Tag Archive | "event"

Ask MarketingSherpa: Should I use geo-targeting for event emails?

I’m trying to find the average decrease in conversion when we send an event email to a 30-mile radius around the event, versus something larger like 70 miles. It’s caused some heated disagreements between field and HQ staff. Do you have any research on something like this?
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At Nexus Hardware Event Google Shows Now On Tap & Expanded Voice Actions

Yesterday Google held its Nexus and Android hardware release party. Most of the attention and coverage was focused on the devices introduced: the Nexus 5X and 6P phones, the Pixel C Android tablet and various Chromecast devices. However there was also a discussion or reintroduction of features…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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4 Tips for Producing Great Event Coverage – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by kanejamison

Conferences and trade shows can be sources of wonderful ideas, and covering these events in a way that spreads some of those ideas around is common practice. Not all event coverage is created equal, though, and in today’s Whiteboard Friday, Kane Jamison details four areas you should keep in mind as you spread the wealth of knowledge.

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

4 Tips for Producing Great Event Coverage Whiteboard

Video transcription

Hey, Moz fans. My name is Kane Jamison. I’m the founder of Content Harmony, and today I want to talk to you about four tips for producing really great event coverage. Specifically, I’m thinking of going to trade shows, conferences, those types of events and doing coverage for your company that’s focused on your industry, your clients, or whoever you might be wanting to attract.

1) What type?

The first thing when you get into this that you really need to decide is what type of coverage you are going to focus on. What most people first think of is doing live tweeting or live blogging. Both of those are all right. I have a couple of problems with them. Live tweeting is really short-lived. It’s great. You can build some followers, but unless you put it into Storify and then a blog post or something of that nature, it’s gone. It’s just in your tweet history.

Live blogging has a different problem. It’s there. It’s easy to access, but it’s your notes, and it’s not fun to read other people’s notes. Unless you are really good at encapsulating what the speaker is saying and putting it into a narrative as you’re typing, which most people are not, then it’s just going to look like a bunch of bullet points and somebody’s notes. I don’t really enjoy reading those a lot of the time. I have done them both in the past and come across these problems.

2) Prepare everything!

The next stage that a lot of people will think of is what I would call a value-added recap. This is after the event, you go back and you write a narrative of what the themes were for the event that you were at, where your industry is trending, and you recap some highlights from individual speakers. This works really great. But usually after three days at a conference, I’m really lazy. I want to catch up on sleep that I’ve missed. I don’t want to spend time writing 2,000 words about what happened at a conference that I just attended and putting all of my notes into a blog post. These can work out great. I’d refer you to Matt Gratt’s, from BuzzStream, 2013 MozCon Recap. That’s a favorite of mine for somebody who did a good job of pulling a lot themes together on an event recap.

What I prefer doing, and what we’ve done for MozCon at Content Harmony the last two years, is what I’d call live visuals or a visual recap. Live visuals, I mean Twitter images that are coming out on Twitter almost live with what the speaker is saying. A visual recap, another method we’ve used is putting quotes and speaker highlights into a SlideShare deck for each day of the event, so that users can look at those slides, paw through them, and see the event highlights in a visual format rather than trying to read a long form blog post. That’s my favorite and what I’m really going to focus on today.

There’s another fourth format that I have less experience with, but want to highlight, because if you have the manpower to tackle it, it’s another great way to produce some visibility for you and your company, and that’s just broader event coverage. A great example of this would be going to an event and filming Q&A and interview sessions with event attendees and maybe speakers as well. You might be talking with the speakers about what they are talking about on stage and kind of continuing it off the stage in a more casual format. You could just be asking people about their take on the speakers. Really, you’re doing coverage that’s less focused on what’s being said on stage and more focused on who is there and what they think about everything. That’s great, and it’s a good way to meet people you want to talk to at the event as well.

As you’re getting into something along the lines of live visuals or a visual recap post, you want to do your best to prepare everything that you can in advance. Specifically, you want to prepare everything except for what the speakers will actually say on stage. Anything that can be known in advance, you want to have that done, so that when you get there the first day, you can sit down, start typing notes into whatever your medium is and hit “Publish.” You don’t have to worry about formatting and all these other little quirks that come along with content assembly and creation.

The first thing, especially if you’re going to be doing anything visual, is to have all of your graphics prepared in advance. For our coverage for MozCon 2014, we did live Twitter images. We had all of our Twitter images, everything except for the actual quote from the speaker, prepared in advance the week prior that we worked on with our graphic designer.

If you don’t have a graphic designer, that’s great. That’s okay. There are easy ways to get around that without having a lot of design skills. My favorite is to just open up PowerPoint, use a nice looking color and big white or black font for your titles. Just type whatever you want into the slide. Right click on it, click “Save as Picture,” and you can save that slide as a 4×3 JPEG, which works great for Facebook and Twitter, without having to pull some graphic designer in to help you. So it makes it really easy to produce nice looking visual coverage on the spot, save it, publish it, and you’re good.

The next thing you want to do is pre-build your post. We like to host everything on one URL that people can tweet and share and come back to after the event. If you’re doing this in WordPress or whatever blog, CMS, you want to pre-build everything that you can. For MozCon, what we’ve done is we’ll have an introductory text about what it is. We’ll have our image in the top right. We will have H2s down the page, marked up for the titles for every speaker name, their session title, and we’ll have jump links created like you would see in a table of contents on Wikipedia. Somebody can go to the post, click on the speaker name, and they will go right down to whatever the notes or highlights are for that speaker.

We can build all of this the week in advance. We know what the speakers’ names are. We know when they are going to be talking. We usually know the name of their session or what they’re presenting on. All of this can be built out before we ever get in to the city or town where the event is actually happening. Getting all that done makes it a lot easier to sit down, start taking notes, and really do what matters, which is recording what the speakers are talking about.

The third thing you want to have handy while you’re working is what I’d call a notes clipboard. This is just a quick, one-page text document that has all of the hashtags that you’re going to use, all the URLs, like the short Bitly links to the posts that you’re writing, and then finally micro-copy, so maybe 40 or 50 character type little bits that you will keep copying or pasting into Twitter or wherever else that you are sharing content. You know you’re going to use this throughout the day.

The example for our recent MozCon coverage would be “See more MozCon coverage at” and then the short link to our post. MozCon was already a hashtag, so I know that it’s going to be seen in that feed. Everything is all pre-built. All I have to do is around a hundred characters of custom content, add the photo, paste in our little suffix to the tweet, hit “Publish,” and I’m good to go. I can move on to the next one. Having all of this prepped makes things a lot easier when you’re actually there and live.

3) Buddy system (or automation if you don’t have buddies with you)

The third thing you want to think about is how exactly you’re going to take notes and record everything across a few days of speakers talking. The best way to do this to use a buddy system. Have one person that’s taking notes, recording everything that’s going on, taking down URLs, taking down quotes and tools mentioned by speakers, and have an opened, shared Google doc between the two of you so they can be taking notes in a bullet, and you can be taking those notes and publishing them either to the blog or to Twitter or wherever you might be doing the event coverage.

