Trying to rescue cats that can't be found

If you can keep a secret, read on ... (If not, no worries, catch ya tomorrow!)

In my sparsely spare time, I help my lady rescue abandon and outdoor felines. It's everyone's hope that engaging in such activity would assist me in being a more compassionate human. We'll see what happens.

Today's cat rescue adventure involved driving to a local pet store to check in on the kittens my lady rescued from the city streets of Rochester. According to the rescue organization's most recent Facebook post and associated comments, the event was to be held today from 1200h-1400h.

Upon arriving at the pet store, we headed to the back of the store where all the rescued furballs can be found. Usually, there are a bunch of happy people and cute fur babies on display for adoption.

You can pick the cats up, cuddle, nuzzle, and see if their purr-motor works (some do not). Today there was nothing. No cats in need of rescue or helpful humans from the rescue organization.

After scratching our heads for a few moments, my lady double-checked the Facebook post and we indeed were at the right place at the right time. There were even a bunch of supportive comments on the post announcing today's event.

We proceeded to the front of the pet store to inquire on the event. That's when we spoke with Jen, a pet store employee.

In short Jen told us, "a bunch of interested people showed up and nobody from the adoption agency is here. No call, no show!" You could tell Jen was annoyed and for a good reason.

Why am I telling you the story above?

Because if something unexpected happens with your event, where are people going to find an update? Are they going to Facebook, Twitter, or your event website? Maybe you're going to send a text message or email. Perhaps it's all the above. (And it should be.)

Just imagine if someone showed up to your event and nothing was going on and nobody to be found. It's frustrating to say the least and a waste of people's time.

The above story is an example of how not effectively updating people wanting to attend your event can damage the reputation of your event and your organization.

If people lose faith in your organization, are they going to spend their hard-earned money to support your cause? Probably not.

Regardless of how big or small your event, please make sure you have a contingency and communication plan in place ready to go a moment's notice. It doesn't always have to be complicated.

With the cat rescue event above, a simple update to the organization's Facebook post would have helped.

From Woodstock to Tomorrowland (Belgium)

Recently, I encouraged subscribers to watch a YouTube video on the unboxing of event tickets. The tickets were for an event called Tomorrowland.

Even if you have zero interest in music festivals, I encourage you to take a more in-depth look into Tomorrowland (Belgium). So, I'm going to hit the "easy button" for you.

What started in 2005 with a few thousand people, has exploded into a two-weekend event that sells over 350,000 tickets in less than 45 minutes. Tomorrowland sells out almost 4 months before a single person walks in the front gate. Conservative estimates put their event ticket revenue at around 75 million Euro.

You might not be able to sell out 350,000 tickets to your event. But, imagine what it would feel like if you could sell out your event 4 months in advance! That means cash money in your bank account and the ability to focus on executing a great event.

One of the biggest reasons for Tomorrowland's incredible growth has been the organizer's focus on the attendee experience. The production quality is in a word extraordinary.

Below are two videos that give you a behind the scenes look and overall feel for Tomorrowland. Give them a click!

CNBC International – Tomorrowland Feature:

Tomorrowland Official 2019 Aftermovie (note: 23 minutes in length & contains adult language):

While watching the videos above, I encourage you to ask yourself, "what ideas can I ethically borrow for my event?" There's at least one proven idea waiting for you!

Here are some additional event planning links and suggestions:

"Goats in Trees" and "Underwater Dogs"

In 2018, I found myself in a fascinating discussion with a European event organizer.

During a marketing seminar, the topic of email marketing was broached. Specifically, the number of marketing emails you should send for your event.

So I asked, "how many emails would you feel comfortable sending?"

The gentleman's response, "around 5 to 10 emails."

To which I replied, "how about sending 20 to 30 emails?" His answer was a firm, "No."

Because the event organizer was a good sport, I decided to dig a little deeper. So I asked, "why wouldn't you want to send more than 5 to 10 emails?"

Because, in their personal opinion, they consider sending too many marketing emails "spam."

This is a prime example of applying one's personal beliefs to an entire target market. During our debate about email frequency, one of the event organizer's team members chimed in ...

The team member mentioned an event in the United Kingdom. That event sent, "an email almost every day and sold out months in advance." Am I saying you should email every day? No. There is something much more important at play.

This "email frequency" story illustrates the importance of not applying one's personal bias (team bias, or Board bias) to your target market.

Why "goats in trees"? Because while walking around and waiting for a booklet to print at an office supply store, I found a "Goats in Trees" calendar. My initial reaction was one of disbelief. "Nobody's going to buy that!" But sure enough, there it was a full-color calendar of goats in trees. Next to the goat's calendar, "underwater dogs!"

A simple Google search will show you there is an entire line of books, t-shirts, puzzles, and coffee mugs dedicated to "goats in trees." Apparently, they've been selling "goats in trees" calendars since at least 2010.

