Keeping Your Event Promotion Emails Interesting

In “Don’t Be Afraid to Engage Your Prospect Repeatedly” I wrote about the importance of engaging your list more frequently as your event approaches.  In order to be really successful with your email event promotion you must combine frequency with a high level of interest.  The best way to keep things interesting is to send the reader relevant information that’s compelling and in a style of writing that is easy to understand.

Open Rates Decrease when You Send More Email
One trend that I notice with my own clients is that when you send more emails your email open rates go down.  A 40%+ open rate was typical when sending promotional emails every few weeks for event clients.  As the frequency of emails increase to every few days, in some cases once a day, the open rates on emails decreased to around 30%.

How to Get Response and Email Open Rates to Go Up

A simple way to getting both response and email open rates to go up is by keeping your information relevant and interesting to the reader.  It was Joe Vitale that said “Get out of your ego and into their ego.” Give them what they really want! The best response rates were the emails that the client provided their target market exactly what they wanted.  In the case of an air show client, it’s was schedule of the flying acts. For another client it was a map of where Brewfest attendees could fine their favorite breweries.

Discovering Relevancy - What Are They Interested In?

You can find out what your target market is looking for by asking them what’s important to them. Consider writing your target market an email asking “what do you want form this event?” or conducting a quick survey.  People are most responsive when you ask them relevant and meaningful questions.
In many cases your target market will automatically tell you what information they seek.  Take a look at your email inbox. My air show client received countless emails requesting a schedule of flying acts. For years the client didn’t want to release the schedule to the general public.  Fortunately a middle ground was found and the target market was elated when the schedule was released a few days before the event. 

Write Using the Target Market’s Language
When writing email try to write in your target market’s native language.  Simple writing is the best writing style to use.  Don’t try to use big stuffy words and write in simple sentences.  Write so that the average reader doesn’t have to get a thesaurus to decode an email. Appealing to the target market’s emotions and desires is also of significant benefit.  You want your readers to think “this person gets me.” If you can achieve that connection, you’re response rates and open rates are going to go up.

Additional Info:

Tell a Story
If you can craft your emails into a story your target market will take notice. Why would you want to tell a story to your target market?  Because people love to hear interesting stories that are meaningful to them. 

Hopefully the information above gives you some ideas for better connecting with your target market via email.  You can’t afford to send boring emails to your target market before your event.  If you make them anticipate your next email, you can't go wrong.

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Online Comments About Your Event

Yesterday evening, I had a great discussion about event feedback on the Internet with one of my good friends.  In today’s world almost anyone has the power to post information online.  Look at the latest Bigfoot hoax.  Two guys went out and posted a YouTube video that turned into a media frenzy. How many hours were lost to a rubber Bigfoot costume in a freezer? If you are an event organizer you should be aware that people will comment online about your event.  These comments could be positive or negative. There are steps you can take to mitigate the risk.  One angry Internet comment justified or not, can turn into a public relations disaster for almost any event.

Stand By Your Critique
This part is a bit of a personal editorial. I have no issues with people who want to criticize an event. I believe that feedback, good or bad, is beneficial to every event.  Event organizers should recognize that any feedback is a good feedback. But event feedback should be done responsibly. I’ve seen a disproportionately high number of ‘Anonymous’ comment criticizing events. If someone is going to criticize an event for any reason, be man or woman enough to sign your real name to the comment. In some cases the comment posted was a complete fabrication.  What’s more dangerous is that you don’t even need to attend an event to make comment. Almost anyone can post a comment on a blog or forum about your event.  Because of this, event organizer must become increasing more vigilant of their event’s online reputation.

Become the Information Authority on Your Event
Event organizers are going to need better situational awareness in the Internet 2.0 world. A way to deal with ‘Anonymous’ comments is by becoming the online authority for your event. Having your own web site is crucial in this process. If you’re aware of unsettling comments about your event, use your own web site to your advantage. People are more likely to believe an authority web site than some random forum post.  If there is a critique of your event and is significant enough to warrant a response, use you’re official event web site to respond.

