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Event Marketing

Ticket Sales are low! No one is registering for my event. . .

Oh the sounds of clients who repeatedly say this because they don’t have an event marketing plan in place for their event that will ultimately break the bank if no one shows up.  Don’t let this happen to you in 2018.

Event Marketing takes strategy and promotion in order to get people off their butts and to your venue.  Eventbrite is a great platform to help promote your event and get in front of a lot of people.  Their site processing the following and is growing at astonishing rates.

As of 3/24/2017 expandedramblings.com reports:

4  million tickets on average are processed through Eventbrite weekly

2 million events held on Eventbrite annually

$1.5 billion processed in 2014, which I am sure is much higher for more recent years.

outside these phenomenal stats on what they process each year, they offer a great source for setting up marketing for your event.  In the Eventbrite Event Industry Report 2017, which covers the 2016 marketplace. The marketing trends are surprising because as noted in our last blog post related to email marketing, most people promote their event through email.  Then second free social media.  But with the trend that organic social is steadily fading this number will likely change in the 2018 report as more people are having to pay to play.

The best strategy I have found when marketing events in the US from experience is follow the media trends.  And in those trends are as follows.

  • Email marketing
  • social media marketing (organic)
  • direct mail
  • television
  • mobile app marketing
  • social media marketing (paid)
  • Blogger outreach

Eventbrite also suggests that most organizers of events use 3 to 4 channels to market their event to ensure an impact is made to drive traffic.

Planning Your Event

As an event marketer for many years I can say that the biggest mistake past clients have made is time.  It takes time to plan, promote and profit from an event. It cannot be done in a two-week period of time or even a 30-day period of time.  I can do a 30-day marketing plan for an event that happens on a regular basis and people are waiting for the next chance to participate, but if its a new event that no one has ever heard about it will take at least 6-months of promotions to gain the exposure it needs to drive people through the doors.

The event type with determine the event marketing strategy.

Sponsored Booth (Festival/Expo)

In my experience with Expo Marketing it takes 18-24 months for a successful first year expo.  The first nine to ten months is focused on selling booth space, marketing to sponsors and gathering the partners to make the event worthy of promoting to the public.  Months eleven through eighteen are used to establish the outreach of the target of who will attend the event based on the booth participants.  Then months eighteen through twenty-four are to deliver the message to the public and sell tickets.  Selling tickets is tricky and you should consider using a ticket sales platform like Eventbrite, Eventbee, Ticketmaster which are among the most popular.

Educational Events/Speaking Engagements

As one of the most popular event types according to Eventbrite its important that you market heavily due to competition.  Speakers who are national travels generally have a following and will sell tickets to VIP members prior to selling general admission to the city their next event will be held.

Speakers whether it be motivational, educational or inspirational will pack a room if their message is delivered appropriately. However delivery can be tricky.  On the digital landscape speakers should consider video messages as well as highlight reels from previous cities on their tour to deliver their message.  Whereas an educational speaker could deliver one-sheets that cover their lessons and what you will gain from the experience.

In my experience utilizing social media, pay per click ads as well as display ads to deliver a informational flyer to drive to the ticket landscape has worked as long as you have the right budget and strategy in place.  Consider local newspaper online advertising options to get in front of the local community you will be to gain local sales.  Also consider bloggers to discuss your speaker or lesson you are teaching.

Concert / Sporting Event

During my time as a magazine publisher covering mixed martial arts in Texas I came across several promoters wanting to make sure their event was the top of the list for everyone’s interest.  From tournaments to cage fights Texas fights were the highlight of my days.

A tournament can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months to promote depending on the venue, cost and time of the event.  Most of the events for children were held from March to May and August to November but the adult tournaments were popular in June to August.  To promote for these months is tricky online because parents are so focused on school stuff they can’t keep up with all the emails, social newsletters, blogging and all that jazz so to capture the best audiences for children I saw a boost when the promoters actually connected to teachers and their classrooms.  Give them flyers to pass out at schools, post on campuses and event hit up school newspapers.

Adult tournaments that run May to August gained a lot of exposure when the promoters used social media, email lead boxes around town, posters in local restaurants and pubs while still utilizing pay per click ads.  Parents don’t pay attention to alot of online clutter for their kids whereas adults for themselves look to recommendations from friends, followers and community leaders.

 

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Checklist to Planning Your Next Event

 

  • When will your event happen
  • Where will the event be held
  • What will tickets cost for the event
  • How will you reach people to attend your event
    • Print Ads
    • Online Ads
    • Social Media
    • Radio
    • Television
    • Blogger outreach
    • Mobile Ads
  • Who is your target market
  • Why is your event important to your target
    • Education
    • Sporting / Concert
    • Expo, Tradeshow or Festival
  • How much are you budgeting for outreach of your event

Once you have determined the above answers call on VSmith Media to assist with strategy and execution of your next event.  2018 will see many events for people to attend be sure your event is on their list and your ticket prices are reasonable to attend.  Book a FREE marketing consultation 

Email Marketing

Email Marketing

Email is NOT Dead!  Regardless of how many times bloggers say email is dead, it simply is not.  Email has evolved and gotten much better for businesses who know how to manage their database of emails.  As a former journalist/magazine publisher I can say industry leaders said newspaper was going to be dead by 2012 and it has since managed to continue through 2017.  Email is the same situation.  Its said that consumers don’t read their email as often as business professionals but benchmark studies prove otherwise.

VSmith Media is a MailChimp Agency Provider and trust their system over the other key industry providers.  When deciding on which service provider, we looked at multiple areas  that would benefit our clients and what areas would help to expand their automation opportunities.  One of MailChimp’s recent benchmark reports about the use of email marketing stated the following regarding open rate averages and the most important factors.

MailChimp sends billions of emails a month for more than 15 million users. Needless to say, we track a lot of data. So we scanned hundreds of millions of emails delivered by our system (where campaign tracking was activated, and where users reported their industry) and calculated the average unique open rates, average unique click rates, average unique soft bounces, average unique hard bounces, and average unique abuse complaint rate by industry.

 

Industry Open Click Soft Bounce Hard Bounce Abuse Unsub
Hobbies 28.46% 5.13% 0.31% 0.24% 0.02% 0.23%
Arts and Artists 27.23% 2.85% 0.61% 0.44% 0.02% 0.29%
Religion 26.46% 3.11% 0.19% 0.17% 0.01% 0.13%
Government 26.33% 3.62% 0.48% 0.39% 0.01% 0.13%
Sports 25.41% 3.19% 0.46% 0.41% 0.02% 0.29%
Photo and Video 25.36% 3.49% 0.71% 0.61% 0.02% 0.40%
Non-Profit 24.98% 2.76% 0.49% 0.40% 0.02% 0.19%
Architecture and Construction 24.78% 2.90% 1.50% 1.08% 0.03% 0.36%
Agriculture and Food Services 24.71% 2.98% 0.58% 0.43% 0.02% 0.29%
Home and Garden 23.82% 3.47% 0.57% 0.40% 0.03% 0.37%

courtesy of Mailchimp Feb. 1, 2017

If you don’t have an email strategy in place or a current email data base and service provider, please review our findings of the top email service providers.

Download Email Top Provider Service Cheatsheet

Consider upcoming trends when developing a strategy for email. How often, how many words, what day of week, what time of day, etc.  are the standard considerations, but according to emailmonday.com these are some key things to look at for 2018.

3 Trends Driving the Future of Email Marketing

The best way to determine the future is to look at the momentum of what’s happening now, and where it is headed. Will Devlin listed the three master-trends that will likely define the future of email marketing at Customer Think:

Think mobile first
Mobile devices are becoming our preferred personal computer and are outpacing desktops and other devices for email opens and clicks. Customers don’t differentiate touchpoints. They’re just interacting with your brand.

Time for Real Time
the time where marketers can respond and capture sales has never been shorter. Enterprise marketers have to start thinking about their email program the same way they think about their websites. Automated campaigns need real-time data in order to be effective. Triggered emails (like abandoned cart or product view promotions) need to be plugged into the global ecosystem.

Personalisation
Personalization is critical for success. For custom experiences, marketers need to find technology that allows them to access all of their data in real-time so they can have a complete view of what their customers are doing.. Examples are demographic data, customer satisfaction, lifestyle, spending habits, purchase behaviors, brand interactions, etc.

When you consider your plan and need assistance managing, developing and executing it call on VSmith Media to handle your marketing.  To discuss options of email management, automation and execution, book a FREE strategy consultation.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

What’s your handle?

Millennials most likely have no idea what that means, but Gen Xer’s remember the days of AOL, MySpace where your username was your handle.  So what’s your handle?  @VSmithMedia across all social networks.  Find VSmith Media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+.

Social Media is a tricky landscape to get business if you don’t have a strategy that fits your goals.  One thing alot of small business miss when starting is their username (handle).  Your username is part of your brand and it should be carried to your name, be sure to consider how people find you on social when you are creating your brand.  I wouldn’t want people to be looking for V.Smith Media, or Victoria Smith Media to get to us, I want the company name VSmith Media to resonate across all channels.

Being SEO Ready for 2018 also includes your social channels.  Many times consumers will find your Facebook page first because its capturing more hits than you website, linking through your Facebook is ideal ways to gain organic traffic in 2018.

Socialblog

Stir away from usernames that don’t reflect your business or reflect negatively on your brand.  Avoid special characters unless your brand includes special characters.

You too may have to compromise and settle for second best.  One constraint is that the Twitter username has a limit of 15 characters, with no spaces.  You may want to have more than one Twitter account: one for you representing your company and the other for your personal use.  You can also have multiple accounts for other social media channels.

Be clear to distinguish between your Facebook Profile, which is about you, and your Facebook Page which is about your business.

Generally when you register/purchase your domain name check to see if the name is also available across the major social channels; Facebook, Twitter and Google +.  Consumers will remember your handle as easily as they remember your domain so you should link the names across the web.

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Reviews

Reviews

Reviews?  Why do I have to have honest reviews for better search engine rankings?  Consumers listen to other consumers more often than years past.  Millennials are influenced by their peers while gen x still like to speak their mind.  1 star versus 5 stars will determine if a consumer even goes to your site or local business.  Don’t be a 1-star business.  With VSmith Media Local Listings we can manage your listings as well as manage the reviews online.  Our platform allows us to see the ratings consumers leave about your business and allow us to respond and handle interaction with these consumers.

In this area a recent experience for a client allowed us to improve their search engine rankings because without this platform we would have never known a rating had been posted.  Luckily it was a 5-star ranking but nonetheless we would have never found it.  There is the dark web few people discover without searching deeper than page 2 of Google or Bing.  We happened to come across a 5-star review on our client because we dug into page six (no not the celebrity news site) of Google searches.

What have you discovered so far with the 2018 SEO Ready Checklist?  Do you see improvements?  If you discover things in your research from the checklist, please contact to discuss short or long-term solutions to help keep you in front of consumers in 2018.

 

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Local Listings

Local Listings for Digital Marketing

Besides your website to sell consumers on your company have you checked your local listings to ensure they are accurate for consumers to find you?  Local Listings play a pivotal role in mobile search as well as consumer rating searches. Have you ever been out and about and decided its time to eat, pulled out the mobile device and said, “Siri find Thai restaurants near me”.  Did you get a bunch of weird listings that made no sense, or you couldn’t even see a listing for the Thai restaurant you saw across the street?  This has happened to me more than once.  Don’t be that business consumers know about but can’t get any information because of a bad local listing.