Please remember. Just because you believe or are put off by something, doesn't mean your target market feels the same way. In some cases, the people who you are trying to appeal to might have an entirely opposite belief than your own. And that's an opportunity cost for your business or event!

Additional Email Event Marketing Resources
Below are some additional email event marketing articles on how you can be a great email marketer for your next event ...

Having an event advertising alignment process

Back in 2006, I was introduced to the marketing genius of Eben Pagan. Eben's focus is on selling dating advice and business growth advice. Both of the previous topics are seemingly unrelated, yet fascinatingly intertwined.

Eben is also known for being one of the best direct response marketing experts in the world. Because of his track record of success and several strong recommendations, I joined Eben's high-end training program called Guru Mastermind. It was in a word, extraordinary.

What I learned and implemented from Eben's program has generated tens of millions of dollars in ticket sales for clients. Here's one of the strategies Eben discussed around "advertising alignment."

What's that?

It's a strategy that focuses on organizing all your advertising strategically and carefully aligning it from start to finish. The same applies to any marketing process.

Here's an example of advertising misalignment. Yesterday, there was an online banner ad for our local airport. The banner ad referenced getting away from our currently cold winter to a warm and sunny location.

After clicking on the airport ad, you are redirected to a generic page full of arrival and departure schedules. There was no lead gen, no offer, no references to anything warm and sunny!

Contrast the above with an advertisement with proper alignment. Each step in the advertising process should be mapped through. Here are two simple questions to keep you on the right path:

Does the ad copy and design relate to where a user is being directed after they click?

After they click, does the copy of the page that the user is taken to directly relate to the ad?

Is there an offer or lead generation opportunity on the landing page?

After reading this, I encourage you to go out and click on a few banner ads. Are the advertisements you click on in alignment? Take note of the discrepancies and make sure your ads are in alignment, from start to finish.

Get your event promotions aligned! Check out the links below:


Asking about too many rows of zeros

Depending on the project and timeframe, I often find myself crunching daily ticket sales reports. Typically, it's a tedious and uneventful process.

In this case, the ticket reporting for an event showed numerous sales anomalies. The event in question was about a week away. And, there were dozens of rows with zero ticket revenue. If you're sending out complimentary (comp) tickets to sponsors and supporters, this could be considered normal.

So, I triple checked the reporting and reached out to the event's ticket manager. When I broached the subject with the ticket manager, their response wasn't what you'd expect. The ticket manager angrily asked, "Eugene, who asked you to look into this?!?!"

My response, "Nobody. It just seems like there are far too many zeros." To say the least, the ticket manager wasn't happy with me.

My next call was to an executive board member to ask them, "what's going on with these comp tickets?!?!" In short, a promo code for comp tickets escaped into the public. In total, around 10,000 USD of comp tickets were issued in error.

A simple solution would have been canceling all the comp tickets. The problem was there were hundreds of legitimate comp tickets in the mix. And no easy way to differentiate the good from the bad. In the end, the client immediately turned off the promo code.

Here's another "rows of zeros" scenario ...

This year, an event comped away over 12,000 USD of high demand VIP tickets to "friends of the event organizers." Considering that the VIP tickets sold out well in advance. That's $12K+ of valuable lost event revenue.

When it comes to complimentary tickets, here are two questions to ask yourself:

1. If you're comping tickets to your event, do you have strict controls in place to make sure every comp ticket is legitimate?

2. If you're giving away complimentary tickets, especially VIP tickets, what's your opportunity cost?

Stay vigilant with your tickets, especially comp and VIP tickets!

Want to get more information on advance ticket sales for your next event? Check out the articles below:

Often neglected voicemail marketing

When marketing is discussed, you often hear about online and traditional (offline) opportunities.

Rarely, if ever, is leveraging voicemail discussed. And to avoid any confusion, we're not talking about robocalling random people and leaving annoying voicemail messages.

Today's focus is on using your own voicemail message as a marketing tool. It goes beyond how most use voicemail.

Usually voicemail messages go something like this:

"Hey, thanks for calling Captain Awesome's event. Please leave your name, telephone number, and we'll call you back!"

The above message is a missed opportunity!

Simply put, "are you using your voicemail message as a marketing tool?" Leveraging your voicemail message can be done in several ways. At a minimum, you should give a short yet compelling reason for a caller to visit your dedicated event website.

Voicemail messages can also be used as a customer service tool.

When asked, clients often tell me that most of the incoming voicemails they receive are related to customer service issues. Especially as you approach those critical days before your event.

That said, is there something simple you can quickly convey in your voicemail to automate your customer service process?

Sometimes it's the simplest of marketing tools that are often neglected and under-leveraged. Don't let your voicemail be one of them!

Want to get more event promotion tips? Check out the articles below:

Kicking ad agency "kickbacks" to the curb

Over the years, I've been involved in several media buying negotiations for clients. In almost every instance the people trying to sell advertising to clients want to (figuratively & probably literally) strangle me.

Why? Because most of my work is performance-based. If clients don't make any money, I don't get paid.

Furthermore, I openly advocate that clients adopt the savvy mindset of, "only paying for results." And results-based media buys make most ad agencies and those trying to sell you advertising, very uncomfortable.

In a time that predated my existence, many ad agencies received a "kickback" for spending your money on advertising. The practice has been going on since at least the 1950s and probably well before that.

Here's a simplified explanation. If you contracted with a media buyer or ad agency to buy advertising for your event and they purchased USD 50K of online, television, print ads, etc. That company/person buying your media would be paid by the advertiser about 15% of your USD 50K ad spend. Regardless of that advertising selling a single ticket to your event!

If you utilize an agency or media buyer for your event, I encourage you to carefully read through your contract. Specifically look for agreement verbiage related to rebates, fees, commissions, or mark ups.

You can eliminate any "fees" by doing your own media buys. It's not that difficult if you know two essential items ... CPL & CPS.

Most business owners and event organizers have no idea how much it costs in advertising to generate a lead or a sale. You need to have your Cost Per Lead (CPL) and Cost Per Sale (CPS) numbers down cold. Knowing those numbers dictates what you can afford to spend on advertising and marketing.

Years ago, a friend of mine Orest Hrywnak gave an informal interview about media buying to clients. Before his passing, Orest spent 30 years in the radio business selling advertising. During the interview with Orest, he pointed out that it is nearly impossible to negotiate against someone who knows their adverting/marketing math.

When you know your advertising/marketing math, you are in full control to receive the best advertising and marketing deals possible. Plus, you keep that 15% of the money you spend on advertising in your pocket!

Get more event advertising negotiation insights:

Being stuck in a "we're so cool" industry mindset

In December, I attended a paid industry seminar on using Social Media to drive event ticket sales. Two of the presenters were clients, so I was there in a support capacity. It was great to see that the overall presentation focused on tracking advertising and marketing efforts to ticket sales.

During a case study presentation by a young lady from the United Kingdom, something hilarious occurred. The presenter's case study featured a marketing campaign with over 500 tracked online advertisements. Her campaign is one of the most sophisticated event promotion campaigns I've ever seen. Bravo!

Here's the funny part. The presenter mentioned that more ticket sales were generated from "today is the last day to buy" Facebook posts than from performer feature posts. Put in other words, the Facebook posts that were straight forward sales messages outperformed all others.

Immediately after that information was shared with the room ... one of the revered award-winning industry-leading experts, replied out loud with, "really?!?!" Then came the very measured British reply of, "really." And she simply moved on with her presentation.

The industry mindset is "everything we do is cool. We just need to tell more people about it and they'll think it's cool too." That isn't the case and the tracked data shows otherwise.

Here's today's takeaway. Sometimes the best way to sell tickets to your event is to give people a reason to buy right now. Most event organizers are afraid to ask, because they think it's "too salesy."

Be different and you will profit.

Here are some additional articles on planning a successful event:

"Can I buy you a drink?"

Last month, I attended a marketing session on social media and using data analytics to drive ticket sales. Overall there were several great points.

During the session, one of the presenters shared their gross ticket revenue numbers and marketing strategies. The figure was around 7 million USD in event ticket sales. It was an astronomical number. And 10x-20x what most event organizers do in the field.

Fast forward to this morning. One of the people who attended yesterday's marketing session proceeded to give me feedback on their experience.

The person's main point of feedback to me on the presentation went something like this. "I can't believe that our conference organizers brought in a person who generated 7 million dollars of ticket sales as a presenter. We don't do anywhere near that number!" Clearly, they weren't happy and a bit jealous.

During the presentation, the person sharing their 7 million dollar success story was more than generous with information.

In my mind, if any event organizer came to me with $7 million dollars of ticket sales results. The question I would ask would be, "can I buy you a drink?" Imagine what one could discover!

Want to get more advice on planning and promoting a great event? Check out the articles below:

For all the technological terror, this works better

About ten years ago, an event client conducted an onsite informal marketing survey. Event attendees were asked a question in exchange for a can of soda (pop).

The survey consisted of a straightforward question, "how did you hear about the event?" Participants were given a series of multiple-choice answers to choose from. Choices included: Facebook, billboards, radio, television, etc.

When all the attendee answers were tallied, the top response to "how did you hear about the event?" was "from a friend."

Fast forward to the present day. The same question above gets asked to another set of event attendees, with a similar choice of multiple choice answers. Interestingly enough, the top option selected was "from a friend."

Now, two separate informal surveys don't constitute anything near statistical significance. But it does get one thinking.

For all the technological marvels that have arisen in the past ten years, one person telling another person is still a powerful way to market one's event.

When the findings are presented to the event organizers, they're gobsmacked. "There's no way that could be true!"

If you haven't already, is there a way you can take advantage of "word of mouth" advertising to promote your event? It costs you nothing and relies on one of the most potent forms of human persuasion. One person telling another of their experience.

Additional Event Promotion and Marketing Advice Links: