A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the four things I wanted to get from attending Converted 2016, the annual conference put on by Leadpages.
They were as follows:
- Make connections with fellow conversion marketers
- Learn from the experts speaking at Converted 2016
- Spread awareness of my brand and the services I provide
- Experience the city of Minneapolis
How did I do? I’ll break it down in just a moment.
They put on a fantastic conference and they are some of the nicest, and smartest people you’ll meet.
It was great to finally meet people I’ve tweeted with, or emailed with, in person and I can’t wait to hang out with them again next year.
You should join us too, by the way.
With that, here’s what went down at Converted 2016.
Make connections with fellow conversion marketers
It can be a lonely state of affairs working for yourself online.
Sure, you can have Skype calls or Hangouts but you can’t replace the interaction that takes place when you chat with someone in person.
The first person I met was the day prior to the conference. His name is Jay Webb and he’s an entrepreneur who’s creating an email application that lets you choose from pre-written email campaigns.
If you do any business online, you know how hard it is to sit down and write out an email campaign from scratch.
He’s taken the pain out of crafting the campaigns by providing outlines based on your industry/niche. Want to learn more? Head on over to his website to sign up for the beta launch.
Jay was also rockin’ the new Conversion Surge tees on day two of the conference!
The second person I FINALLY met in person was Gina Horkey of Horkey HandBook. If you’ve been a subscriber to this blog for awhile, you know that Gina and I are internet BFF’s.
She was one of my first clients when I started doing this whole conversion marketing thing and I promptly helped her grow her monthly revenue by 182% within six months.
Then it was off to lunch with the Leadpages certification team!
These are the super smart people who share their knowledge with the world through their premier conversion marketing certification program.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of us at lunch at the Red Cow but here’s a photo of Talia and Erik from the certification team.
They’re doing great things with the certification program.
Just this week they announced Drip certification, in addition to the Leadpages certification program
In my opinion, the combination of Leadpages and Drip is the future of digital marketing and I’m proud to be a part of it.
Later that night, I was invited to a VIP cocktail hour to network and meet a few of the conference speakers.
It was a casual evening and I met some great folks, including speakers and “internet famous” people.
Throughout the rest of the conference I continued to network and meet fellow entrepreneurs.
Many of whom were just starting out and were there to learn how to do conversion marketing the Leadpages way.
I probably handed out two business cards while I was in Minneapolis.
Instead, I used the LeadDigits functionality from Leadpages. For anyone who was interested in keeping in touch, I asked them to text CONVERSIONSURGE to 44222.
Then I had their email and I sent them an email letting them know it was nice to meet them and that we’d be in touch.
Oh, and I also had some sweet Conversion Surge t-shirts with me (more on that in a minute).
Business cards still have their place, I just don’t prefer to use them.
Learn from the experts speaking at Converted 2016
The speaker lineup at Converted was stellar.
You never know what you might learn from conference speakers – it could be high level stuff that isn’t very actionable or, it could super actionable stuff you can implement in your business right away.
I prefer the latter.
Here are some of the takeaways and action steps I got from a few of the speakers at Converted.
Marc Maron, comedian and creator of WTF Podcast, kicked off the conference in style. When I first read that he would be the opening keynote, I was like “why would a comedian open up a conversion marketing conference?”
But that’s why I don’t get paid to organize conferences 🙂
He sat on a stool and told a great story about how his podcast came to be. He had just been fired from his job at a radio station in 2009 and had no idea what he was going to do next to keep his career going.
Luckily for him, the station didn’t deactivate his badge right away and he had an idea to start a podcast – on the down low. They even had to sneak their guests in through the back door!
With his connections in the comedic world, he was able to land some exceptional guests and the podcast took off.
In its first six years of existence, there are more than six-million downloads each month and 250 million lifetime downloads.
Oh, and he interviewed President Obama in his garage. Pretty badass if you ask me.
Key takeaway: consistency is key to building an audience. Commit to taking action to build a following. Whether it’s writing a blog post every week or, in his case, doing two podcasts per week.
Whatever it is you decide to commit to, write it down and make it a priority.
Marc was so committed that he once had to use a college radio station to record his podcast because his flight back to LA was canceled.
Now that’s commitment.
What can you commit to today to get you closer to your goal?
If you’ve spent time on the internet, you’ve no doubt heard about Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income.
And that was the point of his talk. The online space is so crowded and competitive that you need to stand out from the crowd.
How do you do it? By building a market map of the places (websites) you want to be on, the people you want to be connected with and the products you want to create.
Key takeaway: you need to nail down a clear message about what it is you, and your products stand for. Start by writing it down on one page, then condense it into one paragraph. Finally, trim it down even more into a single sentence.
