I'm going to ask you a seemingly silly, but fundamentally important, question.
It's something that I occasionally take for granted or incorrectly assume ... on my part. Here it is ...
Do you have a dedicated event website?
What do I mean by dedicated? One website with the sole purpose to inform people about your event. It is not a page nested on an organization website.
100% of all the pages on a dedicated event website are for promoting that event.
Above I mentioned "silly," because some event organizers do not have a dedicated website. When asked about it, they don't think they need one.
It's not their fault. It's usually the social media acolytes that tell them, "You don't need one. Just use Facebook, Insta, and Twitter!" That might work for the Kardashians and President Trump, but not for your event!
More on social media in a moment ... but first:
Ironically enough, the dedicated event website issue comes up with military air shows and ethnic festivals. Those are two diametrically opposed organizations. And yet very similar in certain ways.
In the case of ethnic festivals, a page on a church parish website is dedicated to the event. For military air shows, the air show website is buried in their public installation website.
At a minimum, this makes finding information about their respective events hard to find.
If it's hard to find info about your event, are people more or less likely to attend?
You might recall a few weeks ago, I mentioned a friend who only used Facebook to promote a local dinner dance event. As a result, they're at Facebook's mercy. And considering all the data scandals Facebook has been embroiled in lately, do you really want to rely on Facebook 100%? Probably not.
Here's the close for today ...
Without a dedicated event website, your ability to track marketing and advertising effectiveness is severely hindered.
More importantly, you won't be able to (ethically) collect essential data on your potential event attendee and customers.
Please reply to this email and let me know if you have a dedicated event website or disagree with anything from above.
Want to get more info on designing a money making event website? Check out the articles below:
In response to an email question, Miriam writes the following:
"The biggest fear is not getting people there after spending so much money on advertisements. You do all this promotion, and you don't know for sure if it's successful until those feet come through the door."
First, thank you for sharing Miriam!
What you shared is a fear felt by almost every event organizer. You spend a ton of money on advertising and marketing, only to wonder if that money spent will get people to attend your event.
(Miriam, if you're reading this ... I'm about to get very direct and a little angry. My angst is NOT directed at you. You're awesome!)
Let's start by framing the above fear as a question:
"How do I know if my advertising and marketing spend is actually getting people to attend my event?"
If you don't track ALL your advertising and marketing to a specific result, you'll never know. And the truth is most event organizers have no flipping idea what works and what doesn't.
Allow me to take the tracking recommendation one step further, "if you can't track it, don't do it!"
You might think the advice above to be some sort of cheesy answer. It is not! If you're bold enough to implement some basic tracking, you'll eliminate most, if not all, wasteful ad spend.
Every year, my gritty tracking recommendation is reemphasized to clients. And it does NOT go over well. Because when they hear me say "if you can't track it, don't do it," they get pissed at me. I don't blame them. But honestly, "why do you insist on spending money on marketing and advertising if you have no Earthly idea if it works?"
"Eugene, you sound a little angry!" Yes, I am. I'm angry because our world is full of too many charlatans who sell you dubious advertising and marketing. And those same hucksters know what they're selling won't do you a dang bit of good ... none, zero, zip, zilch!
Yet they are happy to take your money and get defensive when you ask to see tangible results. You need to hold them accountable for getting you the only thing that matters, money in your bank account!
Let's close my dust up with the following, if someone tries to sell you advertising and marketing, you as the buyer must say, "if I spend my precious advertising dollars on this, you need to help me track it to a result!" If they say, "sorry, we can't do that." Don't buy what they're selling and stop allowing them to rip you off!
It's your hard-earned money, you have every right to carefully consider where it gets invested and under what terms!
Allow me to back up my "big mouth" ... If you want something that works and you're serious about event marketing, the Event Profit Report is about to ship, and you should get on board.
Issue one contains a surefire tactic that generated millions of dollars of TRACKABLE ticket sales. Do "X" and you will clearly see "Y" is the result.