Use Google Alerts
You can use free technology to monitor the Internet for comments about your event.  Go to alerts.google.com to find out additional information on setting up a Google Alert. You can setup an alert for your event. Google’s search engine will automatically send an email sent to you when the phrase you entered is detected on their search network.  The email sent to you will contain a link to the information posted and brief excerpt.  It isn’t perfect, but it’s far better than scouring the Internet manually.

Find an Online Champion
In another post I wrote about utilizing online champions to support your event.  You can utilize the same people to keep a watchful eye for any potentially troublesome comments.  If you have enough trust in these people, have them take the lead responding to critiques.

As the Internet becomes more popular and technology evolves, event organizers are going to have to become increasingly more mindful of information about their event online.

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Keep Your Event Promotion Emails Relevant and Understandable

The biggest delineator in a successful event marketing or promotional email campaign isn’t the graphics, but the content. The content in almost every instance takes the form of words, either spoken or typically written. People crave information that’s relevant to them and written in terms that they can understand.

On Long Copy
Have you ever seen a really long email and thought to yourself, “I’d never read that, there are too many words!” Plenty of my business associates have made similar comments on some of my event marketing emails. They say things like “there are too many words to read and it’s not visually appealing.” The irony is that the same people will sit down and diligently read 750+ pages of a Harry Potter novel. Keep in mind there are no graphics or fancy layout in a Harry Potter novel, just black text on a piece of paper. 

If the copy is compelling and relevant to the reader, people will take the time to read it, even if it’s 750+ pages. As one copywriter said, “get into their ego, not yours.” Constantly ask yourself, are you writing to the reader’s interest? If the information is irrelevant to the reader, it doesn’t matter how short or long the copy. Brad Antin says it best, “readers won’t let you bore them with print.”

The Words You Use

Aside from choosing a relevant topic of choice, the best way to engage the prospect is by writing to your reader in a very conversational manner.  Use the words that the reader can easily understand when you write, even if those words lack sophistication.

Go and take a look at almost any business web site on the Internet. Businesses love to use words that are sophisticated and make THEM look good. People don’t care about that. That is a big reason why so many businesses struggle online. Your target market wants to know what you’re going to do for them in words they easily understand.  I don’t want to get out a thesaurus to understand a company’s marketing message. When producing any form of marketing or promotional copy for your event, write in simple words that your target market can understand.

Your promotional and marketing emails are going to be far more effective if you write to your target market’s interests and in words they understand.

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Late Event Promotion - Big List Growth

Here is the scenario; you’re event is about a week away and someone suggests the idea of growing a promotional email subscriber list.  Most event organizers would say to themselves, “it’s too late to build a list for my event; we’re only about a week away. Let’s save the idea until next year when we have more time.Ironically some of the best event list growth happens during the weeks preceding your event. A big reason for this is that your event advertising and promotions are typically at their peak.  The awareness prompted by all the advertising and marketing drive people to find out more information about your event.  As a result, you get a significant increase in traffic to your web site. More traffic is usually followed by more list subscriber sign ups.

Real World List Growth Examples
One of my clients grew their event promotion list by 40% during the week leading up to their event. That’s 1250 people who signed up to receive additional information right before the eventIn regards to time frame, the client started collecting emails 7 months earlier.  Another client grew their list by 25% in the week leading up to their event.

List Quality versus Quantity
The question of quality versus quantity usually comes up when seeing significant list growth in a short period of time.  It’s all about having the right offer to your target market. The people who are signing up to your event subscriber list are the people who have a vested interest in your event.  Your web site actually acts as a filter of interest. Someone who’s not interested in an air show probably isn’t going to be on an air show web site in the first place.

Promotions versus Feedback

You might not be able to run a promotional campaign for those people subscribing in days before your event, but those subscribers are still a tremendous resource.  There is a good chance that if people are signing up to your event subscriber list that they’re really interested in your event.  Those same people are probably the most likely to show up to your event. If you can’t run promotional material to your list, you can probably collect great feedback after the event.  Consider sending everyone on your list an online survey after your event.  Post event feedback is tremendously useful to any event organizer.

Hopefully the information above shows you that it isn’t too late to start building a list for your event. Building a dedicated event list is one of the most powerful promotion techniques that any event promoter or organizer could undertake. It’s almost never too late to start.

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Event Marketing: Updating Your Event Web Site

As an event approaches so do the number of updates typically made on your event web site.  There is something important to keep in mind when you make content updates on your event web site. Just because you’re making updates to your web site doesn’t mean that your users are cognizant of those updates. I’ve seen event organizers work diligently to keep their event web sites as up to date as possible. Many times those updates go completely unnoticed by their users.  You don’t want that happening if you have some really important information to get out to your prospective event patrons regarding your event.

Remember Your Return Visitors
It’s important to keep in mind that a portion of your web site visitors come in the form of return visitors. My event marketing clients noticed a consistent return visitor rate of about 30% regardless of their specific event niches.

A Simple Solution
A quick and easy way to orient users with any updates you’ve made on your event web site is with an extremely simple news update section. If you have a moment, visit Yahoo.com. Not much has changed in how Yahoo displays news stories over the years. I’ve used the Yahoo news section as a model for displaying news stories on event web sites. You can dedicate a small section, above the fold, on your homepage for an updated news section.  Try to keep your news section as simple as possible.  I’ve included an example below that I’ve implemented on client web sites.

News Updated14:23 EDT on 08/31/2008

  • Short Headline #1 (Hyperlink)
  • Short Headline #2 (Hyperlink)
  • Short Headline #3 (Hyperlink)

There is nothing fancy about the example above. Try to keep things as simple as possible. A few simple lines of compelling text with links to additional information are all you really need.

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Don’t Be Afraid to Engage Your Prospect Repeatedly

Over the last few years I’ve encouraged my event marketing clients to build dedicated subscriber lists for their events. A crucial part of any list leveraging is to engage your list on a regular basis.  In the case of event promotion, you’ll want to engage your list more often as your event approaches.  Building anticipation for your event beforehand is crucial for event success.  One question that always comes up as more emails get sent is “are we sending too many emails?” The first place to look for an answer is by considering your ratio of opt outs to opt ins.

A Reference Point

To give you some perspective, one event marketing list I manage had a 3% opt out rate over six months.  The total list size was almost 3200 people.  Over 15 emails were sent to the list over 6 months. Ten of those emails were within 20 days of the event taking place.  Less than 100 people opted out through the course of the email campaign. There were 32 people signing up for every one person that opted out.  That’s a pretty good ratio.

If half your list removed themselves from getting more information about your event, you might need to reexamine your approach.  The ideal ratio is ultimately going to be up to you.  Look at the people who are staying on the list, are they responsive to your offers? The most important question to ask is "are people buying from you?" Lists are about quality and responsiveness, not quantity.

You’re Going to Get Opt Outs Regardless - Don’t Take It Personally
Keep in mind that anyone who signs up to your list has indicated that they are at least interested in finding out more about your event.  It’s in your best interest to keep their attention level as high as possible.  Don’t get discouraged if you see people opting out of your email list. I’ve always found that the more information you send in a short period of time the higher the list abandonment rate.  People are going to leave your list regardless of how good the information. You need to make sure that the abandonment rate is as low possible while consistently sending emails.  The best way to keep people on the list, and keep them opening email, is by giving them information that they deem valuable and relevant to their needs.

