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The Dull Essentialness of List Clean-up

Today's question of the day is, "Do you clean up your marketing/customer lists?"

From first-hand experience, list clean-up can be a tedious and time-consuming process. It can also be essential in maximizing the results of your marketing campaigns.

How so?

Take a great ad and send it to a lousy marketing list; your results are going to be poor. Juxtapose the previous variables against a high-quality list with mediocre marketing. Your high-quality list with sub-par marketing will outperform almost every time.

Here's an email list cleaning example from a recent project involving a large outdoor event in the United States.

In total, the event has a high-quality contact database for over 60,000 people. During a recent email marketing analysis, the following came to light.

Over the last two years:

7,000 contacts did NOT open any marketing emails, and approximately 40,000 contacts OPENED at least one marketing email.

If you haven't already, add up the numbers above and take note. Specifically, the 40,000 people who opened an email and 7,000 that did not open an email. Those numbers total up to 47,000 contacts on a list of over 60,000. Unfortunately, it also leaves us with a gap of over 13,000 marketing contacts.

How is that gap possible?

It's essential to remember that even if your email service provider indicates an open, it doesn't mean that's technically accurate. With people using pop-up blockers and privacy tools, tracking open rates is becoming more challenging. The same word of caution also needs to be applied to those contacts who didn't open your emails.

Here's where a lot of the tedious list clean-up work could come back to haunt us ...

On the surface, one could easily justify deleting the contact information for the 13,000 "did not opens" in the example above.

That is until you find out that almost 10% of the people on the "did not open" list are also customers with an average transaction value of $140 USD.

Put in other words, $140 x 1000 = $140,000 USD of customer data that could be easily deleted.

Remember, just because you can quickly delete something doesn't mean you should. You must have a series of checks and balances to guide the cleaning of your marketing lists. Always be willing to dig deeper!

Want to get more advice using a list to promote your event? Check out the links below:

Engaged in "Random Acts of Event Marketing"

As you might be aware, most client projects start with a series of discovery questions. Here's one of the questions that always gets asked:

"Do you use a marketing system to promote your event?"

Of all the times the question has been asked of event organizers, not one time has someone answered with an affirmative "yes!" That's important because all that have responded with "no" have events that are either struggling or severely under-performing.

And, for those who initially answer "yes" on the question above, their answer becomes a reluctant "no" after asking this follow up question:

"Can you please show me the measurable results from the system you're using?"

As my friend Roman Yako is fond of saying, most companies are engaged in "random acts of marketing." They advertise a certain way because that's what they've always done. With rare exceptions, marketing and advertising actions are never tied to tangible results.

Truth be told, I wasn't always an able marketer for my clients. Before discovering the ways of "the Force," I focused on delivering a superior service. That was when I focused on providing web usability services. One client said to me, "every business in this town should be using your service!" Ironically enough, I often found myself broke!

Fortunately, in the mid-2000s, I discovered Dan Kennedy and Eben Pagan. Both strongly advocated for leveraging marketing systems built upon direct response marketing.

To date, every single client success story has involved implementing a marketing system based on the tenets of Kennedy and Pagan. The results have been nothing short of spectacular. Including a better customer experience with more loyal customers—and consistently turning advertising dollars into a bankable investment.

If you're at a loss of where to start with a marketing system, be sure to pick up a copy of Dan Kennedy's "The Ultimate Marketing Plan: Target Your Audience! Get Out Your Message! Build Your Brand!" You can also get Kennedy's book in Kindle format for speedier access.

Want to get more info on how to track your event promotion and marketing? Check out the articles below:

Influencer the world with the socials

A quick request, before we get to today's topic...

Please let me know if you have a personal story to share on the topic below.

Why do I ask?

Because people often ask me, "why are you opposed to X,Y, or Z?" Insert your marketing/advertising topic of choice for X, Y, or just Z.

My response is, "I'm not opposed to anything that works for you." The challenging part gets down to the word or definition of "works." Specifically, showing data or even anecdotal evidence that "X, Y, or Z" produces a measurable result. Thus far, no takers. Hence my request.

That said, here we go!

In early 2019, a Polish event organizer asked me about leveraging social media influencers for a marketing campaign. Unfortunately, I didn't have any case studies to share at the time.

However, the case study perspective changed later that year. That's when a client decided to hire a local agency specializing in social media influencers.

Initially, the client didn't tell me they had hired another marketing firm. Then, when asked about the hire, the client's response was, "we have a Board member that has a personal relationship with the business owner." As with all things, it's the client's event; thus, who they hire is at their discretion.

My only request regarding the social media influencers was that all their posts be tracked with simple UTMs / links. The client agreed.

Long story short, the client spent a significant amount of money to generate ... ready for it ... a total of 33 website visitors. All tracked through and Google Analytics with zero leads and no purchases.

To be clear, I'm not here to bash social media influencers. However, my marketing and advertising philosophy is agnostic. My expectation of all, including myself, is to quantify what works.

Here's another cautionary tale regarding the power of social media influencers, especially when it comes to your event!
(Credit to Ben Settle for bringing the following story to my attention.)

"Influencer Arii, who has 2.6 million followers, couldn't sell 36 T-Shirts"


As I advised the Polish event organizer from above if you're going to use an influencer(s) to promote your event, make sure you track their results! That means having tracking and result expectations set in all your marketing and advertising contracts.

If a social media influencer is unwilling to have their work measured, don't hire them. This isn't mean; it's smart business. And when you're business is on the line, you have to be smart!

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:

"Read Aloud" for better ads & marketing

Previously, we've explored the technique of reading your advertising and marketing pieces out loud. It's something I torture clients with regularly. Yes, I actually call clients and have them read their advertising and marketing copy out loud.

Why read your ads & marketing pieces out loud?

Because it helps you identify potential readability issues. And when people find something challenging to read, they rarely complain and just stop reading. Hence, your advertising dollars could be going to waste.

If you don't want to read your marketing pieces out loud, here's an automated and easy to use alternative.

What follows has helped me improve my atrocious writing to occasionally readable. More often than not, it's also identified additional grammar and spelling errors that computer proofing tools did not detect.

A few places to use the "Read Out Loud" include your Facebook ads/posts, sales letters, ticket sales pages, marketing emails, info on your event website. Basically, anywhere where you need people to read text.

The following suggestion is for those with Microsoft Word. Other programs or online services offer the same feature if you don't have Word. Search the phrase "read text out loud" on your search engine of choice, and you should find plenty of options.

For those with Microsoft word, please do the following.

Select the "Review" tab after you load up your document or text in Word. You might need to copy & paste your advertising copy to review (text only) in to Word.

Within the review tab, look for the "Read Aloud" | Speech tab. If you don't see the "Read Aloud" option, check the "Quick Access Toolbar" options. Then, highlight the text you want to read and click "Read Aloud."

One tweak that I suggest is adjusting the reading speed under the "Read Aloud" settings. It should be a small speaker with a cog. My recommendation is to set a slightly faster reading speed (just past the midpoint.) This helps the computer sound a little more human with better pacing.

Finally, consider using the "Read Aloud" technique with headphones or earbuds. Doing so allows you to use this technique almost anywhere. Another positive of using headphones is it helps eliminate distractions and allows you to really focus on your words.

Give the above recommendation a whirl and let me know what you think. Reading out loud is one of the quickest ways to improve your writing and make your event advertising and marketing even more effective.

Want to get more advice on advertising and marketing your event? Check out the articles below:You Need to Consider the Other 97%

Using a Cloak of Mystery to Benefit Your Event

About twenty years ago, my father worked at a local development company that owned several local chain restaurants. On occasion, the owner of the company and my father would conduct "mystery shopper" evaluations of the company’s restaurants.

The "mystery shopper" methodology was pretty straightforward. You go to the restaurant and order a meal. Never was it announced to staff who you are or what you were doing, hence the mystery component.

During the meal, one would observe and take notes of the overall customer experience. For example, was the wait staff friendly and attentive? Were all the menu items available for purchase? If there were any issues, were they adequately resolved?

After visiting several restaurants, the owner and my father would compile all their notes to identify the positives and negatives. Then, recommendations would be sent out to the various locations for managers to address any issues of note.

Overall, the mystery shopper experience was integral in gaining favorable word of mouth for the restaurant chain—all in a world too early for Internet reviews.

If you don’t have one already, please consider setting up a mystery shopper program for your event. Ideally, your mystery shopper should NOT be you or someone on your staff. Look toward a trusted advisor or friend who has a track record of honest feedback. Why is that?

Because if you or a team member are working hard to execute a great event, it’s challenging to add more to your plate and stay objective. You’re going to get task saturated and probably miss something.

In every instance where mystery shopping client events, major customer experience issues have been identified and presented to clients. My goal is to be as fair and objective as possible. So, any issues of note are always backed up with customer feedback.

Mystery shopping is relatively simple to set up and will provide you and your team with some fantastic insight into your event.

Want to more event customer experience advice? Check out the articles below:


Event Promotion: An immutable human buying behavior

As marketer Frank Kern once said, "unless your customer was genetically modified in utero to have a completely different psychological disposition than the rest of the human race, this stuff (well thought out marketing and advertising) will work!"

It is crucial to understand how we as humans make purchases. When it comes down to buying behaviors, it's straightforward.

All humans buy on emotion and justify with logic.

The above statement might seem overly simplistic, but its simplicity is tremendously powerful.

Can you remember a time when you had a deep desire to purchase something? Maybe it was a family vacation or a new cell phone. What starts as a small thought begins to nag you, and suddenly you feel as though your life will be better with that purchase.

The result?

You just purchased on emotion. And we as humans are conditioned to feel good about consumption.

After the dopamine hit, you most likely back-filled your buying decision with a series of logical justifications.

Buying on emotion and justifying with logic is in play when generating ticket sales and getting people to attend your event.

It's important to remember there is a dark side to human buying behaviors. e.g., Drugs, illicit activities, or running up massive debt on credit cards. So if you're going to use the Jedi mind tricks of marketing, please do so responsibly.

If you haven't had an opportunity to read it, I strongly recommend "Influence, New and Expanded: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D. In his book, Dr. Cialdini explores case studies and clinical research directly related to human buying behaviors. Cialdini's book is a fascinating read!

Years ago, I recorded a special training on Cialdini's Weapons of Influence. If you'd like a link to that presentation, reply to this email.

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

The Irreplaceable Charm of Live Events

Getting together with other human beings is a positive experience that is almost impossible to replicate. But, of course, that’s provided you want to get together with other people. The holidays don’t always give us a choice. :-)

Before the pandemic someone asked me, "do you think digital events would replace live events?"

My answer back then, and even more so today, is a resounding "No, live events are here to stay!" Even if the pandemic as slowed live events down.

Yes, there is a time and place for digital events, especially if your local or federal government doesn’t allow you to hold an event.

With the above said, if you’re going to go digital, use it as a supplement and not a replacement to your live event.

You and your team need to stay proactive.

The single best thing you can do right now is to "prime the pump” for your next event, even if you’re uncertain when your next event might occur.

What steps do you have in place to make that happen?

Reach out to your previous customers, generate leads, and build relationships with those in your target market. Doing so will pay you in spades.

Even better, a proactive approach to your next event will put you leagues ahead of your competition.

Here are some additional tips on planning and promoting a successful event: