For all the technological terror, this works better

About ten years ago, an event client conducted an onsite informal marketing survey. Event attendees were asked a question in exchange for a can of soda (pop).

The survey consisted of a straightforward question, "how did you hear about the event?" Participants were given a series of multiple-choice answers to choose from. Choices included: Facebook, billboards, radio, television, etc.

When all the attendee answers were tallied, the top response to "how did you hear about the event?" was "from a friend."

Fast forward to the present day. The same question above gets asked to another set of event attendees, with a similar choice of multiple choice answers. Interestingly enough, the top option selected was "from a friend."

Now, two separate informal surveys don't constitute anything near statistical significance. But it does get one thinking.

For all the technological marvels that have arisen in the past ten years, one person telling another person is still a powerful way to market one's event.

When the findings are presented to the event organizers, they're gobsmacked. "There's no way that could be true!"

If you haven't already, is there a way you can take advantage of "word of mouth" advertising to promote your event? It costs you nothing and relies on one of the most potent forms of human persuasion. One person telling another of their experience.

Additional Event Promotion and Marketing Advice Links:

A ginormous online advertising mistake

This morning, I found myself scrolling through Facebook for market research. I was attempting to have a re-targeted Facebook ad display for an event in Ohio. Surprisingly, the advertisement I was looking for popped up in less than 30 seconds.

A closer look at the event's Facebook ad showed a few dozen likes and about 7 comments. The focus of the ad was to promote discount ticket sales.

Next up in my research was clicking on the advertisement. Where would the click lead me? Right into the jaws of an egregious online advertising mistake. After clicking on the ad, the Facebook user is taken to the event's homepage.

"Well how is that bad?"

Where the user was taken, after the click, was a disconnect from the advertisement. It's something that often happens with online advertisements and kills advertising effectiveness.

As an example, if you're advertising discount tickets to your event, then drive people directly to your event's ticket page (not your homepage). This might seem silly, but this simple concept still gets missed.

Today's takeaway is simple. If you're going to advertising online, make sure your advertisements are in alignment from start to finish!

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

Taking advantage of the event tease

One of the biggest mistakes I see with many event marketing campaigns is the desire to tell people everything at once.

With rare exception, a "tell all at once" approach rarely pay dividends. Especially with ticket sales.

In 2015, I started working with a client that had pushed most of their info out to the public, 10 months before their event. The net result was a little over one hundred USD of first-day online ticket sales.

If you're not taking advantage of it, curiosity is a fascinating human condition to integrate into your marketing campaigns.

Curiosity is applicable across multiple advertising and marketing mediums. Everything from your website, to social media, and traditional advertisements. Even the subject lines of your email marketing campaigns.

In 2016, the client with anemic first-day ticket sales came back with a phenomenal turnaround.

Instead of starting ticket sales 10 months in advance, the client teased highlights and performers for their event. Lots of curiosity building demand. The client even delayed the start of online ticket sales by 8 months.

As a result, the client's first-day ticket sales skyrocketed by +116,224.32%. (And, yes, the decimal place is in the correct position.)

If you're not smartly and strategically leveraging curiosity, you're leaving a mountain of money on the table. Go forth a be a tease with your event!

Want more insight into building curiosity for your event? Check out the articles below:

Inadvertently slaughtering a golden goose

A few weeks ago, I spoke with a Canadian event organizer about their number one marketing asset. That asset is the "goose that lays golden eggs." And everyone has one. Your golden goose comes in the form of your customer and prospect list.

When curated and appropriately cultivated, a permission-based marketing list will outperform all other forms of advertising or marketing.

In 10 years, the Canadian event organizer referenced above spent over 100,000 CAD building a permission-based database of over 40,000 people. Their database investment generated over 1,000,000 CAD of ticket sales. That's a 900% return on investment.

If you have anything that can consistently generate that level of ROI spanning 10 years, I'm all eyes!

As it pertains to the Canadian event organizer, they had given control of their "golden goose" to another organization as a result of a business partnership.

What was intended to be a good-faith partnership ended in a marketing disaster.

The event's new partner insisted on using their own marketing software for database marketing. Because of anti-spam laws, that required every one of the 40,000 imported customers to reaffirm their permission to be marketed to.

As a result, an expensive and well-cultivated marketing list of 40,000 was slashed to 400 people.

As of last year, the partnership has ended, and the Canadian organizer is left with a tiny marketing list. Will they be able to rebuild their list, yes! Unfortunately, it will take them years to get back to a high-quality list of 40,000 people.

This one is straightforward. Unless you're getting more money than you've ever imagined, never cede control of your golden goose to any other organization.

Here are some "golden goose" links to get you going:

The event marketing - meatgrinder questions

In the mid-2000s, I was at an event conference in Las Vegas. A friend of mine had invited me to a "who's-who's" evening party at the Bellagio. During the party, I met an event organizer from California. For reasons I cannot explain (probably alcohol), I asked him the following four questions.

"How much cash did you spend on your marketing/advertising budget?"

His response, was about 250,000 USD cash (it could have been 150 - it's been 15 years) . Based on the size of his event, the number seemed a little high. But I didn't want to be too nosy, so I rolled on.

Next question:

"What was your most successful marketing or advertising piece/initiative?"

His response, "Great question, I'm not really sure. I think it was newspaper advertising."

Then, an important follow-up question:

"What was the return on investment for your most successful marketing/advertising piece?"

He responded with, "Unfortunately, I don't know."

Based on the event organizers answers, I asked my final question:

"If you're not absolutely sure what is the most effective form of marketing/advertising ... why do you still invest $250K (150K) cash in your marketing and advertising?"

The gentleman's response was delayed (you could see him mentally reconciling his answers to the previous questions).

After a few seconds, he finally responded with:

"Because that's what we've always done."

Out of dozens of event organizers whom I've asked the questions above, only one could confidently answer each question. Notably, several organizers responded with similar answers, "we don't know ... and that's what we've always done."

I strongly encourage you to use the questions above, after every event.

Get your team together and go through all your advertising and marketing. You must hold all your marketing and advertising ruthlessly accountable. If your advertising and marketing can't show ROI, cast it out!

Incidentally, the one event organizer who was able to answer the questions above with conviction, has a highly successful and profitable annual event.

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

The art of online to offline event promotion

There was a time when testing a piece of advertising took days, weeks, or months with traditional media. Today, you can do the same within hours or days using the Internet for a fraction of the cost. Specifically, when it comes to testing your event advertising and finding something that works!

Even better, no long-term advertising contracts or commitments! An entire course could be taught on testing advertising online and deploying it offline. For today, let's start with a few crumbs of insight.

How does it work? In the simplest sense ... you test an event advertisement, offer, or event sales copy online ... get a measurable result ... and then take your tested promotion offline.

It was 2016, and I was working on a government contract for a U.S. Navy event in Fort Worth, Texas. The two Navy gentlemen for the project had zero experience with Internet marketing. Even though they didn't have much marketing experience, these two gents were great at taking direction and initiative!

During the beginning phases of the Navy project, one of the guys asked if he could take a tested online lead generation piece and use it offline. My response, "heck yeah, that's a great idea!" So they took the online marketing piece and place it into a print newsletter as a one-page advertisement.

The Navy's offline advertisement directed readers back to a one-page website. In less than a week after printing and distribution, the Navy had generated hundreds of permission-based "red hot" leads for their event. All from a print advertisement that started its life as an online lead generation piece.

Instead of coming up with a new advertising piece, do you have an online event advertisement that you can repurpose in traditional media (television, print, radio, billboard)? We broached this topic in a previous email.

If you're ambitious, you can take the entire online to offline testing concept and use the strategy to build out all your event marketing campaigns. Will it take a little work? Absolutely! But the payoffs and event marketing insights are extraordinary!

Discover how to track and test your event promotions. Just click a link below:

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:

Disrupting "the rhythm of the page"

Years ago, a web design studio featured a client's air show website in their portfolio. Here is a paraphrased portfolio description: "XYZ Air Show now has an exciting, fresh website design to excite a new generation of attendees with less text and more images on the site."

Did you notice the part about less text?

Yes, the website was visually stunning. It also cost the client at least $50,000 in lost online ticket sales. The problem was that the website relied so heavily on visuals and eliminated so much text that the conversion rate dropped significantly.

The issue was brought to the client's attention several months before their air show. At the time, the web designer stated that the air show website needed more traffic. We attempted to explain that it was a conversion rate problem but nobody on their web design team understood that.

Remember that conversion rate is the percentage of people who go to your air show website and make a purchase. Their feedback was, "If there was more traffic, more people would buy." So we went out and drove more website traffic.

A few months later, we were able to double the traffic to the client's air show website yet the conversion rate was still down. Doubling the traffic was great, but the significantly lower conversion rate meant far fewer people were purchasing air show tickets.

The result? The client lost tens of thousands of dollars of revenue which was calculated by looking at their historical conversion and revenue data. When conversion rate was brought up to this highly prestigious web developing studio yet, again, they had no idea what we were talking about.

They questioned where our data was coming from. It came from the same Google Analytics account they set up! They took it personally because so much time was dedicated to creating a visually stunning website. They were so emotionally tied to their design that they couldn't see the bigger picture.

Finally -- or, somewhat, reluctantly -- they decided to update the air show ticket page. The update was the exact opposite of what the portfolio description said. Over 1000 words were put back into the design-heavy ticket page. We also made some design suggestions to make it visually more straightforward for people to buy tickets.

The lead designer for the project said that the suggestions made to update the ticket page would "disrupt the rhythm of the page". What they failed to realize was that their design was disrupting the rhythm of revenue into our mutual client's bank account.

Thankfully, we were able to get most of the changes in place, the conversion rate went way up and revenue took off like a rocket ship.

Unfortunately it took over six months to convince the web development studio to make the necessary changes. The opportunity cost was massive. This example also emphasizes the importance of knowing and tracking your marketing math!

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

Pay them & hold their feet to the fire

A few years ago, a client decided to hire a highly prestigious PR firm to help promote their event. The cost to hire said PR firm was in the tens of thousands of dollars (USD). Ultimately, not a single ticket sold to the client's event could be reconciled to the efforts of the PR firm. Zero, zip, zilch!

Could the PR firm's effort have sold some tickets? Sure! But it's a rarity for a client to hold a vendor's feet to the fire, regarding measurable results.

Today's question of the day, "are you holding your vendors accountable to a mutually agreeable result?" The question is most applicable to advertising, marketing, and PR vendors. Be fair about this process by setting expectations at the beginning. "We're hiring you to sell tickets to our event and that's what you'll be held to, ok?"

Don't start any work, sign any agreements, or pay any money, until the expectation has been set and both parties (you and the vendor) agree.

After your event ...

You need to ask the question, "how many tickets (attendees) did you sell to our event?" Answers should come in the form of hard data. And if you can't prove it with data, the "results" don't count. No free passes, or "we'll show you next time!" Again, establish the expectation upfront!

You can tell the vendor, here are the questions we're going to ask you. And then, ask the questions above.

By that same token, if you can't track an effort (marketing, advertising, or PR) to ticket sales, don't engage in that activity! Either it works, and it can be proven, or it does not. There is no wiggle room here.

You owe it to yourself, your budget, and your team to start asking the tough marketing questions. The most straightforward place to start is by having the people and companies you pay held accountable. That accountability comes in the form of proven ticket sales, nothing less!

Additional Event Marketing and Advertising Resources:

The TV Advertising Test

Does your TV ad pass the following test?

At the local gym, there is a row of television sets that display the major U.S. networks. There is a little bit of something for everyone ... news, sports, home and garden channels, etc.

There is one catch to watching television at the gym. Unless you bring your own headphones and plug into a supporting piece of exercise equipment, there is no sound. Occasionally, some of the stations have closed captioning, but not for the commercials.

Before you produce your next tv commercial, ask yourself the following ...

Does your television commercial convey the most critical marketing points without audio (sound)?

Those marketing points are the big takeaways that you want people to remember from your commercial. Most of the commercials that I see at the gym fail to convey meaningful information without the accompanying audio. As a result, a missed marketing opportunity!

The question on sound isn't just applicable to the gym. The same applies at a local bar, restaurant, or any place where televisions are viewable to the public. Depending on your local population, that can be a significant number of people.

If your television commercial is only seen, what are the two or three main points that you want watchers to take away? If you can convey those main points without sound, your commercial with audio will be even better. Make sure your television commercials stand on their own, without any sound!

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

How Facebook could be ripping you off

Last year a friend of mine bragged, "Loj! I spent USD 800 on an advertisement that according to Facebook sold over USD 100,000 of our products in 30 days!" That sounds amazing, if only it were "true."

I've long advocated, "if you're going to post anything on Facebook, pay for it!" Facebook has made it brutally clear. If you don't boost your content with ad dollars, your content will rarely be seen. That said, spending money on Facebook advertising comes with an important caveat!

Without getting into the technical side of things, Facebook has a model for loosely connecting your dollars spent within its advertising platform to what it calls "total conversion value". It's called an attribution model.

In its purest form, if you pay for advertising on Facebook, they'll attribute that spend to a conversion value (ticket sold) in their ad reporting. Facebook's "last touch" attribution model is based on views (impressions) and clicks.

In their own words ...

"By default, Facebook Attribution selects a last touch model with a 1-day impression and 28-day click window. For example, if you were to select purchase as your conversion, and apply this default attribution model and attribution window, your reporting will reflect purchases that can be attributed by Facebook to the last ad click that happened within 28 days prior to purchase or the last ad impression that occurred within 1 day of purchase, whichever happened last."

