Email Marketing (still) Isn’t Dead!

So you’ve probably heard us say something about the importance of email marketing—and we promise it’s not dead! Email marketing is actually one of the quickest and cheapest ways to provoke online purchasing. In fact, when customers were asked what factors lead to mobile purchases, 56% said email. Not to mention, there are three times more email accounts than Facebook and Twitter accounts combined.  Some of you might be thinking “okay we get it, but what now?” Whether you’re a pro or starting from square one, here are some guidelines that will help you come up with killer campaigns!

  • Look into a mass marketing tool. Seriously, it helps. Some of you have tens of thousands of contacts and no easy way to reach them. That’s where mass marketing tools like SaffireMail or Constant Contact come in handy. They allow you to market to your audience in a creative, efficient way while also allowing you to track the results of your campaigns. While we’re on the subject, tracking results is HUGELY important because it lets you know what’s working and with whom. Your customers’ behavior is telling you something–make sure you’re listening!
  • Come up with a plan. “Email marketing plan” might sound intimidating, but it actually has some very simple steps that can fuel your online success.
    • Step 1: Define your purpose. Do you want to increase attendance at a concert? Cool! Do you want to make sure everyone’s aware of a date change? That’s cool too! Whatever your purpose may be, go into your email marketing with clear goals in mind so that you can minimize confusion and maximize results.
    • Step 2: Define your readers. Come up with a target audience–a group that you really want to reach out to. This might change depending on the type of event or the time of year, but by targeting your content to a certain audience, you increase your chances of engagement.
    • Step 3: Determine your content. Think about what you want your readers to get out of  what they’re reading and the action you want them to take because of your email. Focus on making sure that your content stays on track with provoking that action. Business Consultant, Faith Popcorn, said it best when she said “consumers crave recognition of their individuality.” Your content needs to speak to the individual in order to increase your chances of getting results, so do your best to make each person in that audience feel as though the message was tailor-made for them.
    • Step 4: Determine your frequency. This is another thing that might change depending on the nature of your event or the time of year. For example, some fairs or rodeos have one major event for the entire year. Their email marketing frequency would obviously increase as their event date approaches, we would even go so far as to recommend a Daily Highlights Email.  The important thing to remember here is that you have to be aware of what works best for you and your audience by paying attention to results. And remember, NEVER sacrifice quality for quantity.
  • Treat your readers like VIPs. There’s a reason that we put an email sign up option on every page of our sites, because we want to entice those visitors who are willing to trust us with their email address.  Don’t break that trust by spamming them with non-stop promo emails or irrelevant information. You want to make your readers feel like they’re benefiting from being a subscriber. This means providing them with exclusive new deals or info, things that will keep them happy and loyal.

When it comes to email marketing, keep yourself in mind. What do you hate seeing in your own inbox? What entices you enough to make you click? Chances are that if you hate something, so will your audience. So in order to break through all of the marketing and ad clutter that consumers are bombarded with everyday, you need to show them that you understand them as a consumer and as a fan. Your audience wants to hear from you, so give them something worth reading!

Beyond the Lanyard: Episode 3

Naples

We’ve had a few crazy adventures since last time I came to you from Beyond the Lanyard! We’ve had a great summer full of travels already, as Jessie and I have extended a few of our Saffire trips for conferences in to the weekends! We visited Naples, FL after the Florida Fairs Federation convention and  stayed a few extra days in New Orleans, LA after EAMC!Photo 4

In Naples, we had an awesome time exploring the beach. I have recommended Naples to so many friends who are looking for a vacation destination. (Why go offshore when you can get all this beauty here in the USA?) Seriously, if you’re looking for a beach trip, look no further than Naples. White sandy beaches and crystal clear water make it worth going out of your way and staying a few days. We also saw a Chihuly exhibit in Tampa, which was one of our favorite parts!photo 3

We had a fantastic time in New Orleans too. We met several new friends at the conference that hung out with us into the weekend. We also had some of my college friends join us from home for the festivities! Photo 2Photo 5New Orleans is definitely one crazy place full of interesting food and smells. (As those of you who have been to New Orleans know, some smells were better than others!) We were up until the wee hours of the morning checking out Pat O’Briens’ Piano Bar (my personal favorite) and then up early to see St. Louis’ Cathedral and the other beautiful architecture of the city.

Both trips were great, and I hope all of your summer travels are a blast as well!

Saffire update Version 2.8 has arrived!

We were busy this spring at the Portland and Austin offices of Saffire to release an awesome update to our software that focused on SaffireScan, our print-at-home ticketing program managed right from your website’s dashboard! A few of the exciting new features are listed below:

  • Introducing SaffireTrack, a new, easy way to track headcount at your gates. You can even categorize according to demographics like age or location! Centralize your attendance reporting for online and at-the-gate sales.
  • Added ticket customization – upload a sponsor logo or advertise right on the tickets your customer will print and bring to your event. Increase your revenue by giving sponsors this added reach!
  • Customized URLs for Events! Tired of asking your web provider to redirect a special URL to an event? No longer necessary with Saffire 2.8, create unique web addresses yourself!
  • Added LinkedIn as a social media option and icon to the header of our websites so that you can keep your customers engaged through that outlet.

While these are only 4 bullets, weeks of behind-the-curtain programming took place to ensure we’re offering high quality and user-friendly software so that our clients can continue to manage their own online marketing with increased sanity!

Getting Seen and SHARED on Social Sites!

It’s no secret that we are living in the days of “more” – more content from more sources, being shared with more people, more frequently and more quickly. The question is, in the sea of information flooding consumers today, how do you ensure that your social marketing efforts will be read – and ultimately shared?  Sharing certainly is not a new concept. People love to tell their friends about great finds, ideas and experiences, it’s just a lot easier to do so with the help of modern technology, and you should be taking advantage of this fact!

