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Introducing Thema Reed: Our Newest Marketing Manager

team-themaThe Saffire Team is so excited to welcome our newest team member Thema Reed to the fold! Thema (pronounced Tay-mah—she says like “Taylor” but with “ma” at the end!) is dedicated to connecting with the Saffire family and sharing all the fun and helpful things Saffire has to offer.

Thema is the third person to join the Saffire team from Albuquerque, New Mexico (shout out to Jessica C. and Austin!).  She is taking on the role of Marketing Manager and joins Saffire with 3 years of communications and digital marketing experience working on social media, content marketing, PR and communication strategy for nonprofits. Before that, she was a Journalism major at Howard University, where she interned in many D.C. newsrooms, including CNN, C-SPAN and WUSA. Thema will be working her writing and editing magic all over Saffire’s marketing efforts!

When she’s not writing all the things, Thema enjoys exploring Austin with her husband and two big fur babies, doing yoga outside and eating lots of tacos.

To learn more about Saffire, Thema or just to say “hey,” feel free to email Thema directly at thema@saffire.com or connect with her on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/themareed/. We hope you can meet her in person at a conference or future Saffire Summit!

Welcome, Thema!

5 Events Trends Taking Off in 2018

Can you smell the cotton candy, turkey legs and funnel cakes cookin’ yet? Fair season is right around the corner and (besides the food) that means lots of new ways to wow visitors. New and exciting experiences at your event are one of the best ways to keep people coming back each year. Although event trends can be as hard to pin down as the giant stuffed bear prize at the fair, this year Saffire has you covered.

Here are five ways to take things to the next level and make your event a success!

  1. Getting Active

If last year was all about getting your crowd to whip out their smartphones, this year is about encouraging participants to put down their phone, be in the moment and move their body. Whether it’s pop-up dance parties or yoga in the midway, getting active can be a memorable way to help visitors connect with the sights around them and burn off all those corndogs. For really athletic fair-goers, offer a chance to get competitive. The Tulsa State Fair is taking on the trend by challenging participants to a 5k run around the fairgrounds, and at the Fort Bend County Fair & Rodeo visitors can fish to win over $6,500 in prizes. For people who are more interested in doing their own thing, walking tours are a great way to get moving and see all the fun things to do at your event.

  1. Local Pop-ups

Fairs, festivals and other local events are celebrations of all the great things your area has to offer. Encourage your visitors to immerse themselves in local culture by creating pop-up shops and experiences that are full of local flavor. Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be just food! Partner with local favorites to create fun experiences like mini-museums, craft making areas or experimental dining (blindfolded beer tasting anyone?). By creating fun experiences with local businesses, you can create a sense of place and remind everyone why you love your community!

  1. Virtual Participation

Tech interaction is far from over at events. This year, trendy event coordinators are mixing tech interaction with real-world experiences. That means that instead of just using things like hashtags and Instagram-worthy photo-ops, events can take interaction to the next level by creating fun activities like phone-guided tours and real-time voting via apps or text message. Even something as simple as introducing online ticketing can be a big boost for visitor experience.

  1. Engaging the senses

Food! Lights! Music! If there’s one thing fairs understand, it’s the power of your five senses. There are so many things to see, taste and hear that visitors can always find something to keep them entertained. What if we cut the noise and allowed visitors to fully immerse themselves in one sense for a memorable experience that they’ll always associate with your event? How can we do that in an area that is already so engaging? Silent discos are a popular choice popping up in the festival scene that allow visitors to groove to their own music and drown out the rest of the party. Paint lounges can allow attendees to let out their inner Picasso and relax. Psychologists agree that targeting our five senses is one of the quickest ways to create lasting memories, so get creative with ways to engage senses and visitors could remember your event forever.

  1. Personalized Experiences

In case you haven’t heard, Gen Z and millennials LOVE personalization. That’s why this trend has been taking over the marketing world for the past few years, and now it’s taking over events. It’s not enough to just add names to emails and merchandise anymore. It’s all about creating personal itineraries that can help guests find things to do that they’ll love. Got a killer art show, craft beer lounge and a concert from an up-and-coming indie band that your hipster crew will love? What about a Ferris Wheel, winery and local ice cream stand that are what first date dreams are made of? Create some custom itineraries, stick them on a Plan Your Visit page – or in a welcome bag, or at the ticket counter – and ta-da you have some personalized experiences that millennials will love you for!

 

Whether you’re promoting your fair, festival or networking event this fall, fun unexpected ideas are sure to stick with your attendees. Keeping up with trends can be a lot of work, but with the right methods, they are sure to pay off!

In the News – 6/13/2018

It’s June, which means extreme HEAT and the kids at home… ALL THE TIME! But, June also brings love and weddings! ♥♥♥ Check out this great article about how your destination can cash in on wedding tourism: Marketing love and marriage in tourism. Plus, we all know how annoying it can be to post to Instagram as a busy organization, so check out these 6 tools that schedule Instagram business posts to help you get a handle on your Instagram!

GONE in a (Flash Sale) – Tips to Run Quick Promotions

FLASH SALE! Everyone seems to be having a flash sale these days. But why? Because they work! Flash sales are a proven method of driving more people to your event or venue. Giving discounts is a way to pump up your fans and make them feel like they are getting a special deal. When utilized correctly, discounts can be an essential part of a successful promotional strategy. Most people do not go to events alone, so if someone gets a discounted ticket, there is a good chance they will end up bringing additional attendees that might even purchase tickets at full price, and of course, spend more while on site.

We came up with these six easy steps you can follow for a successful flash sale.

Define the Goals of the Flash Sale

Start by clearly defining what you want to accomplish. We all want to sell more tickets, but it is important to decide what type of tickets you need to sell.

  • Do you need to increase the volume of people through the door?
  • Does a concert need to have 75% or more attendance?
  • Are there shows that need promotional help?
  • Do you need to sell more of a certain type of ticket, be it children’s tickets or VIP seats?

Make it Simple

Don’t over complicate your sale if your goal is to sell more tickets. Sales that make customers jump through hoops and click on multiple pages to earn a discount will result in your customers becoming frustrated and less likely to purchase.

Define your Audience

Take the time to research which customers you want to target. The more focused the target audience, the easier it will be to develop a message. Targeting a specific audience does not mean you are necessarily excluding people that do not fit your criteria. It just allows you to focus your brand message on a specific audience that is more likely to buy tickets from you than other markets. Targeting is much more affordable, efficient, and effective way to reach potential ticket buyers. No one can afford to target everyone!

Pick the Right Time and Date

You want to make sure that your flash sale is at a convenient time. Sunday mornings are probably going to perform less than Friday at noon. It is important to keep the time window of your sale short. Don’t run a 4-day sale. Your goal is to create a sense of urgency. Make sure that your flash sale feels special. Don’t run a new sale every single week, this will make your sale less successful. We also recommend tracking the effectiveness of your sale times for future marketing plans.

Make Sure the Savings are Worth It

In the event industry, early sales can have a major impact on your bottom line. Flash sales help you better prepare for your event. The discount you are offering should be something that people will want to stop what they are doing to purchase your tickets. Only offering $1 off is not going to get people moving. The deal has to be worth your customer’s time.

Build the Hype

Announce your flash sale on all your social media channels and in an email blast. Announce the sale via press releases to your local media. (Make sure to get them the info early in the day so it can make the morning news!) Social media is a good place to focus your efforts as these platforms allow your customers to share the sale organically with their friends.

Running a flash sale can be an easy way for your event to get a boost in ticket sales and is a great tool to add to your marketing plans. Don’t get discouraged if your first attempt doesn’t create a Black Friday mob, like all things with social media and developing your brand, it will grow over time!

