I spend most of my days in my office with 2 cats and 2 dogs as my office-mates, dual monitors and a laptop. For me, “talking” to people is all done virtually. When I tap into what’s happening in the industries I work in, the feedback is limited and based on my “friends” and “followers” living in the land of the Internet.
This is one reason why I enjoy industry conferences. They get me out of the house and office. They’re far more exciting than walking to my mailbox. Where I live, only the birds and squirrels keep me company outside. I can hear my gardens whining at me because I’ve been too busy to tend to them properly.
In the past week I gave 3 talks and a site clinic at two different events, SMX East and Search Camp Philly. It never fails to fascinate me how much attendees don’t know what you think they know. They want information on what you didn’t consider they wanted. The divide is amazing and always humbles me.
For example, I gave a talk on usability and conversions. Half of the people in the room didn’t know what usability was, let alone conversions. For my talk on building online communities, all but 2 people in the room had even heard of Twitter. I had 2 slides on Twitter. I chose to ignore my slide presentation and focus my talk to reach my audience. There was never a chance to discuss Linkedin or how communities tie into marketing.
I was inspired by the feedback during and after my talk at SMX East on Requirements Gathering For Better Conversions. While others were speaking from our panel, I was able to follow the “Twitterverse” to see if they had any questions. Twitter makes this possible by the use of hash tags. Attendees used #smx in their Tweets to communicate back and forth to others at the conference. After my talk, someone remarked in Twitter that what I was talking about couldn’t be applied to small businesses.
I was able to address that concern during the Q & A part of our session, but it was a signal to me of what I already knew. I couldn’t present the concepts and principles of Requirements Gathering and Documentation in fifteen minutes and show all the ways it can be put into use.
From the moment the panel ended I was besieged with people who wanted to learn more. Many of them were flat out shocked that something “technical” was being offered in what is typically a basic talk on Usability and SEO. I know there is a need for advanced information and I planned to deliver it. I was rewarded by all manner of positive feedback. There were requests for more and in the weeks and months to come, I will honor that with more talks and writings on the topic.
The bottom line for that talk was that while the entire panel was very good, I hit an area of neglect, which is how to plan for conversions and marketing.
There are many days when I wonder why another stitch of writing is warranted. There’s already millions of articles and blog posts covering usability, user experience, human factors, search engine marketing and optimization, search behavior, social networking, social media marketing and web design.
And then I get some time with attendees at an event on search marketing who have never heard of Twitter or usability. I, and many of you in the usability/ux and search marketing industries, may think everybody knows what we know.
Or they may know more than we know.
To those I met at these events who spoke to me with any type of feedback, I wanted to hear you.