Serving a critical piece of customer service pie

Over the past few days, we've been taking a closer look at your customers and dealing with feedback about your event.

Per yesterday's post, I promised you a "critical piece of customer service pie!"

It applies to emails about your event, social media comments, event reviews, etc. It's also one of the most important pieces of advice I've shared to date.

With several client projects, I volunteer a few hours every year to answer customer emails. (Some of my biggest clients are non-profit organizations.) My reason for doing this is an attempt to understand where people are coming from ... getting into their ego and mindset.

Last year, I responded to an angry email for a non-profit client's event. The person was rude in their initial email. I attempted to answer calmly and professionally. Apparently, they didn't care.

A few months later, that same person decided to copy and paste my email response as a comment on a Facebook ad for the client's event. Of course, they used the Facebook comment with my email response to blast the event and trash talk me in the process. For some strange reason, they forgot to paste their initial email where they were a belligerent a-hole. I still stand 100% behind my email. No emotions or personal jab, just the facts. But this example isn't about me.

Have you ever heard the phrase ... "the Internet is forever!"

Anything you post and in some cases "do," is historically logged as 1's and 0's. It can be a social media comment or email to a customer.

Remember that people will take anything you say, do, or write on the Internet and potentially use it against you and your event. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. People could sit on what you've written for weeks, months, or years.

So here's the critical piece of advice for today ...

Next time you or a team member decide to respond to anything regarding your event, keep this simple phrase in mind:

"Whatever I write here will probably show up on the Internet someday."

That phrase with a dash of humility should keep you in the sweet spot. Even better, it's an excellent way to shut down the online haters. If the public sees your response that someone decides to try and use against you as fair, measured and emotion-free, you'll almost always end up on the positive side.

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


An (ALL CAPS) Angry Pants Event Email ...

Here's an entertaining ALL CAPS and "angry pants" email ...

It comes courtesy of an event client. Hence, I've [redacted] certain parts of the email below to protect the event and the overly opinionated. The ALL CAPS sections have NOT been edited in any way.

===========================
"Hey [NAME OF EVENT]...your ticket prices have gotten BEYOND RIDICULOUSLY HIGH. I'm one of the THOUSANDS watch the [EVENT] from [A PARK] - where we can bring in our own food and drinks ( and not get ripped off by the vendors on-site ) sit in our own comfortable chairs near our vehicle, and see the [EVENT] for FREE - FREE - FREE!

We quit getting ripped off by your high prices YEARS AGO. There are more of us scattered around outside the gate, than you have people inside the gate - and our numbers keep getting higher and higher each year. THAT SHOULD TELL YOU SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR RIDICULOUS TICKET PRICES AND VENDOR SCALPING PRICES."
===========================

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Including the person that wrote this lovely email.

As context, a single adult can buy an early-bird event ticket for less than $20 and bring up to 4 children (age 14 and under) at no additional fee. If you want to go the family route ... Mom and Dad, plus up to a total of 12 kids (age 14 and under) can attend the event for less than $40 USD, if they buy tickets early.

It doesn't appear that the person who wrote the email has recently purchased a ticket to the event. Their email was checked against the client's customer database. To be fair, they could have bought a gate ticket.

Which leads me to the question of the day ... how would you and your team respond to the email above?

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

 


Before responding to complaints about your event, do this ...

or some reason, online customer service has been a hot topic this week. Whatever the cause, clients seem to be dealing with a higher rate of online complaints than usual. Strangely enough, their events aren't until the fall.

So, instead of complaining myself, let me give you the first step in dealing with any complaint. It's the first thing you should do if someone writes you a criticism via email or posts something nasty on social media.

But before I get into the recommendation, allow me to ask the following:

Do you have a policy or procedure in place for dealing with complaints about your event? How do you or your team deal with people who complain? Do you log all your complaints?

Hopefully, you have a procedure in place. Even if you do or don't have a process, here's a recommended first step ...

If someone writes you an email or posts something to social media, before taking any action (or getting upset), do this ... check and see if they're a customer or previous customer. Doing so will at least give you a general idea of how to deal with the complaint.

If the person is a customer. You might want to dig a little deeper into their customer file. If you're not sure, you might want to ask them.

Why does it matter?

Because if they are a previous or current customer, that should impact how you handle their complaint. Personally, my goal is to turn every customer complaint into a win. And it works most of the time.

If they're not a customer, depending on their complaint, you might want to ask yourself, "do I really want this person as a customer?"

