Every year, I hear event organizers espouse the virtues of "free" advertising and trades. Occasionally at conferences there is an "oh yeah ... well we got X, Y, or Z for free" contest. Lots of people trying to one-up one another.
Here's my rub with the whole "free advertising" gambit ...
To date, not a single event organizer who swears by their free advertising and trades can produce tangible evidence connected to ticket sales. This isn't to say that it doesn't happen. To be fair, most event organizers don't even bother to track. So, how would they know?
"Free" advertising and marketing is a topic that hits close to home. Because clients spend an inordinate amount of their time managing their free advertising efforts. Ultimately in the end, they're left with nothing to show for it.
I am unsupportive of ANY form of advertising or marketing (online or traditional) that cannot be attributed to a ticket sale. Either you can track what you're doing to a ticket sale or not. And if not, it's pretty simple ... stop doing what you're doing.
This year a client went back to using old school "promo" codes on their print advertising. The results were eye-opening and easy to understand. When in doubt, go back to the fundamentals!
The way to preserve your advertising soul is to pay for advertising and track those efforts to a result.
Instead of free advertising and marketing, focus your efforts on paid solutions with a proven track record. You can start advertising online for as little as $5 a day. Even better, you can track simple advertising efforts to ticket sales.
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