Everyone loves a good party and every advertiser loves a good event. It all sounds great in theory, but it’s the execution that ensures the success of future events. So how does one go about successfully marketing an event online when there are dozens of evites sent out daily? Here are some tips using Time Out New York as an example.
#1: Think About User Behavior Before You Hit Send
As an email marketer, you need to get inside your reader’s head. Fortunately, there is plenty of data to back up open rate metrics, but common sense applies, especially when it comes to food and beer. For example, at 5:41PM today I saw this message in my inbox from Time Out New York:
While I may have dismissed this email earlier in the day, they hit me right where it matters — the stomach! After 5pm, a burger and Amstel Light are two keywords that are more likely to make me salivate. Use this behavioral reasoning when choosing your “send” time. If you’re hosting a networking breakfast event a month from now, send the invitation in the morning when coffee and eggs are on the brain. It’s a simple strategy and it works.
#2: Create An Event Logo and Use It As Primary Branding
You only have a few seconds to make a first impression. A logo quickly brands your event and pops out from a bevy of text. If I read nothing past the first two inches from Time Out New York, I know BATTLE of the BURGER is the event. The logo establishes authenticity, trust, and the event name is memorable, telling you what it is. The imagery is also simple — straight to the stomach. Score another point.
#3: Have One Primary Call-to-Action
Time Out New York is inviting you to “VOTE NOW!” In the copy, they tease with “score your ticket,” so there’s more reasons to click. But the primary call-to-action is in bold red and pushes you to proceed.
#4: Create a Natural Sponsor Tie-in
What goes better with burgers than beer? Amstel Light’s sponsorship doesn’t feel forced or artificial, like having this event sponsored by say Ford, when burgers and cars don’t mix and often make a mess. The email states the event is “Presented by Amstel Light” and as a potential attendee that will only make me happier because it means there will be plenty of BEER!
#5: Make the Landing Page Consistent with the Email
A bad user experience occurs when you click on something and are taken somewhere completely different than expected. This promotion is seamless because the same branding that appeared in the email flowed to the landing page. The page skin is visually stimulating (if you’re hungry), and in the browser tab you’ll see the page is hosted on TimeOut.com/NewYork. They didn’t dupe readers and send them to Amstel Light or a random burger microsite.
#6: Make the Voting Process EASY
If there are too many fields and the user has to click “next page”, they’ll be gone and at Burger King faster than the page loads. Beware of the abandonment rate when posting online voting and/or surveys. You can always reduce the number of questions/fields if the bounce rate is high. In this promotion, Time Out used Survey Monkey, which is easy to implement and FREE if under 10 questions.
They could have made it easier to scan by ordering it alphabetically by restaurant — even though users are voting for “best burger.” What’s interesting is you have to submit your email to vote, but then you will also be receiving emails from Time Out. That’s a flaw! There should be an opt-in box underneath where users have the choice if they want to receive emails.
The positive on the voting element is making the user feel part of the event experience and in-book coverage. They will be contributing to who gets crowned “Best Burger.” (The finalists had already chosen through reader polls.)
#7: Drive Ticket Sales and Attendance
At the top of the landing page is a clear “Click Here to Buy Tickets” with the Time Out New York logo prominently displayed. Again this stresses the trust factor and builds off the reputation of their existing events. The link drives to “Time Out Offers” which is their version of Google Offers.
This makes sense for a property such as Time Out whose platform is promoting local events. This doesn’t make sense for others, so I wouldn’t suggest running an “Offers” program for any brand. But creating a sense of urgency to get tickets is key!
If your event is FREE, you still need to stress the sense of urgency — limited space, limited seats, limited giveaways, etc. People are more likely to show up when they have paid, even if it’s just $5, so perhaps it’s offering a special premium item at your event for $5.
#8: Hold Your Event at a Desirable Location
Battle of the Burger is being held at Hudson Hotel’s new beer garden, Hudson Common. COOL EVENT, HOT SPOT. That’s a one-two killer event punch. Not only do you get all the beer and burgers you can eat for $35, you get access into a venue that everyone (well at least on the West Side) is trying to get into.
Congrats, TimeOut NY and Amstel Light, you made my DigiDay! And yes, I am ordering my tickets right now!!