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July 2008

Sky High Event Promotion

There are so many forms of advertising that it’s difficult to find just one that really stands out. I believe one truly unique form of advertising is aerial banner advertising.  What makes aerial banner advertising so unique is there isn’t much advertising competition in the sky. It’s rare to see aerial advertising and not have someone nearby say out loud “Look at that!” Most people will at least read what’s on the banner.

Big Letters
One of my favorite things about aerial banner advertising is the format, big type letters. Those big letters make aerial banner advertising a great format to advertise web addresses. I firmly believe that the single greatest piece of advertising information you want people to remember is your web address.

Easy to Remember
It is imperative that you make your address is easy to remember. You might want to consider using an alternate domain name just for advertising purposes. Some domain names are either too long or very difficult to remember. Can you create an alternate domain name,just for advertising, that is short and easy to remember?

I don’t have any case studies pointing to the effectiveness of banner advertising. As technology progresses more people are getting cell phones with mobile web access. If you catch their attention they could be on your web site in a matter of moments.

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

Event Promotion Idea: Text Messaging

Have you ever notice how many people text message these days?  It seems like a number of people are more likely to text message than actually pickup the telephone. An increasing number of retailers are using mobile phone text messaging to drive their retail sales with impressive results. In a recent post, “Promoting Events Inside Your Event,” I wrote about the importance of leveraging your web site and internal event schedule to add value to your event.  You can use simple mobile phone text messages to build excitement for your event.

Remember Trust and Credibility

It is difficult enough for marketers to collect a legitimate first name and email address. Trying to collect a real cell phone number is even more difficult. If you’re going to attempt to get cell numbers for your event marketing, I recommend starting with your existing permission based marketing list. If you’ve provided your existing list enough valuable information your list subscribers are probably more likely to willfully provide you their cell number.

A Texting Idea
In its’ simplest form you can send a text message or two a few days before your event to build excitement.  I would stress the importance of not trying to sales pitch people to death. What can you text someone that would be considered valuable information?

If you have a segmented list, consider sending text messages to people who purchased tickets about the event itself. You might text all the people who purchased a ticket a few minutes before your event headliner takes the stages. You can also text interesting tidbits of information about the event itself.

Ultimately when and what to text are going to be at your discretion. Think about the information you’re sending from a receiver’s prospective. Is the information you're sending timely and useful?

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

Promoting Events Inside Your Event

Do you have additional events or special features taking place inside your event? These additional events could include anything from live music performances, guest speakers, workshops, autograph sessions, etc. It’s any smaller event inside your event that further enhances your attendee’s experience.

A recent expedition to Disney’s EPCOT was a catalyst for writing on the topic of providing a schedule of events inside your event. After purchasing tickets at the ticket window you are given your park ticket and additional handouts. One of the handouts is a daily schedule of events and seasonal showcases taking place inside of EPCOT.  The advantage of providing a schedule is that you can allow people to pick and choose what’s most interesting to them.

Leverage Your Web Site
From a timing aspect, the schedule becomes more important the closer you get to your event. If you’re event is coming up shortly you might want to notch out a section of your home page to feature a “Schedule of Events.” Consider having pocket or wallet size PDF document that people can easily print off and take with them.

Get People Excited
Try to build a little excitement for your smaller events.  Include a one or two sentence description of why someone might want to attend an event inside your event. In many cases people might not know what is taking place unless you tell them.

Events inside an event are an excellent way to add additional value to your event. “We have a great event happening, plus all this other great stuff!” It's going to be far easier for you to sell a ticket for your event if you can provide tremendous value. Something as simple as a schedule is a simple yet effective way to add value to your event.

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

The Timing of Your Event Promotion

Do you know what information might be important to prospective event attendees at any given moment? Over the last few posts I’ve mentioned the importance of information over time.  Just because you have a 5, 10, or 20 page event web site doesn’t mean that people are looking at all the information in one sitting. Online directions to your event might garner the most attention a few days before the event, but mean little or nothing to an attendee months before the event. It’s important to take stock of what information is important to an attendee at various moments.

