June 30th, 2022 saw the return of the Rocks Digital Marketing Conference and an action-packed day of expert speakers and engaging presentations. With last year’s event taking place online, this year was a chance 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 event space in Addison, Texas for an array of cutting-edge and actionable insights. And with Rocks Digital celebrating our 10-year anniversary, we couldn’t have been more pleased with the forward-thinking knowledge on display from our guest speakers.
Brand Building, Content Marketing & More in the Morning Session
Rocks Digital Managing Partner and Conference Organizer Lissa Duty kicked off the conference and took some time to introduce the incredible sponsors. Once again, a big thank you to each and every sponsor who made the event such a success.
Lissa also announced a fun game of Rocks Bingo that all attendees could play throughout the day. Each swag bag that attendees received at check-in included a blackout bingo card – one containing words and/or phrases that speakers would be saying throughout the day. Once an attendee had their card fully blacked out, they could take the card to the Advice Local exhibitor table to exchange it for a prize.
The prizes provided by Advice Local included Google Home Minis, wireless charging pads, Google stickers, Google notepads and pens. With enough prizes for every conference attendee, everyone was able to win something.
As during many prior years, Scott Peek Photography was the conference photographer and captured some wonderful photos of the speakers, attendees and general goings-on. Head on over to the 2022 Rocks Digital photo gallery to peruse all those great images.
The Local Search Day Expert Panel – moderated by conference co-organizer Bernadette Coleman – kicked off the day. Panelists were Jason Channell of Imaginuity, Demetrios Pousatis of Brand Signal and Mike Stewart of Rise Local.
The discussion was on improving search visibility using organic, the local pack and Google Maps, with a focus on what is working right now. One of many tips shared from the panel was to avoid over-optimization in title tags on a business’ website when that business has their keyword within its name.
Planned speaker Tarsha Hearns had a last-minute emergency, so Lissa stepped up to fill in the spot with a presentation on applying E-A-T to a Google Business Profile (GBP). Expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness are key to gaining search prominence in 2022, and Lissa outlined how to build out a complete GBP. One key point that often goes overlooked is the importance of attributes, such as “LGBTQ-friendly,” “women-owned” and so on. Justifications such as these can prove invaluable to a local business.
Rocks Talks Featuring 3 Expert Presenters
As we reached mid-morning it was time for Rocks Talks. The Rocks Talks presentations are fast-paced and designed to get straight to the point. As one of the conference favorites each year, anticipation was high.
First up was Elizabeth McCormick, a motivational speaker and former U.S. Army helicopter pilot. Elizabeth brought her high-energy, interactive style with the message that “practice makes permanent” – while teaching the attendees to fly in her interactive talk. If you struggle with direction, procrastination and accountability, this was the presentation for you.
Sanjay Jenkins (connect on LinkedIn) from Scale Patterns followed to discuss email marketing mastery. Sanjay developed a 3-step email marketing formula that is working better than ever in 2022.
- Split Test
If you’ve been wondering how often you should email new subscribers, the presentation also included a “four emails over six days” approach that you can replicate in your business.
Finally, best-selling author Elayna Fernandez (known as The Positive Mom) showed how to captivate audiences using emotional stories. Storytelling is a key part of brand building and product sales, but all too often we get caught up on product features over emotional engagement. As Elayna points out, people remember story-driven messages 22 times more often than when they are presented with facts and figures alone.
Local SEO, Social Media, Blogging and More in the Afternoon Session
After a break for an onsite picnic style lunch, Lissa returned for her planned presentation on the power of blogging for local businesses. Many local businesses are reluctant to engage with blogging because they just don’t believe it leads to client acquisition. Lissa dispeled this notion immediately.
As Lissa pointed out, businesses often fall short when they publish content on topics that are not related to their services, such as a dentist creating a blog post about vampire teeth. She demonstrated to attendees the value of publishing blog posts on topics that are relevant to a business – including showing real-time data highlighting traffic increases that can occur when publishing blogs, along with how it increases placement in search results, keyword volume in search and improves conversions.
Next up was the Social Media Day Panel. Moderated by Fred Campos of DFW Website Designers, the 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 each year and discuss the latest ways to leverage both free and paid social media strategies. The panel shared a range of tips, including why you need to be on TikTok. But above all else, 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 with all the exhibitors. The chance to network is one of the many benefits of an in-person event, and most people who attend a Rocks Digital Marketing Conference go away with a host of new business contacts. Along with networking, attendees were treated to cookies and brownies and a fresh fruit display.
During the afternoon break all attendees were in for another special treat. Award-winning author Dean Lindsay gifted each attendee with 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 from Clint Butler of Digitaleer. The topic was advanced schema markup. Clint talked about machine learning, AI – and how a basic approach to schema won’t help you stand out from the competition in a competitive market. While discussing keyword research and content development, the importance of keyword clusters was a key subject.
James Loomstein of Rogue Marketing then spoke on marketing as the growth driver of new business. The presentation provided a framework that agencies could use when working on a marketing direction with clients. As James points out, when businesses say they have a marketing issue it’s important to understand that marketing is part of a broader system, and you first need to find out exactly what’s broken.
Ending With a Keynote Marketing Showcase
As the conference was nearing its end, Rocks Digital assembled an impressive seven-person roster of speakers for a keynote marketing showcase. The goal was for each speaker to reveal one thing that has made a difference to their business or a client’s business.
- Dean Lindsay, author, speaker and entrepreneur – Dean discussed how optimism is an asset and how self-talk can make this a reality.
- Heather Nichols, digital marketing consultant at Big Harvest Marketing – Heather revealed how businesses can build their own bots to respond to visitors 24/7.
- Tim Nichols, coach and consultant at Three Million Percent – Tim showed examples of emojis he has created to influence and engage users using different emotional responses.
- Laurie Shook, marketer at Windstream – Laurie introduced how AI can be used to develop better marketing campaigns by understanding customer needs.
- Christine Snyder, entrepreneur and owner of Snyder’s Carpet Care – Christine shared her experiences using social media advertising to grow her business.
- Victoria Warner, owner of Rowlett Family Law – Victoria discussed how she built a Facebook audience by posting five things she was grateful for each day.
- Lauren Withrow-Edgar, owner of Withrow Agency – Lauren detailed how she uses people-centric social media strategies using images of owners and staff to increase engagement.
Dean was a keynote marketing showcase speaker and also the emcee for this showcase. He helped keep the 5-minute presentations on track, introduced each showcase speaker – and ensured each attendee had some fun along the way.
After 16 presentations and countless new marketing tips and tricks, the 2022 Rocks Digital Marketing Conference came to a close with Lissa once again thanking everyone for another successful year.
Attendees joined the Rocks Digital team for the onsite casino after-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 of 2023 right now.
Don’t forget to peruse the photo gallery and share your favorite photos on social media. We do have video recordings of the sessions and we’re getting them ready now. In the coming weeks we’ll have these recordings available for those that registered, and others will be able to watch them on-demand for $99. Email Lissa if you want to be notified when the recordings become available for purchase.