Many digital agencies have partnerships with Google and Bing among others to help clients keep their local search listings accurate without having to spend hours entering the over 150 search engines individually.  Have you considered checking your listings lately?  If not, consider doing that now.  This will give you the big picture of how accurate your business listing is online.

Customers are looking for businesses in an intimate way – a way they never could before: on-the-go and on foot.

Making sure your business information is accurate online is the key to making sure your customers can find you.

Imagine asking 10 random people where a particular restaurant is and receiving the following answers:

LocalInq

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consistency results in high confidence (and higher ranking) for consumers and search engine crawlers.  So now you see why Local Listings effect your business and how they impact your digital presence in today’s digital landscape.

Statistics and Images courtesy of Yext

Digital Marketing in 2018

Digital Marketing in 2018

Many changes occur in the digital marketing landscape daily and many marketers have trouble keeping up.  In 2017 we saw drastic changes in the Google AdWords platform that made the PPC game easier for business owners to handle their own campaigns.  We also experienced an influx of Facebook and Instagram advertising.  These are just a couple of areas that affect your organic SEO and why its more difficult to rank and get noticed without spending some money to get in front of people online.  Meaning the elicit statement, “SEO is dead” simply can not be true.  SEO has evolved with the changes in search engines.

In 2018 its expected that Mobile Optimization and Voice Search will increase.  Snippets will change the game in first page ranks organically.   Is your website ready to take on these changes in 2018.  VSmith Media wants to get your website 2018 SEO Ready.   We have build a guide to get you there and if its to much for you to handle consider booking a consultation with VSmith Media to discuss how we can help.

2018 SEO Ready Checklist

  1. Run a website scan to see if you have the “basic” SEO standards in place on your site. This scan will give you a score out of 100 to see where your basic site setup stands from an optimization standpoint. Many site owners don’t realize for a site to get in front of the most people organically is to have the established code done properly and its not just about a nice-looking page anymore.  Does the site follow the algorithms needed for Google and Bing to allow people to search for your page?

 

Top 3 Elements to a Superior SEO Campaign

Optimized Page Elements

Page Title: The page title (title tag) should include the targeted search terms and be a well written sentence that is 60 characters long.

Page Headings: The page heading (and subheadings) should be formatted properly using H1, H2 and H3 tags and include the targeted search terms. H1 tags are meant to be used for the main or interior page headings and more than one where it makes sense on interior pages.

Image Alternate Text: Alternate text should tell a website visitor what the image is. When optimized, the alternate text can help with keyword rankings for both the webpage and the image in image searches.

Link Anchor Text: Site content should include links to other pages of the website that have keywords in the anchor text. Adding two or three keyword links into page content of 150 or more words is ideal.

Quality Page Content

A website with quality content will be one step closer to getting top search engine rankings. Blogging is a great content generator and can be valuable if done properly.  Curated (shared) content from other sources also generate quality if done correctly.  Let’s be realistic every website that wants people to visit can generate unique quality content, so a thriving area is curated content to drive traffic through social and blogging.  Be sure your social channels are linked to your website, so people can jump back to you quickly if they want to see what’s going on with the brand.

Keyword Focus

Keyword research is the groundwork for a successful SEO campaign. Primary keywords and secondary keywords should be included on every page of your site because visitors may not always enter your site from the main page.  It’s the key phrases they are seeking that drive them to your site.

 

Did you score better than 70% on your website scan?  If not you are likely missing these 3 elements in your site’s code.  The 2018 SEO Ready Checklist provides standard methods to organically be found with search engines.  Organic SEO is difficult to optimize if you don’t have the basics done correctly, stay on top of these areas.  Website scan is step one in the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape.  Step two on our 2018 SEO Ready Checklist will bring further insights to your sites rankings.

If you are having trouble updating the areas discussed in step one please reach out to VSmith Media to assist.  We have reasonable small business pricing as well as long term partnerships to maintain high standards for your brand and business.