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.

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!

Simple is the hardest thing

November 4, 2016 / Greg Hanchin  / 

I just read a great article by Jason Fried over on Medium about his favorite subject matter, Simplicity. The example was a visual representation of MeetUp.com as simply rows and columns.  Below is the graphic representation:

Meetup.com at it’s core, is a matrix of cities and interests. You know your city, you know what you’re interested in, it’s simply finding the intersection between them.  Truly, a very simple thing.

After reading the article, I thought about some of the giants in of online – and most can be boiled down into very simple ideas:

Can we decide to get more complicated? Yes and we often do.  But our jobs as Marketers (which I consider a great profession extending beyond “promotions”) is to make it easy and simple for our customers and prospects. 

And easy is pretty damned difficult

At 31Events, we are dedicated to making it drop dead simple for your customers to get your timed-based event onto their calendar.  We believe the calendar is much more personal than email, for a single fact, time is important (their time, your time, my time) – because it’s the one resource we can never replenish.

We are constantly trying to simplify the concept behind 31Events, it’s not easy for us, just like it’s not easy for you or Google or Facebook to simplify who and what they are, but it can be done.  But when you think about us, remember this …

31Events = Your Event on Their Calendar in 1 Click

Our mission is make it as easy as possible for anyone, with a single click, to get your event on their calendar. One step, one action.  It simplifies their lives, not necessarily yours, but it does show a significant amount of respect for your customers and their time. 

Our jobs as marketers is not to make our lives as easy and simple as possible, but to make our customer’s lives simple and easy. We know the registration process, calendar syncing process, saving an iCal or filling out a long registration form – those things make our lives easier as marketers.  Let’s flip that coin and start looking at making it easy on them, not us.

We provide a great service.  You can create your event, test the message and sending process, then have all the website and email codes for communicating with your customers. 

After that, you can actually SEE who has that event on their calendar, and the intent behind it (accepted, declined, tentative) – and then use our skills as communicators to message directly to that intent.

It’s a couple extra steps for us, but so much easier for our customers.  I encourage you try out the service – it’s rock solid, it’s been working for several customers over the past few years, and it really is different.  

Your event is time-based, why not start marketing to the one function everyone has that’s time-based, the Calendar.