Month: March 2014

Why Your Event Needs a Blog

An event blog is one of the most valuable marketing tools you have at your disposal. Creating a blog for your event gives your company character, personalises your brand, and encourages customer loyalty and interactivity.

Event blogging is an effective easy-to-use platform for connecting with and sharing relevant information with customers and is the first step in branding your event.

Blogging should be a vital part of your event marketing strategy as it helps keep you connected with attendees and makes connecting with potential attendees for your next event easier.

You can use your blog to create a place to talk about the details of your event, announce performers and can be used as a place to offer more insight into the history of your event.

7% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog

Use your event blog to show people what you have to offer. Your blog gives potential attendees a strong idea of what your event is about and who the organisers are. Make sure the tone of your blog is the correct representation of your event.

Blogging and branding go hand-in-hand. Every post you publish to your site builds brand awareness. Make sure your website is kept relevant by regularly updating it with interesting content. Make sure that the content that you are writing reflects the character of the event and is of interest to the attendees that you are promoting to. A blog with no focus will not attract readers.

Companies that blog get 55% more web traffic and 70% more leads

Writing an event blog will allow you to include keywords that your target audience will search for and find in your website. Keywords are an essential part of Search Engine Optimisiation (SEO) which can lead to increased website traffic. Google search gives preference to recently updated, original content that is relevant both in keyword and geographic area to the search performed.

A recent survey by HubSpot has shown that companies who write a blog get 55% more website traffic and 70% more leads. In addition, 57% of companies obtained a customer through their blog.

Through writing a blog for your event you can gain a valuable  insight into your audience and how they are using your site. Blog analytics allow you to track readers click-through-rates, monitor shares and comments and what time of the day or day of the week is most popular on your website.

The most important part of keeping your event going is to regularly put out interesting content and a blog is one of the most critical ways to do this. Continue to blog after your event has ended, this will help hold on to the customers that you already have and will help brand your event until the next event takes place.

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Email Marketing in the Food Industry

Best use of Email Marketing in Business

Small businesses are spending about 15% of their marketing budgets on email (RestaurantEngine). It’s still above social media and even face-to-face contact as a marketing method. There is a continuing trend towards the use of mobile and tablets. Email marketing is ultimately suited perfectly for this as it’s easy to read and on the go. A recent survey, from January, showed that mobile phone traffic accounts for 36 percent of all visitors to a restaurant’s website (HospitalityMag). This is why a mobile optimised email should be developed and test to cater for all customers, devices and browsers.

Emails are effective only if they reach the intended recipients, five tips on achieving this:

  1. Clean your list. Monitor unsubscribes.
  2. Segment list based on most recent activity. Create a more compelling subject line for inactive users or provide a special offer.
  3. Monitor subject line rules. Avoid excessive punctuation and using money signs.
  4. Spam check. Most email service providers have spam check built in, however, it isn’t absolute.
  5. Monitor you reputation. Ensure your IP Address the emails are sent from is clean, increasing your score and reputation.

Email marketing can work fantastically well for retailers when properly implemented. According to the Direct Marketing Association, consumers currently rate online retailers as the best at email marketing, with supermarkets and high street retailers coming in second and third.

Remarketing is an important marketing tool for companies. Consumers are happy to received tailored messages, with many welcoming follow up emails, but there’s a fine line between creating engaging content and people switching off. Over a third of consumers say they actively welcome a follow up from retailers after abandoning an online purchase. Getting the message right and delivering it at the right time, with the right frequency is critical to success.

Personalisation is key to the success of a campaign. This and frequency. You want to create engaging content without making the reader switch off. It is also important to have a clear primary call to action and it prominently placed within the email.

device-email-experian-240314platform-email-experian-240314

Half of all unique email opens now occur on a mobile device. The iPhone is the most commonly used mobile device for email opens and clicks. Android phones are third for opens and transactions, but second for clicks.

For a supermarket or restaurants, email marketing is one of the best ways to regularly update fans on new products, events and promotions. It is also important to adapt to your customers and how they interact with information. Being mobile optimised, general design and containing gifs, moveable ink, video, encourages engagement and clicks. It is a marketers job to then ensure all links go to responsive pages. Otherwise, they are difficult to read and deter recipients from actually reading them.

Email marketing is an ideal platform for getting feedback from current and potential customers. Subscribers are a valuable focus group. They’re already interested and engaged with your brand and what you have to say. This provides an excellent opportunity to test branding, positioning, voice and tone, taglines, and more, in order to learn what resonates with existing customers before rolling these out to wider audiences. This is a great way to get subscribers to feel invested in your brand and encourage loyalty.

Designing email campaigns that are meaningful for all involved — subscribers, your brand, and partners — is the most effective way to drive desired behaviour and deliver maximum results.

To see more from Food, Fashion & Festivals, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter.

How to Promote an Event with Social Media

Using social media to promote your event can act as an efficient way for you to connect with attendees from anywhere in the world.

Social media is one of the most interactive and cost-effective tools to promote your event. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have the potential to reach out to a large number of attendees.

Platforms like Pinterest and Flickr might also be right for you for promote your event on. And don’t forget video on platforms like YouTube.

Here is a run-down of some of the best platforms that you can use to promote your event and the reasons why they are so valuable:

Blogging:

It puts character to your event Blogging-Stats-01-1024x731

Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads. (Social Media Today) Blogging on your website will show readers that you’re more than just a business. It will allow readers to see your festival in a more personal way. Blogging can show character and allow readers to get a feel for the personalities working behind your event.

Blogging creates fresh content on your website

Blogging is a great way to create fresh content for your site and will help to attract traffic. Writing posts in areas of interest to your readers will help build a following of regular readers for your website. If you have advertisers on your site, blogging will help raise the number of clicks on adverts and will allow you to increase the amount of money you can charge for advertising on your site. Regular blog posts will also help with search engine optimisation.

Check out WikiHow’s guide to keeping fresh content on your blog.

Readers will be able to subscribe to and share your blog posts

You should choose a unique topic to write a blog post on with the idea that every reader will want to pass it on. Writing share-worthy content is a great method of pull-advertising; you write the blog, readers do the rest (Brick Marketing). Writing blog entries that appeal to your target market is a great way to get your name out there and show potential attendees that you understand their interests; this can reassure them that your event is a suitable event for them.

Facebook:  

FbBuild a community around your event
A Facebook page should be set-up for your event and relevant information posted regularly. Creating a group surrounding your event will prove to be an effective way for you to build a local community. Flexibility and focusing on the details are key essential to building customers (HooteSuite).

Provide information to attendees

Use your event’s Facebook page to highlight important information on your event. Some information might include location of the event, price of tickets or entry fee, the schedule of the event and a link to your website.

Create publicity through photo and video sharing

Everyone loves to see themselves in a video or photo. Photos and videos get more attention and help your message stand out in News Feed (Facebook).

You can also generate publicity from the people who attended your event and those who follow them on various social media channels through them sharing your video or photos. Anyone who is a friend of someone you tagged can see the photo and will hopefully want to learn more about your event.


Twitter:

Make use of real-time tweetingtwitter_on_paper_1

Sending tweets out to your followers can keep everyone updated on what’s happening, as it is happening. Twitter is a great tool for keeping people connected with your event and allows you to promote it in real-time.

Find out what people are saying by using hashtags

Hashtags make it easy to track tweets and see what others are saying about your event on social media platforms. Use a designated keyword or phrase that is relevant to your event and encourage fans to use it (Small Business Trends)

YouTube, Flickr and Pinterest 

Youtube infographicBe visual, get exposure!

Include videos and photos of before, during and after your event and upload them to YouTube, Flickr and Pinterest for added exposure.

5 Reasons Why Your Festival Should be Using Email Marketing

Digital marketing is an essential part of festival organisation, especially one that is looking to appeal to a wide range of attendees.

Many promoters become focused on social media and are particularly prevalent on Facebook and Twitter.  Both platforms show great potential for event promotion but email can be a powerful marketing tool to promote your event.

76% of businesses are now using email for event marketing (HubSpot). It has become a reliable marketing channel for promotion and can effectively offer more ways to market your event, increase sales and encourage popularity of your festival.

Communicate

Through an effective email marketing campaign you can remind customers of your festival details, encourage ticket sales, brand your event and give the reassurance that you are contactable for attendees who may have queries.

Personalise it

Cat using computer

Email can provide personalised communication between you and your current or potential attendees and is a valuable resource for a successful marketing strategy for your event.

By making a few tweaks and changes for individual subscribers, newsletters can prove to be a valuable resource and can improve your open rate by 30% (NewsWeaver).

Use the subscriber’s first name and send specific emails and discounts relevant to each customer.  If you know they are interested in a particular area of your festival then set it up so that information relevant to their interest is automatically added to their newsletter.

Segment

Customer needs can vary greatly. Creating varied offers for each segment will provide festival goers with a better service.

Gather information from subscribers on your signup form and send them newsletters that are relevant to their interests.

Separate your subscribers in categories according to age, gender, location and interests. This will make your emails more appealing and relevant to your customer.

Through segmenting your email subscribers you can deliver a marketing message that’s personalised to individual customers.

Check out this WikiHow list for steps on how to segment customers.

Keep it simple

Sending a newsletter with a simplified design will save time when you are changing it for your segmented mailing list subscribers. A simple design will also work better on mobile and is less likely to have elements removed by spam filters. Make sure the content and call-to-action of your email is clear.

Monitor results

It is important that festival promoters understand the effectiveness of their email marketing campaign.

Email monitoring programs are user-friendly and provide instant tracking information in real-time, which is extremely resourceful.

Software such as Mailchimp allows you to create, send, and track newsletters.

Some tracking features allow you to monitor:

  • Emails opened
  • Emails unopened
  • Number of clicks
  • Subscriptions
  • Unsubscriptions
  • Forwarded emails

This information can be used to improve your campaigns and learn more about your readers.

To see more from Food, Fashion & Festivals, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Retailers and Pinterest: blurring the digital and physical worlds

Retailers have become more aware in the last few years of the importance of social media, such as Pinterest,  and how it can drive awareness and sales. Digital marketing campaigns now need to step up to the next challenge of blurring the digital and physical worlds. If done correctly, retailers will see huge rewards and success.

When looking at retailers and how they blur the lines between the digital and physical worlds, a good place to start is Burberry’s social story. In this video, Angela Ahrendts discusses ‘blurring the digital and physical worlds’. Burberry have  engaged in a brilliant digital-physical campaign across their company. Burberry’s 121 Regent Street store is a masterclass in ‘blurring the physical and digital worlds’. They have technology which enables shop assistants to know what is in customers baskets online. There are digital mirrors that are connected to tables which, when a product is but on the table, the mirror transforms to a screen which shows the making of the garment. These are incredible marketing tools as the technology alone drives people to their stores for the experience. But Burberry have also embraced social media more than many other brands.

The first time I saw the video below, I thought it would be a while before we saw this more prominently in the retail industry, and that Burberry was an exception. But since then I have seen much evidence to the contrary. Many companies are embracing social media to bring their digital-physical campaigns to life.  Pinterest has gained much publicity in the last number of years as retailers have flocked to the online scrapbook site. As it is a predominantly visual site, with direct links back to websites, it makes it an incredible digital tool for retailers.

Just before Christmas, Topshop launched a brilliant digital-physical campaign. Topshop created a Pinterest campaign that works online and offline. Online, Topshop is encouraged Pinners to create a Christmas board with the tag #DearTopshop with the chance of winning some amazing prizes. This feeds into the Dear Topshop gift generator which is supposed to help customers with gifting ideas for Christmas. So Pinners generate a gift and pin it onto their #DearTopshop Christmas board. From this data, Topshop could see which items were pinned the most and they then highlighted these items in store. In the stores, the most pinned items had tags around them, letting shoppers know whats popular. They also had boards within the store promoting the #DearTopshop competition. So online, they encouraged Pinners to shop Topshop online or in stores, and offline they encouraged purchasing almost through a ‘Pinterest Seal of Approval’ as well as encouraging shoppers back online to Pinterest. It all comes full circle. One feeds into the other and in turn helps the other. It was a brilliant end to end campaign.

Topshop Pinterest Digital Marketing Instore   Topshop Pinterest Digital Marketing Instore

Topshop isn’t the only store engaging in this ‘Pinterest Seal of Approval’ idea. Nordstrom have a similar tactic of showing customers in stores what is popular on Pinterest. As well as this, they offer free shipping for the most popular Pinterest items with a separate page dedicated to these items online. Target are also engaging in their own Pinterest campaign with an online store called ‘The Awesome Shop’ which is filled exclusively with their most popular items on Pinterest, while in store they also have the ‘Most Pinned’ tags.

These are just Pinterest examples, but there are many, many more examples using different digital platforms. Personally, I think its a very exciting time for retailers, as they can embrace technology and all its potential like never before. Its time for shops to embrace digital and integrate it with their physical space and hopefully enrich the customer experience. Saul Berman of IBM recently wrote an article for Gigaom discussing how companies that embrace the digital-physical innovation, have more of an opportunity for success. Its time for retailers to use their imagination and to create ways of making digital-physical work for them, as the rewards may be further reaching then we can even imagine.