"How do I get more volunteers for my event?"

OA asks an important question, "How do I get more volunteers for my event?"

Without volunteers, some events wouldn't happen. This is especially true with clients who are not-for-profit organizations.

Let's start with answering OA's question. Stay tuned, because there is a quintessential secondary point!

The best place to get volunteers for your event is by going back to previous event attendees. You should have an email list of previous customers. Clients have sent a well-crafted email to previous event attendees and received all the volunteers they needed (with a catch – secondary point*).

A social media suggestion ...

You can also use, boosted (paid) Facebook posts to find volunteers. But your audience targeting methodology and post message needs to be spot on. Furthermore, if you're thinking of posting to Facebook without boosting your posts, don't waste your time! "Because as of June 2016, the Organic Reach of a Facebook Page had fallen to a mere 2%." And that was in 2016!

Source: Patel, N. (2019, February 15). Is Facebook Organic Reach Really Dead? Retrieved April 10, 2019, from https://neilpatel.com/blog/is-facebook-organic-reach-dead/

*What's the catch? (secondary point on volunteers)

One client used their email list of previous event attendees coupled with a simple "become a volunteer" email. That client received over 85 online volunteer sign-ups in less than 3 days. Two other clients used boosted Facebook ads and ended up getting more volunteer sign-ups than their events needed.

Mission accomplish, right?!? Negative!

What ended up happening is that clients, referenced above, received a flood of volunteer sign-ups. And that giant flood of interest is the point where things became tricky. Because not all volunteer's a created equal!

Years ago, a beer festival client found this out the hard way. They ended up with more than enough online volunteer sign-ups. The challenge was that at the event several volunteers confused volunteering their time with volunteering to drink a lot of beer for free. Thankfully, nobody was permanently damaged ... just bruised egos.

In hindsight, the screening of volunteers, before they signed up, would have most likely eliminated issues. And poor volunteer behavior isn't limited to beer festivals.

If you going to get your volunteers online using email or Facebook, have a well thought out screening process in place ... before allowing someone to submit their information. Your screening process should leave you with only the highest quality volunteers.

 


The question that's never been answered ...

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

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

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

Let's start with ATV ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Why "what is it?" is deadly for events

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does the above advice make sense?

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

Here are a few more premium ticketing insights:


An instant red flag for new events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The magical Memphis marketing matrix

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Start sending too much email, smartly

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

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

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

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

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

During our discussion, the following happened unexpectedly ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


How to repel ticket buyers to your event ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paragraph #4: A little about the featured act.

Did you notice any glaring omissions?

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

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

How could that be bad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


A seemingly foolish event promotion question ...

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

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

Do you have a dedicated event website?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's the close for today ...

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

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

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

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


Please stop allowing them to rip you off

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

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

First, thank you for sharing Miriam!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Most important line in your email marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is today's takeaway.

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

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

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

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

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

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


An accidental event marketing mistake, with dire consequences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional advice:

 


Dealing with harsh event feedback about via email

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

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

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

#1 Step back

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

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

#2 "The Magic Phrase"

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

It works amazingly well:

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

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

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

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

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

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


"Inspect what you expect!" - event website traffic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Cancelling one million event tickets ...

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon Prime (Rent or Purchase)

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

On iTunes (Rent or Purchase)

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

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

An interview with Arthur Fogel, Live Nation

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

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

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

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

To your success,

Eugene

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

 


The Facebook education session shocker

There I was, in a social media educational session at the 2016 International Council of Airshows annual convention. What started as a conversation about using social media turned into a discussion of how to use video on social media. The event organizers in the room were passionate about their marketing efforts. During this session, I counted approximately 100 people in the room (using a napkin with tally marks). A majority of the session attendees were air show organizers. It also seemed the perfect time to do an impromptu survey.

At the end of the social media education session, there was time for questions and answers.

After acknowledging the positive takeaways from the session, I asked if it would be okay to do an informal survey. The moderators and people in the room were kind enough to oblige my request.

