9 Takeaways from Digital Summit Phoenix 2018

Last week I had the opportunity to attend Digital Summit in downtown Phoenix, a two-day digital marketing conference. Each day was filled with great presentations and I walked away feeling inspired, motivated, and ready to tackle content strategy plans with my clients.

Because sharing is caring, I wanted to share a list of tips, tools, and takeaways from my experience that you can implement today to improve your digital marketing. I had planned on writing a post about my learnings last year and well, that post is still saved in my drafts. So there’s that.

1. Don’t let perfect get in the way of getting done

Mike Huber from Vertical Measures delivered a great 4-hour intensive workshop where he mapped out how to create, optimize, and amplify content that converts.

It’s probably not cool to embed your own tweet, but this is one of the major takeaways for perfectionist-me. I have a tendency to edit, edit, and edit again before publishing anything. Sometimes that means that I don’t publish the post at all, which is what happened last year.

This quote resonated with me because (I think) it’s a hockey reference to a quote by Wayne Gretzky. If you don’t publish the content, Google can’t index it, and your audience can’t find and consume it.

2. Let your audience drive your design

In the same workshop, Erik Sloan, Director of Amplified Content at Vertical Measures, talked about Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). If you don’t know what CRO is, he defined it as:

An iterative site testing process designed to increase the rate at which visitors take a desired action, such as:

  • email signups
  • phone calls
  • downloads
  • applications
  • purchases
  • you name it!

The important part about this is the testing. You should always test, test, and test again. You can start with a landing page template and adjust things like colors of different page elements, images, logos, adding video, and more.

By implementing things like a human image vs. stock image to a sign-up form, they saw a 103% increase in conversions. Adding logos of clients you’ve worked with can help boost trust and credibility with your audience. Creating a brief explainer video of your service or product can help encourage a user take action on your site.

Always be testing.

3. Focus on your owned audiences

With Facebook announcing the decrease of organic Page reach, it’s even more important to focus on building and nurturing your owned audiences — that is, your website visitors and blog/email subscribers. All of your marketing efforts (print and online) should drive visitors back to your website so you can continue to grow these lists and build relationships with your audiences.

4. Only sell on social 20% of the time

We’ve heard this time and time again: don’t only sell or promote yourself on Instagram. Eve Mayer of SplashMedia shared her social strategy for success: 20% information, 20% entertainment, 40% engagement, 20% sell. I’ll be writing a separate post about this with a more in-depth example, so stay tuned for that!

5. Each time you post on IG, treat it like a mini campaign

Quinn Tempest suggested treating every post on Instagram like a mini marketing campaign. When you push content out, you need to promote it!

Each time you post on Instagram, think about:

  • Why are you posting this image?
  • How does the image fit into your overall feed? Does the vibe, editing style, and colors match?
  • What hashtags are you going to use to expand your reach?
  • How will you encourage engagement? Tell the user what you want them to do!

Then go and whip up the engagement. Quinn recommends “whipping up engagement” on every post by spending 30 minutes engaging with similar accounts. She shared this tool to help create and manage lists based on engagement.

6. Make your content work overtime

If you’re going to dedicate time and resources to creating a piece of content, think critically about how to make your content work overtime, says Tiffany Starnes of Starnes Solutions.

For example, you want to do a content piece about the behind-the-scenes look at how your business operates. Here’s how you can make your content work overtime:

  • Hire a photographer to document still images of your employees in action, your factory or warehouse team assembling product or packaging orders; interesting content that may interest your audience/customers
  • Hire a videographer to create a brand story video that can be used across all mediums
  • Post your video on YouTube and optimize the videos; be sure to direct people back to your website to learn more
  • Write and publish a post on your blog/website with the still images and video
  • Break up your video into 15 second clips for sharing on Instagram and drive people back to the blog post on your website
  • Embed your video in an email to your subscribers and drive people back to the blog post to see more
  • Pull quotes from your video and create graphics for Facebook and Instagram
  • Highlight employees in graphic or video form for sharing on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Tip: Be sure to pre-plan all of the necessary media formats you’ll need for each platform and get a variety of images; vertical for IG stories if you plan to share there & vertical and horizontal options for images.

7. Take the time to map your customer journey

This one is so important and I think it’s a step many small business owners skip, myself included, because we think we know exactly who we want to target. Take the time to sit down and really think about who your audience is, what their pain points are, and how your product or service can help them. The personas you develop can evolve, but knowing this information will help you build a relationship with that audience and communicate directly to their wants and needs.

8. Great marketing can’t make up for bad experiences

This isn’t breaking news, but a very important reminder from Mathew Sweezey. At the end of the day, the customer service your company delivers is a significant part of your brand’s success. Outstanding customer service can be the deciding factor between two products or services. Strive to deliver the best customer service you can… which leads me to my final thought:

9. Empower your employees to create great experiences

Give your team permission to create amazing experiences for your customers. Empower staff to look for and identify opportunities to make your customers’ experiences memorable — and do it as if no one is watching.


What I walked away after attending Digital Summit this year was this: Work on building relationships with your audience that are trustworthy and authentic. Be consistent — be consistent in your customer experience at all touch points; be consistent in how you show up on social media. Test, test and test again. I hope this post was helpful and that you learned a thing or two! If you have any questions or want to chat more, feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch with me here.

Thank you to North Country HealthCare for inviting me to join your team at the conference.

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