Marketing Myths Busted

August 15, 2012
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If you’ve ever read Chicken Little, you know how he was laughed at when he said that the sky was falling- but when more and more people started saying it, more and more people began to believe it. The same holds true when talking about marketing; just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean it’s true or effective. Businesses waste thousands each year trying to market with traditional methods just because that’s what everyone else does – here are some of the most common myths about marketing, and how you can avoid the troubles that come along with them.

If I offer a great product, my business will be successful.

Of course your product or service’s quality is important, but it has little relevance to how successful your business will be. Some very successful brands offer a low-quality product, while there are failed businesses offering great products. Your brand’s success is dependent upon more than quality, and offering something great won’t lead the world to your product. To avoid this pitfall, “beta test” your offering; use brand tracking studies to ask your potential audiences for their opinions.

Spending more on advertising means more profit.

This is a common mantra among ad salespeople, and its repetition means that it’s taken seriously. Doing anything in business just because it’s always been done that way can only end in trouble; many brands spend copious amounts of money on advertising that misses the mark. There are ways to build a brand, but advertising isn’t the only way, it can often be a maintenance step. Use broadcast, print and online media to build your visibility and credibility.

Referrals will make your business profitable.

This myth is the most common reason why start-ups fail; we’ve heard business owners say that they don’t advertise or use other branding methods because they’re waiting on good word-of-mouth. This may work to some degree, but with all the options available to customers these days, waiting for referrals can be a slow way to build business. Launching a blog is a great way to build an email list and gain word-of-mouth at the same time; blogs are free to set up and they’re good for engaging customers.

You need a variety of skills to become successful.

There are many competent, personable people who’ve failed at creating a successful brand. Having the above qualities puts you at an advantage, but the reality is that even people with neither of these qualities can be successful. There’s one skill that businesses overlook: daily marketing. To grow your business, commit to doing things like releasing articles, making phone calls, posting on new websites, or launching a blog.

It costs a lot to brand your business through marketing, public relations and advertising.

This myth is so widely believed that it’s unreal! It’s true that a lot of new brands don’t succeed due to insufficient funding, but you don’t have to break the bank in order to build a brand. Using widely-available social networking, print and online media tools, you can build your credibility. You can also gain exposure for your brand by convincing local media to feature your business; even if you want to go global, you should start closer to home.

This guest post was written and contributed by Amy Fowler on behalf of Hall and Partners, who specialise in brand tracking studies. Find out at hallandpartners.com or read more about branding and marketing here.

How To inspect Meeting Venues For Your Next Event

August 10, 2012
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Meeting venues are like paradise on paper. You get the feel that all you have to do is book the venue and everything will fall in place automatically. That’s primarily because the hosts send you a first-class plane ticket inviting you to come on over for a venue inspection. Then they send a limo to pick you up. When you reach the venue, you are greeted on a first-name basis and you are not made to stand in a queue. You are accommodated in a suite equipped with food baskets and more.

Then you are taken on a tour of the hotel and shown the best parts of the hotel, leaving out the parts that overlook trash cans at the back. In other words, things are prepared in advance for your inspection visit.

You see, you are being treated as a royal guest, not as an Average Joe attendee. Now, here’s what you must do. After the royal inspection is over and the hotel drops you at the airport, you must head back and check back into the hotel as an ordinary guest, and then start your audit.

Here is a checklist that will help you inspect meeting venues:

  1. Are the hotel and its surroundings safe? Many hotels are built on unsafe areas merely because the land is cheaper. Your attendees will not stick to the hotel room all the time – they will move around and go out. They will be in your care and therefore you better ensure a safe location. Ideally, you must hire a meeting venue that is situated in a developed area.
  2. Pose as a client and meet a couple of reputed meeting planners. Talk to them about different meeting venues and try and find out the pluses and minuses of your preferred venue.
  3. Figure out the local taxes and work them into your budget.
  4. Can the venue accommodate overflows, just in case you expect above-average attendance?
  5. Check all the rates – room rates, flower rates, parking, meeting rooms, photographers, material storage, etc. Your bill will contain more than 30 different charges. Figure out the cost and make a budget for each. And, of course, check if your meeting venue provides all these services under one roof.
  6. Is the meeting venue very respectable? Or, is it a meeting point for lovers and highway stars? Will it successfully convey your company’s brand image?
  7. Are other meetings in the hotel conducted professionally? You can physically check this if there’s a meeting going on during your surprise visit.
  8. Is the hotel security/maintenance adequate?
  9. Does the meeting venue comply with all local laws? You may have to sleuth around to figure this out.
  10. Are the meeting rooms obstruction-free? Will chandeliers and beams block the projection?

These tips will help you inspect meeting venues and choose the one that’s right for you. Remember that you will be held responsible for the meeting’s success. If it flops, it could mean your head. So, act sharp and inspect the venue before signing the contract.

empowerMINT.com is the virtual national sales department for convention & visitors bureaus, developed by Destination Marketing International Association (DMAI), for connecting meeting planners and their events to locations and the industry experts.

Seven Tips for Effective Marketing with a Sweepstakes or Contest

July 31, 2012
By

A sweepstakes or a contest can be a great way to bring attention to your business. Here are seven tips for making it as effective a marketing tool as possible.

 

Business Man Typing on Computer

 

Sweepstakes vs. Contests – What’s the Difference?

Sweepstakes and contests can be equally effective, but they’re not the same. A sweepstakes is a drawing in which the winner is selected randomly. In a contest, a winner is chosen through a specific evaluation process, such as selected by official judges or voted on by peers (or a combination of both). Contests are more specific than sweepstakes, so they can be used to attract a more targeted group of entrants. A sweepstakes can have wider appeal and more diverse participation.

Deciding on a Theme

The best sweepstakes and contests don’t just occur randomly or generically – they have a theme. This could be anything at all, but it helps attract people and make the event seem special. The theme could be attached to a holiday, based on a celebration, or revolving around a specific topic.

Making It Legal

Perhaps the most important thing about your sweepstakes or contest is that it’s legal. If you do something illegally, it will hurt your business much more than help it. Make sure you cover all your bases by consulting a lawyer who can help you draft the official terms and conditions and make sure your following laws. You also need to make sure you’re following the terms and conditions of the social networking sites you’re using to promote or hold it.

Choosing a Prize

You need to choose a prize that’s worthwhile enough for people to enter your promotion – something that has value, and something that they want. Common prizes are cash, electronics, and gift cards, but don’t be afraid to offer something different or specifically related to your business/niche. The bigger and more unique, the better. Also consider prizes for second and third place.

Getting the Maximum Benefit

There are many different ways you can hold a sweepstakes or contest in order to benefit your business. For example, having entrants provide their contact information is an excellent way to gather data about them, and the perfect time to ask them to sign-up for your newsletter. You can also require them to watch promotional videos, answer survey questions about themselves or their preferences, or interact in other ways that will benefit your business, yet still be innocent enough not to turn people off.

Promoting It

Be sure to promote your sweepstakes or contest across all platforms – your website, your blog, all your social media profiles, and inside your brick-and-mortar store (if you have one). Notify everyone on your email or text lists. Also consider asking entrants to tell their friends, and make it easy for them to do so with links to automatic posts or emails.

Crowning the Winner

Finally, crown the winner and rejoice! Stretch your sweepstakes or contest as far as possible by announcing the winner with much fanfare, as well as a profile or photograph if they’ll allow it. Thank everyone who participated, and ask for feedback on the promotion as well.

Andrew Surman is a marketing pro and freelance blogger who loves to write about thriving business practices and today’s top entrepreneurs.

Photo Credit: charlottepurdy

Improved Statistics for Event Organisers

July 19, 2012
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Measuring Clicks Through To Your Event Related Pages.

Today we added a feature that adds an extra level of detail for event organisers (and visitors).

We felt that people might like to know how many people were sufficiently motivated to click through to an external link from an event listing on events-near.com.

From today, we’ll record outbound clicks to listing urls and social accounts and display a number next to them showing how many people clicked through.

We already measure how many times a page is viewed by any particular visitor so believe that over time, this will be a useful easy means of seeing the relationship between page views and outbound clicks. We also plan to do this for telephone numbers too, but this is still in development.

We hope that this little addition adds some extra value for event submitters and site visitors!

Happy Eventing!

Add Events to Calendar Options.

July 5, 2012
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Adding an Event to User Calendars

Today we added a little calendar option for people who’d like to add  events to their calendars.

Thus far we support Google Calendar, iCal and Outlook.

You can see it in action at this Art Event here.  Just look for the icons that look like this  choose a suitable calendar and the various platforms should do the rest.

We hope you agree that ultimately, it’s the little things that count!

If you have any suggestions for other additions or improvements that we could make, then we’d love to hear about them!

Happy Eventing Folks!

Event Tagging – Tag Your Events!

July 4, 2012
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Tagtastic news – You Can Now Tag Your Events Folks!

We thought you’d like to know that we’ve made a few improvements for Event pro’s like yourself! In addition to opening up our blog to you for guest blogging we’ve been busy improving things to help raise awareness for what you do. We’ve decided to allow editing as we feel that things tend to work better if people can be in full control of what they do.

Event Editing

You can now do things like – Change the date of an Event, Edit the Copy, Edit the Location, Add New tags, Add new Pictures. In fact, you can pretty much change what you like. It’s pretty simple to do, just login here.

Keyword Tagging

Users may have noticed that some events on Events Near contain keyword tags giving extra information as to what an event may be related to.  These are useful for people who scan listings or pages on the category related sub directories. We also  use these to improve search functionality for site users and in deciding what listings to return on categorised pages.

 Say What? Tell me more about this Tagging!

An example of keyword tagging  in action can be seen on the charity events in London page.

 

 

You’ll see that in addition to the general event type that some  events have various words associated with them in red. For the charity page example, we’ll try to surface events that have words like fund raiser, fund raising and  benefit type words associated with them.

 What Next?

So, when you add or edit an event, you’ll notice an extra field inviting you to tag your event with words that you think people might use to search or associate with your event. Please try and use these as they’ll help surface your event in a greater number of related categories.

 What about Twitter and Hashtags?

These aren’t to be confused with hashtags mind. We’ll still use these to target the keywords that are important to your brand or event as usual :) .