Hello – I thought I would get out a quick post and give you and update as of July 15. We completed numerous hurdles this weekend. We have cemented some repeatable install approaches that take less then 5 minutes to get rich reporting working for your calendar invite. See here to download the preview calendarsnack.com debrief. We will be be launching soon!
So I started off my ISV journey 7 years ago. Just an innocent attempt to get people to my events by sending them a Calendar Invite. If they accepted, I knew that they were coming. Or at least had a better chance of showing up to my events. Along the way I had a Web based Calendar engine built by a local contractor on an old Cold Fusion stack. It worked and we were off on many use cases on how I thought it should work. Some 2200 hours of personal time in testing, UI design, and disastrous blunders on my part as a weekend and after work project I needed break. If this was going to be bigger idea I needed help. Enter a friend named Arnie. Arnie came into the calendar “Thunder Dome” 2.5 years ago. Or about 1800 hrs ago. It has been a part time project for him and he caught the bug as indicated that those hours are after work and weekends.
He helped with so many things – testing , coding , web site, blogging and overall front end animal. I voted him to Co-Founder last year. He is a true inspiration. Then we decided to blow up the old site and start over -literally scrap all the code some – $80K in custom contract coding down the drain.. Not easy. We were both at a loss for 60 days. We knew after talking with several large test customers we needed to get to scale on AWS with SES.
We then started our Pizza Journey into AWS in August 0f 2017. About 3 months ago in February of 2018 we were fortunate to recruit Jonn , who is our lead developer and CTO. We have been iterating using Slack, and brain storming on how to use SES, Python SDK, SNS, Lambda and Arnie’s Vue front end with his run time engine. We have the prototype running now in AWS. Pretty exciting to see the Pizza project running! The test site will be up and running in a few weeks. www.calendarsnack.com. More to come as we attempt to give every marketeer in the world their own calendar server for sending and tracking of Calendar invites!
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.
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.
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”.
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.
Here’s the reasoning behind all these tests. At the end of the event, you can get a count of the following:
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!
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 …
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.