A logical event website misconception

Recently, I had a brief telephone conversation with a potential client. Overall, it was a positive call. Yet, there was a common question that kept being asked.

After a bit of hindsight, I thought, “well-meaning event organizers think THIS is a silver bullet for their event.”

Unfortunately, it’s a logical misconception. And it wastes a lot of money.

What’s THIS?

It’s the belief that …

“We just need a new website!”

It’s true. A smartly designed website can propel your event to a whole new level if used strategically.

To the best of my recollection and experience, I have yet to see a single “new website” deliver extraordinary results for any event organizers.

Why is that?

Because a website is a single marketing tool in your tool kit. On its own, a website can’t do much. You need to leverage your website with a series of well-aligned marketing actions.

One of those marketing actions is highly targeted paid advertising. When paid advertising is coupled with a well-designed website, that’s a difference-maker!

So next time someone tells you, “we need a new website!” Take a step back and dig a little deeper. Ask simple questions:

How many people visited our website? (And when did they visit?)

Of the people who visited our website, how many purchased tickets or attended our event?

Where is the traffic to our website coming from?

The questions and answers above helped one client build a well-thought-out three-page website. Yes, just three pages. That three-page website sold over 500,000 USD of event tickets in less than 24 hours.

Thus, I can tell you with unwavering confidence that most events don’t need a new website. Instead, they need a well-thought-out set of marketing tools and strategies to maximize the effectiveness of their current site.

Here are some additional articles to boost your event web site:

 


My number one rule of event content

Most client campaigns are composed of anywhere between 100 to 150 pieces of advertising and marketing content. This content is distributed via both traditional and online mediums. Content can be anything from marketing emails, website updates, social media posts to press releases.

And in case you’re wondering, every client to date started with very light content campaigns. So that means if they’re at 100 pieces of advertising and marketing content now, they were less than 20 pieces of content before we started working together.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I’d like to share with you my single strongest event promotion recommendation as it applies to content creation, specifically in the areas of marketing, advertising, and public relations.

When sending out promotional content for your event, never send something just because it’s on your marketing calendar. Every piece of content needs to be well thought out.

Here are just a few content evaluation questions for you and your team to consider:

What’s the ultimate purpose of this single piece of content? And how does this content integrate with our overall advertising and marketing campaign?

Is this piece of content going to sell tickets? Or, will this content generate more interest and leads to our event?

Is the content specifically structured and delivered to meet some of the objectives above (leads and tickets sales)?

The overall objective of the recommendation above is to make sure that your target audience treats you as a welcome guest. That includes everything from their email inbox to their social media feeds.

Thus, my strongest content recommendation to you is never to send a single piece of content that isn’t helping to build and strengthen your relationship with your target market.

Ultimately, every piece of content is leveraged to build a digital relationship with your target audience. And in a world of too much digital noise, a good relationship is a difference-maker!

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


Extraordinary intel on some US events

Here's a little nugget on gathering intel on events in the United States. Specifically, not-for-profit events.

Because I'm US-based, this recommendation is focused on US-based non-profits/events. That said, I'm sure similar tools exist elsewhere in the world. Please let me know if you're aware of such tools and willing to share.

In the United States, non-profit organizations are required to make their tax returns available to the public. And not for profit tax organizations, with gross revenues over $50,000 USD, file their taxes using Form 990.

In the words of the US Internal Revenue Service:

"Form 990 is the IRS' primary tool for gathering information about tax-exempt organizations, educating organizations about tax law requirements, and promoting compliance. Organizations also use the Form 990 to share information with the public about their programs." Source: IRS.gov

Anyone with an Internet connection can access a US non-profit's tax returns. Just do an Internet search on "Tax Exempt Organization Search." You will need the non-profit organization's legal name and state of Incorporation or Employer Identification Number (EIN). Most of the previous information can be gathered with a few minutes of online searching.

Will an organization's tax return tell you everything about its event operations? No.