The backup option, if you don’t have the buddy system, or even if you do and you want more comprehensive notes, is to automate the process. Zapier is a great tool, very similar to If This Then That, which most of you are familiar with from past MozCon content. Zapier allows you to take tweets for a specific hashtag and push them to a Google doc. Every time there is a new tweet, it will push it into a new row of a spreadsheet, and you’ve got full, live, automated robot notes coming through Twitter. If you miss a link that’s shared, if you miss a quote, you can capture that from somebody else. If you do this, I highly recommend thanking the people on Twitter that helped you push through those notes, mentioning them in your posts.

The final thing, regardless of whether you’ve got a buddy or whether you’re automating the process, is to just grab the speaker slides while they’re talking. It’s kind of cheating, but as long as you don’t get ahead of yourself, it’s a really easy way to rely on what the speaker’s putting out in their slides. Whether they’ve tweeted a SlideShare link or mentioned a Bitly link on stage or whether the event has actually published a link to it, you can grab these, follow along while they’re talking.

If you do this, you have to be careful not to get ahead of yourself and just start copying things from slides. You’ll be sitting there. It’ll seem easy to do so because it’s right there and it’s easy for you to get ahead. The problem with this and the danger is that you’ll miss the context of what the speaker is actually saying. If you start putting out notes that are based off of the slides and not based off of the speaker and what they’re actually saying, that’s the fast track for danger and getting called out by somebody for publishing something that the speaker didn’t intend, from what their slides may look like they meant to say. So be careful with that. Don’t abuse it. But it’s a great way to get backup notes while you’re trying to take live quotes and coverage.

4) Optimize for the medium

The fourth and final thing that you need to focus on is optimizing for the medium. Specifically, the example I want to use is Twitter images, since that was our most recent focus. In advance, you want to create some kind of personal or fake Twitter account that you can do some testing on. You want to make sure that visuals are sized exactly the way they should be. After a lot of testing with our graphic designer and reading blog posts about ideal Twitter sizing, what we settled on, for MozCon 2014, was 880 pixels wide by 660 pixels tall, a 4×3 ratio, and an image that would scale down nicely on Twitter and look good.

What we did with that is create a header and footer that had information on MozCon and information about the speaker title and a URL to go find more information. In the center, we had the actual quote from the speaker, the speaker photo, and name. The reason we did this is from these cut lines you see, in feed when somebody is scanning through a hashtag or their own feed, they will see a smaller, cutoff version of the image that is more like a two to one ratio of width to height. We designed it in a way where they would see a nice slight border on the top and bottom of the image. The only thing they would see in their feed is the speaker, name, photo, and the actual quote from the speaker. The real substance, we’re not forcing the MozCon imagery or our own logo and links on them each time they’re looking through their feed. They’re only seeing new stuff, even if they’re seeing a lot of these images.

If they do click on the tweet or if somebody links them to the actual tweet URL, they’ll see the full header and footer. They’ll know where it came from. They’ll know what the event was, and they’ll know where they can find more similar images.

Another nice part about 880×660 for us was that this image size worked well on LinkedIn. It worked well on Facebook. So we could reuse the same image on other mediums as we were going as well.

The other part about other mediums is even if you’re focusing on one, like Twitter, you need to optimize your actual posts across a number of mediums. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest all have their own graph metadata that goes into a post. You need to make sure, before the event even starts, that all of this is perfectly optimized in your CMS and that when you share this on different social networks, it’s going to look great. People are going to want to share this content for you, and you want to break down all the barriers that are in their way to doing so. Make sure that all the descriptions look nice, titles aren’t cut off, images are properly sized for each social network, and you’ll have a lot better time getting coverage from industry peers and people that want to share that content.

Thanks for your time. I’d love to hear more feedback on what you think could improve a live event coverage and other tips and ideas in the comments, and have a good one Moz fans.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Facebook rolls out Event Ads. Are you going?

Facebook eventsDo you use Facebook Events to promote your business? Facebook says 30% of all events on the site were created by Pages (ie businesses) but that’s not a lot.

I’d guess that the majority of events are party invitations between friends and family. The Event tool is an easy way to pass around all the information a person would need to attend – time, date, address and a map. You can use it to collect RSVPs and answer questions. It’s a handy tool because almost everyone you know is on Facebook. . . right.

It’s a little different on the business end. I wouldn’t expect people to RSVP for a summer sale but it’s still an event. Book launch, webinar, workshop – if it’s happening on a specific date, it’s an event. When someone clicks on it, that event goes into their calendar and they get a reminder. If a person RSVP’s, that notification shows up in their timeline so their friends can see it and RSVP, too.

Now, there’s another good reason to use Facebook Events – you can turn an Event into an ad.

You can create the ad the same way you create ads out of posts, using the Ad Create tool or Power Editor. The ad will show up on both the desktop and mobile timelines of your target audience and these ads look nice.

The large date in the corner really makes it stand out from all the other posts. And because it’s dated, there’s a real sense of urgency.

Facebook is also adding insights to every Event page whether you turn it into an ad or not. (I think, they’re not really clear on this point.)

If you’re a Page admin, you’ll see a collection of small graphs in the Event Page sidebar. This is:

  • The number of people who’ve seen a link to the event on Facebook
  • The number of people who’ve viewed the event
  • The number of joins, saves and maybes the event has received

If you run a lot of events – or plan to in the future – make sure the Event tab is showing under the header. If you don’t see it, click the More option and rearrange the apps.

Facebook also updated the Events page on the profile side. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this page before so I don’t know how much of this is new but it’s nice.

Event Profile PageThe top box has tabs so you can see upcoming events, even saved events that you’re thinking about. Below and to the right are suggestions based on your profile and local, upcoming events. Turns out my local park is having a special Bats of Orange County workshop tomorrow. Who knew? I want to go. One click and it’s on my list.

Facebook Events for Business: today, it’s a good thing.

 

 

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Local Event Marketing: Earn Links, Build Citations, Get Reviews, Increase Foot Traffic, and Win at Local SEO

Posted by Casey_Meraz

The recent Google Pigeon update that affected local search was just another example of why marketer’s should never put all of their eggs in one basket. 

Online marketing has been rapidly evolving over the years and a major paradigm shift has happened which has caused marketers to stop building links and start thinking of how to earn them. In this blog post I am going to cover an actionable strategy that any business can use to build citations, earn links, get positive reviews, and increase foot traffic to your brick and mortar location via event marketing.

One of my favorite hobbies is actually hosting and running events. Over the years I have run, marketed, or participated in everything from March of Dimes Volunteer Events, Adventure Sporting Events, all the way to marketing promotions for specialty retail stores.

Hosting events is a great way to increase your offline visibility as well as earn a ton of links, possible news mentions, and build citations. The citations will help your local SEO campaigns by getting listed on locally relevant websites., the links will help your organic rankings increase through earning high quality links, and foot traffic and exposure to your place of business will be great for your business.

Typically when people think of event marketing they get the false impression that only brick and mortar stores can participate in events. While it’s true that this post is geared towards the local SEO benefits of hosting an event at your physical location , there are plenty of other benefits even if you don’t have a Google My Business listing.

