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December 2019
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February 2020

When less and simple produce significantly more

Last February, I wrote about the importance of reducing the size of your event website. Specifically, size measured in the total number of individual pages users can publicly see on your event website.

Recently, an overseas client took that advice to heart. They whittled their massive event website down from over 1,000 pages to approximately twenty pages, per language. (They do have multiple language versions of their website.)

Knock on wood / touch wood ... the same overseas client is now in a very good position to potentially double their online ticket revenue. Even better, their advance ticket sales revenue is jaw-dropping.

The client above also streamlined their marketing process using very basic online tools. Not the bleeding edge super-duper marketing technology "the experts" insist you need. Their technology approach is what most digital marketers would consider boring or ancient. Yet, it works magnificently!

I bring the above up, not to brag, but to impress upon you that in today's world of countless technology options, simple things can make a world of difference.

Make sure you don't choose your marketing technology based on all the bell and whistles, but that which is easy to implement. Ideally, that which can be easily tracked to ticket revenue.

My question for today is this:

What can you do today to simplify how you advertise and market your next event?

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

Text message lessons and your event

Here's a short one for today.

Yesterday morning, my lady sends me a mobile text (SMS) message. I reply with three text messages full of sarcasm. To which my lady replies with a text message that was serious in tone. And then, I clarified my position with, "(It appears my sarcasm didn't travel well via text)" To which she replied, "Right over my head!"

Why am I telling you about text messages with my lady? Because the actual TEXT (copy) part of the message is the critical part.

Put precisely, the words we use to communicate with our marketplace. Think about it this way. Have you ever read or sent a text message that was horribly misinterpreted? Maybe you were trying to be funny, and the person on the receiving end thought something completely different. Or vice versa.

Here's how text messages apply to your event. The actual words you use MIGHT be interpreted differently than you intended. Especially for short messages like event advertisements or customer service SMS message.

Be crystal clear in your event messaging, especially those short marketing messages. If there is even a modicum of uncertainty on the clarity of your messaging ... get a brutally honest friend to weigh it.

If you want more info on this topic, be sure to check out the 'what exactly is "coming soon?"' email from a few months ago.


The ultimate form of event insurance

Years ago, I had a client who did exceptionally well at their outdoor event. They generated a profit of over $250,000 USD. In a moment of unbelievable generosity the entire $250,000 of profit was given away to all the volunteer organizations that provided help at the client's event.

After a year of working with the client, we amicably parted ways.

In the years that followed, I kept in touch with the event organizers. A few years and some atrocious weather later, the outdoor event was financially in the red.
Because they gave all their money away and had zero reserves, they were unable to pay their bills. Ultimately, the event was sold off to another organizer who acquired the event's debts.

What follows applies to every event. The mantra comes from extensive work with outdoor events, including air shows, beer festivals, and ethnic festivals. Most events that fail do so because they're unable to pay their bills.

It's short, simple, and to the point. The ultimate form of event insurance is cash in your bank account. Ideally a reserve account, separate from your operating account.

A great copywriter by the name of John Carlton once accurately stated, "money will only solve those problems that not having money creates." If you don't have one now, make sure you start a "rainy day" reserve account for your event.

If the former client above had set up a "rainy day" reserve account, they'd still be in business today.

I guarantee you, a reserve account will allow you to sleep at night when things don't turn out as planned.

Want to get more advance ticket sales advice? Check out the articles below:

Eliminate advertising & sell more tickets

A few years ago, a new client asked me to help identify the most effective advertising and marketing channel for their event. The channels included both online and traditional media.

At the time, the client did not have any tracking systems setup. Not even the basics. No promo codes, nothing. They didn't even have Google Analytics installed on their event website. Thus, any type of tracking analysis was complicated, to say the least.

During my initial advertising and marketing audit, I found one advertising channel where the client was spending almost USD 30,000 cash. That cash expenditure was a huge slice of their marketing budget. After some digging, I made the following recommendation to the client, "don't renew your $30K contract."

I believe one of the easiest ways to track marketing and advertising effectiveness is through elimination. Here's a straightforward question to ask, "Can we prove that this piece of advertising/marketing is working?"

If you or your team cannot respond with a resounding "yes!" and hard supporting data, drop it! My rationale was simple. Neither I, nor the client, could attribute a single ticket sale to the $30K of cash the client was investing.

Based on my recommendation, the client re-invested their $30K into another marketing channel. That new channel returned to the client over seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Furthermore, the client's event increased ticket sales by 40%. All while eliminating advertising.

Make sure you're always challenging your marketing and advertising spend! It's something I encourage you to do after every event.

Want more info on tracking your event marketing effectiveness? Check out the articles below:

Marketing & chaos the week of your event

You know what it's like ... those days leading up to and through your event. My guess is that you would NOT use words like "relaxing, stress-free, or pleasant." Chances are it's a little more chaotic, dramatic, and stressful. What probably ends up happening is you get into execution mode.

And because you're in execution mode, you have to prioritize your time and energy against other efforts. What often gets neglected when prioritizing are your advertising and marketing efforts. It's the nature of the beast.

My question for you today is this:

"What's your marketing plan for the final days leading up to and through your event? And how are you going to execute on that plan?"

Being able to confidently answer both questions above is essential for maximizing your event attendance and ticket revenue. And it's rarely an easy answer. So, here are two simple strategies which all my clients use.

With clients, their marketing and advertising plans are usually discussed and finalized six to nine months in advance. There are even a few contingencies thrown in the mix for outdoor events (weather being the most common curve-ball). If something unexpected comes up during a client's event, there are a series of standard operating procedures. Little is left to chance.

Now for the second critical cog! You might have a great plan, but who's going to execute it?

Because you know how busy things get leading into your event, you must have a dedicated team or person to implement your marketing plan. That's key! It needs to be someone you trust implicitly. That individual or group should have full authority to "do what it takes." And it's something missing for many events.

Make sure you have a marketing execution team leading into your event. By doing so, you'll sell more tickets and be able to focus your efforts on ensuring a great event!

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

Crushing dreams & aspirations for profit

Today's question: "How do I decide on a profitable, entertaining event to market?"

It starts with avoiding creativity and a "new kind of event people have never seen before!"

Put bluntly, stay away from new, untested event niches. Untested is a recipe for event disaster. Especially if you're a newbie event organizer. That is unless you have piles of cash to burn or years of successful experience producing niche events.

Yes, the words above would be considered "mean" by most people. It's a perspective that potentially crushes the dreams and aspirations of new event organizers. It's also grounded in the reality of twenty years of real-world event experience.

I've personally seen newbie event organizers dip into their retirement funds and not pay performers at their events, to cover financial shortfalls. Those failed events left their organizers embarrassed and publicly humiliated.

If you'd like to avoid embarrassment, shame, and public humiliation, I recommend the following tedious and unambitious approach to events ...

Look toward events or event ideas that have a longstanding and proven track record. That's the reason I intently focus on very niched outdoor events. All the client event niches where I focus my efforts have proven themselves financially, since before I was born.

To some, the above approach might seem dull and unexciting, because it is! It will also prevent you from going broke.

More importantly, it gives you the highest probability of success. Don't try and reinvent the wheel, go ethically borrow it from someone else!

Want more event promotion info? Check out the links below:

Haircuts and dying marketing data

Every time I go to get my haircut, I am forced to check-in with a computer.

As part of the check-in process, there are a series of info fields you must complete. Items include the request for your first name, last name, email address, and cell phone. As context, the only required fields are first and last name.

Once you fill out the information, you select the person to cut your hair and you're checked in.

It is rare for me to give out my personal information. But about a year ago, my insatiable marketing curiosity got the better of me.

Every time I went to get a haircut, I filled in all the information fields. I was curious about the company's marketing, "what are they going to send me?" Surely, they had some offers or appointment reminders.

A year later, I have yet to receive a single email, text message, or telephone call ... nothing! And it's an enormous missed opportunity.

Based on the size of the company, they're easily leaving $250,000+ of additional revenue on the table, annually. All because they're too lazy to do anything with the data. Please don't make the same mistake.

If you have a transparent and permission-based approach to collecting data related to your event, take advantage of the data! Remember, data dies from not being used. People forget what they signed up for, their information changes, etc.

The best antidote for dying data is to use it!

Here's some additional event promotion info:

Being completely counterintuitive in 2020

First and foremost, here's wishing you a safe and prosperous 2020! Since it's the New Year, you often hear many resolutions. Below is some amazingly straightforward advice, yet it's often challenging to implement.

Feel free to adopt it or discard it at your discretion.

The advice comes originally from Earl Nightingale via a book by Dan Kennedy. It can be applied to every facet of your business or event: operations, advertising, management, marketing, social media, etc.

It's a mantra that I have implemented in my own business and with every client. The results have been nothing short of spectacular. (And since change can be difficult, there was a lot of kicking and screaming along the way – myself included!)

Without further ado some sage advice from the late Earl Nightingale:

"Earl said that if you wanted to do something—anything—successfully and you had no instructions, no role model, ... was look around at how the majority was doing that thing, then do the opposite—because the majority is always wrong." – Dan S. Kennedy.

Source: Kennedy. (2019). No B.S. Ruthless Management of People and Profits: No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Guide to Really Getting Rich. Entrepreneur Incorporated.

"That's it? Yep, that's it!"

Clients have provided very compelling case studies on Nightingale's "doing the opposite" recommendation. This happens when other event organizers and business owners openly mock the strategies and tactics used by my clients. And yet clients gladly smile through it all. (Because clients see the financial benefits in their bank account.)

If those mocking clients would simply bother to ask them, "why the heck are you doing that and what are the results?" It's guaranteed that the critics would quickly change their tune.

Yes, the majority is wrong, almost always and far too often ... especially in business. Just consider the abysmal failure rate of most small businesses.

"According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20 percent of small businesses fail within their first year. By the end of their fifth year, roughly 50 percent of small businesses fail. After 10 years, the survival rate drops to approximately 35 percent." - Tom Sumrak


It's atrocious not only in the US, but across the globe!

Please take a long hard look at what the majority is doing and do the opposite. It will serve you well in 2020!

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