Last updated on December 20th, 2018 at 04:17 pm
So – what’s the title of this article about?
Recently I was notified of an event (through an organization which puts itself as so-called experts it seems) – I learned of the event on Facebook – it was a seminar type event, that I thought would be a good thing for me to attend – to listen – possibly to network – but definitely to learn!
So I decided to put the item in my outlook calendar – I really wish Facebook had an “events to outlook” button – to download an item and put it into your calendar – they don’t…
So I read about this item in the calendar event description on Facebook – it was a long-ish blurb – this event would run for a large part of day its seemed – with a lunch break, and then an afternoon session; then would finish mid-afternoon… OK – that’s great, quite a time commitment I thought – but I can do it. There was a link to pre-register – and that page is just registration – no blurb. OK – I’m not sure I can make it, so I opt to communicate “Maybe attend” through Facebook – and not to pre-register… I also see that there are about half a dozen potential attendees who have said they either are, or might attend… ok – it won’t be packed – great.
Well the day of the event arrives – and of course, I’m BUSY – REALLY busy… but I see the tweets and the Facebook status updates from organizers, that the event starts in 30 minutes… oh heck – I’m not going to make that – it’s a 30 minute drive.
So I call the organizers – can I drop in for the PM part?!?
Puzzlement from part of the organizer team – the event is a series of small workshops – I can attend any or all – I should know that – they’re loose-knit format and the agenda is on the website…. you what!??! Yes, this information is all on their website – with times of the workshops, who is presenting, etc, etc. It is? Ok – bring up the website, lo-and-behold – there is another calendar item – it’s got a lot more detail, and a link to pre-register – odd – yet ANOTHER arcane form of “reminder” – a way to signup for a reminder via email?!? There was an outlook item download – it was so hidden that I didn’t notice it until 3 days after the fact!
How could I have not known this? Well – I read the long calendar item blurb – and ASSUMED that I had all the information I needed – there was PLENTY OF INFORMATION THERE… just not ALL of it!?!?
So what is to be learned from this “experience” – I learned that the organizers are “shot-gunning” – they are sending out information on events in a very hap-hazard way, using a strategy that doesn’t really do anything but confuse – because that strategy seems to be “let’s use every tool, in an unplanned and crazy way” (or so it seems to me).
Their own website has perhaps the worst example of a “reminder” system that I have EVER run across – probably worse than having NO REMINDER system at all … why? Because it’s only available option to me, is EMAIL. Sending a reminder email is probably the least likely way to succeed in getting a reminder to a person – just about everyone is on email overload – they have spam protection systems up the wazoo – and the likelihood of that email getting through are slim – being read – slimmer – and getting acted upon – practically NONE.
So how can you effectively market an event?
Part of the planning of an event should include a unified messaging program – the current spray and pray approach is DEFINITELY not working as well as it could…
I would suggest…
- define your registration process – clearly and concisely – attendees MUST pre-register through “this channel” – whatever that is
- realize that late to register is a reality – provide reminders for those who might miss the registration cut-off – don’t have one? You must!
- provide your reminders of both the event itself, AND the pre-registration cutoff in as many ways as possible.. I recommend at least: Outlook event, iCal, Google Calendar and Yahoo! Calendar formats – do NOT force one type only – who are you to determine how someone should best organize their own life!??!
- define your central information hub – if that’s your website – fine… if it’s eventbrite – fine – but do NOT put some info here, some there and make it a treasure hunt for information – I’m busy, I’m not playing these silly games to get to your event – paid or UNPAID – I’m not… you lose if you play the game this way… end of story.
- by all means use multiple methods to get the news of your event out – facebook, twitter, email your lists, publish a press release etc, etc. – but drive ALL of that to your one central information hub.
Now – I hope it’s starting to get clear – these social media tools are great to use – they do NOT stand alone as your only tool – you have people who do not tweet – who do not facebook – you have iphone and blackberry users who use their own tools almost exclusively – you need to include all these sub-groups who make up your potential audience – but you need to have a single signup method.. you need a single place to get all the information about your event – and it needs to be clear that more info and registration links are HERE (wherever here is).
I was actually lucky to be able to make some time to attend that event – the cluster-fnck that was the event communication is not a-typical – I see it a lot these days… social media is a powerful tool – and unfortunately – all I see is more and more examples of people using more and more info-mediums – and screwing it up BIG TIME!!
Lessons to be learned…
- Be clear on your mission
- Be clear on your expectations
- Communicate these through multiple channels
- drive interested parties to the single and CONCISE information source
- drive your signups through single channel with multiple reminder methods – work with them, don’t force them to work your way
Information overkill is a productivity killer – and a participant eroder – you are running round the hamster wheel – and you think you’re being productive… you’re going nowhere fast if you don’t take the time to plan you strategy!
Once of the best tools I’ve found is MailChimp – it can be integrated with EventBrite – these two tools together are mighty powerful – Mailchimp has a free account still for small users (up to 500 subscribers, and 3,000 emails a month are FREE!
Eventbrite offers all 4 of the reminder methods I mentioned … Outlook, iCal, Google Calendar & Yahoo! Calendar – and if you are running an event that is free to attend – you can use their event registration tools for free – if you are charging, their fees are based on a percentage of the event fees… it’s a situation that I find acceptable for the benefit of using BEST OF BREED tools for small business…
If you already have a Constant Contact account (ironically – these people who organized this event do have one) – they also offer event marketing solutions – although I do NOT consider them to be best of breed in this..
Once again – my pick… EventBrite for Event Marketing – and Mailchimp – email marketing tools – by all means use twitter and facebook to drive additional traffic – but drive them to YOUR SITE – to a page with ALL the relevant information on the event, and then push them through a BEST OF BREED event registration system… do this consistently, and apply this approach to every event you do – you will have a lot more success than throwing your info in the air…