Yulbiz is a monthly meeting of Montreal business bloggers and people whose jobs are intimately related to the internet. Yulbiz, or Youlbiz as it is pronounced, takes place the last Tuesday of every month at Cafe Melies on St-Laurent. I attended the August Yulbiz meeting and learnt some great lessons, besides having a good time.
One of the most interesting people I met was Guillaume Brunet, of TD Meloche Monnex. Guillaume is a "Project Leader" in TD's "Interactive Marketing" division. That's corporatese for PPC campaign manager. Guillaume handles 2.5 million dollars of AdWords, Yahoo! and other PPC advertising a year. I remember two lessons in particular from Guillaume, who is a keyword research specialist, of necessity.
First, target the long tail. I asked Guillaume if he was using 4+ word keywords in his ad targeting. "I'm up to 6 words," Guillaume told me! Second, look up and down the buying chain. Let me explain by using the examply Gui gave me. His goal is to get as many insurance leads for TD MM as his budget possibly can. So instead of just targeting "auto insurance," for example, Guillaume also targets keywords like "Mazda RX-8," in order to offer people interested in Mazdas an idea what insurance would cost, before they buy.
I also had the good fortune to meet Jonathan Villiard, who runs Blogues-Quebec.com, a new Quebec blog directory The more I read on business, and on doing business online, the more I find that sticking with something over the long run is key to making money. Jon's blog has been up since 1999, and he's now making $25 a day from Adsense (clicked on a few of your interesting ads, by the way)! It's also a very entertaining blog I recommend you all check out. Another thing I learnt is the power of regular content and promotion through friends and family. That's essentially all Jon's done, and he's up to 1000 uniques a day, which is certainly some nice traffic.
From Philippe Martin, I was introduced to the term "social media optimization." The long and short of it amounts to making a website networking and web 2.0 friendly, which in turn helps links and such (which is why it sounds like search engine optimization). Also, I learnt that schools are joining the blogosphere, which makes sense given that they're effectively small communities and that blogging is a very community-oriented technology.
Some other interesting people I met included Pierre Bellerose of Tourism Montreal, who analyzes Montreal's branding and reputation online; Simon Law, who is a good photographer and linux programmer recently back from Germany; and Francois Aubin, of Cognitive, who's a kickass usability expert with experience working for Hydro-Quebec and Amazon.ca! Note to marketers: Francois says focus groups suck because they tell you what they think, not what they do. I also met a lady named Muriel who is starting a new webmaster-type job at HEC Montreal, the University of Montreal's business school. She's excited to be doing a "refonte" of their site, which translates roughly as a redesign. Muriel is also highly interested in "interactive marketing," though I didn't really understand what she meant by it.