I just returned home to Virginia from a trip out west to Denver, Colorado for the 2016 Digital Commerce Summit. The Summit was hosted by Rainmaker Digital (formerly known as Copyblogger Media). This is the same company behind the Rainmaker software platform I use for this website.
The 2-day conference at the old Paramount Theatre in Denver was well organized. As a technology project manager by trade, I have a big heart for events that communicate and stick to a daily schedule from start to finish.
There were also several social opportunities to “work the room” each evening, but I will confess that I’m terribly shy in a crowd of strangers (even with a shared interest) so that aspect of the event was admittedly difficult for me.
But I’m a better person from the overall experience.
I also arrived a day early in Denver to participate in a workshop on developing online courses.
One of my intentions with Graceful Resources is to offer online classes for entrepreneurs that outline easy-to-follow actionable steps for web/email design, setup, and integration.
If technology is not really your thing, then you are my target audience! 🙂
I now have a journal full of notes from the event, but let me start with my four main lessons learned and then follow with more conference insights via this blog (click here to stay connected to my upcoming posts and announcements).
4 Lessons Learned from the Digital Commerce Summit
Lesson Learned #1: Rainmaker Digital Team is Made Up of Good People
In Denver, I got a chance to meet members of the Rainmaker Digital leadership and support team and the experience reinforced my trust in Rainmaker (the company and the product). They were approachable, friendly, and sincere. As someone who has been burned by software developers and so-called marketing experts in the past, I believe the right people are more important than the right solutions.
Yes, good software (and hardware) is critical in today’s digital economy, but don’t underestimate the value of people you can trust. If interested, here are 9 more reasons I use and recommend Rainmaker for my online business.
Lesson Learned #2: Email is Still King for Online Commerce
As a Gen-X professional, I’m hopelessly addicted to email and I assumed Gen X’ers (ages 35-50 as of 2015) and Baby Boomers (ages 51-69) were the last generations to actually use email on a daily basis. Wrong.
Millennials may be more social media savvy than my generation, but there are also habitually reliant on email in their professional and social lives. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur like me (whether part-time or full-time), you have to build your email list every day through your website (as outlined in this earlier post I wrote).
By the way, millennials (ages 18-34) are now the largest living generation in the U.S.
Lesson Learned #3: Conversions Occur Primarily on Mobile Devices
If you are planning to sell new digital products online (like an online course) to people who would benefit from your knowledge and approach to solving problems, the conversion of a business lead to a paying consumer will likely occur over a mobile device.
Any conversion process takes time, and all generations today are using their phones and tablets to first exchange information via email, blogs, podcasts, and social media communities (plus countless messaging apps).
That being said, it is imperative that your initial online content and conversations are “mobile friendly” (especially your website). If not, someone else with similar authority to you may win the trust of your audience simply out of convenience.
Lesson Learned #4: Content Marketing is Critical for Your Success
Content marketing is a bit of a buzz term, but according to Copyblogger, it means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers.
In other words, it means choosing your online messages strategically. There is an art and science to content marketing (especially the use of buyers’ emotional triggers like scarcity – we buy more because of the fear of missing out).
Online content marketing is often in written form (e.g. blogs and emails), verbal form (e.g. podcasts and webinars), and visual form (e.g. online videos and infographics).
Good content marketing doesn’t happen overnight for any of us just because we have something to sell. Like anything worth pursuing, it takes practice and coaching. And your own blog is great place to practice (see also 3 Benefits of Blogging).
In my next journal entry, I plan to share a new post titled “3 Content Marketing Suggestions from an Expert Blogger“. It will be based on insights from one of the Digital Commerce Summit guest speakers Kevan Lee. Kevan is the director of marketing for Buffer, a popular social media publishing tool for brands, agencies, and marketers.
4 Lessons Learned from the Digital Commerce Summit
So in summary, here are my main lessons learned from the October 2016 event in Denver:
- Rainmaker Digital Team is Made Up of Good People
- Email is Still King for Online Commerce
- Conversions Occur Primarily on Mobile Devices
- Content Marketing is Critical to Your Success
These lessons may align with your experience and research as well.
Hope this helps,
I’m here to take away the pain of figuring out how to use new web technologies so you can gracefully profit online from your passion in life.