Wanted: A Simple One Page Event Web Site

Yesterday I attended a local event with some clients and friends. A client of mine was good enough to offer me some complementary tickets for myself and friends to a fundraising event.  In the days leading up to the event I was trying to coordinate a meeting time with friends. The challenge was that I couldn’t find any information on the event, most importantly a definitive start time, anywhere.  I had honestly spent at least 30 minutes of my time searching the web and making phone calls to various parties involved with the event. Of the people I spoke with over the telephone, I was given three different start times. In the end, I was able to find out a definitive time about two hours before the event started.

It Happens More Often Than Not
There have been times where I’ve experienced similar scenarios of not being able to find critical information with other big events. If I’m a web guy and pride myself on the ability to find almost anything online in short order, what about all the other people? I can only imagine the frustration level that others had in trying to find information for an event they paid good money to attend. One of the best things you can do is keep your event attendees and prospective attendees well informed.

Just One Page

The example above illustrates the need for having something as simple as a one page event web site that’s easy to find in search engines. This can be accomplished for as little as $75-$100 USD a year.  All you need is the domain name registered and a simple hosting plan. The sooner you post a web site the better your chances for getting properly listed in the search engines. I’ve included additional information to help event organizers get started with a simple and inexpensive web presence.

Additional Resources:

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Event Promotion Timing and Your Event

Have you ever wondered “when should I start advertising for my event?” Over the years I’ve seen a number of examples that help formulate a possible answer to previous question. At the same time, it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact time frame to start advertising for your event.  The time frame for advertising depends on a number of variables unique to your event. Factors include type of event, weather conditions, competing events, the economy, etc.

The Danger of Starting Too Late
A few years ago there was a summer event that I consulted for that illustrates the danger of waiting too long to promote an event.  The event was well known in the community and took place every few years during the summer. Event organizers didn’t start to promote the event with traditional media until about 10 days prior to the event taking place.  Because of the late start in advertising there were some very noticeable impacts in ticket sales. Online ticket sales decreased by over 60% and regular ticket sales were down significantly from previous years. It’s my firm belief that had the advertising started earlier that the ticket sales would have been much higher.

Consider the Variables
The adverting time frame is going to be determined by a number of unique factors. Consider the following. If you’re in the Northern part of the United States and you have an outdoor event there are only so many nice weather days granted by Mother Nature.  People tend to make long term weekend plans during the summer. If you have a summer event you’re going to want to advertise at least 30 days in advance. You should always be thinking of the variables that impact your advertising schedule.

Always Start Early, as Opposed to Late
There is one fundamental that can be applied to almost every event. You can get to a point then it is too late to advertise your event. Regardless of how big your advertising budget, there comes a time when it isn’t enough to sway a target audience. How many times have you heard the infamous line “I wish I would have known earlier.” If you’re advertising for your next big event start advertising early as opposed to later.

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Does Your Headline Grab Their Undivided Attention?

What’s one of the most powerful marketing elements in print?  I humbly present to you the “Headline.” Over the year’s I’ve done a decent amount of research on the importance of headline writing and the impact it can have on your marketing. Headlines might be more powerful than the visual elements for a piece of print or online advertising.

The Power of Headlines

It's been shown that 70-75% of the reason that a person chooses to read a magazine article or newspaper article is based solely on the headline. Many magazines are sold by virtue of headlines on the front cover. Next time you’re in front of a magazine rake pickup your favorite magazine and look at the cover. In almost every case the cover of the magazine is inundated with article headlines from that issue.

How does this apply to your event advertising?

Continue reading "Does Your Headline Grab Their Undivided Attention?" »

Protecting Your Identity Online, Simple Things You Can Do

Identity_theftToday I’m going to share with you a FREE Report on the simple things you can do to protect your online identity. Just click on a link below to access the report.  In addition, there is a simple technique you can use to determine when anyone posts information about you in Google. (Google

Want to Automatically know when something is posted something about you in Google?
Use a Google Alert. Google will send you an email each time the words you enter, in this case your name, show up as a new posting within Google. You can customize the options to your preference. Different alert types include Blog postings, news stories, videos, web sites, and various groups. You can select the comprehensive selection, under type, to get an alert for any of the previous categories.  Alerts can be set for once a week, daily, or as it happens. Go to http://www.google.com/alerts for more information.  Yahoo and MSN also have similar services.

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Sponsorship, Domain Name Branding, and Your Event

Below is a scenario that has come up once or twice in years past. Let me start by stating I fully realize the importance of sponsorship to events.  Some events might not be able to take place without the support of sponsors.  Recently a particular case study prompted me to carefully examine the relationship between domain name branding and sponsorship.

A Sponsor Wanting to Rebrand the Domain Name
In the case study the title sponsor for an event wanted to rebrand the domain name used for the event’s web site to be sponsor centric. The domain name would include the sponsor’s name and the type of event. Some might think it’s an easy position to logically justify.  If a title sponsor is giving a large donation to help support the event, why not rebrand the domain name?  Consider this; the event already had a well established domain name that had been used for almost 8 years. Additionally, over $350,000 USD was spent on advertising for the event over 8 years with the previous domain name featured prominently.

When to Rebrand Your Domain Name

The one instance where you might want to consider rebranding your domain name to be sponsor centric is when you lock a title sponsor into a long term sponsorship agreement.

Local and Out of Town Domains
If you get event attendees from outside the local area and your title sponsor is only known locally you might run into additional branding challenges. You might want to consider using one domain name locally and another that resonates with out of town people

When Changing Your Domain Name, Keep your old Domain Name Alive
If you do decide to rebrand your event’s domain name, keep your previous domain names active and pointing to your new domain.  People who have an affinity for your previous domain name use it to get to your web site. From a search engine perspective, it can take several months or years to properly re-index a new domain name. Don’t forget to consider older links associated with the previous domain name.

Ultimately the decision to use a new domain name or stay with an existing one is the decision of the event organizers.  Make sure you choose wisely. If you’re event attendees are accustomed to using one domain name, a change might not be in your best interest.

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What is Event Marketing? (Definition)

Event_marketing_definitionA quick look up on your favorite search engine will show that various companies have very different perspectives on the definition of event marketing.

Depending where you look, you might find two completely different definitions for the phrase "Event Marketing."

What is the Definition of Event Marketing?
After some research, both online and offline, I’ve been able to boil down event marketing into the two definitions below . . .

Event Marketing - Definition #1:
The use of traditional or new media to promote, market, or advertise an event. Various forms of marketing and advertising are used to entice people to attend an event. Event types could include anything from not for profit fundraisers to sporting events, conventions, fundraisers, seminars, festivals, workshops, air shows, and many more.

Event Marketing - Definition #2:

Using an event, such as tradeshows, to engage prospective consumers, build awareness, or market a company’s products and services. One of the simplest examples is trade show marketing.  Your business purchases booth space and presents your company’s products or services to trade show attendees. Some companies rephrase this definition of event marketing as event-based marketing.

The second definition of event marketing is best embodied in Ruth Stevens' book “Trade Show & Event Marketing: Plan, Promote & Profit.”

Two Definitions - One Universal
Even though there are two different definitions of event marketing, this is one universal concept ... the fundamentals of sales and marketing NEVER change. You are far better off focusing on the psychology of marketing, as opposed to trying to adopt and integrate the latest whiz-bang technology. Ultimately, your sales and marketing success comes down to generating measurable results that improve your business.

Here's a great video to get you started on the fundamentals with supporting articles specifically for events:

For the purpose of this web page I present ideas and strategies for the kind of event marketing found above in Definition #1. Hopefully the information above helps clear up some of the apparent confusion.

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Hold Your Event Marketing Accountable!

Last year, I discover a book by Victor Cheng titled, “Escaping the Self Employment Trap.” Victor writes about an important concept every event marketer should embrace called “Accountable Marketing.” The ideology has been used by direct marketers for years. There was something about how he presented the concept that got me thinking in terms of event promotion and marketing. He sums up accountable marketing in his own words below.

“When your marketing is accountable, it provides you with an enormous advantage in the marketplace. You have great clarity on what marketing activities are making you money and what activities are not.”
Escaping the Self Employment Trap, Cheng. p.66.

It is unbelievable how many event organizers and business don't track the effectiveness of their advertising.

Tracking Your Return On Investment
Consider this . . . If you spend ”X” dollars in advertising you get “Y” dollars in return. If your an event marketer “Y” could be ticket sales, leads, or people going to your event web site.  Victor also point out that you should think of your advertising as a form of investment. If your advertising isn’t bring you a return on investment then it’s expense.

There are numerous events that have a wide range in advertising budgets. There is a good chance if you asked an event organizer, “do you know what the return on investment is for your advertising?”  Most wouldn’t be able to give you a quantified response. There are some event organizers who spend tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising, all without knowing their return on investment. You always need to be on the lookout for ways to track your advertising effectiveness.

Start Simple
One of the simplest places to start is with your web statistics. Look at your daily advertising spend and correlate it with actions on your event web site.  The actions could be anything from unique visitors to a site to tickets sold on a given day. Get into the habit of collecting and analyzing your marketing data.

The Advertising Question to Ask
Every event marketer needs to ask “What am I getting in return for my advertising and marketing?”
Your numbers might not be perfect, and not all advertising can be tracked directly. But, if you at least put your frame of mind around the concept you’ll probably never look at advertising the same.

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Search Engine Optimization and Your Event Marketing

More lessons keep streaming in from the last week’s press conference to announce a client’s big event. For today I’ll take a look at how search engines can help your event marketing. One of my biggest performance references has been web stats. For this post I’m using the simple and unrefined metric of visitors to an event web site. There are more advanced metrics that you want to eventually focus on, but for simplicity sake I decided to go with visitors.

Search Terms Bring Relevant Traffic
After last week’s press conference search engine traffic accounted for the largest portion of web site visitors. What’s more important is that the visitors prequalified themselves as being at least interested in the event because of the search terms they used.  How many people are going to search for an event that they have no curiosity or interest in attending?

How Most People Search for Events
Based on years of web stat analysis one can deduce that people have fairly specific search phrases that they use to look up a given event of interest. The search phrases are a combination of the type of event “Festival, Workshop, Seminar” or the actual name of the event “Lilac Festival, Flour City Brew Fest, Park Ave Fest” and the location “Rochester, Buffalo, Toronto.”

When trying to optimize your event web site for search engines, focus keywords on the TYPE of EVENT, the NAME OF EVENT, and EVENT LOCATION.

Actual Top Search Phrases:

  • "rochester air show"
  • "rochester international airshow"
  • "rochester airshow"

Where do the Keywords Go?
You’re going to optimize for those search phrases in the title tag of each page on your web site. The title tag is comprised of the words you see in the bar at the very top of your browser. Your keywords are some of the most important words on your web site pertaining to search engine optimization. Keywords in the actual body text and navigation are also important. I’ve included a link to the resource section below for additional insight.

Why Not Go for More Popular Search Terms
Some people have asked if it’s worth trying to go after the more general keywords like “Summer Events Rochester” or “Festivals in New York State." You could if you so choose and there is some benefit, but there are also counterpoints. One of the biggest caveats is time and competition. You’re going to have a harder time getting listed with more competition for the same keywords. Ask yourself “Do I want to try and lure people who might be interested in my event or those who have basically qualified themselves as interested?”

When users go looking for your event in search engines they’ve already prequalified themselves. Search engine marketing and optimization is the easiest way to capture your targeted prospects. Use the information above to get some great free advertising.

Additional Resources:

The Press Conference Lesson on Event Marketing

Last week one of my local clients held a large press conference for their event. A few months ago, I posted an article on “Press Releases and Your Event Marketing” and passed along a copy to my client.  As in the article, I made it known to the client how important it was to include the web site in all possible media references to the event. The client wholeheartedly agreed and did their part to ensure the web site was featured. In fact, the last portion of the official press releases included mentioning the event web site and listing the web address. The press conference came and went. A few hours later news outlets started to feature information about the event.  It was great that the local news services were featuring information on the event, but unfortunately none of the outlets were including the web address.

The Opportunity Cost
Why be emphatic about something as simple as list a web site?  The opportunity cost was at least 500-750 target market visitors to the web site. I figured 500-750 possible visitors because after getting the web site listed with just one news outlet 120+ people visited the event web site.  In Rochester we have at least 5 major news outlets.  Because of an insatiable thirst for the latest and greatest, news stories become old news quickly. There is a very limited window of opportunity to get visitors via links with news features. Once the news stories fade away so do the web site links.

The Lesson
By the end of the day I was left scratching my head.  I decided to call up a friend that has been in the local media for over 30 years. He had some pretty insightful information as it pertains to my press conference lesson, “news agencies tend to truncate a lot of information.” I’m going to interview some additional media people to find out if there is something that can be done to ensure there is a better chance of getting your web site reference included. I’ll pass along the information when my research is complete.

The Recommendation
My friend suggested listing the web site in the first paragraph of any official press release. You should also include a really strong call to action for the web address.  Second, kindly ask the news media correspondents, “Can you please make sure to include the web site in any stories you feature?” A simple direct request like that can make a huge difference.

A web site listing is an easy to thing to add to any news feature, because of this, it is also very easy to forget.  Make sure you do what it takes to get your event web site listed in any news references.  As they say, “Good publicity is the best free advertising in the world.”

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Event Promotion: Using Video to Front Load Event Value

Have you ever considered using video to add value upfront for your next event?

One web service I’ve been leveraging for event marketing over the last few months has been YouTube. YouTube gives you a great way of integrating video to front load the value of your event and with no associated cost. With YouTube's embed function you had seamlessly integrate video into your web site. There are a number of videos in almost any category imaginable.

Current Application
The integration of YouTube videos is being used with one of my clients the Rochester International Air Show.  Air Shows are all about the sights and sounds. Thus video is a great way to get people excited about the upcoming air show.  As part of my attempt to front load event value, there is a newsletter that goes out on a regular basis announcing new performers and attractions. A few of the newsletters have included a relevant video link featuring a performer or videos related to the show.

A YouTube Search and Tips
You can start the process by going to YouTube and doing a search for relevant content as it applies to your event. Below are some quick suggestions on what to look for in potential videos.

  • Choose clips that are closely related to your event.
  • Always ask yourself the question “What will the target user think of this?” Remember it’s about delivering value to the user. You want them to say, “That’s cool!”
  • Review all clips for content appropriateness.
  • Shorter clips are usually better.
  • Check the comments for every video you want to use and make sure there isn’t anything inappropriate or offensive.

One thing you have to be conscious of is checking to make sure any videos you use are still active on YouTube. One of the videos that we were using as part of an email campaign was removed from YouTube for some unknown reason. Even if you sent an email a few weeks ago, some people might check out the video again or forward it to a friend. 

Always ask yourself what other ways can I leverage free content to increase the value of my event marketing? If you’re going to integrate video, make sure that it is going to add value to your event.

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Huge Marketing Decisions: The Devil is in the Details

Over the last few weeks I’ve been sending and producing a decent amount of electronic event marketing materials for clients.  Part and parcel of the emails is the data which the system provides.  Collecting good permission based data has opened my eyes to marketing possibilities and other view points I would have never of considered.

As an example, have you ever had a scenario where you knew you were absolutely positively right about something? Then, you find out an important piece of information and what you were convinced was an absolute gets completely turned upside down.

Having good data tends to force us to consider other marketing solutions or ideas.

Continue reading "Huge Marketing Decisions: The Devil is in the Details" »

Drowning Your Event Prospects with Advertising Details

It is very easy to lose your event prospect in advertising minutia. In today’s world of more outrageous marketing there is a constant battle for the hearts and minds of your target market. Take for example print advertising. How many print advertisements for an event have you seen that are crammed full of every possible detail? They give you dates, location, parking, sponsors, ticket prices, web sites, etc. More information isn’t always better . . . especially if the info isn't relevant to the prospect. You run the risk of drowning your prospect in so many details that they ignore what you’re trying to get them to do in the first place - show up to your event.

Consider putting yourself in the prospect’s shoes. Which of the following are you more likely to notice?

  1. An advertisement crammed with a ton of irrelevant details.
  2. An advertisement with the information that is of interest to you.

For print advertising of your event consider using a simple direct marketing formula. Focus on advertising to your prospect with strong Headlines, Benefits, and a Calls to Action.

Catch the prospect’s attention with a powerful headline.  The headline should speak in simple and empathetic terms that your prospect can easily understand. Ask them a question or make a bold statement that directly relates to their desires. You need to grab them by the eyeballs.

Tell your prospect what they’ll get out of attending your event. Benefits fulfill the desires or solve a problem prospect is experiencing. Event benefits can be as simple as offering your prospect a little excitement, insight, intrigue, or laughter. Remember to frame the benefits in terms of what’s important to your prospect and fulfills their needs and desires.

Call to Action
Listing your web address in the details isn’t enough. You need to give them a good reason to visit your web site. It might be discount tickets, exclusive offers, or insider information.  Your web site is the best opportunity that you have at delivering additional high quality information about your event and capturing leads.

If you’re thinking of doing any print advertising be different by being simple and really giving your target market a reason to listen. Use some of the above suggestions to distinguish yourself in the type of print advertising you do for your event.

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Web Usability: How Many Users Do I Need to Test?

When discussing usability testing with business owners one of the first questioned to be asked is “How many people are we going to need to test properly?” Most people assume the more users you have the better your usability testing results. Ironically most usability problems can be identified with a fairly small group of users.  According to web usability guru Jakob Nielsen, you can conduct very effective usability testing on your web site with just five users.

Testing Once versus Repetitive Testing
In Nielsen's article “Why You Only Need to Test With 5 Users,” he points out that you can identify more usability issues testing 3 different times with 5 test users as opposed to testing once with 15 different users. If you only test once, you won’t be able to test any changes or improvements to identified usability issues. By spreading out the testing over a series of sessions you can apply changes and test your new solutions.  From personal experience, it has taken at least 2 different testing sessions with individual users to correct usability problems.  Testing multiple times is also crucial from a marketing perspective. Ask someone with a successful Adwords campaign how many times they test just a single highly effective Adword ad. From an improvement standpoint you’ll get the most return by repeating the simple testing formula of: test, modify, and retest. Consider how well the previous formula worked for Thomas Edison.

More Than Five People . . .
Can you test with more than 5 people? Absolutely!  If you test with more people you’ll get more data, but it is also going to cost you additional money and take up more of your time. If you look at it from a return on investment perspective, is it worth it?  One place where you might need more users as test subjects is if you have multiple niches inside your user demographic.  In those cases you’re probably have to use more than 5 users to cover the various niches.

The bottom line is if you’re considering testing your web site, you can do so effectively with just five users from your demographic.

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Reverse Engineering Online Marketing for Your Event

If you’re doing any electronic marketing for your event, I urge you to dedicate some time studying the process and methodology of high end Internet Marketers.  You can visit your local library and check out some books on the subject. I recommend books by Joe Vitale, Seth Godin, and Dan Kennedy. My other recommendation is to sign up for additional information on a web site for a product or service that captures your interest.  When you start to get emails from the business, ask yourself the questions “What can I learn from this?”, “How can I reverse engineer the process to present my information better to my target market?”, and "What do you find annoying?" Asking the previous questions can help you refine and streamline your own marketing process.

Most Internet Marketers utilize a number of universal strategies to connect with their target market. Some of universal strategies include:

  • Strong Copywriting
  • Compelling Subject Lines
  • High Quality Content
  • Building Trust and Credibility over Time

A Marketing Guru to Study
One person I’ve spent extensive time studying is Eben Pagan. Some people might know him by this dating guru alter ego, David DeAngelo.  Eben’s ideology of Marketing embraces the notion of “front loading value.” His latest project is the Guru Mastermind program. In the program he gives away oodles of high quality information on developing your own information products for FREE. Why give stuff away for free? If you give away high quality useful information you can make it difficult to for your target market not to take a desired action. Almost every event marketer or promoter can adopt a similar ideology and apply it to their event.

Respect Copyrights
I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t remind others to respect the copyrights of other people.  Make sure you’re not borrowing someone else’s work and then taking credit for it. If you pay attention to the strategy used you shouldn’t have problems.

There is no need to reinvent the online marketing “wheel.” If you can incorporate some of the techniques top marketers employ, you’ll be saving yourself time and money.

Additional Resources:

Why Well Planned Events Fail . . .

Last week I spent some time with a good friend of mine who does a lot of volunteer work. He was telling me about the fund raising his organization does to raise money for charities.  Anyone would appreciate the time and energy that is involved in planning events. One of his biggest frustrations was all the effort put forth to organize and execute an event with little or no return on investment. To the best of his knowledge, he and his associates spent about 55 hours collectively planning the event and 5 hours executing the event, all to break even.


Event organizers and volunteers invest dozens or hundreds of hours of time with little return on investment.  If you’re looking critically at events that didn’t succeed, you might surmise “They didn’t do a very good job of planning or the event wasn’t very good.” Yet, I know a number of people, including myself that have spent countless hours meticulously planning events that failed to meet their financial objectives. Of the numerous event case studies I’ve examined the problem doesn’t appear to be in the planning or execution phase. The reason is the marketing of the event itself.

More Money Means Better Marketing, Right?
I personally don’t equate the level of marketing an organization can accomplish with the size of their marketing budget. Because an organization has a respectable marketing budget doesn’t mean that they’ll be successful marketing their event. Some of the most successful events I’ve been involved with engaged in simple grass roots marketing. They only used event posters and word of mouth. Those events did tremendously well on a marketing budget of a few hundred dollars.

Where to Invest for Your Event
If you want your event to have the greatest chance for success invest in better marketing. Event organizers don’t do enough of the right marketing to get people to their event. I’ve seen great events financially fail and poor events rake in the bucks. The same ideology applies in the business world. Regardless of how good the product or service, if there is no market, a lack of marketing, or the target market isn’t motivated to act, the business will fail. I’m not sure who said it but here is sage advice, “Market or Die!”

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Event Marketing: Persistence versus Pestering

Last year I was involved in an event marketing project that utilized a series of emails to promote an event. The permission based list was a little over a thousand people.  Toward the end of the promotion the client started to question if too many emails were being sent to potential attendees.  In the end, not one of the email list subscribers complained about getting too many emails or being inundated with information.   On the flip side, I’ve seen other businesses sales pitch their prospective customers into oblivion and get plenty of unhappy emails in return. If you’re going to email market your event, it is always important to respect the fine line between being persistence and pestering.

Don’t Pester, But Be Persistent
Each event will have a different threshold for where potential pestering begins.   The most important point to be made is that as long as you’re working with a permission based list, your potential attendee’s will give you an impressive degree of latitude. That latitude is afforded to you only if you send them information of value.

The Key
The key to stay persistent without being pestering is in delivering information that will be valued by your potential attendee.  If you’re doing email marketing for your event and send four “sales pitch” emails with no information value, chances are you’re going to annoy your potential attendees.  There is always the possibility that a few people might complain. It’s important that you can’t keep everyone happy. If there are several people that are complaining, you’ve crossed the line.

Be Persistent, Especially as Your Event Approaches
Try sending a event oriented email a week before your event and then one last blast a few days prior.  We’re all human. You would be surprised how many times interested attendees for your event simply forget that your event is happening. A friendly reminder, in almost every instance, can only help you get more people to your event.

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Event Marketing: News Updates on Your Event Web Site

One thing almost every event web site encounters is a varying percentage of users who are return visitors. Users want the latest and greatest information regarding your event and return over time. As your event draws closer, the number of updates you make on your web site will most likely increase.  Have you considered dedicating a section of your home page to news and event updates?

Consider News Web Sites
If you’re looking to emulate information update ideas look no further than your favorite news service.  It can be CNN.com, Reuters.com, Yahoo.com, etc.  Don’t try and reinvent the wheel. It is important to remember news companies have invested a lot of money into the functionality of their web sites.  How they deliver time sensitive information is critical to their business models, especially the latest news.  Ask yourself, “Are there any ideas I can borrow from some of the top news web sites?”

Some Basics

If you update a number of pages on your web site include the date and time of the most recent update.  Consider sectioning out an area of your home page specifically for news updates. In the update area included links to pages that contain new information. One idea that you can borrow from news web sites is the “one-liner” link. An example of a one-liner, “Girl Scout Saves the Day.” You can then link the text to the related page or article.

News Archives
Unlike other news sites, I don’t really think an archive of updates is necessary for event web sites. You might want to keep your own records, but I can’t imagine people would take interest. Plus, your return on investment for time and expenditures might not be a good return on investment. Ultimately you need to determine what is most important to your group of users.

Having an easy to understand and navigate “News Section” on your web site home page will save your user time and effort.  Keep your focus on making the information easy to access for the user.

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Event Promotion: Building Excitement for Your Event with Great Stories

Shackleton_advertisement If you ask event organizers and patrons why someone might show up to an event, you’ll probably get two very different answers.  One crucially simple thing you can do is to tap into the interests of your perspective customer. It’s imperative to get people excited about your event. Ask yourself the question almost every perspective buyer subconsciously asks about your event “Why should I care?”

Having a worthy charitable cause is no longer enough to drive event attendance. You have to give people a very good reason to open up their wallet and spend their hard earned cash. There are so many events vying for the attention of your prospect. One way to beat the competition is by leveraging story in your event marketing and promotion. What does your prospect really want in relation to your event and how can you present it to them in the most effect way possible? You want to craft the answer into a powerful story that engages your prospect from start to finish.

Tell Them A Great Story
I’m a big history buff.  The one thing that makes history really interesting is a great story.  It’s the “Did you know . . .“ line that can take something from being mundane to extraordinary. Let's take a plain old field some place in Canada. It's a plain old field until you tell a story about it.

  • Did you know that that empty field across the road was once used to train some of the best pilots in the world during World War II? If you walk over there you can see what's left from the old runways where Canada's best fighter pilots trained. If you go off into the woods you can actually touch the abandon fuselage of one of the training aircraft.

You should include story telling into various aspects of your event. Can you tell people a good story about some aspect of your event that will capture interest and attention? Get people to say "I wanna do that - it sounds like it would be fun!" Relevant stories can instantly add value and credibility to your event. The best part is that words are free. All you have to do is put on your thinking cap.

Audio and Video Storytelling
Another consideration is using audio and video to tell a story. Consider an exclusive audio interview with an event performer or event the event organizer. There are a plethora of interesting videos on YouTube that you can easily embed into you event marketing process. At the same time, don’t try let cool technology trump high quality content. A lousy irrelevant video is still lousy at the end of the day.

People love good stories. Even more than good stories they love to tell other people good stories. Use that simple process to your advantage when marketing and promoting your event. One of the greatest event promoters of all time (plus, used stories all the time) was P.T. Barnum. Below you will find a small collection P. T. Barnum posts that will help you with promoting and marketing your event with stories. Don't worry about getting too many ideas to start. Just focus on using one good idea and take action on it!

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Event Marketing: Stop Reducing Your Event Ticket Price

Have you ever considered a decrease in the price of your event ticket to increase attendance?

The Price Drop Example

Lately I find myself telling event marketing clients and colleagues about a particular volunteer event where ticket price was a concern. Over four years, the volunteer event had an associated dinner banquet. The first year the banquet ticket price was 25.00 USD per person and over three hundred fifty people showed up. As the years progressed the dinner ticket prices were reduced because event organizers thought the ticket price was too high. The logic used was decrease price and you’ll get more people to attend. The dinner banquet prices went from 25.00 USD per person down to 15.00 USD. When the tickets reached the lowest price the banquet had the lowest attendance.  The above example illustrates the counter intuitive of what most people would think in terms of ticket pricing.   

Expensive = Good
Last week, I started reading a book by Robert Cialdini from his Influence series.  In the chapter titled, Weapons of Influence, Cialdini illustrates that if something is expensive that the consumer will perceive it as being good. One example he used was a jewelry shop owner clearing their inventory of a certain item by doubling the price of an item that nobody would buy. Cialdini infers from additional examples that consumers believe that “Expensive = Good.”  I believe the same methodology can be applied from ticket prices for an event to your products or services.

Doing the Counter-Intuitive

Instead of trying to reduce your ticket prices to compete with a given market consider increasing your price to redefine your position in a given market.   As a caveat, I don’t think you can raise ticket prices if you can’t deliver perceived value at your event. Take the time to think through the scenario and potential virtues or vices. I don't believe in raising prices and skimping on quality. The quality of the experience needs to exceed the actual ticket price in order for a price increase to work.

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Who Else is Visiting Your Event Web Site?

Your event patrons aren’t the only users that visit you web site. Your event web site is as much a resource for patrons as it is for other potential event participants. Other participants can include potential vendors or other partners legitimately interested in helping to improve your event. My longest tenured event web site is an air show web site. Year after year, even when there isn’t an air show scheduled, we’re inundated with requests from potential sponsors, vendors, and volunteers. 

Proactive Thinking
Is your web site setup to handle various requests beyond just your potential patrons? Make sure your focus is on making it as easy as possible for those who want to support your event to contact you. If you are looking for additional event sponsorship do you have a section of your web site that is dedicated to that purpose?  Think in the same frame of mind for your potential volunteers or vendors.

Call Them to Action
Sometimes all it takes is a few words to get people to engage. Make sure you call people to action. If you are offering corporate chalets at the event tell your prospective target marketing what is available, why they should care, and what to do in order to get involved. Never assume that someone will know any information about your event.

Are You Easy to Find?
A well established web presence, especially in search engines can be tremendously helpful in facilitating participation in your event. If people can’t readily remember your domain name they’ll turn to search engines in order to find additional information. In search engines people usually search for the name of the event, if it’s been well branded, or the type of event with an associated location. Use that information to better position your event in search engines. Have a family member or friend try to search for your event in the major search engines. What search phrases are they using? Web statistics are particularly helpful finding the search terms people are using.

Use your web site as a tool for generating additional event leads. It can be as simple as setting up an additional email address to collect requests. Some people will be proactive about involvement in your event.

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