I 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. 🙂
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 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. 🙂 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. 🙂
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. 😛
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?"
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. 😛 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. 🙂 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." 🙂 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. 🙂
All three comments hit me sideways at first, but ultimately really inspired and motivated me to make positive changes - which is a great thing!!
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 “satisfy 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)
- “So 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. 🙂
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 “lifestyle 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 “scaling 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. 🙂
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. 🙂 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 🙂 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. 🙂 I cannot wait to sit down with the notes myself!
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!