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« March 2009 | Main | May 2009 »

Automatically Generate Leads for Your Event Year Round

You need to think of your event marketing and promotion as a year long process. This is especially true if you have a recurring event.  Don't let the thought of year round event marketing scare you. There are simple things you can do to automate your event marketing. Let’s start by looking at the opportunity that most event planners are missing . . .

Visitor_graph_event_planning

The Graph Above
Take a look at the graph above. The graph is a 12 month web site visitor graph from the air show in Rochester, New York.  As you can see, most of the traffic comes to the web site in a time frame of 15 days before and after the event. The trend above is consistent with almost every web site I’ve ever seen. It’s important to note that 33% of total web site traffic comes in the 6 months before and after the event. Most event planners and organizers miss the opportunity to capitalize on the traffic coming to their web site. You need to look at any traffic to your web site as a year round event promotion opportunity.

Have a Simple Opt-in
One simple way to automate your event marketing is to setup a simple opt-in box on your home page.  Think of target market focused ways to get people to sign up for your event email list. Make an offer to give anyone who opts into your email list exclusive content about your event or discount ticket prices. In order to get people to opt-in, you’ll going to have to make them an offer that’s enticing to them. When you have a compelling offer, you can automatically collect email addresses from your target market year round. Have an autoresponder setup that automatically sends information about your event to the people on your email list.

Market Your Event Before and After
As your event approaches, use your email list to market your event.  A home grown list allows you to directly interact with your target market. If a person is signing up to your event email list, they’ve prequalified themselves as interested. Ask yourself, how many people are going to sign up to your event email list if they’re not at least curious about your event? After the event, follow up with your list to get feedback on ways to improve your event.  Recurring events can use the ideas above to grow their list year after year.   

Remember that most people only visit your web site once.
If you can collect someone’s email address – you have a pre-qualified list of people interested in your event.  Keep the focus of your marketing on delivering high quality content and establishing trust. Don’t sales pitch people as soon as you get their email address.

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Does Someone Else Own YOUR Web Address?

Domain_Name_Event

The other week I met with a new client over lunch.  During the client intake process we reviewed some information about the client's web site.  As part of the intake process I check up on web site ownership. When I did a registration look up on the client’s web site I noticed that the client didn’t own their domain name / web address. The client originally contracted with a local advertising agency when they first setup their web site. When I checked the domain registration for my client’s web site, it was registered with the sales rep for the advertising agency.  My client had no idea someone else owned their web address. This happens all the time. You need to ask yourself, right now, “is my business web site registered in my name?”

For those that don’t know . . . when registering a domain name (web address) you’re required to input a registrant or owner for the domain being registered.  I’m not an attorney . . . and this isn’t legal advice . . . but, if someone else is the domain registrant for your web site – they own your web address. Over the last few years I’ve had to tell several business owners that they didn’t own their own web address. In most instances the situation was easily remedied and the registration was corrected.  The whole situation can become a real pain if you need to change hosting providers or web development companies. It becomes worse if you've spent thousands of dollars on advertising that includes a web address that you think you own, but really don't . . . You can avoid the stress . . .

Quickly Check Domain Your Domain Ownership
The easiest way to determine if you own your domain is by doing a Whois look up.  A Whois lookup gives you ownership information about a given web address.  If you’re looking up your own web site, pay attention to the ‘registrant.’ If it’s your web site, you should be listed as the registrant. Go to the following link to do a Whois lookup . . . http://whois.domaintools.com/. Just input your domain name to get the registration information.

If Your Domain Isn’t Register to You
If you do a Whois lookup and notice that your domain isn’t registered in your name . . . don’t panic. The personal who initially setup your site probably automatically registered your domain using their information. This happens all the time and there is no fraudulent intent. If the person or business who setup your web site is the registrant, kindly ask them to transfer the registration into your name.  It takes 2 minutes to update the information. There are several businesses owners I know who took control of their domain without incident.

Avoid Domain Ownership Disputes for Less Than $10 Year
Be proactive about securing your online identity.  If you have an event or are considering holding an event, make sure you register a domain name. Less than ten dollars a year (the typical cost to register a domain name annually) is a small price to avoid a bunch of stress and frustration.

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Vicarious Event Marketing & Promotion - Be Edgy!

Has a friend ever tried to live vicariously through you? Being one of the unmarried guys - I find my friends (usually the men) telling me “I want to live vicariously through you!” It’s a bit ironic . . .  A large number of people I know what to settle down. But when they settle down (or for whatever reason) people tend to get incredibly bored.  Don’t get me wrong - There is nothing wrong with marriage and kids. But people still want some excitement in their life.

Stop_Be_Bored  

People are Bored Out of Their Gourd
Back in September I attended Eben Pagan’s GuruMastermind Conversion Summit in Los Angeles.  During one of the sessions Eben talked about how most people live incredibly boring lives. He illustrated the point with a simple example: People wake up bored, they go to work bored, come home – watch some T.V. and then go to bed bored. The next day the same boring process starts all over again. One could argue that Eben’s example is a pretty harsh assessment. Yet the more I think about it, the more he might be right. When I ask my friends “why do you want to live vicariously through me?” they usually respond with “because I’ve settled down and don’t get to have as much fun anymore.” You need to realize that most people are bored. If people are looking for a little excitement in their lives, give it to them!

Inject a Little Personality into Your Marketing
It’s never been so easy or inexpensive to capture the attention of your target market. The challenge is cutting through the all advertising people face. One simple way to overcome the standard advertising glut is by injecting a little personality into to your marketing. Eben recommends being “edgy authentic.” Being “Edgy Authentic” is a great way to capture the attention of someone who might be bored. By being edgy you cut through all the other pompous corporate style marketing.  Be authentic and genuine when you communicate with your target market. They’ll appreciate your candor.

Get Them Excited
Apathy, ambivalence, and indifference make the challenge of getting people to your event very difficult. The same goes for trying to sell a product or service.  You need to get your target market so excited that it’s difficult NOT to buy from you. As Jeffery Gitomer put it “people love to buy, but they hate to be sold.”

An Edgy Example
One of my friends, Chris McCombs, did the improbable. Chris’ blog KickBackLife.com became the number one fitness marketing blog in the world. He accomplished this feat by being edgy authentic. Chris knows his target market and how best to communicate with them. People write him all the time to compliment him on his open candor and marketing style.  If you’re looking for a super successful example of edgy authentic, check out Chris’ blog KickBackLife.com. When you look at the site, you need to go a little deeper. It might look like it's about scantly clad women and guns . . . but there is a lot more to it.

By applying an appropriate amount of edginess to your event marketing and promotion, you’ll stand out from the crowd. At first you’ll feel a bit uncomfortable . . . but with time you’ll see the benefits of not being like everyone else in marketing. Don’t be afraid to stand out!

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Email Marketing: Stop Cramming Too Much Info Into Your Email!

Cramming_Email Event planners and organizers have a tendency to try to include as much detail as possible in their promotion pieces.  Have you ever seen an event poster or ad filled to the brim with information? The same “cram as much as you can” mentality usually carries over to the email marketing of an event.  As a result – emails used to promote an event have so many details that that the reader doesn’t know where to begin. Cramming your emails full with too many details is a big event marketing mistake. You are far better off breaking the information down and focusing on one or two information points at a time.

What’s Important to Them?
Start by identifying the information most important to your prospect.  (Not what you think is important to your prospect.) Sending a bunch of irrelevant information to your target marketing isn’t going to do anything to promote your event. If you send useless information on a regular basis, people will consider you a SPAMMER. Spamming destroys your trust and credibility with prospects. Put the prospect and their informational wants and needs in the spotlight. Trust and credibility translates into more ticket buyers and people coming to your event.

One Main Point Per Email
If you have several points to convey to your prospect, send them over a series of emails. As long as you honestly try to convey information that people are interested in - you can send several emails in rapid succession.  I’ve sent emails every day for 5 days with an opt-OUT rate of less than 4.0%.

Limited Online Attention Spans
It’s important to remember that when people read information from a computer screen they tend to scan and skim as opposed to read word for word. The average attention span of an online reader is measured in seconds.  You can help the person reading your email by differentiating you writing.  Use bolds, italics, headers, and bullet points.  Make information stand out and ensure the document is easy to scan. Long emails can work, but you need to keep the interest of the reader very high.

Send Them to Your Site for Details
You can ensure your prospect gets specific details about your event by including a link to your event web site in each email. Give them a reason to click on the link . . . “For more details about our event, please visit our web site . . . (insert your link).”

Like the old adage goes . . . keep it simple stupid! Don’t overload your reader with too much information all at one time.

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Capitalize on Your Event Domain Name

Event_marketing_domain_caps A catchy domain name is always helpful in getting people to remember your web site. But when it comes to event marketing and promotion it is very easy for your domain name (even a catchy one) to get lost in all the details. I would argue that the most important piece of information that you want your prospect to remember from you advertising is your domain name.  If and when people are interested in getting more information about your event, they’ll probably go online to get additional details.  It’s much easier to remember your domain name than it is to remember plethora of advertising details such as dates, times, ticket details, performers, telephone numbers, etc.  When advertising your web address in print advertising there are simple things you can do to insure greater impact. One simple technique is using selective capitalization in your domain name.

Use Capitalization
Take a look at your domain name.  If you capitalize certain letters in your web address does it provide more visual impact? Consider the example below.

yourbigevent.com - YourBigEvent.com 

The capitalization doesn’t have to occur on the first letter of each word.  Play around with the idea. Find the right capitalization combination that works for your web address. By capitalizing key letters in your domain name, you also make your domain name more legible and easier to remember. The idea is also applicable to any other form of visual media where your target market is going to read words (billboards, posters, fliers, etc.) Don't forget to drop the 'www.' when advertising your domain name. Check out "Event Promotions and Shortening Your Domain Name" for more details.   

Capitalizing certain letters in a web address seems like a “no brainer,” but you’d be surprised at how few people make use of the practice. It's a simple technique that costs nothing to implement, yet brings you a high return on your investment. 

Want to get more great info? Check out the articles below:

How Long Before Social Media Gets Too Noisy?

Social_media_overload This was originally published in 2009, but the main question still persists ... "is social media getting too noisy?"

The other day I went to lunch with my good friend Todd.  After lunch (and the ensuing food coma), we stumbled back to Todd’s office for a few minutes.  While at Todd’s office, I had him log into Facebook account to show some interesting photos from the weekend. 

During our brief Facebook session the topic of “How many Facebook friends could one person possibly have?” was discussed.  I told Todd that I’ve seen some high Facebook friend numbers before - people with over a thousands friends. Yet Todd knows someone with the highest number of Facebook friends I’ve ever seen – 2,157 (note: April 2009)!

After leaving Todd’s office, I had to ask myself “How many friends are too many friends?” The more friends you have on Facebook the more requests, status updates, and messages you’ll get on your account.  Don't forget all paid advertising getting thrown into the mix.

Continue reading "How Long Before Social Media Gets Too Noisy?" »