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What exactly is "COMING SOON"?

During a drive home from Canada today, I noticed a new vinyl banner ad on the highway. The highway is a route that I've traveled over one hundred times, and I usually see any new advertising. The banner ad simply said, "COMING SOON!" and was hung on an old fence on the top of a hill, you can see from the highway, at the location of a former winter sledding park.

The "coming soon" banner carries with it a major weakness of most event advertising and marketing. It lacks any salient details to get readers to understand, care, or take action.

Point blank, what exactly is "coming soon"? Another sledding park? Where I live, we're currently in the middle of Spring. Snow isn't expected to fall for another 6 to 7 months. Maybe they're getting an early start on winter advertising. Which would be great for them, but purely speculative on my part.

Since I'm speculating ... another line of copy such as, "The Best Sledding Hill Ever – Coming Soon!" would be tremendously helpful to readers. Maybe even add, "Visit SuperSnowHill.com for more details." Yes, ten more words, but those words would have easily fit on the area available. If in fact, that's what's being advertised.

Here's today's takeaway ...

All your advertising and marketing needs to be crystal clear. Never assume people know what you mean in your advertising. Just because you or your team are passionate about something, doesn't mean others will feel the same way. Above all, readers should never say or think, "what are they talking about?!?!" when reading one of your advertisements.

If your advertising space is limited, give them a short and compelling reason to visit your website ... right now! (Or if they're driving, when they arrive.) And if you have more space available, add additional copy that will drive people to visit your website.

Bottom line, the reader of your advertisement should never have to guess what you're trying to convey! In my experience, I have never heard anyone complain about advertising in the following manner: "that ad was easy to understand and had all the right details!"

Want to get more insight to better event promotion? Check out the links below:


Most event organizers don't know the answers to this ...

Here's a recurring principal of mine and bears repeating. The irony of what follows annoys the heck out of event organizers, yet they don't have any good answers.

It is absolutely fascinating to ask event organizers the following question, "why do people buy tickets (attend) your event?" The answers are quite diverse, even within a given organization. Things get even more distressing when you compare the answers given by event organizers with actual event attendees.

How so? Because the answers given by event attendees are often diametrically opposed to the very people organizing an event. Which begs a pivotal question, "how can you effectively advertise and market your event, if you don't know why people attend?"

Failure to provide good answers, to the previous question, is the biggest reason for wasted advertising dollars. It's like trying to sell a juicy hamburger to a strict vegan ... good luck with that!

You can take the question above one step further and ask, "how can you grow your event if you don't know the biggest reason people attend?" I'm not sure if you can. Because eventually you'll run out of "one and done" attendees.

Most events fail because of their inability to objectively answer the questions above.

Next time you get the opportunity, even at your event, ask your event attendees, "what's the biggest reason you purchased a ticket to our event?"

Here are some additional articles on planning a successful event:


When "SOLD OUT!" is bad of your event

Yes, you read the title line correctly.

Today, we'll look at how selling out your event could be potentially undesirable. If you're thinking to yourself, "Eugene, that doesn't make any sense!" Please read on ...

Several clients have sold out their events well in advance. At the time, it was a badge of pride for me. In hindsight, that pride was a mistake on my part and provided for a valuable lesson!

Think about what "SOLD OUT" means. There are no more tickets available for purchase. And thus, no more potential ticket revenue.

If you're thinking, "just put more tickets on sale!" That's not recommended. Here's why. I had a client put more VIP tickets on sale a few years ago, after selling out all their VIP tickets. (Against my recommendation.) They put more tickets on sale and were called out by their own customers.

Paraphrasing what an upset customer said, "why did you tell us the event was sold out?!?! I went out of my way to buy tickets, and now you're making more tickets available."

Back to the "SOLD OUT" is a potentially harmful issue ...

There are two particular lessons gleaned from selling out tickets ... too early.

Here's the scenario: You put tickets on sale, and they sell out in less than an hour, months before your event. With little to no advertising or marketing.

What does that tell you about the tickets being sold?

Two things ... It could be that there are too few tickets available. Or that your ticket price is too low.

If you raise your ticket price and take longer to sell tickets, you'll generate more revenue. All for the same number of tickets sold. In one instance, there was an outdoor specialty event that could have doubled their VIP ticket revenue and still sold out!

Raise the number of tickets being sold (if the venue can handle it), and that means even more revenue for your event.

Raise both price and quantity, the result is multiplied ticket revenue. What the finance geeks call, "Price Volume Mix!"

If you're selling your tickets out very early or very quickly, temper demand with higher prices and more ticket quantity.

Want to "smartly" sell out your next event? Check out the articles below:


You must control "X" or else others will

If you've been reading my emails for the last few months, you've seen the emphasis I place on having a dedicated event web site. One of the counterpoints I hear regarding my dedicated site recommendation, even from clients: "why not social media? Everyone's doing it, and it's so easy!"

With the masses focusing on "social media marketing," the importance of a dedicated (and smartly designed) event website has never been so significant. Plus, most event organizers (not all) are making a total mess of their social media efforts.

How so? I'll put it bluntly. I continuously hear event organizers say, "look at all the stuff we're doing, on social media" (page likes, posts, shares, comments, etc.) with little to no ticket sales to show for it!

More importantly, there is one critical factor to your own website that crushes anything you can do on social media. Would you like to guess what it is?

Simply put, a dedicated event website puts you in control of nearly all your user DATA! You do not have that level of data control with any social media presence. If you read the social media company's terms of service, it's evident who owns user data, and it's not you!

Furthermore, all those people who like your page on "Facebox" or follow you on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. ... go try and download your follower's information. It's a no go! Because that data is controlled by the social media companies, not you.

You must control "your data" or else others will. Managing your data is also crucial for long term event success.

Where can one start?

Install Google Analytics (event for its downsides) and start selling all your tickets online.

Google Analytics allows you to see insights on what people are doing on your website. Your customer data from ticket sales helps you build a proprietary customer database for future event marketing.

Yes, the suggestions above barely get you started. But it's more than most event organizers have in their possession. You can beat the competition by merely doing the essential things they refuse to do!

Want to get more info on designing a money making event website? Check out the articles below:


A "mean" assessment of an event's priorities

Here's a pretty straightforward marketing concept from Dan Kennedy.

It's featured in Kennedy's No B.S. Direct Marketing book. The concept revolves around how smaller companies are trying to advertise like the big companies. As Kennedy puts it, "most ordinary businesses advertising and market like much bigger brand-name companies, so they spend (waste) lots of money on image, brand, and presence."

Kennedy furthers his angst in an "Agenda for Advertising and Marketing." Here he lists what small companies mistakenly emulate from their larger siblings.

Things like, "pleasing its board, please/appease stockholders, looking good, build brand identity, win awards for advertising," and finally "sell something." He finished up with only one critical item for small business owners, "Sell something. Now."

You can replace the word "company" with "event," and the same fundamentals apply. Kennedy's harsh assessment also applies to your event website.

Much like small businesses, too many event websites are focused on looking pretty, making sure team members have a great picture and bio, how much money an organization has raised, etc. Those are all very nice. But do next to nothing to further someone purchasing a ticket or attending your next event.

People buy tickets to your event to serve their self-interest. And it's rarely what you or your team think! Having analyzed over a million words of North American event feedback, I can tell you with confidence that a tiny fraction of people attend your event, because of altruistic reasons.

What are you doing on your event website to "Sell something (a ticket)"?

Is your event website correctly structured to get someone to attend your event?

Your website must lead online visitors down a slippery slope to, "I want to do that, now!" If it doesn't, you're potentially setting your event up for failure.

Here are some additional event promotion insights:


Confusing your tax status & good business sense

Before we get into today's rant, nothing that follows should be considered legal or accounting advice. The previous two subject areas are not my expertise. With that out of the way, let's roll in ...

Back when I was a teenager, and through my thirties, I volunteered a significant amount of time with not-for-profit organizations. Everything from my church to a scouting organization, a credit union, and business professional organizations. My family was extensively involved in the local Ukrainian community and the familial expectation of volunteering was high.

During the time above, my father had a phrase and that phrase resonates loudly today. His advice came as a result of 50 years of being a volunteer in numerous not for profit organizations. He would say, "don't confuse your tax status (being a non-profit) with the responsibility of being a good business." e.g., generating enough revenue to pay your bills!

A majority of my clients are non-profits. Much to my father's advice, they approach business with a not-for-profit mindset.

The mentality of many non-profit boards and their executive leadership, "we're a not-for-profit, we don't have the money to pay for advertising!"

Why do I bring this up? Because during a deep dive into non-profit organizations with seven-figure event budgets, there appear to be serious attendance issues. I firmly believe their attendance issues boil down to two critical cogs, customer experience, and not spending enough on marketing and advertising.

For today we'll briefly focus on the marketing and advertising side of things. Specifically, the "we don't have the money to pay for advertising" mindset. Because instead of paying for advertising, non-profits are getting a lot of seemingly "free" advertising.

A look at tracking data for numerous non-profit events shows that in almost every instance, "free" advertising and trades severely underperform against paid advertising. e.g., a $300,000 USD of "free" radio advertising that couldn't be tracked back to a single website visitor or ticket sale.

On the other hand, some non-profit clients spend $358 for paid online advertising (as part of a sophisticated marketing strategy) and generate $13,242.75 in ticket sales. Can such extraordinary results be accomplished every time? Most definitely not! But that should be the goal.

Regardless of the type of event you have, keep your focus on identifying paid advertising and marketing that brings you a significant return on ad spend (ROAS). As I'm always harping, track everything to a ticket sale. And if you can't track it, don't do it – free or not!

Additional Event Marketing and Advertising Resources:


A broken hub and bent spokes

Have you heard of the "hub and spoke" model? Truth be told, I'm not exactly sure who came up with the original concept. If I'm not mistaken, the model dates back to the airline industry in the 1950s.

For those not familiar with the hub and spoke model, here's an overly simplistic analogy. Think about a bicycle wheel. You have a central hub with radiating spokes. The spokes and hub are the support mechanism of the wheel. Federal Express adopted the hub and spoke model and look how that turned out!

Interestingly enough, another group of people took the hub and spoke model and applied it to marketing. Each spoke represents a different form of marketing or advertising. All of those spokes lead back to a central hub.

In today's world, the spokes can represent all your social media, traditional media, and online media channels. The central hub is your event website. Your goal should be to get all interested people back to your event website. It's where you control 100% of the message and the data!

Unfortunately, the hub and spoke marketing model gets broken by most event organizers. The breaking happens in two prominent places.

The first place is by not having every piece of your marketing and advertising lead back to your event website. It isn't enough to prominently display your web address. You need to give people a very compelling reason to remember your web address or click on a link to your event website.

Number two is a bit counter-intuitive. When they're on your event website, you want to keep them on your website and give them a good reason to return. Thus, I don't recommend social media icons on your website. Why not? Because that leads people away from what you have to offer. Likes, Shares, and Comments belong to social media companies, plus the all-important user data.

Remember to use all those advertising and marketing spokes to drive people to your event web site. Once they're on your site get them to BLANK or BLANK. Doing so will ensure your success and the longevity of your event.

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Outdoor events & record ticket sales

How do you sell a million dollars of advance tickets to an outdoor event (with a horrible weather forecast)?

You start by offering tickets at a massive discount ... smartly!

One of the biggest fears I hear from new outdoor event clients when suggesting a massive ticket discount strategy is, "we'll lose all our money!" If discounting is not done correctly, then you could lose a lot of money. That's why you must use a discount pricing strategy.

A great way to protect your ticket profit, even with deep discounting, is by blocking your discount event tickets. Ticket blocking means you limit your discounted ticket offerings to a certain number of tickets at a given percentage off. As an example, you can decide to sell only 500 tickets at 50% off.

Once that block of ticket sells out, the price automatically goes up.

Each event is going to be a little different in terms of how many tickets you should discount and at what price. Selling tickets in blocks requires insight into your ticket buyer's behavior.

What are the numbers of tickets that people purchase 30, 60, 90, 180 days before your event? How much revenue is that worth to you at those intervals? When are most people buying tickets for your event?

Having carefully looked at ticket revenue data for dozens of outdoor events over the last 20 years, certain outdoor event niches sell 50-60% of their tickets within 10 days of their event.

The deep discount strategy is considered absurd to many. It has also led all my clients to record advance and overall ticket sales. Including a 40% increase in revenue that started with a 50% ticket discount.

Get your marketing math together and take a look at what you can do!

Want to get more event ticket strategies? Check out the links below:


The egomaniac's guide to event failure

Fasten your seatbelts, because things are going to get blunt!

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 utterly avoidable event catastrophes, all a result of people being stupidly subjective.

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 the event organizer adopts a mindset of knowing better than their own event attendees. And that "I know better" will get your event a fast pass to failure.

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!

Event organizers (of the subjective type) empathically state, "It's my event, and I'll run it as I please." That is true, but it's not worth trying to reason them.

My only question is, "What happens when your event crashes and burns?" Usually, it's someone else's fault, and it turns into a finger pointing contest. Even worse is the following event organizer statement (which I've had said to me by a frustrated event organizer), "People who didn't show up to our event don't know what they're missing ... they're idiots!"

Any event organizer who considers those that didn't attend their event in such poor regard is a dolt! People didn't attend because the egomaniac event organizer failed to give the consumer a compelling reason to attend.

Fear not, there is hope! Here is what you can do to prevent yourself from falling into the subjective mindset trap . . . be objective about all aspects of your event!

Being objective focus on facts, not feelings! A well thought out event survey (or pre even survey) is massively beneficial in keeping your event planning and promotions objective. The caveat is that you have to truly embrace the survey results. One of the single best event survey questions to ask your event attendees is "what DIDN'T you like about the event?"

Yet, when I propose the "what didn't you like about the event" survey question to organizers, they get upset and refuse to use it. They believe if you ask a seemingly negative question, their event will be cast in a bad light. I'd argue they don't ask the questions because their ego can't handle the feedback.

The truth is if you ask the question from above, you're going to have to put on some ego armor. BUT, if you integrate the negative attendee feedback, you're left which a significantly more marketable event. Some might ask, "why not ask what people liked about my event?"

Because if you only focus on the positive and don't correct the negative, you'll never improve your event. When you do ask the "negative" question, you'll find people are unbelievably cordial and appreciative with their feedback.

The "what didn't you like" question comes from Dave Pietrowski at the World's Largest Disco in Buffalo, New York. The Disco is a 25-year event that is "SOLD OUT!" numerous times before a single person walked in the front door.

Get more event planning insight:


Are you flying completely blind?

My friend Dan "Diggler" Proczko is also known as "The Duke of Data!"

Last week, Dan gave a presentation to a sold-out room of 75 marketers. During his presentation on campaign building and data strategy, he asked a straightforward question to the audience, "how many of you are using an analytics platform to track your marketing campaigns, like Google Analytics?"

"Come on Eugene, seriously! They're all marketers, of course they have something like Google Analytics installed, right?!?!" Dan was flabbergasted by the response.

In a room of 75 marketers, only 6 people had an analytics platform installed.

Without Google Analytics or a similar service, "you're flying blind!" Just like a pilot flying in clouds, in between mountains, with no instruments. That's a death sentence. And as a pilot, I can tell you firsthand, the last sentence is no exaggeration.

Yet without Analytics or a similar service, you have no idea what's happening on your event website. Including, at the most basic level, if your advertising or marketing is generating any results.

So today I'm going to keep the email short and sweet ...

Please drop me a message and let me know if you use Google Analytics, or a similar service, on your event website.

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


Where are your event dates?

Today, my mother called me. I love talking to her because she's such a positive person. Obviously, I did not receive my mother's super positive disposition. Anyway …

My amazing mother currently lives out of state and returns home over the summer. During today's conversation, she asked, "when is the festival taking place?"

There is a local ethnic festival that takes place every August. My mother loves to go to the festival and catch up with her friends from grade school.

In an attempt to be the helpful son, I used my mobile phone, during our call, and tried to look up the 2019 festival dates.

First stop, a Google search.

I put in the name of the festival and received a bunch of results. The first link is the festival's Facebook page. On their Facebook page, there are lovely photos and posts, but not an iota of information on the 2019 festival dates. So I go back to Google.

On Google, there were several results for the official event website. I clicked on several website links only to be greeted with, "This Account has been suspended." So it's pretty apparent their website is down. Therefore, no date information.

Finally, I grew frustrated at trying to find festival dates and told my mother, "I'm going to have to call you back and let you know the dates, sorry Mama!" With Mother's Day approaching, I failed to help my mother!

There have been at least two other instances where I've wanted to attend a festival or annual outdoor event, unable to find the proper dates. On one of those occasions, I found the event date after the event occurred. Not helpful!

The takeaway of the day … if you have an annual event or any event at all, make sure all your online marketing assets: event website, social media pages, online calendars, etc. prominently display the date of your next event. And here's a seemingly silly recommendation … include the year with your event dates! You'd be amazed at the confusion caused by not included the year with event dates.

Here are some additional articles to ratchet up your event web site:


"Location, location, location!"

Location, location, location ... that's a common phrase used in the real estate world. In short, a piece of property's value can be primarily influenced by location. The importance of location is also directly applicable to the event world. Specifically, when it comes to where you geographically advertise for your event.

Over the years, I've seen local event organizers (including clients) insist on expanding their geographic advertising campaigns. e.g., You have a local event, and you want to market in an adjacent town that is a 60-minute commute away.

To date, I have yet to see a local event that's successfully implemented (and here's the BIG KEY) a profitable out of town advertising campaign. That's an advertising campaign where ticket revenues far exceed out of town advertising spend.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure someone has done it. Probably a national event promoter with a multimillion-dollar advertising budget. That's not practical for most local event organizers.

In short, if you have a local event, the best location to spend your advertising dollars is local! (That sounds horribly cliché and is also spot on.)

What if you REALLY want to try out of town advertising for your event?

Provided you know your target market well (detailed demographic & psychographic profiles), you can geographically target your event marketing, out of town. Out of town advertising success is predicated on three essential factors ...

First, are there known out of town buyers and how much revenue do they generate? You'll have to look at your historical customer data for insight. If you have no data or poor out of town return on ad spend, don't waste your advertising data out of town.

You might want to consider mapping out of town buyers. An online mapping service I use for client projects is BatchGeo.com.

Second, you must be able to track every dollar of advertising spend to a ticket sale. Seriously, no more excuses on this one!

Years ago, a client spent thousands of dollars on out of state advertising. Fortunately, we were able to put advertising tracking in place. Their result was a few hundred dollars in ticket sales against an investment of thousands of advertising dollars in cash. After seemingly abysmal results, they no longer spend out of state.

Third, if you're going to spend advertising dollars out of town, do so online only. This is because online advertising is usually trackable (provided you're selling tickets online) and you can turn off online advertising campaigns in a matter of minutes. Thus, if a campaign isn't working, you turn it off – no long term contracts.

If you're going to spend event advertising dollars outside of your local market, make sure you target your advertising spend and track everything to ticket sales, without exception.

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

Additional Event Marketing and Advertising Resources:


65 Minutes of Outdoor Event Promotion Insight

Recently, I was interviewed by Mike Gastin for "The Currency" podcast. Mike brings in experts from various marketing disciplines and excels at asking insightful questions. One listener said of the interview, "Eugene Loj dropped some bombs!" My promise to you ... listen to the interview, and you'll get at least one profitable event idea.

A few of the podcast highlights include:

  • A $400,000 USD event bet on one's favorite music artist
  • Three main datapoints every event organizer needs to know and the critical data question you need to ask
  • "Geopolitical Socio-Economics" and being human
  • Event modeling lessons from Tomorrowland
  • Where to focus your efforts for maximum event success

Please consider subscribing to Mike's weekly podcast "The Currency." Even though the topics aren't event specific, there are plenty of ideas and expertise to get you thinking. Remember, a good marketer is always sharpening their skills!

My thanks again to Mike. Let me know what you think.

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


An event radio advertisement fail

During my drive to the office, there was an event advertised on the radio that caught my attention. The radio ad was for a local event that was selling VIP tickets. The ad listed a series of excellent VIP ticket benefits.

After each benefit, my inner voice said, "yes, that's awesome – I want that!" The radio advertisement even had a call to action, "to get your VIP tickets, go to ..." some website address!

Overall, it was a decent radio ad with significant benefits to a potential event attendee. Plus, a clear call to action.

So after getting back to the office, I went online to visit the event website. Then, proceeded to spend a good five minutes trying to find the VIP tickets advertised. No luck.

On the event site mentioned in the radio ad, there are at least 5 other events listed. It was frustrating to find any information on the VIP tickets advertised, and I doubt that I was the only one frustrated!

What are we left with? A prime example of a good radio ad coupled with a lousy event website.

Hence, here's the takeaway of the day ...

It is a ridiculously simple advertising concept introduced to me by Eben Pagan. And it goes like this: if you're going to advertise your event (product or service) your advertising process has to be in tight alignment, from the start (advertisement) to finish (website). Each step in the process follows a logical progression.

That means if you have an advertisement for VIP event tickets and send someone to a webpage ... the only thing on that webpage/web address should be details about VIP tickets and a purchase link. Not a million different links for people to get lost on your website.

And, unless you really want people distracted from giving you their hard earned money ... no social media links!

Anything less than one topic and one clear goal in your advertising leads to distraction. And distraction costs your event ticket sales.

Keep all your advertising, regardless of medium, in alignment from start to finish!

Want more info on radio advertising for your event?
Check out the articles below:


Is your event website fat?

Being overweight is not healthy for both humans and websites.

With high bandwidth connections becoming more the norm, web developers and clients are often neglecting an essential area of web design. They forget to optimize graphics and website load times.

For events, unoptimized graphics usually come in the form of photography. It could be a great photo of a family having fun at your event or a picture of something delicious to eat at a food stand. Photographers want to capture as much information in their photographs as possible. That's great for the print world, but not for your website.

Where an issue arises is when those large photographs are uploaded to an event website. Lots of detail in a photo means a huge image. And large photos are too much extra weight on your website and bad for website load times.

"According to 2018 research by Google, 53% of mobile users leave a site that takes longer than three seconds to load."

Source: Patel, N. (2019, February 15). Speed Is A Killer - Why Decreasing Page Load Time Can Drastically Increase Conversions. Retrieved May 6, 2019, from https://neilpatel.com/blog/speed-is-a-killer/

Back to yesterday's email, you have ten seconds or less to grab a user's attention. If your event website takes a few extra seconds to load, due to bloated graphics or sloppy website code ... you've lost, before your site even loads.

Long load times are particularly harmful to mobile websites. And with more and more people accessing your event website via mobile devices, you want to become vigilant.

The optimization issue becomes more prevalent when clients manage their own websites. Clients rarely pay attention to the size of the image their uploading. Frequently a full-size media image will be uploaded to a client's event web page. And that kills page load time.

Just last year, a client's web developer identified dozens of bloated graphics on their event website. What followed was a painful process of determining the overly large graphics and replacing each oversized graphic. That's a lengthy and time-consuming practice.

Fortunately, there is a straightforward solution. It won't solve every web site loading problem. But will get you and your team into the mindset and behavior of not uploading unoptimized graphics.

Here's an easy to use online tool that makes image optimization easy: https://imagecompressor.com/

If you're uploading images and graphics to your website, make sure to optimize all your images. Because every single second of load time counts!

Want to get more event website design info? Check out the articles below:


You have less than X to capture their Y …

One of the first places I look at on new client projects or during a marketing audit is their website.

Almost everyone judges a website by how it looks. You often hear phrases like, "it's beautiful" or "the design is stunning!" That's all very nice and almost entirely irrelevant. Because regardless of how a website looks, only results matter. And your results are largely dictated by how long people are on your event website.