This is in no way to imply that you should treat anyone poorly or unprofessionally. But do you really want people who get all nasty with their complaints as a customer?

Ironically enough, I fired an Event Profit Report subscriber on Sunday. I tried to promptly address their concern, and they still went all unprofessional on me. Not someone I want as a customer! We all have our own limits, you need to decide what's right for you and your organization.

Remember - don't respond to them, don't get upset, do nothing ... until you see if they're a current or previous customer.

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


About all those ticket price whiners ...

Pop quiz ...

"How many event attendees complained about ticket prices at your last event?"

The question above might seem overly simplistic, but there is an essential word of note. And it's a word you and your event team need to pay careful attention to.

What do you think the critical word might be?

The word is "customers," not people.

What's the difference? If a "person" complains about your ticket price and never buys a ticket, do you really care? They're probably whiners. And whiners will never buy a ticket to your event. But they'll complain all over the place and suck the life out of you.

Let's dive in a little deeper on this topic ...

When I asked the customer ticket complaint question above to a client, their response was, "a lot of people complained on social media!" To which I returned to the important part of the original question, "how many customers complained?" They didn't know.

The complaint question was asked of another client. Their response, "not more than 10 people." Again, I asked, "were the people who complained customers?" They also didn't know.

My goal here isn't to rag on clients, because they're super awesome about implementing my insane requests. What's the goal? To focus on the takeaway ... who's really complaining about your ticket prices?

It's imperative that you ignore the whiners and focus on the people most essential to your event. They are your customers and potential customers.

Here's the icing on the takeaway cake. Both clients in today's email have events that sell tens of thousands of tickets. And yet for one client, less than 10 people complained about the price of their event tickets.

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


Where's your focus & "chopping up" event attendees

Matt writes the following ...

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"How can you manage expectations of the customers? Maybe some of my customers would like more info from us, but I don't want to send them stuff they don't want and lose customer's interest (and annoy them), or just get caught up in the piles of other forms of advertising that is constantly bombarding every one.

I want to make sure that our message sticks out from the crowd and would love some way to be able to separate the people based on their interests. We currently don't have any information tied to our e-mail or text listings to separate who wants what—or shouldn't I care?"
--------------------------------

First, Matt is doing something massively important.

Can you identify what it is?

Matt is using a customer-centric mindset, bravo!!! It's not about what he thinks. Matt is being very cognizant of his prospects and customers. It's a very mature event organizer approach. And it's missing from most events. If you want more people at your event, stop focusing on your ego ... and focus on their ego!

I'm going to amalgamate my response to Matt's series of questions with one strong suggestion. And to answer his last question, "Yes Matt, you should absolutely care!"

What follows applies to every single event, including free events.

My suggestion is that Matt segments his marketing target lists. In the purest sense, have one list for prospects and another list for customers (attendees).

Side note: even if you have a free event, you should be issuing tickets.

Once someone purchases a ticket (or becomes an attendee), put them on a customer only track. Fair warning, it is more work to use segmentation. But it alleviates many of the concerns Matt pointed out above.

Here's a hard data point to drive home the importance of segmentation. It comes directly from recent client work.

List "A" is a customer list and list "B" is a prospect list. The only notable variation is the P.S. copy was removed from list "A." Three event info messages were sent to both lists. List A's response rate was 3x more that of list B for each of the three messages sent. Again, same message. That's the power of segmentation!

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


How creativity destroys your event ticket sales

What?!? How could creativity have a downside?

Almost every time an event organizer has a new event, or recurring annual event, they feel compelled to create all new advertising and marketing.

This can involve everything from posters, radio ads, television ads, online banner ads, billboards, collateral materials, to redesigning event websites. And everything in between.

On the surface, the above approach seems perfectly logical.

I'm here to tell you, that the need to create something new approach, is most likely an enormous waste of your time and money! "Eugene, you're a heretic! How could you say something so mean?!"

Because creating something new, could hurt your ability to sell tickets to your event!

How is that possible?

You won't know for sure if you don't hold all your marketing and advertising ruthlessly accountable.

That means knowing the marketing effectiveness of at least your most prominent marketing and advertising assets: banner ads, your website, email marketing campaigns, social media posts, etc.

In marketing, specifically direct-response marketing, it's called a control. A control is a piece of advertising or marketing strategy that has a measurable result. e.g., You have a banner ad for your event that gets a .05% click-through rate each year it's run. That's your banner ad control.

When you create a new advertising or marketing piece, you test that new creative against an existing control. The goal is to beat the control and keep testing. There is a lot more too it than the rough description above but hopefully, you get the idea.

My challenge to you is to establish a control and run it for as long as possible. The cost and time to measure the effectiveness of your advertising and marketing controls will dwarf that of creating something new.

Until your controls fail to perform, why spend time and money to create something new? This isn't art class! Figuring out what advertising and marketing works (or if it actually works) is infinitely more important than creating something new. It will also make you more money, every time!

Most of my clients have been running the same advertising and marketing controls for years. And guess what? Not a single customer has ever complained about the same advertising and marketing being used, year after year. The result has been millions of dollars of ticket sales.

The suggestions above are guaranteed to boil the blood of most ad agencies and graphix designers. It's your money, and you should protect it like a valuable investment!

That said, if a designer or ad agencies can beat an existing control, they should be well compensated!

I'm tough on the creative types, but I'm also very fair. The best graphic designers will take you up on a control challenge. Because they know how to use design to drive ticket sales. The rest will run for the hills. Focus on finding those who understand the importance of results over art and you'll be set.

Additional Event Promotion Resources:


Lost revenue from exaggerated attendance

Years ago, my lady and I went to a local aviation safety event. Full disclosure: the event was a former pro-bono client.

During our walk around the exhibit hall, my lady saw a friend from a previous job. Her friend still worked for the same company. That company purchased an exhibitor booth at the event. The company's goal with their exhibitor booth was to try and generate membership leads.

As the ladies caught up, there were the usual pleasantries, "how are you? what's new?" And then the interesting part. The woman working the booth said, "they said that they would have a few thousand people at this event. They're lucky if there are 500!"

It got worse when the woman working the exhibitor booth said something along the lines of, "we'll never do this again! They don't get anywhere near the attendance we were told."

As with all events, attendance is going to vary. If you have an outdoor event, you're all too familiar with wild attendance swings. Hence, the phrase "estimated attendance." That said ...

Event organizers need to have very accurate estimated attendance numbers in their sponsorship/exhibitor packages. Why?
Because numerous companies that leverage events, especially large events, are very savvy about calculating attendance ... your attendance numbers!

In particular, companies who do product sampling. Some of these companies can calculate your attendance using the temperature outside (for an outdoor event) against on how many samples they distribute!

Those companies calculating your attendance could have a massive impact on your event. If you're estimated numbers are way off, sophisticated event exhibitors will know.

It's your event and your call. But if you're going to give estimated attendance numbers in marketing, exhibitor, or sponsorship packages, make sure you're as accurate as possible. If not, companies are bound to leave you and never return. Which means you lose future bank.


The Beer School rollercoaster ride

Every month a dedicated local group of beer enthusiasts put on a great event called "Beer School." This "school" is an opportunity to try beers that you'd never consider or even knew existed. Gose, Fruit Lambic, Kolsch, Dunkel, etc. The palette diversity is unbelievable.

Each month a different microbrewery or style of beer is featured. You show up and pay $10 to $15 USD per person. It's honestly a great value. With each beer sample, comes a fascinating (occasionally legendary) beer back story. The beers are often paired with complementing food. In short, lots of great stories and tasty useless calories!

Over the years we've invited friends, and they rave about their beer school experience.

For all the positives of Beer School, attendance is like a rollercoaster ride. There are months where you can't find a seat and then months where just a few people attend.

On the marketing side of the equation, they even have a Facebook page with 415 members. Most of their Facebook group members have previously attended the event. Each month, Facebook group members are asked to RSVP. Yet, for all the RSVPs and effort, there are numerous no-shows.

There is one crucial piece of the puzzle they're missing.

Would you like to guess what that might be?

It's a commitment to the event. As I wrote up top, you pay upon arriving. So a Facebook RSVP is doing little to help them. It's important to remember, the consumer "votes" with their wallet.

If you want people to commit to your event, get them to invest with their wallet! Event commitment can be in the form of purchasing an advance ticket or paid online pre-registration.

If you have an outdoor event, advance ticket sales are critical. I've seen air shows have over $100,000 of ticket revenue wiped out by a bad weather forecast! Bad weather forecast = the weather fortune tellers say, "it's going to rain this weekend" and there is nothing but clear blue skies. This is absolutely devastating to ticket sales!

You need to give your target market a good reason to invest their hard-earned money with you. So, go out there and get those advance ticket sales.

The single best form of "weather insurance" is lots of ticket sale money in your bank account!

Else, you're at the mercy of things you have zero control over, like dubious weather forecasters.

Want more advance ticket sale insights? Check out the articles below:


How to avoid a total event disconnect

Here's the irony of today's recommendation. For years, event organizers and clients insist that they know their event attendees. Yet, when they are given the same post-event survey as their event attendees, the answers are entirely different.

To be clear, the event organizers are asked to answer the post-event surveys as their event attendees.

Even more jaw-dropping, after years of reviewing post-event survey results by their own event attendees, the organizers still provide entirely different answers.

A few years ago, an event organizer angrily told me, "nobody is going to tell me what performers to hire at our event!" To which I responded, "what about your event attendee?" My inner a-hole voice continued (but not out loud to the angry event organizer) "you know ... the same people who make your paycheck possible!"

To be super successful with your event, you need to make sure you truly understand your event attendee.

As the late-great John Collier said, "enter into a conversation already occurring in your prospect's mind." That means putting aside your own personal beliefs and biases. And that's not easy to do! It's also key to hugely successful events.

I'm going to present a powerful marketing concept from two of my marketing mentors, Eben Pagan and John Carlton. It will help you better connect with your event attendee.

Years ago, Eben came up with the concept of a customer profile. He calls it a Customer Avatar. In the event world, your profile is the ideal prospect for your event. You use your customer profile to better plan and market your event.
Specifically, to laser target your marketing message and advertising placements.

Simple Questions to Build Your Event Customer Profile
Here are some quick questions that will help you create your customer profile for your event. The questions below are derived from John Carlton's Simple Writing System.

-Who is your ideal event attendee? (Demographics & Psychographics)

-What are your event attendee's wants, needs or desires regarding your event?

-Do they have an irrational fear or desire?

-What message can you present to your prospective event attendee that drives them toward action?

By answering the questions above, you will better understand what someone attending your event wants and how best to serve them. This is also tremendously powerful for making marketing and advertising decisions.

Over the years, I've seen several event marketing disasters that could have been prevented with a customer profile.

I realize that target market research isn't the most exciting activity, but its importance is paramount. There is zero benefit in planning or creating an event if people aren't going to attend.

Doing a little homework up front can save you a ton of money and agony down the road. If you alreadyhave an event, an attendee profile will help you grow to the next level.

Here are some additional articles on planning a successful event:

 

 


Lost revenue from exaggerated event attendance

Years ago, my lady and I went to a local aviation safety event. Full disclosure: the event was a former pro-bono client. 

During our walk around the exhibit hall, my lady saw a friend from a previous job. Her friend still worked for the same company. That company purchased an exhibitor booth at the event. The company's goal with their exhibitor booth was to try and generate membership leads.

As the ladies caught up, there were the usual pleasantries, "how are you? what's new?" And then the interesting part. The woman working the booth said, "they said that they would have a few thousand people at this event. They're lucky if there are 500!"

It got worse when the woman working the exhibitor booth said something along the lines of, "we'll never do this again! They don't get anywhere near the attendance we were told."

As with all events, attendance is going to vary. If you have an outdoor event, you're all too familiar with wild attendance swings. Hence, the phrase "estimated attendance." That said ...

Event organizers need to have very accurate estimated attendance numbers in their sponsorship/exhibitor packages. Why? 
Because numerous companies that leverage events, especially large events, are very savvy about calculating attendance ... your attendance numbers!

In particular, companies who do product sampling. Some of these companies can calculate your attendance using the temperature outside (for an outdoor event) against on how many samples they distribute!

Those companies calculating your attendance could have a massive impact on your event. If you're estimated numbers are way off, sophisticated event exhibitors will know.

It's your event and your call. But if you're going to give estimated attendance numbers in marketing, exhibitor, or sponsorship packages, make sure you're as accurate as possible. If not, companies are bound to leave you and never return. Which means you lose future bank.

 


The Beer School roller coaster ride

Every month a dedicated local group of beer enthusiasts put on a great event called "Beer School." This "school" is an opportunity to try beers that you'd never consider or even knew existed. Gose, Fruit Lambic, Kolsch, Dunkel, etc. The palette diversity is unbelievable.

