SES New York is the elephant of search conferences.
The biggest SES event of the spring, SES New York, will bring together more than 4,000 online marketers, more than 100 exhibitors, networking events, parties, and 70 educational online marketing sessions covering topics such as SoLoMo (social, local, and mobile marketing), paid search, SEO, content marketing, video marketing and more. Make sure you check out the SES New York home page for more info.
I was lucky enough to attend SES San Francisco last year (the ‘big one’ in the summer – one word description: awesome) and have heard SES New York is the ‘big one’ for spring. Seven speakers from SES New York were nice enough to share why they’re excited and why you should take notice of the elephant.
The Speakers Featured Today:
- Dax Hamman, CRO at Chango - @daxhamman
- Lisa Raehsler, Founder at Big Click Co. - @lisarocksSEM
- Jill Whalen, CEO at High Rankings - @jillwhalen
- Thomas Bindl, CEO of Refined Labs - @thomasbindl
- Jason Wells, CEO, ContactPoint - @jasonrwells
- Greg Jarboe, President, SEO-PR - @gregjarboe
- Chris Boggs, Director at Rosetta - @boggles
SES Benefit #1: Networking
The networking potential is huge. You’re at an event for three days with the smartest minds in search, social, analytics, SEO, mobile, local, and video marketing.
If you’re an online marketing agency, SES is an opportunity to strengthen your service offerings. Meet partners in your vertical and outside of it, collaborate, connect, learn and create new revenue streams for your business.
If you’re an online business owner, SES is an opportunity to meet some of the brightest minds and companies from a variety of online marketing fields. Bring your weaknesses and a mind ready to learn, you’ll be sure to learn a ton and find a strong partner here.
Aside from these speakers, bright minds like Angie Schottmuller from Interactive Artisan, Avinash Kaushik from Google, Simon Heseltine from AOL, Thom Craver from Saunders College, and Andy Betts from Linkdex will be there. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can check out the full speaker list here.
But don't only take my word for it:
Wells: I’m attending to stay sharp and keep up with all the trends and news. I learn and connect. I love it. More importantly, especially with the release of our new product LogMyCalls, we’re trying to build connections.
Hamman: Being involved in a conference such as SES has multiple benefits, primarily around networking and learning. I usually find that attendees are genuinely hungry to learn and that leads to some very interesting discussions and interactions - I am passionate about teaching others and so what better opportunity to do so than with people who want to learn. Interestingly each show seems to have its own personality, particularly when comparing shows like New York and London, and so I try to make myself available for as much of the circuit as I can.
In addition, the team behind SES are thought leaders that have positioned themselves at the very heart of this industry, and so being involved with such a group has additional benefits Finally, the group of attendees is often a fun group, with a lot of familiar faces, and so networking is never something to be missed.
Jarboe: The hidden benefit of speaking at the leading global event series was getting a front row seat to hear the industry’s other top experts in search and social marketing speak, including representatives from the search engines and social media.
There are three key reasons to go to SES New York:
- Keep up-to-date with industry trends.
- See new products and services.
- Maintain and build relationships.
So I would urge people to
- Attend the keynotes and conference sessions.
- Visit the sponsors and exhibitors in the expo hall.
- Network at the SES New York Meet & Greet and Black Hat/White Hat, unconferenced session.
Whalen: For me, it's a great opportunity to reconnect with old friends, as I've been speaking on and off at SES since 2001! It's a perfect opportunity to test their current level of knowledge against other people's, as well as a way to keep up with industry trends that they may not be able to in every day life.
Bindl: SES is the biggest conference series for search marketers in the world and New York is probably the biggest single show. Therefore it’s great to participate and an honor to share the knowledge with other people from the industry. Even after over 10 years in the industry I always meet new people at shows with different backgrounds that help me stay up to date.
It’s the biggest show with the most people and loads of sessions to all kinds of topics, combined with a unique city in a young growing industry where up to date information is key and therefore attending is a must! If you don’t attend you might miss the nuggets of information that will help you stay ahead of the competition tomorrow.
SES Advantage #2: Learning
Check out some of the sessions (besides their own, of course) that the speakers recommend:
- Boggs recommends the Metrics for SEO session on Day 3.
- Jarboe recommends Kaushik's keynote on Day 1, Business Optimization in a Digital Age.
- Whalen recommends any sessions on organic SEO.
- Wells recommends the Local + Social session on Day 2.
- Bindl echoes Jarboe's keynote recommendation.
- Raehsler recommends the Meet the Experts Roundtable Forum.
Get the Skinny on the Featured Speakers Sessions
Boggs: On Day 2 Rosetta is sponsoring an entire track on search, social and regulated industries. Pharmaceutical companies and business to government entities are restricted in how they do marketing, and this tract is specifically tailored on how to optimize search strategies for these types of businesses.
