Influence people

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Break with the Past


If you don't contradict yourself on a regular basis, then you're not thinking.

― Malcolm Gladwell

Three months ago, I insisted the 1,500 Confederate memorials peppering pubic spaces throughout the South should be preserved.

After Charlottesville, I have changed my opinion.

The monuments represent not only an eyesore to most African Americans, but a threat to public safety. They should be removed from the streets and parks where the former Confederates placed them.

Enough souls―625,000―perished in our Civil War.


No more need do so.

RIP, Heather Heyer.

What's your opinion?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Don't Follow Leaders



Looking back, you can usually find the moment of the birth of a new era, whereas, when it happened, it was one day hooked on to the tail of another.
― John Steinbeck

To many observers, Charlottesville feels like the birth of a new era.

But we've known for years―
since 1965, to be exact―don't follow leaders.

That was the year credulity died, the year we entered 
The Age of Suspicion.

Since then, we've experienced The Pentagon Papers, Watergate, Iran-Contra, Enron, Iraqi WMDs, subprime mortgages, Madoff and, now, Trump.

It's no wonder customers―no matter their ages and demographics―are bred-in-the-bone non-believers.

Yes, you hope they won't deflect your message; but hope's not a strategy.

If they're not already of your tribe, customers discredit your message before they’ve even taken it in.

To capture their attention, you must adjust for mistrust. You must:
  • Harmonize your message with customers’ notions of “truth;”

  • Speak authentically; and

  • Achieve artless clarity.
To achieve those three things, you must:
  • Get out of the office and talk to customers. Lots of them. Large ones. Small ones. Happy ones. Not-so-happy ones. And don't stop until you have a firm grasp of the "scene" they’ve painted inside their heads. For better or worse, that's the world they inhabit, and the only one they know.

  • Revise the premise of your message to conform to the customers' worldview. When you next tell your story, begin with their "truth." And when you speak, at all costs resist the temptation to challenge that worldview. Customers will dignify your message with a moment of their attention only if your message meshes with their notions of who’s sincere, honest and caring.

  • Tell stories. Customers spot disingenuous organizations a mile away. Your words trigger their BS detectors—even if you’re squeaky clean. They no longer tolerate the expert opinion, the reasoned argument, the manufacturer’s warranty, the “act now” deadline, or the product-claim based on the avoidance of pain. So skip the superlatives, ambiguities, unsupported claims, advertising clichés, jargon, legalisms, fine print, and fear-based sales-talk. Just tell stories. "Once upon a time..."

  • Speak as tersely as possible. If you keep it simple, you’re trustworthy; if you don’t, you’re not. Don't say, "Membership in the association provides professionals the opportunity to pre-register for our annual conference at the member-only rate of $495 instead of the non-member rate of $595.” Say, "Membership saves you $100 on our annual conference.”

  • Include context, to assure you’re understood. Don't say, "We serve more than 100,000 dentists.” Say, "We serve more than 100,000 dentists, two-thirds of all dentists practicing in the US today.”

  • Omit unimportant facts. Don't say, "With more than 300 programmable features, the MLX is a workhorse that directly replaces our SP-88 series.” Say, "The MLX is a powerful new workhorse, with more than 300 programmable features.”

  • Use plain, crisp words and lively figures of speech. Don't say, "Our exhibition is the most comprehensive and efficient way to see the industry’s latest offerings.” Say, "A day at our show gives you a year’s worth of trends, tips and technologies.”

  • Minimize tech- and corporate-speak. Don't say, "Our face-to-face and e-learning opportunities will provide leading-edge techniques to expand your skill set through world-class experts." Say, "Learn the latest techniques from experts in our seminars and Webinars.”

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Coach


Coaches who love coaching teach players to love learning.


— The Coach Diary

Can you run a successful business from the sidelines?

Absolutely.

That’s the message of Lessons of an Entrepreneur: How to Grow, Take Risks and Survivethe new book by The Expo Group’s chairman and CEO, Ray Pekowski.

Pekowski's 113-page book is full of personal stories and anecdotes, which makes it breezy and entertaining.

At its heart are teachings only a coach could concoct:
  • Innovative customer service, not growth, should be your business's goal.


