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?"
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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!"


An accidental event marketing mistake, with dire consequences

Your event just finished up. And after weeks, months, or years of hard work … you and your team deserve a well-earned break!

After a little time off, there's a crucial question you should ask, "Is there anything that needs to be updated on our event website?"

Many event organizers put up a thank you message on their home page and leave it at that.

In other cases, you might want to consider what the future holds for your event. Even if it's not an annual event. If built correctly, your event website can be a massive marketing resource even in "the off-season."

Last year, a client finished up their outdoor event. Thanks to their team, it was a tremendous success!

During their spool down process, unbeknownst to me, they backed up and deleted their online email marketing database for their event.

It made perfect sense. When the client doesn't have an event, they use their email service provider to email updates to their members. The client's email list size is a couple of thousand entries. The client's email service provider charges them based on their total email database size. There were over 10,000 database entries specifically for their event. By deleting emails, they could significantly reduce their monthly service fees.

So, they backed up and removed all those event emails. At the same time, the client also accidentally deleted the email contact list in their email service provider account. That contact list is a critical cog in their email marketing process. Without it, there is no way of knowing if the lead was from the organization's website or their event website.

Currently, the client is emailing all the people in their email marketing database. Including those who signed up for event information without being assigned to a specific contact list.

Have you ever received an email and wondered, "why am I getting this email?!?! I didn't sign up for it!"

What happens when you get an email you didn't sign up for? You're probably going to mark it as SPAM!

On their last email, the client above exceeded their SPAM threshold set by their email service provider. Because of the high number of SPAM complaints, there is the possibility of the client losing the ability to send emails in the future to anyone. All from a seemingly tiny and accidental mistake.

One accidental mistake could me you lose the ability to get potential event attendees messages in the future. And as a prestigious European event organizer recently told me, "Eugene, we generate 90% of our ticket sales using email."

Would losing the ability to use the marketing channel that generated 90% of your ticket sales be a dire consequence?

After your event, make sure to check your marketing processes and tech. It might even be worth it to pay an IT expert to help you.

Additional advice:

 


Dealing with harsh event feedback about via email

Here's an excerpt from my upcoming book The Ultimate Event Marketing Machine:

Hopefully, all the emails about your event are positive. But there are always a few people that are a little harsh and even sometimes downright offensive in their feedback. As you know, a small number of people complain "just because." You are best served by trying to address every piece of feedback even from unreasonable people.

Here are two quick tips for delivering excellent customer service online despite the negativity:

#1 Step back

It's important to try not to take negative feedback about your event personally. When you organize an event, you're emotionally invested in that event. So, it is always personal to you. But see if you can objectively take their criticism.

The initial response to a harsh email might be to respond with an equal tone. It is just not worth it. Make sure you don't react defensively. Give yourself time to cool down. Then, do the opposite of what most people would do ... use "The Magic Phrase."

#2 "The Magic Phrase"

Use the following phrase to diffuse any harsh feedback about your event. I use this all the time with clients for email complaints.

It works amazingly well:

"Dear (first name): Thank you for your email." Then continue your email in an understanding and appreciative tone. Make sure to acknowledge the reason they are writing to you in your reply. Someone who just wrote you a very harsh email is probably not expecting a thank you response.

I use the "thank you" email all the time to diffuse big customer service issues. Its track-record for turning frowns upside down is impressive, to say the least!

It's amazing how that simple "thank you" approach calms people down. Event patrons – who have submitted a harsh critique – have written back apologizing for their initial email after getting the thank you email.

Make sure you make it about them through positive acknowledgment. Give it a whirl and let me know how it works.

Do you have any fantastic customer service turnaround stories? Please hit reply and let me know.

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"Inspect what you expect!" - event website traffic

Today's subject line phrase is sage advice from my go-to expert on event sponsorship, Phil Pacific.

It is also a guiding principle you should keep top of mind when working with sponsors, partners, and vendors.

In this case, we'll look at the sponsor side of things. Specifically, how some sponsors send web traffic from their site to your site.

Back in 2011, I was working with a local event. As with many client projects, I tend to dive way too deep into the data. To my embarrassment, I've spent hundreds, maybe over a thousand hours noodling in Google Analytics. For all that time invested, there are less than 10 things you really need to focus on in Analytics.

Let's look of one of those ten important items ... referring website traffic.

There were multiple sponsors and media partnerships in place for the client's event. Most of the sponsors and media partners were already sending traffic to the client's event website.

Any incoming traffic to your event website needs to be monitored! In Google Analytics, you can find this information on the "Referral Traffic" page.

According to Google Analytics, the client's event website received a total of 96,740 visitors, from December of 2010 through August 1, 2011. Of the total, 312 clicks were from the event title sponsor's web site. The sponsor's link from their website to the client's site was at no cost. It was included as an in-kind line item in the sponsorship agreement.

During that same time frame, the title sponsor's website received over 200,000 website visitors. One would think, 312 clicks on 200,000+ visitors as sinfully low! Especially for a title sponsor of an event.

After the discovery was made in Google Analytics, my client was understandably concerned.

So, I took a more in-depth look into what was going on. The biggest issue was where the sponsor placed the client's HTML website link on their webpage.

By the time the client passed along their concerns to the sponsor, and it was received by the right department, the event was over. That meant, potentially huge missed opportunities at zero cost.

The cautionary tale from above happens every year with clients! My way of monitoring and preventing a repeat is through a weekly client status call and web traffic review.

The takeaway of the day, if your event has links on partner or sponsor websites, look at the referral traffic on Google Analytics. Also, check those placements and ask, "Are they easy to find and click?"

As Phil said, "inspect what you expect!" Because you might be missing out on high-quality traffic to your event website, at zero cost.

If your event gets over 35,000 (verified) attendees, be sure to get in touch with Phil Pacific at ADC Group!

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Cancelling one million event tickets ...

This one is from my classic grab bag of event marketing masters to study.

Weeks ago, I referenced the disastrous Fyre Festival. Today we're going to focus on the positive side of the event equation.

"Who the F**K is Arthur Fogel?"

Yes, that's the actual title of a documentary I strongly recommend you rent (or buy) and watch this weekend. As a documentary, it is decent. In terms of event business takeaways, it's fascinating and well worth the six-dollar rental fee. The documentary also answers the insane notion of today's subject line.

Arthur's documentary is available to stream at Amazon Prime and Vimeo:

Amazon Prime (Rent or Purchase)

https://www.amazon.com/Who-F-K-Arthur-Fogel/dp/B00KAJ0IPI

On iTunes (Rent or Purchase)

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/movie/who-the-f-k-is-arthur-fogel/id775945740

For BONUS knowledge, check out the following YouTube video interviews with Arthur:

An interview with Arthur Fogel, Live Nation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSsn5TXh1Mw

Arthur Fogel, Chairman, Global Music and CEO,
Global Touring, Live Nation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EaKGzLI2MU

Let me know what you think and your biggest event promotion/business takeaway.

To your success,

Eugene

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