Build your brand, product and company around this.
Then pick a platform you’re most comfortable with and OWN it. This could be a blogging platform like WordPress or Podcast, or YouTube, or any other platform you can reach thousands of people with.
It’s easy to get distracted with all the strategies and tactics being written for each platform but if you can focus on one, own it and build a following, then you can branch out into other platforms.
But use your time wisely in the beginning, it’s your most valuable asset.
In terms of content, he advised to try and address a big need of your target audience with length tutorials.
Oh, and be authentic, genuine and kind…just like Pat.
We all got a free copy of his book Will It Fly and he was kind enough to sign everyone’s book and get a photo taken with them.
Derek is a fast talker and sharp dresser from New York. He’s also wicked smart.
Derek focused on how you can sell more to the same group of people on your list by changing your messaging to match their state of awareness.
He identified three types of customers:
- Informed – those who are aware they have a problem and are searching for solutions
- Afflicted – those who have a problem but aren’t searching for a solution just yet
- Oblivious – they don’t know they have a problem and they don’t know it’s solvable…yet
If you’re trying to sell to someone, you’ve got to understand the mindset your customer is in. For example, those on your email list can either be informed or afflicted.
And if they are, then you need to tailor the messaging of your offer to match their state of awareness.
Key takeaway: the less your audience knows, the more broad you should go with your copy.
Most people launch to their list just once a year and call it quits. He recommends launching multiple times a year (at least 3-5) and to change the message each time you launch and align it to one of the three categories above.
That’s how you continue to make money with existing products.
Ezra Firestone’s talk was very entertaining. He incorporated comedy and wit throughout his presentation on how to run profitable Facebook ads.
If you’ve ever tried your hand at FB ads, you probably had a hit or miss result. That’s the feedback I get time and time again when I help people with their Facebook ads.
But Ezra seems to have cracked the code with a very complex system on widening the top of the funnel and then retargeting prospects with different messaging, imagery and offers.
During his talk he broke down how he runs ads for BOOM! By Cindy Joseph and it was very clear that we all need to step up our Facebook ads game.
Key takeaway: the idea of single campaigns are over. You need to run multiple campaigns based on engagement, touches and clickthroughs.
All ad campaigns should be looked at in phases and that not everyone is going to convert on the first campaign you run.
Optimize for a conversion action that’s higher up in your funnel (freebie, visit your blog) to give FB more information which in turn will give you more data to act upon.
I could go on about the key takeaways from every speaker but then we’d be here for a while.
Luckily for you though fellow conference goer, Jenny Miranda, did a great write-up for every speaker of the conference!
Spread awareness of my brand and the services I provide
I don’t just go to conferences for the free lunch and cocktails (although I do appreciate them!).
Since this money is coming directly out of the business account, I’ve got to make sure the trip is worth my time and money.
Not only in terms of learning from the experts but engaging in conversations with business owners who need help increasing their conversions.
Rather than handing out a ton of business cards, I brought 15 brand new t-shirts with my logo on it and a tagline of “getting people to do stuff on your website”.
A little cheesy and simple, but it’s the best way to communicate the service I provide.
And instead of just handing them out to just anyone who wanted free swag, I made sure that there was potential for us to do business together and they would actually wear the shirt (they’re very nice shirts FYI, American apparel triblend – super comfy).
In the end, I ended up handing out just 9 shirts because I didn’t have them on me at all times or, I didn’t have the correct size the person needed.
It was the first time I had done something like this so I had no idea how to measure its success other than closing a deal soon after the conference.
However, it was cool to see people wearing my shirt on day two of the conference and posting it on social media.
I’ll definitely try this strategy again at my next event and at my upcoming workshops in the Phoenix area.
Want a t-shirt? Hit me up via email or on your favorite social media channel!
Oh, yes, and in terms of leads I did get at least three warm leads that I’ve already followed up with since the conference.
Experience the city of Minneapolis
Last but not least, I wanted to see Minneapolis. It was my first time there so I had no idea what to expect.
To be honest however, I didn’t get a chance to see much of the city other than from the back seat of an Uber.
A couple of people mentioned they walked down to the shores of the Mississippi and that it was cool to see “Ol Man River” or “Muddy Waters” as it’s known in some parts of the country.
But, being the football fan that I am, the brand new stadium was just a few blocks from my hotel.
And oh my, what a sight it is! Those Vikings fans have got to be proud of this new home – hell, anyone would be.
It’s a state-of-the-art facility and it’s a shame the Vikings had a bye that week.
Not that it mattered, I hear it’s almost impossible to get a ticket to the game.
I definitely plan to return to Minneapolis and spend more time there. The people are nice and the city is very clean.
Let’s just hope I make it back before Converted 2017…