31Events is not just for invites, it can used for reminders too

June 14, 2017 / Greg Hanchin  / 
The calendar is awesome marketing tool that is completely overlooked by most marketing professionals.  We use email, we use landing pages, we use drip campaigns - but no calendar invitations or reminders.
I got an email today from Amazon AWS about their re:Invent 2017 conference. Once I saw it, I thought ... "why don't more companies send calendar invitations and reminders?".  

Announcements like this are good - but how about product launches or maybe even special or flash sales.  Anything timebased could be have a calendar invitation attached.  So, as an example, I created this landing page, put your email in the box, and it will send you a real calendar invitation/reminder.
Just think what you could do with that type of marketing tactic.

Is it on the Calendar?

December 27, 2016 / Greg Hanchin  / 
The number one excuse for missing anything in business is "it wasn't on the calendar". That's true if it's an internal meeting of your team or a webinar held for your prospects.

The calendar has become an important tool in managing our time, both personally and professionally.  It's on every computer, every phone and included in every productivity application ever created.  

Companies such as Franklin Covey have made hundreds of millions of dollars helping us manage our calendars.  A quick search on Google for the term "productivity calendar planners" will produce over 30 million results. We crave a better way to manage our time, to be more productive, and get better results. And in most cases, we come back to the calendar to help us do just that.

My question is, if we know that in managing our own lives, why do we believe anyone else is different? If we manage manage our time through our calendar, isn't it a logical conclusion to believe our prospects and customers do the same thing? Aren't their lives just as busy as ours, with dozens of tasks to be completed today, and hundreds during a month?

If the answer to that question is 'yes', they why not leverage the calendar (which we all know is being used by them) and get our marketing activities right to the calendar.  A calendar "event" sent to them is the same as that meeting request you sent to your team this morning.  It gets on their calendar, and they can make plans accordingly.

We wrote a Ideabook to help start your idea engine.  It's really just a matter of thinking a bit differently about how you communicate and how you ask for someone's time.  We take that very seriously, we don't believe in calendar spam any more than we believe in email spam.  But we do believe, that even if someone has great intentions to attend your "event", if it's not on their calendar, there is a higher possibility of them not attending (as evidenced by webinar attendance rates of 40%).

So, download the Ideabook, flip through the ideas we've presented, and see if one or two might spark a thought on how to improve a marketing activity.  Right now, it will only cost a few minutes of your time, but we believe, in the end there are major benefits of using the calendar in our marketing activities.

Time Based Marketing – 7 Ideas to Sky Rocket your marketing results using our Calendar Sever

Introduction to Time Based Marketing using a real Calendar Server as a Marketing Tool
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Hello. As we wrap us this year, I would like to introduce you to our Video Log Idea Book  that we just completed. A big thanks to Arnie for putting all this content together. We both learned a lot from our customers.   At the bottom of this blog is the Video I did.  Enjoy! Greg & Arnie. 


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So we have a minimum of 8 touches throughout the sales funnel to establish a customer transaction with a  current customer, or even more for a new customer.  In addition - we only have 8 seconds to grab a customers attention. We should be using a Calendar Invitation with the CTA to get to the Mobile phone when possible.  The CTA will not get lost in email and the Calendar invite will use the reminder engine that is built in.


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Are you using the Calendar to talk to your customers? Likely not.  We all use Google Calendar and Microsoft Exchange for day to day dialogs for business.   But no one is using a Calendar Server to send Calendar Invitations as a marketing department to communicate to customers.  Most are using the Calendar to develop and download and .ICS and put them in the Registration email, or asking them to "Click to Download" the ICS.  This does not work well and never will .  Did you know that when you send a correctly crafted Calendar invitation that it actually "Splits" and goes directly to your customers calendar?  It does.  This is the greatest thing for a marketer.  Your offer, with the correct address and call to action with a possible URL for a coupon or an map -  can go directly to your customers mobile phone. 


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The Landing page shown here is with our magic Box.  The email box is actually the Calendar Invite!  Think of it as a replacement for "Add to Calendar", which never worked well and you could not track. Give it a try. Simple, easy, and effective.  Direct to your customers calendar. Customer puts email address in it and they get the Calendar invite on their Mobile Phone.  We track track it with our reporting engine. 


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Simple Idea.  Insert the PNG, JPG or Gif as a URL into the Calendar invitation as the CTA.  Get the correct physical address into the Calendar invite. Let the customer put in their email address. They receive a Calendar invite directly to their phone. We track it. You could do this on Your Web site , or integrate into your email campaign with out CTA script.  It does not get lost, and they can retire the coupon at the correct CTA time, since it popped up on their phone with the reminder. 


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So - we think you might think we are crazy.  But tell us what you think in our Disqus thread. The calendar server has a built in specification that is 30 years old.  Its called the IETF, or the Internet Engineering Task Force.  The specification for Calendaring was just updated a few months ago.  Its got lots of cool built in features that as a marketer allow you to talk to a customers mobile calendar application. Drip is an extension of a "temporal" pattern in email. We are advocating you take a look on how it could be used with us, on sending out Calendar invitations.  We bring all of this alive for you with our Calendaring API.  Which you don't need to understand at all... 


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So multi-event listings or pseudo schedules seem easy but they are hard to make simple.  In this picture Arnie, my marketing friend here @31events put together this diagram to show how we can assemble 3 different calendar invitations with our easy to use "magic box".  Think of this as a "Add to Calendar Replacement".  Or Add to Calendar on some Big Mega Steroids. Customer see's 3 different time slots. They pick one or more. They receive a calendar invite directly to the mobile phone with a BOOT MAP as a PNG stuffed into a URL.  Your customer get a chance to come by your booth because they have a Booth # , Map  and a CTA to come buy and get a Free tShirt or a Personal One on One demo.  Think about how many times you have asked your sales team - hey send out come emails and tell your customers to come by the BOOTH.  Well now you can develop that offer and get the Calendar invitation right to the customer's phone! You can send the code out to your sales team and they can put the invite right into their Vcard, to help you help your customers get to your booth. 


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We all use the Count Down Clocks.   Think about combining them with us.  We actually have one running in combination as an integrated Modal with the Countdown Clock at the top and the Calendar invite embedded in a Popup Modal for a website with a built in coupon.  This diagram shows how it could be used on a WebSite.  But there are many more. Give us some feedback on how you would use them.  The first one that does give us feedback gets a $25 Amazon Card!  Just contact us on the Disqus thread or Tweet us directly @31events.


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So in this diagram we are advocating you try using our embed script for CTA in your Email Marketing program.  We can send a calendar invite when the customer clicks the Call to action button in the Email Template.  Its simple and we track it. The great part is that we don't require you do anything different.  Just give us a test run in your email campaign testing.  We believe you are going to see better results. 


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Well believe it or not was our original invention.  We built a calendaring web service to send direct invitations to our customer base. Since they knew us, they responded better and they just accepted it onto the calendar for the event.  If they they were not sure, the event was still on their calendar in a grayed out position. When the event came closer - sometimes they accepted , or sometimes they denied it.  But we were communicating with them - all through the calendar.  Early on - PRIOR to the mobile phone it was working well.  Over the past 10 years it is working well since all people have their phones and have a calendar on them - and the events do not get lost in email.  Uses cases include OPT in lists of customers that prefer direct calendar invites.  Another big idea is  SUBSCRIPTION customers that order on a regular basis, where by sending calendar invites with information and offers would be welcomed for extra discounts in CTA or coupons in the calendar. The ideas are endless! Thanks for listening to the first 7 Ideas from Arnie and Greg @ 31events. Here to the next 100! Again if you have ideas on how to use them or want to do some GUEST BLOGGING with us. Please reach out @31events on Twitter or within the DisQus Thread.

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See our Video Blog on the Seven Krazy Ideas on using our Calendar Service for your Marketing promotions

Get the Ideabook, just click the button the button below for the PDF version.

Let me see a raise of hands, how many of you ….

December 8, 2016 / Arnie McKinnis  / 

...use Email as a marketing tool?  My estimate is that 100% of all marketing professionals use email in their campaigns. Based upon some numbers, from 2015, the email market is huge ... 

Like 8 trillion emails a year huge. Like 200B mobile phones huge. Like multi-hundred-millions-in revenue for companies such Mailchimp, ConstantContact, SendGrid huge.

Now, let me ask you another question - and please show those hands again - how many of you have gone to the effort of crafting DRIP campaigns?  (and if you don't know what a drip campaign is, then you don't really do them, so please take down your hand).

Drip email campaigns are crafted, the are (were) born from a requirement to create "touches", which is the holy grail of marketing and demand generation.  We (as marketers) are forced to think how to create demand from the 8 or less seconds we have with any single consumer of our product.  That bull rider and you  have the same problem - stay on the beast for 8 seconds or lose.  At least when we lose, no bones are broken, but careers are built on that 8 seconds - yours, mine, and that brilliant 13 year old trying to become a Youtube sensation.

Now, since I know you use email in your marketing campaigns. And some of you have jumped into drip marketing to create multiple touches, the next question is this (and it's a big one, and yes, show me your hands if you do this)...

How many of you use the Calendar as a way to "hook" that attention deprived prospect or customer?  Now be honest here, and having a "save to calendar" or doing calendar sync doesn't count.  Because here's the difference:

One Event is all your customers can think about at a time.  Which means that ONE event is the key to success.  And since your customers are like every other customer out there in the world, you have 8 seconds and ONE CLICK to get it right.  I would guess, almost 100% are wasting that one click sending one more email (or a series of emails) or spamming their calendar with 100s of events (not the one they are interested in).  And you still don't know if they have it on their calendar!!

Here's the difference ... 31Events is all about getting that ONE Event, on your customer's calendar, in ONE click.  And once it's there, you can talk to them based upon that single action.

If they accepted, you can reward them.  If they declined, you can ask why.  If it's just sitting there doing nothing, ask them to do something, and provide an incentive to do it.  What you can't do, once you have that information, is ignore it.  

But, while you're stuck in the world of Email Marketing, worried about open rates and click through rates and all the other interesting little data points of email, you will start losing market share to someone else, that came out of nowhere, that is actually getting their marketing campaigns on someone's calendar, and talking to them like human beings, instead of screaming at them through mass emailing bullhorns from your prominently positioned soapbox  -  because you have no clue about their intent with your event.

That's the punch line - I'd love to chat more about it.  We have spent years, perfecting a solution that jumps beyond the "manufactured" touches of email, and starts marketing to the only real non-renewable resource, TIME.  

What can you do with a link and little imagination?

December 7, 2016 / Greg Hanchin  / 

One the things we did in our latest version of the 31Events, was create the "designers" box.  It's simply one input box and one button provided to you as a iFrame embed. It's the lowest common element we have within 31Events - but the power behind is amazing.

Below is an example of the box ...
It's a live input box, if you enter your email into it, it will send you a calendar invitation for one of our example events. Go ahead and try it, it's a live event, that will live in your calendar.

With that one simple box, you can design anything around it, you're not limited by anything except your imagination. It truly is a masterpiece of simplicity for any page designer (from the most expert to the novice).

Why did we do this? Once again, it was a simple decision - we don't know every single use case for 31Events. We have our high level vision, and our belief in how it a company would use it, but even if we dreamed up 100 different versions, there would always be someone looking for the 101st.

So, the designers box was born.  Check out our example/mockup pages, look through the features page, and see how a simple box can help you imagine the possibilities.

100% Opt-in Calendar Invitations

December 3, 2016 / Greg Hanchin  / 
Sending a calendar invite through 31Events is no different than sending a meeting request in your business.
You're hosting a meeting and inviting the marketing and development teams. You pick a day and time, set the agenda, provide details on how to attend, and add email addresses.  When done, you press send, and the invite is on it's way to invitees. They accept, decline or do nothing with it - and the key element is this ... you know who has accepted or declined and can reach out to them based upon that. 
In our business lives, it's something we do several times a day (either sending or receiving them).  Guess what? 31Events operates exactly like your company's meeting & calendaring system.

With your 31Events account, we apply the same simple logic to your marketing campaigns and events - the only difference is this ... instead sending directly out of 31Events, you have your recipient "opt in" to your event.

We accomplish this in two ways:

1) We automatically generate "coded" links to be used with your Mailchimp, ConstantContact or ExactTarget account. 

AND

2) We automatically generate direct links and embed code for your website.

100% opt-in

Today, your customer's lives are busy, and within our marketing, we need to respect that.  Time is something you can never get back or create more of, so we made a decision early on to be 100% opt-in. That's why we've spend so much time providing integration to email service providers and website embedable code.

This way, when we send your event invitation, it is being sent to someone who has requested it. It first lands in their email inbox, but it also lands in their calendar and blocks the allocated time (just like your business meeting request). 

Respecting someone's time is an important aspect of building trust - and that's how you create life-long customers.

Advertiser view of Calendar Modals


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31events is a simple way for any advertiser to get started with targeting using EMAIL or Calendaring or Both to promote their offers. You can use one of the most popular applications on the Mobile Phone.  Its called the Calendar APP.  Over 2 Billion phones have this application installed.  Why not use it for FREE.  No curated application to build. Use email to transport the calendar invite with the Coupon offer. Its embedded in the Calendar invite. Alarm goes off – customer heads out to the store to claim his offer.  Google Maps drives them there.  All of this is built into the customers phone!  See our Demo here


Our 2017 Vision..

Click to Calendar: Countdown Clock Example

November 26, 2016 / Greg Hanchin  / 

We created an example (using standard tools like WordPress and little Javascript) to create a direct to calendar invite with a countdown clock.  How it was built, and what it does is described further down, just realize, this is doable today ...

1) create the event in 31Events
2) copy & paste the code
3) your site visitors (however you drive traffic to that landing page) are presented with a single input box and button
4) fill in their email address, and they get a CALENDAR INVITATION 

Simple. Your Event, Their Calendar, One Click.

31Events: how we built the page

the build

31Events Embed: 
simple input box with submit button, we provide the iframe code, copy from your 31Events admin page and paste within any HTML web page

Page:
WordPress: within our theme, we have a page template specifically for demo example pages, it has not footer or header (you can use any page template within your site)
WP Plugin - Elementor: I personally can't say enough about Elementor, it is pure drag-n-drop and simple to use.
Background & Animation - Coverr.co: the background video was available through another great free design resource, check them out to find all sorts of free video backgrounds
Countdown Clock: to create the count-down clock, I had to use a little HTML, CSS and Javascript magic - but I found it by a really quick search, and embedded it as HTML on the webpage.

flow

HOW TO: A/B Testing Event Signups

November 21, 2016 / Greg Hanchin  / 

One of the things we do as marketing people is testing – we test our products, our messages, our offers, our designs.  It’s what we do to ensure we are hitting the right points, to the right audience.  Tests are not about good or bad, they are about maximizing our efforts.  Some things work, other don’t – our tests give us the data to back that up.

Live Events (such as webinars, seminars, tradeshows, training, launches, etc.) can be a challenge.  We spend so much time and money on the event itself, along with our messages and campaigns to support them, it’s hard to determine exactly how to test them in the short time we have to promote them.

I have a solution, but it does require a bit of effort on your side to pull it off.  The solution actually makes it easier for your customer or prospect, but more work for us the marketeer.

Register for an account at 31events.com. We’ve made it fairly simple to do register, no credit card needed and no cost use.  And believe me, I understand about learning another tool, to do one more thing – but I believe the effort will be worth it.

Now, once you’re in the system, you’ll need to do a couple things (I suggest working through these next steps a couple times, before you try it on a real event, just to get the hang of how it all works).  And if you get hung up, let me know, and I’ll help get you through the first one.

Step 1: Create New Event

Just like creating a meeting in your calendar app, you’ll need to create an event within 31Events. Every entry box has a purpose, so be ready to fill in the details.  We provide space for a couple extra things which are important, especially as you create you’re A/B test harness.

Step 2: Send Test Calendar Invite

We force you to send out a test, we give you the ability to send your test invite to a max of 25 of people.  I usually just send it to myself, but you may have a larger team which needs to either view or approve the communications associated with the event. Until the test is sent, your event will remain in your workbench – after sending, it will be “live”.

Step 3: Duplicate the Event

Within our system, we allow you to duplicate any live event. It comes in handy if want have a standard template for your event communications, or, like in this case, you want to create an A/B test for various types of communications.

Once duplicate, you will edit the event details in the same way you created them – all details will be editable, but the most important is the Event Name and Event Subject – you will want to change those (much like changing the subject on an email).  Also, you might want to edit the Banner image and Coupon, along with any additional links you want to create within the message body itself.  Anything you want to test, or believe could have an effect, you should change.

Suggestions:

  1. Change the Event Name to something relevant to the test.
  2. Change the Event Subject – test it like a subject for an email campaign
  3. Change Banner Images
  4. Change Coupon Images and/or offers
  5. Change the message body itself, include additional links, wording, anything you’d like

Examples of possible A/B tests to run:

  • Create one event to be sent only to your email list, and one to be used as an embed within your website
  • Create a different event for each social media channel
  • Create a different event for any advertising you plan to use

Here’s the reasoning behind all these tests. At the end of the event, you can get a count of the following:

  • How many people received invitations
  • How many people ACCEPTED the invitation
  • How many people DECLINED the invitation
  • How many people didn’t interact with the invitation, leaving it as TENTATIVE on their calendar

An the last thing you get, is the email address associated with that action, which allows you then run all kinds of analysis against the raw data – or combine with data from other systems (like your CRM or email).

This is data you can’t get (easily) from any other source.  Actually, I don’t believe this type of data is available to you regardless of source, mostly because we are one of the few (potentially the only) company provide INTENT data for events.  Meaning – your attendees have express their “intent” with the calendar invitation, it is either Accepted, Declined or no action is taken and it’s Tentative (just like sending out meeting notices for team meetings).  That little bit of data is invaluable, especially after you have it for a few live events, and can start to recognize patterns.

So, now it’s up to you.  You can do it, but it will be a new tool, with a small learning curve.  It also takes you out of your routine.  Personally, I believe it’s worth the effort.

Register for your account today!