A "Must Follow" Event Advertising Strategy . . .

Event_advertising_marketing Over the weekend, a friend of mine told me about an advertising package a local newspaper had (pressured him into) sold him. The newspaper sales person convinced my friend to buy into an expensive advertising contract. The sales pitch focused around the notion of - "if you're advertising - you NEED repetition to connect with your audience." The signed advertising contract NOW ties my friend into an expensive long term contract. This isn't a problem if the advertising works, but if the advertising fails to deliver results . . . He'll have to pay for advertising that isn't doing squat!

How does the example above apply to your event marketing and promotion efforts?

When you buy advertising to promote your event, it's important to be savvy on how you negotiate the deal. You have the right to negotiate advertising terms. More importantly you have the obligation to say, "no thanks" if the advertising deal isn't good for you.

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Crank Up Your Event Marketing with List Segmentation

After you’ve built (or started to build) your event marketing house list - There are some simple things you can do to quickly ramp up the effectiveness of your email marketing . . .
Event_marketing_list_segementBreak Your List Down - Segment It!
If you want to increase the effectiveness of your event list marketing, you need to better target your list. A great place to start is segmenting your event marketing list - This allows you to focus your event promotions to a very specific target market. As a result, you’ll get better response rates.

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Beware of the "Social Media" Event SMACKDOWN!

Social_media_event_promotion_marketingSocial Media in Event Marketing is a double edged sword . . . It can be either a tremendous event promotion asset or a potential public relations disaster.

Here's a tenet to follow when it comes to social media and your event marketing . . . Be very honest with the online information regarding you event! It doesn’t matter if the information is on your own event web site, Facebook, Twitter, or a newspaper interview. People are keeping an eye on you. Let me give you a specific example I found online a few month ago . . .  It revolves around a post-event article in a local newspaper.

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List Rental, Brokers, and Event Marketing - Advice

List_rental_broker_event_marketing

Yesterday, a coaching client asked me if they should pay $6,500 for a ONE-TIME email to a 55,000 person list. My first piece of advice to them was, "don't rush into things & be a healthy skeptic!" If a list broker wants you to pay a lot of money to rent their list, they should be more than willing to answer every question you have for them. What follows is applicable to both online and offline list rental.

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The Importance of Market Research in Planning Your Event

by Eugene Loj

Really knowing a target market is the foundation of getting people to your event. Event organizers frequently call me in a last minute panic . . . They can’t understand why people AREN’T buying tickets for their event. After going through a bunch of probing questions, my response is almost always the same - “You’re having problems selling tickets to your event, because people aren’t interested in what you have to offer.” It sucks having to tell people this – especially when they’ve worked so hard planning their event.

Event_planning_market_research

Truth be told, it doesn’t matter how much work goes into planning your event. If people aren’t interested in what you have to offer, they’re not going to show up! If you want to pack your event, focus on finding a passionate marketplace that will automatically (or as close to automatically) attend your event. 

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Social Media, Your Event Marketing, and "Insider Info" . . .

Social_media_event_marketingDuring a recent coaching call someone asked, "Can I use social media sites to broadcast Insider Information regarding my event?" The simple answer is, "Yeah, absolutely!" But, the more important question is, "Do you want to?" Consider the following . . .
 
Insider Info, Social Media, and Email Marketing
To me "Insider Information" is exactly as it reads "Insider" - hence it should be kept confidential.  Better yet, think of "Insider Info" as a secret. As you know, most people want to know a secret. You can use that "Wanna Know a Secret?" frame to your advantage . . . especially when it comes to list building.

If you were to broadcast "Insider Info" on your Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter accounts - is the info really privileged anymore?
Personally I don't think so. Because emails are a one-on-one communication form, things are inherently confidential.

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Reviewing Your Event Marketing Strategy

After your event comes to a close, do you carefully review the effectiveness of your advertising?

Event_marketing_advertising_strategy

We Spend $250,000 a Year on Advertising!
A few years ago, a west coast event organizer confided to me that they didn’t know their most effective form of advertising. All they could do was guess.  That same organizer blindly spends almost $250,000 each year advertising their event - summing up their strategy with "that’s what we always done.” Seriously?!?!? Here’s the really scary part . . . most event organizers can’t identify their most effective form of advertising. At best it’s a complete guess. As a result, countless advertising dollars are lost forever.

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Two Amazingly Powerful Event Survey Questions

Event_Feedback_Survey_QuestionsUsing the right questions in an event survey is an extremely powerful way to position your event with a target audience.  Yet very few event promoters and organizers use surveys. Event surveying can be done both before and after your event. As with any survey, the focus should be solely on your target market.

Below are my two absolute favorite survey questions for event planning purposes. Don’t disregard the potential for great feedback because of their simplicity.

It's far easier to pack an event when you know what your audience wants and you go out of your way to give it to them.  Few things are as powerful as surveys in terms of honing in your target market's wants, needs, and desires.

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An Extremely Dangerous Event Planning Mistake

This is a really important post, so please carefully consider the information that follows . . . 

Bad_Event_Ideas One HUGE mistake made by event organizers and event planners is holding an event that’s “never been done before.” The previous statement should always be followed up with the following question, “WHY has that kind of event never been done before?”

When it comes to planning events, being overly ambitious or even too creative can be very dangerous to your pocketbook.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
My suggestion to you is don't try and reinvent the wheel - especially if you're new to event planning or event promotions. Look towards events that are easy money makers as opposed to being a cool event.

In my experience cool / fringe events are the most difficult events to get people to attend. That’s why I love doing air show and beer festival event marketing. There is already “a starving crowd” for air shows and beers festivals. The deck is already stacked in my favor.

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Last Minute Event Marketing and Promotion Strategy

Last_minute_event_marketing_idea Every few weeks I get a telephone call from a frantic event marketer looking for last minute event marketing strategies. The situations can be pretty heart-wrenching. Usually there isn’t much that can be done . . . But that doesn’t mean that I won’t try and help.

One of the first questions I ask is, “do you have an email list?” Very few people respond with, “yes.” A house email list is about the closest thing to an event marketing silver bullet, especially when your event is right around the corner. If you don't have a list or a ton of advertising cash reserve, your last minute options are fairly limited.

Go to Your House Email
Your email list is one of the most lucrative places for ticket sales when you're down to the wire. Unfortunately, too many event promoters and organizers DON’T email their house list ENOUGH prior to their event. You can’t just send one email asking people to buy before your big event.

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Shocking Event Web Site Stat - Most People Only Visit Once

Event_marketing_shocker A common misconception of event planners and organizers is that people are religiously visiting their event web site. As a result, event organizers continuously update their sites with new content . . . in some cases it becomes an obsession.

In my humble opinion, their efforts and resources are being wasted. Don’t get me wrong, updating your web site with relevant and timely content is very important. Keep in mind - event web sites aren’t like news web site.

People don’t come back multiple times a day to check for updates on an event web site. Consider the following . . .

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Get Great Ideas from an Event Marketing Field Trip

How much time do you spend looking to other events or industries for marketing ideas? Borrowing ideas from other events and industries is one of the quickest ways to add dollar signs to your bottom line.

Event_marketing_field_trip

 

If you don’t spend much time looking outside your own event looking for marketing ideas, you need to start today.

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Does Your Event Web Site Display Properly?

Event_marketing_browsers On Wednesday a friend called me up and asked me to check over their event web site. Over the last week they spent several hours updating their new web site and wanted a fresh set of eyes to look their web site over.

At first glance things looked pretty good.  Then they asked me to “Look at some of the other pages.” That’s when we discovered a BIG problem . . . there was no navigation bar on my screen.

On my friend’s computer the navigation bar was showing up. So I asked him, “What browser are you using?” He said “Internet Explorer.” I was using Mozilla Firefox.  The reason no web navigation was showing up on my computer screen was a browser compatibility issue. 

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Become the Information Authority for Your Event

Event_marketing_trust Here is a costly mistake made by many event organizers and planners - hiding details from their target market.

Over years I’ve seen very smart event organizers foolishly hide information about their event. In their mind, the decision for not releasing certain event details is completely logical.

The thought process goes like this . . . “It’s my event and I’ll give people details when I’m ready.” Let me come out and say it – hiding event details is a bad idea! Being secretive about event details has negative impact on your event marketing and ultimately your bottom line.

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The Experience Must EXCEED that of Your Event Marketing

Event_marketing_value Today I’m going to rant a little on the importance of delivering an extraordinary experience at your event. When it comes to event marketing, there seems to be a gap between advertising promises and attendee expectations. The end result is event attendees who open their wallets, spend their hard earned money, and leave an event disappointed. Yes, I’m a big proponent of using hype and persuasion (ethically) in the marketing of your event.  But you can’t over promise and under deliver.

Before you send out your next advertising campaign, do an objective review of your event marketing . . .

Your Event Advertising and Promotions
Is your event marketing overpromising on the experience your event can actually deliver? Spend some time thinking through the previous question. Look at your advertising and event from an attendee's perspective . . .  If someone were to read your advertising and attend your event – are you going to be able to deliver on all your advertising promises?

If not, or even maybe not, take those points out of your advertising. I’ve seen first hand the problems associated with promising too much in event advertising. It isn’t pretty and is quickly followed by a slew of refund requests.

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Event Marketing and Being Persistent with Email

Event_marketing_email_persistence Here is the harsh reality of event marketing with email – most of the people on your list will never open the email you’re sending. It doesn’t matter if you use a double opt-in process or have a completely house grown list. Having managed dozens of different campaigns for a variety of clients, I can tell you that the average email broadcast open rate is BELOW 50%. Low open rates even affect high quality lists.

There are some additional email marketing points to keep in context. Every day we are inundated with more email than we can possibly read.  Even if people want to you’re your email, they might not get around to it. You’re also up against voracious SPAM filters. Don’t take it personally or get discouraged!

My reason for telling you all of the above is to make sure you adopt the right email marketing mindset for your event. In spite of the challenges listed above, I’m still the same guy who believes your house list is your biggest event marketing asset.

Be Creatively Persistent
The key to still winning with low open rates is creative persistence. There is a thin line between being persistent and being a pest. Become proficient at sending the same sales message to your list multiple times. Please note: I didn’t say send the same exact email multiple times. Get good at rewriting emails that convey the same sales message. By sending multiple messages you're going to increase the chances of people actually reading your email.

Case Study
Last year I wrote an email marketing sequence that nudged people to buy tickets almost 60 days before the event. The first campaign email setup the ticket discount and built anticipation for the event with video. The next three emails were focused on sales.  Each sales email was written differently, yet emphasized the limited number of tickets available. As tickets were purchased we adjusted the available number of tickets accordingly. Ticket sales peaked at the beginning and at the end of the promotion. Over 60% of the total advance ticket sales came after the second email. The end result was over $20,210 in gross ticket sales, 58 days before the event.

Look at your event marketing with email as a multi-step process, not a one off event. You can’t expect to send one email and get everyone on your list to buy. Be prepared for opt-outs. “If you aren’t getting opt-outs, you aren’t selling hard enough.” – John Carlton. Get good at sending the same sales message to your event email list multiple times without annoying them.

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


Event Marketing Research - Know Your Target Market!

Event_marketing_research Every aspect of your event marketing needs to start with a comprehensive understanding of your target market. In the case of events, your target market is represented by your ideal event attendee. I cannot stress this enough - Target market research is a big deal! People won’t buy tickets for an event (or attend a free event) that doesn’t hold their interest. A lack of interest is one of the biggest reasons that events fail. If you want to pack your event, the best place to start is with a hungry market!

You can find a hungry market by doing a little online research. If you have a new event, target market research needs to be your first planning step. Start by asking yourself, “What are my target market’s wants, needs, and fears as they pertain to my event?” When asking the question it’s really important to take your ego out of the equation. Focus on the market’s ego.

Use the Net to Do Free Research
There are a plethora of tools you can use to research your target market. Most of the tools are free. Start with a Google search that’s topically related to your event. Consider segmenting your search in Google by look at the blog, news, web, and video results. Look for the hot topics or trends. Pay particular attention to online user content such as comments or reviews. What are people saying? A hotbed for user content can be found in topical forums and blogs.

Don't Reinvent the Wheel
When it comes to events, there is little need to constantly "reinvent the wheel." Take a look at similar and competing events. Try to contact the organizer. Tell them who you are and what you're thinking of doing. It’s amazing how willing other event organizers are to share information.  One telephone call could make your event more financially successful or save you heartache.

Go Back to Your Customer List
If you have a recurring event, go back to your customer list. Consider surveying your customers. Find out what people thought of your previous event and what they expect from your next event. You can have a simple online survey setup in minutes with a service like SurveyMonkey. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions like “What didn’t you like about our last event?” The idea is to give find out what people expect from your event.

Build a Profile
Use your target market research to compile a demographic and psychographic profile of your event attendee.  That profile represents your ideal prospect and should drive everything you do with your event web site and your event. The profile should also drive your advertising and marketing decisions.

I realize that target market research isn’t the most exciting activity, but its importance is paramount. There is zero benefit in planning or creating an event if people aren’t going to attend. Doing a little homework can upfront can save you a ton of money and agony down the road.

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


Simple Event Advertising Tracking with Google Analytics

Ask most event organizers - “what’s your most effective form of advertising?” Nine times out of ten the response will be, “we have no idea!” Your event advertising needs to be an investment, not a blind expense. Every event organizer should know their most effective form of advertising. It's imperative that your track your advertising effectiveness. Thanks to technology, it’s getting significantly easier to track advertising effectiveness. One free tool every event organizer should insist on having on their event web site is Google Analytics. You can leverage Google Analytics' comprehensive statistics to help you track the effectiveness of your event advertising. Back in December, Google introduced the Annotation feature to their Analytics suite. Annotations allow you to add short notes to your Analytics data.

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The Danger of Not Having Your Event

Long_term_event_planning Two weeks ago, I found out that a client decided to “take a year off” from their event. The event had been successfully taking place for the last 14 years. What started as a small event - ballooned into a truly great event. When I heard that the event wasn’t taking place this year, my first reaction was “What? Are you kidding me?!?!” The event was loved attendees and most importantly – making money for the event organizer.

I fully understand that it’s the event organizers decision to take the year off.  It’s their event, their pocketbook, thus ultimately their decision. But I’m not quite sure if the event organizer fully understands the ramifications of their decision.

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