Many people make the mistake of coming up with a good event idea in their head, posting it on their blog, and then sit back and hope the entire community will come and support it. That is a mistake. This takes a lot of thoughtful good work, but it can pay off tremendously. At the same time you need to decide up front how crazy you want get you’re your event and it’s marketing reach. If it’s going to be a small event with just a few participants you won’t need to do everything in this guide. Pick and choose what’s right for your marketing goals and expectations. Remember that you’re going to get as much out of this as you put into it. So don’t take shortcuts and do this the right way.

I think Kane Jamison said it best in 
his post about Link Building with Local Events:

The overwhelming majority of the value from hosting events comes from the event itself, so don’t get lost in the link building aspects of the strategy. You should be hosting events because that’s the type of sh*t real businesses do.”
- Kane Jamison

What are the tangible benefits of event marketing for local SEO?


Benefit #1: You can easily build citations

Getting your business Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) on a high quality locally relevant site can be a big deal as it shows the search engines your business is locally relevant. Many cities have town websites and community websites where they post local events. All you have to do is find these and submit to them. If the event is hosted at your location your NAP will be posted on a bunch of locally relevant sites. I will talk more about this later in the post.


Benefit #2: You can easily build links

Everyone is always talking about link earning which events will help you with. However this is also a legitimate way to build some links where appropriate. If you list your event on a website that posts information about local events you can link back to your event detail page. 


Benefit #3: News mentions and brand exposure

OK now I can talk about link earning. If you follow my rule and are actually creating an event that
people will want to go to or helps the community in some way, you can reach out to the local news and see if they’re interested in covering the event. They may post it or in some cases they may send down a news crew to cover the event. When I see events that support causes I’m passionate about, I always promote them on my own channels and link to the web page where potential visitors can learn more. 


Benefit #4: Get foot traffic and sales

If you’re a brick and mortar location the foot traffic for you and the surrounding businesses can be a huge opportunity to increase your exposure and sales. Make sure you have a plan in place to deal with this accordingly. 


Benefit #5: Get Reviews

If people are happy with you’re your event they might just give you a positive review. We have personally found this to work really well after hosting a free Meetup training class. Remember though, some services like Yelp don’t want you to ask for reviews so make sure to honor that as well.


Benefit #6: Get Social

The social benefits of events with any amount of users can be huge. Event attendees might take photos, use your event hashtag, check in, or just plain promote your event just because they like it. 


Selecting your type of event

First we need to start off with an idea or a group of ideas for an event. While it’s cool to get excited and pumped up with the idea you need to make sure that the event is put together with proper planning and execution. It must serve a purpose that will actually attract potential customers to your location or the area where you’re presenting at.

  • Grand openings: This is self explanatory. Hosting a grand opening for your business is always a great way to increase your visibility. You can do this even after you have been open for a couple of months.
  • Themed seasonal parties: One of my clients has a Summer Kick Off Party outside of their brick and mortar store every year at the start of summer. They offer games, events, food, raffles, as well as offer a big sale to attract new customers. 
  • Classes: Educational Classes and Meetup’s are a great way to get people to come to your location. By providing free education about your niche or craft you can attract plenty of attendees. We use meetup.com for our training classes
  • Special sale: Many companies have sales. Make it a bit more special by adding to it. You can provide raffles, free food, or something else to attract your customers. Think about major holidays for sales as well including Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • Fundraiser: Partner with a cause you’re passionate about and do a fundraiser on that day. More on this later
  • New product promotion: If you have a new product to release you can schedule a promotional event around this. 
  • Fairs and other similar events: Even if you have a booth at another larger event like a county fair or business expo, you can appeal to your clients directly by hosting a sub event within the event. Typically having a freebie, special discount at a certain time, or other really attractive benefit you can make this work pretty easily.
  • Event theme parties: If you work in the hospitality industry it gets a bit easier to host events. You can have themed parties for traditional events like a major sporting event or smaller events such as an Oscars viewing party at your establishment. Segment these event types to your customer base and what might work best. 
  • Raffles and giveaways: Sometimes I use this as a sub event within a bigger event to keep people more engaged and sticking around all day. Whether its one big prize or smaller prizes every hour, it’s easy to get some people to stick around with the right raffle.
  • Host a guest lecture: Having a prominent speaker cover a specific topic is a good way to get noticed for your event. 
  • Networking events: Don’t have an idea yet? Networking can be key to any small businesses success. You can start a business networking or referral event at your office. Meet weekly, monthly, or whenever is feasible to you but built it up over time and host it at your location.
  • Promote a community cause: Maybe your community has a lot of trash on the road that needs to be cleaned. If you believe in that cause you can sponsor and run the cause. It’s easy to coordinate these types of events and promote it within the community. The meeting place can be at your establishment. 
  • Host a 5K: Work with your town and community and have the start/ ending of a 5K race or fundraiser start or end at your location. Major sporting events require a lot more preparation though so I suggest only doing this if you partner with an expert. Safety needs to be your top priority. You wouldn’t want a news mention for something bad that was due to an oversight on your side of the event.
  • Toy drives / food drives: If you don’t have the time to plan and host a large event you can start with a food or toy drive. Just find an idea you’r passionate about and how you can serve the community. Making your establishment a promoted drop off point for your cause is a great way to give back. 
  • Host a Google hangout: Sure this is not an event that will help you with getting citations. However if your goal is getting more exposure, increasing your reputation, and getting links you can still use a lot of the information in this guide. 

Now that you have the idea, let’s get ready to promote the event

Preparation is essential to the success of your event. To have a successful event you will need adequate time to market your event to your audience. Schedule the event at least 30 days out if possible. Major events are typically scheduled a year in advance, for example I can already buy tickets for the 
2015 MozCon.

After you have done the basics such as decided on your event type, secured the venue, and scheduled the dates, it’s time to start thinking about marketing the event and spreading the word. Here are a  few tips to remember before we get started:

  • Remember the local SEO benefits
    Remember if you want to take advantage of the Local SEO benefit of building citations, it’s important to host the event at your business location. You will promote your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number as the event venue on many outside websites.
  • Consider creating an event #hashtag
    While most major events have figured this out most smaller events forget this crucial step. If your event is social in anyway and people will be sharing photos, checking in, or inviting friends creating a proper Hashtag can help your event succeed further. Pro Tip: Add this #hashtag to all event marketing promotions online and offline (with signage and banners). People may use Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook and tag your event.
  • Think about ticketing in advance
    Most of the event ideas above don’t require ticket purchases or registrations. However if you want to do that I always suggest using a service like 
    EventbriteTicketbud, or Brown Paper Tickets. Ticketing can help keep the numbers in check for your event. Eventbrite for example will allow you to create free tickets or paid tickets. It’s also a place you can put your NAP and get a link. Services like this also allow easy website integration for ticket purchases. Research what’s easiest for YOU to use and provides the best customer experience for your need. 
  • Should you allow event sponsors?
    This is a question you should address up front. Sponsors can have a lot of benefits, especially if you sell tangible goods. If you’re having a raffle for example they may send you free product to raffle off. Maybe they will just send you small branded widgets. People love free stuff. All you have to do is ask. Additionally they can help be powerhouse partners when it comes to marketing. Be sure to inform them anytime you run a promotion so they can help push it out to their audiences. 

On-page optimization for the event

One decision you need to make is where the users can find all of the information about your event. Typically you will always want to do this on your website. Even if you use a third party ticketing service like Eventbrite, you can still embed that code onto your website to make the registrations happen there. Having a central point of information where users can find every detail is essential. Plus keeping it on our website will ensure all of the links and signals you build will linked back to your website.

When we explore on-page optimization the main optimization I’m talking about is user experience. We want to make this easy for the user to find every detail they need in an easy to use format. 

Essential Details on your page

Here are some of the most important basic details that you must include on your event page:

  • Event name: Come up with a unique name for your event. This will help you stand out from everyone else out there. It should also be descriptive of the event. If you’re hosting a Beer Festival it would be wise to mention that in the event name. 
  • Date and time: This needs to have prominent placement on your event page. Without these essential details it’s going to be difficult to get people to show up on-time. 
  • Location (NAP!): This is where the Local SEO Benefit starts. Ensure that your company name, address, and phone number are listed as the location site. This information should match your Google Local My Business Listing. Add photos of the venue as well for easy identification. 
  • About the event: Include a short write up in a prominent location about what the event is about and it’s purpose. You can go into more detail later but be concise on the first blurb of text. 
  • Schedule: Having a schedule of events is helpful for some events and their attendees. 
  • Photos and video: If you have hosted the event before be sure to include photos and videos if possible of the past events. 
  • Ticket status: If the tickets are limited include the ticket purchase cut off date, whether they can be purchased at the event, and how many  are remaining. 
  • Contact information: Nothing is more frustrating for event attendees than not being able to find an answer and also not knowing who to contact to get the answer. 

When thinking about the user experience design and UI must also be a factor. You want to provide as much information as possible about the event so all questions are answered, however you will likely need to split these up into separate pages if your event is a bigger event. The more information you can provide in an easy to view manner, the more successful your event will be and the less questions you’ll have to respond to. 

Successful event pages typically contain much more information, including:

  • Driving directions: Having driving directions with an embedded Google Map is a great way to go. Also provide several other directions from major intersections to make it easy for people visiting from major metropolitan areas. 
  • Lodging and transportation information: If it’s a multi-day event it’s a good idea to list local hotels and airport transfer options. you can partner with hotels or transportation companies. 
    Pro Tip: Partner with Hotels and transportation companies and you can get links and NAP listed on their website too!
  • FAQ page(s): If you’ve hosted an event before you already have the perfect resource. Go back to every email you responded to answering a question from the last event and turn it into content for your FAQ page. In addition to this you can interview past event attendees and try to get their real feedback via a survey. Ask questions pertaining to the registration experience (if required) or how easy it was to find the proper information.
  • Press pages: If the event is big enough, add a press page where the media can easily reach you with questions. Include benefits like free entry details on this page. 
  • Sponsors: If you have event sponsors such as manufacturers with bigger names be sure to include them prominently. 
  • Special requirements: Do you have to be above a certain age to attend this event? If so make sure to display this and any other essential details prominently. 

Technical on-page optimization

Technical optimization for event marketing is easy because it’s
All About The User Experience. What do I mean by this? Let’s consider the ways your visitor will find this event. They will either click on one of your links through your direct marketing campaigns or find your through search. 

I’m a big fan of Beer. In fact if you’re in Denver and don’t have a beer with me I will be very sad. But I digress. I did a quick search on Google for “Beer Festival” my intent is to find a beer festival to attend in the near future. If I want to increase my click through rates in search I should cater to these people. 

In the below example we see two examples. The first one is the Great American Beer Festival. Notice their concise yet very effective title tag that contains the event Name, Location, and Date.  Now look at the bad example that hurts my eyes to look at. The Meta Description comes up in all Caps and the page title does not contain enough details. If your search behavior is like mine you might not even want to click on that result. 

So as far as on-site technical optimization goes I would limit it to this:

  • Meta title: Include the event name, Location, and Dates
  • Meta description: Think about your audience and include enough information that will cater to them and entice them to click through. Of course Google decides what to show here but doing this can help you get some clicks. 
  • URL: Consider whether or not this even is going to be a yearly event or not. Many events that repeat the event annually just create a single page on their website without the year in the URL. An example would be http://www.MyWebsite.com/my-event-name

    Since you will be promoting this event and page details across the web you may want to retain the link juice for next years event. You can do this through a 301 redirect or just keep your annual event page an evergreen page that just updates with the new information yearly. 

Good event pages vs. bad event pages

Now, let’s take a quick look at some examples of good and bad event pages.


Example 1: Great American Beer Festival

This is the about page on their site. Since there whole business model is event hosting and not a supplement to another business we will just be looking at the layout of their information. Assume for example that this was the event landing page for your event. Although it’s a bit busy you will see that the Location, Date, Travel Information, Ticket Information, and FAQ are all readily visible above the fold. 

I think it’s an effective way of presenting the information. 


Example 2: The Schlitt Law Firm

Although I work with a lot of attorneys, this is not one of my clients; I found this doing a Google Search. This law firm was offering a Toy Drop Off at their law firm. They released this page in 2012. In my opinion this is not an effective page. This was written as more of a press release and doesn’t really contain a lot of information above the fold. Plus it’s kind of hard to read with so much text and not a lot of pictures. 

I think this would be more effective with the drop off location, a map, and other pertinent event details listed above the fold. 


Example 3: Steel City Ruby (simple yet effective)

Don’t get discouraged with the examples above. You can easily present the information in a simple way on your website. I found this example online and although I don’t care for the colors I found it very simple and effective. This page has the business name at the top, the date information, ticket information, ages, venue details, and a blurb about who is going all above the fold. While it could use some visual improvements like a picture it’s easy to get the basic details about the event from this page. 

How to market your event and get the word out
(and get foot traffic, links, likes, citations, and mentions)

Now that you have put in the important but necessary leg work it’s essential that your market your event right. Like any marketing efforts outreach targeted to your segmented customers will be the most effective. If you have a CRM where you have been tracking customer information you can use this to help promote your event. 

Realistically each of these topics deserves their own article too but for simplicity I have broken it down to the main tactical subjects you can tackle. If you want to track these results more granular through Google Analytics be sure to implement UTM Tracking Codes everywhere you submit a URL. If you’re using ticketing you can setup goals as well and track which sources contributed to the most ticket sales. Alternatively you can always see which sources are referring the most traffic. 

The goal using any of these methods below is to get them to your event page and convert if necessary


Method #1: Start by posting your event everywhere you can

Top Benefit: Foot Traffic to your event, Citations, and a Links

One of the most effective things you can do is post your event in front of people searching for events. Plus you get the potential foot traffic, exposure, link and citation benefits as well. 

Below are 10 sites US based events can submit to right away regardless of your geographic location. Make sure to add your NAP and Link back to your event page.

