TOP 5 THINGS TO DO NOW TO BRAND YOUR EVENT FOR SEARCH ENGINES & BEYOND

There are moments when I’m almost painfully aware of how long I’ve been doing internet marketing (since 1995, if we’re really keeping track).

One of my main reminders is seeing the change in web browsers. In the old days, it was Netscape vs. Internet Explorer, and it was a constant challenge to make websites look good in both browsers. Then along came Firefox, Chrome and others.

As is true in real life, the only thing constant is change, except I’d say this is even more so with how quickly things change on the Internet.

The shift of search engines is another reminder of my time in online marketing. Before Google, website managers had to worry about getting found in a whole myriad of search engines. Google domination has actually made our lives easier!

But then as is often the case with putting all eggs in one basket, when the Google algorithm shifts, the aftershocks are seismic.

This spring, Google has been busy teaching us what they think is important online by changing the rankings (often for the worse) of  many websites. The bottom line is this: We in the industry have always known that what you have on your page is dwarfed in importance by who links to you. “Who links to you” used to mean other websites., but now it mostly means social media.

Google understands that a website isn’t the only place online where a brand needs a presence, so exchanges via social media about and with your brand are now more important than ever. You must interact with your customers, which will get you a great reputation and also rankings in Google.

The Checklist

What are the most important places where you need a presence? Our answer, inspired by a Fast Company article on the topic, is nothing new. But you should consider it your checklist in having a strong brand, both for your customers and for Google.

  1. Have conversations on Facebook. Invite questions, suggest reading, provide links, and curate content. Share content that inspires more followers, and if you aren’t getting more followers, tweak your strategy and repeat what works.
  2. Share tweets about topics of interest. Notice we didn’t say self-serving announcements. Nobody wants to read over and over how great your brand is. Provide info that is of real use to people, then measure what gets retweeted the most and repeat what is successful.
  3. Upload videos to Youtube. If people aren’t watching and sharing your videos, then tweak your videos and repeat what is successful. (Remember, Google owns YouTube – reason enough not to leave video out of your strategy.)
  4. Pin and repin interesting images on Pinterest. Most businesses can communicate better with images than text, which is handy, since as we all know, reading online isn’t exactly pervasive. Pin things that you think will be interest to your customers
  5. Participate in groups and post company updates on LinkedIn. If a customer sends you a referral, ask them to post it on Linked In. (Send them a link to make it easy for them.) Because company pages are public and now feature status updates, these pages can be useful both for search engines and people.

Branding is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. But the time you put in pays dividends that your event will feel for years to come. Your goal is to be sought after, both online and offline, to share the relevant information you become known for sharing.

So what are you waiting for? Get going!

Join Our Webinar “Trends in Online Marketing”

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Trends in Online Marketing

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The web changes so fast that keeping up with the latest and greatest online trends can seem like a full-time job. But since none of us have that kind of time, join Saffire for a fast-paced session to learn what you need to know to stay ahead of the curve with online marketing. We will discuss fair websites, social networking, ecommerce, mobile, email marketing and other must-haves that will help you increase revenue for your event.

The team at Saffire has done online marketing since 1995 for clients like KEEN Footwear, Nike, Jeep, Intel & Panasonic; they’ll tell you what you can learn from those huge companies to help your fair be most successful.

From this Free Webinar you will learn:

  • Four new must-haves for your event website
  • Five things you could be learning about your event from Google Analytics
  • How to put the “social” in social media
  • What is three-screen marketing and should you use it?

Register now to join Cassie Roberts, Manager of Sales and Partnership, and Rebekah Hardage, Marketing Manager, as they help you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to event marketing online.

Title: Trends in Online Marketing
Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM CST

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer

 

Free Webinar!

 

What’s the big deal about ecommerce?

If you’ve had a conversation with one of our team members for longer than 30 seconds, we’ve probably told you how important we think ecommerce is to the success of any event.  Our roots are in ecommerce for large companies and we’ve proved our theory to be true, so it’s no surprise we are so sure that it will help increase revenue for your event.