 

Create Memorable Activations through Experiential Marketing

You may have heard some buzz about experiential marketing lately, but what exactly does it mean? After the Saffire Marketing Team attended the branding track of South by Southwest this year, we got a pretty good taste of experiential marketing firsthand! This unique marketing strategy helps engage audiences with awareness of a brand, by allowing them to be a part of the brand creation itself rather than just passively receiving a message. The brand’s value is activated, or realized by the consumer, creating a stronger relationship between the consumer and the brand.

SXSW has increasingly become one of the greatest places to show off your brand to festival attendees, and during the conference, downtown Austin becomes one giant advertisement for 10 days. Instead of online campaigns, brands focus on taking over bars, restaurants and venues to transform them to experiential marketing wonderlands. Some of the activations this year included: German Haus, E.U. House, Peru House, Pinterest House, and Snickers House. These brands swooped in and transformed trendy bars into billboards full of free food and drinks, swag, and live music.

On a tamer side of things, some brands chose to have small lounges scattered throughout hotel and convention meeting spaces. These typically monotonous meeting spaces were transformed into places for attendees to relax, recharge, rehydrate and learn a few things about the lounge’s hosts. Two of our favorite examples were the Brazil Lounge and a giant cheese spread by the state of Wisconsin. It is definitely better to TASTE cheese from Wisconsin rather than read about it on social media!

One of the best activations was the Google Assistant Fun House, an entire house focused on immersing the consumer into a smart house powered by Google Assistant. Check out the house by clicking on the video below:

How your organization can utilize these fun ideas? It doesn’t have to be super fancy! All you have to do is let users experience your brand or your sponsor’s brand firsthand. Here are examples of things that your organization can implement:

  • Experiential marketing is a great way to grow an event and offer your sponsors something different and unique. Have a sponsor cover the cost of a lounge, bar or booth and let a sponsor deck it out with their branding. Attendees LOVE free samples of any kind, so encourage sponsors to come with fun giveaways. Rather than a traditional booth for a sponsor, make it something more fun!
  • Have a brand? Why not travel with it! Look for outside events where you can bring your brand to life.  This works especially well if you are marketing a destination–bring food samples, mini drinks or small crafts to events and festivals and let consumers get a taste! As mentioned above, various destinations had activations at SXSW, including Germany, Peru and Fort Worth, Texas!
  • Set up a pop-up booth about your organization in a market you are hoping to grow. (You can either partner with that city to do something in your hometown or at your event, or just get permission first.) Pick somewhere with high traffic like a park and do a fun giveaway! Offering a special discount to people that visit your event or destination after meeting you at a pop up is also a great way to measure the ROI on your effort.

As our world becomes more digital, sometimes the best way to connect with your audience is to let them experience your brand off-screen. Think of another way you can utilize experiential marketing in your marketing mix?  Feel free to share it with us!

 

In the News 4/20/2018

Facebook sure has been in the news lately, but don’t worry, they will weather the storm just fine! In fact, here are three brands still killing it on Facebook. Looking to take a break from Facebook? Well, since Facebook owns the next best platform, Instagram, that is kind of hard to do! We found this great article about how to reshare an Instagram post to your Instagram stories!

In The News – 3/13/18

So you have started to market using Snapchat. Now what? Learn how to use Snapchat Insights. Check out these 7 mobile apps that create quality visual content. Read about how as Millennials age and have children, they are still continuing to travel, and in record numbers.

Facebook Ads Manager, Simplified

For years, Facebook has had two ways to manage ads (both Power Editor and Ads Manager). But now they have finally merged the two platforms! We are so pumped about this update and wanted to share the news with you, so you can be ahead of the game in learning the new system! Last month, Facebook began rolling out this change with a different advertising interface, but more streamlined to make it easier than ever to manage Facebook Ads.

Over the past couple years, the lines have blurred between what you could do in Power Editor and Ads Manager. It seemed like you could do most things in Ads Manager that you were able to do in Power Editor. However, there were still limitations in Ads Manager, which meant you had to switch back and forth between the two platforms to make certain edits. Facebook also kept making changes to the two platforms constantly. As you know, one thing that has made Facebook Ads difficult in the past is that every time you go to create an ad, the platform looks different and harder to navigate.

Hopefully with this new update, those days are over! According to Facebook, “this redesigned interface provides advertisers the tools they need to manage their business on Facebook successfully, no matter how complex, or simple, those needs may be. By combining Ads Manager and Power Editor we are simplifying Facebook’s ad buying ecosystem. This simplification reduces the tools advertisers need to learn and allows us to focus our resources on maintaining and improving a single interface”. You can see the full press release and a detailed overview of all the changes HERE.

Want to really sink your teeth into learning the new Ads Manager? Facebook rolled out their free training and certification program, Blueprint, a few years ago and you can get a “Digital Badge” as a Facebook Certified Planning Professional and a Facebook Certified Buying Professional. To get started on your certification, click HERE.

We hope you are looking forward to a new, simplified way to managing your Facebook Ads! We sure are!

 

Facebook Videos Made Easy

The mere thought of creating and starring in a marketing video can be terrifying! Well, guess what? Times are changing! You no longer have to star in a video to have perfectly curated video clips! Did you know that 85% of Facebook videos are viewed without sound? That’s right – that mean’s there’s no pressure fur us as marketers to stand in front of the camera!  Not only that, but native videos on Facebook have 10 times higher reach compared to YouTube links you might share in your Facebook post! We are going to focus on what YOU CAN DO TODAY to get a native Facebook video planned, created and posted.

The best part is that you don’t even need any video editing software! It’s as simple as choosing some of your photos, sticking some text on them, building the video on Facebook and adding some music to it!

  1. Create a Storyboard: Since this is a quick and easy exercise, we will keep the storyboard creation short and simple. First, you will need to decide what you want to showcase in your video. Then, decide how many images you would like to showcase in your video (you can choose between 3 – 10 images). Then, if you want the graphics to deliver a message, write out what you want each image to say. Remember, all images will be on the screen for the same duration, so keep the text SHORT and impactful. You can choose between 0.5 and 5 seconds per image. Finally, decide what kind of feel you want the video to have (upbeat, chill, funny, country/western, etc.).
  2. Select your Background Music: Based on what kind of feel you want your video to have, now is the time to select your music! Don’t worry, you don’t need a guitar! In December of 2017, Facebook rolled out Sound Collection, which is a collection of royalty free and high-quality audio tracks and sound effects. The only limit here is that these audio files can only be used on Facebook and Instagram. Sound Collection allows you to search and filter songs by genres, moods, lengths, vocal type and sound effects by categories and lengths. Check out the variety of options here.
  3. Add Some Text: Saffire recommends using a simple, free photo editing tool like Canva.com. You can quickly and easily put together stunning graphics with your message on them. Check out Canva’s How-To Guide here.
  4. Create your slideshow in Facebook! Once logged into Facebook, click on “Write a Post” and select the camera icon. From the drop-down menu, click on “Create a Slideshow”. A pop-up window will appear. This is where you can upload your own images, chose your music, image duration and transition options of the slides. When you are happy with your slideshow, you can select “Create Slideshow” in the bottom right corner of the page. In a matter of two minutes, you will have a video slideshow on your page. Ta-da!Facebook also gives you the option to boost the post so that your video slideshow will be seen by even more of your target audience! If you have any other questions about the process you can follow this easy step-by-step guide here.

The Saffire Marketing team wanted to show you just how easy and quick you can create a video, so we put together a slideshow video of our own! We only used Canva and made this in less than an hour. Check it out below!

FBSlideshowVideo

Making an effective social media video does not have to be a daunting task. Facebook’s slideshow video generator is the easiest way to make an eye-catching video that will resonate with your audience!

 

 

In the News – 1/31/2018

Facebook is constantly updating their platform to improve user experience. Find out more about the changing news feed and what marketers need to know. Get familiarized with these 5 email marketing trends to watch in 2018. Find out more about how voice search will change travel marketing faster than we think.