Attention Online Store Owners: Attend a Digital Marketing Conference

I’m getting ready to attend the Internet Summit in Raleigh, North Carolina next week. This will be my fourth year.

There’s one decision I made that absolutely transformed my success online. That was to attend the Internet Summit in November 2014.

I launched my website in April of 2014. Before that, I knew nothing about websites and I didn’t even know that digital marketing was a term.  Maybe I was a bit lucky since I’d selected a great niche. All of my marketing was Facebook posts.

I started learning more by doing web searches. One of those landed me on Social Media Examiner’s website. They were promoting their huge conference in San Diego. I remember that the cost was around $1500 to attend. It sounded interesting, but it was way out of my budget. However, they had another section of their website that listed other conferences. On that list was the Internet Summit. It was relatively close to me and a lot less expensive. I signed up right away.

I had no idea what to expect.

Here are my revelations from that first conference:

  1. After looking at the list of seminars, I decided I would focus on email marketing. It was a good decision to pick a focus, so that is the first bit of advice I’d give to a small business owner. In digital marketing, more than any other industry, it is easy to get caught up in “Shiny Object Syndrome.”  Yes, that really is a thing. It means jumping onto each new thing, getting distracted, and most likely getting nothing done in the end.
  2. Most of the attendees are marketing agencies or represent big companies. I met very few small business owners such as myself. That doesn’t mean I didn’t belong there. Instead, that’s why it’s a huge advantage to go. Looking for a competitive advantage over your rivals? This is it.
  3. The most shocking thing for me was to realize that some companies have a whole person or a whole department to do just one thing that I do. Marketing, email, video, Facebook, Instagram, Google, SEO, not even mentioning the day-to-day stuff like accounting, ordering, and customer service. While being a small business owner can be challenging, it made me feel really proud that I was gaining expertise in all of these areas.
  4. Before attending the show, I didn’t even know what I didn’t know. I didn’t even know the vocabulary to be able to do an Internet search. I learned terms such as content marketing, attribution, automation, and many more.
  5. Visiting the booths at the show is a great experience. Keep in mind that many of these companies are there to target big companies and they may not have an affordable solution for a small business. It’s great to know what’s out there though, and by doing things right, you may not be small forever.
  6. The seminars. I can’t say enough about the seminars. The knowledge I’ve gained is invaluable. By the time the 2-day conference is over, my mind is blown. It’s filled with new ideas, ways to implement them, and a ton of excitement.

Do a web search today or check the page on Social Media Examiner’s site. Find a conference close to you and sign up.  Or, if you’re near Raleigh, North Carolina, join me November 15-16, 2017 and meet me at the Internet Summit.

What are your thoughts?  Feel free to leave a comment below.