  • A servant's mentality in a CEO goes hand in hand with steady growth.


  • Humble leaders are strong leaders.

  • No matter your specialty, you're really in the training business.


  • Only leaders who are mentors can influence corporate culture.


  • Teamwork comes from setting goals specific enough to influence performance.


  • Plan for failures and mistakes—they're inevitable.
It's little wonder Pekowski has published this little book: teaching and coaching are in his blood (he did both before joining the event industry in the 1980s).

And teaching and coaching underpin nearly all his success formulas.

"If you can teach or coach the group or department that reports to you, then in turn, that group can go out and teach the next group and so on," Pekowski writes. "I called it 'Teach the Teacher.' If you have ever taught someone something, then you are both teaching and reinforcing what you have been taught. It is the transformation of both knowledge and culture."

In this era of narcissistic CEOs, it's refreshing to learn some business leaders still put employees and customers first.

In an interview, I asked Pekowski what he'd be doing, if he weren't running his company.

"I’d be coaching in the NFL," he said. "That’s what I really wanted to do. I just love coaching and football. After I graduated, I coached in three different schools. But it’s a tough industry—it certainly didn’t pay then what it pays today. I had an opportunity to work for the Chicago Fire—a one-season team in the World Football League—but the job paid less money than I was getting paid as a teacher, and I had two children at the time."

Lessons of an Entrepreneur: How to Grow, Take Risks and Survive is available from Amazon. Proceeds will be donated to charity.

Monday, August 14, 2017

8 Insider Tricks to Get More of Your Emails Opened



If the people don't want to come out to the ballpark,
nobody’s going to stop them
.

— Yogi Berra

Because email marketing lives or dies on opens, you need to maximize them. Here are eight ways insiders do:

Qualify. Don't induce people to join your house list who won't love you, and don't expect much from prospect lists. Use "lead magnets" that attract only target customers, not every Tom, Dick and Harry; and rent only high-quality e-lists, such as those owned by magazines. The results if you do this right? According to the Direct Marketing Association, house lists enjoy an average open rate of 21%; prospect lists, 16.4%.

Segment. Don't broadcast; narrowcast. Segment your lists based on product interests, job titles, company size, locations, etc. Segmented campaigns outperform non-segmented ones by 14%, according to MailChimp.

Synchronize. Send your emails at the time of day people will open them: 8:30-10:00 am, 2:30-3:30 pm, or 8:00 pm-12:00 am. Avoid times when people are rushing to clean out their inboxes, deleting everything in sight. (NOTE: Times may differ for C-level audiences.)

Captivate. Tell or tease. Tell readers clearly what to expect in your email, if you believe it's an offer they can't refuse ("5 signs it's time to change LMS vendors"). Play to their curiosity, if it's not ("I heard you're a leader. Is it true?"). Here are more examples.


Clean. Low inbox rates necessarily dampen opens. Delete complainers and inactive subscribers on your list regularly. Using a cleaning service makes it easy.

Optimize. Design your emails for mobile devices. More than half are opened on them. Keep Subject lines short, too (6-10 words).

Infiltrate. Avoid spam filters by avoiding practices that trigger them. Here's a list.

Brand. Most readers don't open emails from senders they don't recognize. So, unless you're lucky enough to have an in-house "celeb," use your brand name in the From field.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Online's Goal is Offline


Eighty percent of success is showing up.

― Woody Allen


B2B marketers―smart ones―know online must lead to offline.

Because unless prospects experience your brand, there's little likelihood of large sales.

Digital alone doesn't cut it.

Digital's too delible.

As GE's CMO, Linda Boff, told Chief Content Officer this month, "Experiencing a brand versus just seeing something in the media is more and more important. It's more indelible. We think a lot about that. How do we bring the brand to life? And how are we going to show up?"

How will you show up?

You've got an online plan.

What's your offline plan?

Protectors

He went off to Congress an' served a spell, fixin' up the government an' laws as well; took over Washington so we heered tell, an' patched up the crack in the Liberty Bell.
— Thomas W. Blackburn

Walt Disney aired the first of three one-hour telefilms, "Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter," in December 1954, and kicked off a nationwide craze for the coonskin cap.


The craze erupted in an era when Americans hungered for a return to times when protectors walked the land.

Parents and grandparents didn't count. Although they'd beaten the Nazis only nine years earlier, they chose in large part not to speak of it. They were too busy buying us coonskin caps. So we settled for Davy Crockett.

Sixty-three years later, protectors again walk the land, but they don't fight Indians or take over Washington. They assemble instead in our streets and parks, and fight Neo-Nazis and Klansmen.

My cap's off to them.

Patch up the crack in the Liberty Bell.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Mind the Gap, B2B Marketers




Nurturing leads is as important as nabbing them.

But a lot of B2B marketers, under the gun to generate leads, forget this. They ignore the "Content Consumption Gap," and blitz leads with premature follow-up calls.

NetLine examined 7 million long-form content downloads and concluded it takes 38 hours for a lead to read whatever he requests (C-level leads take 48 hours).

Dubbing the timespan the "Content Consumption Gap," NetLine urges marketers to practice patience and wait at least two days before following up a lead.
"Don't smother content-sourced leads," says NetLine's David Fortino"Suggest that your sales team wait 48 hours before contacting, to ensure that the prospect is well informed enough to have an educated discussion."

Instead of dialing, Fortino recommends sending leads "a light-touch email:"

Thanks for checking out our white paper. I’ll check in with you in a few days to see what you thought. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Tar Water

The philosopher George Berkeley (after whom the California city is named) thought tar water could cure every ill.

Famine and disease wracked his native Ireland in the 1700s, prompting Berkeley to propose a cheap and easy solution in his book Siris: A Chain of Philosophical Reflections and Inquiries Concerning the Virtues of Tar Water.

Siris—the title referred to the Nile, whose waters the ancient Egyptians believed a cure-all—became a best-seller, making every literate man and woman in the British Isles, in the words of Horace Walpole, "mad about tar water."

The book claimed tar water was a "distillation of divine fire,” originating from a “secret and occult source.” Like the waters of the Nile, it could cure anyone of any affliction. Berkeley stopped short of calling tar water a panacea, but noted that “twenty-five fevers in my own family [were] cured by this medicinal water, drunk copiously.”

As prescribed by the philosopher, this cheap and plentiful elixir had the power to turn impoverished Ireland into a medical utopia.

Our own brand of tar water—courtesy the GOP—is freedom, a cure-all with the power to make America a medical utopia. Freedom from federally-backed health insurance, to be specific.

As Congressman Mike Burgess, referring to his party's plans to gut Obamacare, insists, “If the numbers drop, I would say that’s a good thing, because we’ve restored personal liberty in this country."

Little matter 50 million citizens could go uninsured, the GOP says: they're free. Live free or die.

Or maybe, live free and die.

As Granny said, "When you have your health, you have everything."

As Bobby said, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Fierce Competition


Are you mad enough to launch an event?

RAI Amsterdam wants to encourage your madness.

Entrepreneurs and would-be event producers can enter its juried competition, Start up Your Event, through early September.

Think Shark Tank for trade shows.

A jury of event professionals will judge the ideas for first-time events submitted in terms of opportunity, feasibility, audience reach, value proposition, brand positioning, innovation, and other success factors.

RAI Amsterdam will award the winner not only six days' free space—2,000m² net for an event in October or November 2018— but, more importantly, free consulting in experience design, community management, and attendee and exhibitor marketing.

The winner will be announced at the mammoth broadcasters' show, IBC, at RAI Amsterdam in mid-September.
"There is definitely room for new shows, maybe not necessarily in the traditional exhibition format that we are used to," says Denise Capello, RAI Amsterdam's head of business development. "The world is changing and innovation rules, so there are plenty topics to be found. You need to figure out the trends and needs. Your destination is just the final piece in the puzzle.

Capello says most would-be producers who fail do so because they lack insight into their audience.

"Over the years, we've seen a number of startups, and find lack of in-depth knowledge to be a key indicator of failure. Would-be producers need to produce better feasibility studies to support their ideas, better event concepts, and better audience insights, which come from canvassing."

