and load super-fast. Best of all, there are already some great plugins that allows us to set this up with minimal effort. (https://wordpress.org/plugins/accelerated-mobile-pages/)
- Oh, and yea, Chris Lema rocked. I could listen to that guy present anything.
- Last year’s WordCamp U.S. emphasized emerging trends in Web Development such as HTTP/2, SSL certificates, and the proposed WordPress REST API.
- This year’s WordCamp U.S. demonstrated how the trends of last year are becoming standards in today’s web industry. A large portion of the REST API plugin is merged into Core; the latest release of WordPress 4.7 now features the long-awaited content endpoints. Google is continuing to reward sites with SSL, and is now taking page-speed into consideration when ranking sites with their open-sourced AMP project which was featured heavily in this year’s talks. The AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) project delivers high-performant user experience by utilizing Google’s proxy-based content delivery network. Luckily, there are WordPress plugins to help content authors with this. https://wordpress.org/plugins/amp/
- Lisa Sabin-Wilson’s talk on the latest Buddypress release https://buddypress.org/ was especially helpful to users who want to add a community layer to their websites. Similar to JetPack, Buddypress is essentially a “suite” of plugins that can be toggled on or off depending on the needs of projects. User groups can be easily created for engagements that require a company intranet or portal; user profile pages, activity feeds, and forums can be enabled to create engagement among users. Buddypress can be easily extendable with other popular WordPress plugins such as bbpress.
- The most valuable thing I got out of WordCamp U.S. that relates to me is to know who you are and create who you want to be seen as online. Connect with people online and.. take that off line and sell them something.
- Scoping with clients – establishing the total value of the project work vs hourly billable project time can be a better prediction of the overall client satisfaction as we scope, clients won’t get fixated on the minutia but instead focus (rightly so) on the bigger deliverable, the site!
- I happen to sit in two talks which both focused on dealing with difficult clients. The speakers had similar advice. Step away, be objective, and try to find a positive middle ground outcome!
- My favorite talk which I took the most from was Luca Sartoni’s which was the negotiations talk. He advised to be okay with saying no, at least initially in client discussions. That working with clients and establishing the end-no-point sets up the boundaries of which to have your agreement of work met in the middle, the outcome being understood expectations on both sides.
- I also thought Matt Mullenweg’s announcements for the new default templates were super cool!
- I thought a lot of the talk topics weren’t applicable to me, but was so pleasantly surprised. Many of the speakers spoke to a broader audience, and I picked up lots of random info. Maile Ohye’s Google talk was great – encryption, AMP, surprising stats on viewing content and mobile users. We/PM’s get asked about https all the time, and while it’s part of a larger hosting discussion, I feel more informed to share information with clients.
- Chris Lema was so inspiring.. almost made me want to write a post about it!! Lastly, Being outside the office with no distractions, the conferenced prompted some great discussions and brainstorming. And just hanging out with emagineers, getting to know our colleagues better – we have an awesome group!
- It’s very important now more than ever to ensure that you have a responsive site. Maile Ohye’s presentation A View from Google: The Latest in search and Mobile brought up that Google is shifting to make their index mobile-first. Users that have separate mobile and desktop sites where their primary content is different will need to consider making changes across their site. This is why using WordPress to build your site is very beneficial because users with a responsive site will not have to worry about making drastic updates for Google’s more mobile-focused index.
The emagine team already has several WordCamps planned throughout the United States for 2017. Keep on the lookout for us!
Finding YOUR Creativity: How the Dog Got Me to Blog
WordCamp US 2016 was held in Philadelphia 12/2-12/4 – and will move on to another city in the U.S. next year – with emagine making the quest for the second year from our HQ in Massachusetts. A recap of the entire weekend is coming (so have no fear!), but today I’m going to fill you in on one talk that inspired me the most: “Finding Your Voice By Blogging” from Chris Lema.