 

Why does it matter if your customers share your content? According to The Psychology of Sharing, a study published by The New York Times, “73% [of people surveyed] say they process information more deeply, thoroughly and thoughtfully when they share it.” This means that if you post about an upcoming event on your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts, and one of your followers shares this post, that person will be more likely to really contemplate the event, making them more likely to buy tickets and end up attending the event! Also, once they’ve taken the time to share your event information, it is probable that they will continue to talk about it with others (since you are now top-of-mind), which often translates to more tickets sold!

 

Time is of the Essence. One of the implications of consumers receiving so much data is our attention spans are shorter than ever. In other words, if you want to capture your target audience, you need to get information to them as quickly and frequently as possible. Big concert next week? Let you consumers know through a number of different channels – email, social media, and on your website – as soon as possible, so they will be thinking of you and be more driven to share this information with others. Make it easy for them to share, too! Incorporate social media buttons directly on your webpage that link your site to your social media pages. If customers can share your content with one-click, they are far more likely to do so. Another important consideration – even if you aren’t working on Wednesday and Thursday one week, your customers are still looking at your content, so try to keep active every day. (For tips on leveraging social media on the weekends, see the article we linked under “Latest Headlines,” at the top of The Dirt.)  On the flip side, people will generally share your content only if they feel like they can trust you, so make sure you take any outdated information down with the same sense of urgency as you’re posting.

 

Get Engaged! When posting, don’t just think about the business side of your venue, but about what draws consumers to your venue in particular. In other words, what are the interests of your target audience? Most people choose to share information when they believe the information is a direct reflection of their personality, interests and beliefs, so try to match up with your customer’s mindset. Also, your fans want to be heard just as much as you do. If they take the time to comment, reply or write you an email, make sure you respond! Engagement makes people feel valued, and the more appreciated they feel, the more likely they’ll be to share your information with others.

 

Make it Fun! While thinking about being timely and engaging, try to also find a unique way to get your customers involved. Some great tools include polls, contests and open-ended questions. For example, if you have 3 big shows coming up over the next couple of months, put a poll up asking your fans who they are most excited to see. Not only will this get people voting, but it will likely get them to share as they see the preferences of others. You may also choose to post a photo of one of the favorite foods served at your event, and ask people when the last time they tasted this dish was. Leaving the question open-ended invites more conversation, which makes readers give more thought to the post, resulting in more shares.

 

Think of posting to social media in a similar fashion as talking to a group of friends. You want to stay on topics that will be interesting to the group, and hopefully get everyone involved. The real victory is when you choose a topic that so interesting, your friends talk about it even after you part ways.  Also remember, no one likes being the person who shows up late, making the others wait, so be sure to exhibit a sense of urgency with your social media posts. Sharing isn’t a new idea – in fact, people love to share when you give them content that sparks their interest, so start posting!

Online Superstitions – BUSTED!

It’s Friday the 13th so we wanted to go through our top 5 online misconceptions we hear and discredit them where they stand!  We want you to feel comfortable online and put to rest any fears you may have that  keep you from moving forward in this ever-changing digital world.

5. All web browsers are created equal – NO WAY! It’s clear to us that Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome are top notch! Make your online experience easier and ditch Internet Explorer as it is the most victimized browser out there.

4. It’s dangerous to make a purchase on my mobile device – WRONG! It’s totally safe- just keep these tips in mind:

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  • Look for the padlock symbol at the top of the page next to the website’s name  (like above) when you’re purchasing in a browser. If you don’t see it, DON’T buy it. This icon let’s you know the site is encrypted (information that has been coded so that only authorized parties can actually read it).
  • Use an app! Apps generally provide a much easier purchasing process for you while keeping your privacy a priority. Sites like Ebay and Amazon have apps that are user-friendly AND safe!
  • 41% of smartphone owners have made a purchase on mobile – so we know that online security will continue to grow for mobile ecommerce. (Does this stat make you think twice about your customer? Maybe you should sell your tickets online this year!)

3. Facebook advertising is too expensive – we’ve seen success with just $3 a day committed to Facebook advertising! Less than $100 a month can give you more reach and interaction with your customers on social media – Americans spend an average of 127 minutes per day in their mobile apps!

2. Online banking is a risky idea – actually your personal information is just as vulnerable offline as it is online. Due to the fact that banks use encryption software and test their security in real-world scenarios, your account info is VERY secure and safe to be handled over the internet. However, a few checks you can give yourself before banking are:

  • Are you on a secure network? NEVER type in passwords or bank account numbers while on a public Wi-Fi (like at Starbucks), this includes making purchases with your credit card on ANY website over a wireless network that you don’t know. Even on mobile, your wireless provider’s network (like 3G, 4G and LTE) will be safer than free wi-fi.
  • Just like using your mobile device to make a purchase, check for the “s” in the beginning of the URL (https://www.saffireevents.com) and a padlock icon in your browser when on a website (sometimes there will be a green bar or green URL – these are very safe).

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1. Yeah we have a website, that’s all we need – NOT TRUE! Just because your website exists doesn’t mean people are finding it

  • Be sure your site is listed on MULTIPLE search engines. Add keywords and descriptions to the important pages of your website within your admin tool (or have your web provider update this).
  • Cross market! Send people to your website from your social media – hyperlinking is very easy with Facebook and convenient tools like bit.ly help you shrink the length of a URL so they fit nicely in a tweet on Twitter.
  • Your website needs to be UP-TO-DATE! Leaving last year’s dates or irrelevant content on your website all year long is NOT the way to keep your customers engaged and trusting your website. Refreshing your homepage with new and exciting images will keep folks coming back for more too, instead of leaving your site immediately.