The 3 Biggest Mistakes Event Marketing Peeps Make (and how to fix them)

The Three Biggest Mistakes Marketing People Make And How To Fix ThemI am a marketing speaker and contrary to conventional wisdom, I do speak locally for free at small networking events. I KNOW, as a public speaker that is a no-no but it keeps my speaking sword sharp and gives me feedback about what is working and what needs some work so that I can ROCK IT when I am getting paid.

That said, I find that most people who own networking groups are not great at marketing and are making 3 HUGE mistakes when it comes to their event marketing efforts. Today’s post is about those mistakes AND how to fix them!

Mistake #1 – Not having “sharable” notices of the event

In this day and age, most sharing is done by social media rather than by notifying your friend-friends with a phone call or personal email. This sharing is more effective when there is a picture included.

Many of the events that I attend happily send me a word doc or PDF flyer that they have designed to highlight the event. That is GREAT for sharing in person at their events before the fact to get butts in seats but not good at all for sharing on the internet.

First off, it is not formatted correctly to be uploaded to social sites which generally want a .png, .jpg or .gif file to use. Additionally a flyer is meant to be printed out 8X10 to be readable and often is so minuscule at photo size that it is impossible to read.

Additionally many email providers will mark as spam or just outright reject an email that goes to multiple people and has a PDF or word doc attachment.

Fixing sharable notices

So we recommend a site called PicMonkey.com to our event planners who are not using a huge graphics program like Photoshop. In picmonkey it is easy to make a 500X500 picture that you can attach to your event and which you can post to Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and other social sites with a link to your event page.

I actually uploaded the free resource template and made the graphic for this post in about 4 minutes using pic monkey!

Pro tip – make sure to have at least two different banners for your event to share so that people can choose which to share and so that when you promote it over and over people do not get “banner” blindness and can’t see it anymore. Just changing up the colors is okay, designing two different banners is better!

FREE RESOURCE – get a 500X500 .png file to start with, right click to download

Mistake #2 – Not having a static page for events

This is a biggie. Most people who have events like a weekly networking session are overwhelmed with getting it into meetup.com or eventbrite.com and are not concerned with anything but “getting it out there”.

That said, the internet wants static content that they can index and which people can use as a reference. So EXACTLY what do I mean? STOP having your whole networking marketing on just meetup.com which is only a database and on which your events are dead once they have passed!

Fixing not having a static page

Have a website or blog with a page that includes each and every group you have, the day and location that they are held and some seo information like “denver networking, denver leads group, denver leads groups”.

In this day and age you HAVE TO HAVE a landing page for each of your important events. We even make pages for some of the little groups that we are speaking at so that we can capture their email and send reminders to them…even though it is not our event!

Mistake #3 – Not leveraging the talents of the speakers

The speaking world is populated with amazing people who are obsessed with talking and getting their message out. Most successful speakers are impossible to shut up and spend a lot of time connecting with people who like to hear them speak. Having a speaker at your event SHOULD mean a way to grow your group or strengthen your relationships with vendors or clients who you can bring to your group to hear the speaker.

Pro tip 1 – Make sure you are inviting people to the event where you are having a speaker (and by you, I mean everyone in the group!) Surprisingly, it will not occur to most of them to do this so mention it!

Stroke the speaker…okay, a confession…I am the talent and I am pleased when someone talks nice to me and asks me to use my huge influence to help them (IF they are giving me a speaking venue and an audience!)

Pro tip 2 – Ask the speaker to promote your event to their database or at the very least share it on the social medias. Make sure you have all the materials, banners and other bits ready before reaching out to the speaker, they are probably busy and will not appreciate a three or four, back and forth trail of emails to get the info.

There you have it! My best tips for how to fix the three main problems I see event marketing peeps face every day!

[VIDEO POST] Networking Followup and Automation

Networking Followup and AutomationIf you are a fan of in-person networking (like we are) you probably have experienced this before…you attend a networking event and diligently collect business cards. Then you head home and the dog gets out or homework needs to be done and BAM, you set the cards on the table, forgetting about them until they are too stale to matter. What you need to make this process more fun (yes fun) and seamless is networking followup and maintenance that is mostly foolproof!

Here are the top things that I do to grow a database of AMAZING people who I have shaken hands with and who could be customers, partners or friends in the future!

Step One

This one will sound dorky, but I vow to myself that I WILL NOT attend any event unless I run home after and put the business cards in my database. If I am attending events and hoping that I will make a sale that day or night and then “forgetting” about them afterwards, I will be one sad panda. On the other hand, if I have a system in place that does the heavy lifting for me and I just have to enter them in, I am golden!