Chris is a successful public speaker (on and off stage!) and knows WordPress and the WordPress community very, very well. Impressed yet? Just wait until I tell you about his talk… A lot of people have a hard time blogging: finding the time to blog, coming up with blog topics, making sure it’s relevant to your audience, etc. Like many other emagine team members, this talk was inspiring and relatable to me. The list goes on and on. I used to be so scared to write a blog post for emagine. I’m intimidated to write and (quite frankly) insecure in the sense that I don’t think I have good ideas or ideas that other people will want to read about. But I quickly realized what was missing: my personality. I was taking myself too seriously and self-inflicting writer’s block.
How did I get past it all?
I took someone I’m passionate about and brought her into my writing: my 14-year old, 6-pound white Chihuahua! Jessie was appointed emagine’s Corporate Evangelist in 2014 and became a part of my blogging strategy shortly after.
The first time I incorporated Jessie into my blogs was with my series of Cinco de Mayo posts connecting website and digital marketing with her Mexican heritage. The first was “5 Secret Ingredients For A Successful Website Margarita Mix”, which came to light after Jessie asked me one day “Senorita, what is the secret to a killer website?” The second was “How a Corporate Evangelist Throws a Fiesta on Twitter” that gives social media tips on engaging your followers.
It sounds crazy but it worked for me (and Jessie!) During his talk, Chris made me realize that I am proud of my blogging efforts. One thing that is still tough for me is coming up with blog topics, but I’m learning how to get better at that by not taking myself too seriously and letting my personality show.
And I’m always learning how to take it a step further…
I continue to consult Jessie, but I’ve found that holiday themes work well too, like “17 Reasons Why I’m Lucky To Be In Business Development” for St. Patrick’s Day and “How I Learned to Fall in Love with B2B Lead Generation” for Valentine’s Day.
I’ve also learned to use my personality more for recap posts like this one on the Hospital Marketing National Conference “My Perspective on Hospital Marketing National Conference – Part 1”. They had a good lunch at the first conference in Atlanta and when there’s good food, I’ll let you know!
What’s the point, you ask?
Two things to remember:
1. Take every opportunity to learn from thought leaders in your space – whether it’s live, podcasts, webinars, or on social media. Just get out there and find your inspiration.
2. Write. Even if you think it’s crap (although it probably isn’t), it’s still your crap. Own it and be proud of it! Just start somewhere.
My Perspective on Hospital Marketing National Conference – Part 1
In June, I got to attend two Hospital Marketing National conferences hosted by DTC Perspectives with some of my emagine team members. We got the inside scoop directly from hospital marketing teams on what has helped them stand out. The first conference took place at the Crown Plaza in Atlanta and the second at the Andaz hotel in San Diego.
Here is my perspective on both conferences:
The HMN 16 Atlanta conference was held at the very top of the Crowne Plaza and overlooked the Atlanta skyline. Not only was the view amazing but the conference started off, in my opinion, the best way a conference should start off… with a delicious, full breakfast. I had scrambled eggs, bacon, a bagel, and full cup of coffee.
The Atlanta sessions stated off with an informative talk by David Vener from Smith and Jones, a marketing communications agency focused on hospitals and health systems. David talked about healthcare marketing trends and I really related to him here, because like emagine, Smith and Jones is trying to get hospitals and healthcare systems to “keep up.” Hospitals have been a little behind the times when it comes to digital marketing and now they appear to finally be adapting. Maybe the new saying should be “Keep up with Smith and Jones!”
The morning continued with some interesting case studies from Jefferson Health, Penn State Hershey, and Mercy Health System on how they used the Six Sigma DMAIC approach to drive growth and stability. The afternoon went in with talks about content and why Nebraska Methodist Health System celebrated their 125th anniversary with a campaign that helped them exceed expectations because consumers know who they are and what direction they are heading in.
Lunch was served at 12:30 and I just about went into a food coma because of the delicious Italian they served. Although I could have stuck with the nice salad they had out, I allowed myself to indulge in fettucine alfredo and lasagna.
The last talk of the first day really grabbed my attention. Karin Daly, VP of Integrated Media at Cancer Treatment Centers of America spoke on their online advertising efforts and the power of online video. It was emotional to hear how much a well thought out video can positively impact someone’s life who may be suffering from cancer and provide comfort that they are not alone.