Here are the questions and terrifying outcome:

Question #1: "How many people are using Facebook to promote their air show?" Most of the people in the room (probably about 90) raised their hands. I asked everyone to keep their hand up and proceeded to ask the next question.

Question #2: "If you are using Facebook, are you boosting every post?" Most of the people in the room lowered their hands.

Then, my last request ...

Question #3: "Keep your hands up if you post to Facebook to promote your air show, boost every post, and track your Facebook efforts to tickets sold to your air show."

Out of the approximately 90 people who raised their hands on the first question, just one was left with her hand up after the third question. It was a jaw-dropping revelation!
For all the air show organizers who were in this education session, only one in 90 tracked their efforts to an actual result.

I'm willing to bet if the three questions above were asked at any event organizer conference, regardless of niche, you'd get nearly the same response.

Here's your overly simplified Facebook marketing plan:

When you post anything to Facebook, boost EVERY post smartly, and always track your Facebook efforts to ticket sales! Anything less and you're wasting your time and money. The best part, by boosting and tracking, you'll be lightyears ahead of your competition. Because hardly anyone boosts AND tracks, advantage you!

You Must Play the Game Differently
If you want to take advantage of social media, you have to play the game differently. What follows are the most common social media marketing mistakes to avoid and simple corrections you can use. The suggestions apply to any social media platform. Click below and dive on in to the 5-Part Social Media Series:

  1. Putting Your Social Media Mindset Ahead of Theirs

  2. Focusing Too Much on Likes & Followers

  3. Trying to Engage on Too Many Social Media Platforms

  4. Avoiding Paid Social Media Advertising

  5. Not Measuring the Results of Your Hard Work

Here are some additional social media resources you can use to market your event:

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Let's go on a Jungle Cruise

Today, we're going to continue with the Disney adventure.

Have you ever had the opportunity to take the Jungle Cruise at a Disney Park?

If not, that's OK!

Here's a short overview of Disney's Jungle Cruise ... the ride originated in 1955 at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Basically, you get on a boat and navigate through a fake jungle. The skipper of your boat proceeds to narrate throughout the ride.

During your "river cruise" adventure, you're greeted by audio-animatronic animals and native headhunters. Plus, a few other light-hearted surprises. On the surface, the ride is seemingly mundane and dated.

During my last Disney adventure, all the popular ride wait times were over an hour and no more Fastpass. Looking at the Disney App, the Jungle Cruise ride only had a 10-minute wait.

My quick mental debate went like this, "for a ten-minute wait, why the heck not!"

At this point, there were low expectations and little to lose.

And then things got interesting!

For the seemingly low production value, the Jungle Cruise experience was a total hoot! One of those, "wow, I totally wasn't expecting that" moments.

What happened? Our skipper had a well-rehearsed shtick with impeccable comedic timing! It was honestly one of the best ride experiences in my life, and I'm a tough guy to please.

"Wait a second! What does the Jungle Cruise have to do with my event?" A whole lot!

It stands as a prime example of taking something seemingly mundane and making it unique for attendees. Especially if you're interested in creating a VIP customer experience.

Here's the question to ask yourself and your team ...

Is there a behind-the-scenes tour or something special you can do with attendees at your next event? Remember, what you and your team probably take for granted, attendees might eat up with excitement!

Back in 2011, I zipped up my onesie (flight suit) and gave VIP customers a behind the scenes aircraft tour for a client's air show. There were some personal "TOP GUN" stories of aviation adventure added in for pizzazz! The VIP ticket holders absolutely loved it. Even better, the total tour cost was zero! The airplanes were already at the air show for public display.

Ideally, you want to leverage what's already at your event. There should be little to no additional cost. Ask yourself, "how can we take what we already have and turn it into something special?" Much like the Jungle Cruise ride at Disney or VIP air show tour, it can be as simple as sharing a few great stories.

Put your thinking cap on and give it a whirl!

Here are some more ideas to stoke the adventure side of your brain:

 


Disney's tally counters & turn styles ...

Years ago, my lady and I visited Disney's Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom in Florida. As with all trips, my marketing detective cap goes on. Especially when it comes to Disney!

On this trip, I paid careful attention to how Disney tracks attendance with pinpoint accuracy.

For their insanely deep pockets, Disney still uses some ancient technology to track attendance at park attractions.

During our last visit to the Magic Kingdom, there were old school turn styles at the Enchanted Tiki Room and Swiss Family Treehouse. (Yes, I love the classics!) And when visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom, the "cast members" (staff) were using hand tally counters and classic clipboards to track individual attraction attendance.

Granted, Disney makes excellent use of optical turn styles, plus other neat technology when you enter their parks. But I'd point out that Disney nails their daily attendance counts leveraging both old and new tech.

Why the interest in attendance accuracy?

Because yesterday during a marketing discussion the topic of ticket sales and attendance were broached.

One of the first nosy questions I ask every event organizer, "how many ticket did you sell and what was your event attendance?" To which the responses are all over the place and rarely confident. At least in my experience, attendance numbers are usually grossly exaggerated.

Yes, we all know many event organizers exaggerate their attendance. But where do you draw the line? 100%, 200%, how about a 300% overestimation on attendance?
"Eugene, why does it matter? It's not your event!" This is true, and it really does matter.

Because when you're doing ticket sale forecasting and laser targeting your marketing dollars, accurate attendance numbers are paramount! How?

Knowing your attendance and ticket numbers allow you to do precise marketing math. Those numbers also show you how much you can afford to spend to acquire a new customer. And the cost to reacquire a previous customer. Knowing your numbers, especially as they apply to marketing and advertising spend will set you apart from the pack!

Please make sure you know your attendance numbers cold. When you do, you open your event to fantastic marketing opportunities.

Here's some more ideas in the name of adventure:

 


"Mouse" causes ticket sites to meltdown

Date: 4/2/2019

Ironically enough, today, I received a telephone call from my friend Mike Sukhenko (Sue-hen-ko). He called me saying, "I have an article topic for you!" And here it is ...

Avengers: Endgame tickets went on sale today around 0800 ET. Mike called me because he had been trying to buy tickets for over 3 hours.

At his end, all the ticket servers were down. Most likely because they weren't able to handle the demand to buy tickets. Instead of giving up, Mike continued to hit refresh for 3 hours, while he was at work.

Mike's efforts are a prime example of MASSIVE event ticket DEMAND!

Imagine how it would feel to sell out your event in record time? How would that impact your ability to deliver an extraordinary customer experience?

Disney/Marvel's next Avengers movie is a global event. Some are predicting that if it gets excellent reviews, and with a little luck, it could sell $800 USD Million to $1 Billion of tickets opening weekend.

If all the stars align, it could become the number one grossing movie of all time.

Disney has mastered the fine art of manufacturing massive demand. It is something that you should study carefully. Primarily because their road to this Avengers ticket frenzy moment, has been paved in numerous box office bombs!

There have been some colossal theatrical failures in the "House of Mouse." Movies like: Mars Needs Moms, The Alamo, Tomorrowland, and the Lone Ranger. Just to name a few.

Here's a paraphrased quote from Alex Mandossian, an author and marketer, "there is no such thing as failure, there is only winning or learning." And Disney has learned a lot. They wouldn't be in the position they're in today, without the ability to get up after they're down.

And that approach is something you can adopt at zero cost! Just by asking questions, like:

What lessons did you learn the last time your event didn't turn out as expected?

... followed by ...

How are you going to apply those lessons to your next event?

If your event didn't work out as expected, it's not a failure ... but an opportunity to learn, reassess, and apply what you've learned! And that's why Disney is where it is today.

Since Mike was the catalyst for today's email, here's a link to his website: https://sukhenko.com/. Mike specializes in graphic design and has worked with me on numerous event projects. If you're looking for a very talented graphic designer, please pay his website a visit.

To your success,

-Eugene

Want a classic take on delivering event demand? Check out the articles below:

 


The Avengers Endgame and your event

In case you missed it, Disney/Marvel's Avengers: Endgame is set to release this month.

You might be thinking to yourself, "Eugene, why are you writing again about a comic book movie?"

Because even if you hate comics, there are massive business takeaways that are directly applicable to every event!

Allow me to share just two with you ... (there are several more)

Avengers_Endgame_Poster

First, Disney has yet to put Avengers tickets on sale. Rumor has it that will happen, today, April 2nd. And the Avengers movie is set for release on April 26th in North America. With a preview night on the 25th. To most event organizers, that's nuts!

Disney's counter-intuitive approach is the opposite of how most event organizers approach their own ticket sales. Most event organizers think, "we have to put tickets on sale as quickly as possible!" No, you don't!

With every client I've worked with over the last 11 years, we've adopted the Disney model for ticket sales. The result in every instance, record advance and total ticket revenues.

Waiting to sell tickets, like Disney, is something every event organizer should consider ... provided you have mastered one critical marketing component (more on that shortly)!

Second, Disney spends an unbelievable amount of money on advertising and marketing.

Estimates put the Avengers: Endgame total budget around USD 600 million. Half of which, $300 million, is usually earmarked for marketing/advertising.

That leads to a big question. Do you have the confidence to allocate 100% of your event production budget to advertising and marketing?

Most event organizers couldn't fathom such an idea – let alone afford it!

How does Disney do that?

Because they know their marketing and advertising numbers cold! Just like in Hopkins' Scientific Advertising: for every dollar in advertising, you can track those advertising dollars to a result.

And once you know how to truly leverage your marketing and advertising, you can buy and negotiate with Disney like confidence.

Here's the bottom line on Disney for today, they know how to drive DEMAND! And demand is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, factor in your event ticket sales.

Without demand, you can have the biggest marketing budget in the world and people won't attend your event. Why not? Because they're not interested (zero demand)!

You need to intently focus on DEMAND!

How would it feel to have your event paid for before a single person walks in the front door/gate?

Now I can't promise you the same level of ticket demand as the new Avengers movie. But issue one of the Event Profit Report gives you my secret weapon clients have used to generate massive ticket sales demand for their events.

Including the ability to slap "SOLD OUT!" on their ticket sales page. So can you!

Want to get more information on advance ticket sales for your next event? Check out the articles below:


Forget "BIG DATA," instead focus on ...

A little over two weeks ago, I presented overseas on "Marketing Results" to event organizers from across Europe to the Middle East.

Today's email is an excerpt from that presentation.

I'm going to skip over the specifics on privacy concerns. Not because privacy isn't of paramount importance, but it gets a little complicated for today's email.

Too many event organizers are terrified to collect user data because of privacy concerns. That is a massive mistake! Instead, do everything you can to vehemently protect your user and customer data, but at the same time don't be afraid to legally collect their data.

Let's get back to "BIG DATA" ...

Today, we're constantly hearing about "BIG DATA" in the news. Big data can be used for nefarious or virtuous purposes. Lately, thanks to Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and others it seems more nefarious than noble. Unfortunately, regardless of the data scandals, not much has changed!

One would think "BIG DATA" to be a very technologically romantic notion. All you have do is take a couple billion lines of user interaction and cobble them together. It's so simple, and yet enormously complicated. But thanks to the 24/7 news cycle, everyone's doing it! Or so one would think!

"BIG DATA" is a great notion if you're a massive company like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, or Amazon. For those companies to attain the critical data mass required, is significantly easier.

Last time I checked, "Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day." Source: SearchEngineLand.com That's the type of volume that makes Big Data analysis (aside from its complexities) attainable.

Forget "BIG DATA," instead focus on YOUR DATA!

Most event organizers collect a microscopic fraction of data when compared with Google or Facebook. So instead of focusing on big data, focus on YOUR DATA. Your data set can be as simple as an email address and customer transaction info.

With an email address and transaction info, plus a few basic Excel formulas, you can discover amazing insights about your event marketing and customers.

Things like, how useful are our social media or email marketing campaigns. Plus, valuable insight on what your event attendees think of your event. And even use the data to help sell out your next event.

So, are you collecting your customer data? If not, it's time to get started!

Here's some additional info: