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 as simply rows and columns.  Below is the graphic representation: 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.

Dunkin Donuts in a Calendar Invite?

October 18, 2016 / Arnie McKinnis  / 
Another Example of a Direct Mail piece we received.  It has Multiple dates on the punch card that we are supposed to come in and get a free coffee.  We have missed the last 2 weeks in a row to get the FREE Coffee . It’s not on my Calendar.  If it was I would have been reminded on my mobile phone.  

Just send me the Calendar Invite with the GIF Coupon in a URL in the Calendar.  I can click through it at the counter to scan or show my free coupon for the Coffee, since I will be reminded and alarmed on that date by my Phone. 

In addition – put it on a Splash page on your website about the promotion.  I can just put my email address in the Calendar modal and get the Calendar Invite.  If I “accept” this on to my calendar, we track this on our reporting engine. 

In addition the retailer can start directing me to my local DD,  by just putting the address of the closest DD into the Targeted Calendar Invite knowing that I am a “OPT” in customer. 


Coupons in a Calendar Invite? Its not that Crazy.

October 18, 2016 / Arnie McKinnis  / 

This is a Coupon in Email I received today from one of my favorite Bagel makers.  You can build a Coupon Calendar Invite in 31events , add the Coupon as a Gif Image , and the coupon would be a URL to Click thru when the Alarm went off in your Mobile Calendar. 

For more on how to build one see our Get started page

This should work in an Calendar Invite with the Coupon as a URL.

This should work in an Calendar Invite with the Coupon as a URL.

Webinar Example: LeadPages

October 11, 2016 / Arnie McKinnis  / 

Calendar Marketing, especially marketing online events through email is standard practice today.  Email is the most effective way to communicate to your audience, it is cost effective and the person has given you “permission” to communicate with them.

In the example above, LeadPages is presenting two count-downs clocks for a webinar to be presented on two different days.  You’ll notice, there is a button to “Claim Your Spot” which takes you directly to their registration page.  

This process of EMAIL to REGISTRATION is repeated 1000’s of times per day through email. It’s worked for years and continues to drive traffic, and is a great approach.

There is an alternative approach

In the example above, when someone clicks on the button, they go to a webpage to register. LeadPages is better than most, since they sent the email and have your contact information, they pre-fill the registration page.

What if…
When you clicked on the button, you were automatically sent a Calendar Invite (meeting notice).  It now lives in two places – in email AND the calendar.  Even if the email is deleted, the calendar invite is there – with your event information and a reminder popup about the meeting (set by you).

In the Details of the calendar invite, this is where you provide registration links – you can provide an incentive to register – or just ask. You provide the details of how to attend, and your customer has all the information right in their calendar, without having to fill in another form, click another button or do anything.

That’s Calendar Marketing.

the above is from our Pinterest board.  See more examples of using the calendar to market your time-based events.

What is Calendar Marketing?

October 9, 2016 / Arnie McKinnis  / 

A long, long time ago, I sent my 1st Calendar invite. Probaly some 15 Years ago, when I worked at Netscape. In those days it was a new, exciting and “my secret weapon” to meet with a customer or prospect. It was the beginning of corporate scheduling of people, time and resources. Or I would argue the birth of “Calendar Marketing”.

Today, in the digital world, the Ical invite is just part of the modern B to B world we live in. If you want to get on somebody’s calendar, you send an invite. If they accept, you will call them at that time, or meet them @ the Restaurant. Etc.

We see it on the iPad, the phone and the desktop — someday’s I get an alarm at the same time on all 3 devices!

It really works and I would be lost without having my Calendar.

So, I built a software tool called about three years ago. I said, I love this calendering so much, I need to build something I can use in my day to day, to help enhance my chances of people showing up to my events on the web or in person, – seminars . But more than that , I thought — why can’t we use this same approach to consumer B to C emails , or B to B web marketing ?

We can generate codes to embed into your website for a Calendar Modal, or email template. In the email template, you can use the email to generate a “Click Here” now, and we “hook” the email address to the Calendar invite and send to them a Calendar invitation that you can track- Accepts or Denys. In addition we can add Coupons and Tickets as URL’s into the Calendar invite. Of course it has a Rest Api as well. I think my Samsung Refrigerator has a Rest API ? — LOL.

We define this category as “Calendar Marketing”. The ability to track and share Calendar invites for any type of events where you would like to gather and use all the great reminders that are built into the Calendaring specification. They include notifications, driving directions, reminders — etc , all built into the Ical specification.

They also look great on the Apple and Android watches. 🙂

Long live the Calendar!