Last month we held our first conference for Resellers, HeartCon 2014. We’d been planning it for a long time, but our main concerns were, ‘Will people get us?’ ‘Will it be useful?’ As it turned out, both these concerns were unfounded as almost a thousand people contacted us about attending, making us wish the venue seated more than 200!

Our aim for the day was to provide something for every Reseller, regardless of how many customers they have, what kind of web business they run, etc. As a result, the day was a mix of information, feedback and chat covering everything from business ideas and social media tips to specific technical hosting queries, and upcoming products.

The day

Our conference was located at Google Town Hall in London, and we were very lucky Google offered us such a great space. Fantastic views, a room with a floor of grass, a very well-stocked kitchen, a gym with huge windows overlooking the London eye, and a downtime room with lots of cubby holes were some of the main sights.

 

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There were also goody bags for all:

After a fantastic breakfast kindly laid on by Google (pastries, cupcakes and coffee were much-needed fuel), we kicked off with a keynote from our director Craig welcoming everyone and talking about the day.

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It was then time for Leon, our second line support team leader, to take to the stage. His presentation, ‘Effectively supporting your customers’, was full of tips and tricks from his many years at Heart Internet.

Heart Internet Conference 2014

Following that, project manager Chris outlined our customer feedback process and how we implement ideas and suggestions. This included ideas for adapting it for your own business and customer base, regardless of how big or small.

Heart Internet Conference 2014

Next up was our marketing assistant, Rob, a branding enthusiast with a comprehensive guide on effective brand-building in a difficult industry.

Heart Internet Conference 2014

 

We stopped for a lunch break of sandwiches, crisps, sushi and more cake (and to admire the view!), before settling down to the afternoon’s talks.

Our Senior Designer, Ian, then took to the stage to give advice on best practice for designing and improving your web hosting site (pro tip: don’t use pictures of servers to sell hosting).

Heart Internet Conference 2014

Nick, Heart Internet's Group Marketing Director, followed with a look at the details and statistics of the new gTLD domain revolution so far. This was a in-depth informational talk with strong facts and the importance of choosing the right extensions.

Heart Internet Conference 2014

Conversion expert Barney then presented a thought-provoking and amusing look at how you can help turn your website visitors into happy paying customers:

Heart Internet Conference 2014

Heart Internet Conference 2014

Following an afternoon tea break, it was my turn to speak about ‘Promoting your business on a shoestring budget’, a Lego-themed presentation sparking plenty of reminiscing, song lyrics, and jokes about master builders.

Heart Internet Conference 2014

Then Nick returned with his second talk, ‘How to use social media in your marketing mix’, a great practical guide on how you can tailor networks to work for your business and resources.

Following this final talk of the day, all the speakers took to the stage for the Q&A session. We’d planned to have a selection of questions from social media and audience questions, but we had so many excellent ones tweeted and Google+’d throughout the day that we didn’t get a chance for audience questions (we did manage to sneak quite a few in after individual talks throughout the day, though).

Heart Internet Conference 2014

Finally, it was back to Craig to show a sneak preview of a brand new product, plus the new Hostpay our designers and developers are currently working on (spoiler: yes, there’s WordPress integration!).

Heart Internet Conference 2014

Then it was time to top off a fantastic day by leaving Google and heading to The Alleycat Bar to network (aka take advantage of the open bar).

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Competition winners

It wouldn’t have been a Heart Internet event without competitions, and we gave away a Mac Pro, a year’s hosting, and £500 credit to one lucky tweeter.

We also had a doodle competition with some interesting (!) topics. In the end we picked Naomi’s bright, simple entry (top left in the image below) to win a £50 Amazon voucher.

Slides & videos

The videos will be ready very soon; in the meantime, you can view and download the presentation slides from the links below:

Effectively supporting your customers – Leon Harper

Collecting and using feedback to improve your business – Chris Cousins

Building a web hosting brand – Robert Mathers

Designing better web hosting websites – Ian Ryde

It all starts with the domain: the gTLD revolution – Nick Leech

Converting visitors to customers – Barney Grossman

Promoting your business on a shoestring budget – Jenni Brown

How to use social media in your marketing mix – Nick Leech

Highlights

It’s always slightly surreal meeting people from the internet, but we had a fantastic time chatting to everyone, and by the end of it we all felt we’d been friends for years. Several people commented that they were expecting us to be ‘a lot more corporate’; we’ve always had a down-to-earth, friendly culture which is quite difficult to demonstrate from behind a screen! So we’re glad we got the chance to set the record straight, have a great evening of relaxed conversation after an action-packed day, and admire our customers' socks.

We had resellers there who have thousands of customers of their own, and others with a handful, so it was a great mix of people to share ideas and learn from each other as well as bounce ideas and suggestions around. One of the biggest highlights was how well we all got on and how enthusiastic everyone was about the day – #HeartCon even trended on Twitter in the morning, which was amazing!

On behalf of the whole Heart Internet team, we’d like to thank everyone again for attending, and Google for being such excellent hosts. We’re definitely planning another one for next year, and fingers crossed we can figure out a way to accommodate more people!

If you’d like to check out the photos from the day, please take a look at our Flickr album or add your own to our Flickr group.

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