Friday, February 3, is the last day to register for Hero Conf and still receive the Super Early Bird Discount.  Day 1 is $450 (discounted by more than 50%), Day 2 is $1200 (discounted by nearly 30%), and both days are $1320 (discounted by nearly 40%).

This week we would also like to share an interview with Joanna Lord, the Director of Customer Acquisition & Engagement at SEOmoz.  Joanna will be speaking about Conversion Rate Optimization as well as Retargeting at Hero Conf on April 16-17, 2012, in Indianapolis, IN.

PPC Hero: First, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Joanna: My name is Joanna Lord and I am the Director of Customer Acquisition and Retention at SEOmoz, a SEO software provider out of Seattle, WA. I spend my days wandering excel, consuming coffee, and wandering the web. My professional experience lies in paid search marketing, conversion rate optimization, and analytics. I’m most excited by start-ups and innovative thinkers that continue to push the limits of which we operate under. Some may say I tweet a little too much, but I just don’t know what that means. #dowhatyoulove

PPC Hero: You are known as a specialist in retargeting.  What is it about this subject that interests you so much?

Joanna: I’ve always been interested in persuasion. In fact my M.A. degree is in Online Media and Persuasion (kind of creepy I know). The last few years our industry has taken a sharp turn toward personalization and customizing the online experience. For me Retargeting is a great example of this in action. I’ve dabbled in a variety of paid channels but often the optimization is done on the 5% of people that stick around after finding your site, but Retargeting goes after the 95% that bounce.

It’s an entirely new adventure for us marketers, and I love testing out new channels. Retargeting also really embraces what is unique about your company. Your creative and landers can be more robust, more eye-catching, and less pushy. I love this, and I couldn’t be more excited about the future of this channel. I think we will see some really creative applications in 2012.

PPC Hero: Where do you see retargeting headed in the future?

Joanna: This year I think we can expect a few things.
1. The dashboards will only get better. We can expect vendors to build in more sequence retargeting capabilities – allowing us to serve ads to different audiences for the first month, then the second, etc. seamlessly. This will be a huge win for advertisers with less resources.

2. We will see some interesting developments on the Search Retargeting front. This subset of Retargeting has been pretty quiet recently. There are only two or three players in the space and with chaos around cookie laws, and Google implemented the Not Provided filter, it will be interesting to see how Search Retargeting develops – or if it stalls in 2012.

3. Lastly I think we will see more players in the space, and hopefully those players will be offering more small business offerings. The concept of Retargeting isn’t a difficult one, and the channel has matured. People get it now and there are a lot of questions on it from advertisers with limited budgets. I think we will find more and more players in the space trying to make a go at it. I’m super excited.

PPC Hero: You are also planning to speak about Conversion Rate Optimization at Hero Conf.  Why do you think this is an important topic to share with the audience?

Joanna: No matter where you spend your time –Inbound Marketing, Paid Search, etc., you need solid landing pages. Your landing pages need to be clean, concise, beautiful and trustworthy. Over the years we’ve seen the bar on landing pages be raised, and we are seeing this more and more and the social graph builds. It’s time to expect more from your landing pages around social sharing, engagement, secondary conversions, and so on and so forth.

Whether you work for yourself, have a small team, or operate in a team of dozens – you need to be continuously testing and improving that lander experience. I think now is the best time to get excited about it with easy-to-use tools, and more resources available than ever before.

PPC Hero: What are you looking forward to the most at Hero Conf?

Joanna: For years I’ve wanted to attend a PPC-focused conference, and here it is! I am super excited to sit in on sessions and meet other PPC-obsessed people. I think right now there is so much cool stuff out there for paid marketers and I can’t wait for the swapping of war stories. The line-up looks top-notch and I think we are all in for a treat with this one.

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