Behind the Black Friday / Cyber Monday Scenes

Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Both days are full of discounts, occasional poor consumer behaviour, and seemingly "once in a lifetime" deals. In total, it's a massive day for online and retail revenue generation.

Retailers offer consumers something to buy with a discount, value-added proposition, or other unique combination to incentivize a person to buy immediately. You must buy on Black Friday, or else ... wait until Cyber Monday. After that, some other arbitrary sales day that is sure to follow.

Ok, Eugene. That's very nice. But what does Black Friday or Cyber Monday have to do with my event?

When you peel down through all the layers of advertising and marketing madness, you're left with a few essential selling components. One of the biggest drivers of Black Friday sales is an offer. And that's the dirty little secret ... an irresistible offer.

My question to you is do you have a surefire offer that ticket sales like crazy for your event?

The above question is one of my favorite questions to ask of event organizers. And most event organizers don't have an answer. A usual response goes something like, "we've tried a bunch of different things and nothing seems to work." As a result, a mountain of potential ticket sales are left on the table.

To maximize your advance ticket sales, you need to have your own irresistible ticket offer.

Over the last 11 years, clients have used one ridiculously simple offer. The offer used by clients was directly borrowed from the dating industry. That modified dating industry offer has generated millions of dollars in advance ticket sales and has an unbelievable track record of success.

Some outdoor event clients now enjoy the confidence of selling 89% of their tickets, before a single person walks into their event. With two days of rain in the forecast.

If you don't have a super-duper ticket sales offer, use the marketing lessons of Black Friday as a template. Look at what's being offered, the results (using Google News), and insights you can integrate to create your own irresistible offer.

Additional Ideas for Marketing Your Event:

"If you can't track it, don't do it!"

Here's a friendly reminder as we approach the year's end.

If you haven't already, please make sure to take some time to put all your advertising and marketing under the microscope. Take a look back at advertising and marketing that worked and what failed to meet your expectations.

If you're unsure of the effectiveness of your advertising efforts, here's an overly simple rule to follow.

"If you can't track it, don't do it!"

It applies to all advertising, marketing, and the vendors who support those activities. Some would argue the advice is too simple. And they might be correct.

Thus far, every client that has implemented the simple rule above has gone on to reduce their advertising costs and increase ticket revenues.

In 2016, one client eliminated at 27,000 USD advertising buy. That client was asked a straightforward question, "how many tickets sales did your 27,000 dollar investment produce?"

Their answer, "we don't know." (And to be fair, I'm positive some ticket sales were generated as a result of spending $27K.) So my recommendation, "if you don't know, then stop doing that!" The client eliminated the $27K advertising buy and increased their online ticket sales past one million dollars. A nearly 40% increase in ticket sales!

There is no doubt that there will eventually be an exception to the recommendation above. That mean's it's effectiveness will be reduced from 100% down to 90-95%. And that's fine!

Want to get more advice on tracking your event advertising and marketing? Check out the links below:

... your event website in the meantime?

After reviewing dozens of event websites for an upcoming project, the following deficiency kept creeping up.

Depending on the event, the amount of time between announcing your event and your event occurring can vary significantly. Anywhere from a couple of years to a few months. If you have a recurring event, what follows is vital to consider.

My question to you is, "what are you doing with your event website in the meantime?"

Especially in the critical time after you announce your event and before tickets go on sale.

At a minimum, most event organizers update their event website with the dates of their next event. Yet there is one essential element that is missing. That element is the collecting of warm ticket leads. Not a single website I reviewed had any form of lead generation.

A closer look at Google Analytics will clearly show you that most people (60-70%) of people only visit your website once. Additional of all the people visiting your website, 40-50% spend less than ten seconds on your websites. If you haven't already, please take a look at your own website engagement metrics. Chances are your jaw will hit the ground.

Because of the above, it's paramount you have an effective method to collect leads on your event website, 24/7/365 even while you sleep.

If you're not collecting leads for your next event, you're missing out on significant amounts of advance ticket revenue! This particular topic was featured in my first issue of the Event Profit Report and has been worth millions of dollars to clients.

You can start with something as simple as asking for an email.

Here are some short articles on getting the most from your event website:

Get rid of all those details in your event promotions

Back in the day, I heard an advertisement for a local drive-in event. The piece of advertising was a 30-second radio spot. The radio ad emphasizes the importance of keeping your marketing message relevant, short, and easy to remember.

One of the biggest mistakes event organizers and promoters make is trying to deliver their target audience too much information all at once.

Event organizers logically think, "How much information can I get into this one ad?" The result is that so much information goes into a piece of advertising that people get overwhelmed.

Too much information can be as bad as too little advertising. Are event sponsors, dates, times, and headlining performers important? Absolutely! Yet, if people aren't at least interested in finding out more information about your event, they're unlikely to attend.

If your target audience is unlikely to attend your event, all the superfluous information such as sponsors, dates, times, and your main attraction, becomes irrelevant.

I'm a firm believer that if event organizers focused more on hitting people's emotional hot buttons upfront, they would get more people interested in their event.

When creating advertising for your event, regardless of the medium, concentrate on getting people interested in your event first.

Keep your advertising simple, straightforward, and easy to remember. Consider some of the ideas below:

>>> Create an attention-grabbing headline or hook that hits their emotional hot buttons

>>> What are the benefits attendees will enjoy by attending your event?

Use the above ideas in your advertising.

When getting your marketing message across, focus on keeping things as simple and straightforward as possible. I can't recall who came up with the axiom, but you need to "get out of your ego and into their ego." In short, give the people what they want, not what you think they want.

Include a simple call to action, send them to your web site that has more information about the event. If you can get people to take a simple action, like visiting your web site, you'll have a greater chance of selling them on your event and hooking all the details.

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

"It's right there in front of them!"

Back in the early 2000s, I spent a significant amount of time in web usability consulting. What the heck's that?!?! The process involved live testing of how users interact with a website. Clients included everyone from small business owners and publicly traded corporations to the United States Air Force. The overall experience was a huge eye-opener.

After you get past the emotional reactions and harsh testing comments, the feedback provided by users was invaluable. User feedback helped clients identify severe flaws in the design of their website. Including, serious marketing issues.

One of the most common points of confusion during testing was the inability of users to find information on a given website. To which designers and business owners would angrily respond with, "what are they talking about? It's right there in front of them!"

Right there in front of them ... That's a critical point. Because it illustrates how what you see and what your website users see can be completely different.

Having reviewed hundreds, possibly over a thousand event websites, I can tell you with absolute conviction that most event organizers are not connecting with users. If users don't connect or understand your website, how are you suppose to compel them to attend your event?

Here's a little suggestion. You need not be a web usability expert to take advantage.

If you really want to improve your event website, do a little live website testing. Get people (not family, coworkers, or friends) to give you honest feedback on your event website. Put a person from your event's target market in from of a computer or mobile device, and get them to go through your website.

Ask the person to talk through the process out loud. That's key, they have to verbalize what they're seeing and thinking.

Is this suggestion going to take a little work? Yes. But the improvements you can make to your event website will result in more people attending your event. I promise you, you'll be amazed by the actionable feedback you receive!

Want to get more info on improving your event website? Check out the articles below:


Two-step remedy for online angries ...

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." In certain instances, you’ll received event feedback from some very angry people. 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 a potential deluge of 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.

Want to get more info on event customer service? Check out the articles below:

Driving Traffic to Your Event Website

The question: "How do I drive more traffic to my event website?"

Instead of giving you a specific tactic or advertising/marketing channel let me pass along a fundamental. This suggestion is universal across every marketing medium (online or traditional). Even better. It works with all humans on planet Earth, because it's based on human psychology.

In fact, it is something so simple, it's easy to dismiss and forget ...

What is it?

It is a compelling reason why!

A reason someone should visit your website, right now. That means if a person from your target market is driving somewhere, they feel the need to safely pull over and visit your site, immediately!

At a fundamental level, humans are driven by two powerful emotions, fear or greed. That said, can you ethically evoke fear or greed in all your advertising and marketing efforts? (Emphasis on ethically). For events, the emotional drivers of fear or greed could be embodied in a well thought out offer.

One quintessential point on any offer. Just because you think something is noteworthy, doesn't mean your audience feels the same way.

Build the incentive to visit your website around their ego, not yours!

If you're at a loss regarding a significant "reason why," here's a simple suggestion. Include the following phrase in every marketing/PR/and advertising piece you produce: "For more information, visit"

That's it!?!? Yes!

And you'd be amazed how often that gets missed in advertising and marketing campaigns. Listing your website is not enough. Remember, tell them what they need to do right now, in no uncertain terms. Implementing the above suggestions is guaranteed to drive more traffic to your website!

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


Spider-Man & the use of Jedi mind tricks

Today, I'm going to rant a little on the importance of delivering an extraordinary experience at your event.

There seems to be a gap between advertising promises and attendee expectations when it comes to event marketing. The result is event attendees who open their wallets, spend their hard-earned money, and leave an event disappointed.

Yes, I'm a big proponent of using hype and persuasion (ethically) in your event's marketing. But you can't over promise and under deliver.

Before you send out your next advertising or marketing campaign, do an objective review of your event marketing.

Is your event marketing over-promising on the experience your event can deliver?

If you're holding an event during a global pandemic, what are you doing to reassure your event attendees of their safety and expectations?

Spend some time thinking through the previous questions. Look at your advertising and event from an attendee's perspective.

If someone were to read your advertising and attend your event – are you going to be able to deliver on all your advertising promises?

If not, or even maybe not, take those points out of your advertising. I've seen first hand the problems associated with promising too much in event advertising. It isn't pretty and is quickly followed by a slew of refund requests.

Another avenue event promoters go down is using psychological persuasion in their event marketing.
Think advance Jedi persuasion skills. Be sure to check out Dr. Robert Cialdini's book "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion."

In the book, Dr. Cialdini outlines his six "Weapons of Influence." One of Cialdini's weapons of influence is scarcity.