There’s a high level intro section geared to executives on how SEM and social media marketing is different in the regulated industries and how to capitalize within the confines of your business, there’s a legal session that features legal counsel from Rosetta who recently spoke to the FDA, and also a tactical panel where I’ll be presenting on ideas you can take away to increase performance within a restricted marketing industry.
Raehsler: On Day 2, I speak on a panel called PPC Beyond Search: New Ad Formats, Display & Social. Although I love search marketing, it doesn't work in a vacuum. You need to complement it with several other formats to create a comprehensive online strategy. I am looking forward to the other panelists presentations because I need more tips myself!
Whalen: Right now I'm scheduled for the Measuring SEO Sucesss panel. It should be critical for anyone doing SEO to attend this session because you can't tell how (or if) your SEO is working if you're not properly measuring it. Too many people are still measuring SEO sucess by checking rankings. That hasn't been a useful measurement in a very long time!
Bindl: I will be speaking about paid search tools on Tuesday and will cover functionalities that search marketers should look out for when looking for bid management software. There are many vendors on the market that offer hundreds of features, but most of them you’d never need and some features are real time savers and increase the efficiency by 20% and more, but aren’t available in most tools. If you’re thinking about using a Paid search technology or planning to change the vendor, this session is a must-attend.
Hamman: Crossing The Digital Divide - The Leap From Search To Display on Day 1. Whether they realize it or not, search marketers are best positioned to own the significant slice of the digital budget if they act now, and if they act in the right way. The display world is in a state of semi-organized chaos, centralized around biddable media and quantitative thinking - the search marketer has a skill set that is best suited to this new world, and during this session we will show why they should make this transition and how best to do it.
Jarboe: On Wednesday, March 21, I’ll be speaking from 4 to 5 p.m. about “Next Gen YouTube Marketing.” According to the DoubleClick Ad Planner, YouTube had 870 million unique visitors worldwide in January 2012, including 170 million in the United States. However, many companies fail to adequately leverage this phenomenal medium to engage new and existing customers. Online marketers should attend this session if they are interested in hearing some real world examples that will help them to understand and master the entire video process from what to create, how to optimize it for search, how to market it with social media, and how to measure the real business impact.
Wells: The title of my presentation is Driving Mobile Traffic: SEO and PPC. I am going to discuss mobile search ads, mobile landing page optimization, mobile SEO and, most importantly, I really want to get into what goals mobile marketers should pursue. This is very important to consider.
Online and search marketers should attend our session if they want a better understanding of mobile SEO, mobile landing pages, mobile search ads and mobile marketing goals. I spent a large chunk of my professional life managing mobile operations for a very large company, now I’m the CEO of a small company. I understand search, online and mobile marketing from both perspectives. I understand how they work. Let’s be honest, mobile is transforming marketing. Let’s get ready.
If You Only Attend 1 Search Conference Per Year, Make it SES
Jarboe gives a great breakdown on how you can create a cost-benefit analysis of the conference:
“The critical challenge is defining a meaningful way to calculate return on marketing investment, especially since ROMI analysis has to be in line with your organization’s objectives. ROMI is a relatively new metric. It isn’t like the other ROI metrics because marketing is not the same kind of investment. Instead of money that is “tied” up in plant and inventory, marketing funds are typically expensed in the current period. Usually, marketing spending will be deemed as justified if the ROMI is positive.
To calculate the ROMI of going to SES New York 2012, you can start by using the form provided by SES to help justify the travel. This will help you estimate the cost of your travel to this event.
Then, create one or more goals. Before setting up a goal, make sure you’ve done the following:
- The name of the goal: Specify a name that you will recognize when viewing the goals within each set of your Google Analytics reports. Examples of names you might use include “email sign-up” or “article ABC download.”
- The value of the goal: Google Analytics uses an assigned goal value to calculate ROI, Average Score, and other metrics. A good way to value a goal is to evaluate how often the visitors who reach the goal become customers. If, for example, your sales team can close 10 percent of people who request to be contacted, and your average transaction is $500, then you might assign $50 (i.e. 10 percent of $500) to your “Contact Me” goal. In contrast, if only 1 percent of mailing list signups result in a sale, then you might only assign $5 to your “email sign-up” goal.
Finally, calculate your goal conversion metrics. How many incremental email sign ups, article downloads, or contact me forms will you need to generate with search and social marketing to justify your travel? Nielsen Analytic Consulting has found through conducting numerous studies worldwide that the average short-term ROMI (sales return within three months of media execution) is 1.1.
In other words, if the value of what you learn at SES New York 2012 is 1.1 times the cost of attending the event, then you will be able to give your organization a positive short-term ROMI.”
Can’t make it to SES New York on such short notice? Understandable. If you can make it to any other of the SES conferences this year, do it!