PPC Chat Streamcap – Hero Conf Interview with Pat East

Today’s PPCChat was special as it was conducted in interview format.  Pat East (@pateast), President of Hanapin Marketing and organizer of the inaugural Hero Conf joined us to discuss the conference and one of the industry’s premier PPC blogs, PPC Hero (@ppchero).  The following is the transcribed interview:

Matt: Thanks for agreeing to this interview – we’re all very excited!

Pat: Thanks for having me, Matt!

MattTalk about the process of choosing the Hero Conf speakers?

Pat: Since this is the first Hero Conf, we wanted to make a splash and we knew that having a recognizable speaker list would be key. We tried to choose folks with the most knowledge *and* the most visbility- either via other speaking engagements, their blogs, etc. We leveraged personal relationships too- our reps from Google and Bing/Yahoo are attending and an acquaintance from Overstock too.

Matt: How will Hero Conf be different from other search marketing conferences?

Pat: 1st- speakers, speakers, speakers. I can’t stress how awesome our lineup is! 2nd- It’s 100% paid search. No wondering if you’ll get value as a PPC’er. 3rd- The speakers to attendee ratio is less than 10:1, which I think is one of the lowest in the industry. 4th- It’s in Indianpolis. Centrally located in the US and accomodations are inexpensive, especially compared the major metro areas.

Matt: How and why did you come up with the idea to host a PPC specific conference?

Pat: 3 reasons- there’s a gap in the market. No one else is doing PPC only. Perry Marshall still has his conference. At $5K though it’s a bit salty. The second is that conferences are expensive. Hotels in NYC can run as much as the conference registration. We wanted to offer a lower-cost alternative that provided more value for PPC’ers. Third, we thought it would be cool. 🙂

Matt: What do you hope the lasting impression of Hero Conf will be?

Pat: Community + sharing info = everyone gets better. The work that PPC’ers do is incredibly important and valuable, and if we can accelerate that, our clients and employers are that much happier. We just saved a client $250K/year with no decrease in leads. It’s stuff like that makes our work meaningful, not only delivering value for the client, but potentially creating jobs too.

Matt: Who should attend Hero Conf? 

Pat: If you work at an agency or in-house doing PPC, you’ll get, IMHO, tremendous value from Hero Conf. Even just one tip from our experienced speaker lineup could make your year! That’s on the tactical side, and if you’re the boss of a PPC specialist there will be lots of strategy too. Lots of B2B and B2C experience, especially on Day 2, which is lots of hands-on help and training.

Matt: Talk about some things you’ve learned along the way about hosting a conference?

Pat: It’s both harder and easier than I thought it would be. 🙂 Partly because my marketing team is great, partly because @ppchero opened more doors for us than I thought it would. Day 1 is 1/3 full, Day 2 is 4/5, and we hit our sponsorship goal in week 1. Speakers have been gracious too – lots of really smart folks who are taking time away from their families and businesses. Food is tremedously more expensive than I thought it would be ($30/head), so that’s a bit frustrating. And, last but not least discounts and expiration dates drive registrations more than giveaways, whitepapers, or Q&A sessions. 🙂

Matt: We’ve discussed Hero Conf, but let’s now talk about @ppchero. PPC Hero is a great blog for the PPC industry. When you began the blog what was your initial vision?

Pat: Similar to Hero Conf, there was a gap in the market. PPC is a multibillion dollar industry, and at the time, no one had a PPC blog. Except for Trafick, of course. 🙂 We also wanted to have fun with it and really brand it. Working in spreadsheets all day, we wanted to exercise our right brains, so we created a cheeky Internet marketing superhero!

Matt: What are your goals for PPC Hero in the coming years?

Pat: Generally speaking, continue pumping out great content. We’d love to answer- literally- every single PPC question imaginable We’d like to offer some [aid search tools too. Web-based apps that PPC’ers need. Mums the word on that for now! 🙂 Oh, and we might have a new superhero to add to the fray too. We’ve got SEO Boy, Miss Clicks, ROI Bandit, and Dr. Schwarzerhut.

Matt: Unfortunately time is almost up, but we thank Pat very much for joining us today and are looking forward to Hero Conf!

Pat: Thanks for very much for having me for your first #ppcchat interview! I had a ton of fun and met some new folks too!

Pat: <shamelessplug>The discount for Hero Conf ends this Friday – it’ll be $150 more as of midnight. :-)</shamelessplug>

As a reminder, you can sign up to attend Hero Conf here http://heroconf.com/

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