To date, three event concepts have been entered into the competition, which was announced in June.

"We've also had a number of inquiries from consumer event producers, whose concepts unfortunately do not meet the entry requirements of the competition," Capello says.

"But they have inspired us to come up with a new partnership model for consumer events, the first hopefully launching in the summer of 2018."

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Digital Indecency


I imagined the web as a platform that would allow everyone, everywhere
to share information, access opportunities, and collaborate.

— Tim Berners-Lee

Starfleet General Order 1, you'll recall, was the
Prime Directive: all personnel should refrain from interfering with the natural development of communities.

Marketers, by cravenly ignoring the web's Prime Directive—to help users share and collaborate—are destroying the medium, says Kirk Chayfitz this month in Chief Content Officer.


Marketers "have failed to see that digital requires a creative approach that is diametrically opposed to the blunt-instrument sales messages of traditional ads," he writes.


As a result, users are demonstrating their "exponentially growing disgust with an industry that has admitted showing little or no regard for people's needs and desires."

They're blocking ads.

Chayfitz prescribes these six rules for restoring "digital decency" to web advertising:

Take responsibility. Marketers must stop blaming agencies; they write the checks.

Do no harm. Ads shouldn't fan users' frustrations. Keep data loads light, don't block content, and don't distract with needless video and animation.

Bust silos. Integrate all digital advertising under one officer.

White-list the sites you want to support. Don't fund fraudsters, charlatans and extremists by running ads on their sites.

Audit. Put the right to audit ad buys in your contracts with agencies. Insist on accountability.

Be useful. Provide users valuable experiences, not repetitive sales pitches. "The dream of digital was always to democratize communication and help make a better world," Chayfitz writes. "Take that to heart."

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Did You Know Phyllis Diller was Once a Copywriter?

In the mid-1950s, Phyllis Diller worked as a copywriter for a radio station in Oakland, California, KSFO.

She needed the meager money to help support five kids and a ne'er-do-well husband she fondly called "Fang."

"He was a talker," Diller told a biographer. "He sounded like he would rule the world, but he couldn't hold a job. He just sat there and drank beer all  day. He didn't even do that well."

Although the station's low man on the totem pole ("I was an Office girl to them. They couldn't see me at all."), Diller caught people's attention.

"Early on, she was one of the funniest dames, marvelously brittle," said Terrence O'Flaherty, a critic for The San Francisco Chronicle who always picked up her copy verbatim. "She writes some of the best and most delightful commercials in the broadcasting business."

For a fancy Oakland restaurant named Sea Wolf, Diller wrote, "The chefs are so temperamental, the wolf has a psychiatrist in attendance at all times."

Evenings, she would rehearse her stand-up act in front of a mirror after making dinner and putting the kids to bed.

Diller's show-biz break cameand her copywriting career endedin March 1955, when she was asked to perform at The Purple Onion, one of the Bay Area's hottest comedy clubs. The invitation followed Diller's appearance as a contestant on Groucho Marx's game show, You Bet Your Life.



NOTE: This post is the 6th in a series of 5 (what, you never heard of inflation?)

Monday, August 7, 2017

How 3 Brands Found Their Content Niche


Kara Whittaker contributed today's post. She is a content marketer with Ghergich & Co.

When you think of Red Bull, what do you think of?

You probably associate the brand with its energy drinks, of course. But Red Bull has an interesting backstory that provides key lessons for content marketers looking to make more of their brands.

Red Bull actually got its start in Europe, where extreme physical challenges—biking, hiking, mountain climbing, and sky diving—are already an established part of the culture.

When the company realized it was in the sports, not the beverage, business, it decided to capitalize on that heritage, creating a series of extreme sports events that challenged the stamina of participants.

The events were so successful, the company created an entire division dedicated solely to producing edge-of-the-world content.

It's worked, which is why Red Bull is one of the globe's leading brands—and one of its foremost content marketers.

Content has been part of marketing for more than a century.

When Michelin realized it was in the travel, not the tire, business, it published travel guides; and they gave rise to a what has become a worldwide cultural phenomenon: the Michelin Star rating system for restaurants.

And when GoPro realized it was in the user-generated content, not the camera, business, it leveraged UGC to build a fanatical fan base—and a world-class brand.

You can emulate brands like these by asking, "What business are we really in?"

And, yes, it takes time, testing and chutzpah to find your content niche.

But once you do, the sky's the limit.

How to Follow the Lead of the Most Powerful Content Marketers

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Thought Leadership: It's Not What You Think


Content marketing agency Grist asked 200 execs to assess thought leadership. Their responses will surprise you:
  • 84% say thought leadership adds value to their roles as executives, and 66% say they count on it to stay ahead of trends. Only 36% say they use thought leadership to gauge the expertise of an author; but 40% will contact an author, if they find a piece worthwhile.

  • 46% want thought leadership that offers fresh perspectives; only 26% want content that's action-oriented. 63% say thought leadership fails when it's conventional; and 58%, when it's unoriginal. Only 31% ever read all the thought leadership they uncover; and only 28% say it actually influences their decisions.

  • 63% prefer short (800-word) articles; and 57% prefer short (300- to 500-word ) blog posts. Only 45% will read 1,200-word pieces; and only 28%, 4,000-word pieces. Only 26% will devote attention to videos; and only 25%, to podcasts.
So how can you please executives?
  • Create thought leadership content that's provocative, original, forward-looking, and issue-oriented. Execs don't need one more post on "10 Ways to Modernize Your [Fill in the Blank]."

  • Avoid not only stale, but fluffy topics; and shun sales-talk. Create content your industry's leading media outlets would reprint.

  • Don't just record (as in videos and podcasts). Write. And write short.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Stuck inside of Mobile with the Email Blues Again


B2B marketers, why—when your email has a snowball's chance in hell of getting attention—do so many of you reduce the chance?

I see it every day: emails designed for desktop email clients, instead of mobile ones.


So stop sending them:
  • Use a 300 pixel-wide template. Mobile screens are small and many smartphones don't automatically resize big emails.

  • Use images sparingly. Mobile devices load slowly. The overall file size of your email should not exceed 70k.

  • The top 250 pixels are prime real estate. Don't waste them on some gargantuan masthead. State your offer here in plain-text words.

  • Use a clear call-to-action button near the top. Also include a text call-to-action linked to the same landing page (visible when images are disabled).

  • Include a one-line pre-header to state your offer. Include as well the URL for the mobile-friendly version of your email you host on line.

  • Avoid weird fonts, big fonts, reverse type, and red type. That stuff doesn't render and can trigger spam filters.

  • Code short (basic HTML with tables).

  • Write short (Anglo-Saxon words, and few of them).


Friday, August 4, 2017

10 Years a Blogger


Chris Brogan's advice—to make blogging the bedrock of your social media outreach—spurred me to start blogging 10 years ago.

In those years, I have learned to:


Thursday, August 3, 2017

What's the Right Content Mix for B2B?

Apps. Blogs. Case studies. Digital tools. E-books. Events. Games. Graphs. Infographics. Newsletters. Photos. Podcasts. Presentations. Reports. Quizzes. Videos. Webinars. White papers.

What's the right content marketing mix?

Begin with the essentials:

Blogs. The Number 1 source of leads, says Search Engine Journal. Without a blog, your strategy's spineless.

Events and webinars. What's better than blogs? Three of four B2B marketers say events. Webinars are a close second. A single event can pack more punch than 100 blog posts.

Newsletters. Newsletters help you keep customers, and keep prospects interested. Weekly is the best frequency, if you can manage it.

Videos. Six in 10 decision-makers visit a brand’s website after watching a video, according to Inc. And four in 10 contact the company.

White papers. White papers trumpeter your authority, essential to persuading customers to buy from you. 

Case studies. Case studies provide social proof, equally essential to persuading customers.

E-books. E-books can gather repurposed blog posts. They offer an outlet for dazzling design work, inviting to readers turned off by other formats.

Other content. Apps, digital tools, games, graphs, infographics, photos, podcasts, presentations, reports and quizzes are all just icing on the cake.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Admit You're a Hack


In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative,
original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.

— David Ogilvy

Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert, wants you to believe storytelling is hack work.

"I’m absolutely on board with storytelling as a content marketing device," he says. "But just because you understand story arcs and can riff on Joseph Campbell doesn’t mean you’re now Francis Ford Coppola or William Faulkner. Content marketing is a job, not an art form."

I suspect Baer doesn't know that Faulkner, with over a dozen dependents to support, wasn't above sports writing, travel writing, and movie scriptwriting (he's credited for, among other films, 
The Big Sleep).

But I get Baer's point: marketing's kind of storytelling ain't art-making; it's hack work.

"I see more and more content marketers straying from this perspective," Baer says, "thinking that they are newfangled hybrid players, straddling the line between fine art and commerce. They are not.

"The only job that content marketing has is to create behaviors among target audiences that benefit the business. Content must prod behavior, or it’s a useless exercise."

Or, as
my agency's website says, "“It’s not creative unless it sells."

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Is Succinct Extinct?

You can argue for long-form content 'til you're blue in the face.

You're still wrong.

In 1647, the Jesuit Baltazar Gracián explained why:

Don't be a bore.

The man of one business or of one topic is apt to be heavy. Brevity flatters and does better business; it gains by courtesy what it loses by curtness. Good things, when short, are twice as good. The quintessence of the matter is more effective than a whole farrago of details. It is a well-known truth that talkative folk rarely have much sense whether in dealing with the matter itself or its formal treatment. There are that serve more for stumbling-stones than centerpieces, useless lumber in everyone's way. The wise avoid being bores, especially to the great, who are fully occupied: it is worse to disturb one of them than all the rest. Well said is soon said.

Write for readers, not Google.

Monday, July 31, 2017

A Clear and Present Danger


Latinos. Germans. Same difference.

President Trump warned last week he's cracking down on MS-13. In his first 100 days in office, he has arrested nearly 42,000 immigrants. Sounds good, except for the fact that 11,000 of those people have no criminal records.

A century ago, Germans were the targets of our government.

When the US declared war on Germany in April 1917, German immigrants came under suspicion—a sentiment that soon spread to all resident foreigners. All German immigrants were labeled "alien enemies" and—among 19 other things—prohibited by executive order from criticizing the federal government.

Within two months, the label “alien enemy” was applied to anyone who dissented.

Prime targets included "Wobblies"—workers enrolled in the union known as the Industrial Workers of the World. Labeled as enemies, rank-and-file union members were rounded up willy-nilly and deported, or taken in cattle cars to remote spots in the Southwestern desert and left to die. The union's leaders, 101 of them, were all arrested, tried en masse, and sentenced to 20 years.

A year later, in May 1918, Congress passed a law imposing a 20-year sentence on anyone tempted to “utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States
.”

And in October, it passed a law allowing deportation of “any alien who, at any time after entering the United States, is found to have been at the time of entry, or to have become thereafter, a member of any anarchist organization."

The war with Germany ended in an armistice a month later.

But the laws stayed in force, and all hell broke loose when the Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and his assistant, J. Edgar Hoover, launched their infamous crusade against the left.

Over a two-year period known as the "Red Scare," Palmer and Hoover arrested 10,000 alien residents without warrants, many of whom were “denaturalized” and deported to the newly formed Soviet Union.

The Supreme Court justified their actions by deciding, when free speech constituted a “clear and present danger” the government could suspend the First Amendment.

All I can say is, it's great to be Irish.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

It's a Gift

This is the main question, with what activity one's leisure is filled.

— Aristotle

Judging from friends' Facebook posts, we're amusing ourselves to death.

But that's an illusion.


The fact is, we're working—if we're working—more than ever. Not always by choice, but often.

In Leisure, the Basis of Culture, the philosopher Josef Pieper blamed careerism on our "refusal to accept a gift, no matter where it comes from.”

We've been brainwashed by advertisers to believe everything worth anything you earn, like some goddamn badge. We even treat leisure as something to earn, sharing selfies from our exotic travels like they were medals of achievement.

It's a sign of pride, the worst of the seven deadly sins.

But you don't earn leisure. It's a gift. And it isn't time off to "recharge the battery." As Pieper believed, it is the battery.

"Leisure lives on affirmation," Pieper said.

To be “at leisure” is one of humanity's defining abilities.

You can't really give at work until you're willing to receive the gift of leisure.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

6 Last-Ditch Ways to Sell Out Your Event


If you're not gonna go all the way, why go at all?


― Joe Namath
When events fail to sell out, resourceful producers pull out all the stops.

EventMB recommends these six last-ditch efforts:

Social media buy. Take out ads on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook that target locals (drive-ins) with an interest in your topics. Cull your database for locals to help you target the buy, and be sure to keep using free social media to chat up your event. Take advantage of past attendees' testimonials. You'll motivate fence-sitters.

Personalized email. Cull from your database locals who haven’t registered and conduct a drip-marketing campaign. Focus on locals who click through and send them additional emails that concentrate on justifying the cost of the event.

Special offer. Email registrants an offer of a referral incentive, such as "Buy two, get one free." Registrants will feel appreciated and help you. Send sponsors and exhibitors the same offer, to pass along to their customers. Sister organizations may also help you spread the word. You can also promote a contest on social media with free tickets as the prizes. Create a hashtag and ask people to vote on line. Contests, well done, are buzz-worthy.

Streamlined registration. Identify any causes of friction in your registration process and eliminate them―even if it means slaying sacred cows. Last-minute registrations are impulsive, and you don't want to deter prospects in any way. And add prominent copy like "Last chance to pre-register and save" or "Only a few seats left."

Telemarketing. The best way to spur last-minute registrations is to call locals, particularly alumni of past events who haven't registered. They know the value you deliver. (If yours is a first-time event, concentrate on locals who have some relationship with you.)

Retargeting. Retargeted ads can influence sales-resistant locals by making your event top of mind. By becoming ubiquitous, you'll sell out.

Last-ditch don'ts. EventMB warns:
  • Don't offer last-minute discounts rashly; you only signal panic, cheapen your event, and train registrants to wait for deep discounts the next time round. ("Loyal attendee" discounts are okay.)

  • Don't go all-serious. Play up the entertainment value of your event (remember, last-minute registrations are impulse buys).

  • Don't go into hard-sell mode across all marketing channels. Concentrate on the ones above.
     
  • Don't bury your calls to action in your last-ditch promotions. Big, colorful buttons work.

  • Don't refrain from giving free registrations away, if the recipients are influencers who'll add to the prestige of your event.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Magazines against the Wall?


A near-impenetrable wall once separated editorial from advertising.

But with ad-income in decline—and without hope of turnaround—magazine publishers are capitalizing on their editorial prestige to create new revenue streams, says Ryan Derousseau in Folio:
  • Readers of New York trust its writers' recommendations about what's worth buying. So the publisher has started to rake in dough from affiliates via outbound links in the articles on its website. Whenever readers click to a partner's website, money changes hands. The publisher's policy: to plug only products "the editors or writers stand behind.” Affiliate revenue is growing 40% a month, and has inspired the publisher to open pop-up shops at festivals.
  • The Atlantic has become advertisers' digital agency, exploiting its advantage in measuring readers' clicks. Besides audits, the publisher creates and runs entire content-focused, multichannel campaigns for advertisers. The campaigns can include sponsored pieces of original journalism. The in-house agency is the fastest growing division of the company. It expects its revenue to rise 32% this year.
  • Time is licensing its portfolio of brands to retail outlets. Readers can find kitchenware, bed linens, rugs and other merchandise in stores that are branded Real Simple, People, Food & Wine, and Southern Living. Licensed products sold in Dillard's have grown to 110 in two years.
Does monetizing readers' trust in these ways endanger that very thing?
Probably not.

Audiences are so used to paid sponsorships, they give them no thought.

Nobody turned off the last NCAA Tournament because every other player's jersey has a Nike swoosh. James Bond's Omega watch didn't prevent Skyfall from becoming a box-office smash. Mentions of the Peninsular and Oriental Company in Around the World in Eighty Days didn't stop Jules Verne's novel from becoming a classic. And Esquire readers ate up David Ogilvy's take on oysters for Guinness.


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