How do I find out what’s important to people?
Two great places to start looking at what’s important to prospective event attendees is by looking at incoming emails and your web statistics.

Email is a great place to get into the mind of event attendees. In most cases the emails you’re receiving will give you a very good idea of what’s important to your prospective attendees at any given moment. People will literally spell out what’s of interest to them. If you get several emails a week asking about tickets to your event, that’s going to tell you something. Are you doing something with that information?

Web Stats
Your web statistics will also give you an excellent idea of what information is important to people. What are the top pages that people are looking at on your web site?  Are they neglecting any pages that contain potentially important information?  It’s important to focus on trends and making sure you’re giving people the information they seek.

Try correlating your statistics with incoming emails.  The information will help you in creating a better understanding of your consumer.

Internet users have a comparatively low attention span.  If the information isn't at their finger tips they might abandon their search or look elsewhere. In terms of event marketing, this could mean the loss of event attendees. If you know what’s important to your target market at any given moment you can do a better job of presenting the information more effectively.

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

Keeping Your Event List Engaged

How often do you engage your list?  Engaging your list means sending some type of information to a group of target market subscribers. The materials could be anything from an email newsletter to using “snail mail” to keep in touch.  In other posts I’ve given out information for growing your list. In today’s post, I’m going to quickly look at some ways to deal with people unsubscribing from your list.

When you’re growing your list it’s really important to get your timing interval set for what works best for your target market. Over the years I’ve seen both sides of the engagement spectrum, from too much to too little. My clients engage their list anywhere from once a quarter to every week. Contrary to popular belief, too many people under engage their list.

Ask Two Questions . . .

Continue reading "Keeping Your Event List Engaged" »

Connecting with Your Event Audience Online

When it comes to your event web site content it is imperative to be very conscientious that the information is overwhelmingly user focused.  I go well beyond “beating a dead horse” on this particular topic.  People always ask, why do you constantly bring this point up?  Not staying people focused is the single biggest liability to a business' or event's web presence. Most companies struggle online because they’re not connecting with their audience in a language that the audience understands.

“I want it done this way!”
In the past, I’ve had clients insist on updating their web site with information they believed to be very important.  The challenge is showing event organizers and business owners that the people aren’t interested in the particular information they want to share. Worst of all it cost event organizers and businesses their own time, effort, and money. At the very basic level you need to separate what you think is best form the audience and what they want. I'm not sure who's quote it is, but "Get yourself out of your ego and into the prospect's ego."

How to Avoid Costly Mistakes
You can avoid the costly mistake of not connecting with your audience in several ways.  Start with your data. What data (emails, follow up surveys, telephone calls, etc.) can you reference to better understand the people using your web site?  Are there any specific trends that give you insight into what information prospective attendees want? Do your web stats indicate something important?

Another way to get in the right frame of mind is to ask yourself, “If I was going to an event web site, what would be most important to me?” When it comes to event web site information what's important can change depending on the time frame. As an example, people are going to be much more interested in directions to your event as the event date approaches. The safest thing to do is ask your target market, “What do you want to know about the event and when do you want to know about it?”

Below I’ve included some articles that might prove helpful in getting in better touch with you audience.

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Using Mystery and Your Event Promotion

Have you ever used a little mystery or intrigue to promote your event? We humans tend to be a very curious bunch.  Once we’re teased with something of interest, it's usually followed by an insatiable itch to find out more.

The Sneak Peak
A great example of using mystery to tease something bigger is a movie trailer. What is a movie trailer? A movie trailer is a short two minute vignette to get people interested in going to see the full movie. Have you every thought of using the trailer idea to promote your event? With inexpensive video recording and free services like YouTube, it's never been easier to create your own videos.

Delivering the Goods

One caveat of mystery is not letting your audience down. If you’re building up a promotion using mystery make sure that you deliver something big. You want your audience to say, “Wow, that’s amazing!” You never want them underwhelmed by the experience. How many times have you seen something built up so big that it can’t possibility meet someone’s expectations? It's like seeing a great movie trailer and then being let down by the feature length version of the film. If you're going to tease, make sure you deliver the goods!

