My Candid Thoughts & Notes from the 2016 Traffic & Conversion Summit

T&C Summit Event NotesI attended Traffic & Conversion Summit last week for the first time, and I was quite impressed with the event overall.

I had some moments of confusion, annoyance and disconnect (lol)... but I came home with a lot more take-aways than I realized while I was actually there.

I made a lot of interesting notes in that little Macbook at the event. πŸ™‚

My notes are actually kind of sparse (meaning: they suck) and I'll explain why. But that's why you should really read Tim Castleman's notes on the T&C event instead.

Tim CastlemanTim had a team of writers at the event taking mad notes in every single session. With multiple sessions going at once, and the fact that I missed quite a few sessions in favor of lunches & meetings, my notes are pretty limited.

I just read some of his notes from the 2015 event last night, and WOWSA - I got some great takeaway's I cannot wait to implement!! I'll tell you how you can get a copy of those too, because you'll LOVE them...

On a personal note, I like Tim Castleman. He's nice, smart, interesting, and "genuine" - definitely.

He's a hard worker, and a slacker too, or maybe just a smart worker - lol - that's just my vibe from him. I think he's cool. πŸ™‚ He'll be at Marketing Mayhem Live too, so if you're planning to be there and want an introduction just let me know!

 

My Overall Impression of Traffic & Conversion Summit

T&C is a huge event that sells out every single year. There were over 3,000 people in attendance which had the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel at a loud roar for three straight days. It was an awesome crowd though, definitely top players in the industry - with a very positive & friendly vibe.

The Grand Hyatt was a great venue, by the way. It was an ideal setup for getting the most out of the event, running into and meeting up with people, and just enjoying your stay overall. Great views, great gym, a 24-hour coffee shop with great food. I heard rumor they were changing the venue for next year due to growth, though.

The sponsor & exhibitor booths were interesting & entertaining, and really added to the overall event experience. T&C was extremely well organized too, which impressed me. There was a PDF version of the agenda, an interactive agenda app, plus agenda handouts AT the event. It made it very easy to map out your own personal agenda & objectives - which is super important when attending an event that size.

I came home feeling insanely inspired and motivated! I obviously took away more from the event than I realized... while I was there. πŸ™‚

 

My T&C Event Notes & Thoughts

I mentioned my event notes are sparse, so I'm getting Tim's T&C Notes myself. I didn't realize he did that every year at T&C, but I was totally relieved when I found out on Day Two - because my head was spinning and I knew I was missing A LOT. πŸ˜›

Before I get into the actual event content, I had some personal "A-Ha" moments throughout the week from random comments that were made. There were three personal comments that really made me THINK. Enough so that I jotted those comments down in Evernote to evaluate more later - which I did on my flight home.

It was mostly about how I define myself, how I want to be perceived, what I could improve, who/how I want to be going forward, changes I want to make, etc. Just personal stuff, but GREAT food for thought. And I love food (lol).

I guess you'd like to know what those comments were. They may not make much sense to you out of context. Well, I suppose they will - somewhat at least. So here you go:

Comment #1: "You look tired."

Comment #2: "If you eat ketogenic all the time, how is it you're not stick skinny?"

Comment #3: "Oh, so you're basically retired?"

LOL πŸ™‚

I was tired. I've lost about 45 pounds and I'm still working on it. And retired? Hmm that one struck me as funny, true, untrue and interesting all at the same time. πŸ˜› You might wonder how those comments are relevant, or why I spent any time evaluating them. I find perceptions interesting, and a great tool for making improvements.

Comment #2 was not meant to sound as bad as it did, by the way. You had to be there. I laughed. πŸ™‚ It was a legit question regarding the way ketosis works. It DID motivate me to hit the gym HARD though! Motivation is GOOD.

As for #1, that comment made me realize how a simple smile or a shift in your posture can make a BIG difference. It's about being self-aware, and being intentional about putting your best self forward.

It made me want to be more mindful about how I present myself.

#3 (which still has me smirking, lol)... that one made me realize quite a few things actually. The first being how I describe what I do, how I should describe it, it made me analyze what I'm doing now and what I want to be doing over the next 5-10 years.

That same guy (#3) also said "I wouldn't trade my stress for anything." I replied, "I wouldn't buy your stress for any amount of money." πŸ™‚ To each their own, right?

