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Thursday morning, 9-10 am

What a way to start the conference! Two of the perennial favorites open it, the hard part will be choosing between them.

Dave Collins will be giving a talk on Advanced Google AdWords. I would always recommend any talk on marketing by Dave. He is not only a professional internet marketer, but he is an excellent speaker and is generous with his knowledge – and he is knowledgeable. Especially when it comes to Google AdWords; he is a certified Google AdWords professional. This should be an excellent presentation. And I love Dave’s British accent, too, but then I’m a sucker for foreign accents.

Opposite Dave, Phil Schnyder will be talking about “Effective Marketing and Advertising”. Phil is also a favored speaker at SIC, a professional marketer, and has a very casual style in his presentations. If you’re not into Google AdWords, then this could be a good alternative.

Next up, 10:15-11:15 on Thursday morning, is another presentation that should be good. Al Harberg will be talking about press releases – how to write them, how to distribute them. Al has been working full-time doing both those things for a lot of years, and he is an expert on the subject. His goal is to give you enough information that you can do it yourself, if you want to. I am really looking forward to this presentation, as I need to get into doing press releases for my products.

If you’re not interested in a presentation on press releases, the session opposite it about customer care looks like it will be good – I wish I could be in two places at the same time.

The afternoon presentations on day 1 all look interesting in various ways. I’ve never heard any of the presenters speak, so I have no specific recommendations. It will be an adventure choosing between them.

Day 2, Friday, starts off with a bang again, two excellent presentations to choose from. There will be no sleeping in on the first two days, that’s for sure.

Dave Collins is presenting again, this time with an “A-Z of online marketing”. This is a chance for him to share his goldmine of marketing knowledge on a variety of topics. That looks great to me, and I’ll almost certainly be in that room, but…

In the other room will be Mark Iverson of Digital River, talking about “The State of Global E-Commerce”, with stats on industry sales trends, and more. Oh, how I wish I had a clone.

The second session on Friday, 10:15-11:15, leaves me in no doubt where I will be – I’ll be a presenter with Al Harberg. We’ll be talking about how to improve your website – he’ll talk about the words, and I’ll talk about the looks. I’ll be covering the “Web 2.0″ look, defining it with visual examples, and giving a quick run-down on how to update your website with Web 2.0 elements. Before-and-after examples of website makeovers will be shown. Al will talk about how to make more sales with the words on your website.

The session opposite us looks good, it’s about the concept of Software as a Service, something my business partner (who stayed home this year) is especially interested in. Sadly, I’ll have to miss it.

Friday afternoon starts with sessions on Best Practices for converting software prospects to customers, and Effective Negotiating. I don’t know either of the presenters, so I can’t say which might be better. I’ll probably try the Effective Negotiating session, since my knowledge in that area is low, it will be an opportunity to learn something about the subject.

Friday, 2:15-3:15 will have Sharon Housley and Dave Collins sharing the stage for a presentation on SEO (Search Engine Optimization), titled “Tapping into Google for Free”. Sharon, like Dave, is a full-time internet marketer, good at what she does, and a good speaker. Her sessions always contain valuable information. As I am not an SEO expert and it’s kind of an important subject to anyone who is into websites, my rear will be firmly planted in a chair in that room.

Opposite them will be a session on Software as a Service Mash-Ups, and User Engagement. Looks like a good alternative for those not interested in search engine optimization.

Friday afternoon ends with sessions on Legal Pitfalls and Social Media/New Markets. The Legal Pitfalls session sounds like it might be interesting, although I’m not sure what I think of learning about legal issues from programmers. Dmitri Dubograev’s presentation is titled “How to lose your software in 3 easy steps”, which sounds like there might be something there, maybe even the voice of sad experience. The other half of that session will be Phil Schnyder talking about “Legal pitfalls: A developer’s point of view”.

Opposite Legal Pitfalls will be a session with Adriana Iordan talking about Social Media, which I believe she is somewhat of an expert on, and Adam Boyden talking about “the future of software syndication on the internet”. Adriana’s talk sounds interesting, maybe she could explain the allure and usefulness of some of the social networking sites whose business value seems to elude me.

Saturday morning, the last day of the conference, starts again with what should be a great session. There will be no sleeping in on any days, it seems. And I’m always up late the night before, yakking and drinking with fellow conference attendees. Tired, that’s what I’ll be. But happy…

Saturday at 9:00 Dave Collins and Sharon Housley team up again, to talk about marketing in a recession. I will be very interested to hear what they have to say, and the strategies they’ll present. Did I mention that Dave has a great internet marketing blog?

Opposite Dave and Sharon will be a session that could be absolutely fascinating – again, can I clone myself? Hyungkyu Kwon of the Kyungsung University in Korea will talk about his analysis of the cartoon format versus text format to present information to users. His research includes data from EEGs to show what part of the brain is involved, and who learns what from what. Wow!

Saturday at 10:15 will find me in yet another of Sharon’s sessions (go Sharon!). In this one she’ll be talking about upsells, cross-sells, and montetizing tech support and upgrades. She did a session last year about making money from tech support that had people buzzing, I’m hoping we’ll get the highlights (since I wasn’t there last year). Sharing the time with her will be Charles Zino, talking about reducing chargebacks. While I trust my credit card processors to handle chargeback issues, I still want to hear what Charles has to say about it. Someday I may have my own merchant account.

Opposite Sharon & Charles will be a session with 3 presenters, with their ideas for “Increasing your bottom line”. They’ll be talking about CD and DVD sales, network sales, and more. Could be very good.

Lunchtime (11:30) on Saturday will be the Educational Software Cooperative’s luncheon. Everyone is invited, but you have to buy your own lunch. $30, don’t blame the ESC for the price, they are actually subsidizing the cost a bit. Hotel food is expensive. Come join us for lunch anyway.

After lunch, the hits just keep coming. They are wrapping up the conference with sessions that make me glad I’ll be there, and wishing yet again for a clone.

Saturday 1:00-2:00 has one of the sessions I’m looking forward to: Andy Brice talking about “10 Mistakes Micro-ISVs Make”, and Alwin Hoogerdijk with “The Art of Ignoring”. I love the name of Alwin’s session, it highlights an issue all small businesses face: 3000 things to do, only so many hours in the day. The art of ignoring, love it. And I know Andy Brice from some online communities, he’s a bright, capable guy, has a good blog, and is from England. Alwin is from the Netherlands. Two guys with accents. I’ll be happy.

Opposite Andy and Alwin are 3 presenters in a session on “Increasing Online Revenues” (and who doesn’t want to do that!). One of the presenters, Denise Purtzer, will be talking about using coupons, and marketing deals with affiliates and publishers. That sounds very interesting.

Saturday 2:15-3:15 is one of the heartbreakers. Because there’s only one of me, and two sessions I really want to attend. Ben Weintraub will be talking about “Websites that Sell”, and that should be spectacular. Ben is a good speaker, always prepared, and is a professional marketer with a great depth of knowledge about this subject. When Ben talks marketing and products, I listen. Paired with Ben will be Johanna Buckentin of Digital River, talking about site testing and optimizing your website for sales. Something I have a personal interest in. This should be a fantastic session.

Opposite Ben and Johanna will be two Intellectual Property attorneys, Christopher Shiplett and Michelle Holoubek, talking about copyrights and software patents. Law information from lawyers. Normally, you’d pay upwards of $250/hour for legal advice from an IP attorney, so this session alone covers the cost of the conference. Copyrights and software patents are deeply important to people involved in software and websites, and are often a source of confusion and questions. Decisions, decisions. I do not know which of these two sessions I will attend. Both should be awesome.

And to wrap up the conference, Saturday 3:30-4:30, are two more sessions that both look great. My life would be much easier if the conference organizers scheduled dogs opposite the sessions I’m interested in. But no. They have too many good sessions to do that (there are worse problems, I suppose).

Attorney Erik Pelton will do a session on domain names and cyber-squatting, which will include information on competitors trademarks, keywords and pay-per-click advertisements, and how to protect a trademark. Awesome stuff! And these subjects affect everyone with a website. I am really looking forward to this.

Opposite Erik will be a session about how to increase sales and lower support costs with online video. Some poeple love online videos, some don’t care for them at all. I’m one of the latter – which is why I think it’s even more important for me to hear what he has to say about it, since it’s a subject I don’t automatically embrace. But there’s only one of me. Argh!

And that wraps up my take on the upcoming conference sessions at SIC 2009. If you, gentle reader, have any recommendations on what sessions might be good, please leave a comment!