Source: (About attribution models)

In the 100K of products sold example above, my friend had selected a 28-day view (impression) as his last touch attribution. That means every time Facebook loaded an advertisement on their page (regardless of anyone actually seeing that advertisement), Facebook attributed those impressions to sales. Even if Facebook had zero influence on those sales!

Why am I telling you this? Because after carefully investing client money in Facebook advertisements with third party revenue tracking installed, Facebook's attribution model gives most people a false sense of success. As a result, Facebook is making a lot of money on people's lack of understanding and/or ignorance of their attribution model.

In some cases, Facebook takes credit for purchases it had little to no influence on. In one instance Facebook said it sold over USD 2,000 of event tickets based on a single advertisement.
According to third-party ad tracking software we installed, 44 USD of ticket sales could be attributed to the Facebook ad. That's on over USD 500 of advertising spend and not a good return on investment. Fortunately we stopped the USD 1,000 budgeted ad before any more money was lost.

The takeaway of the day is the following. If you're going to advertise on Facebook make sure you're very familiar with their attribution models. Always look with a critical eye and ask questions. Last but not least, instead of looking at pure "conversion value" consider other ways to measure success.

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

A shameful and gastly looking website

Remember that old cliché "don't judge a book by its cover"?

The same sentiment applies to your event website. And ironically enough, to some of the most successful sites on the Internet. Putting all politics aside, I'd encourage you to look at (Again, please ignore the political leanings of the website).

Show to any graphix designer and they're likely to become apoplectic and say, "that looks ghastly! It's absolutely horrible." Design-wise they'd be correct.

In short, the drudge report website is straight out of the 1990s. It's a bunch of text links and photos. Occasionally they'll include a silly animated gif of a flashing light. It's cheesy with an extra side of cheese.

Given all of the above, most people would discount, solely based on looks. But if you consider their estimated 100+ million annual web site visitors and millions of dollars (some estimates as high as 30M USD a year), and one might think differently.

In 2011, an event client was vilified by their peers for their one-page website. Just like Drudge, the event website was horrible and a bunch of text on a single page. All designed by the guy typing here.

There wasn't a week that went by where either the client or a marketing friend said to me, "Eugene you really have to change that website, it looks B-A-D!"

Within 24 hours of tickets going on sale, the client had sold USD 50,000 of event tickets. All with a one-page ugly duckling website. The client went on to record ticket sales for their event.

If you only had one choice which would you choose:

1. Win a bunch of design awards for your website.

2. Be the proud owner of butt ugly event website that produces record advance ticket sales and sells out your event.

You only get to choose one!

Always remember, it's not about how your website looks. It's all about your website's ability to produce results. Just like that book cover … before judging any website, put your personal bias aside and ask "how well is that website performing?"

Here's more counter-intuitive design advice for event websites:

Kryponite for the social whiners and haters

Here's an excerpt from my Facebook book on dealing with the event complainers, haters, and howlers ... tis the season!

Because social media is a, well, social animal, it is nearly effortless for people to criticize.

Here are some recommendations on how to deal with negativity on Facebook and it basically boils down to having excellent customer service skills:

My strong recommendation is to not react to anything on Facebook immediately. Don't respond too quickly but also don't wait too long to respond. There isn't a specific time frame, and it largely depends on what a Facebook user posts or comments about.

Have a full-time social media person (or customer service-oriented volunteer) helping you during your event. It is very easy for someone to go through and post negative information to your Facebook page. If you and your team are hard at work putting on a great event, you might miss a negative comment.

In a few instances, a negative comment could turn into a PR nightmare. This is why it's so important to be vigilant about your social media the week leading up to your event and through your event.

If a Facebook user is agitated at you or your event, try to take the conversation off your Facebook page. Acknowledge the person's concern and ask them to send you a personal message. You can do this by directly replying to their post or comment. If you're able to resolve the issue to that person's satisfaction, ask the person to acknowledge that in their post or comment.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of deleting negative posts on Facebook. Unless a post or comment contains vulgar language or is entirely inappropriate, keep it on your Facebook page. Why would you want to keep a negative comment? Because it's social media.

Take the opportunity to acknowledge or explain whatever concerns a person might have brought to your attention. In some cases, people leave such over-the-top comments that you don't need to explain anything.

When you have a great event and loyal customers, you often find your own customers and supporters coming to your defense. This happens more often than not. Here's how it usually goes: A Facebook user leaves a very negative comment on your Facebook page. If the feedback isn't offensive or over the top, don't rush to respond.

What you'll find is that your supporters and customers will often come to your defense and respond for you. Honestly, I've seen this a majority of the time. You still want to monitor your posts and advertisements, but allow your supporters and customers to weigh in.

In short, think first – smartly (don't react), answer later!

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