Off to San Diego…
HMN 16 San Diego started off a little peculiar, because the exhibit hall was previously a night club. The emagine exhibit table even had a few VIP tables near it! We really enjoyed the scenery because it was not your average exhibit hall. (Maybe next time we will request the DJ booth for our exhibit!)
The first day kicked off on with an excellent speaker, Lonnie Hirsch, Founder and CEO of Hirsch Healthcare Consulting. I hadn’t even had a full cup of coffee yet, but Lonnie got my full attention! He talked about how the Affordable Care Act requires hospitals and health care systems to rethink the way they position and brand themselves to patients and physicians. Some critical digital marketing points were brought up such as reputation management, online reviews, the increase of search through mobile devices, and that fact that finding what you are looking for on a hospital website can be challenging. Lonnie also made an interesting point and said that a lot of hospitals are hiring a Chief Experience Officer to keep track of patients’ journeys.
By 11:15 I was starting to get hungry and all I could think about was lunch, but Steve Millerman, President of Emcay, got my mind off of the food (temporarily) and spoke on Multicultural Patient Engagement. Since I work out of emagine’s South Florida office, I am very close to Miami, which has quite a few hospitals with a large Hispanic audience. Steve talked about how the market requires a specialized communication approach that if done properly, can result in better patient engagement.
Even though lunch was still on my mind, I found the first afternoon talk particularly interesting, where Mark Shipley from Smith and Jones and Todd Blackington, Director of Marketing at Portneuf Medical Center spoke on the marketing efforts that went into Portneuf Medical Center transitioning from non-profit status to joining with Texas-based hospital group LHP. The partnership allowed for the Eastern Idaho Community to not only recieve a brand new hospital, but one that was quickly looked at as “the palace on the hill.” Portneuf Medical Center shared their tactics on how they successfully repositioned their brand and impact their community.
Steve Millerman’s Multicultural talk set the mood perfectly because at 12:30 we went up to a beautiful rooftop at the Andaz Hotel and had delicious Mexican food for lunch! The rest of the afternoon was filled with some great, informative marketing talks such as transforming hospital images through research and how the hospital market is adapting to more targeted and patient-centric approach. The evening started up with a networking cocktail party (we already had the bar in our night club!) and then we had the awards dinner.
Although we know digital marketing tactics are always changing, it was very informative to hear hospital marketing personnel share their own tactics and experiences. Keep on the lookout for the emagine team! In September we will be heading to SHMD in Chicago and then November HCIC hosted by Greystone in Las Vegas!
How-To Survive Your First WordCamp
One of the perks of being married to emagine’s President, Bill Gadless, is that I get to be his “sidekick.” And that means I get to accompany him when he speaks at Wordcamps all over the United States! WordCamp is a conference about everything WordPress. The events are informal and on weekends where WordPress users can come together to network and learn about all of the different, unique things about WordPress.
I have had the pleasure of attending several WordCamps in the past year, having been Bill’s sidekick while he spoke in Asheville, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Jacksonville. I’ve also volunteered in Miami, and organized a company-wide trip to Wordcamp US in Philadelphia where emagineers from all over the East Coast attended. I won’t keep bragging, but I got this WordCamp thing down!
From my own WordCamp experience, you can see that I am qualified to share a few tips for surviving these information-packed events! To help you survive your next WordCamp, I’ve narrowed down five things to help your plan of attack.
Since I’ve attend many Wordcamp conferences all over the United States with Bill and other emagine team members, I’ve learned it is imperative to stay organized. Because each WordCamp is organized by a local volunteer, no two Wordcamp conferences are the same. From check-in location, where the tracks are held, and even the assigned parking varies from each WordCamp. To help stay on top of important information, I created a “WordCamp” email folder with subfolders under it for each one. The emails contain tickets, directions, parking information, etc.
Also, when I attend a WordCamp with multiple emagine team members, we create a Slack channel so that we can all keep in touch with each other using our cellphones.
Snag Your Swag
Who doesn’t love free stuff? But free stuff goes fast! The key to getting the good size t-shirts is to get them early. The volunteers helping with registration usually know your size from when you purchase your ticket, but some WordCamps have different colored t-shirts, so you want to get to registration right on time to choose. Sponsors that give away t-shirts and other swag might run out, so right after registration is a great time to go check out the t-shirts and swag from the sponsors.
Know the Schedule/Tracks
Because a majority of the content presented at WordCamp is focused on using and developing on WordPress, there is always a “developer” track during each time slot. However, there are also many Design, User, Blogging, SEO, Social Media and Business tracks that appeal to a wider audience. Some WordCamps only have 2 sessions on the schedule during a given time slot, but others may have up to four. Knowing the schedule ahead of time and highlighting the tracks you are most interested in are important so that you don’t miss out on anything you planned on attending.
Leverage Social Media
From my experience, Twitter is the most effective social media platform to leverage during WordCamp. Because every WordCamp has its own unique hashtag, you can easily follow it to see what’s going on in other tracks or who else is in attendance. When you attend a track, it’s common to tweet some insights from the presentation speaker – they’ll really appreciate the shout out – or simply let the speaker know you enjoyed their track and think they did a good job. This is also a great way to let others at the event know what your interested in and may encourage them to connect with you.
Another social media tactic that is becoming increasingly popular is live video. Facebook Live is a fun way to connect with your Facebook audience and give them a behind-the-scenes look at what’s going on. We recently tried using this feature at WordCamp Jacksonville in April. It turned out to be great! Our viewers really enjoyed it and we enjoyed doing it.
The happiness bar, lunch, and after parties are all great ways to meet new friends, business partners, employees, or employers. They are also great places to try and connect with speakers. Sometimes WordCamp speakers are limited on time for questions after their talk, so connecting with them after can allow for more time to really connect.
If you are a WordPress user and are interested in attending any upcoming WordCamps in the future, you can find the schedule here. You can find me at WordCamp Asheville this weekend where emagine’s President, Bill Gadless, will be speaking: Should I Freelance or Build an Agency? Also, I will be attending WordCamp Boston with Bill and some of the emagine North team members July 23rd and 24th . Hope to see you there!
How a Corporate Evangelist Throws a Fiesta on Twitter
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
If you’re new to emagine’s blog, you may not be familiar with our Corporate Evangelist, Jessie Gadless. Coming in at a slender 6 pounds, full white coat, and originating from Chihuahua, Mexico, Jessie now resides in South Florida with the emagine south office. Jessie made her debut appearance on our blog last year, where she gained a better understanding of what a high-performance website should consist of. Because Jessie likes to stick to her Mexican roots, we helped her grasp the concept by comparing website elements to the ingredients needed to make a margarita… fitting, right?
Well, with each year comes new goals and this year, Jessie is determined to master the world of Twitter. As her official “launch” party, she figured a Cinco de Mayo fiesta would be the perfect way to grow her followers, build new relationships, and gain insights from similar evangelists like herself. I explained to Jessie that the real name for her fiesta is actually called a Twitter Chat, which is basically a party on Twitter where like-minded industry professionals chat together for an hour or so. Since she is new to Social Media, I decided to give her a few more tips to make #JessiesFiesta a hit.
#1. Do your research!
As the host of #JessiesFiesta, it’s important that she is well-skilled and up to date on the information she is going to be talking about. Because this chat is a simple Cinco de Mayo fiesta celebrating her heritage in hopes to increase her brand visibility and build new relationships, I made sure Jessie did her due diligence on the meaning of Cinco de Mayo. What she found may surprise you, too…
In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is sometimes mistaken to be Mexico’s Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16. May 5 is actually observed to commemorate the Mexican army‘s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla. Since the battle, no country in the Americas has subsequently been invaded by any other European military force.
I also had her do some research on the individuals she wanted to invite to #JessiesFiesta, because we wanted to make sure she was inviting the right audience that would provide value to her as well. More on this in the coming steps.
#2. Come up with a branded hashtag.
A hashtag (#hashtag) is a word or phrase used to identify a specific topic, subject or brand. When choosing the hashtag, you want associated with your fiesta/chat, it’s best to keep it short and simple so that users can easily remember to use it in their tweets. It should also be relevant to the topic of your chat. There is a flip side to this however, because you don’t want your hashtag to come up in unrelated conversation, it should have an element of your brand or a unique differentiator to help those attending keep up with the flow of information.
Originally, Jessie threw out the hashtag idea of #fiesta, but I had to remind her that this was too generic and could easily be mixed up in tweets that she doesn’t associate her brand with. I recommended she use a branded version, #JessiesFiesta. This tells others that her Twitter Chat is a fun and engaging event based around Cinco de Mayo. Even more, if #JessiesFiesta gains enough traction to become a weekly chat, she can easily make unique fiestas for the unique topics she wants to discuss.
#3. Spread the word.
You can have every influencer following you on Twitter but that doesn’t mean they will all show up to #JessiesFiesta. Some may not be in the mood to fiesta, but others – that Jessie doesn’t follow or vise versa – may be! This is all the reason to do a little extra research when it comes to inviting guests to come chat on Twitter. If you’re like our Corporate Evangelist and promoting your chat through your corporate blog or email blast, I told Jessie not to forget including her hashtag, #JessiesFiesta, on all marketing materials. You can also ‘pin’ a tweet to the top of your Twitter timeline with all the information on the fiesta so whenever someone lands on her page, it’s the first thing they see.
Jessie also mentioned that she wanted to look for other Chihuahuas to invite to the fiesta. Well, you can search for them on Twitter using the search bar. Here are some great search tips directly from Twitter to help you. If you find some furry friends that you would like to attend, sent them a message with the e-vite! Don’t be scared to reach out to others who you would like to attend (Cookiedabooboo, we’re looking at you!), just make sure to always include your hashtag!
#4. Provide value!
Like any host of any party, you have to provide your guests with a value for coming. I told Jessie as the host of #JessiesFiesta, she had to find and create unique and valuable content that would entertain her guests and encourage them to continue to discussion. Also, before the fiesta, things might come up such time, topic, and other questions. We can keep your guests informed about these things on Twitter using #JessieFiesta on every post. For example, “Reminder: Sombreros are encouraged at #JessieFiesta!” Keep in mind that tweets can’t go over 140 characters so be sure to keep your tweets brief. Thanks to Buffer, you can even schedule these tweets ahead of time to make sure you don’t forget!
#5. Utilize images.
Images are a powerful to increase engagements on your tweets. Because web users scan, instead of read, they are able to understand a concept much quicker when it is depicted by an image or place within one. When making special announcements (or asking questions for your Twitter Chat), you can use a free tool such as Canva, or Pablo by Buffer to make attractive and informative images that will help your guests retain the information quicker and easier.
Don’t forget to thank your guests for attending and always let them know of any upcoming fiestas, or recaps that will be uploaded to your website and blog. After the fiesta, track your hashtag and see what others have said that you may missed and retweet some of your favorites to return the love. Good luck at #JessiesFiesta!
A few words from Jessie herself:
“Wow Senorita, that certainly was a lot of helpful information! Gracias! Make sure to stop by #JessiesFiesta today on Twitter by following me @emaginejessie. Hope to see you there!”
How I Learned to Fall in Love with B2B Lead Generation
Establishing relationships is a process that involves many components working together. And it takes a lot of time. There are 2 relationships that mean the word to me and that is my family and my job. This Valentine’s Day, I decided to reflect on my relationship with my job.
Becoming a B2B Lead Generation Specialist was not something that just happened naturally to me. I had to learn to the ins-and-outs of this profession in order to fall in love with it like I have. Many people don’t realize all the hard work behind B2B lead generation. After doing tons of research just to ensure a lead is considered a perfect match, you then have to find the right integration of marketing tactics to build a lasting relationship. Because each lead is as unique as their business, experimenting is the only way to know what tactics work and which ones don’t. Finding that sweet spot of interaction is one major reason I love my job.
Here are a few more reasons I fell in love with B2B Lead Generation:
The Research – Are you the right one for me? Am I the right one for you? Lead scoring was intimidating to for me, at first, but I quickly realized what a huge asset it was. I’ve learned to love relentlessly digging to find the right contacts at the right companies.
The Process – Unfortunately our targeted prospects are not waiting by the phone for us to call. They are busy with their day-to-day responsibilities and it can take many voicemails, emails and social interactions just to spark their attention. While I am confident that emagine and I have a lot to offer to a prospect, they aren’t. This process of building up a relationship and getting to know the actual person behind their professional title is exciting and teaches me something new every day.
The Pipeline – And are they still interested in me? Did they find someone else? Feeding prospects into my sales pipeline was a slow process, but it grows every day. It’s up to me to keep my prospects interested by spoiling them with gifts and surprises such as White Papers, Case Studies, Video and other content that will be valuable to them.
Social Media – I love connecting with my prospects on Social Media so that I can engage with them on a more personal level. I like to try to offer my social followers with a mix of informative and entertaining content, it’s even more important to pay attention to the content they are creating, consuming and sharing themselves. After all, a relationship is a two-way street.
My relationship with LinkedIn started off slow. It was hard because I am very fast-paced and can become impatient when it comes to creating valuable LinkedIn connections that happen over time. However, I’ve learned that LinkedIn is a great way to keep in touch with my connections by sharing relevant content and allows for prospects to build trust with me outside our email communications.
LinkedIn and I still have our arguments, but we’ve grown tremendously! Twitter, on the other hand, is a completely different story. Although LinkedIn is my main squeeze, Twitter and I fell in love at first sight. Everything was quick and right up to my speed. With the 140-character limit, tweets allow us to keep it sweet, short and right the point. As my followers quickly started coming in I knew, right away, that Twitter and I were a match made in heaven for work! With the help of Buffer, I can schedule posts as soon as I find new content that I know my followers will love. And Twitter chats have allowed me to participate in discussions in industries relevant to both me and my prospects.
As for Google+, I tried to connect my prospects, but very few were on Google+ and if they were, they were not active. I continued to post content until recently. There might be a lot of value in Google+ for certain companies, but we are not meant for each other, right now. Google+ and I ended our relationship.
A good qualified lead that is passed on to one of emagine’s Account Managers is indeed worth all the hard work behind it. I can then tell myself, “that’s a true match made.”
What do you love about your job? Share the love and have a Happy Valentine’s Day!
10 Ways To Land Your Next Lead on Twitter
Twitter has come a long way since it’s official launch in March of 2006, coming in as the 2nd most highly used platform for B2B marketing in the 2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends report. While LinkedIn is still the golden child, B2B companies are finally grasping how to utilize and leverage Twitter not only in their own digital marketing strategy, but also in their sales prospecting as well. However, B2B lead generation can be overwhelming, especially in the fast-paced world of Twitter. As I’ve been using this powerful platform to supplement my own business development strategy, I’ve picked up a few pointers to help you land your next lead on Twitter with you below:
- Have a Professional Photo: No, Twitter is not LinkedIn, but it’s still important to keep a consistent image for both you and the brand your representing. Therefore, you want to have a professional photo of yourself or your company logo as your profile photo to help prospects remember your face and your company as they interact with you through various channels outside of social media. The recommended size is 400 x 400 pixels in JPEG, PNG or GIF format with the file size no larger than 10MB. Also, it’s a good idea to upload your own background image to make your page inviting and engaging. Twitter recommends the size for this image as 1500 x 500 pixels.
- Post Valuable Content: You want potential prospects to be impressed by your tweets enough to follow you. Like any social media network, the content you share with your followers should contain relevant and valuable content about your industry as well the industries your prospects serve. And try not to be so vanilla! Give your content some life. People don’t want to read dry tweets.
- Be Educational (and not so promotional!): While Twitter is another platform to leverage your message, don’t be too quick to use it only as a vehicle to promote, promote, promote. Your followers know what you do, they want to know why they need what your offering and how it can benefit their business. Do so by educating your followers on the “whys” and “hows” and support your claims with outside content from already trusted sources. This will help not only to position you as a thought leader personally, but search engines will thank you by ranking your content higher as well.