But it can tell you a lot, especially regarding advertising, marketing, ticketing revenues, sponsorship, and event-related expenses.

I've even used the process above for negotiating contracts.

When asked, "how did you know that?!"

My reply, "it's public information."

As the adage goes, "knowledge is power." Do some digging and let me know what you discover. You will be amazed!

Here are some additional articles on planning a successful event:

 


How to Deal with "LOTS" of Event Complaints

In 2021, a client raised the "a bunch of people are complaining" flag regarding an email marketing campaign.

When I asked for further details, the response was, "people didn't know there was a link in the email" The "complainers" suggested we put 'click here' next to the email link.

The client sends the next email with "click here" next to the link, and the results aren't that great.

Ironically enough, when tested, "click here" has made a noticeable difference in marketing campaign response. Primarily when used sparingly!

Am I suggesting you slap "click here" next to every link in an email or on your website? Negative.

It would be best to be careful using "click here" on your promotional emails. Because there is a chance (based on several combined factors), your email could be flagged as SPAM.

With the client example from above, there are a couple of shall we say, conveniently omitted details. If ever you receive a complaint, always dig deeper!

When pressed on complaints, use this initial question, "exactly how many people are complaining?"

Consider the following complainer's scenario:

Client: "A lot of people are complaining!"

Eugene: "Exactly how many people are complaining?"

Client: "A lot!"

Eugene: "What's a lot?"

(Client gets slightly annoyed and then finally answers.)

Client: "Two"

Eugene: "Two out of 30,000+ sent emails?!?!" (Yes, 30K emails sent and two complaints.)

Follow-up question: "Who is the person complaining?" (Are they a customer or event attendee?)

Here's the icing on the cake regarding the example above. The two complainers were client vendors who fancied themselves marketers.

In the next email, I recommended that the client remove "click here" from their email and write more persuasive copy. They accepted the advice and implemented the suggestions. The result was a 71% increase in email click-through-rate.

Yes, customer experience is paramount. But at the same time, focusing your limited time and resources on a wild goose chase is a waste.

Next time you receive complaints, find out exactly how many and if the people complaining are even your customers. You'll be surprised what you find!

Want to get more info on event customer service? Check out the articles below:


Overly Obvious Domain Registration Advice

Back in 2006, I only had a few event clients. During that time, most of my income resulted from working with small to medium businesses. There were numerous clients spread across multiple industries and many great lessons learned! Including what follows here.

When it came to new clients, almost every business needed to register a domain name and build a new website from scratch.

During a project, the business owner wanted me to register a couple of domain names. I asked the owner to email me which domains he wanted registered. After receiving the email, I copied and pasted the domain names into the domain registration search tool. Both domain names were available, so I proceeded to register the requested domains.

A few months went by before we started to build the client’s website. At that time, all websites were built on a dedicated development server. Once the client’s website was built and tested, we were ready to go live.

After we went live, the client had an issue accessing their site. In their own words, “I’m typing in my domain name, and the website is not coming up.”
Was the issue technical?

As I dug back through my project notes and emails, my heart skipped a beat and sunk into my stomach.

What happened?

The domain names were copied and pasted directly from the client’s email. And one of the domain names was misspelled.

Regardless of the unique spelling, the lesson learned was shame on me for not spell checking the domain name.

Since the domain registration lesson learned in 2006, every domain name that gets registered is triple checked for spelling. The process is straightforward.

If you’re going to register a new domain, break the domain name you want to be registered and spell-check each word.

superduperbeerfest.com … Super Duper Beer Fest (Spell check each word)

After your domain spelling checks out, then register you domain. Hopefully, it spares you the embarrassment and frustration above.

Additionally, if your domain name is difficult to spell, you might want to consider registering misspelled domains.

What seems like overly simplistic advice has saved my clients and myself multiple times since 2006.

Additional Resources:


Minimize the hoop jumping

Last week, my car needed maintenance. As result, I found myself in a small auto repair shop. "Calcio" loving Italians run this cozy auto repair shop. Serie A and Serie B, to be precise.