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Event Promotions and Shortening Your Domain Name

Drop the 'http://' and 'www' from Your Event Advertising
If you are directing your prospects to your event web site through print, radio, billboard, or television advertising consider truncating your web site address down to ‘yourevent.com’.  I recommend taking out the ‘www’ or ‘http://’ from all your event advertising pieces. Most consumers today know a web address and what to do with it when they see one. In addition, every web browser I'm familiar with automatically appends ‘http://’ to any web address that a person might enter into the address bar.

Cut the Extraneous Information & Save Time
If you have a radio ad and decide to include just the classic ‘www’ before mentioning your domain name that burns 2 seconds of your 15 or 30 second radio spot. If you get rid of ‘www’ and ‘http://’ in television and print advertising you can usually increase the font size of your domain name.  The bigger the font, the more prominent your web address.  You can also look at this recommendation as a way to cut down on the clutter of your event advertising. There are far too many ads that try to cram as much information as possible into a limited amount of time or space.  Consumers are already overwhelmed with too many advertising details. Getting rid of the ‘www’ and ‘http://’ from your event advertising is one small step in the right direction.

Triple Check for Domain Compatibility
There is one very important caveat to this suggestion. It’s crucial to check beforehand with your hosting provider and/or web master to make sure that your web site is configured properly. Some web sites won’t load if you don’t include ‘www.’ before the domain name.  It’s a very quick change that most internet developers can easily change. But don’t wait until your advertising campaigns start to check this important consideration.

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Event Promotion: Information versus Graphics

In all my years of producing numerous promotional web sites for events I have never received a single email commenting on the visual appearance of a web site, either good or bad.  Yet, I have been inundated with emails regarding the information on various event web sites. The emails stated that a user didn’t understand something or there wasn’t enough information on a certain subject area.

The Preoccupation
I honestly believe too many businesses are overly preoccupied with the aesthetics of a web site.  My previous statement isn’t to suggest that you shouldn’t have an aesthetically pleasing web site. If you look at most company web sites, more time and money is spent on “How can we make this look better to the consumer?” versus “How can we make sure this makes sense to the consumer?” One of the most important lessons I've learned about the web over the last 15 years is that information trumps graphics 9 times out of 10. The most successful web sites put more emphasis on the information than the graphics.

The Online Content King
Online information takes one predominate form and that form is text. The written word drives almost everything we do on the web. Someone once said “There is very little you can do online without words like click here, buy now, go, or search.” Consider Google for a moment.  They make the biggest proportion of their advertising revenue on text, not video or graphics. Their multimedia services like YouTube and Google Video are supplements to their search engine technology.

Next time you sit down to rethink your web site ask yourself the following questions:

  • “Do the words I have on my web page connect with my target market?”
  • “Do I have enough information on my site to prevent someone from writing
    a customer service email?”
  • “If I take away all the graphics on my site, does it still make sense with just the text?”

Any graphics you have on your web site should be there to enhance the words already on the page. This simple mindset will make a world of difference in your online endeavors.

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Event Marketing: Overwhelming Your Target Market

Over the weekend I watched some advertising for a local event I really want to attend. The piece of advertising was a 30 second television commercial.  The television commercial illustrated the importance of keeping your marketing message, relevant, short, and easy to remember. One of the biggest mistakes event organizers and promoters make is trying to delivery the target audience too much information in one sitting.

Information Overload

The event promoter’s or event organizer’s mindset is usually, “How much information can I get into this one ad?” The end result is that so much information goes in to a piece of advertising that people get overwhelmed or just ignore the advertising.  Too much information can be as bad as too little advertising. Are event sponsors, dates, times, headliners, etc. important? Absolutely! Yet, if people aren’t at least interested in finding out more information about your event, they’re unlikely to attend. If your target audience is unlikely to attend all the previous information such as sponsors, dates, times, and your main attraction, risk becoming irrelevant.

Take Small Steps First

I’m a firm believer that if event organizers focused more on hitting people’s emotional hot buttons upfront, they would get more people interested in their event. When creating advertising for your event, regardless of the medium, concentrate on getting people interested in your event first. 

Keep your advertising simple, straightforward, and easy to remember.
Consider some of the ideas below:

  • Create an attention grabbing headline or hook that hits their emotional hot buttons
    (their desires or fears). e.g. "The Heart Pounding Excitement of Flight!"

  • What are the benefits the audience gets for attending your event? Use those in your advertising.
  • A simple call to action, send them to your web site that has more information about the event.

Get Into Their Ego
When getting your marketing message across, focus on keeping things as simple and straightforward as possible. I can't recall who came up with the axiom, but you need to "get out of your ego and into their ego." In short, give the people what they want, not what you think they want. If you can get people to take a simple action, like visiting a web site, you’ll have a greater chance of selling them on your event.

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Turn Your Event Into an Experience

Last month I was fortunate enough to participate in the Red Bull Air Race that was held in Detroit, Michigan. There is something about high performance airplanes flying a dizzying course dangerously close to the ground that makes your heart skip a few beats. The people in attendance were awe struck as the first air plane entered the course. I witnessed one gentleman at the event who was so impressed he let out a series of explicit words to verbalize his amazement. Red Bull has gone beyond just creating an event, they have created an experience.

The Red Bull Experience


Create an Experience

Events come and go, but an “experience” can last a lifetime. If you have an event, consider ways to turn it into an unforgettable experience. You can also use the experience mindset and apply it to all your event marketing. I don’t believe anyone should over hype their event through marketing or advertising and then under deliver on value. Yet, if you can over deliver on value and exceed your potential customer’s expectations you owe it them to hype accordingly. Over the years I’ve seen great events lose big money because they weren’t marketed very well. 

Marketing the Experience

Creating an experience also helps tremendously when it comes to your event marketing. Over the last few weeks I’ve been conducting research on P.T. Barnum. I would encourage anyone interested in event marketing spend some time reading up on Barnum. He was one of the greatest event marketers on the planet during his time. His marketing exploits were conducted in a time of no radio, television, or Internet. He was able to create an unbelievable experience for his customers. He had a strong belief in always delivering value to the customer. Next time you have an event, try integrating some of Barnum’s magic into your event.

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Outdoor Event Advertising and Marketing

Before you consider purchasing any publically displayed advertising, stop and give some thought to how your advertising will fit into its’ surroundings. Ask yourself, "What will people think?" This mindset is especially applicable to billboards, banners, and any outdoor signage.

A Banner Example
The catalyst for this post was some advertising I saw for a local event.  The event organizer had probably spent thousands of dollars on a series of really nice looking banners to promote their event.  The banners were displayed in the last place anyone would look. The production value was great, but the placement was bad. 

Where is the billboard?

An outdoor billboard is an ideal example. If someone from your target market is driving down the road does your billboard get their attention?  Is there too much information on your advertising for someone to remember?  Is there other advertising in the surrounding area competing for their attention? Think about all the things someone might be doing while they’re in their car . . . trying to dodge traffic, talking on their cell phone, or changing radio stations.  Someone once asked me to recall information off any of the billboards I’d seen during my morning commute. I couldn’t really remember any details.

Additional Resource:

You might not have 100% control over where your advertising runs. And it might not be practical to look at every single individual piece of public advertising space. But, in instances where you do have some influence, visualize how your target market might take in your advertising. Think to yourself, "If I'm the consumer is that advertising going to catch and momentarily keep my attention?" This simple process might save you from wasting significant sums of money on advertising that goes unnoticed.

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Sky High Event Promotion

There are so many forms of advertising that it’s difficult to find just one that really stands out. I believe one truly unique form of advertising is aerial banner advertising.  What makes aerial banner advertising so unique is there isn’t much advertising competition in the sky. It’s rare to see aerial advertising and not have someone nearby say out loud “Look at that!” Most people will at least read what’s on the banner.

Big Letters
One of my favorite things about aerial banner advertising is the format, big type letters. Those big letters make aerial banner advertising a great format to advertise web addresses. I firmly believe that the single greatest piece of advertising information you want people to remember is your web address.

Easy to Remember
It is imperative that you make your address is easy to remember. You might want to consider using an alternate domain name just for advertising purposes. Some domain names are either too long or very difficult to remember. Can you create an alternate domain name,just for advertising, that is short and easy to remember?

I don’t have any case studies pointing to the effectiveness of banner advertising. As technology progresses more people are getting cell phones with mobile web access. If you catch their attention they could be on your web site in a matter of moments.

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Event Promotion Idea: Text Messaging

Have you ever notice how many people text message these days?  It seems like a number of people are more likely to text message than actually pickup the telephone. An increasing number of retailers are using mobile phone text messaging to drive their retail sales with impressive results. In a recent post, “Promoting Events Inside Your Event,” I wrote about the importance of leveraging your web site and internal event schedule to add value to your event.  You can use simple mobile phone text messages to build excitement for your event.

Remember Trust and Credibility

It is difficult enough for marketers to collect a legitimate first name and email address. Trying to collect a real cell phone number is even more difficult. If you’re going to attempt to get cell numbers for your event marketing, I recommend starting with your existing permission based marketing list. If you’ve provided your existing list enough valuable information your list subscribers are probably more likely to willfully provide you their cell number.

A Texting Idea
In its’ simplest form you can send a text message or two a few days before your event to build excitement.  I would stress the importance of not trying to sales pitch people to death. What can you text someone that would be considered valuable information?

If you have a segmented list, consider sending text messages to people who purchased tickets about the event itself. You might text all the people who purchased a ticket a few minutes before your event headliner takes the stages. You can also text interesting tidbits of information about the event itself.

Ultimately when and what to text are going to be at your discretion. Think about the information you’re sending from a receiver’s prospective. Is the information you're sending timely and useful?

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Promoting Events Inside Your Event

Do you have additional events or special features taking place inside your event? These additional events could include anything from live music performances, guest speakers, workshops, autograph sessions, etc. It’s any smaller event inside your event that further enhances your attendee’s experience.

A recent expedition to Disney’s EPCOT was a catalyst for writing on the topic of providing a schedule of events inside your event. After purchasing tickets at the ticket window you are given your park ticket and additional handouts. One of the handouts is a daily schedule of events and seasonal showcases taking place inside of EPCOT.  The advantage of providing a schedule is that you can allow people to pick and choose what’s most interesting to them.

Leverage Your Web Site
From a timing aspect, the schedule becomes more important the closer you get to your event. If you’re event is coming up shortly you might want to notch out a section of your home page to feature a “Schedule of Events.” Consider having pocket or wallet size PDF document that people can easily print off and take with them.

Get People Excited
Try to build a little excitement for your smaller events.  Include a one or two sentence description of why someone might want to attend an event inside your event. In many cases people might not know what is taking place unless you tell them.

Events inside an event are an excellent way to add additional value to your event. “We have a great event happening, plus all this other great stuff!” It's going to be far easier for you to sell a ticket for your event if you can provide tremendous value. Something as simple as a schedule is a simple yet effective way to add value to your event.

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The Timing of Your Event Promotion

Do you know what information might be important to prospective event attendees at any given moment? Over the last few posts I’ve mentioned the importance of information over time.  Just because you have a 5, 10, or 20 page event web site doesn’t mean that people are looking at all the information in one sitting. Online directions to your event might garner the most attention a few days before the event, but mean little or nothing to an attendee months before the event. It’s important to take stock of what information is important to an attendee at various moments.

How do I find out what’s important to people?
Two great places to start looking at what’s important to prospective event attendees is by looking at incoming emails and your web statistics.

Emails
Email is a great place to get into the mind of event attendees. In most cases the emails you’re receiving will give you a very good idea of what’s important to your prospective attendees at any given moment. People will literally spell out what’s of interest to them. If you get several emails a week asking about tickets to your event, that’s going to tell you something. Are you doing something with that information?

Web Stats
Your web statistics will also give you an excellent idea of what information is important to people. What are the top pages that people are looking at on your web site?  Are they neglecting any pages that contain potentially important information?  It’s important to focus on trends and making sure you’re giving people the information they seek.

Try correlating your statistics with incoming emails.  The information will help you in creating a better understanding of your consumer.

Internet users have a comparatively low attention span.  If the information isn't at their finger tips they might abandon their search or look elsewhere. In terms of event marketing, this could mean the loss of event attendees. If you know what’s important to your target market at any given moment you can do a better job of presenting the information more effectively.

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Keeping Your Event List Engaged

How often do you engage your list?  Engaging your list means sending some type of information to a group of target market subscribers. The materials could be anything from an email newsletter to using “snail mail” to keep in touch.  In other posts I’ve given out information for growing your list. In today’s post, I’m going to quickly look at some ways to deal with people unsubscribing from your list.

When you’re growing your list it’s really important to get your timing interval set for what works best for your target market. Over the years I’ve seen both sides of the engagement spectrum, from too much to too little. My clients engage their list anywhere from once a quarter to every week. Contrary to popular belief, too many people under engage their list.

Ask Two Questions . . .

Continue reading "Keeping Your Event List Engaged" »


Connecting with Your Event Audience Online

When it comes to your event web site content it is imperative to be very conscientious that the information is overwhelmingly user focused.  I go well beyond “beating a dead horse” on this particular topic.  People always ask, why do you constantly bring this point up?  Not staying people focused is the single biggest liability to a business' or event's web presence. Most companies struggle online because they’re not connecting with their audience in a language that the audience understands.

“I want it done this way!”
In the past, I’ve had clients insist on updating their web site with information they believed to be very important.  The challenge is showing event organizers and business owners that the people aren’t interested in the particular information they want to share. Worst of all it cost event organizers and businesses their own time, effort, and money. At the very basic level you need to separate what you think is best form the audience and what they want. I'm not sure who's quote it is, but "Get yourself out of your ego and into the prospect's ego."

How to Avoid Costly Mistakes
You can avoid the costly mistake of not connecting with your audience in several ways.  Start with your data. What data (emails, follow up surveys, telephone calls, etc.) can you reference to better understand the people using your web site?  Are there any specific trends that give you insight into what information prospective attendees want? Do your web stats indicate something important?

Another way to get in the right frame of mind is to ask yourself, “If I was going to an event web site, what would be most important to me?” When it comes to event web site information what's important can change depending on the time frame. As an example, people are going to be much more interested in directions to your event as the event date approaches. The safest thing to do is ask your target market, “What do you want to know about the event and when do you want to know about it?”

Below I’ve included some articles that might prove helpful in getting in better touch with you audience.

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Using Mystery and Your Event Promotion

Have you ever used a little mystery or intrigue to promote your event? We humans tend to be a very curious bunch.  Once we’re teased with something of interest, it's usually followed by an insatiable itch to find out more.

The Sneak Peak
A great example of using mystery to tease something bigger is a movie trailer. What is a movie trailer? A movie trailer is a short two minute vignette to get people interested in going to see the full movie. Have you every thought of using the trailer idea to promote your event? With inexpensive video recording and free services like YouTube, it's never been easier to create your own videos.

Delivering the Goods

One caveat of mystery is not letting your audience down. If you’re building up a promotion using mystery make sure that you deliver something big. You want your audience to say, “Wow, that’s amazing!” You never want them underwhelmed by the experience. How many times have you seen something built up so big that it can’t possibility meet someone’s expectations? It's like seeing a great movie trailer and then being let down by the feature length version of the film. If you're going to tease, make sure you deliver the goods!

Below, I’ve included a video presentation by J.J. Abrams, the creator of Lost and number of Hollywood movies.  In the video, J.J. talks about Mystery Boxes and how they get integrated into various stories.  Take a few minutes and watch the video. It might give you an idea that can be integrated into you next event or promotion.

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Event Marketing Idea: Blocking Your Tickets

There is one really simple strategy you can use to drive the “right” amount of advance sale tickets.  Why the “right” amount of advance sale tickets? Because many event organizers are hesitant to offer ticket discounts. They worry that they’re going to lose too much money.  “What if everyone buys the tickets at 50% off?” There is a very easy way to mitigate the possibility of giving up too much and still drive advance ticket sales.

Ticket Blocking
If you’re offering discounted tickets to your event, especially deeply discounted tickets, limiting the amount of tickets sold can be used to your advantage.  I refer to the process as discount ticket blocking. By ticket blocking you only offer a certain amount of tickets at a discounted price.  Just by limiting the number of discounted tickets you give additional incentive for people to buy early.  It’s important to find the right combination of blocking and price to drive ticket prices.  Each event is going to have a unique combination. Doing a little intuitive math should give you a decent idea of how much and how many tickets to discount.

Offer Huge Ticket Discounts

Did you ever think of offering a 50% discount on your event ticket price? A few months ago I meet Kevin Walsh from Wingman Events.  Kevin provides consulting services for the air show industry.  He came up with a great ticket and blocking schedule that helped sell a significant portion of tickets of advance sale tickets to an air show. Did he give up profit margin? Absolutely! He discounted some event tickets by over 50%. But would you give up significant margin if you could pay for your entire event before a single person walked in the gate? Remember there are only a certain amount of people who will buy early.

Ticket blocking is a simple way to make sure you don’t lose when discounting ticket prices and still drive advance sale tickets.  Make sure you give it some consideration for your next event.

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Event Marketing: Ask Your Patrons What They Want

When is the last time you asked your target market for feedback or input on your event? It is very easy to assume you know the needs and desires of your target market.  The dilemma of assuming what a target market's needs and desires are, plagues the business world daily. It's the classic "I know what they want!" Businesses then proceed to spend a ton of money and time developing the perfect product or service that nobody needs or cares about.  Unfortunately the same dilemma carries over into the event world. Event organizers build events that don’t match up with the expectations or desires of their target market. If you can meet your target market’s needs and desires you’re much more likely to be successful with your event.  Put simply, would you rather go to an event that interests you or an event that holds no interest for you? One of the easiest ways to meet your target market's wants and desires is by asking them simple questions.

A Real Life Feedback Example
The example that follows isn't directly from the event marketing world, but the same idea could be applied to almost any event.

A few days ago a friend of mine conducted a very interesting feedback experiment. My friend’s company sells unique t-shirts.  On a whim he decided to post a short two minute video to his web site.  The purpose of the video was to request questions from his target market relating to his business and products.  After the video was posted online, he emailed all the people on his email list. The response to the video was tremendous.  Hundreds of people viewed the video and then submitted a bunch of great questions and comments.  My friend is now going to use the feedback to help him develop products that are very focused on the customer. It also help him drive home the biggest sales month he's ever had in his business.

Stick with Simple
You don’t have to do something as elaborate as a video post to engage your target market.  Email is a super efficient and inexpensive way to collect feedback. Send an email and ask a few very simple questions that help you better understand your target market’s wants and desires.  It could be as straightforward as “What do you want to see at the event?” You’ll be amazed at what you can learn when you ask questions. Ideas you might never have thought of manifest themselves with great audience feedback. Another great thing about asking for feedback on your event is that it builds a tremendous amount of trust and credibility with your target market.   

After Your Event
After you event is over think about sending a follow up survey. Find out what attendees liked and disliked. You could use the data you collect for planning future events.

If you want a super successful event ask your target market what they want and then do your best to deliver it to them.  It all starts with a question. If you can focus primarily your target market's needs, you'll have a much easier time reaching your event goals, guaranteed!

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