Each month a different microbrewery or style of beer is featured. You show up and pay $10 to $15 USD per person. It's honestly a great value. With each beer sample, comes a fascinating (occasionally legendary) beer back story. The beers are often paired with complementing food. In short, lots of great stories and tasty useless calories!

Over the years we've invited friends, and they rave about their beer school experience.

For all the positives of Beer School, attendance is like a roller coaster ride. There are months where you can't find a seat and then months where just a few people attend.

On the marketing side of the equation, they even have a Facebook page with 415 members. Most of their Facebook group members have previously attended the event. Each month, Facebook group members are asked to RSVP. Yet, for all the RSVPs and effort, there are numerous no-shows.

There is one crucial piece of the puzzle they're missing.

Would you like to guess what that might be?

It's a commitment to the event. As I wrote up top, you pay upon arriving. So a Facebook RSVP is doing little to help them. It's important to remember, the consumer "votes" with their wallet.

If you want people to commit to your event, get them to invest with their wallet! Event commitment can be in the form of purchasing an advance ticket or paid online pre-registration.

If you have an outdoor event, advance ticket sales are critical. I've seen air shows have over $100,000 of ticket revenue wiped out by a bad weather forecast! Bad weather forecast = the weather fortune tellers say, "it's going to rain this weekend" and there is nothing but clear blue skies. This is absolutely devastating to ticket sales!

You need to give your target market a good reason to invest their hard-earned money with you. So, go out there and get those advance ticket sales.

Else, you're at the mercy of things you have zero control over, like dubious weather forecasters!

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:


The question that's never been answered ...

Around 2006, I discovered the world of direct response marketing via Dan Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy is a world-renowned marketer who insists you measure your marketing and advertising efforts ... directly to dollars in your bank account, without exception!

One of Kennedy's fundamentals is knowing the "numbers" of your business. These numbers won't be found in a balance sheet or income statement. The figures come from the world of direct response marketing. These "numbers" are also terrifying to most ad agencies and advertising sales executives.

What are these "numbers"? They are the critical marketing math numbers of a business or event. And knowing your marketing math numbers can give you massive leverage in your media buys!

Let's start with ATV ...

One of Kennedy's "numbers" is ATV or Average Transaction Value. In its simplest form, ATV is the average purchase amount for a transaction over time. And the time constraint can vary.

In the case of events, what's the average value for a customer transaction (regardless of the total number of tickets purchased) in 2018?

Back in 2006, I started to ask clients and event organizers if they knew their ATV. It's also one of the most important questions I ask during expensive event marketing audits.

After asking the question around 100 times over the last 12 years, not a single event organizer could answer the question. Not even the MBAs or accountants who were Board Members for various events.

When I would ask the ATV question, people would get confused, "what's that?" Or reply with, "why does it matter?" And some people would get annoyed that I even asked the question.

Because your ATV has a massive impact on your marketing and advertising efforts. ATV can show you how much you can afford to spend to acquire a new customer or re-engage a previous customer.

Here's one of the big reasons advertising sales executives hate me ...

In 2013, a client was considering a local media buy for their event. The media buy included both traditional and online placements. At the time, I knew that the client's Average Transaction Value was around $50 USD.

With some additional marketing math numbers and based on the proposed marketing package, I calculated that it would cost my client over $400 USD to generate a $50 USD customer transaction. My question for the ad sales executive, "why should my client pay $400 in advertising to generate a $50 sale?" That math doesn't work!

Good news ... it didn't require my client to purchase advertising, "just to find out what happens." Because they knew their numbers!
Make sure you take advantage of Dan Kennedy's marketing math numbers!

You can get started with finding your Average Transaction Value. Please make sure you look up ATV and have it committed to memory. At a minimum for your last 3 to 5 events.

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


Why "what is it?" is deadly for events

Today, I began thinking about the following passage from a recent email:

"I believe so firmly in my first-time event advice that I rarely take a new client who doesn't have at least 5 events under their belt and 5 years of event financials. The only exceptions are in niche markets where I can provide a tested and proven blueprint for success. A big key: Those niche events also have other events with a proven market and track record. Not a market that needs to be created for the event."

It's imperative that you focus on the last two sentences from above. Especially the last one!

Why?

Because if you must create a market for your event, you're setting your event up for near certain failure. Even before it begins.

Think about it this way. You are going to have to spend your precious marketing dollars trying to tell people "what" your event is/does for them. Then, IF they understand the "what," you're going to have to convince them "why" they should attend your event.

This isn't to say that it can't be done, but why stack the deck against you and your team?

My recommendation is finding an event type that has already proven to work. e.g., Beer festivals and ethnic food festivals. Both are known event formats to many people, and a target market already exists. Therefore, you don't have to spend money, educating the public on "what is it?" regarding your event.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting you hold a beer festival or ethnic food festival as your next event. But you should ethically cheat by modeling and borrowing from other successful events.

Check out the post on modeling titled, "Hookers host . . . Wine Tasting event."

Does the above advice make sense?

Let me know! It's a critical concept to understand if you desire event success.

Here are a few more premium ticketing insights:


An instant red flag for new events

Back when I was a nicer person, I would often get on the telephone with event organizers.

My goal on these telephone calls was to get a better understanding of the challenges faced by event organizers. Then, give some sage advice, if I was qualified to do so.

Most of the telephone calls were with new event organizers. They had found my website and decided to reach out to me.
One of the most common themes during my calls with first-time event organizers went like this:

"Eugene, we're going to do something completely new and different. We're so excited because there has never been an event like this before!"

For me, the previous statement is an instant red flag! Especially for new events. Not because I didn't want people to be successful with their first event, but because the cards were stacked against them.

Thinking of starting a new event? Here's the advice I emphatically give to everyone ... "don't do it!"

"Wow, that's kind of harsh! Eugene, aren't you here to help people with their events?!?!?" Yes, but not at the expense of good people going broke because of their events!

To the best of my knowledge not a single person I spoke with over 13 years has a successful event today. If you're one of those successful people, and your event continues to grow today, please let me know. This is something I welcome being wrong about!

The most common points of new event failure: far too ambitious attendance targets, underestimating budgets, and a fundamental lack of event marketing skills.

I believe so firmly in my first-time event advice that I rarely take a new client who doesn't have at least 5 events under their belt and 5 years of event financials. The only exceptions are in niche markets where I can provide a tested and proven blueprint for success.

A BIG success key: Those niche events also have other events with a proven market and track record. Not a market that needs to be created for the event.

If you decide to ignore anything from above, it's your event and your choice.

Here's the one piece of advice I give every new event organizer: "Think BIG, start very small and build up to something great!" Back then it was just, "think big, start small!"

Start by getting 10 to 100 paid people to attend your first event, not 10,000. At least break even on your budget and know what marketing works. When you hit that initial (small) goal, then increase your attendance targets by 25%-50%. Take the lessons learned and grow slowly & smartly.

You might be saying to yourself, "Eugene that seems like a long and tedious process!" You'd be correct. Many of the people I gave the advice to were offended by my "start small" suggestion.

I still stand by my new event advice. Starting small is the single best way to understand your market without risking your pocketbook or that of your organization.


The magical Memphis marketing matrix

Here's an air show takeaway that applies to every event ...

It came up this week, during a client call and is a great reminder. Please don't discount the suggestion because of its simplicity.

At the time we began working with them in 2013, the Memphis air show organizers were unsure about direct response marketing. As I recall, when asked about direct response marketing they responded with, "It's that stuff you see in infomercials, right?"

And it was a pretty good guess. Infomercials typically involve some sort of direct response device like a unique web address, unique telephone number or promo code.

The air show started to use simple promo codes across television, print, radio and online advertising. After the event, we designed a matrix with all the relevant promo codes and results. And presto! The show organizers discovered that 87% of all of their online ticket revenue was coming from one source.

The other sources, which was most of their cash advertising spend, only generated 13% of the online revenue.

Without the promo codes, they would have never known what was working and what wasn't.

The promo code that the Memphis Air Show used was straightforward: "Save 20% off your tickets to the Memphis Air Show. Use the promo code FLYNOW." Each media channel had its own promo code. It's important enough to repeat it: Television, print, radio, even individual radio stations had a separate and distinct promo code.

When all the promo codes were compiled into a matrix after the air show, the organizers saw precisely what worked and what didn't.

That allowed them to make intelligent decisions regarding any future air show advertising and it also gave them tremendous leverage when it came to negotiating new marketing and advertising deals. Without the matrix, they would've had no idea what worked and what didn't.

The takeaway? Make sure you're using promo codes with all of your event marketing and advertising. Even better, most online ticket service providers support promo codes. Make sure you take advantage and track your advertising results!

 


Start sending too much email, smartly

Last year, during a marketing session in Europe, the topic of how many emails an event should send was broached.

Will sending less email get you more results? Or, is it the old-school direct response mantra? "The more you tell, the more you sell!"

At last year's marketing session, I was attempting to encourage an event organizer and their team to send more emails. As I recall, the event sent between 5 to 10 marketing emails annually.

To be fair, there were some additional considerations. Each event email they sent was written in 3 or 4 different languages. That's at least 3x the work!

At the same time, I must give them high marks. The European event is sending email in the most common languages of their target market. And they have data to back up their approach!

During our discussion, the following happened unexpectedly ...

An event team member referenced a similar event in the United Kingdom and their approach to email marketing. Their point was this (paraphrased), "the U.K. event sends an email every day, and their event is SOLD OUT!"

That's "SOLD OUT!" weeks or months before the event takes place!

How would you feel if that was your event? Pretty dang good.
Does this mean you should send an email every day for your event? Not necessarily.

Instead of making that massive leap, can you increase your event marketing email sends by 50-100%? Then, let the results decide.

One important thing to remember about email marketing, you don't want to send – "just because!" At a minimum, send more email to strengthen the relationship with your list. That means the quality of your content needs to increase.

For what it's worth, every client that increased their email frequency has gone on to skyrocket their ticket revenue. In particular, record advance ticket revenues for outdoor events!

May's Event Profit Report will give you a behind the scenes look at multimillion-dollar email campaigns used by Platinum clients. The proven approach is radically different than what almost every event organizer is using ... regardless of email frequency.

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


How to repel ticket buyers to your event ...

This morning, I went on a little online field trip. My marketing exploration took me all the way to the ticket check out page for an event.

On that check out page, I was greeted by four paragraphs of text.

Here's the rough breakdown of the copy from those paragraphs:

Paragraph #1: All about the organization holding the event.

Paragraph #2: More information about the organization holding the event.

Paragraph #3: (Yawn!) Even more info about the organization holding the event. "Nobody cares!"

Paragraph #4: A little about the featured act.

Did you notice any glaring omissions?

That paragraph sequence and the accompanying copy give a potential attendee little incentive to buy a ticket to the event. How so? Because it's all about the organization and not appealing to the prospective ticket buyer!

After over 25 years of volunteer work for not-for-profits, I can tell you that those organizations are some of the worst culprits of bad marketing and advertising copy. They use far too much: "Our, We, Our mission is X, Y, and Z, here are all the awards we've won, etc." in their copy.

How could that be bad?

Because you need to directly appeal to the wants, needs, and desires (maybe fears) of your target market.

Failure to do so means people aren't going to buy tickets to your event. This applies to every event, for-profit or not!
Use words like "You, you will, your family will, etc." in your marketing and advertising copy. Make it ALL about them, not about you or your organization!

Anything less is an instant repellent for your would-be ticket buyer.

Here's a suggested (simple) redo of the ticket check out page from above:

New Paragraph #1: All about the buyer and why they'll have a great time at your event.

New Paragraph #2: Another reason why they'll have a great time at your event.

New Paragraph #3: A third reason they'll have a great time at your event.

New Paragraph #4: All about the buyer and maybe a sentence about the organization and if you help anyone.

It's pretty simple. If you make your marketing and advertising copy (online or off) all about your event attendee, you're going to sell more tickets to your event!

So, my question to you, "is your marketing and advertising copy all about your potential ticket buyer?" If not, you're leaving ticket sales on the table. Yes, there is a lot more to it. This should at least get you started.

 


A seemingly foolish event promotion question ...

I'm going to ask you a seemingly silly, but fundamentally important, question.

It's something that I occasionally take for granted or incorrectly assume ... on my part. Here it is ...

Do you have a dedicated event website?

What do I mean by dedicated? One website with the sole purpose to inform people about your event. It is not a page nested on an organization website.

100% of all the pages on a dedicated event website are for promoting that event.

Above I mentioned "silly," because some event organizers do not have a dedicated website. When asked about it, they don't think they need one.

It's not their fault. It's usually the social media acolytes that tell them, "You don't need one. Just use Facebook, Insta, and Twitter!" That might work for the Kardashians and President Trump, but not for your event!

More on social media in a moment ... but first:

Ironically enough, the dedicated event website issue comes up with military air shows and ethnic festivals. Those are two diametrically opposed organizations. And yet very similar in certain ways.