Want to get more info on how to track your event promotion and marketing? Check out the articles below:
What do you think the most important line is in marketing your event via email?
Most people respond, "it's the subject line!"
I'll admit that there are times, albeit rare when a clever subject line will get me to open an unrecognized email.
Consider how many emails you receive daily. An email reader's decision to read or not happens in mere seconds.
Now, think about the last time you received an email from a friend or family member.
In most cases, regardless of the subject line, you open email from friends and family. Provided of course that you actually like your family and friends. :-)
Here is today's takeaway.
Your name or the name of your event in the "from” line, carries more weight than a fancy subject line.
This is especially applicable to email marketing efforts involving a high volume of emails. Getting people to open emails about your event is about trust and credibility.
Now, to be fair, subject lines are a great marketing tool. If there's a high degree of credibility in the "From” line, a great subject line will increase open rates and help improve click-through rates.
As I've previously mentioned ... you should know that there is a character limit on email subject lines. What that means is that a limited number of characters will show up in most email programs. Make sure you use a 40-character limit, including spaces, on your subject lines. This will make sure that your email subject line does not get truncated.
To finish it up ... my most successful clients send over 40 emails to their event marketing list every year. This year, some clients are going to exceed over 50 marketing emails.
When you establish trust and credibility via the "from” line, the copywriter's cliché comes into play: "The more you tell, the more you sell!"
Your event just finished up. And after weeks, months, or years of hard work … you and your team deserve a well-earned break!
After a little time off, there's a crucial question you should ask, "Is there anything that needs to be updated on our event website?"
Many event organizers put up a thank you message on their home page and leave it at that.
In other cases, you might want to consider what the future holds for your event. Even if it's not an annual event. If built correctly, your event website can be a massive marketing resource even in "the off-season."
Last year, a client finished up their outdoor event. Thanks to their team, it was a tremendous success!
During their spool down process, unbeknownst to me, they backed up and deleted their online email marketing database for their event.
It made perfect sense. When the client doesn't have an event, they use their email service provider to email updates to their members. The client's email list size is a couple of thousand entries. The client's email service provider charges them based on their total email database size. There were over 10,000 database entries specifically for their event. By deleting emails, they could significantly reduce their monthly service fees.
So, they backed up and removed all those event emails. At the same time, the client also accidentally deleted the email contact list in their email service provider account. That contact list is a critical cog in their email marketing process. Without it, there is no way of knowing if the lead was from the organization's website or their event website.
Currently, the client is emailing all the people in their email marketing database. Including those who signed up for event information without being assigned to a specific contact list.
Have you ever received an email and wondered, "why am I getting this email?!?! I didn't sign up for it!"
What happens when you get an email you didn't sign up for? You're probably going to mark it as SPAM!
On their last email, the client above exceeded their SPAM threshold set by their email service provider. Because of the high number of SPAM complaints, there is the possibility of the client losing the ability to send emails in the future to anyone. All from a seemingly tiny and accidental mistake.
One accidental mistake could me you lose the ability to get potential event attendees messages in the future. And as a prestigious European event organizer recently told me, "Eugene, we generate 90% of our ticket sales using email."
Would losing the ability to use the marketing channel that generated 90% of your ticket sales be a dire consequence?
After your event, make sure to check your marketing processes and tech. It might even be worth it to pay an IT expert to help you.
Here's an excerpt from my upcoming book The Ultimate Event Marketing Machine:
Hopefully, all the emails about your event are positive. But there are always a few people that are a little harsh and even sometimes downright offensive in their feedback. As you know, a small number of people complain "just because." You are best served by trying to address every piece of feedback even from unreasonable people.
Here are two quick tips for delivering excellent customer service online despite the negativity:
#1 Step back
It's important to try not to take negative feedback about your event personally. When you organize an event, you're emotionally invested in that event. So, it is always personal to you. But see if you can objectively take their criticism.
