June 30, 2022 saw the return of the Rocks Digital Marketing Conference and a packed day of expert speakers and engaging presentations. With last year’s event taking place online, this year was an opportunity to get together in person with some of the best and brightest in the digital marketing world.
The conference welcomed attendees from across the United States to the beautiful Venue Forty | 50 in Addison, TX for an array of cutting-edge, actionable information. And with Rocks Digital celebrating its 10th anniversary, we couldn’t have been happier with the cutting-edge insights presented by our guest speakers.
Brand building, content marketing and more in the morning session
Rocks Digital Managing Partner and Conference Organizer Lissa’s duty kicked off the conference and took the time to introduce the amazing sponsors. Once again, a big thank you to each of the sponsors who made this event such a success.
Lissa also announced a fun game of Rocks Bingo that all attendees could play throughout the day. Each goodie bag attendees received at check-in included a blackout bingo card – a card containing words and/or phrases that speakers would say throughout the day. Once an attendee had their card fully blacked out, they could bring the card to the Advice Local exhibitor table to redeem for a prize.
Prizes offered by Advice Local included Google Home Minis, wireless chargers, Google Stickers, Google Notebooks and Pens. With enough prizes for every conference attendee, everyone could win something.
As in many previous years, Scott Peek Photography was the conference photographer and captured wonderful photos of the speakers, attendees and general activities. Head over to the 2022 Rocks Digital Photo Gallery to browse all of these great images.
The Local Research Day Panel – moderated by the conference co-organizer Bernadette Colman – kicked off the day. The panelists were Jason Channel of Imagination, Demetrios Pousatis of brand signal and Mike Stewart of Local Climb.
The discussion focused on improving search visibility using organic search, local pack, and Google Maps, with a focus on what is currently working. One of the many tips shared by the panel was to avoid over-optimizing title tags on a company’s website when that company has their keyword in their name.
Speaker planned Tarsha Hearn had a last minute emergency, so Lissa took over with a presentation on applying EAT to a Google Business Profile (GBP). Expertise, authority and trustworthiness are key to gaining search prominence in 2022, and Lissa explained how to build a full GBP. A key point that is often overlooked is the importance of attributes, such as “LGBTQ friendly”, “female owned”, etc. Such justifications can prove invaluable to a local business.
Rocks Talks with 3 expert presenters
As we arrived mid-morning, it was time for the Rocks Talks. Rocks Talks presentations are fast-paced and designed to cut to the chase. As one of the conference favorites every year, anticipation was high.
The first was Elizabeth McCormicka motivational speaker and former US Army helicopter pilot. Elizabeth brought her high-energy interactive style with the message that “practice makes permanent” – while teaching participants to fly in her interactive talk. If you struggle with direction, procrastination, and accountability, this presentation was for you.
Sanjay Jenkins (connect on LinkedIn) from Scale Patterns followed to discuss mastering email marketing. Sanjay has developed a 3-step email marketing formula that works better than ever in 2022.
- Split test
If you’re wondering how often you should email new subscribers, the presentation also included a “four emails in six days” approach that you can replicate in your business.
Finally, bestselling author Elayna Fernandez (known as The Positive Mom) showed how to captivate audiences with emotional stories. Storytelling is a key part of building a brand and selling products, but too often we get caught up in product features rather than emotional engagement. As Elayna points out, people remember story-based posts 22 times more often than when presented with facts and figures alone.
Local SEO, social media, blogging and more in the afternoon session
After a break for a picnic-style lunch on site, Lissa returned for her scheduled presentation on the power of blogging for local businesses. Many local businesses are hesitant to engage in blogging because they simply don’t believe it leads to customer acquisition. Lissa immediately dispelled that idea.
As Lissa pointed out, companies often fail when they post content on topics unrelated to their services, like a dentist creating a blog post about vampire teeth. She demonstrated to attendees the value of blogging about topics relevant to a business, including showing real-time data highlighting the traffic boosts that can occur when blogging, as well as how which this increases placement in search results, volume of keywords in search and improves conversions.
Next up was the Social Media Day panel. Moderated by Fred Campos of DFW Website Designersthe panelists were Sarah Ciociola of PCG Digital, Robin Moss of ribit and Tanya Smith of Get noticed with video. At Rocks Digital, we celebrate Social Media Day every year and discuss the latest ways to take advantage of free and paid social media strategies. The panel shared a series of tips, including why you need to be on TikTok. But above all, the key takeaway was the need for consistency in everything you do on social media.
At this point, attendees took a 30-minute networking break to mingle and visit all of the exhibitors. The ability to network is one of the many benefits of an in-person event, and most people who attend a Rocks digital marketing conference leave with a wealth of new business contacts. In addition to networking, attendees were treated to cookies and brownies and a display of fresh fruit.
During the afternoon break, all attendees were treated to another special treat. Award-winning author Dean Lindsay gave each attendee two of his books, “Big PHAT Goals” and “Progress Leadership: Say NO to Change Management.” You should have seen the line of people at his exhibitor table.
After the break, the conference resumed with a presentation by Clint Butler of Digitalist. The topic was advanced schema markup. Clint talked about machine learning, AI, and how a basic schema approach won’t help you stand out from the competition in a competitive market. When discussing keyword research and content development, the importance of keyword groups was a key topic.
James Loomstein of Malicious marketing then talked about marketing as a driver of new business growth. The presentation provided a framework that agencies could use when working on a marketing focus with clients. As James points out, when companies say they have a problem with marketing, it’s important to understand that marketing is part of a larger system, and you need to know exactly what’s wrong first.
End with a Keynote marketing showcase
As the conference drew to a close, Rocks Digital assembled an impressive lineup of seven speakers for a marketing showcase. The goal was for each speaker to reveal one thing that made a difference to their business or that of a client.
- Dean Lindsayauthor, speaker and entrepreneur – Dean explained how optimism is an asset and how self-talk can make it a reality.
- Heather Nicholsdigital marketing consultant at Big Harvest Marketing – Heather revealed how businesses can create their own bots to respond to visitors 24/7.
- Tim Nicholscoach and consultant at three million percent – Tim showed examples of emojis he has created to influence and engage users using different emotional responses.
- Laurie shookcommercial at Air flow – Laurie explained how AI can be used to develop better marketing campaigns by understanding customer needs.
- Christine Snyderentrepreneur and owner of Snyder Carpet Care – Christine shared her experiences of using social media advertising to grow her business.
- Victoria WarnerOwner of Rowlett Family Law – Victoria shared how she built a following on Facebook by posting five things she was grateful for every day.
- Lauren Withrow – EdgarOwner of Withrow Agency – Lauren shared how she uses people-centric social media strategies using images of owners and staff to increase engagement.
Dean was a keynote speaker for the marketing showcase and also the emcee for that showcase. He helped keep the 5 minute presentations on track, introduced every speaker, and made sure every attendee was having fun along the way.
After 16 presentations and countless new marketing tips and tricks, the Rocks Digital Marketing 2022 conference ended with Lissa once again thanking everyone for another successful year.
Attendees joined the Rocks Digital team for the on-site casino post-event and to celebrate Rocks Digital’s 10th anniversary. Thanks to everyone who joined us! We hope to see you again next year – and you can save the date on your calendar for June 30, 2023 now.
Don’t forget to browse the photo gallery and share your favorite photos on social media. We have video recordings of the sessions and are preparing them now. In the coming weeks, we’ll have these recordings available to those who have signed up, and others can watch them on demand for $99. Email Lissa if you’d like to be notified when the recordings are available for purchase.