When I landed in Portland, Scott Hendison picked up from airport. I met Scott originally because he attended my Elite Retreat events. He had invited me to give the closing keynote speech for SearchFest PDX. The premise of the talk was that they had this woman named Joanna Lord who was representing the new school of SEO and performance marketing and I was giving the closing keynote representing the ‘Old School’.
During the event, it was really cool. I ran into a couple of familiar faces. It’s been interesting over the years in the search engine optimization industry how many people have dropped off over time. This super large, really tight crew of probably 20-30 people who were always together and now I’m lucky if I even see one or two of them. But the new people that I got to meet are really awesome people.
While I was there I didn’t even intend to get any business for the PAR Program but we’ve picked up a couple of clients just by talking with people about what I’m doing with my email marketing platform. I generally don’t look at these kind of conferences and events as a way to gain clients, but it just happened to work out that way this time. We’ve picked up two PAR clients from the event and are still in the talks with a possible third. So that’s really cool.
Anyway, back to my talk. Well first of all, I just want to say they really put on a great event. It was small enough so that people could network really well and get to know each other. There were like 400-500 people in attendance. It was a truly awesome event. Over the course of the two days ran into most people at the conference. I met a lot of really cool people.
Ok back to my speech, for real this time. The keynote was a bit challenging in that I don’t think of myself as “old school”. What I mean by challenging is I don’t think of myself as “old school.” When I think of “old school” I think of the original SEO rock stars from webmaster radio. I remember calling in for the first time, was so scared and how I sounded like a little bitch back in 2005 before I hit my stride in internet marketing. Little did I know that two years later I would have my own radio show on webmaster radio and be this expert guru.
My talk was not about how I was old school in the industry, I talked about how my old school methods have brought me success through-out my life. The general talk itself was really more about consumer acquisition. That is the same whether you’re doing politics, non-profits or e-commerce, lead generation, affiliate marketing or whatever. The more you can relate to your consumer and engage with them and earn their trust the more likely you are acquire them and the more likely they are to do business with you in the future.
I related this all the way back to 1994 when I was selling washers and dryers at Sears. I had this re-occurring customer base. The people I sold stuff to, I gave people value and they came back to me because I built trust and provided value. They knew they could come back to me if they had problems and I would take care of them. I had people come in and if I wasn’t there would come back when I was. It really all started there. People get distracted by all the shiny lights and other shit, but the core of what we’re really doing is taking that ‘in person’ experience and applying it to where we are now on the internet. The experience has evolved. I just don’t mean internet advertising; I also mean the evolution of radio, television, newspapers, magazines and now the internet. People have had to find a way to deliver that same experience to build that relationship and trust that people get by visiting in person.
I talked about how I have done this with all of my companies over the years and how we’re doing it now with the PAR Program and our clients. I showed a step-by-step example of how it works and the dramatic impact it has for the companies that we’ve implemented it with. The talk was good and light hearted, plus the crowd was awesome. As far as talks go, I’m pretty critical of myself, but I have to say that this was one of my best talks.