  1. Craigslist Events: Craigslist has an events section where you can post details about your event. 
  2. Eventbrite.com: As I mentioned above Eventbrite is good for ticketing, but it’s also good to promote your event. It also feeds to a lot of different news sites so it acts as a strong distribution point as well. 
  3. Facebook Events: You will want to promote your event socially as well. There are a lot of ways to do this but let’s start by getting it added. Post this under the company’s Facebook page and not your personal event page. 
  4. Meetup.com: Meetup requires an annual subscription fee but it’s a great way to get your event in front of a lot of people. You can also partner with an existing Meetup group for your event and have them promote it on their page. Seek out partners with similar interests in non competing niches and get in front of their audiences. You can also sponsor them :)
  5. Eventful.com: Eventful is another event posting website. You can add your venue to the Eventful database for all future events as well. 
  6. Spingo.com: I have never used this site before but I found it doing a quick search so it’s another option to post your site. 
  7. EventsNearHere.com: Like Spingo, I have never used this, but it appears it has easy-to-use free event submission. 
  8. Events.org: Another good site to submit your event to. 
  9. Zvents.com: Another national directory for events that you can submit to.

Find region and niche specific places to post your event
When finding locations to post your event two I suggest breaking them into two categories. The first category will be websites that serve to residents in your community like local newspaper websites, event websites, etc. The second category is niche related sites that would post your event based on the topic. These can be easily found using Google. Simply try some search strings like these:

  • Submit your event
  • Add your event
  • List Your Event

If you’re looking for locally relevant directories make sure to add the city and state name in the search. If you want more niche related sites add a keyword to the front of the search as well. 

Check out this example below where I found a site I can submit my Beer event too. This will help get your event in front of an audience that is
ALREADY INTERESTED in what you’re offering. Think of the foot traffic and social benefits you can get from this. 

To get a full list and more relevant event marketing details check out 
Kane Jamisons post here. He did an excellent job covering a lot of the different search strings you can try out to find these sites. You should spent a lot of time here curating your list of sites and saving them for future use. This is a goldmine that is typically untapped


Method #2: Talk to local news outlets

Top Benefit: Foot Traffic to your event, Citations, and a Links

You never know unless you ask right? If the event is big enough you can offer a VIP perk for journalists willing to cover the event. Pitch the idea to the local news outlets. Forbes has this article 
13 Do’s And Don’ts When Pitching To The Media. Although it’s geared more towards non event pitches there are some good takeaways. 

Personally I have had success in the past reaching out to my local news stations to get video coverage and local newspapers to get written coverage. Don’t limit yourself to just the major newspaper and consider the local community papers. In many cases you can get pre-event exposure and post event exposure. 

Maybe you could serve ads targeted to Journalists on LinkedIn on Facebook promoting the VIP area of your event as well that’s open to journalists. 


Method #3: Send an email newsletter

Top Benefit: Reach a wider audience and increase the number of attendees

If you already have an email subscriber list you need to make sure that you invite them to your event. If your lists are already segmented by customer type I suggest drafting an email geared towards each of these segments to promote the event. Appeal to that target audience. If you don’t have this list you could create an initial customer segment of “Top Customers” and send a special message to them with a coupon, etc.

Make people feel special and ensure there is a reason for them to want to come to your event. Don’t spam people that aren’t signed up on your list already.


Method #4: Create a marketing video

Top Benefit: Citations, Free Links to your Event Page

Create a short video to promote your event. Include pictures of your events and all of the pertinent event details that you included on your event page. 

You can then submit this to YouTube, Vimeo, Etc. where you can include your NAP and link to your event website in your description. If you mention it in audibly in the video then you can also use it in your transcription. While you’re at it, Geo Tag the video in YouTube to your business location. 

Here are some of the benefits of this method:

  • Add your NAP to your video description
  • Add a link to your video description to your event page where people can learn more details
  • Promote your video to your subscribers
  • Segment an audience and serve them YouTube video ads with a small budget

Method #5: Take advantage of your Yext featured message (if applicable)

Top Benefit: More Attendees and Links to your Event Page

If you use Yext and have an active Powerlistings subscription you can update your featured message in your account. This will allow you to promote the event on these local directories and include a URL to your event page. It can be a quick win especially if you already focus on barnacle SEO and have your directory listings ranking for your top keywords.

Since this will display on your local citation profiles you might get some additional visibility. 


Method #6: Serve ads to similar event attendees and after the event

Top Benefit: Get More Attendees, Get Reviews after the Event, Increase Social Exposure

I owe credit for this one to my buddy Ben Wynkoop for figuring this one out. Remember how I mentioned that your event should have a Hashtag? Well, Ben wrote a blog post that featured 10 takeaways from Wil Reynolds’ presentation at the SEM San Diego May event, where he spoke on the growing role of PR in SEO. That particular event used the hashtag #SEMSD. After the event was over he spent $ 18.42 serving ad’s to everyone who tweeted (AKA Attended the event) showing a picture, the blog post title and link to the actual post.

You can use this same method to your benefit. This is how.

  1. Find a list of similar events in your area that use an official hashtag
  2. Develop an Ad on a topic of interest to attendees.
  3. Use Twitter Ad’s and target it to everyone who tagged the event by targeting the official event hashtag as an exact match keyword
  4. Spend little $ $ $ $ and get a possible huge ROI

Method #7: Consider SMS push notifications

Top Benefit: Foot Traffic to your event

Depending on your customer base and whether or not it’s OK you can consider sending out SMS push notifications. Proceed with caution on this and make sure that your clients are OK with it. If so you can send out a blast to tell them about the event and then one more on the day of the event to remind them to stop by. 


Method #8: Partner with local organizations like your chamber of commerce

Top Benefit: Foot Traffic to your event, Citation, and a Link

Inform your local chamber of commerce about the event and other potential supporting organizations. They, like the event websites may be willing to post your information on their website and possibly send out an email newsletter to their member base as well. The more exposure the better. 


Method #9: Have your sponsors promote your event

Top Benefit: Foot Traffic to your event, Citations, and a Links

If you are allowing event sponsors for your event to offset costs or get raffle prizes, they will likely want to promote the event too. Ask for a blog post on their website, a banner ad, or social media mentions on their channels to get in front of their audiences. We will talk more about this in the social examples below. 


Now lets step up the social game


Ideally you’re already active on Social Media groups and forums that are relevant to your industry or niche. However if you’re not, now is a good time to start. But first let’s look at some
Do’s and Dont’s


Things you should do

  • Use Followerwonk to identify and follow the influencers. Reach out to them and build relationships. 
  • Only participate in groups that you are already active in. Somewhere where you are not just being self serving. 
  • Share it with your audiences on all of your platforms
  • Answer questions that people ask.
  • Respond to other question and comments. Be productive and pro-active. Offer to help people. 
  • Ask others to share it if they find it useful. Don’t sound desperate though. 


Things you should not do

  • Don’t go join a bunch of relevant social groups and post the same message trying to shamelessly promote your event. This is spam.
  • Don’t Spam forums
  • Don’t just promote self serving messages selling your product or promoting your brand.

Think long and hard about defining and segmenting your audience

Many people make the mistake of taking the shotgun approach to marketing where they just try to get their message to everybody possible. They try to serve everyone instead of focusing on their niche (I call this the Walmart approach). Let’s setup a hypothetical situation. Let’s say you’re a niche airsoft retail store and you’re hosting a training event for people who want join an airsoft team. Would it make more sense to share this message about your event with a Cross Fit group or a smaller local airsoft group? Even though the airsoft group might have less members the message will be really targeted. It’s likely that would get more interaction from this group of target customers.

If you haven’t already identified these types of groups it’s important that you take the time to do the research. Once you have identified these groups you need to start participating them in a non self serving way. Think about the community and long term results. This will allow you to put together a plan that you can eventually also use to help promote your event. Once you’re in, you will likely have brand advocates that will promote your events for you for free. 

Where can you find these groups?

Google Plus Communities 

According to Google with communities you can “Talk about the stuff you’re into with people who love it too”. So how do you go about this?

  1. Visit Google Communities while logged into your Google account
  2. Search for communities using keywords relevant to your industry or where fans might hang out
  3. Review the number of members in the group, see how active they are, and decide whether or not to join. Some groups require admin approval before joining.
  4. Once you’re a member introduce yourself and try to participate. Be helpful and don’t troll. Answer peoples questions and provide your feedback to others. Be proactive and develop a strong reputation. 
  5. Don’t be afraid to post non self serving messages.


Facebook Pages
If your customers are on Facebook then it’s going to be a good place for you to be. Since Facebook allows Hashtags it’s important to tag all event related posts with your hashtag. By now you should have already created your Facebook Event Page through the company’s Facebook page. Once this is done here are some things you can do to promote it.

  1. If you have a budget you can use the Boost Post option and target the Facebook Ad’s to your direct target audience. If you’re not familiar with Facebook Ad’s read this. The targeting options are down right creepy but super useful when your audience is well defined. 
  2. Include this link in any event submissions as well if your event is more social. Consider adding a widget on your website where people can see which of their friends are attending and easily share and join this. 

Twitter
If you already have an active Twitter presence you can use it promote your event. Make sure that any event related tweets contain your event hashtag in them. When your event comes people may tweet using the hashtag about your event if it’s posted publicly. To get more publicity always ask others to share it. Event tweets can range from a variety of topics and you should mix it up. You can use it for small announcements to introduce new event details, new speakers, new sponsors, or answer questions that you’re getting a lot of. 

Instagram
If you’re not active on Instagram you may want to consider it. Simply posting a picture of something cool with your event Hashtag along with other relevant Hashtags is just another way to get in front of your audience. If you have the time and resources, don’t miss out and invest some resources into this. 

During and after the event

During the event you probably have enough to worry about. However don’t be shy and during any public announcements make sure to remind people to Check In, Take Photos, Use the Hashtag and get the word out. Some review websites allow you to solicit them but others like Yelp are very clear on this policy. They say “Don’t Ask For Reviews”. If you’re trying to get Yelp Reviews of your business from your event the best thing you can do is post public signs with Yelp’s logo at your event.

There are also some offline things you can do at the event that can help you increase your reach for future events. Make sure to sign people up for a mailing list if they’re willing. If you can get there permission to email them you can create a list of event attendees and market directly to them. This will come in handy after the event as you can email them and ask them how they liked the event. 

At my company we host monthly Meetup events. Below is a real world example of how we can actively get reviews just by hosting an event. 

How can you get these reviews?

It’s simple, really. Do you remember the email addresses you collected? We are going to use these emails to find out how attendees liked the event. Many customers like giving feedback and they’re just looking for an outlet to share their opinion. There is a way to allow everyone to give their feedback and guide them where you want them. For this I suggest you sign up for Get Five Stars from Mike Blumenthal. This service makes it easy to contact customers and attendees and guide them where you want them. For example, people that have a complaint can be guided to send their feedback directly to you (instead of venting online) and if they’re happy it provides a place where they can leave a positive review on your Yelp, G+, etc.. You can also learn what you need to improve from the feedback you get from customers.

In closing

Obviously there were many specific topics I tried to cover in this post that I can elaborate greatly on. I hope to publish supplemental updates on more of the complex ideas here soon. In the mean time I hope this gets you started and provided enough creative energy for you to come up with a plan to market your ultimate event. If you found this useful please 
Follow Me @CaseyMeraz on Twitter or buy me a beer when you meet me in person :)

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Event Marketing: 3 tips to set your speakers up for success

Planning content for your events can seem a little daunting given all the factors involved. However, the show must go on. Read this MarketingSherpa Blog post to learn three tips to help you set up speakers for success at live events.
MarketingSherpa Blog

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How to Simplify Your Complex Event Programs Using Marketing Automation

This post comes from our Marketing Automation channel sponsor Marketo.

image1marketo
The night our team put the final touches on our 2013 Marketing Nation JumpStart Tour program, I had a dream that I gardened with tokens. I put tokens all over in my barren backyard, and updated them once with a beautiful pink flower – and suddenly my backyard was covered in flowers. Imagine planting a flower only once and seeing it everywhere – if only it were as easy for gardens as it is in our marketing programs!

So, What is a Token Anyways?

A token is a variable in your marketing automation platform–a shortcut to a specific value you want to use. They can be set at the program level, the campaign level, the lead level. They save time and help you populate your content with personalized info.

Program tokens are set at the program level, and can be used throughout your emails, landing pages etc. They are very convenient because you set the value once at the program level and it populates everywhere you use the token.

There are also lead level tokens – ie, if we’re creating an email, we use a first name token, so we say Dear {{lead.firstname}}. The highlight is the token, and it will look at everyone we’re sending the email to and pull in everyone’s unique first name in a mass send. We might have the sender of the email be the token {{lead owner}}, that way everyone’s unique lead owner will automatically populate, making the email much more personal.

The Marketo Roadshow Program

Now, back to roadshows. On the surface of it, the Marketo roadshow program seems a bit insane – across the 10 cities with separate customer and prospect tracks in each, we’re using roughly 250 campaigns, 160 emails, 80 lists, 24 different landing pages and 22 individual programs. All of you marketers out there who have set up these types of campaigns for your event marketing understand how crazy this can be. Yet, putting the roadshow program together was actually surprisingly straightforward. How? We used tokens.

Here’s how we do it. Each program contains a registration page, a ton of smart campaigns, all those invites and reminders and confirmation emails, and so on. The basic processes and assets needed for each don’t change between programs. However, all those pages and emails obviously need to include details that are different across cities, like date, city, hotel, speakers, agenda, directions, etc.

So, we use tokens to capture the details that are different across cities. We even use tokens to format that information differently – for example, we have short and long versions of dates and locations, depending on where these are being used – emails vs. landing pages vs. ICS files.

Marketo Roadshow Token Examples

Here are the tokens we set up for each program:
image2marketo
Tokens can contain a lot of information – for example, here is the value for our Agenda token.
image3marketo
That agenda appears in multiple places throughout our program, including the landing page and the ICS file that people save to their calendar. The best part about this is that if there are any changes (what marketer hasn’t had a speaker drop out last minute?), we just change the token, and the values change instantly everyplace the agenda is visible.

To give you a sense of how powerful this is, here’s what our registration page looks like. We use tokens for all the city specific information:
image5marketo

We clone this page across all our programs, just like we clone the invite email, the confirmation email, the smart campaigns that mark people as registered or attended, and so on.

All we do is update the tokens in the program for each city, and instantly all the information is dispersed correctly through the many assets each program contains – three invitation emails, two reminder emails, a confirmation email, the ICS file, the registration page, and so on. Here’s what the final registration page looks like:

Screen shot 2013-11-06 at 10.40.22 AM

Tokens enable your team to do larger scale programs than you ever dreamed possible. Don’t market harder – market smarter! (Now if only that worked in my garden!)

If you want to learn more about how to use tokens and other features offered by marketing automation you should read the Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation.

Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion

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Here Are Some Great Discussions From LinkedIn’s BrandConnect 12 Event

LinkedIn held its BrandConnect12 event in New York last week, which included a number of interesting marketing discussions with numerous professionals. LinkedIn has now made video of many of these available via its YouTube channel.

So, if you wanted to go to the event, but did not have the opportunity, or if you didn’t even know about it, you won’t totally miss out. Here you go:

Clay Shirky presents “The End of the Audience

Brand Connect with David Hahn

The Mindset Divine

Transforming Your Organization For The Social Era

Redefining Relevance: Content Marketing In A Social Context

Measuring Success In Social Media Marketing

LinkedIn Products For Marketers

The Time Tested Truths of Scientific Marketing

David Hahn presents Influencers and Content on LinkedIn

The Time-Tested Truths of Scientific Marketing

Context is King: Building Meaningful Relationships on LinkedIn

Amplifying Engagement Using Social Media Management


WebProNews

Pulkit Agrawal from Ahmedabad, India asks: “Organic link building, according to me is one of the most difficult tasks for SEOs of SMEs. Can you please list 5 effective ways of organic link building other than building great content?”

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21 Tips for Pulling Off a Spectacular Live Event

event marketingintroductory3

If you’re in the corporate events industry, you’ve got a tough job on your hands. There are thousands of events every year, and they’re all competing for one goal: to be the most talked about event in their industry.

But how do you actually put on a killer event? It all boils down to thinking like an attendee, plenty of advance planning, and insane attention to detail.

We just wrapped up our own conference here at HubSpot, INBOUND 2012, and as the event coordinator, I thought it might be timely to share some of the things we learned from this event. The tips in this post are inspired by the things we pulled off, as well as the things we know we can improve for next year (we’ve actually already opened up registration for INBOUND 2013!). Without further ado, here are some tips to help all of us plan corporate events that nobody will be able to stop gushing about!

21 Insider Tips to Make Your Next Event a Smash Hit

1) Make a good impression from the second your attendees check in.

Have cheery, well-informed greeters at every entrance for your event, providing directions to registration and answering questions about the event. It’s important for attendees to feel comfortable and welcomed the second they step onto the event premises.

2) Keep check-in and registration organized.

It’s easy for registration to become a sea of mass confusion. Figure out a way to make registration organized and efficient so your attendees don’t start off on a negative note. It may help to lay out registration alphabetically, and have a lot of staff (more than you think you need, trust me) to ensure registration runs smoothly and quickly.

3) Start things off with a bang.

If you want the energy level to be high at your event, it’s up to you to set the expectation. Pull off a welcome address that excites your audience and makes them look forward to your event even more than they already were. At INBOUND 2012, for example, HubSpot’s co-founders Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah had quite the entrance … take a look:

4) Offer variety in your schedule.

Everyone wants to get something different out of your event, whether it’s networking, workshops, or lessons from breakout sessions. Providing options around both topics covered and the format of your sessions will make it easier to please more people.

5) Have a lot of caffeine available.

Events are long. You use your brain a lot. You slap on a smile. All. Day. Long. Oh, and those parties last night? Yeah, those kept you out way past your bedtime. Attendees will be way more alert if there’s caffeine available — coffee, tea, and soda — through most or all of your event. How else will they soak up all that awesome content?

6) Create a mobile app for the event. 

People lose conference guides, they’re kind of bulky, and it takes forever to flip through to find what you’re looking for. We’re not saying you shouldn’t offer printed conference guides — but if you have a mobile app for your event that pulls your entire schedule together with dates, times, and locations, you’re making a lot of attendees’ lives easier. Plus, if schedule changes occur, it’s easy to quickly make the changes in the app so everyone’s on the same page.

7) Ensure your sponsors are a good fit for your attendees.

A lot of events and trade shows have sponsors who may not necessarily be the best fit for attendees. But I mean, who cares? They gave you money!

Not so fast. Before sending out your sponsor prospectus, consider your attendees’ pain points and make sure the sponsors you’re working with will provide value for them.

8) Place ushers in your largest rooms.

Everyone who pays for your event should get a seat at that event. The way to ensure this is to put ushers in your large rooms — like where the keynote address takes place, or in your larger breakout session rooms — to make sure every seat is filled. Not only will the whole filing-in process flow better, but everyone will be sure to get a seat, too.

9) Provide networking opportunities.

Networking is an important part of any event — some attendees show up just to make new connections, skipping out on most of the actual sessions! So give your attendees a chance to meet one another with dedicated networking events throughout the event. Meals and happy hours are particularly effective for nurturing new relationships.

10) Include case studies in your breakout sessions or workshops.

Hearing about other people’s experiences is one of the best ways to learn — people like knowing they’re not alone, and taking advice from people who have been in their shoes. Offer some case study content or panel discussions that offer peer-to-peer learning opportunities. In fact, much of our INBOUND 2012 content that contained case study content was among the highest rated content overall!

11) Surprise your attendees throughout the conference.

Your attendees probably have a general sketch in their mind of what happens when at your event. So throw them a curve ball to keep them on their toes! Think things like special snacks or guest appearances. For example, at INBOUND 2012, we surprised our attendees by having a short performance from Cyndi Lauper and Charlie Musselwhite during David Meerman Scott’s keynote address. Check it out!

12) Have a mix of celebrity speakers, and just plain awesome speakers.

Don’t just focus on getting the speakers with celebrity status. Focus on getting speakers who are just plain fantastic speakers. At the end of the day, attendees want to take away lessons that they can apply to their day-to-day lives. If your speakers can inspire, motivate, and educate attendees, it doesn’t matter whether they’re industry heavyweights or not.

13) Consider the flow of your schedule.

Try to keep the goings-on at your event contained to one area of your venue, eliminating the amount of movement from room to room. That doesn’t mean you should keep attendees trapped in one room all day — give them breaks and plenty of time to walk around! But if your sessions take place across 12 rooms … and those rooms are all on opposite ends of the venue … your attendees are going to get lost and frustrated.

14) Station friendly faces around the venue.

No matter how much information you provide, attendees will always have questions. Or, they might just want your opinion on what session to attend! Position people from your company throughout the venue to answer questions, give advice, or just serve as a friendly face to get people excited for your event. Not only will attendees feel more welcome, but their questions will all be answered by the people who know the most about the event.

15) Take every opportunity to make your event green.

If you can use digital signs and apps instead of printing out signs and conference guides, do it. If you can use environmentally friendly materials when serving food and drinks, do it. If you can eliminate the amount of print collateral at sponsor booths and in registration bags, do it. If you take every opportunity to make your event green, you’re not only helping the environment, you’re making attendees very, very happy. After all, it’s just one more pile of stuff for them to keep track of and eventually, throw away.

16) Pepper small common areas throughout the venue.

Have comfortable lounge furniture throughout the venue so your attendees can sit down, check email, have conversations, maybe even do a little business with a new connection. Heck, those little lounge areas may come in handy for you as you try to close new business, too!

17) Make your staff identifiable.

Anyone who can help answer questions should be identifiable from far away. That could manifest itself in staff t-shirts or some kind of bright, branded SWAG. However you do it, it’s important that attendees are able to quickly find someone who can answer questions.

18) Give out useful SWAG.

Speaking of SWAG, who likes the free stuff they get at corporate events? Chances are, not many, because a lot of it is useless junk. It used to be standard to give out keychains, pens and even coasters, but a lot of that is never used and thrown away. Giving out items that can be used at the actual conference, like notepads, USB drives, or mobile chargers, are much more beneficial for attendees.

19) Have engaging visuals, graphics, and music throughout the venue.

Use a lot of visuals throughout the venue to stimulate interest while simultaneously providing useful information. Digital signage is even better if you can pull it off — it’s environmentally friendly, and you can change the signs throughout the day depending on what event you’d like to promote.

20) Draw connections between sessions and other activities.

Organize your schedule so that lessons people learn at the beginning of the conference can apply to other sessions or workshops later on. For example, we started to integrate HubSpot 3 content into the presentations that occurred after the HubSpot 3 announcement. That way, sessions started out strategic, and then got tactical towards the end of the event, explaining how to implement some of the marketing strategies we discussed using our new marketing software.

21) Have information available about your next event.

Since your attendees are so pumped up about your incredibly event, it makes sense that they’ll want to hear about your next event. Make sure your staff is armed with information about when and where your next event will take place, and when registration opens — you might get a lot of attendees signing up right then and there!

What other tips do you have to make corporate events amazing?

Image credit: Furryscaly




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Tracking Micro Conversions with Event Tracking for Improving SEO Campaigns

Conversions. The one metric we all know we should be focusing on, and yet it’s the one thing that gets overlooked the most. So many of us focus on just one main conversion point, and forget how many other types of visitor engagement exist on our sites. These other engagement points, or less-important conversions are what experts call “micro conversions.”

World-renowned analytics expert Avinash Kaushik is a strong supporter of the use of micro conversions. In his Excellent Analytics Tip series, he explains the benefits of tracking both micro and macro conversions:

3. It will force you to understand the multiple persona’s on your website, trust me that in of itself is worth a million bucks. It will encourage you to segment (my favorite activity) visitors and visits and behavior and outcomes. Success will be yours.

When you understand your various visitor personas, you can create better targeted content, value-adds and better messaging overall. This will only strengthen your SEO campaign and will help guide you to improving your conversion rate and the ROI of your SEO efforts.

Event Tracking in Google Analytics

One of my favorite ways to track micro conversions is with event tracking in Google Analytics. Before I walk you through how to setup events, let’s first make sure we understand the difference between events and your traditional goals in Google Analytics.

In the past, a goal in Google Analytics was when any action a visitor would take on your site that took them to a confirmation page. When the visitor reached that confirmation page, Google Analytics would count it as a goal completion.

An event, on the other hand, is when a visitor takes action on your site and there is no confirmation page. A good example of this would be when someone clicks a “Follow Me on Twitter” link on your site. It takes the visitor off of your website and makes you unable to add conversion tracking code to their destination page (because it lives on Twitter.com).

In addition to bringing us cool features like custom dashboards, the new Google Analytics also made it much easier to track events as goals. Which is what we’ll be focusing on today.

Setting Up an Event

Events are much easier to setup then you might imagine. All you need to do is add a little piece of customized code to the URL a visitor will be clicking on to trigger the event, and you’re halfway there. Let’s start with understanding what our event tracking options are.

There are five fields in total that you can use to categorize your event, two of which are optional:

  • Category: The general name of the type of event you wish to track. If you’ll be setting up events of a similar topic (like form submissions), you’ll want to keep this consistent across all of the events you setup.
  • Action: A description of the action the visitor is taking to trigger the event. So if your category is set to “Forms”, your action might be set to “Sales Inquiry”.
  • Label: This is an optional field used to further describe the type of event. If you’re tracking multiple forms of the same type (like contact forms), you may consider using this field to avoid any confusion with the other events.
  • Value: Suppose each micro conversion does have a monetary value of sorts for you, this is the field you’d use to track that numeric number.
  • Non-Interaction: A true/false field that you can use to prevent a visitor who completes the event and leaves your domain from being recorded as a bounce in Google Analytics

Still with me? Now here comes the fun part: building the event tracking script.

The framework of your event tracking script looks like this:

onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Category', 'Action', 'Label', Value, false]);"

There are a couple of things you need to remember when you customize the various fields in the script (e.g. “Category”):

  • You must fill in the Category, Action and Non-Interaction fields
  • The Value and Non-Interaction fields do not have a single quote around around them like the others
  • If you choose to omit the Label or Value fields, also omit the single quote but not the comma that separates them from the other fields. In this example I’ve ommitted both fields, but not their commas:

  • onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Category', 'Action',,, false]);"

  • The Non-Interaction field can only be set to true or false (remember: no quotes!)

Now that you’ve set up the script, you should place it within the href component of any link you are setting up. Here’s an example of what it would look like:


<a href="http://twitter.com/seobook" onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Category', 'Action', 'Label', Value, false]);">Follow us on Twitter!</a>

The final piece of the puzzle is adding the event as a goal in Google Analytics.

  1. Click the gear icon in the upper right corner of the Google Analytics profile you’re setting up the goal in
  2. Using the sub-navigation where your Profile information is listed, select the Goals tab
  3. Choose the goal set you wish to add the event to (I like to categorize my goal sets)
  4. After you name your goal, select the Event radio button
  5. You now need to populate the event details exactly how you set them up in your script. If you omitted a field, just leave it blank

Event Tracking

You’ve now setup your event as a goal!

Types of SEO Micro Conversions

Now that the hard part is out of the way, let’s brainstorm some micro conversions we could be tracking.

Social Engagement

You can use event tracking to track Share This links and blog comments. That way you can quickly see which content has the highest engagement so you can build more of it.

Affiliate Links and Ads

You may also wish to track when someone clicks one of your affiliate links or a banner you have on your site. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of the Value field so you can keep track of how much each of those clicks are worth (and perhaps double-check that you’re getting paid the right amount).

Downloads

If your site has white papers, presentations, video, audio or any other type of file that users can download, you can easily keep track of those downloads with event tracking.

Follow Me/Like Us Links

If one of your macro conversion goals is brand awareness, you should consider adding an event whenever someone clicks a “follow me on Twitter” or “Like us on Facebook” link on your site. That way you can track back the source of those follows/likes to SEO.

Live Chats & Customer Support

Many service companies still utilize live chat to quickly address customer inquiries and problems. When someone clicks the live chat link, you can trigger an event to count it as a goal completion.

Additionally, if you use a third party customer support center, you can trigger an event whenever a user clicks the outbound links for those services.

These are just a few of the micro conversions you could be tracking on your site. While every site is different and is interested in tracking different things, hopefully this will give you a few ideas of additional conversion points you could be looking at to better understand your audience. The better we understand our visitors, the better job we can do as SEOs to attract more of them.

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