5 Digital Marketing Tips from Agents of Change 2015

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Social media and digital marketing changes all the time—and staying up to date on the absolute latest techniques that work can be exhausting.

Knowing when to hashtag, or the best time to send an email blast, or what content to write are all questions that keep digital marketers up at night. So what’s the solution? Go to Agents of Change and learn a thing or two.

Agents of Change (or AOC as it’s known to veteran attendees) is a digital marketing conference held annually in Portland, Maine. AOC provides the education, tools and direction that make leveraging the three most important channels in digital marketing today: search, social and mobile a whole lot easier. With 18 speakers, including experts across all digital domains—from Instagram to YouTube, email marketing and SEO—attending AOC is a fantastic way to learn tips, tricks and explore new ideas all while networking with digital marketers from a variety of industries.

Here are our top 5 digital marketing tips from Agents of Change 2015:

1. Smart Businesses are on YouTube

Hailing from a television background, Steve Dotto has discovered some of the best techniques to generate revenue from utilizing the tools offered by YouTube. Dotto points out that many people fail to recognize that YouTube is actually one of the best social media sites available. By creating a YouTube channel with specific content, one is able to create a community of potential clients as well as strategic partners. With his channel ‘Dottotech’, Dotto provides instructional content for technical applications such as consolidating separate email accounts. Dotto also creates content on topics per his subscribers’ requests. “I make it a point to respond to every single comment on every one of my videos,” he says. “It’s all about creating a community online.” By offering an online course via his channel, Dotto educates his viewers on how to create revenue directly from YouTube and even how his content is created. So what is Dotto’s ultimate message? If you are not using YouTube to market your product or service then you are missing out a free effective marketing tool.

-Tom Faunce, senior staff writer

Session: The Secrets to YouTube Success with Steve Dotto (@dottotech)

2. The Greatest Sales Tools in the World

Marcus Sheridan saved his Richmond, Virginia-based fiberglass pool company from going out of business in 2008 by doing something different – answering his customers’ questions directly. One of his #1 customer questions was cost, so he started blogging about the breakdown of how much a fiberglass pool costs in comparison to concrete counterparts. He also went as far as blogging about the competition, praising them as part of a blog on the Top Rated Pool Builders in the Richmond Area.


After only a few posts, Sheridan’s pool leads and sales began to rise again. It was all because he built consumer trust. As Sheridan says, “Take your elephant and put it front and center.” He says today’s consumers are not naïve, they will find the answers to the questions they seek it might as well be from you. “Become the Wikipedia of your space,” he stressed. Now business is moving swimmingly and Sheridan’s company is one of the top fiberglass pool builders in the country, all because he went out of his way to deliver the answers to customers’ questions.

-Molly Shaw, editor of special segments

Session: The Digital Consumer: How Today’s Buyer Has Changed and What your Business Must Do About It with Marcus Sheridan (@TheSalesLion)

3. Is SEO dead? No, it’s changing.

There’s no magic formula for great SEO, rather there are a million little pieces (known as letters) that come together to build the words, sentences and blog posts, articles, etc. that ultimately determine how influential your brand is online. Over the past three years, Google has introduced a dozen or so major algorithm changes – and continues to implement 2-3 minor changes every day! Google no longer awards you extra “SEO points” for keyword density or for tagging posts for keywords or… for using keywords at all. In fact, what the heck is a keyword? Apple, for example, has a few different meaning. It could be a piece of fruit. Or a computer. Rather than taking the word and guessing what it means, Google uses semantics and associated topics, as well as what device you’re on, your location, and past search queries, to decide how to deliver search results. So, what’s that mean for brands? To be successful online you must write relevant content that provides information and answers your customers are looking for.

– Erica Berry, director of content marketing (@TheOriginalEB)

Session: Making SEO Work with Thom Craver (@ThomCraver)


4. Know Your Audience and Email With Caution

E-mail marketing is a valuable way to captivate current and future clients, but there are right and wrong ways to do so. Within this session, Heather covered several points on making e-mail marketing work for your business. My favorite point that Heather mentioned was the topic of implicit vs. explicit information. Explicit advertising makes a direct statement, while implicit advertising relies on indirect ways to deliver a message. Typically, small businesses use explicit advertising to convey their messages to their target audience. On the other hand, implicit messages are best used when businesses associate their products with a physiological element. Explicit and implicit advertising solely depends on the type of business you are and what type of message you want to communicate to your audience.

-Julia Towne, web support

Session: How to Make Email Marketing Work for You with Heather Jackson

5. Honesty Pays

Marcus Sheridan presented some simple truths about marketing that really clicked – often businesses, including ours and those we feature, spend so much time making themselves look good instead of presenting their target markets with an honest look at what they can offer. Marcus spoke about publishing a list of the top five regional swimming pool contractors on his company blog – it didn’t include his company. While as a custom publication, we want our feature companies to look good, we also want readers to come away with an honest picture of what these executives and their colleagues do – asking the people we interview to open up about challenges not only allows us to build more engaging content, it also allows us to show potential clients and customers how these companies stack up in the face of adversity. Nobody wants to read about a contractor or a manufacturer that has never had a problem – those companies don’t exist and any that claim to exist as a wholly perfect entity are brushing problems under the rug. Addressing challenges allows us to bring more honesty to the marketing collateral we build and helps our feature companies show off how they operate under pressure.

-Jeanee Dudley, managing editor

Session: The Digital Consumer: How Today’s Buyer Has Changed and What your Business Must Do About It with Marcus Sheridan (@TheSalesLion)

What was your favorite #AOC2015 moment? Share your highlights, photos and top takeaways with us on social media – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.