In the repair shop waiting room is a community board. There, you will find numerous business cards and a poster or two promoting local events.

During my visit, there was one event poster being displayed.

Side note: If it's not already a habit, make sure to take the time to review any event poster that you might see. There's always something to be discovered!

Most of the important information elements were well covered when it came to the event poster. Yet, there was one significant issue. And it’s something I’ve seen on a regular basis.

The event poster recommended visiting the ticketing company’s website to "Purchase Tickets".

Why is that an issue?

Because visiting a ticketing website makes a prospective ticket buyer jump through several hoops to purchase an event ticket.

Case and point. You must go to the ticketing website and click on a tiny "Find your next event" button. After you click the button, you need to enter a location. Then, you're presented with numerous events. As you scroll down through the events, more events populate.

Ultimately, after a bit of diligent searching, I never found where to purchase tickets for the event advertised on the poster. And my guess is that I’m not the only one.

A more straightforward solution to the above is to have your event website and sell tickets directly from your website.

As the direct response people say, "Make it easy for them to buy, right now!"

If you have your own ticket sales start, please share it in the comment section below.

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


Cracking Creativity with Tommy Edison

I'm going to take a slightly different tack on this one. It will focus a little more on personal development. So, bear with me.

One of the world's most creative minds kept extensive handwritten notes. Over 3,500 notebooks were discovered after Thomas Edison's death in 1931. Those notebooks contained a litany of ideas, sketches, and observations. Edison used his notebooks continually to cross-pollinate ideas.

Some of Edison's most significant accomplishments were a result of noting his own massive failures. In Edison's own words, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

For most humans, forgetting is a regular occurrence (this guy included!). In today's digital overload world, our minds are bombarded with thousands of stimuli daily. To remember a quick idea can be a daunting task.

If you aren't already, my suggestion to you is to become a voracious note taker! And don't worry, you won't need 3,500 notebooks. It's the process and strategy that's essential.

Start by finding a pen and a small notepad. Make sure both are compact enough to carry along with you daily. For those that want to go digital, I recommend an Evernote Premium subscription.

Moving forward, keep a pen and notepad (or your digital notebook) with you at all times. When you have an idea, please write it down. If you wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, write it down.

Michael Michalko, who wrote Cracking Creativity, offers some Edisonian ideas for organizing written notes:

Write your observations down from daily experiences. Observations can include ideas from meetings, information that you've gained through reading, and brainstorming.

Organize your notes thematically into a set group of categories and subjects. This is where Evernote shines, because you can tag, search, and categorize notes.

After you've established a series of notes, go back to glean additional insight into problems you may encounter.

You might be able to solve your problems by modifying or reinterpreting something you previously experienced. Plus, when you have your ideas written down, you don't need to take the time to remember what you forgot.

Source: Michalko, M. (2001). Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius (Revised ed.). Ten Speed Press. pp. 106-107.

If you're disappointed in the above suggestion, I'd ask you to reconsider. The most extraordinary client successes have come as a result of taking notes and cross-pollinating ideas.

If you can integrate the suggestions above into your daily routine, I promise you it will have a massive positive impact on your life and your pocketbook.


A Powerful Key to Great Event Survey Results

Recently, clients have been doing a decent amount of surveying. Their survey types include everything from post-event surveys for 2021 to pre-event surveys for 2022.

Here's something of interest. For all the surveys conducted in previous years, there has been a significant delta in survey completion rates. These rates vary anywhere between 26% to 78%.

There are numerous factors influencing survey response rates. Including, everything from the quality of your list to the relationship an organization has with those being surveyed.

And in case you're wondering, list size is one of the least important factors.

It doesn't matter if your list is big or small. One would think that a small survey list would perform better. Nope! The worst performing client survey in 2020 had a total of 16 people on the list. How so? Nobody completed the survey.

Thankfully, there is a single universal element of survey success. Your key to success with surveys is well thought out process. That means treating your surveys like a marketing campaign.

Even the most straightforward marketing campaigns have clear objectives, a well thought out process, and measurement.

When analyzing poor survey results from the past, the first place I start is getting an overview of the process being used.

In every instance of lackluster results, the lack of a well-defined process was glaring.

Before doing another survey, make sure you have a well thought out process in place.

If you're not sure where to start, look at what others are doing and ethically borrow their ideas! There is no reason to reinvent the “wheel” if someone else has already figured it out.

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

 

 


Does funny put money in your account?

This evening (US Time), companies are investing 6.5 million USD for a 30-second Super Bowl commercial, per ESPN.com. Come Monday morning, you'll hear a bunch of people pontificate about the "best" or "funniest" Super Bowl commercials. Let us not forget all the "viewer's choice" awards.

It's worth paying attention to all the noise! That said, I'm going to challenge you to dig a little deeper into Super Bowl commercials. At worst, it's an excellent edutainment (educational entertainment) opportunity.

My challenge to you is to cut through all the noise about "best, funniest, viewer's choice, etc."

I admit it, some of the commercials are hilarious and entertaining. But, if funny doesn't put money in your bank account, is it worth $6.5 million USD?

After all the "votes" have been tallied, keep an eye on those companies in the news. A great place to do this is by using the Google Search box, run a search on "Super Bowl commercials", and then select the "News" tab. This allows you to sort all the recent news stories.

In the coming days and weeks, keep an eye on the news stories regarding companies that advertised during the Super Bowl.

The question you need to ask, "did a given Super Bowl commercial drive revenue (or a measurable result) with their advertisement?"

Is the funniest or most entertaining commercial the most profitable?

Did those companies who advertised during the Super Bowl make their money back?

Google News can often provide you with the answers.

If history is any indicator, the most entertaining commercials are rarely the most profitable. Not to say that never happens.

You should keep an eye on what happens. Anyone can be a savvy marketer, by merely asking smart questions. More importantly, a little digging can give you a good indication of what might work in your advertising in the future.

Want to get more advertising and marketing advice for your event? Check out the articles below:


Ted Lasso's curiosity advice for events

After a presentation last week, I was given the feedback of "Eugene gave yet another over-the-top example of success. That seems like what he always does."

Both of the previous sentiments are accurate. With that said, here's a slightly different take.

Instead of touting my accomplishments, I prefer to frame success in the form of client accomplishments. It's a team effort that often involves overcoming numerous challenges.

So yes, I'm proud of what's been accomplished with all parties involved. But, ultimately, the goal is to inspire others and get them to realize similar outcomes, regardless of their current circumstance. Hence, presenting before and after case studies.

For context, the over-the-top example referenced above was an event that increased their first-day ticket sales by over three hundred thousand percent. As they say, "results not typical!" And it only took six years and a lot of "kicking and screaming" to realize that increase.

Regardless of event niche, judgment and jealousy seem to be the default frames of a significant number of people.

And for all the success stories and presentations, a minuscule number of people have ever asked, "can you please tell me how was that accomplished?"

So instead of focusing on the negative, let's try something positive ...

If you're looking for a great television series, may I suggest Ted Lasso. The series is about an American football coach who travels "across the pond" to coach a Premier League team. A great quote is referenced during an episode in season one.

During the episode, Ted is in the middle of a competitive game with a seemingly superior opponent.

As Ted says, "Be curious, not judgmental." And "if they (people) were curious, they would have asked questions." It's simple and sage advice.

Some of the most significant client accomplishments have come from curiosity. Specifically, digging into other events and businesses to determine, "how did they do that?" or "how does that work?"

Fortunately, in almost every instance where I personally reached out, event organizers and business owners were more than generous in sharing their challenges and discoveries. Moreover, many shared findings form the foundational elements for highly successful client campaigns.

If you and your team aren't actively out there looking for new insights and challenging current assumptions, never forget to "Be curious, not judgemental." Ask a lot of questions because the dividends are extraordinary!

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


To wrangle event trolls or not?