Back in the late 1990s, I discovered Jakob Nielsen. At the time and to this day, Nielsen is considered one of the foremost experts on web usability. Put in simple terms, how easy it is for humans to interact with a given website. One of Nielsen's areas of focus was determining online user attention spans.

Would you like to take a guess how long the average person spends on your event website?

Less than ten seconds. And that is a terrifying small amount of time to do anything online!

Here's a summary of Nielsen's findings regarding online user attention spans:

"Users often leave Web pages in 10–20 seconds, but pages with a clear value proposition can hold people's attention for much longer. To gain several minutes of user attention, you must clearly communicate your value proposition within 10 seconds."

Nielsen, J. (2011, September 12). How Long Do Users Stay on Web Pages? Retrieved May 5, 2019, from https://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-long-do-users-stay-on-web-pages/

You're welcome to delve in further and scare the heck out of yourself, by clicking the link above.

Please don't take my word for it. I encourage you to look at your own website engagement data. In Google Analytics, you can find user engagement data using the following tabs: Audience > Behavior > Engagement

On the Engagement page, hover over the blue bar in Google Analytics, under the 0-10 second "Sessions" column. And see how long people are spending on your website.

Ultimately all of the above leads to this question, "what are you doing with your event website visitor in 10 seconds or less?"

Let me know what you find and what you think.

 


A shark's dorsal fin and your event

One might assume user traffic data varies significantly from one type of event website to another.

Over the last 20 years, I've been collecting data from numerous event web sites. Some of the event niches include beer festivals, ethnic festivals, sporting events, specialty, and not for profit fundraisers.

One of the most fascinating aspects of event web sites is that the observed user traffic trends are atypical. Without data most event organizers incorrectly assume their own website traffic trends. Even if they've been organizing their event "forever!" The logical assumption is that there is a gradual or linear increase in website traffic leading up to an event.

Every event website for the last 20 years has shown very similar traffic trends. And it’s very different from what most event organizers think.

Leading up to the event, user traffic anemically increases. It does not gradually increase as most people assume. Within a week or two of the event, web traffic increases almost exponentially, to a spike. Then rapidly decreases to a trickle of traffic, after the event.

Here's another observation. For the clients that spend between $0 - $150,000. USD cash on advertising, all the traffic curves look very similar. Like a shark's dorsal fin!

To be fair, I don’t have data on the $150,000.+ USD cash advertising campaigns for events. Clients have never spent that much. Hopefully someday!

There is also some interesting data when you segment data within Google Analytics. Here’s a numerical snapshot of 12 months of user traffic data from two completely different events:

Percentage of Total Web Site Users by Date Range for Annual Events

53-60% of Event Website Users visited 25 Days before the event and 5 Days after the event.

35-46% of Event Website Users visited 5 Days before the event and 5 days after the event.

It is essential for event organizers to collect and monitor their event website stats. Knowing your event web site user trends can prove tremendously beneficial for maximizing the effectiveness of all your advertising and marketing.

At a minimum, it tells you when people are most interested in your event. That alone can help you determine when to spend marketing dollars for maximum impact. You can find your data in Google Analytics under the Audience > Overview tab.

Let me know what you find!

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

 

 


To be fooled or not, by event advertising impressions

Let's dive into an online advertising test from 2014. Several details can be unpacked here. But for today, we'll take a high-level 40,000-foot view.

At the time, I was debating with a client on the importance of advertising impressions. During that client debate, I was challenged on the power of what "a million" impressions would do for a local event.

My standard line on advertising impressions goes like this, "impressions don't impress me much!" I believed that a million impressions would not do much for the event.

During the 2014 advertising impressions test, there were several interesting takeaways. Even a few insights that genuinely surprised me. Several of my assumptions on advertising impressions were proven both correct and incorrect.

And so there is no confusion, I'm NOT against advertising or the people who sell it. I am staunchly opposed to people that sell event organizers advertising they know will never help an event. A far too often occurence.

My ultimate goal is to provide clients and EPR subscribers the knowledge to make great advertising and marketing decisions. So here goes ...

Using Facebook in 2014, I was able to get the client over 2 million online impressions for $62.88 USD. Yes, the decimal place is in the correct spot. A three-cent CPM and that's a phenomenal deal! (And another case study as to why event organizers need to master their own media buys!)

Thanks to Facebook's targeting tools we were able to laser target potential event attendees both demographically and geographically, all using a classic direct response advertisement. A click on the Facebook advertisement brought people back to the client's event website.

With 2,044,800 online impressions, guess how many people clicked on the advertisement?

We tested numerous variations spanning 9 different campaigns over 45 days. And there were a total of 130 clicks. That's 130 clicks on two million impressions. Those 130 clicks went on to generated 12 online leads. When you start with two million impressions and only produced 12 online leads, that appears to be an abysmal result. Yet, when you know your marketing math numbers, there could be a silver lining.

Based on the Facebook impressions test, the client had the option of paying approximately $16 USD to generate a $52 average transaction. Does that sound like a good deal to you?

Regardless of my heterodoxy on marketing and advertising, I'm a firm believer in challenging the status quo. That includes my own beliefs and opinions, regardless of experience and track record.

So, make sure you're always testing your own opinions and biases! Because you might be surprised at what you find.

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Go where your competition is NOT

Every Wednesday is dedicated to client "status calls." If I don't drone on too long, these status calls usually last about 10-20 minutes. In short, the agenda goes like this: what have we done and the results, what are we working on now, and what's next?

If you're not doing something like a status call, I strongly recommend them. Provided you have an action based agenda, it really helps with team efficiency. Especially if you want to avoid atrociously long (accomplished nothing!) meetings.

I digress ...

During one of the status calls yesterday, the topic of mailboxes came up again. I asked my client, "how much mail do you get daily?" Her reply, "my inbox is always full!" To which I had to clarify, "... your postal mailbox." And she replied with, "I get very little postal mail these days."

This week, I found two pieces of mail in my postal mailbox. Three weeks ago, I almost went to the post office, because I hadn't received any postal mail for four days! Most people I ask say, "I'm receiving far less postal mail these days!" And that lack of postal mail is a potential opportunity for your event. And a place your competition is probably not leveraging!

Ask yourself, "While everyone is going online (including your competition), is there an opportunity to market your event via the postal service?" After years of talking about it, clients are finally ready to give direct (postal) mail another chance.

Here's a tiny excerpt from May's Event Profit Report to drive home the point:

"A local Greek parish uses direct mail postcards with great success to promote their four-day ethnic festival. The outdoor festival makes over $250,000 USD in food and beverage sales. In a recent discussion with one of the Greek festival's organizers, it was revealed that their postcards are the most effective form of event marketing."

Some of the most highly successful marketers I know use traditional postal mail very effectively. They collect a lead or a customer online and follow up with postal mail. You might want to consider the same approach.

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Do you know your CAC?

Lately, clients have been doing deep dives into their event expenses and ticket pricing. And that's a great thing! I encourage them to go one step further on exploring their event costs.

Today's suggestion goes along with an email, from last month, on the Average Transaction Value (ATV) of your ticket buyers.

Let's look at another critical marketing math number you and your team need to know.

"How much does it cost your event to acquire a customer?" Or, what my finance friends call Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).

It's imperative that you know your CAC. If not, how else do you know how much you can afford to spend on advertising?

Here's the excerpt from an email last month to drive home the point:

"... In 2013, a client was considering a local media buy for their event. The media buy included both traditional and online placements. At the time, I knew that the client's Average Transaction Value was around $50 USD.

With some additional marketing math numbers and based on the proposed marketing package, I calculated that it would cost my client over $400 USD to generate a $50 USD customer transaction.

My question for the ad sales executive, "why should my client pay $400 in advertising to generate a $50 sale?" That math doesn't work! ..."

In the example above, the Customer Acquisition Cost is $400 USD for $50 USD of ticket revenue. That isn't sustainable, because you'll go broke!

Most event organizers have no idea their CAC. If you don't know it already, make sure you know your CAC! Per the example above, it can greatly assist you when negotiating your advertising and media buys. As that old cliché goes, "knowledge is power!"

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