It's one of the things I love about this industry. We all have the option to create the lifestyle we want, whether you want to be an egotistical multi-millionaire... or "happily unemployed" and traveling around the world having fun. πŸ™‚

All three comments hit me sideways at first, but ultimately really inspired and motivated me to make positive changes - which is a great thing!!

 

Traffic & Conversion Summit

My Top Take-Away's from the T&C Summit

The event was GOOD. The content was top notch for sure. I got confirmation I was moving in the right direction on some things, and saw some great live examples of how more structure & strategy would make a HUGE difference in my business - and of course learned specific ways to make some of those changes.

There was a lot of talk on paid advertising, and the detailed "how to" of creating (brilliant!) campaigns that convert. It really inspired me to get serious about my ad campaigns this year. Speaking of, Facebook Advertising is obviously HOT right now. If you want to learn more about that, and how to do it super cheap, read this.

I got a lot of creative inspiration on Days 1 and 2 of the event, but Day 3 was where I felt a real disconnect. Which is unfortunate, because the topic that day was "scaling up" and I was up early and anxious to attend those sessions.

I'll share more of my thoughts on that in a second...

It did inspire me to start outlining my plans for "Building a Team" though while I was sitting in the session, including: what to outsource, what to out-task, how to manage the team, prioritizing order of tasks to outsource, etc.

Speaking of, the only real downside to the setup and organization of the event is that there were no tables for attendees (unless you were a VIP ticket holder). There were only chairs. That made it uncomfortable to sit for long periods, or to try to take notes on a laptop. A slight inconvenience, I guess. Eh, a big one actually.

I also got inspired to dig in to my complete rebranding project for my niche blog, analyze and improve my angle with both Traveling Low Carb and ClickNewz, and found my enthusiasm for ClickNewz totally revived and renewed (which was really me just being contrarian! lol - I'll explain why in a minute)...

 

Day 1 focused on content strategies & conversions...

  • Run a customer focused business (not a product focused or model focused biz)
  • There are 3 types of traffic: cold, warm, hot. How to create content campaigns around "traffic temperature" to move them to and through your funnel strategically.
  • Spend the majority of your advertising dollars on cold traffic.
  • Good content marketers β€œsatisfy intent” at all stages of the funnel.
  • Paid traffic isn't just for acquisition. It’s great for targeting your buyers to increase sales, or to put new products in front of them.
  • 3 key pieces of content you should provide at the top of your site: A solid awareness piece. A solid evaluation piece. A solid conversion piece.

 

Day 2: My favorite session was on "Affinity Marketing" (not the actual title) by Perry Belcher. This really hit home with me as I mentioned it's something I've been testing more and more (with GREAT results) in my low carb niche...

  • Why it’s smart to work in bigger markets (vs tight niches)
  • β€œSo many companies start up… but very few scale up.”

That last quote came from the closing Keynote on Day 2, leading into the Scaling Up topic of Day 3. I was hoping to get more out of those sessions, but I did really enjoy the Day 2 Keynote. I decided to buy the speakers book titled Scaling Up later - along with Traction (recommended by Amazon).

I ordered them both from my phone at the airport waiting on my flight home. I can already tell I'm going to get A LOT more out of these two books. πŸ™‚

 

 

Day 3 is where I got a bit lost and disconnected. I was also tired, lol. It was all about "scaling up" but they were talking agency/enterprise level business scaling...

  • Set Strategic Goals & Initiatives - create a roadmap (strategy) for scaling your business. Plan your revenue target, key partners, traffic channels, content planning, promo calendar, etc.
  • Allocate at least 2 days per quarter for planning.
  • Build your brand, not yourself - make "you" a spokesperson for the brand.
  • Set measurable goals for your team members - your job is to achieve x by z (social media growth, for example, or certain number of * by specific date)

 

My Thoughts - And Where "The Disconnect" Happened For Me...

It would have been GREAT to have sessions on how to build out your team, and how to scale up to that level. It seemed like there was a big gap between the "lifestyle business owner" or solopreneur, and the corporate / agency level they focused on.

I'm guessing that people who have been in their membership or at their events for a few years now may have already had that gap filled somewhere along the way - ?

There were a few mentions about "a lifestyle business" being more of a hobby or low-level job (ie: they look down on that model?), and that "going pro" is the only way to experience real success. I'm paraphrasing here, but this is where the disconnect came in for me personally. I made this note on it in my journal:

The theme seems to be that a β€œlifestyle business” or solopreneur is kind of a joke, or not really acknowledged here. It’s all about taking it to the agency or enterprise level. I can definitely see the benefit in that, and have been inspired with creative ideas for β€œscaling my business” while here, but certainly not to that level. I just have ZERO interest in going back to offices and employees. I don’t like managing people - or "office hours" - and it would feel like going backward in my own business.

Like I said earlier, "to each their own." I left my shops, offices, employees and "big business" behind many years ago. I really enjoy "being retired" (lol!!) and traveling around the world having FUN with my business. πŸ™‚

That said, I definitely need more structure and I'm highly interested in scaling strategically, so I really look forward to digging in to the two books this week. I just intend to do it on my own terms, as every entrepreneur should - in my opinion.

 

Would I Attend Traffic & Conversion Summit Again?

Yes, without hesitation - I can definitely say I would attend again. The content at T&C is really good, and much of it was highly detailed instruction and full of live examples. Some of it wasn't a great match for me, but that's where multiple tracks comes in - and making sure you attend the topics that fit YOUR business best.

The number one reason I would attend again (besides the awesome weather in San Diego!!) is for the networking. T&C brings together some of the top minds in the industry, and I really liked the caliber of the crowd attending.

That alone makes it worth going. And even though some of the topics weren't a great match for me, I still ended up getting creative ideas that I can USE.

I mentioned my renewed enthusiasm for my blogs and my business as a whole. This is where I referred to me being contrarian (lol)... because it was all the "poo poo" on "a lifestyle business" that really made me realize... how much I LOVE mine. πŸ™‚ Not just my business, but my lifestyle, and how both combined allow me the freedom & flexibility to create and enjoy life on my own terms.

 

My event notes are sparse like I said, and my take-aways were more relevant to me personally - as anyone's should be. I'm super excited about moving forward with all of the ideas I penned out last week, a few new ideas but many of which were just REinspiration for things I already had in the works.

Inspiration and Motivation are worth A LOT, so I'm definitely glad I went!

I'll be sharing updates with you along the way, what I'm doing - and more importantly WHY - and of course the results as things unfold.

I'm getting Tim Castleman's T&C Event Notes too, so I can go over the sessions I missed and see what else I can pull out to apply to my big plans for the year ahead.

Looking back over my own notes, I found that I really only jotted down the few things that really spoke to me at the time, or ideas I had as a result - so I'm missing A LOT.

Plus there were sessions on email marketing, social marketing and podcasting that I had to miss... and would love to "read" (which is how I learn best anyway!).

I mentioned reading an excerpt of Tim's 2015 event notes last night. You can get those on this page too. I plucked a tip out of the 2015 notes that will pay back again and again (and again!) so I'm really excited to implement that - and also to get his 2016 session notes. Just ONE single take-away could result in an amazingly sweet return. - so it's definitely worth every penny.

(The 2015 excerpt is free, by the way - so be sure to grab that!)

 

I hope you enjoyed my recap, "personal and wordy" as it was πŸ™‚ lol. I really wanted to share my whole experience with you. It was a great event overall in my opinion, and I had a GREAT time. I caught up with old friends, met some really cool people, plus it really got my gears turning and added some SERIOUS FUEL to my motivation.

Grab Tim's notes for yourself. It's a super cheap way to get some serious training - without the travel expenses, crowd, and exhaustion & jetlag from attending the event in person. πŸ™‚ I cannot wait to sit down with the notes myself!

Best,

p.s. When you get Tim's 2016 T&C Notes you'll also get his notes from the last 3 events. This was the bonus that really sweetened the deal for me! I'm anxious to scan over all 4 years worth of sessions - because how they've taken their own companies (multiple businesses/sites, including some really interesting niche sites) is exactly what I want to explore and examine... in great detail!

Traffic & Conversion Summit Event Notes

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...moreΒ»

Discussion

  1. Lynn,

    Excellent recap, even if it's 'sparse." Your 4 bullet points from Day 3 are fantastic themselves. I've read some of Tim's excerpts from previous years and I think I'll order his notes. 4 years worth?! Yes please.

    I've always wanted to go to T&C to learn and network as you mention. I'll just have to make it happen in 2017.

    Kurt Scholle

    • Thank you, Kurt! Let's stay in touch about T&C 2017. I'd love to attend again as well, so we'll have to plan some time together to do some brainstorming in person there. πŸ™‚

  2. Great recap Lynn. I skipped out of most of the "scale up" tracks and hung out in the podcasting track instead. However, I did hear Perry's put down of "lifestyle" business. Like with you, that was a disconnect for me. I don't want to work more and build an empire. And I have managed up to 20 people when I was in corporate, I have no desire to do THAT again. So I hesitate to build a team even though I know I should.

    It was an awesome conference for content, although I think last year it was better. Some of the ideas were awesome but I have since crossed them off because they are not a fit for a "lifestyle" business - but I still walked away with tons and insights and Todo's - too many to list here!

    I'll probably be back next year - if only because for me, it's so close! (I live in Northern California)

    • Hi Kathy Alice πŸ™‚ I still can't believe we missed each other in San Diego! Boo. πŸ˜› I'm glad I'm not the only one that caught that. I wondered if it was just me (lol). I get where they're going with that concept... and that it's in line with their certification offer now - but it was a serious disconnect for me. I had to wonder if anyone else felt "the gap" with that.

      I doubt we're alone in not wanting to go back to "running a business" or managing a team, depending on our history. I think that's why many of us chose a lifestyle business (as he called it). πŸ™‚

      Very cool that last year was better, because I'm getting the 2015 notes from Tim as part of his package! Now you have me super excited to go over those. : ) I'm planning to attend again next year as well, so this time we DEFINITELY get together!

  3. I got excited just reading your recap. I can't wait to help you implement a lot of your ideas.

    Those books look great too!

  4. Love your notes Lynn.

    The last 3 years I've thought a lot about scaling. At one point I've even had a team of 13 and a pretty decent sized office space to fit. Complete with stereotypical game room that tech businesses are supposed to have.

    My conclusion... Screw that!!!

    Scaling up is one of those society traps, like buying a big house. You work really hard for years so that you can one day kick back and relax. So that you can one day travel the world and enjoy the good life.

    Well, I'm already doing that. I decided to skip the whole scaling non-sense and go straight to traveling the world.

    I'm actually saving money too. It only costs about $3,000/mo to travel full time or $5,000/mo if you want to live it up. You certainly don't need to "scale up" to earn that kind of money. Heck if you're smart that is just 2-3 clients.

    Everyone is 2-3 clients away from living the life that the suits are working so hard to reach. LOL

    Of course they poke fun at lifestyle businesses (I did too when I had my office). You've gotta rationalize why you're killing yourself somehow! πŸ™‚

    Big Willie had it right hundreds of years ago...

    "To Thine Own Self Be True"

    • lol "My conclusion... Screw that!!!" - exactly! πŸ™‚ Been there, hated it, that's WHY I do what I do now. πŸ™‚ Bingo! You make a good point: You've gotta rationalize why you're killing yourself somehow! (lol) *cheers*

  5. Sue Painter says:

    I am glad to read here that Kurt will be there next year. I got the notes last year and they were a lot to get through and definitely worth it. As for Perry, phooooo! To each their own. Been there done that not going back to it. That's a bit off putting. Thanks for such a great write up Lynn.

  6. Love this post Lynn!

    I'll tell you why (haha): I've often felt really conflicted about my business. I've never really ever wanted the "agency" thing or to have an office, etc, but I HAVE at times convinced myself that I want a "bigger" business model.

    There was a time when I said I wanted to be a speaker, to host events, to do retreats and to have a big team. That was me thinking I needed to go bigger to have a "real" business and if I continued to not do those things I just wasn't really a business owner, just a small-time work at home mom.

    I think it was only last year at Kelly McCausey's Exposure & Profit that I really nailed down the idea that I only wanted the lifestyle business, the Laptop Lifestyle as I call it. After getting up very briefly on stage I was super confirmed in the fact that it wasn't a place I really want to be right now, I know I don't want the pressure of events, the cost, the stress AT ALL and I don't even want to gather people up to have retreats. None of that model appeals to me.

    I think that's why I've been so attracted to your teachings. I think a lot of people don't really believe you can have it the way we do, that we can really be so free in our daily lives yet run a business that makes good money. I know I believe it now but it took a long time to do so.

    Maybe that's why the people at your event didn't look at it as "legit"? They don't really know it works? Who knows! I know that I love my laptop lifestyle and totally wouldn't pay any amount of money for an agency business OR a big coaching/retreat business either!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this event πŸ™‚ . I think I'd love to go sometime if they're still running it in a few years. I saw Perry Belcher speak many years ago, maybe in Toronto at a fairly big event from our standards anyway (no where near 3,000 people though).

    • Sorry to be so wordy but I had another thought...

      I used to watch Gary V's videos (you know, the wine/marketing guy) because he's very successful but he mentions how damn hard he works a lot and says that you have to work that hard.

      I get it and I guess some people want a certain level of success and that's what it takes.

      One day I think he said he works 18 hour days(!!) and I had to do quick math: 6 hours left for sleeping, eating, family??? I can't imagine working that many hours AWAY from my family.

      No judgement on him and how he spends time with family (or anyone) but I simply CAN NOT imagine any justification for work that would explain away the time I wasn't spending with them when right now I work literally 2-3 hours a day and am usually the main "breadwinner" of the house. We're by no means well off, but I'll trade time with my family for almost anything money can buy (except we need food, shelter, a little fun and that sorta thing).

      Anyway as I said those parts of your post really hit a spot with me. I know where I want to be now and I'm glad because I can watch Gary V's videos where he says I have to work my ass off and say: "no thanks".

    • You make some GREAT points, Angela! I wonder if your conflict had to do with what you knew deep down you wanted... versus how you felt "real business" was defined - or external expectations.

      Like you, I've had some brilliant ideas for scaling my business up, and ultimately backed down (or shelved) those ideas because it was more work than I wanted to do. Which is perfectly fine! Like you said - who wants to work 16-18 hours a day, or buy into that kind of stress?! πŸ˜›

      I think they KNOW that a lifestyle business works, because they each had one at one point. As for the rest of the people at DM... they are all employees, so that's different. But I think the big push is because their flagship product is certification, so it's simply in their best interest to move everyone toward the agency / enterprise level. πŸ˜‰

  7. Yes! I agree so much with all of this. While the "we want to be a $1 Billion business" goal is impressive, as is how they are doing it (not to mention benefitting from all their testing), I was also like buuuuuut what if that's not what I want? What if I'm good making 6 figures working on my own?

    The last few days, I keep asking myself, "How do I scale their stuff down?"

  8. That is EXACTLY what I was asking myself as well, Selene! And what a great (smart!) question, right? πŸ™‚ There were so many great take-aways, and yes - their testing and results was incredibly helpful - but like you, in a scaled down fashion. Bingo!

  9. LindaYarbrough says:

    OK, bought Traffic-Conversion-Notes through your link in PBG. I guess as we wade through all these notes, we can ask you questions about specific issues during PBG sessions? Duh.Loved tonight's session. Good stuff! Glad I joined today. Fun to join something and find out first session is same day. Thanks for all you do.

    • Hi Linda - YES, absolutely! You'll get my hands on help implementing the notes in your business specifically inside the Private Brainstorming Group. πŸ™‚

      I'm glad you joined us, and joined in on Brainstorming Hour tonight. It's different every session, depending on the questions - and on what I'm working on myself that week (and sharing openly). πŸ™‚

  10. David Frey says:

    Lynn, I'm so completely with you on the lifestyle business thingy. I was an Exec. VP of a $500 million dollar business. Never again. When I left that job I said I wanted to have a business that never had to deal with (1) inventory and (2) employees. They spell headaches. And in the end, aren't you just buying yourself another j-o-b.

    That's why as lifestyle entrepreneurs we have to become good project managers and perhaps get to the point where we hire our own project manager to free us up even more.

    Thank you for your recap. I love following your life and endeavors!

    • Thank you, David. πŸ™‚ It's so nice to hear from others that share the same views, and have the same lifestyle goals - and why.

      I'm at a point (again) where I either need to scale up, or scale back - and I admit that it's been a point of conflict for me. It definitely has to be done strategically to maintain a certain freedom...

  11. Hi Lynn ~

    I just want to say one thing: I LOVE you're photo! Seriously. First evidence I've had that I'm not the only person who takes pix of pretty feet! πŸ˜‰ [no, I don't have a fetish. Honest! πŸ˜€ ]

    I'm new 'round here (this is my first visit to your website), so I don't have any business commentary ~ and I'm still learning and absorbing and constructing my own sort of second act Lifestyle business. But you'll no doubt be hearing more from me in future.

    And thanks for the picture of pretty feet.

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