In the case of ethnic festivals, a page on a church parish website is dedicated to the event. For military air shows, the air show website is buried in their public installation website.

At a minimum, this makes finding information about their respective events hard to find.

If it's hard to find info about your event, are people more or less likely to attend?

You might recall a few weeks ago, I mentioned a friend who only used Facebook to promote a local dinner dance event. As a result, they're at Facebook's mercy. And considering all the data scandals Facebook has been embroiled in lately, do you really want to rely on Facebook 100%? Probably not.

Here's the close for today ...

Without a dedicated event website, your ability to track marketing and advertising effectiveness is severely hindered.

More importantly, you won't be able to (ethically) collect essential data on your potential event attendee and customers.

Please reply to this email and let me know if you have a dedicated event website or disagree with anything from above.

Want to get more info on designing a money making event website? Check out the articles below:


Please stop allowing them to rip you off

In response to an email question, Miriam writes the following:

"The biggest fear is not getting people there after spending so much money on advertisements. You do all this promotion, and you don't know for sure if it's successful until those feet come through the door."

First, thank you for sharing Miriam!

What you shared is a fear felt by almost every event organizer. You spend a ton of money on advertising and marketing, only to wonder if that money spent will get people to attend your event.

(Miriam, if you're reading this ... I'm about to get very direct and a little angry. My angst is NOT directed at you. You're awesome!)

Let's start by framing the above fear as a question:

"How do I know if my advertising and marketing spend is actually getting people to attend my event?"

If you don't track ALL your advertising and marketing to a specific result, you'll never know. And the truth is most event organizers have no flipping idea what works and what doesn't.

Allow me to take the tracking recommendation one step further, "if you can't track it, don't do it!"

You might think the advice above to be some sort of cheesy answer. It is not! If you're bold enough to implement some basic tracking, you'll eliminate most, if not all, wasteful ad spend.

Every year, my gritty tracking recommendation is reemphasized to clients. And it does NOT go over well. Because when they hear me say "if you can't track it, don't do it," they get pissed at me. I don't blame them. But honestly, "why do you insist on spending money on marketing and advertising if you have no Earthly idea if it works?"

"Eugene, you sound a little angry!" Yes, I am. I'm angry because our world is full of too many charlatans who sell you dubious advertising and marketing. And those same hucksters know what they're selling won't do you a dang bit of good ... none, zero, zip, zilch!

Yet they are happy to take your money and get defensive when you ask to see tangible results. You need to hold them accountable for getting you the only thing that matters, money in your bank account!

Let's close my dust up with the following, if someone tries to sell you advertising and marketing, you as the buyer must say, "if I spend my precious advertising dollars on this, you need to help me track it to a result!" If they say, "sorry, we can't do that." Don't buy what they're selling and stop allowing them to rip you off!

It's your hard-earned money, you have every right to carefully consider where it gets invested and under what terms!
Allow me to back up my "big mouth" ... If you want something that works and you're serious about event marketing, the Event Profit Report is about to ship, and you should get on board.

Issue one contains a surefire tactic that generated millions of dollars of TRACKABLE ticket sales. Do "X" and you will clearly see "Y" is the result.

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


Most important line in your email marketing

What do you think the most important line is in marketing your event via email?

Most people respond, "it's the subject line!"

I'll admit that there are times, albeit rare when a clever subject line will get me to open an unrecognized email.

Consider how many emails you receive daily. An email reader's decision to read or not happens in mere seconds.

Now, think about the last time you received an email from a friend or family member.

In most cases, regardless of the subject line, you open email from friends and family. Provided of course that you actually like your family and friends. :-)

Here is today's takeaway.

Your name or the name of your event in the "from” line, carries more weight than a fancy subject line.

This is especially applicable to email marketing efforts involving a high volume of emails. Getting people to open emails about your event is about trust and credibility.

Now, to be fair, subject lines are a great marketing tool. If there's a high degree of credibility in the "From” line, a great subject line will increase open rates and help improve click-through rates.

As I've previously mentioned ... you should know that there is a character limit on email subject lines. What that means is that a limited number of characters will show up in most email programs. Make sure you use a 40-character limit, including spaces, on your subject lines. This will make sure that your email subject line does not get truncated.

To finish it up ... my most successful clients send over 40 emails to their event marketing list every year. This year, some clients are going to exceed over 50 marketing emails.

When you establish trust and credibility via the "from” line, the copywriter's cliché comes into play: "The more you tell, the more you sell!"