The initial response to a harsh email might be to respond with an equal tone. It is just not worth it. Make sure you don't react defensively. Give yourself time to cool down. Then, do the opposite of what most people would do ... use "The Magic Phrase."
#2 "The Magic Phrase"
Use the following phrase to diffuse any harsh feedback about your event. I use this all the time with clients for email complaints.
It works amazingly well:
"Dear (first name): Thank you for your email." Then continue your email in an understanding and appreciative tone. Make sure to acknowledge the reason they are writing to you in your reply. Someone who just wrote you a very harsh email is probably not expecting a thank you response.
I use the "thank you" email all the time to diffuse big customer service issues. Its track-record for turning frowns upside down is impressive, to say the least!
It's amazing how that simple "thank you" approach calms people down. Event patrons – who have submitted a harsh critique – have written back apologizing for their initial email after getting the thank you email.
Make sure you make it about them through positive acknowledgment. Give it a whirl and let me know how it works.
Do you have any fantastic customer service turnaround stories? Please hit reply and let me know.
Want to get more info on event customer service? Check out the articles below:
Today's subject line phrase is sage advice from my go-to expert on event sponsorship, Phil Pacific.
It is also a guiding principle you should keep top of mind when working with sponsors, partners, and vendors.
In this case, we'll look at the sponsor side of things. Specifically, how some sponsors send web traffic from their site to your site.
Back in 2011, I was working with a local event. As with many client projects, I tend to dive way too deep into the data. To my embarrassment, I've spent hundreds, maybe over a thousand hours noodling in Google Analytics. For all that time invested, there are less than 10 things you really need to focus on in Analytics.
Let's look of one of those ten important items ... referring website traffic.
There were multiple sponsors and media partnerships in place for the client's event. Most of the sponsors and media partners were already sending traffic to the client's event website.
Any incoming traffic to your event website needs to be monitored! In Google Analytics, you can find this information on the "Referral Traffic" page.
According to Google Analytics, the client's event website received a total of 96,740 visitors, from December of 2010 through August 1, 2011. Of the total, 312 clicks were from the event title sponsor's web site. The sponsor's link from their website to the client's site was at no cost. It was included as an in-kind line item in the sponsorship agreement.
During that same time frame, the title sponsor's website received over 200,000 website visitors. One would think, 312 clicks on 200,000+ visitors as sinfully low! Especially for a title sponsor of an event.
After the discovery was made in Google Analytics, my client was understandably concerned.
So, I took a more in-depth look into what was going on. The biggest issue was where the sponsor placed the client's HTML website link on their webpage.
By the time the client passed along their concerns to the sponsor, and it was received by the right department, the event was over. That meant, potentially huge missed opportunities at zero cost.
The cautionary tale from above happens every year with clients! My way of monitoring and preventing a repeat is through a weekly client status call and web traffic review.
The takeaway of the day, if your event has links on partner or sponsor websites, look at the referral traffic on Google Analytics. Also, check those placements and ask, "Are they easy to find and click?"
As Phil said, "inspect what you expect!" Because you might be missing out on high-quality traffic to your event website, at zero cost.
If your event gets over 35,000 (verified) attendees, be sure to get in touch with Phil Pacific at ADC Group!
Want to get more event promotion info? Check out the articles below:
- Sponsorship, Domain Name Branding, and Your Event
- Leveraging Your Sponsor's Digital Resources
- Sponsorship Page Reality
This one is from my classic grab bag of event marketing masters to study.
Weeks ago, I referenced the disastrous Fyre Festival. Today we're going to focus on the positive side of the event equation.
"Who the F**K is Arthur Fogel?"
Yes, that's the actual title of a documentary I strongly recommend you rent (or buy) and watch this weekend. As a documentary, it is decent. In terms of event business takeaways, it's fascinating and well worth the six-dollar rental fee. The documentary also answers the insane notion of today's subject line.
Arthur's documentary is available to stream at Amazon Prime and Vimeo:
Amazon Prime (Rent or Purchase)
On iTunes (Rent or Purchase)
For BONUS knowledge, check out the following YouTube video interviews with Arthur:
An interview with Arthur Fogel, Live Nation
Arthur Fogel, Chairman, Global Music and CEO,
Global Touring, Live Nation
Let me know what you think and your biggest event promotion/business takeaway.
To your success,
Want to get more great info from marketing masters? Check out the articles below:
- P.T. Barnum on Advertising
- Online Marketing Like P.T. Barnum (Part I)
- Online Marketing Like P.T. Barnum (Part II)
- Getting Massive Marketing Insight from The Classic Marketeers
- "Secret Weapon" of the Greatest Ad Man
- Advertising and Marketing that Sells
There I was, in a social media educational session at the 2016 International Council of Airshows annual convention. What started as a conversation about using social media turned into a discussion of how to use video on social media. The event organizers in the room were passionate about their marketing efforts. During this session, I counted approximately 100 people in the room (using a napkin with tally marks). A majority of the session attendees were air show organizers. It also seemed the perfect time to do an impromptu survey.
At the end of the social media education session, there was time for questions and answers.
After acknowledging the positive takeaways from the session, I asked if it would be okay to do an informal survey. The moderators and people in the room were kind enough to oblige my request.
Here are the questions and terrifying outcome:
Question #1: "How many people are using Facebook to promote their air show?" Most of the people in the room (probably about 90) raised their hands. I asked everyone to keep their hand up and proceeded to ask the next question.
Question #2: "If you are using Facebook, are you boosting every post?" Most of the people in the room lowered their hands.
Then, my last request ...
Question #3: "Keep your hands up if you post to Facebook to promote your air show, boost every post, and track your Facebook efforts to tickets sold to your air show."
Out of the approximately 90 people who raised their hands on the first question, just one was left with her hand up after the third question. It was a jaw-dropping revelation!
For all the air show organizers who were in this education session, only one in 90 tracked their efforts to an actual result.
I'm willing to bet if the three questions above were asked at any event organizer conference, regardless of niche, you'd get nearly the same response.
Here's your overly simplified Facebook marketing plan:
When you post anything to Facebook, boost EVERY post smartly, and always track your Facebook efforts to ticket sales! Anything less and you're wasting your time and money. The best part, by boosting and tracking, you'll be lightyears ahead of your competition. Because hardly anyone boosts AND tracks, advantage you!
You Must Play the Game Differently
If you want to take advantage of social media, you have to play the game differently. What follows are the most common social media marketing mistakes to avoid and simple corrections you can use. The suggestions apply to any social media platform. Click below and dive on in to the 5-Part Social Media Series:
- Putting Your Social Media Mindset Ahead of Theirs
- Focusing Too Much on Likes & Followers
- Trying to Engage on Too Many Social Media Platforms
- Avoiding Paid Social Media Advertising
- Not Measuring the Results of Your Hard Work
Here are some additional social media resources you can use to market your event:
- Do You Make These Social Media Mistakes with Your Event?
- Measuring Your Social Media Event Promotion Efforts
- How to Leverage Facebook and Your Event Marketing
- Beware of the "Social Media" Event SMACKDOWN!
- Social Media, Your Event Marketing, and "Insider Info" . . .
- Social Media Comments and Your Event
- The Downside of Promoting Your Event with Social Media
Today, we're going to continue with the Disney adventure.
Have you ever had the opportunity to take the Jungle Cruise at a Disney Park?
If not, that's OK!
Here's a short overview of Disney's Jungle Cruise ... the ride originated in 1955 at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Basically, you get on a boat and navigate through a fake jungle. The skipper of your boat proceeds to narrate throughout the ride.
During your "river cruise" adventure, you're greeted by audio-animatronic animals and native headhunters. Plus, a few other light-hearted surprises. On the surface, the ride is seemingly mundane and dated.
During my last Disney adventure, all the popular ride wait times were over an hour and no more Fastpass. Looking at the Disney App, the Jungle Cruise ride only had a 10-minute wait.
My quick mental debate went like this, "for a ten-minute wait, why the heck not!"
At this point, there were low expectations and little to lose.
And then things got interesting!
For the seemingly low production value, the Jungle Cruise experience was a total hoot! One of those, "wow, I totally wasn't expecting that" moments.
What happened? Our skipper had a well-rehearsed shtick with impeccable comedic timing! It was honestly one of the best ride experiences in my life, and I'm a tough guy to please.
"Wait a second! What does the Jungle Cruise have to do with my event?" A whole lot!
It stands as a prime example of taking something seemingly mundane and making it unique for attendees. Especially if you're interested in creating a VIP customer experience.
Here's the question to ask yourself and your team ...
Is there a behind-the-scenes tour or something special you can do with attendees at your next event? Remember, what you and your team probably take for granted, attendees might eat up with excitement!
Back in 2011, I zipped up my onesie (flight suit) and gave VIP customers a behind the scenes aircraft tour for a client's air show. There were some personal "TOP GUN" stories of aviation adventure added in for pizzazz! The VIP ticket holders absolutely loved it. Even better, the total tour cost was zero! The airplanes were already at the air show for public display.
Ideally, you want to leverage what's already at your event. There should be little to no additional cost. Ask yourself, "how can we take what we already have and turn it into something special?" Much like the Jungle Cruise ride at Disney or VIP air show tour, it can be as simple as sharing a few great stories.
Put your thinking cap on and give it a whirl!
Here are some more ideas to stoke the adventure side of your brain:
- Internet Marketing Like Walt Disney
- Getting Users Involved with Involvement Devices
- The Stew Leonard’s & Wegmans Experience
- Buried Treasure and Event Promotion
Years ago, my lady and I visited Disney's Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom in Florida. As with all trips, my marketing detective cap goes on. Especially when it comes to Disney!
On this trip, I paid careful attention to how Disney tracks attendance with pinpoint accuracy.
For their insanely deep pockets, Disney still uses some ancient technology to track attendance at park attractions.
During our last visit to the Magic Kingdom, there were old school turn styles at the Enchanted Tiki Room and Swiss Family Treehouse. (Yes, I love the classics!) And when visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom, the "cast members" (staff) were using hand tally counters and classic clipboards to track individual attraction attendance.
Granted, Disney makes excellent use of optical turn styles, plus other neat technology when you enter their parks. But I'd point out that Disney nails their daily attendance counts leveraging both old and new tech.
Why the interest in attendance accuracy?
Because yesterday during a marketing discussion the topic of ticket sales and attendance were broached.
One of the first nosy questions I ask every event organizer, "how many ticket did you sell and what was your event attendance?" To which the responses are all over the place and rarely confident. At least in my experience, attendance numbers are usually grossly exaggerated.
Yes, we all know many event organizers exaggerate their attendance. But where do you draw the line? 100%, 200%, how about a 300% overestimation on attendance?
"Eugene, why does it matter? It's not your event!" This is true, and it really does matter.
Because when you're doing ticket sale forecasting and laser targeting your marketing dollars, accurate attendance numbers are paramount! How?
Knowing your attendance and ticket numbers allow you to do precise marketing math. Those numbers also show you how much you can afford to spend to acquire a new customer. And the cost to reacquire a previous customer. Knowing your numbers, especially as they apply to marketing and advertising spend will set you apart from the pack!
Please make sure you know your attendance numbers cold. When you do, you open your event to fantastic marketing opportunities.
Here's some more ideas in the name of adventure:
- Buried Treasure and Event Promotion
- Exquisitely Describing Your Event
- In the Name of Backyard Adventure
- The Audio Learning Advantage: Plug in and Learn