Step Two

Make some notes on the cards. I like to note whether I liked them or not (if I did they get a “neat” tag in my database). These are people who I should stay in touch with, add to my Facebook or Twitter and generally keep on my radar as I found them interesting. I also note if they have a need for my services or products. If they want to find out more about speaking, I tag them and my database sends out a message about our speaking services…:)

You can also note about them or their family (remembering their kids’ names is good, remembering the dog’s name will get you a sale for sure!) If they have told you about an upcoming event that you can make, go! If you can’t make it, sending them a followup email to see how it went will blow their skirts up that you remembered and all of this can be pre-scheduled right when you are doing your database entries.

Step Three

Send a “nice to meet you” or “nice to see you again email”. I have a series of emails that go out automatically based on how often I have spoken with them. Here is a video of what that looks like!

Step Four

Don’t forget them! Now that you have all these great people in your database, keep the love going. If you are a “get together kind of gal” ask them to go for coffee. If you are more a social media kind of guy, make sure to target them on Facebook and Twitter. Like their posts, interact with them.

My mastermind partner and I have started a “friendship journal” which is just a part of our marketing planners. We make notes of people who are important to our future success. We make a point of interacting with them on a regular basis on social media, send them special little “saw this and was thinking of you” email, send them a personal note. Show them in little ways that you notice and care about them!

If you do these steps you will be taking your networking to a whole new level using networking followup and automation.

Additional Resources

Networking Marketing – How To Rock After The Back To School Slump

Networking Marketing - How To Rock After The Back To School SlumpNetworking in the summer is a bummer! Moms are home with their kids and as numbers dwindle, fewer and fewer people come. BUT fall is here and now is the time to jump back in and get your networking back on track!

Have a plan

You have basically three months to get back into the swing before the holiday blues knock networking on it’s tail again. The best thing that you can do TODAY is to take a calendar an make a plan for your networking for the next three months. Start with which groups you are going to visit. Don’t just stick with the tried and true ones, go to Meetup.com and find one or two new ones to attend each month!

For goodness sake, sell something

Next figure out what you are going to be saying each week or month. You should hit each networking group ready to “sell”. Now selling can mean many things…if you have a product that you can sell-sell there, for sure bring some to sell. If you are a services provider, sell your next seminar or event OR sell a free consult. Whatever you do, don’t just stand up, say your name and what you do and sit back down. What a waste of time!

Follow up

The media monster says that you should plan to spend at least an hour after each event following up with the connections you made! Put their business cards in your database, Friend them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, drop them a personal note. Basically, do whatever it takes to make them notice and remember you!

BONUS – Get a buddy

My marketing besty and I are SOOO much more likely to attend (and enjoy) a networking event if we go together! Now, that doesn’t mean that we get to sit over in a corner and talk amongst ourselves, it just means that I am way more likely to attend it if I have promised her I will be there. Grab a pal and make your next three month’s plans together. Pinky swear that you will not let each other down and get out there and make some contacts!

In Person Networking Marketing – Having A Plan

In Person Networking Marketing - Having a planIf you are doing in person networking marketing you MUST have a plan!

The biggest complaint we hear when we talk about networking marketing is that it is a HUGE time sucker that doesn’t result in any sales. So let’s start off with the bad news, you probably will not get many sales at the networking event. There, it is out in the open!

Networking is not to make sales, it is to make connections (prospects) who might eventually become customers. Now, I am not one of those that thinks you have to meet someone thirty times before trying to move them down your sales funnel BUT you do have to do more than hand them a business card before you start raking in the dough.

Here are my top tips for increasing your networking marketing efforts!

1. Know who you are looking for!

If you are networking with corporate types and your sales are more business to consumer, you will probably struggle to make sales. If you are selling beauty products in a group of men you will probably struggle to make sales. This just shows that knowing your audience is vital.

Once you know WHO you are selling to, check out Meetup.com for your types of people. I just popped over there and found a neat one, Business Bible Study. Now, if you are Christian and want to hook up with like minded business people, this one would be GREAT! Looking to connect with real estate people, the Building Momentum: 18th Annual EDG Real Estate Breakfast looked like it could be a great opportunity. Get creative and figure out where you people are hiding in plain sight!

2. Know what you are selling

I KNOW, I said you wouldn’t sell much at the events BUT when you are giving your 30 second elevator speech, you need to know that what you are talking about will connect with the people in the room. I have a marketing company that sells Social Media Marketing for $500-$1,000 a month. Most of the networking groups I attend cannot afford that price tag so I go in with a $97 marketing consult which is a number that makes more sense.

Now, does that mean I have never sold my marketing services to anyone? Nope, I just sell LOTS of the $97 consults and from time-to-time find someone who is ready to spend more on their business. A win-win all around. For this step, figure out something that is a bite sized starting point that you can talk about during your 30 second pitch.

3. FOLLOW UP

Honestly, this is the only step that counts. You can be at the wrong place at the wrong time AND do a horrible intro speech, BUT if you have a plan for following up, you can still beat out almost everyone else in the room!

We use the Infusionsoft email marketing system to followup with everyone we meet. There are 4 steps to our followup – a nice to meet you, nice to see you again, we have to quit meeting like this and finally a “do you want to talk business” email. We also add them to our Twitter and Facebook accounts and make sure to invite them to our upcoming free marketing events.

In every case, we make sure that they are interested in hearing from us… I generally say, “do you mind if I put you on my mailing list? we send out AMAZING free marketing information about twice a month”. This is super important! Make sure they want to hear from you, that you send amazing stuff and that you let them know how often you will be contacting them!

BONUS TIP

These are dorky ones but SUPER important. First off, when you are at the event, put your cellphone in the car and be present. Standing around texting or emailing while humans mill around you accomplishes nothing. The ONLY thing you should be doing with a cell phone is snapping pictures of the event, tagging people you know and sharing it on your social media.

Last but not least, care. I make sure to learn something about their business when I talk with them. I check my mental Roladex to see if there is something of value that I can share with them and then I try to remember them when I see them again. While I am not perfect about this, the people I have met more than once I do generally know by sight and a little bit about their business.

Hopefully these tips will help increase your in person networking marketing effectiveness! If you have a great tip, please leave it in the comments…:)

Networking Marketing | Using SEO In Your Social Profiles

Networking Marketing | Using SEO In Your Social ProfilesThеѕе dауѕ, there саn bе no dеnуing thаt ѕосiаl networking wеbѕitеѕ and search engine орtimizаtiоn (SEO) go hаnd in hand, especially when it comes tо promoting уоur business оnlinе.

Lооk at аnу оf the соmраniеѕ with wеbѕitеѕ thаt rесеivе a huge numbеr оf hitѕ – chances are, thеу have uѕеd their ѕосiаl nеtwоrking рrоfilеѕ tо boost thеir SEO еvеn furthеr. Sо, hоw can уоu get mоrе SEO value оut of your ѕосiаl networking рrоfilеѕ?

1. Link bеtwееn уоur рrоfilеѕ.

A grеаt way to think оf уоur SEO ѕtrаtеgу iѕ as thе wheel оf a bicycle – еасh of thе ѕроkеѕ rерrеѕеntѕ a ѕосiаl nеtwоrking profile, with the сеntеr where thеу all join representing уоur wеbѕitе. Simрlу getting a visitor tо one оf уоur social nеtwоrking рrоfilеѕ iѕ not enough – bу linking аll оf уоur profiles together (аѕ well аѕ уоur website), уоu еnсоurаgе viѕitоrѕ tо investigate уоur brand further.

If, fоr еxаmрlе, ѕоmеоnе “Likеѕ” уоu оn Facebook, whу nоt роѕt оn thеir wаll tо follow уоu оn Twitter оr join you оn Gооglе+? You nеvеr know whеrе SEO is going to tаkе viѕitоrѕ.

2. Prоmоtе your соntеnt.

Nеvеr fоrgеt the bасkbоnе of your SEO strategy iѕ mаrkеting – you’re орtimizing уоur website so thаt реорlе will find уоu and buу your рrоduсtѕ оr ѕеrviсеѕ. But, сrеаting thiѕ content is оnlу half оf thе SEO рrосеѕѕ – thеrе iѕ nо роint in writing amazing and сrеаtivе соntеnt if no оnе gеtѕ thе сhаnсе tо read it.

Did уоu knоw thаt, every timе уоu (оr оnе of уоur followers), роѕt ѕоmе оf your content оn a social nеtwоrking profile thеу аrе сrеаting vаluаblе еxtеrnаl linkѕ fоr уоur wеbѕitе? Iѕn’t thiѕ whаt SEO iѕ аll аbоut? Yоu dоn’t have tо роѕt аn еntirе blоg оr аrtiсlе еithеr – just a ѕniрреt tо get people intеrеѕtеd and tо сliсk to read furthеr.

3. Cuѕtоmizе аnd SEO your рrоfilеѕ.

Yоur social nеtwоrking рrоfilеѕ will rаnk оn the search engines the ѕаmе аѕ аnу оthеr website will. Tаkе this opportunity tо imрlеmеnt аn SEO ѕtrаtеgу оn your рrоfilеѕ thеmѕеlvеѕ – сrеаtе сuѕtоm URLs whеrеvеr you саn, tаrgеt keywords in уоur biography or infоrmаtiоn sections, аnd ѕо on.

If you are trying tо implement аn еffесtivе SEO ѕtrаtеgу fоr уоur website, do not fоrgеt tо inсludе your social nеtwоrking рrоfilеѕ (аnd if you don’t hаvе аnу уеt, thеrе hаѕ never bееn a bеttеr timе tо sign up). Bу uѕing ѕimilаr SEO оn уоur profiles to whаt уоu wоuld on уоur wеbѕitе, you саn rеаllу boost thе рорulаritу and visibility оf your brаnd, gеtting mоrе SEO value out оf them for sure.