There is a great online utility that you can use to track your online event promotions. It is called bit.ly and it's FREE! The service was started to shorten very long web addresses. In recent years, the company added link tracking for any link that you want to shorten. You get information well beyond just how many people clicked on your link. It includes geographic tracking and link sharing information.
Two HUGE reasons why people don’t show up to your event are either because they’re not interested or they don’t know about your event. Hence, the problem could be either market research or event promotion. In my opinion, it’s far easier to “get away with” an event promotion problem. Here’s why . . . No event organizer has enough money to change people’s minds.
Let me give you an example that’s close to my heart. If someone doesn’t like the band Van Halen, I don’t have enough advertising budget to change people’s minds. The same applied to event organizers. That’s why knowing the wants, needs, and desire of your event attendees is crucially important. If you create an event that people REALLY want to attend, it becomes much easier to sell advance sale tickets and pack your event.
WARNING: Fasten your seatbelts, because I’m about to fly off the handle a bit!
The Subjective Catastrophe
Event organizers get themselves in HUGE trouble because they’re subjective in how they plan and execute their events.
According to Princeton University’s WordNet definition, a subjective person uses “judgment based on individual personal impressions and feelings and opinions rather than external facts.” Mix in a subjective event organizer mindset with some ego and you have the perfect mix for disaster. Trust me, it’s not pretty and I’ve seen many completely avoidable event catastrophes, all a result of people being stupidly subjective.
"I Know Better Than Everybody Else!"
Here’s the typical scenario . . . An event organizer becomes hell-bent on running an event THEIR way (also known as Captain Ahab Syndrome). The end result is that they adopt a mindset of knowing better than their own event attendees. Please heed the following. It doesn’t matter how noble or great YOU think your event is, if people don’t share those same beliefs – or worst, don’t care – your event will flop, GUARANTEED!
Yesterday, I made a brief stop at my local Barnes & Noble to check out Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, “The Thank You Economy.” Gary is one of my favorite social media experts. I give him a ton of credit because his wisdom comes from experience, NOT just book smarts.
These days the Internet is full of “marketing experts” and “Internet gurus” who are great at regurgitating info, but when it REALLY matters - can’t deliver results. I digress . . .
During a quick scan of the “The Thank You Economy,” there was a series of bullet points that jumped out at me. The bullet points addressed mistakes that companies make with their social media efforts.
Here are Gary Vaynerchuk’s - "Biggest Mistakes Companies Make with Social Media":
For all the things that can be done with social media, there is one significant downside . . . once you start you cannot stop. My intention here isn't to dissuade you, but make you aware of what's needed to promote your event with social media. In today's information hungry world you can't afford to stop producing high quality RELEVANT content. People expect information and your competition will pray upon any passivity.
Watch the video below. It expounds some very important points on social media marketing . . .
Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, "What exactly am I getting from my social media efforts?" As with any marketing endeavor, you should always measure for a specific result. You cannot afford to confuse activity with productivity.
Lots of Updates with Zero Results
Recently, the topic of social media effectiveness came up with a Canadian event organizer. The event committee is fortunate enough to have a volunteer to manage their social media promotion strategy. Their Twitter and Facebook accounts are currently being updated on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. For all the hard work being done, a look at Google Analytics for the last 30 days shows no referring traffic from Twitter or Facebook. Some people might argue that social media is all about goodwill and branding. Unfortunately it's difficult to directly tie branding and goodwill to something substantive.
As your event approaches the amount of traffic to your web site will increase dramatically. There is an important factor you need to be cognizant about. People visiting your event website only take in limited amounts of information . . . Most people will look at the information that is important to them at any given moment.
A certain percentage of your web site visitors are guaranteed to miss important information. As a result, you might have to deal with unnecessary customer service issues.
e.g. - A few hundred people show up to your CASH ONLY parking lot with just a credit card. It’s even worse if the closest ATM is 20 minutes down the road.
Minimize Customer Service Issues
You can minimize a significant number of customer service issues with a robust FAQ page. A good FAQ page should cover people’s most common questions. As stated above, not everybody will visit your FAQ page. You need a way to get people to visit your frequently asked questions page. That’s where a dedicated e-mail list comes into play. By the time your event is about to take place, you should have a decent list of prospects and customers.
When an event doesn't turn out well - things can get pretty dicey. If big bucks are on the line, the "reason why the event failed" debate can get even more heated. In most cases, the failure of an event usually comes down to poor attendance. It's pretty simple . . . Low attendance = not enough revenue to pay the bills. In order to fix your attendance woes your going to need some concrete answers.
Let me give you a basic, yet powerful, pay per click (PPC) advertising strategy to drive advance sale tickets for your event. The following advice is applicable to PPC services on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Facebook. It can also be used for other forms of online advertising such as banner ads.
Don't Direct Paid Traffic to Your Home Page!
One of the biggest mistake I see event organizers and promoters make with their online advertising is directing paid traffic to their event home page. You might be asking, "why is driving traffic to my home page a mistake?" Because people have too many options when they land on your web site. If you give a web site visitor too many options, they probably won't take the action you desire. Focus on driving traffic to complete one simple task, e.g. join your mailing list, buy a ticket, fill out a survey.