Last weekend, I attended a series of online presentations with outdoor event organizers from the Northeastern United States. The topics discussed ranged from ticket pricing to profitable event models during the pandemic.

At one point, I glommed on to a brief point about online trolls made by KW.

If you're unfamiliar with the term troll, specifically "Internet troll," here's a definition from urbandictionary.com:

"An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion."

Short version, trolls are people who stir up trouble online without good reason or facts. And trolls regularly infest social media because of their near-instantaneous ability to respond.

During his presentation, KW had mentioned a series of approximately 50 Internet Trolls disparaging his team and their event. Smartly, KW noted every troll and searched the event's customer records.

Of the 50 "loudest" trolls in question, one purchased a ticket to KW's event. One!

The above example is an essential reminder of "check-em!" when they balk. The biggest reason to look up trolls quickly is so don't want to waste your time, energy, or effort with people who don't support (and will never support) your event.

Don't give trolls the energy they don't

Looking for more event feedback advice? Check out the articles below:


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 / bit.ly 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 Bit.ly 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"

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-7083559/Influencer-Arii-2-6-million-followers-sell-36-T-shirts.html

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:


Your Diamond Mine of Data - Lost Forever

Here's a short and unfortunately not so sweet tidbit for today ...

A surprisingly high number of new client projects start with clients not having access to their own Google Analytics data.

What’s worse is that the entire process of trying to track down access for Google Analytics always results in a massive time suck for everyone involved.

Why rant about Google Analytics access?

Because without Analytics, you lose any potential assessment of previous advertising and marketing campaigns. Without Google Analytics or another comparable platform, assessing an event’s online future potential is challenging.

How do you plot your future, if you can't assess the present or your past?

Ultimately, most clients set up a new Google Analytics account and forsake all their previous data. All your previous advertising campaigns and potential marketing insights are lost forever.

Instead of droning on about the issue, please consider the following simple recommendation.

Make sure to triple-check that you have full Admin privileges on all your Google Analytics properties. If you’re unsure, be sure to check with your web provider or IT person.

If you don’t have access to your Google Analytics, you want to weigh your options now when you have time on your side. And time will give you a bevy of options that you won't have available when you're against the gun.

Having your web stats readily available with help you and any savvy marketing person you might hire chart a successful path of online success.

Want to get more info on tracking the effectiveness of your event promotions with Google Analytics? Check out the articles below:


Peter Parker beats back the pandemic

Over the weekend, Disney/Marvel's Spider-Man: No Way Home raked in over one billion USD worldwide. All in the middle of a significant uptick in COVID cases from around the globe.

Given the circumstances, one might think, what about COVID restrictions, vaccines, and lockdowns?

On its face, Spidey's success doesn't seem possible!

Source: https://www.avclub.com/box-office-experts-try-to-solve-the-mystery-of-why-spid-1848249964

To be clear, if people want to see a movie in these times, that's a personal choice. To that point, there was an expectation that all theater moviegoers wear a mask here in Rochester, New York.

Heck, we had it easy!

In other parts of the world, you need to provide proof of vaccination just to enter the movie theater. Of course, that's in addition to wearing a mask.

Remember, movies are very similar to events. Like events, movies get a group of people to spend their hard-earned money to be entertained, educated, or to help others.

Yet, despite COVID ...

Spider-Man was an enormous financial success. That's because Disney/Marvel manufactured a massive amount of demand for a high-quality "event."

The second essential component is that Spider-Man has been on the silver screen for about 20 years. Thus, creating demand is easier when you have a known event that people want to attend.

Much like Disney, you can stack the deck in your favor.

Be sure to click on the source link above for a peak into No Way Home's early success. After you click on the link, replace any movie references with the word "event." There are at least a few great knowledge nuggets for you to take away.

P.S. - In case you're wondering, Spider-Man: No Way Home was an excellent movie and worth a watch. The movie an interesting take on personal choices and consequences.

Want to get more info on promoting your event? Check out the articles below: