by Eugene Loj
There are a number of people out there who are going to take issue with my next statement, but here goes … Most graphic design for promoting an event is a complete waste of time and money. You’re probably thinking, “are you serious?!?!?” (Make sure you read on, because you're probably going to agree with my previous statement.) Yes, I am seriors and here’s why … too many graphic designers confuse creating art and getting business results when it comes to their design.
by Eugene Loj
by Eugene Loj
Greetings from 38,000 feet!
I’m writing you this while enroute to Las Vegas for an air show conference. (Ah, the joys of technology – never to escape work!) The guy in front of me has his seat all the way back, so I can hardly see whatI’m typing. Anyway, here we go ...
There are some great marketing ideas you can borrow from all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday madness. What can you do to get people to take immediate action? The simplest event marketing idea you can borrow is using an irresistible offer to drive advance ticket sales …
When buying advertising for your event, you’ve probably heard the word “repetition.” Advertisers trying to sell you advertising almost always say, "you need to repeat your message several times before people will take action.” In short, if you spend more money with us, people are more likely to attend your event.
Unfortunately one important caveat that is almost never mentioned … If the people you are advertising to are not interested in your event, repeating your marketing message does you no good!
There is a great online utility that you can use to track your online event promotions. It is called bit.ly and it's FREE! The service was started to shorten very long web addresses. In recent years, the company added link tracking for any link that you want to shorten. You get information well beyond just how many people clicked on your link. It includes geographic tracking and link sharing information.
Two HUGE reasons why people don’t show up to your event are either because they’re not interested or they don’t know about your event. Hence, the problem could be either market research or event promotion. In my opinion, it’s far easier to “get away with” an event promotion problem. Here’s why . . . No event organizer has enough money to change people’s minds.
Let me give you an example that’s close to my heart. If someone doesn’t like the band Van Halen, I don’t have enough advertising budget to change people’s minds. The same applied to event organizers. That’s why knowing the wants, needs, and desire of your event attendees is crucially important. If you create an event that people REALLY want to attend, it becomes much easier to sell advance sale tickets and pack your event.
WARNING: Fasten your seatbelts, because I’m about to fly off the handle a bit!
The Subjective Catastrophe
Event organizers get themselves in HUGE trouble because they’re subjective in how they plan and execute their events.
According to Princeton University’s WordNet definition, a subjective person uses “judgment based on individual personal impressions and feelings and opinions rather than external facts.” Mix in a subjective event organizer mindset with some ego and you have the perfect mix for disaster. Trust me, it’s not pretty and I’ve seen many completely avoidable event catastrophes, all a result of people being stupidly subjective.
"I Know Better Than Everybody Else!"
Here’s the typical scenario . . . An event organizer becomes hell-bent on running an event THEIR way (also known as Captain Ahab Syndrome). The end result is that they adopt a mindset of knowing better than their own event attendees. Please heed the following. It doesn’t matter how noble or great YOU think your event is, if people don’t share those same beliefs – or worst, don’t care – your event will flop, GUARANTEED!
Yesterday, I made a brief stop at my local Barnes & Noble to check out Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, “The Thank You Economy.” Gary is one of my favorite social media experts. I give him a ton of credit because his wisdom comes from experience, NOT just book smarts.
These days the Internet is full of “marketing experts” and “Internet gurus” who are great at regurgitating info, but when it REALLY matters - can’t deliver results. I digress . . .
During a quick scan of the “The Thank You Economy,” there was a series of bullet points that jumped out at me. The bullet points addressed mistakes that companies make with their social media efforts.
Here are Gary Vaynerchuk’s - "Biggest Mistakes Companies Make with Social Media":
For all the things that can be done with social media, there is one significant downside . . . once you start you cannot stop. My intention here isn't to dissuade you, but make you aware of what's needed to promote your event with social media. In today's information hungry world you can't afford to stop producing high quality RELEVANT content. People expect information and your competition will pray upon any passivity.
Watch the video below. It expounds some very important points on social media marketing . . .
Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, "What exactly am I getting from my social media efforts?" As with any marketing endeavor, you should always measure for a specific result. You cannot afford to confuse activity with productivity.
Lots of Updates with Zero Results
Recently, the topic of social media effectiveness came up with a Canadian event organizer. The event committee is fortunate enough to have a volunteer to manage their social media promotion strategy. Their Twitter and Facebook accounts are currently being updated on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. For all the hard work being done, a look at Google Analytics for the last 30 days shows no referring traffic from Twitter or Facebook. Some people might argue that social media is all about goodwill and branding. Unfortunately it's difficult to directly tie branding and goodwill to something substantive.
As your event approaches the amount of traffic to your web site will increase dramatically. There is an important factor you need to be cognizant about. People visiting your event website only take in limited amounts of information . . . Most people will look at the information that is important to them at any given moment.
A certain percentage of your web site visitors are guaranteed to miss important information. As a result, you might have to deal with unnecessary customer service issues.
e.g. - A few hundred people show up to your CASH ONLY parking lot with just a credit card. It’s even worse if the closest ATM is 20 minutes down the road.
Minimize Customer Service Issues
You can minimize a significant number of customer service issues with a robust FAQ page. A good FAQ page should cover people’s most common questions. As stated above, not everybody will visit your FAQ page. You need a way to get people to visit your frequently asked questions page. That’s where a dedicated e-mail list comes into play. By the time your event is about to take place, you should have a decent list of prospects and customers.
When an event doesn't turn out well - things can get pretty dicey. If big bucks are on the line, the "reason why the event failed" debate can get even more heated. In most cases, the failure of an event usually comes down to poor attendance. It's pretty simple . . . Low attendance = not enough revenue to pay the bills. In order to fix your attendance woes your going to need some concrete answers.
Let me give you a basic, yet powerful, pay per click (PPC) advertising strategy to drive advance sale tickets for your event. The following advice is applicable to PPC services on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Facebook. It can also be used for other forms of online advertising such as banner ads.
Don't Direct Paid Traffic to Your Home Page!
One of the biggest mistake I see event organizers and promoters make with their online advertising is directing paid traffic to their event home page. You might be asking, "why is driving traffic to my home page a mistake?" Because people have too many options when they land on your web site. If you give a web site visitor too many options, they probably won't take the action you desire. Focus on driving traffic to complete one simple task, e.g. join your mailing list, buy a ticket, fill out a survey.
What to sell even more tickets to your event?
As you know, humans have incredibly short attention spans. Once you get online, attention spans get even worse. Here's the problem for event organizers and promoters - short online attention spans have a direct impact your ticket sales. When thinking of how to sell tickets to an event online - Beware of shopping cart abandonment! At it's simplest level, shopping cart abandonment is when people don't complete their online ticket orders. Abandonment happens in the time frame AFTER someone clicks your buy ticket link and before they complete their order.
Most event organizers NEVER consider the online ticket check out process and how it impacts their bottom line. Are you losing a ton of potential event revenue to shopping cart abandonment and don't event know it?
A few days ago, I critiqued a radio ad for an event promoter. Certain aspects of their ad were reducing potential ticket sales. Specifically, the ad directed people to buy tickets from two completely different web sites. That might seem like a good idea (diversifying), until you consider all the details a listener must remember in a 15 or 30 second radio spot. The more details you pass along in your radio advertisement, the less impact and retention.
Here are some radio advertising suggestions you can take away from example above . . .
Think About Your Radio Promotions From the Listener's Perspective
If you're using radio ads to promote your event, take the time to carefully think through the sales process. It's especially important to consider your radio ad from the listener's perspective. Your radio advertisement is most likely going to be grouped with a number of other ads. Therefore, you're competing against other advertisers for the listener's attention. The question to ask yourself is, "what do I want the listener to take away from my radio ad?"
Over the last ten years, I've hear the follow statement said by event organizers countless times, "We have to get our tickets on sale as soon as possible!" My rub with the previous statement is as follows . . . Too many event organizer think that because their tickets are on sale early, people will buy. That's rarely the case.
Here's a question to carefully ponder, "Are you giving people enough incentive to buy tickets early?" If you don't provide a compelling enough reason (that resonates with the target market) you won't sell many advance sale tickets for your event - regardless how early your tickets go on sale.
Six Months of Lousy Ticket Sales
Just the other day an event promoter was telling me about their advance sale ticket woes. Ticket have been on sale for over SIX MONTHS! But nobody is buying tickets. A closer look at the promoter's event marketing shows that there is little reason for people to buy tickets early. The event promoter now has to bank on last minute sales, which is a potential recipe for disaster.
A few weeks ago, I got into a spirited debate with an event producer on the topic of ticket surcharges. The main point we haggled about was whether to include the service fees in the ticket price. If you want to sell more tickets to your event, it’s important to consider how you present ticket price and service fees to your customer. What seems trivial on the surface can have a huge impact on how many tickets (especially advance tickets) you sell to your event.
If you want to lower your event marketing costs, you need to start collecting customer information immediately!
A HUGE Event Marketing Asset
Customer contact information (at a minimum name and email) is one of your greatest event marketing assets. If you have a recurring event, your customer data becomes even more important. It’s far less expensive to market your event to an established customer database.
Failure to Leverage Previous Customer Data
Oddly enough, far too many event organizers fail to collect customer information. Even worst - event organizers and promoters who fail to leverage their existing customer database. Are you making those same costly mistakes?
If you’re using Facebook to market your event there are a few important things to understand. First off - like any marketing or advertising medium, Facebook has both positives and negatives. Disclaimer: I’m NOT on the crazy train that thinks Facebook can instantly fix every event marketing challenge. But, I do firmly believe Facebook is here to stay. Thus, event organizers should understand how to use it to their advantage.
Facebook versus Google
These days there seems to be a ton of press attention on the Google versus Facebook War for World Internet Domination. What you need to understand is how the two services differ from one another . . .