Even though we are spreading the ecommerce message far and wide, we still find events that are skeptical, so we’ve decided to try a new approach.  They say “A picture is worth 1,000 words,” and in this case I couldn’t agree more!  This infographic tells you just about every reason we have (and a few more) as to why your event MUST have ecommerce. 

So let’s recap:

  • 50% of the online population has made more than one purchase online.
  • Over the course of 2012, 184 million people will shop online.
  • By 2015 US consumers will spend $270 billion online!

Folks, if these stats don’t convince you that it is time to make ecommerce a priority, I don’t know what will!

The Anatomy of a Sponsorship

As the marketing mix continues to evolve, businesses are looking for new ways to reach their customers, which means they are more likely to spend money on sponsorships than ever before.

In fact, it is estimated that this year companies in the US will spend close to $18.9 billion dollars in sponsorships on events like sports, philanthropy, community events, arts and entertainment.  Lucky for the fair, festival and rodeo industry: You are just what they’re looking for!

As a community event that gives back, you encompass several of the criteria businesses are looking for in a sponsorship opportunity.

I know that events depend heavily on the support of local businesses for their event to continue to thrive in the current economy.  With funding disappearing left and right, sponsors are the ticket to the future of your event.

In order to keep the sponsors you have and find more, you need to know the benefits they are looking for.  Sponsorship is a two way street, so make sure you’re giving them what they want in return.

Don’t be afraid to try something new and update your sponsor package with online opportunities.  On-site signage is great, but make sure to include prime real estate on your website, too!  Linking to their site from yours will also improve their Google ranking.

The audience who comes to a fair, rodeo or festival is a unique combination of individuals from all walks of life.  An event like yours crosses all demographics to give the sponsor a new and diverse audience to reach.  Make sure to mention that you will include their company  in your social media posts during the event.

And the best part about these ideas?  They are free for you!  Nothing like not having to spend money to make money.

Join Our Webinar “Trends in Online Marketing”

Free Webinar!
Trends in Online Marketing

Reserve Your Seat Now!
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/533051302

 

We’ve been in the website business since 1998, so we’ve seen a lot of online trends come and go. As website veterans, our team knows what signals to look for to indicate “the next best thing” by reading articles online and attending conferences like SXSW. Join us as we share what is on the horizon so your event can be a trend-setter.

From this Free Webinar you will learn:

  • Four new must-haves for your event website
  • Five things you could be learning about your event from Google Analytics
  • How to put the “social” in social media
  • What is three-screen marketing and should you use it?

Register now to join Cassie Roberts, Manager of Sales and Partnership, and Kendra Wright, President of Saffire, as they help you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to event marketing online.

Title: Trends in Online Marketing
Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM CST

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer

 

Free Webinar!

 

SXSW Recap: Social Storytelling & Building a Narrative for Your Brand

I attended a session on Monday presented by Helen Klein Ross, the creative mind behind @bettydraper, a twitter account that maintains the voice of AMC’s mega-popular character Betty Draper, played by January Jones, in the hit show Mad Men. Everything about this twitter account is spoken in the voice of the character from the show.  Not the actress, not the writer, but the character is perpetuated in this easily accessible and massive platform.

She provides a connection for several thousand fans of the Mad Men brand, and gives them an opportunity to interact with her in a way that helps them feel personally connected to the show. 

Social media allows you to stay connected to your consumers, but it’s not just about having a twitter account or Facebook page.  Those are simply the platforms for building a connection with your brand.  You have to give consumers a REASON to connect, because just being present in these spaces is typically not enough.

Whether it’s maintaining your brand recognition and story throughout the off-season when consumers may “forget about you,” or just perpetuating your brand in new arenas, it’s a way to broaden your market and at the same time strengthen your connection with your existing fan base. Creating content that engages your consumers creates an emotional connection and gives them a reason to want to share that experience.

As you begin to craft your story, consider your audience.  Think about who you are trying to reach, and instead of considering how many people you are trying to connect with, think about WHICH people you are trying to connect with.  Think about the stories you can tell that will resonate with your customers, and if you’re ever in doubt, use Betty Draper’s recipe for successful storytelling.

Create the content (the more the better), keep a consistent and continuous voice for your brand, keep it simple and always make it easy for others to share it with their friends.

Join our Webinar “Why Mobile Marketing is No Longer Optional”

Free Webinar!

Why Mobile Marketing is No Longer Optional


Reserve Your Seat Now!
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/874663118

 

It is estimated that by 2014, more people will access your website via a mobile device than a desktop computer. This means that the future of the web is in the palm of your hand, and it’s time to make it a priority.

From this Free Webinaryou will learn:

  • Why mobile is a “must have” for any event
  • Strategies to successfully market through mobile
  • How to get people to engage with you on mobile during your event
  • Tools you can use to enhance your mobile presence
  • The Great Debate: App vs. Mobile Site?

Register now to join Kendra Wright, President of Saffire, and Cassie Roberts, Manager of Sales and Partnerships, as they discuss the future of mobile marketing and why it is essential to the success of your event.

Title: Why Mobile Marketing is No Longer Optional
Date:
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Time:
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM CST

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer

 

Free Webinar!

 

The power of DIY

Wow. We’ve been building big websites for a long time.  And for about a decade, we’ve been telling people that not only would we never build a website without tools to manage it themselves, but we feel that web developers who do are borderline unethical.

I know, “them’s fighting words.” But think about it. There is great technology out there to manage website content. So why would a web developer not allow a client to make changes themselves? We think it’s because they want to charge for changes, thus keeping their revenue stream flowing.

Again, having worked on big websites for so long, we rarely think about the fact that many smaller websites don’t have the choice but to depend on their web developer to make changes. Yesterday, I talked to someone who could get instant changes from their web developer (So rare!).

But today, the fair manager I talked to isn’t so lucky.

He had gone through nightmare experiences with web developers; promises were made and broken. Even simple changes could go 7-10 days without being made. All from a guy down the street.

When I explained the features of Saffire, he didn’t mince words. He said that lots of fairs and rodeos can’t afford web agencies, so they try to get it done locally. And they’re frustrated. He said people need what we offer. They know they need it. But they don’t know how to get it. So I see our job as to help them by showing them!

Saffire creates event ecommerce websites that people can manage on their own, and it’s simple. One of our favorite things to do is to show it to people. They literally can’t believe how easy and even fun it is to see changes they make on their password-protected admin site appear on their customer site… instantly!

So if you want to see Saffire in action, just give us a call at 512-480-8566. We’ll be happy to kick the tires with you and show you just how fun DIY can be.

The guy down the street

I started doing market research today on what people are looking for in their event websites.

On my first phone call to a fair about her event website, I found out that she was pretty happy with the guy down the street who does their website. This was great to hear, since most of the time, I only hear from people who have had very bad experiences with their web developers.

But on the other hand, it’s hard to know how to sell against this guy. Our team isn’t that big, but we have people who specialize in project management, writing, marketing, user interface, HTML, graphic design, programming, server/security management, etc. And they are all different people… in some cases more than one who perform the different skills needed to build a high-quality event website!

What I want to tell event directors is, we want to be your guy down the street! What would it take for you to give us a shot? Seriously, we want to know!

We know it’s scary to call a company in Austin, Texas. Whether you’re a couple hours away or a several hour plane ride, you may be concerned about being able to get a hold of us.

But having been in business since 1998, we can assure you we’re not going anywhere. And we give you the tools to manage your site yourself (and with all our resources, your site will surely be so much higher quality than a one-man show). So you can rest easier that you have everything you need to manage your website.

Since a  picture says a thousand words, here are photos of some of our team members. See? We’re really not that scary!