Dear Diary, Hero Conf 2014 Is Gonna Change My Life

By Carrie Albright | @Albright_C | Associate Director of Services at Hanapin Marketing

Once upon a time— April 2013 specifically— in Austin, Texas many little PPC Heroes gathered to build their knowledge of all things PPC. What resulted was a mindblowing series of presentations, panels, workshops and social events that kept the folks gossip wheel spinning for months on end.

When Hero Conf 2013 was in full swing, I stayed in the loop through posts on our site and, of course, Twitter. Following the event, I was able to watch the presentations and access the slide decks. This continues to be a highlight as my appreciation for the content lingers while the event is nearly at its annual mark already!

While the party raged in Austin, some of us stayed home to tend to the children (or accounts, as it were). Although a barren office had its perks, I’m thrilled to join the team for Hero Conf 2014! I’ll have the chance to share my experiences and speak alongside future bestie Justin Vanning.  And best of all, I’ll get the chance to sit in on amazing presentations, meet my own PPC celebrity crushes (PPCCCs?), and scope out the Austin scene with great folks!heroconf 2013 1


When it comes to my favorite celebs, the PPC industry gets its own list. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the greats like Larry Kim, John Lee, Marc Bitanga, and more, and this event will be my chance to not only reconnect with some familiar faces, but also rub elbows with a new collection of the greats.  John Gagnon is a fave, as we love Bing’s tenacity, and their constant innovation keeps us coming back for more.  Kye Mou from Marin will discuss automation for ads, which I am excited about, not to mention the veritable cornucopia of CRO and landing page discussions. Were I a gambling woman , I’d put money on a shootout between Mobile and CRO for topics of the year!

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Last year there was some amazing content. Several presenters talked about Enhanced Campaigns. (Remember when those were the big scary giant threatening to take away our AdWords? And now they’re part of everyday life.) There were discussions on mobile, e-commerce, keyword research, and general best practices. Several folks presented on how to manage your data for the most thought-provoking takeaways.  Between targeting, quality scores, and custom reports, I heard a lot of feedback about the intense learning going on in Austin that week.

Hero Conf 2014 will be an even better version of this event, with more speakers, more workshops, and great social events. The emphasis is constantly on what you can take back to your daily PPC management and the connections we’re making between what we do, how we do it, and what can be improved from every angle.

This year I am one of the lucky ducks to be in attendance at Hero Conf, but I’m even more excited about getting to present on a topic that I hold near and dear: Lead Quality!

As a manager of several lead gen accounts, I’ve spent hours pouring over the quality of my conversions. Lead quality has become a regular part of my vocabulary, and the way I think about each lead types is dictated by certain criteria.  Sure, the basics of understanding how we value the client’s leads is of supreme importance, but there are also many factors that must be weighed as well.

The highlights for me have to do with feedback I’ve received from clients. The first is the understanding of the value behind any type of conversion. With lead gen, there may be multiple forms of contact, such as a contact form, email request, direct phone call, chat box, or even an online survey. With each of those forms, there will be a hierarchy of quality that trickles in and creates a “close rate.”

From what we see of converting traffic, we can begin to build a profile not just of the “customer” but also of the engagement-to-convert.  What are the average behaviors and tendencies of those who are completing the various forms of conversions? How do they differ between the contact form and the direct call? Like many of my colleagues, I love to Scrooge McDuck into this big pile of data and start pilfering my gems.

I’ve also got the honor of sitting side-by-side with some of my favorite PPC Heroes: Sam “British Sam” Owen, Jeff “Jersey Jeff” Baum, and Eric “The Voice” Couch while we take on your questions!

Then, after a long day of learning, sharing, and feverish note taking, it’s time to unwind. Austin. One of the world’s foremost hub’s for music, food, and merriment.


Entertainment and Fun

Oh, the fun. As a self-heralded foodie, I am beyond excited that Hero Conf 2014 is held in Austin. Between all the food and goodies we’ll have at the event, we’re surrounded by gourmet food trucks and hipster dining at every turn.  Local. Vegan. Farm To Table. I’m IN.

In addition to the Bing Bar Takeover, and the lovely serenade provided by Erin Ivey, my list is topped by the Movie Takeover at Alamo Drafthouse. Not only will we spend a few hours socializing in the historic Ritz theater, but we’re encouraged to enjoy ourselves through food, drinks, and perhaps a few popcorn fights. In all honesty, this is the chance for us to go from PPC experts to the great folks we are during the rest of our lives. The individual personalities— the very ones that make every one of us great at what we do— get to shine as we connect over the events, the food, the movie, and the hundreds of Tweets sent during Hero Conf.

Needless to say, I’m more than excited for April 28th to come along. I’m ecstatic! For those of you attending, I can’t wait to hear your most anticipated aspects of Hero Conf. For those of you not attending: 1) it’s not too late! And 2) get your twitter feeds ready and keep your eyes on for updates on the fun and amazing knowledge that will be coming you