Below, I’ve included a video presentation by J.J. Abrams, the creator of Lost and number of Hollywood movies.  In the video, J.J. talks about Mystery Boxes and how they get integrated into various stories.  Take a few minutes and watch the video. It might give you an idea that can be integrated into you next event or promotion.

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

Event Marketing Idea: Blocking Your Tickets

There is one really simple strategy you can use to drive the “right” amount of advance sale tickets.  Why the “right” amount of advance sale tickets? Because many event organizers are hesitant to offer ticket discounts. They worry that they’re going to lose too much money.  “What if everyone buys the tickets at 50% off?” There is a very easy way to mitigate the possibility of giving up too much and still drive advance ticket sales.

Ticket Blocking
If you’re offering discounted tickets to your event, especially deeply discounted tickets, limiting the amount of tickets sold can be used to your advantage.  I refer to the process as discount ticket blocking. By ticket blocking you only offer a certain amount of tickets at a discounted price.  Just by limiting the number of discounted tickets you give additional incentive for people to buy early.  It’s important to find the right combination of blocking and price to drive ticket prices.  Each event is going to have a unique combination. Doing a little intuitive math should give you a decent idea of how much and how many tickets to discount.

Offer Huge Ticket Discounts

Did you ever think of offering a 50% discount on your event ticket price? A few months ago I meet Kevin Walsh from Wingman Events.  Kevin provides consulting services for the air show industry.  He came up with a great ticket and blocking schedule that helped sell a significant portion of tickets of advance sale tickets to an air show. Did he give up profit margin? Absolutely! He discounted some event tickets by over 50%. But would you give up significant margin if you could pay for your entire event before a single person walked in the gate? Remember there are only a certain amount of people who will buy early.

Ticket blocking is a simple way to make sure you don’t lose when discounting ticket prices and still drive advance sale tickets.  Make sure you give it some consideration for your next event.

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


Event Marketing: Ask Your Patrons What They Want

When is the last time you asked your target market for feedback or input on your event? It is very easy to assume you know the needs and desires of your target market.  The dilemma of assuming what a target market's needs and desires are, plagues the business world daily. It's the classic "I know what they want!" Businesses then proceed to spend a ton of money and time developing the perfect product or service that nobody needs or cares about.  Unfortunately the same dilemma carries over into the event world. Event organizers build events that don’t match up with the expectations or desires of their target market. If you can meet your target market’s needs and desires you’re much more likely to be successful with your event.  Put simply, would you rather go to an event that interests you or an event that holds no interest for you? One of the easiest ways to meet your target market's wants and desires is by asking them simple questions.

A Real Life Feedback Example
The example that follows isn't directly from the event marketing world, but the same idea could be applied to almost any event.

A few days ago a friend of mine conducted a very interesting feedback experiment. My friend’s company sells unique t-shirts.  On a whim he decided to post a short two minute video to his web site.  The purpose of the video was to request questions from his target market relating to his business and products.  After the video was posted online, he emailed all the people on his email list. The response to the video was tremendous.  Hundreds of people viewed the video and then submitted a bunch of great questions and comments.  My friend is now going to use the feedback to help him develop products that are very focused on the customer. It also help him drive home the biggest sales month he's ever had in his business.

Stick with Simple
You don’t have to do something as elaborate as a video post to engage your target market.  Email is a super efficient and inexpensive way to collect feedback. Send an email and ask a few very simple questions that help you better understand your target market’s wants and desires.  It could be as straightforward as “What do you want to see at the event?” You’ll be amazed at what you can learn when you ask questions. Ideas you might never have thought of manifest themselves with great audience feedback. Another great thing about asking for feedback on your event is that it builds a tremendous amount of trust and credibility with your target market.   

After Your Event
After you event is over think about sending a follow up survey. Find out what attendees liked and disliked. You could use the data you collect for planning future events.

If you want a super successful event ask your target market what they want and then do your best to deliver it to them.  It all starts with a question. If you can focus primarily your target market's needs, you'll have a much easier time reaching your event goals, guaranteed!

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