Government Connections - Winter 2013 - (Page 26)

GOOD TO KNOW Offline & Online Event Marketing Tips By Ted Miller, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP Starwood Hotels and Resorts OFFLINE MARKETING Question: Can you tell us why direct mail is still effective in marketing our events versus using blast emails? Answer: Direct mail is still an effective marketing tool for many reasons, the first being that you have someone’s immediate attention. Using the proper formatting and use of color with good graphics or photography will make someone read what you have sent. You do not need to use excess verbiage, but you do need to list information in a logical layout that allows someone to locate what is of most interest to them. You can give a web address for more information, but make sure you include two very basic pieces of information. Always list your phone number and address of your organization. Never assume the one reading your piece will know where the site of your event is located. Always list the address, phone number and the best ways to reach the facility by car and public transportation. A well done marketing piece may be read by people other than the original recipient, so one piece may be read by several people giving you exposure to people you did not know. Question: Would you ever consider combining online and offline marketing? Answer: Using both methods is actually the most effective way to market an event. The offline marketing piece or mailer is more expensive, but has a much longer shelf life in someone’s office. Generally I suggest you do the initial communication to your audience with online marketing and then follow up in a week with the offline marketing piece. When the offline piece arrives, the individual receiving it should remember the online piece that was sent the week prior. This now gives them time to further read about your event and what it offers them as a participant. Based on the size of your event, you may send additional online communications spaced a week apart to reinforce your message. If your event is large I would suggest sending a second offline piece that can either be the original piece 26 GOVERNMENT CONNECTIONS | Winter 2013 or a smaller one to remind the recipient that they must register. The most successful event promoters have used this method with great success. Question: Can you tell me how to start marketing my event? Answer: Based on the size of your event it will have an optimum amount of revenue it can generate. Determine how much profit you must derive from it and establish all of the costs to produce the event excluding marketing. With those costs, you will be able determine what funds are available for marketing. Now do not think you are going to do a few emails and people will come. You need a professional to produce your materials for either online or offline marketing. Based on the cost of each item, you will be able to see how much of each medium you can use. However do not forget to set up a time line for the marketing and production of an event. Depending on the size of the event, the time of year and potential competition for your audience you may be starting this process from six months to a year in advance. If you are not sure how much time you may need, consult with the professional producing your materials to know when those pieces will be available to be sent. ONLINE MARKETING Question: We have had mixed results doing online marketing for our events. Can you give me any ideas of what are common mistakes that we might be committing? Answer: One of the most common mistakes is assuming your audience knows information you did not list in your marketing. The most common information missing are the city and state of the location of your event, not having a phone number for people who want to ask questions and also leaving out your address. You need to have someone proof read your materials who is not part of your organization. With an unbiased eye they can tell you what you are missing and if the material sent is easy to navigate and understand. Question: How often should we be sending out our marketing so that we are effective but not intrusive? Answer: If you intend on sending out the exact same marketing piece the limit is probably three times. However you can change the look of the information and send it as a short follow up which will let you send it perhaps twice more. The worst thing you want to do is to send it more than once in a week, especially with a very busy presentation. The cleaner the look the more attention you will receive. Question: I see on many email marketing communications a spot marked “Contact Us.” How often is this inbox monitored? I find that if you send an e-mail through this link it is rarely answered. Answer: Unfortunately this is a very common situation. The worst is many organizations have a similar link on their corporate or organizational site, but they do not monitor them closely. This makes people feel that as an organization you really do not want to hear from the public or a current or prospective customer. As an organization you should only have electronic marketing and informational websites if you are truly committed to online marketing. Question: We are trying to revamp our current online marketing and are looking for a way to make our site useful and informative while we work to also retain our current base. How should we approach this? Answer: The best way to start this process is to keep the tech guys and your staff away. You need to get people who are from outside your organization who may be an existing member or customer and ask them what they want to see. You also need to look at how clean and logical is the lay out plus how truly functional it is for someone who know s you or is a first time user. Now before you launch the site again get an outside group to tell you if they understand it and feel that the information is plainly labeled. Never assume that “people will figure it out.” That is the kiss of death!

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Government Connections - Winter 2013

President’s Letter
Editor’s Letter
Going Places
Dieting on a Per Diem
Plan Green
Education Edge
Ethics and Site Visits
Why the Government Should Hire Qualified, Professional Meeting Planners
Supplier Strategy
Good to Know
That’s Technology
Conference Connection
Travel Tips & Trends
Membership News
SGMP Nation
The Meeting Minute
Advertisers’ Index

Government Connections - Winter 2013