Marketing & the Calendar —  should be best friends

Written by  in category 
September 21, 2018

Here’s the punchline (in case you don’t really want to read the whole thing) …

If your time-limited marketing campaign is not on THEIR calendar, it doesn’t exist.

Now the story …

About two years ago, I reconnected with a friend from my past (we had worked together and later I worked for him at his company). He started telling me about this idea he had developed into an app — it sent calendar invitations for events (like webinars or seminars) and for time-limited sales offers (like coupons).

At first, it didn’t really sink in what he was telling me. Hell, people had been inviting me to webinars for the last decade, and I had managed webinars and training events (along with setting up registration) and all those things had just worked.

Or had it?

He just asked me to think about the process, just for webinars. And I started listing all the things I had to do to get a webinar up and running — the task list can get extremely detailed, but at a high level, it goes like this

  1. Set the date
  2. Set the subject
  3. Create the material
  4. Determine how to get the word out (email with online registration)
  5. Practice
  6. Show up and present

He wasn’t looking the solve the whole problem, just the “Get The Word Out” problem — which is tied to all sorts of numbers, and filters, and dynamics — Like CTAs, Click-through, Registration, Multiple Clicks and Tracking, Open Rates, etc. and so on. There’s lots of numbers to help track what’s happened within that flow of “Get The Word Out”.

In general — all marketers know there is some level of resistance at every step of the way, and our job is to (a) create some level of interest to (b) break through as much resistance as possible. It all comes down to some simple things we are asking our wonderful customers and prospects to do … like …

  • Open an email
  • Click on a link
  • Land on your registration page
  • Fill in a form with their “vital” information
  • Receive another email about the webinar
  • Read that second email
  • Save something to their calendar
  • Show up
  • Stay to the end

That’s really a lot to ask, in a simple process where they know (and we know) our informational webinar is really a way to sell them something. It’s all a “wink, wink, nod, nod” thing between everyone.

But the question I have to you is …

Did they really get it on their calendar?

I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret, the Calendar is not easy — email is easy — and the mere fact you believe that you emailed a calendar invitation, doesn’t mean you really did. I have tested over 20 email/calendar clients over the past two years, and most fail. The email shows up, but the calendar part doesn’t really work. That’s why, most emails that include anything to do with the calendar have a little bar (similar to the picture below) that is supposed to be easy for the Invitee, but doesn’t work most of the time.

typical add or save to calendar bar used in email

Now I get it. Most of us in marketing are worried about other things — like getting the content right, not the “flow” and if everything works properly. We leave that to the marketing ops folks to work out. Hell, your martech tools should handle that without any problems at all — that’s why you pay them money every month, to handle the minutia inside that involved flow. You have a presentation to create, presenters to prep and the show to put on.

Here’s the problem …

No Webinar vendor does it right

No Email Service Provider does it right

No Marketing Automation company does it right

No Landing Page company does it right

In fact, unless you are fairly technical, understand both email, webpage, and calendar technology — along with how to both “ingest” and “build” a well formatted calendar invitation — you won’t get it right either. As I stated earlier, it’s really hard.

I’m not hear to tell you we have all the answers, but what I can tell you is that we’ve thought through lots of the problems. But the first thing we did was figure out how to send a Well-Formatted Calendar Invitation. One that would work for 90%+ of the market (including desktop and mobile calendar clients). That’s one of the hardest things to accomplish — and we are at about 80% today, well on our way to over 90%.

Second, why not just send a calendar invitation? If you send an email, you know the hardest thing to get is a CLICK on your CTA. Why waste it — send a calendar invitation on that click. If you want registration, then land them on the registration page, but they may or may not register. Send them a calendar invitation anyway.

Next — right now you have ZERO tracking on the invitations sent. Remember, the calendar is a bit different. There are three actions someone can take on the calendar invitation — Accept, Decline, and Tentative — or they can decide to take no action (but the event is on their calendar, unless they delete or decline it). But you have ZERO insight into those actions. You are acting out of complete blindness as to the “intent” of those people who have been sent an invitation.

The last thing that is a complete pain in the ass, is having to “create” something — basically going to an online tool and adding information that you have probably entered about a dozen times into some other tool.

What if all that could change?

Here’s the difference — and you have to think about it a bit differently too …

calendar snack create process

The first thing we did was decide to get completely rid of the CREATE part. Literally, if you already have your webinar on your calendar, just invite us (we take care of the rest).

Second, we immediately send you a “Summary” page — that way you can test it right away. See if it works. We want you testing it right away.

Third, we give you a simple link for your MailChimp campaign, or a simple iFrame for you webpage. You can design around those as much or as little as you want. We didn’t want to get into designing your campaigns, just sending a calendar invite.

Fourth, we give you the results. How you sent, actions taken, and the ability to download a simple spreadsheet with name, email and last status of the invitees.

It’s your data, and you get to have all of it available. You want to upload that list to special mailing list — do it. Or include it in your sales force automation — it’s yours.

We wanted to create something that would end up taking you a few minutes, but provide you with information and data you never had before.

We’re still in beta, so there are a few kinks being worked out, but in general, it works. It is almost effortless once you start using it, but if done right, it’s extremely powerful.

All you have to do is go to …. and follow the simple instructions. Test it for yourself.

Our goal is getting your time-based marketing on their calendar — and making it exist!

That’s it — nothing works like convincing yourself. And don’t worry, right now, it’s 100% free to use — and if you use it, come back here and let me know how it worked.

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