- Use Images: Tweets with images get more views because people love eye candy. A recent Social Bakers study highlighted that content containing images is retweeted 35% more than content without. And size matters so that your photo displays correctly. The recommended size to post a photo in your Twitter content is 440 x 220 pixels or a ratio of 2:1 with the file size no larger than 5MB or 3MB for animated GIFs.
- Schedule Your Tweets: If your tweets aren’t scheduled by now, it’s time to get with the times! Take some time each morning and evening to browse articles that you think your audience will enjoy and appreciate. And when inspiration strikes, schedule a personal thought, question or insight to bring more personality into your content. This will save you time and energy during the day that can be used towards engaging with prospects, rather than researching new articles. I personally use Buffer, but there are many great tools to add to your Social Media Toolkit to help you find and schedule content for your tweets. It is also very helpful to have a content curator, such as Feedly, to have plenty of content to browse through. Thanks to browser extensions and apps for cellphones and tablets, you can easily streamline your social media scheduling no matter where you are or what you are doing. When scheduling your tweets, keep in mind that not everyone is in your time zone – this gives you more opportunity to share your content again and increase engagement. Another quick side note: (most) everyone in this day in age knows most social media updates are scheduled, but there is no need to make it obvious! Be mindful of your automation and don’t forget to throw in some personal insights and thoughts throughout the day, too!
- Create Lists: Twitter lists are a great way to keep organized. Once you begin to gain more followers, Twitter’s newsfeed can be fast and overwhelming. I find that it helps to create lists by subject, that way you can add people to the appropriate lists and see their feed when you choose to. Also, if you aren’t following someone, you can still add him or her to a list. This allows you to still read their tweets and interact with them (which hopefully will get them to follow you). If you don’t want everyone to know what list you’ve placed them on, you can keep your Twitter lists private.
- Engage: “I don’t want to follow them because they won’t follow me back” is a popular mindset when it comes to Twitter. Well, you can change that. The best way to get relevant followers in your industry is to engage with them. An established industry “guru” is not going to follow you back for the sake of just following you. They want relevant content and interaction. When a voice in your industry tweets something that you find interesting, don’t just retweet it. Leave a comment, thank them for sharing or ask a question to keep the conversation going. It is easy for a person to ignore the fact you’re tweeting their content or retweeting their tweets, but they are more likely to react to a direct mention, which can lead to a direct conversation.
- Participate in Twitter Chats: Twitter Chats are live discussions moderated by a host centered on a particular topic in the form of a hashtag. Anyone that is interested in the topic can follow, participate or simply listen to the insights by following the live feed curated from that particular twitter chat hashtag. I’ve personally seen the benefits from Twitter Chats as we’ve started to incorporate our own #DigiHealthChat into emagine’s social media strategy. It’s a great way to network with others, demonstrate my own expertise on a specific topic and learn more insights straight from those in that industry. As the audience of twitter chats increases, you may find it helpful to use a site such as TWUBS to keep up with the high volume of tweets. Another personal tip: If you are running a popular chat with a lot of people, it is helpful to turn off the retweets option while you are reading and tweeting.
- Use Hashtags #: Hashtags have almost become their own form of language, but it’s crucial to remember the quality over quantity rule here. Don’t overuse hashtags! Using a hashtag for every twitter post and using too many hastags in one tweet makes you appear desperate. Guy Kawasaki’s book, The Art of Social Media, states that 3-4 hashtags per tweet is appropriate. If you create your own branded hashtag for an event or twitter chat, keep it simple, relevant and easy to understand.
- Mind Your Manners: There is such thing as social media etiquette, and it is just as important as your etiquette in an in-person professional setting. Remembering the rules of the Social Media Cocktail Party will help keep your virtual manners in check.
The B2B Twitter scene is alive, active and FULL of conversation. Have you used Twitter in your B2B sales and marketing efforts? Share your insights in the comments below!