Every year at this point in the season, emails begin to flood my inbox. It isn’t just a couple of friends reminding me of an upcoming party or event; it’s full-blown marketing emails, trying to sell me something – usually related to their product or service.
Why are brands trying to sell me things? Isn’t the point of an event planning email to keep me subscribed so they can keep filling my inbox with useful information? And what do I get in return for pouring my personal information into yet another digital pipeline?
To find out, I set up a questionnaire to get a better understanding of what exactly my fellow event planners and marketers are trying to sell me and how effective their strategy is. After completing nearly 100 surveys, here’s what I learned.
Who Is Responding To Your Emails?
The first thing I noticed was that the respondents were almost entirely from the United States. That’s not a huge surprise, as the online event planning community is largely made up of Americans.
What is surprising is the wide variety of industries that these planners are in. Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or a large corporation, someone somewhere is providing your event’s logistics. So why are these planners opening their inboxes to you? Why are you special enough to catch their attention?
Why Are You Their Target Audience?
Most event planners target individuals in a certain industry or niche. That means they have some familiarity with what you want as an event consumer. But what does that look like? How can they know what you need?
To find that out, I looked into what my respondents were doing previously. About a quarter of them reported having run a business or worked in sales. So they might have encountered similar situations to what you’re facing now.
Then there’s another quarter who have been in the military. Your target audience might also be individuals who have served in a law enforcement capacity. Or you could be targeting teachers or professors. Each of these groups has a shared experience that makes them familiar with your product or service and more likely to purchase it.
How Do You Feel About Marketing Colloquially?
Surprisingly, I didn’t find any significant differences between how respondents felt about marketing colloquially and how they felt about email marketing specifically. It seems that, as a whole, marketers are trying to take advantage of new technology even if it doesn’t relate to an event. However, there was one difference that I did note: people who reported using social media for marketing tended to feel less positive about it.
Why? I have no idea. But I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that we’re always updating our social media accounts with new content and engaging with our followers. It’s easy to understand why someone who uses social media for marketing wouldn’t feel good about that. They’re putting in the work to try and get people to engage with them, and then wham, they get hit with a wall of negativity. It would seem that marketers are still trying to figure out the best way to use social media for business. But until they do, those who use it will feel a little burned.
What Is Your Overall Perception Of The Value Of Email Marketing For Your Event?
I think it’s fair to say that marketing through email is still somewhat of a mystery to many people. The respondents in my study were no different. Only about a third of them reported that they were very familiar with email marketing, while more than half had never heard of it.
Even among those who had experience with email marketing, only about a third thought highly of it. This lack of familiarity and confidence is very prevalent across all industries. If you don’t believe me, take a look at some of the marketing blogs out there. They’re awful. There’s literally no strategy, just countless poorly written, bland articles that try to sell you something.
So what’s the deal? Why are so many people skeptical of email marketing when so many others thrive on it? The answer might be that, for the most part, marketers are using the wrong metrics to determine the success of their campaigns.
What Are Your Overall Metrics For Measuring The Success Of Your Email Marketing Campaign?
The good news is there’s an easy fix for this. Just like with traditional marketing methods, you can test and adjust your strategy based on performance. But instead of relying on sales figures or how many people you reached, you can use metrics that measure the value that your marketing efforts provided.
Based on my research, I’d recommend using what’s called the Cost-Per-Click (CPC) or Cost-Per-Action metrics. To put it simply, these are the costs you incur to have an action occur. These can be things like purchasing a specific product, signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase on a website.
When you use these kinds of metrics, you stand a greater chance of predicting the success of your strategy. It’s important to note that there’s no one-stop-shop for metrics. Just like with any other strategy, you need to find the right tool for the job. For example, if your goal is to increase website traffic, you might want to use a tool like HubSpot to track conversions or a tool like Google Analytics to track website traffic.
What Is The Major Differentiator That Makes Your Event Special?
The more you can do that sets your event apart from others, the better. That’s especially true for events because each one is, by definition, different from the next. So you want to make sure that you stand out in some way that makes your event unique.
To find out what makes my respondents’ events special, I asked them to rate their event’s uniqueness on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most unique. The average score was 6.62, and the standard deviation was 2.11. So even though all of my respondents’ events were, in some way, unique, respondents felt that only six of them were significantly different from the others.
One thing that stood out to me was the variety of methods that my respondents used to attract guests. Not all of them used a ticketing website or app; some used QR codes, flyers, or posters to spread the word.
Perhaps the most innovative and unique way that respondents used to attract guests was through a combination of marketing and social media. One respondent, for example, used influencers to help spread the word about their event via Instagram. They also hired a local band that gained them a lot of online praise, which they used to attract visitors to their website.
How Do You Feel About Advertising On Event Blogs?
One of the most profitable and effective ways to market a product or service is through blogs. Event blogs can be a great place to advertise because they’re usually associated with events that aren’t directly related to your product. This makes it harder for your target audience to notice the ad. They’re already in the mindset of looking for information about the event that they’re interested in.
As a whole, respondents in my study didn’t mind advertising on event blogs so much. About a quarter said that they didn’t see much difference, and another quarter felt that it was a good idea but didn’t feel that it was effective. The remaining respondents felt that it wasn’t a good idea but needed to be done to support the event’s cause. This last group might want to consider advertising on a small scale before putting in the more substantial effort of building a brand.
Do You Think Advertising On Social Media Is Effective?
There’s no question that social media can be an effective tool for marketing. It allows you to connect with millions of people around the world and put out amazing content regularly.
Respondents in my study thought that advertising on social media was either a good idea or needed to be done. It was viewed as a necessary evil by a quarter of them, while the remaining respondents felt that it was a good idea but that it wasn’t effective on its own. (Forbes)
The problem with relying solely on social media for marketing is that you can never tell how effective it will be. Even if you have a strategy in place, the way that social media platforms change and evolve puts a lot of uncertainty into what you’re doing. It’s not a bad idea to use social media for marketing, but you need to consider other platforms like Google Ads to determine the success of your strategy. At the very least, you can use social media to supplement your other marketing efforts.