Survey Question Image

What is it that SEMpdx members and followers see of the future when they are looking into their crystal balls?

We don’t know.

But we did get a pretty good idea of what you think about the work SEMpdx has been doing over the last few years – from SearchFest, to our monthly educational events, to our biweekly newsletter. Some of what you said will be resulting in new programs, as well as tweaks to how we’re doing things.

If we had to sum it up in one word what you said, it would be that you think we are AWESOME. Or, in the spirit of SearchFest later this month, you think we are bacon-licious.

Late last year, we asked active SEMpdx members, expired members, and members of our newsletter to let us know how we are doing, as well as what would make for a better experience with SEMpdx (whether as members or just folks that attend SearchFest or our other networking events).

We got a great response from some 24 percent of members, as well as a significant number of responses from former members and non-members as well.

The survey was performed by Riley Research Associates of Portland. If you haven’t already heard of them or worked with them, they have been serving marketers, strategists, and public relations professionals from throughout the region and are celebrating their 25th year in business. Mike Riley, owner of Riley Research Associates, is a marketing research and communications professional, with more than 30 years of experience and is nationally accredited in public relations and market research. Thank you Mike and your team. We appreciate all your insight and actionable recommendations.

“SEMpdx is doing a good job at delivering quality aspects in regards to what is important to both members and non-members,” Mike wrote.

How Long Have You Been An SEMpdx Member

Total Participants 158
2-4 years 35%
1 year or less 17%
5-8 years 9%
Not currently a member 38%

How Long Have You Been Attending SEMpdx Events

Total Participants 154
1 year or less 25%
2-4 years 50%
5-8 years 25%

Where Do You Work?

Total Participants 152
Work for a general advertising agency 4%
Work for Internet/Online marketing agency 26%
Work for a client company (for-profit) 25%
Work for a client organization (non-profit) 3%
Work as an education professional 1%
Work for government or other public agency 1%
Work for a vendor/supplier firm 7%
Sole practitioner 18%
Not currently employed 3%
Other 11%

 Size of Your Org

Total Participants 150
1 / Sole proprietor 21%
2-5 employees 11%
6-10 employees 7%
11-20 employees 10%
21-50 employees 11%
51-100 employees 9%
101 or more employees 31%


Total Participants 153
Male 54%
Female 46%

From the survey, we found that you are pretty satisfied with the events we put on, particularly for the Members Appreciation Event and the Holiday Networking Party. The Members Appreciation Event is held in May and this year features Brent Csutoras. Brent is a nationally known expert in social media strategy and will be offering members actionable tips that are more than how to just optimize your SoMe profiles or tell you to follow influence makers in your industry. Brent owns and operates a social media firm named Kairay Media, as well as acting as Chief Social Media Strategist for Alpha Brand Media and Pixel Road Designs.

Back to the survey, Mike’s group found, “Respondents considered networking opportunities the most important aspect of SEMpdx, with a mean of 4.0 on a five-point scale where “5” is “extremely important.” Programs for development of skills and advanced training/certifications were the second-most important aspects with a mean of 3.8 each, followed by programs to educate the business community about SEM.

Satisfaction with SEMpdx was moderate to high, with overall satisfaction a mean of 3.9. Respondents were most satisfied with network opportunities (mean of 4.1), which was also considered the most important feature of SEMpdx. Programs for the development of basic skills and to educate the community about SEM were also rated somewhat high, at 3.7 and 3.6, respectively. Respondents were least satisfied with advanced training/certifications and job listings/career development, though these were still rated moderately high.”

The survey also gave us some direction on what types of programming you want. Our educational events team, as well as our SearchFest planners, will be consulting this list as they plan future events. About three-quarters of respondents were most interested in content marketing/strategy and SEO.

Programming You Want

Total Participants 158
Content Marketing / Strategy 75%
SEO 74
Mobile Search 53
Local Search 50
Paid Social Media Advertising 49
Advanced SEO / Semantic Markup 47
Pay Per Click 47
Earned Social Media 40
International SEO 21
Miscellaneous 9

What was the miscellaneous topics you mentioned? They included UX for SEO; SEO landing page testing; Video SEO; Analytics and conversion; conversion rate optimization; project and team management; email marketing/analytics; ecommerce; and small business SEM were among those mentioned.

Not everything was roses. You also pointed out to one of the ongoing challenges SEMpdx’s board of directors face, which is to offer programming that is accessible to newcomers while also adding new challenges for more polished veterans. Sometimes we nail it and sometimes we miss it. We will continue to look for ways to improve this. We have started a brown bag event that is designed to be an opportunity to follow up on a past monthly topic, or dive deeper on a topic on a more intimate, collegial setting. We are also identifying background links for folks that would like to learn a bit more or better prepare for a monthly topic. We just had our first Follow Friday Brown Bag last week to discuss favorite tools, as well as answer each other’s questions about tools.

Another complaint was that while the networking component of our events was rated favorably, some of you asked if it could be improved. We hear ya’. SEMpdx’s board of directors typically attend all our monthly educational events, which are held the second Tuesdays at Bridgeport Brewery in the Pearl. Moving forward we are going to make a point to introduce ourselves to folks we don’t know. Let us know if we can introduce you to someone else in the room. We have “board” ribbons on our name tags. Perhaps we can make those name tags stand out even more. Perhaps you have a suggestion or two on how we can improve the networking component of our regular events. What do you think about adding a “Birds of a Feather” component  where folks with a specific question can go to the “Video SEO” to ask a question, or go to the “Semantic Markup” table to ask a question to folks there?

Another finding from the survey was that new SEMpdx members often don’t know what is going on regarding how the organization works, and otherwise how to better take advantage of their memberships. Beginning last fall, we have been asking board members to meet one-on-one with new members to give them some background about the organization, as well as how they can better maximize their memberships. We will also be putting together a more complete “New Member” packet that offers these tips (email me if you are an existing member and would like a copy of the packet when it is put together).

We will be continuing to look for ways to improve SEMpdx experience for our members, as well as those that just drop in from time to time at our events. We can use your help. SEMpdx is a volunteer-based nonprofit. From sending out the newsletter to planning SearchFest, to updating the website; all that work is done by volunteers. And we are always on the lookout for more folks. Send us an email if you want to sign up to be a volunteer.

As for those that participated in the survey, THANK YOU! We really need your input to make SEMpdx better today and tomorrow. We promise moving forward that we won’t ask as many questions in future surveys.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Everyone that participated in the survey was entered into a drawing to win a free pass to this year’s Searchfest (or be reimbursed, if they already purchased their ticket). And the winner is … Adam Lee from Adventist Health. Congrats, Adam!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *