This story begins in the summer of 2008 when I got hired to produce, sell, and market national public events. Highly motivated, I set out to show my new boss I was the best decision she had ever made. While confident in my sales skills, I was not confident in my marketing abilities. If I am to be fully transparent, I was pretty insecure about how I was going to pull this off.
The mission was to market and sell tickets to a series of public workshops and keynotes in large cities like New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Tampa. I was not the first person to try my luck at this. A few tried before me but they were unable to crack the formula and make these events successful.
My orders were simple: get on the phone, and start selling. It wasn’t easy. Regardless of how many books I read or videos I watch there is nothing fun about rejection. But I went ahead and did my calls and sent my emails anyway.
As I connected with more and more people I noticed there were questions that kept on repeating. For example: Who are these events designed for? What will be my takeaway? Will food be served? This is when I discovered the formula. What if I anticipated AND answered these and many other questions, on the web? Further, what if I anticipated the problems attendees faced at their companies, and how our events would SOLVE those problems? I could market more accurately and funnel the most qualified leads down a sales path. I would then spend my time on the phone closing the hottest leads. Brilliant!
So I set out on a mission to create this micro-website and market our events better. These were the main steps I took:
1. Found and negotiated the right partner with the right technology.
2. Created content in a style in which it would address problems and questions, and offer solutions.
3. Produced teaser videos which showed exciting snippets of the events – like Hollywood movie trailers.
4. Crafted dedicated email blasts to drive traffic to the micro-site.
5. Used Facebook posting to create a buzz and share information with our networks.
It was not an easy project, and there were many times were I just wanted to say the heck with it. It took time to upkeep the site. Artwork had to be created, copy edited. And there was always the question of whether it was the best use of my time. But I was in love with what I was learning. I was writing, designing, and using HTML code, and the possibilities for marketing online were endless.
As it turns out in 2009, after the economic collapse, we did away with our national public events. Instead we would focus our efforts into one event, in one city. But we had laid the groundwork for what became the marketing formula behind one of the most successful conferences in America.
Once we applied what we learned the results were amazing. We turned a 100 attendee workshop into a 700 plus attendee conference. Grew from 1 speaker to over 15. Turned a half-day event into a 2 day experience with breakout sessions. And our reach extended outside the US, drawing attendees from countries like New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, India, Ireland, Spain, Israel, and many more.
In the end, we still got on the phone, and made the calls, but using the marketing funnel helped us qualify our audience better, increase attendance, and drive more customers than we ever imagined.