Using scarcity is a surefire way to get people to buy event tickets in advance. As tickets are sold, you update the number of remaining tickets on your website. As the available ticket supply counts down, ticket demand goes up.

Unfortunately, some event organizers see fit to abuse scarcity.

In 2009, a local beer festival sold out all their VIP in a flash. To generate even more revenue, the event organizer opened a new block of VIP tickets. Word got out about "previously SOLD OUT tickets" being on sale again. That aggravated lot of people who already purchased tickets.

It is a bad idea to tell people tickets are sold out and then put them back on sale again. Next time, event attendees are going to be skeptical about buying tickets.

People are going to think, "they say tickets are going to sell out, but they'll put more on sale – just like last time!"

Like Peter Parker's Uncle Ben said "With great power there must also come — great responsibility!" (Amazing Fantasy (1962) #15, a.k.a Spider-Man's introduction)

The value your event delivers to attendees must far exceed the hype used in your event marketing. This mindset is critical if you have a recurring event.

People are going to come back to an event if they feel scammed or unsafe. When you boil it down, it's pretty simple. Don't claim something in your advertising or marketing that your event can't deliver.

Want to get more event experience advice? Check out the links below:


Be sure to double-check that big ad buy

During an advertising project involving a client, we discussed setting up UTM tracking links for all the client's online advertising efforts. The client had mentioned that they had a series of online advertising buys that were scheduled to start, a week prior.

A quick look in Google Analytics showed that the scheduled advertising buys were not sending traffic to their website. The reasons for no referral-based traffic could be many. The simplest explanation is that the advertising isn't running.

In the end, I encouraged the client to call their advertising rep and let them know, "we do not see any traffic from you in Google Analytics. Can you please verify that our online ads are running?"

The wording above gives the advertising people a gentle nudge and lets them know you're keeping an eye on things. You can call it a diplomatic and data-driven approach.

More often than not, clients have paid for online advertising that simply wasn't running. It wasn't out of malice or deception, just that someone dropped the ball. That said, you must keep a watchful eye on your online advertising.

At the end of the day, it's your money. As my friend Phil Pacific is fond of saying, "inspect what you expect!" A simple check of Google Analytics is all it takes.

Want to get more info on tracking the effectiveness of your event promotions? Check out the articles below:

Before spending on the Facebox, do this ...

Here's a little excerpt from page 88 of my Facebook book ...

One of the first things we do with any new client is a marketing and advertising audit. Almost every audit proves that events aren't tracking their advertising spend to ticket sales even at the most basic level.

Here comes some compassionately brutal advice. If you're not willing to properly setup and track your Facebook advertising spend to a ticket transaction, stop using Facebook. You can't break through all the Facebook noise if you don't pay to advertise.

But paying to play (paid advertising) isn't enough. By failing to track, you're subjecting you and your event team to a plethora of unqualified opinions about what is working without the hard data to back it up.

So, it's agreed that you're going to track all your efforts on Facebook, yes? Great! Because you'll gain a massive competitive advantage and profits galore when you spend money advertising on Facebook while meticulously tracking your results.

Before we get into tracking specifics, it is important to understand some basic marketing math. What is that? It involves a few key digital media metrics and their crazy acronyms. To be successful with your social media marketing strategies, you need to have a basic working knowledge of these metrics.

With traditional media, it was very difficult to quantify the usefulness of advertisements. The beauty of digital media is that tracking effectiveness has never been easier. Facebook has a straightforward way to setup and automate your ad tracking.

Here's a simple place to start, Customer Acquisition Cost (at least the basic version of CAC).

Let's say you spend 20,000 USD cash on advertising and marketing to promote your event. You know that 1,000 people attended your event. Sorry, you can't use the grossly exaggerated attendance numbers people love to tout to calculate acquisition cost.

Remember, bad data equals bad marketing intelligence. To get your customer acquisition cost, divide $20,000 in ad spend by 1,000 paid customers. The result is $20, so your "Customer Acquisition Cost" is $20.

Your customer acquisition cost determines what you can afford to spend on advertising and marketing. If you don't spend more than $20 per person to acquire a customer, you should always stay in the black.

Another advantage of digital media is that you can turn it on and off in a matter of minutes. Hence, if an ad is not working on Facebook, you simply turn it off. The same isn't possible with television, radio, or billboard ads.

This is a very basic measuring stick when you look at it from the top down with a bird's eye view. As we come down to a ground level view, customer acquisition cost becomes very important for digital media. It becomes microscopic at the social media level. Facebook allows you to track the customer acquisition cost to a single post or advertisement.

That is where Facebook provides you with a huge advantage and it's tracking at the microscopic level.

Track & profit!

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:

  1. Putting Your Social Media Mindset Ahead of Theirs

  2. Focusing Too Much on Likes & Followers

  3. Trying to Engage on Too Many Social Media Platforms

  4. Avoiding Paid Social Media Advertising

  5. Not Measuring the Results of Your Hard Work

Here are some additional social media resources you can use to market your event: