Understanding Your Event Competition

October 25 2017

Every event is unique and has it’s own offering, but uniqueness alone isn’t enough to “eliminate” competition. With a plethora of events for attendees to choose from, you may have more competition than you realize. Today I’m going to be focusing on what makes your event “not unique”. This article will help you understand who your competition really is, the importance of planning with your competition in mind, and how to combat some outside factors you didn't even know you were competing with.

Let’s start with an analogy from the business world. In the book Zero to One by Peter Thiel, Thiel gives the analogy of someone wanting to open a British food restaurant. The person says to himself “Oh, a British food restaurant! No one else is doing that, so my restaurant will stand out! I’ll have no competition”. However, this way of thinking can get you into a lot of trouble. Yes, your business (in this case restaurant) does have a unique offering, but your competition isn’t just other restaurants that serve British food. In reality, you’re competing with all other restaurants in the area for patronage. Understanding your competition is critical to the success of your business.

Now take this analogy and convert it over into the event space. Sure, you may have a super-cool-festival-of-fun with really unique experiences and awesome things to do. You may look at the event date and say to yourself “Wow! No one else is doing a super-cool-festival-of-fun on that same weekend! There won’t be anyone competing with me!”. Stop there, take a breath, and give yourself a quick reality check. You’re not just competing with events like yours. You’re competing with all events in the same area. Attendees don’t just go to one type of event. Most attendees will go to everything from festivals to plays to concerts to bar crawls and beyond. Take great care when planning your event to check and see what else is going on in that area - even in the weeks surrounding your event date. If there is a similar event a week or two before/after yours, your potential attendees may choose to spend their money on your competition instead. All other events in the area should be looked at as competition.

Keep in mind that holidays and other dates that have heavy travel times may also affect your event. This seems like somewhat of a no brainer, but I’ve worked with many event makers that accidentally plan their event date over a holiday weekend and it drastically affects attendance. You should look at these dates as competition as well. Holidays are often spent with family and often times your attendees will travel out of your area. Make sure to be aware of holidays and heavy travel dates when planning your event. If your attendees are busy with their families or out of town, this could impact your attendance. If your event must be scheduled during one of these times, you can always spin your event and marketing efforts to focus on “family holiday fun”. You never know, your event may become a new family tradition!

Let’s talk about one last  thing that competes with your event: SCREENS. A recent study reported that the average adult American spends over 10 hours a day in front of a screen. These artificial experiences can get in the way of live experiences. It can be hard to convince someone who spends so much time in front of a screen to get outside and experience life. That is why it is important to capitalize on the uniqueness of your event while marketing. At SpinGo, we applaud you event makers for helping us to fight this epidemic of faux experiences through a screen. We encourage you to keep creating events and live experiences to help your attendees find that human connection that we are all searching for.

Once you are able to understand who your competition really is, you can understand how to better plan and execute your event. It may seem overwhelming. However, you have the power to innovate and optimize your event to create success.

Here are a few things we specifically suggest to help you combat your competition:

  • Pick your event date carefully - Watch for other popular events in the weeks and days surrounding your potential event date.

  • Promote - If you don’t tell people about your event, no one will know to attend.

  • Optimize your website - We’re talking Search Engine Optimization and a great user experience.

  • Gamify your event - if you can’t beat the screens, integrate them into your event.

  • Watch holidays and travel times - Avoid scheduling your event date around these times. If your event is specific to a holiday (ie. 4th of July celebration), be sure to highlight why someone would want to come celebrate that day at your event.

  • Find your unique offering - Spin your advertising to highlight what makes your event stand out.

SpinGo | 10 Haunted Halloween Happenings

10 Haunted Halloween Happenings

October 10 2017

Our favorite month is upon us!  October is a month that always seems to be filled with too many great events and not enough time to cram it all in.  With amazing events happening all across America, we picked a few of our favorites and also some bucket list halloween happenings.  However you choose to spend your time this month, make it spectacularly spooky!

 
1. 47th Annual Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival - Half Moon Bay, CA - 10/14 - 10/15

Hosting a pumpkin themed festival in the “World Pumpkin Capital” during October seems to work for the folks at the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival, since the event has been around for 47 years!  The festival features food, drinks, art, and - of course - the super bowl of pumpkin weigh ins with the largest pumpkin garnering a $30k paycheck if it can set the world record!  If you can’t make it this year, put it on your bucket list of halloween must sees for the future!

https://www.facebook.com/HalfMoonBayPumpkinFestival/

 

2. Farmstead Corn Maze and Pumpkin Festival - Meridian, ID - Ongoing

Where else can you live out your dreams of being lost inside a video game?  Check out the Farmstead Festival Cornmaize this year and try your best to make it out of the pac-man inspired corn maze!  Including the maze and all the fun pumpkin and halloween activities, there is enough at the Farmstead to keep your family entertained for days, which is why it is open the whole month of October!  If you are near Meridian, or even not, it is worth a trip to check out this spectacular work of art!

https://www.facebook.com/TheFarmstead/

 

3. Famous Monsters of Filmland - San Jose, CA - 10/27 - 10/29

For anyone that loves the “Con” circuit, this is a one of a kind convention not to be missed!  The Famous Monsters Halloween Convention is everything you love about scary movies and Halloween all in one! With so much fun stuff going on, like Rocky Horror Live, a haunted house, a halloween dance party and tons of fun activities, this is a non-stop scare-a-thon you should check out!

https://www.facebook.com/FMOFL/


 

4. New Orleans Ghost Tour - New Orleans, LA - Ongoing

If spooky history is more your thing, going on a ghost tour in New Orleans is an awesome way to spend an evening.  With NOLA being such an old and popular city, there is no shortage of gruesome tales of demise and dark magic all over the city.  A ghost tour is a perfect way to experience history and ghost stories intertwined with a knowledgeable guide in one of the most famous cities for hauntings in America!

https://www.facebook.com/hauntedhistory/

 

5. The City of Tualatin’s Annual West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta - Tualatin, OR - 10/21

What can you do with a giant pumpkin besides smash it or eat it?  How about carve it out and take it for a boat ride? The Giant Pumpkin Regatta allows contestants to get dressed in costume and race across a lake in a giant gourd for honor and glory, all while being cheered on by thousands of onlookers, in the middle of a huge pumpkin themed party!  We can’t think of a better way to spend a saturday in October!

https://www.facebook.com/Westcoastgiantpumpkinregatta/?rf=892985580808988

 

6. Village Halloween Parade - New York, NY - 10/31

If it is happening in NYC, you know it is huge! The Village Halloween Parade is one of the largest parades in the country - 44 years in the making!  From humble beginnings as a small street parade, this party has grown year over year attracting thousands of halloween lovers from all over the city.  Come to watch or join and walk!  Either way this parade is a can’t miss on the halloween fun bucket list!

https://www.facebook.com/nychalloween/

 

7. Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Festival - Manitou Springs, CO 10/28

One of the quirkier festivals on our list is the Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Festival.  This race is the time to show off your speed, your costumed creativity, and your ability to push a coffin through Manitou Springs, all the while being cheered on by locals and visitors alike. After the race, spend time in town learning about the ghosts that haunt the area check out the family friendly parade!

https://www.facebook.com/events/230150567513239/

 

8. Howl-o-ween Parade- Park City, UT - 10/31

One of the largest halloween pet costume parties takes place every year on Main Street in this old mining town.  This pop up halloween party attracts thousands of costumed pets and people each year for trick or treating, people watching, and all around family fun! If you are near Park City, Utah, you should make it a point to check out the Main Street Halloween party!

https://historicparkcityutah.com/events/2017-halloween-on-main-street

 

9. Salem Halloween - Salem, MA - Ongoing

On the bucket list for us is a trip to where the tales of witchcraft and demonology began in this country, Salem, Mass.  The town is so dedicated to the history of the Salem Witch Trials and all spooky early American history, that celebrations for Halloween last the ENTIRE month of October.  We couldn't just pick one event to highlight because it all sounds fun!  With reenactments, seances, ghost tours, witchcraft walks, costume parties and carnivals, the whole town gets into the “spirit” of halloween like nothing else we have seen before!

https://www.facebook.com/hauntedhappenings

 

10. Suwannee Hulaween - Live Oak, FL

If you are more of a music scene person, but don't think a spooky concert on halloween cuts it, then you need to check out Hulaween - a three day campout fest deep in a forest in Florida!  The show features a pretty incredible lineup each year with jam bands, bluegrass bands, reggae, indie, folk, rock and more! There is a band for every taste and enough to keep you busy the entire weekend. Join thousands of attendees for a one of a kind halloween experience in a glowing forest full of spooky creatures, costumed partiers, and music from some of the best bands touring.

https://www.facebook.com/suwanneehulaween/



 

SpinGo | 4 Tips for Booking Celebrities for Events

4 Tips for Booking Celebrities for Events

September 21 2017

So you’re putting together an event, and everything’s going well…except you can’t shake the feeling that you need a little something extra to put it over the top. A good event means your guests will have fun and enjoy themselves, but what you want is a great event, the kind that will keep them talking about it for years to come. The question is, how do you do it?

Adding a celebrity guest is a perfect way to take your event to the next level. But you can’t look through the phone book and find just any celebrity — you’ve got to find the right celebrity, and you have to know how to handle the booking process. Today, I’m going to give you some indispensable advice for booking celebrities for your events, so you can turn your good event into a great one. Here’s what to do.

 

Make Sure It’s A Good Fit

It would be kind of strange to see a “Real World” cast member at an art gallery opening, just like it would be weird if Daniel Day Lewis showed up to a party at a new nightclub. When it comes to your event, some celebrities will be a better fit than others, and it’s up to you to pick the right one.

To ensure a good fit between the celebrity and the event, there are a few questions you should ask yourself. First, know your audience — who are the other guests at the event? The purpose of a celebrity booking is to really wow the guests; if you hire a celebrity that doesn’t resonate with the audience, you’ll have spent a lot of money on something that won’t take your event to the next level.

Second, know your event. For example, is it public or private? A lot of celebrities generally do one or the other; some prefer public events because the extra publicity they get can help them promote a new project, while others aren’t interested in the publicity but will happily attend a private event for the right price.

 

Figure Out What You Need Them To Do

You might think a celebrity booking means hiring a celebrity to show up, say hi to a few guests, then leave (or find a table and ignore everyone for the rest of the night), but that’s not necessarily the case. That’s the great thing about celebrity bookings: you can shape them to fit whatever you’re looking for. Here are just a few of the potential options:

 

Walkthrough/Appearance

These kinds of arrangements are what most people tend to picture when they think of celebrity guests. Like the name implies, an appearance means the celebrity is expected to show up at the event, walk around and let themselves be seen by the guests, then depart. Walkthroughs are pretty similar, but with a walkthrough, the celebrity will usually chat with some of the guests and spend a set amount of time (usually 30 minutes to an hour) at the event.

 

Performance

The exact kind of performance can vary depending on the celebrity and their specialty; these arrangements are usually designed for artists or comedians. A performance is a great way to make the celebrity a bigger part of the event, but if you want a performance, you should expect to pay not just for the celebrity to perform, but for all the equipment they’ll need to do it.

 

Hosting or Speaking

Speaking or hosting arrangements are exactly that: instead of the celebrity acting as a big-name guest at your event, their name is added to the event. In other words, they’re an integral part of the overall event. With hosting arrangements, the celebrity will spend time with guests, make some remarks, and generally mingle throughout the night.

Depending on your budget, you can find the right celebrity to do whatever it is that will enhance the experience of your event. Walkthroughs and appearances are usually the least expensive options, and the price will go up from there. Generally speaking, the more you’re asking the celebrity to do at your event, the more they’ll charge.

 

Know How To Get In Touch

If you’re hoping to secure a celebrity for your event, the booking process doesn’t actually begin with the celebrity — it begins with their representatives. In most cases, the representative you’ll need to talk to is the celebrity’s agent; sometimes you might work with a manager, but as agents are responsible for all the deals their clients make, odds are you’ll have to go through them.

Finding a celebrity’s agent can be hit-or-miss — you may be able to find it by going to the celebrity’s website or social media profiles, but many celebrities don’t openly post that information. In that case, there are booking agent info databases, which give you the contact information for the official agents of celebrities.

When you do reach out to a celebrity’s agent, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, reach out via email: agents are typically extremely busy, so email is their preferred method of communication. Plus, you don’t want to try to pitch your event on an unsolicited phone call; it’s unprofessional, it takes up too much of the agent’s time, and there’s a decent chance they’ll forget all about the call within a day.

When sending your email, keep it concise. There is a certain format that you need to follow when you are contacting a celebrity agent. They don’t need to know every little detail of the event (at least, not at first), so don’t waste their time with a three-page email. All you need to cover is the who/what/when/where: Who of their clients do you want to book, What do you want them to do, When is your event, and Where is the event taking place? If all goes well, you’ll have an opportunity to provide more detail in future discussions.

Finally, if you’re reaching out to an agent you haven’t worked with before, there’s a decent chance that you’ll need to follow up once or twice before you get a response. Make sure you wait 3-5 business days after your last email before following up — you want to give the agent a chance to read your email before you start checking in for a response. And when you follow up, use the same format you did for the first email: keep it brief.

 

Consider A Talent Buyer

Maybe you’re stretched too thin trying to get everything else locked down before the event, or maybe you simply don’t know how to contact the agent of the celebrity you’re targeting. In that case, you can also consider hiring a middle agent or a talent buyer.

In a nutshell, middle agents and talent buyers put their clients (i.e., you) in touch with the right people (i.e., the celebrity’s representatives) and facilitate deals. Middle agents can be a good option, especially if you haven’t worked with a particular agent before: some representatives prefer to work with familiar people, and a good middle agent can have solid relationships with agencies that they can leverage to get you what you need.

If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford to spend too much, a middle agent won’t be a good option — middle agents charge a premium (usually 10% or more) for access to a celebrity’s representatives. On top of that, middle agents and talent buyers get paid a commission based on the overall value of the deal you make, which means they’ll be less likely to negotiate on your behalf to try to drive the price down.

On the other hand, if you have the money and don’t mind the additional cost, a middle agent or talent buyer can make the booking process run a lot more smoothly, which will free you up to focus on other aspects of your event.

So there you have it: the main things you need to know about booking celebrities for your event. With these tips, you can feel confident that no matter what kind of event you’re putting together, you’ll be able to bring in the kind of celebrity that will transform it from fun to legendary.

 

 


Billy Bones is the founder of Bookingagentinfo.com, which provides celebrity contact info for the official agents, managers, and publicists of celebrities. He also runs Celebrity Endorsers, which helps businesses identify celebrities to work with by tracking their endorsement history, interests, and the charities and causes that they support.

SpinGo | Awareness, Discovery, Decision: Sensible Marketing Ideas to Drive Event Attendance

Awareness, Discovery, Decision: Sensible Marketing Ideas to Drive Event Attendance

May 17 2017

As an event marketer, one of the most frequent questions event makers ask me is how much digital advertising is required to drive X number of attendees. In response, I usually encourage them to take a step back and consider the position digital advertising has within a larger, well-rounded marketing strategy. 

At SpinGo, we work with an “Awareness-Discovery-Decision” marketing approach. This method maps the strengths of different marketing channels to an audience’s attendance decision behavior pattern. It is a helpful exercise for every event maker to consider how different marketing channels (including, but not limited to, digital advertising) work in this Awareness-Discovery-Decision approach.

The three main components of this marketing framework are:

Awareness - The attendee is in her daily routine when an ad grabs her attention and makes her aware of an upcoming event. She is interested in attending, but she does not need to make an immediate decision to go.

Discovery (layered onto continued Awareness efforts) - While exploring upcoming things to do, the attendee discovers an interesting event. There is some urgency to finalize plans, and she shares the event information with her social circle to see if anyone else has interest.

Decision (layered onto continued Awareness and Discovery efforts) - The attendee finalizes her event plans. She searches online for the best ticket prices, artist info, venue info, and other important details related to the event. She makes sure everyone who’s going is on the same page.

Here is an exercise that demonstrates the value of a full range of marketing options in this Awareness-Discover-Decision reality:

 

 

Digital advertising is crucial to an event marketing campaign; it lays the foundation of awareness that you need to create an audience and validate your message to that audience. However, you are more likely to actually “believe what happened next!” than to see a digital ad, click on it, and purchase its offering in one sitting. An insightful, methodical event marketing campaign will include digital advertising as part of a complete mix of appropriate and creative channels.

SpinGo | Why Facebook Event Pages Work

Why Facebook Event Pages Work

April 25 2017

There are lots of ways to get the word out about your event online, including a Facebook event page. This is one avenue you don't want to skip!

If you think Facebook is a social media graveyard consider this - Facebook now has nearly 2 billion users who spend an average of 50 minutes per day on their platform. That’s about the same amount of time per day people in the U.S. spend eating! If you’re event isn’t on Facebook you’re losing out on a huge market. 

Here’s how to set up your Facebook Event page

  1. Click Events in the left menu of your News Feed.
  2. Click Create in the top right.
  3. Click to choose between a private or public event. If you're creating a public event, you can set the event's host as yourself or a page you manage. We recommend setting the host as yourself to open up the direct message feature.
  4. Fill in the event name, details, location, and time. If you're creating a public event you can:
    1. Select a category for your event
    2. Add keywords about your event
    3. Add a link to a ticketing website for your event
  5. Click Create.

Now that your event’s page is setup, you can really start to see the power of Facebook Events. 

Here are the Top 6 Ways to Get the Most out of Your Facebook Event Page:

  • Invite your friends to the event page. Inviting your friends to your event is like adding your event to their calendar for them. If they click that they are “Interested” or “Going” on your event they will get notified whenever you post on the event wall and they get reminders when the event is coming up. No arm twisting required. 
  • Share the event to your business page. People who follow your business page are likely to have an interest in the events you put on, so let them know of your awesome upcoming event!
  • Direct message people Interested in your event. Send interested attendees a message reminding them of your event, a cool update, or a link to purchase tickets. Reminder: you can only use the direct message feature when your event is owned by a person, not a business.
  • Post updates on your event wall frequently. Post photos and videos from past events! Use a countdown to the event date and creative messages to hype up the event. People who click that they are “Interested” or “Going” to your event will get notifications every time you make a post to the Event wall. 
  • Promote your Facebook Event page on Facebook. This will increase awareness and get people outside of your immediate circle interested in attending your event. Through Facebook promotion, our clients have seen an average increase in attendees “Going” to their event of 478.91%, and 394.28% increase in “Interested” attendees. 
  • Follow up. After your event, post photos from the event to thank those who went, and show those who didn’t go what they missed out on. 

Need help getting your event seen? At SpinGo we specialize in Event Marketing and Management, over 20,000 events have called on us to create, manage and optimize their digital advertisements. Click here or call (877)377-4646 to chat about your event’s digital marketing!

SpinGo | My Day of Unplugging:  Lessons Learned from 24 Hours Without Looking at a Screen

My Day of Unplugging: Lessons Learned from 24 Hours Without Looking at a Screen

March 03 2017

I’m a big fan of experiences, but I have to admit that sometimes I don’t enjoy them to the full extent. A lot of times my experiences are clouded by constant interruptions from notifications, pulling my attention away into my screen. Sometimes, I get pulled in so deep that the experiences don’t happen at all. Some nights I waste my time in front of my television WHILE scrolling through my phone at the same time (as if seven episodes of Gilmore Girls aren’t enough mental stimulation). My point is, we all have a hard time unplugging.

 

It’s amazing to see what happens when you unplug for a day. Allow me to paint a picture for you. It’s Saturday morning, I wake up to the sound of my alarm and head downstairs. Normally, I attempt to make some fancy breakfast food I found on Pinterest and my husband and I watch TV together while cleaning but not this Saturday. Today, I am going to unplug. I went 24 hours without looking at an electronic screen. Here’s what I learned:

 

Take Back Your Time


Typically, I feel like I never have enough time in the day. I feel like there are so many things I want to do, but my excuse is always “I have no time.” On my day of unplugging, I found out that I actually have a lot of time. My day of unplugging was full of moments where I would finish a task and say to myself “Well, now what?”. It was incredible. How much time do you spend aimlessly scrolling on your phone? The average American spends 10 hours a day in front of a screen—computers, video games, smartphones, tablets, etc. Imagine if you took all those hours, minutes, and seconds you spent looking at memes or binge watching Netflix and used them to learn a new skill or check out that local band you keep hearing about instead. Take back your time by getting rid of what I like to call your “filler phone.” “Filler phone” is used to take up the empty space in your life. It fills the empty space when we have nothing to do (or think there’s nothing to do). It fills the silence when we’re around people we don’t necessarily know. Fill your time with experiences and relationships instead of mindless screen time. There are so many events happening in our own communities and things to do. All you have to do is LOOK!

 

We were still just as happy spending time with our friends and probably even more so because our phones weren’t there to distract us from each other’s companies. The experience was greater.

 

Pics or It Didn’t Happen?


There’s an old saying that goes “If a tree falls in a forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?” I feel like I experienced a version of this on my day of unplugging. My husband and I went to a play that night with some of our friends. It was a fantastic play and a great night, but my phone never made its debut. 

 

I didn’t get to take pictures of my food before I started eating. I didn’t take a picture of my husband and I standing in the same pose we always are in all our other pictures. I didn’t post anything with the hashtag #datenight. 

 

So the question is, did it really happen? If my followers don’t see it, and I didn’t get to prove it to them, was it worth it? My answer is a resounding YES! The chicken alfredo I ate was STILL delicious even though I didn’t post a picture of it. It was even more delicious because it didn’t have time to get cold as I thought of some witty caption for my post. My husband and I still had a great night at the play. We were still just as happy spending time with our friends and probably even more so because our phones weren’t there to distract us from each other’s companies. The experience was greater.

 

Technology Crutch


Come to find out, I use technology for a lot of things in my life that I didn’t realize. Remember how I said I usually made some crazy Pinterest breakfast recipe on Saturday mornings? It’s hard to look up a Pinterest recipe when you aren’t allowed to use your phone, computer, or tablet. I was determined to keep the tradition alive, so I climbed on my counter to reach the top shelf and pulled out a cookbook my mom had given me a few years ago. After shaking off the dust of having never used a cookbook before, I searched for a breakfast recipe to make. Using the cookbook was really refreshing. 

 

On Pinterest, if you look up “Breakfast ideas” you’ll find thousands of pins. Most mornings it would take me 5 to 10 minutes of searching through pins, trying to decide what to make. Information overload. Too many choices. When I looked through the cookbook, my options were somewhat limited, making the decision-making process much shorter and just as delicious. 

 

When it came time to go to the play that night, we realized that we didn’t know how to get to the theater. I cheated a little and used my smartphone to call the theatre and ask for their address. Luckily, most of Utah is set up like a grid with north and south based streets, so we made it there, but I am not sure if it was the fastest way to get there. However, on the drive we got to see neighborhoods that we wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to see. 

 

At dinner, I was trying to tell our friends about a movie that had Rami Malek in it, but they were confused as they had never heard of the movie and didn’t know who that was. “Come on guys, the dude in Until Dawn!” Still puzzled looks. Normally, this is when I would pull out my phone and visit my ol’ pal IMDB, but not tonight. So instead, I just let it go and we switched topics. It made me really frustrated that I couldn’t validate myself and get them to know who I was talking about, but when I stepped back and looked at the situation, I couldn’t figure out why it mattered to me. It was just a movie. He was just an actor. I felt like the instant access to information that my phone supplies somehow made me more powerful and right. When I didn’t have the information at my fingertips, I felt almost as if my ego had been bruised because I couldn’t reassure myself (and everyone else) that I was right. It was disheartening to find out how much I used my cellphone as a crutch in just one day.

 

 

There’s something about a real life experience that fills you up and makes you feel whole.

 

You’re Missing Out


There’s a whole world out there waiting for you to experience it. So many of us spend our days with our faces glued to our screens. We seldom leave the comfort of our living rooms except when we absolutely have to. When we’re out with friends, many of us still have a hard time putting our phones down. 

 

On my day of unplugging, I saw what I was missing out on. Everything was really clear. I was able to focus all my attention on tasks I was trying to accomplish and the people who were physically with me. I was able to experience time with my S/O, my friends, and the play that I went to that night while feeling all the different emotions that came with those experiences. I feel like the times when I allow my screens to distract me, I don’t notice things. My mind is cloudy, and my attention is divided into a million pieces. 

 

There’s something about a real life experience that fills you up and makes you feel whole. It fills the void for the human connection that I think we are all searching for and that’s not something you can get from scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed or binge watching your favorite show for hours on end. It’s not the same type of happiness. This day of unplugging showed me that we not only need to get out and do something but also that while we’re out there, we should be all there. Put down your phones and go do something!

 

Free Yourself!


The greatest thing I learned from unplugging is that there is a feeling of freedom that I don’t allow myself to experience. When I spend too much time in front of a screen, my mind is filled with unimportant junk and it makes me feel heavy. I know it sounds crazy, but on my day of unplugging I felt lighter. I felt like I was thinking more clearly and I was thinking about things that actually mattered. I felt creative and happy and overall… FREE. It felt good to not be chained to my phone. It felt good to not have to succumb to every notification that pinged me throughout the day. It felt good to not have all the answers for once and to risk getting lost in our own city. Physically I felt better as well. I typically get headaches with sharp pain behind my eyes. It worsens when I look at a screen too long. Once I get the headache, it doesn’t go away. When I unplugged from my screens I also unplugged from my headaches. They were totally absent that day and when I lay my head on my pillow that night I got a great night sleep. I didn’t lay in bed and scroll through my social media for an hour and a half. The whole day was liberating.

 

Our devices are so much a part of our lifestyles. In those 24 hours, I felt like I was going through withdrawal, but my day of unplugging was so enlightening that I encourage all of your to try it! You don’t have to go a whole day, but maybe just try a night where instead of scrolling through your social media, you go out to an event with friends. Try going to a concert where your goal is to enjoy the music rather than posting a rad video on your social media. FInd out how freeing unplugging can really be. Experiences are greater!

 

Comment below and tell us what you are going to do when you UNPLUG!

 


 

 

Jonnie AndersonEvent Success Manager, SpinGo

Jonquille “Jonnie” Anderson is an Event Success Manager at SpinGo where she helps event makers to create their best event to date. Having worked with over 2000+ event makers, Jonnie has seen the pain of putting on an event and has worked to develop solutions for events both large and small. Previously a dance instructor and event staff member for the City of Las Vegas- Charleston Heights Arts Center, Jonnie is no stranger to events and the role that they play in our communities.

SpinGo | 10 Ways to Better Manage Your Event

10 Ways to Better Manage Your Event

March 02 2017

The greatest part of being an event success manager is getting to talk with event makers about their challenges and triumphs. As I’ve worked with event makers over the last three years, I’ve come to find that events are messy on the back end with so many moving parts. From selling tickets to finding the right venue to getting vendors, volunteers, and sponsors, there are so many pieces that need to come together for an event to be great. Not to mention there are many different types of people involved, including attendees, volunteers, sponsors, agencies, vendors, and more.

 

 

When it comes to revenue, there never seems to be enough. Event makers often don't have enough revenue until after ticket sales come through. I’ve worked with events that had to take out high-interest loans just to be able to pay for the event. 

 

At SpinGo, we’ve thought, “There’s got to be a better way.” Planning and managing your event shouldn’t be this chaotic and challenging.

 

It’s our goal to help you as an event maker to plan better events. So I’m going to discuss ten ways you can better manage your event with our Event Master platform. We created this platform to kill the chaos and to tie all aspects of your event together under one roof. It’s time to throw out those spreadsheets and paper applications. Get ready to simplify your processes so that you can have more time to amplify your event and more time for your life! Let’s get started!

 


 

#1 - Design Your Website to Reach Your Goals


You may not realize it, but your website can drastically affect your conversion rate. As you design your website, think of your goal. If you are like most of my event makers, you want the user to buy tickets. Make sure to design your website to help you reach your goals. A user typically spends less than 7 seconds on a webpage before moving on to something else. You have 7 seconds to get your user to buy tickets, sign up to receive emails, become a vendor. Whatever your objective, design your website so that the user is guided directly to that place. 

 

How can you do this? A large “Buy Tickets” button front and center would be ideal for getting your user to purchase tickets, or an automatic form that pops up would be best for collecting email addresses. Look at your website and notice where your gaze lands first. If it’s not in the place where your user can accomplish your goal, then rethink the layout and design of your site and get rid of any distracting content. 

 

 

As I said before, most of my event makers want the user to go online and purchase tickets. Another way you can design your website to reach your goals is to integrate your ticketing on the site. You can use a large “Buy Ticket” button or an iframe to integrate your ticketing experience in with your website. Iframes are great because the user doesn’t have to leave the page to buy a ticket. Think of your current ticketing experience. Is it easy for your user to buy? The more clicks and pages a user has to go through to buy, the more you’re going to lose on conversions. Create a better purchase experience and improve your conversion rates by choosing a platform and method of integration that makes it easy for your user to buy.  Better conversion rates bring in more pre-sale revenue before the event, which is always a win!

 

#2 - Customize Your Purchase Experience


The problem with most ticketing platforms is the lack of customization and styling available. We’ve found that users are often hesitant of buying from a third party site. To combat this, match your ticketing page as carefully to your website as you can for a seamless transition. You can implement your branding and tell a consistent story across all of your pages to help you to improve your pre-sale conversions. You want to make it so that your ticketing page looks like part of your site. All of the Event Master ticketing pages are customizable with pre-made themes and CSS coding.

 


 

You can also customize your purchase experience by selling more than just tickets. Event Master lists all your products on one page, and you can separate them into categories. For example, let’s say your event is selling t-shirts or bandanas. As a user buys their pre-sale admission ticket, they can simply add these additional products into their cart for a swift and secure checkout. Combining products with tickets helps you increase your sales because the user only has to pull out their credit card once. You bring in more revenue to the event and have a better idea of how much product you need to order.

 

 

#3 - Earn More Revenue with Pre-sale Tickets and Service Fees

 

Pre-sale tickets are your friend! I cannot stress this enough. Pre-sale tickets create shorter lines, revenue before the event, and a faster check in process. I highly encourage you to make pre-sales a priority. I know that some event makers shy away from pre-sales because of service fees, but in my experience as someone who works with events on a daily basis and as an attendee myself, modest services fees aren’t much of a deterrent. Attendees have come to expect fees when buying online. The real issue is that with most ticketing platforms the services fees are so standardized. There’s little negotiation. What you see is what you get. Users in this day and age are used to paying service fees online, so why not use them to your advantage? 

 

 

With Event Master, you can add additional service fees to your products and instead of those extra fees going to your ticketing company, you get to keep them. Our services fees are lower than most other ticketing platforms, this way you can add the difference back on as an additional fee. Your attendees pay that fee and you get to pocket the difference. See my full webinar for an in-depth example. Event Master also allows you to use your own merchant account. This way, you get paid for any revenue that comes through the system right away. I worked with an event who used to only take cash at the door. They switched their focus to push pre-sale tickets and they added an additional service fee to each ticket sold. Because of this, they no longer had to take out a high-interest loan in order to pay for the event. 

 

#4 - Create a Better Vendor Experience


Whenever I ask my event makers about how they handle vendors, the answer is almost always the same. The typical process for managing a vendor is usually long and tedious. First, the vendor picks up or prints out the application then fills it out. After it’s filled out, it has to be scanned, fax, mailed or physically returned to the office. The event maker approves or denies the vendor, tries to contact the vendor, and chases the vendor down for payment. After the vendor is approved, the event maker has to make sure the vendor has all the proper permits, needs to coordinate any additional set up (power, internet, etc. ), and has to assign the vendor to a booth space at the venue. On the day of the event, the vendors have to be checked in, and all their additional needs (power, internet, etc.) have to be taken care of. This is much too long of a process and too much information to keep track of on spreadsheets. I had one event maker say that she used as many as five spreadsheets for just the vendor portion of her event. That’s way too many spreadsheets! With Event Master, you can consolidate this process into just a few easy steps. 

 

 

Event Master allows you to create an online application with any specific questions you’d like to ask to screen your vendor. This application takes two minutes to fill out and is then sent to you where you can approve or deny it with the click of a button. They can then go and buy their booth space online. There’s no more chasing the vendor down for payment or crossing your fingers to make sure that their check clears. It takes all the stress off of you.

 

 

Once a vendor has purchased, you can then communicate with them through the system. This way you don’t need to jump from screen to screen to figure out what is going on with them. You can also create custom checklist items for each vendor. You’ll know who has gotten their permits to you, who you are still waiting on, and who needs additional items like power chords or internet. You can also assign the vendor to a space on your venue map. I’ve talked to a lot of vendors who love this feature because it allows them to know exactly where they will be placed before the event. With a lot of events, your vendors show up blindly. They will arrive and wait for your vendor coordinator to tell them where to go. By assigning your vendors on your venue map, it gives them clarity to where they are supposed to be set up and creates a better experience for both your vendors and your vendor coordinator. 

 

#5 - Make Your Schedules Accessible


One of the most common complaints I get from attendees is there isn’t often a clear schedule for an event. I know that if I am on the fence about going to an event, I’ll go online and look at the event schedule to help me decide. If you do not have your event schedule clearly posted on your site, I’ll assume that there isn’t much going on. This will factor into whether or not I go to the event. Be sure to make your schedule accessible to your audience online before the day of your event. You can create schedule items within Event Master with images, descriptions, videos, and guest profiles. This way, everyone including your attendees, volunteers, special guests, and performers all know what to expect at the event.

 

 

I went to a state fair once where there was quite a bit going on, but there wasn’t a clear schedule of events that I could see. I had to walk all over the venue to try to figure out what was going on. I know that some events will have a paper schedule at their event, but what happens if one of those schedule items gets changed. Are you going to reprint all of those schedules? Paper schedules can work as long as no last minute changes occur, but to be honest, whenever I get a paper schedule I always lose it or I try to give it to someone else because I don’t want to carry it around. Instead of distributing a paper schedule or having your attendees walk aimlessly around the event, you can use Event Master to put your schedule on your attendee app. This way, all your attendees have the schedule at their fingertips. Your attendees will know when, where, and what is going on at your event. You’ll also be able to send them notifications when schedule items get changed.


#6 - Organize Your Volunteers
 

Volunteers are a whole other leg of an event, but they are a significant leg! The volunteers you choose can make or break your event. The better volunteers you have, the better your attendee experience is going to be. So, how do you manage volunteers? If you’re like most of my event makers, you use spreadsheets or additional third party programs. With Event Master, you can bring your volunteer management under the same roof. The volunteer manager allows you to create, view, and assign shifts for your event. You can also send emails or texts to your volunteers from the system. When a volunteer is approved, they can see their shifts as well as any training materials that you have uploaded. This way, your volunteers will all be on the same page with things like your code of conduct, dress codes, etc.

 

 

#7  - Screen Your Volunteers


It is so important to screen your volunteers. Screening your volunteers allows you to get the best quality of volunteer. I remember once when I was checking into an event, I asked the volunteer working there if a particular band had begun playing yet. The volunteer wrinkled her face at me and said “How should I know?”. In my head, I was thinking “Well, why shouldn’t you know? You are working this event arent you?”, but it actually wasn’t the fact that she didn’t know that really bothered me. It was the fact that she had responded so rudely to me, a paying attendee. I was in a bad mood the moment I walked in the gate because of the way the volunteer had rudely responded. After all these years, I don’t remember what band was playing when I got there, but I do remember how that volunteer had made me feel. For this reason, it is extremely important to screen your volunteers. 

 

 

You can do this with Event Master by building a custom application. This application allows you to add in custom questions like “Can you stand for long hours?” or “Can you lift more than 25 pounds?”. You can also ask more job application type questions like “Tell us about a time that you practiced excellent customer service”. This is going to allow you to get the best volunteers available.

 

#8 - Delegate With Confidence 


As we all know, events have a lot of moving parts. You may have certain people that cover certain parts of the event like the volunteers or vendors. If you don’t, I encourage you to re-evaluate your event and see if there are parts of it that you can delegate to other members of your organization. This will help you to focus on amplifying your event. Delegation can be scary. You may be worried that things won’t get done or that members of your organization may be dishonest. We’ve thought about this at SpinGo and how we could make delegation easier for you as an event maker. 

 

 

With Event Master, you can give users certain access to the back end of the system. This allows you to see what others are working on without micromanaging. One of our event makers even found out that someone in his organization was giving away hundreds of dollars worth of stuff to his friends and family. He would’ve never known had he not had clarity for the rest of his event. You are only human! You shouldn’t have to handle all the aspects of your event, but you should be able to have clarity on them

 

#9 - Improve Your Check-In Experience


    My least favorite thing about any event is standing in line. I despise it. This is the reason I always try to buy a pre-sale ticket online. Normally, the presale check-in process is quicker than the at-door purchase process. However, some of the events I’ve attended had terrible check-in experiences. Our check-in app ties to Event Master to check in one or multiple tickets in a flash. This app can be downloaded on any IOS device and can also be used to sell tickets at the door as well. 

 

 

Some of the expos and larger events I’ve worked with have badges that need to be printed out and given to attendees when their tickets are scanned. Event Master can print badges on the spot for a quick and easy check in. I worked with an event once that decided to print all their badges out the night before and organize them alphabetically. This seemed like a good idea in theory, but sifting through 5,000 badges is actually very time-consuming, even in alphabetical order. We ended up shifting to printing the badges when the attendee checked in. This was a much faster process that only took two volunteers instead of four. This helped to improve the check-in experience for both the attendees and volunteers. The printers are also thermal, so they never run out of ink! You can also improve your check-in experience by practicing appropriate line control. By this, I mean clearly labeling which lines are which and having volunteers out front directing attendees. I don’t know about you, but if I find out I’ve been standing in the wrong line for awhile, it makes me very annoyed. Put yourself in the attendees' shoes and make sure you check in experience is the best it can be!

 

#10 - Amplify Your Attendee Experience


We love our attendees. We know that events would not happen without them.

 

Remember that state fair I was telling you about? It was a fun event, but I felt a little disconnected from the event because I didn’t know what was going on. They didn’t have a clear schedule, I didn’t know what vendors were there, or if any special spontaneous activities were being put on by sponsors. I’ve experienced the same disconnect at a lot of events I’ve attended. I felt like the whole experience could’ve been better if I had been more connected to the event. You need to connect your attendees to your event in every way possible to keep them coming back year after year. You can tie all aspects of your event into your custom attendee app. It puts event info into the hands of your attendees. From the app, your participants can view schedules, vendors, maps, guest profiles, and connect with social pages. You can also send them news items and push notifications to inform them of any changes, special deals, or messages from sponsors. This is going to make the attendee feel much more connected to your event and will create a better overall event experience.

 

 


 

There you have it, 10 ways to better manage your event. I know that as you apply these things to your events, you’ll be able to get rid of some of the stresses you face as an event maker. You’ll be able to amplify your event and keep the attendees coming back for more! 

To learn more about Event Master, click here

To listen to the entire webinar, click here.

SpinGo | The 5 Most Awkward Live Event Mishaps

The 5 Most Awkward Live Event Mishaps

February 28 2017

When people look back at the 2017 Oscars, the memory that will stand out above the rest will be the confusion and chaos that ensued on stage after Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty incorrectly announced La La Land as the winner for Best Picture. You could feel the embarrassment and awkwardness seeping out of your television screen as the La La Land crew tried to call up the real winners, the producers of Moonlight onto the stage. While this mix-up is one for the history books, where does it land overall in the list of most awkward mishaps at live events? Here is our list for the top five most awkward live TV moments.

 

1. Steve Harvey announces the wrong winner for the Miss Universe pageant

Much like the debacle we just witnessed at the Oscars, Steve Harvey was the original culprit for announcing the wrong winner at the 2015 Miss Universe competition. Instead of announcing the the winner of the competition, Steve Harvey awarded the First Runner Up, Miss Colombia, as Miss Universe and crowned her accordingly. Unfortunately for him and all the contestants involved, the real winner was Miss Philippines - who he had to announce as the real Miss Universe, transferring the tiara and sash from one supposed winner to the next.

 

2. Kanye interrupts Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech

Back in 2009, Taylor Swift was a young 19 year old emerging artist, nowhere near the world-famous popstar she is today. After winning the award for the Best Female Video at the VMAs, Taylor Swift started giving her speech, mentioning how she had always dreamed one day she would win this award, only to be cut off midway through her speech by Kanye West. Kanye took a moment and said, “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’m going to let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time. Of all time.” Beyonce looked completely aghast, and shocked, the crowd started to jeer, and the ever tense relationship between Taylor Swift and Kanye West began.

 

3. Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announcing the wrong Best Picture winner

We’ve already gone over the complete awkwardness of this event, but we will give you a fresh recap. While announcing the winner of Best Picture, Warren Beatty hesitated and looked at his co-host, leaving the audience in suspense before Faye Dunaway took the initiative and awarded La La Land as Best Picture. Looking back at the situation now, Warren hesitated because he knew the card was wrong, but it was all too late once his co-host took action into her own hands. The scene left a lot of people confused, and there was a lot of clarifying, and happy faces turned frustrated. Overall, it was a complete mess, but the fault lies more on the people handing out the cards, than the announcers reading them.

 

4. Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction

We had to reach back quite a few years to find this one, but every year when the big game comes around and the halftime show gets discussed, people ask each other if there will be another wardrobe malfunction. In fact, this past year, you could put money on whether you thought Lady Gaga would suffer a wardrobe malfunction. This growing concern all started back in 2004 when Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performed together at the halftime show. The performance was going well until Justin Timberlake “accidentally” tore off a piece of Janet Jackson’s shirt, leaving her chest completely bare. The network immediately cut off the cameras and the moment now lives on in infamy.

 

5. John Travolta introduces Idina Menzel as Adele Dazeem

In 2014, John Travolta was getting ready to introduce Wicked and Frozen star, Idina Menzel, but somehow ended up calling her Adele Dazeem. Later, Travolta would explain that he was told the name would be changed on the teleprompter to the phonetic spelling. When he got on stage, he wasn’t sure what name he was reading, and ended up saying Adele Dazeem. Luckily for both Travolta and Menzel, this slip-up was mostly humorous and there is no bad blood between the two.

SpinGo | Presidents’ Day: Attending Events Throughout American History

Presidents’ Day: Attending Events Throughout American History

February 20 2017

When we look back at moments in history, many of us look at the leaders who empowered us and shaped our culture. We also look at things like the wars we fought, diseases that plagued us, or any other large ripples in time that “defined” the history of our country. However, we seldom learn about the joy and the entertainment that everyday people experienced. Time has changed a great deal about the lifestyle of an American citizen, but the fun has never gone out of style. In celebration of Presidents' Day, we’d like to give a shout out to some of the most influential U.S. presidents and also celebrate the different events that brought us jubilance during each of their presidencies.

 


 

George Washington: 1789-1797

America was still in infancy when George Washington became the first president of the United States. The citizens of the newly formed America worked hard to build the country from the ground up, but there weren’t any established events during this time. The few leisure hours Americans had were filled with social gatherings and music. Many enjoyed social dancing in their communities. At night, members of the community would join together to practice traditional colonial dances, often held in taverns. Taverns became a popular place for people to socialize and they remain popular today in America. The nightlife scene has since evolved. Most nightclubs have replaced colonial jigs with twerking, whips, and nae naes but the truth remains the same: people love to drink, dance, and be merry!

 

Colonial Dancing at George Washington’s Mount Vernon

 


 

Abraham Lincoln: 1861-1865

Abraham Lincoln’s presidency will always be thought of in conjunction with the Civil War. It was a hard time for America as the country was divided over issues of civil rights, slavery, and secession. However, even in these dark times of war, there were still a few events that filled the leisure time of Americans. Social dancing remained popular in cities across the U.S. as a way to bring people together. The circus was a huge hit for families as it traveled from town to town. In 1863, P.T. Barnum of Barnum and Bailey’s Circus promoted the wedding of his two attractions, Tom Thumb and Lavina Warren, who both stood at about 2 feet 9 inches tall. State and county fairs had also become popular. These fairs were similar to those we see today with vendors, carnival games, and performers scattered across the fairgrounds. The theatre was a very popular form of entertainment during Lincoln’s presidency. Even Lincoln himself would often attend performances during his leisure time. Unfortunately, as we were taught in history class, President Lincoln was assassinated during a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre by popular actor John Wilkes Booth. 

 

Tom Thumb and Lavina Warren

 


 

Theodore Roosevelt: 1901-1909

The advances in the industrial revolution gave Americans much more leisure time. During Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency, events became more and more prevalent as people were looking for ways to fill their time with experiences. During this time, sporting events became more and more popular. The first Rose Bowl, World Series, and Tour de France all took place during Roosevelt’s term as president. It was a great time to experience sporting events as many world records were set, including one in 1904 set by Cy Young. Cy Young pitched a perfect game against the Philadelphia Athletics, ensuring that no opposing players stepped on base. The crowds went wild! In the world of college football, 18 players died in the 1905 season from injuries. Theodore Roosevelt met with the presidents of colleges including Yale and Harvard to encourage them to reevaluate and reform the game. This helped to shape football into the sport we know and love today. Strides were made in boxing as Jack Johnson became the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion. “The Galveston Giant” knocked Tommy Burns out of the top spot in 1908. The entertainment industry flourished during Roosevelt’s presidency. Barnum and Baileys and the Ringling Bros circuses combined to created “The Greatest Show on Earth.” This provided a fun experience for the whole family to enjoy as it traveled through America. Vaudeville performances started to pop up all over in clubs and venues. Vaudeville featured a wide variety of talented performers mostly specializing in dancing, singing, comedy, and often burlesque. Also taking the stage for the first time during this era were performances from the Ziegfeld Follies and the Babes in Toyland operetta. Two of the largest events during this time were the summer Olympics and the St. Louis World Fair. These two events actually happened at the same time in the same city! St. Louis hosted both of these massive events in 1904. Officially named The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, the St. Louis World Fair was held from April 30, 1904 to December 1, 1904. This multi-month exposition showcased international manufacturers, the newest in automobiles and travel, and advances in science. The ice cream cone also made its debut at the St. Louis World Fair (thank goodness).  The Olympics were held the summer of 1904 in St. Louis Missouri where 651 athletes from 12 countries came to compete. Unfortunately, because the Olympics and World Fair were held during the same time, the events of the Olympics became somewhat overshadowed by the chaos of the World Fair.

 

Automobile Parade at the St. Louis World Fair

 


 

John F. Kennedy: 1961-1963

Unfortunately, Kennedy’s presidential term was cut short during a parade in Dallas, TX. However, in the three years as president, there were many events for people to experience. The early sixties laid a lot of the groundwork for the pop culture we know and love today. The number of music concerts began to increase as popular music became more available to the general public. Bands like The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, and The Animals were all formed during Kennedy’s presidency. Bob Dylan made his debut at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963 as a guest of Joan Baez. He would later become one of the most influential folk singers of all time. The music industry was evolving to support different genres and artists. Motown music was also very popular in the early sixties with performances popping up all over in clubs and theatres as singers and musicians like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Dave Brubek took the stage. The Motor Town Revue left its residency in Detroit during 1963 to tour the east coast featuring popular Motown artists including The Supremes, The Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and The Marvelettes. In the world of sports, basketball games had become popular events as the NBA had been established about a decade earlier. During Kennedy’s presidency, Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single game for the Philadelphia Warriors, creating a 169-147 victory against the New York Knicks. In 1963, Sonny Liston floored Floyd Patterson 3 times in the Las Vegas Convention Center and Patterson was counted out at 2 minutes and 10 seconds into the fight. Patterson was allowed a rematch within the same year, but the rematch only lasted 4 seconds longer than the first fight. Liston remained victorious.

 

 Bob Dylan at Newport Folk Festival

 

The early sixties were also a time for civil rights and political movers and shakers. Protests, peaceful marches, and sit-ins began to spread across the country as citizens joined in the fight for equal rights for all races and genders. These short years helped to provide a foundation for the world we know and love today. 

 


 

Barack Obama: 2009-2017

Obama’s presidential term occurred during an exciting time. Advances in technology have given us more leisure time, made it possible for us to easily find, share, and promote events, and have given us the tools to put on better events. In this day and age, there are countless events for you to attend. The lists of summer festivals, sporting events, educational events, conferences, expositions, concerts, theatre performances, etc. are endless. Events are where we connect with others over similar interests and experiences. These experiences help to shape our culture and allow us to have FUN in this crazy world we live in. I could try to list all the events that occurred during Obama’s presidency but most of you reading this lived through that time and have a good idea of what events were popular. Instead, I’ll list a few of the events that I’ve had the pleasure of attending during Obama’s presidency. In 2009 I experienced Bite of Las Vegas, which is a large food and music festival showcasing the best in Las Vegas restaurants. This was my first real experience with a music festival. This is also where the band Imagine Dragons had a big break in Las Vegas as they took the stage to sub in for Train, who had gotten sick before the show. I love music festivals and try to attend as many as possible. Extreme Thing was another one of my favorite events to attend when I lived in Las Vegas. Extreme Thing is a music festival featuring different subgenres of rock bands plus they also feature extreme competitions for skate, BMX, and wrestling. During Obama’s presidency, I was also able to attend many theatrical performances including The Nutcracker, The Crucible, A Christmas Carol, Swan Lake, Phantom of the Opera, and Mystere by Cirque du Solei. Each performance was magnificent in its own way. My all time favorite event that I went to during Obama’s presidential term was, however, the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing. The atmosphere, the activities, and the competitions they have on Huntington Beach for that event are the perfect way to spend a week of your summer. Over the years I’ve also loved attending town celebrations and fairs, art exhibits, and expos. The number of events available to attend has been so numerous, that I haven’t been able to go to all the ones I’ve wanted to go to, simply because there is not enough time. This is truly an exciting era for events and experiences.

 

Vans U.S. Open 2015

 


 

Events help to shape American history and culture! Don’t spend your days sitting on your couch. Instead, find events near you and create experiences with your friends, family, or even complete strangers. Experiences are greater than things! So, be a part of history and go do something. 

We’d love to hear about your favorite event! Comment below and tell us your experience!

SpinGo | Do More This Valentine’s Day

Do More This Valentine's Day

February 14 2017

Going on out on dinner dates is fun, but we think there’s more to Valentine’s Day than over-priced meals in a crowded restaurant. So, we put together a list of things you and your sweetheart can go out and experience as a Valentine’s Day Alternative.

Dinner for two ($150) + Flower delivery ($60) + Box of chocolates ($15) + Teddy Bear ($35) = $260 Valentine’s Day.
 
OR

  • Concert for two ($150)
  • Sunset hike ($0)
  • Dancing ($20)
  • Go to a show ($80)
  • Take a cooking class ($100)
  • Walk through a new Museum ($20)
  • Aquarium ($40)
  • Tandem Bike Ride ($0)

Happy Valentine's Day!

SpinGo | Infographic: Silicon Slopes Tech Summit 2017

Infographic: Silicon Slopes Tech Summit 2017

January 25 2017

Thousands of entrepreneurs, marketers, and developers recently gathered in Salt Lake City for the 2-day Silicon Slopes Tech Summit 2017. The event gave attendees the opportunity to network with and learn from innovators within Utah's thriving technology industry.

SpinGo was in attendance as a sponsor as well as the official registration/ticketing platform, where we captured some interesting info. This infographic highlights a few facts we learned about the event:

 

SpinGo | 5 Common Online Marketing Mistakes For Events

5 Common Online Marketing Mistakes For Events

January 12 2017

Each day, I work with dozens of event makers to help build their marketing campaigns and develop a sound online marketing strategy. I see many campaigns come into my hands that have been meticulously thought out and planned to perfection, but I also see a fair share of campaigns that leave me wanting. Here are the 5 most common online marketing mistakes for events that I see, with solutions that will turn your campaign around.

 

1. Missing Call To Action

Every effective ad will contain a call to action (CTA) - a specific phrase intended to induce a viewer or reader to perform a single act, typically taking the form of an instruction or directive (e.g. buy now, get tickets, sign up today). When this vital piece of ad copy is left out of the advertisement, it leaves the reader directionless, and they will view your ad more as informative rather than directive. A simple call to action ties the whole ad together and encourages the reader to take an action. Including a call to action in your ads will improve your click through rate and increase conversions (a specific action you want ad viewers to take).

 

2. Lacks Urgency To Buy Online

Often, I’ll come across an event advertisement that is informative, relates to me, and has a clear call to action - yet doesn’t drive me to click on the ad. So, what’s it missing? In these cases, the ad lacks a sense of urgency to get me to complete an action at the exact moment I read it. All online advertisements should create a feeling of urgency within the ad viewer and provide an incentive to act now as opposed to waiting until the day of the event. Plus, a person who buys a ticket to your event in advance is much more likely to attend than somebody waiting to buy a ticket at the door. Luckily, there are a few easy tricks to create that urgency (or if you prefer to think about it this way, a sense of discomfort in your reader):

  • Use a promo code with an expiration date in your ad so they save money on tickets if they buy before your event.

  • Announce limited seating or that tickets sell out fast so they better buy today.

  • Mention Early Bird pricing. If people can save money by buying a ticket today, it will encourage them to act now. Create 3 pricing tiers with tickets getting gradually more expensive the closer it is to your event. This allows you to create urgency multiple times throughout your campaign.

  • Implement a countdown on your ads. Using phrases like “Only 10 more days until the event” or “Last week to purchase tickets” clearly lets readers know they have a limited time to act.

 

3. Ad Links To Irrelevant Landing Pages

Even when an event ad entices me to click on it, I frequently notice that I am lead to  landing pages that provide little information about the event. If you want to have better results from your ads, your landing page is the place to sell your event. Many of your ad viewers are hearing about your event for the first time and want to learn more about it. As a general rule, the most common reason somebody clicks on your ad is to learn more about your event since your ad can’t tell the whole story. Your landing page is the perfect place to share that story and explain why people should attend your event. This will give ad clickers the convincing reason they need to go ahead and buy a ticket. Your landing page should always include an option to buy tickets (if you sell tickets) or say how to attend your event.

 

4. Targeting Too Broad Of An Audience

One of the benefits of advertising online is that you have the ability to narrow your marketing to focus specifically on the type of people who would be interested in attending your event. However, too often, I see event makers try to paint with a broad stroke and don’t narrow their targeting, or worse, they simply say that their target audience is “everybody”. The problem with targeting everybody is that your ads become relevant to nobody. No matter what your event, you can narrow your audience to target the people who would be most likely to attend it. Get specific. The more specific you get, the more likely you will get the right type of people to your event.

Here’s a common example of broad targeting that I see fairly regularly. An event maker is hosting a concert and wants to get people there, so they target people who are interested in:

  • Concerts

  • Live Music

  • Music

Simply put, that targeting is far too broad and won’t attract the audience you truly want. Most every person in the world is interested in one of those three things, but not all of them would want to come to your concert. Take a moment and envision the person that you know would love coming to your concert. What are they interested in? What type of music do they like? Where do they shop? What websites do they visit online? What radio stations do they listen to? How old are they? These questions will improve your targeting and lead your ad to better results.

 

5. Not Enough Budget

I’ll try to step gingerly here as budget can be a difficult issue to address and is by far the most difficult of these steps to change. However, I do have a few suggestions that you should implement even if you have a meager budget to work with. Before I jump into the solutions of how to do online marketing effectively with a small budget, let me illustrate why I made this a point on my list.

I frequently come across online marketing campaigns that don’t have enough budget to make a significant impact on an event. I see people spend $15 on a three day campaign. That is not enough budget to create the awareness your event needs.

At SpinGo, we recommend a minimum daily budget of $25 per day for each campaign that you want to run. This type of budget will increase the number of people who see your event ad, the number of people who click on it, and the number of people who purchase tickets for your event. Spending $5 per day simply isn’t enough budget to get the word out to enough of the right people.

So how do you fix this problem? Here are 3 solutions:

  1. Plan Online Marketing Into The Budget From The Start

    Decide how many days you want to advertise your event, on how many different platforms, and do the math. If you want to advertise your event on 3 platforms, for 10 days each that would be 30 days * $25 to equal $750. Write that into the budget. You can adjust this to how much you can realistically spend on marketing.

  2. Ask For More Money

    This one is pretty straightforward. If you need more money to market your event, reach out to whoever is in charge of the budget and ask for more. If they say no or if you are in charge of the budget, reach out to sponsors and ask for sponsorship.

  3. Consolidate Your Budget

    If neither of those options work and you are stuck with what you currently have, consolidate your online marketing spend into bigger groups. Instead of spending $50 over 10 days, spend it over the 3 days leading up to your event. You will get more bang for your buck.

SpinGo | Your Best Event Ever: 17 Tips for 2017

Your Best Event Ever: 17 Tips for 2017

January 04 2017

The year has come to a close and as of 2016, SpinGo has worked with over 6 million events both online and onsite. Many event makers have shared their insights, struggles, and triumphs with us that reaffirm our belief that experiences are greater than things. As an event maker, you have the power to get people off the couch and out experiencing life. Events help to fulfill that need for human connection that everyone is searching for. It’s our goal to help you create better experiences for your attendees to keep them coming back time and time again. We know that putting on an event is challenging and an event can have over a hundred moving parts.  Based on our experience with events, attendees, and event makers, we’ve compiled the top 17 tips to help you create your best event to date.

When planning your next event, consider the following:

Pro-tip #1- Pre-sale Tickets

Pre-sale tickets are your friend! Pre-sale tickets can help generate revenue before the day of the event. The more revenue you can generate before the event, the more freedom you have to amplify your event. Pre-sales can also help cut down line times onsite, creating a better attendee experience.

Pro-tip #2- At-Door Ticket Pricing

If you have pre-sale tickets, make sure that the at-door tickets are most expensive. This will encourage attendees to buy their tickets beforehand. An early bird pricing model can help you to boost pre sales and generate revenue before the event takes place.

Pro-tip #3- Make Buying Simple

Is your ticketing platform easy to use? Remember, the more clicks it takes to buy a ticket, the more you will lose conversions. Look for ticketing platforms that make it easy for your user to buy tickets. A one page checkout for your online ticketing is ideal. You may want to consider embedding the ticketing on your site so that your customers won’t have to leave the page to buy a ticket. As an event maker, one of your main goals is probably ticket sales, so make it simple for your attendee to help you reach that goal.

Pro-tip #4- Think Like an Attendee

Put yourself in the attendees’ shoes when planning the event. Things like easy parking, venue location and accessibility, quick ticket lines, weather, traffic, and pricing can sway attendees who are trying to decide whether or not to come.

Pro-tip #5- Competition

Consider other competing events in that area and national holidays that fall within the same timeframe as your event date. Consider moving the event to a different date if there is too much competition within that timeframe.

Pro-tip #6- Clarity is Key

Clearly state ticket prices. Ticket prices can be a huge factor for attendees interested in your show. Don’t make your attendees search high and low to figure out your ticket prices. If children are free, make sure to include that on your flyers, posters, website, etc. Clearly state event details including location, schedules and times, and any other important information pertaining to the event.

Pro-tip #7- Advertise for Your Audience

When marketing the event, think of your demographic. Don’t waste time or money on platforms that your audience doesn’t typically use. Use copy and imagery that your audience will relate to.

Pro-tip #8- Landing Page

Make sure all your ads lead to the webpage with the most information about the event. Have a clear call to action on this page to buy tickets. A large “BUY NOW” button or embedded ticketing iframe can help to increase conversions.

Pro-tip #9- Time and Travel

Will people be attending from out of town? Consider holding your event near hotels so your guests won’t have to travel even further to get to your event. Consider travel conditions for those coming from out of town. Is your city Uber or Lyft friendly? Is your event easily accessible to all attendees? These are all things to consider as you plan your event.

Pro-tip #10- Grow Organically

Create a Facebook event page for your event. Have everyone in your organization share the event on their Facebook page and invite as many people as they can to the event. This will help your event awareness to grow organically (which is free!) and will create a snowball effect of friends inviting friends, etc.

Pro-tip #11- Lines at the Event

Two words: Line control. Have separate lines at the gate of your event. One line should be for people buying tickets and one should be for people who took advantage of presale tickets. Have signage, barriers, and volunteers directing attendees where to go. This also helps to encourage people to buy ahead of time because the presale line will always move faster than the ticket purchase line. It seems to be human nature to hate standing in line, especially when you are at an event to have a good time. Create a better attendee experience by practicing intelligent line control.

Pro-tip #12- Create a Retargeting Campaign

Consider retargeting in your online advertising campaigns. Retargeting is an excellent way to keep your ads in front of your audience. Your audience may need to see your ad a few times for it to make a lasting impression in their mind. Retargeting allows you to have your ads follow a user online. Each time they see your ad, they will be reminded of your event and will be encouraged to buy tickets. Learn more on how to use retargeting for your event.

Pro-tip #13- Create a Sense of Urgency

Most attendees will wait until the last possible moment to buy tickets. Combat this by creating a sense of urgency to buy tickets. Create a FOMO (fear of missing out) around your ticketing. Early bird pricing, giveaways, promo codes, timed sales, and a “tickets available” countdown can help to create urgency for your attendees to buy tickets.

Pro-tip #14- User- Friendly Website

Make your event website easy to navigate. We cannot stress this enough. A user will often spend less than 7 seconds on a webpage before they move on to something else. If it takes your attendee any effort to navigate through your website, they will most likely leave your site before they view the content that you’d like them to view. Make sure your website is user friendly with a clear call to action to buy tickets.

Pro-tip #15- Explore Advertising

Don’t put your eggs all in one basket. Advertise on multiple channels. Explore different forms of marketing to find out which ones bring in the most conversions. Find the channels where your audience is most likely to see and respond to your ads. Adjust your budget accordingly after you have enough data to see which platform is the best to advertise your event.

Pro-tip #16- Survey Attendees

Ask your attendees where they heard about the event. This will help you to know which forms of marketing are converting into ticket sales. Have volunteers survey the crowd. Feel free to ask your attendees questions that will help improve future events such as “What attracted you to this event?” or “What could have been done to improve your experience?” Sometimes raw feedback from your attendees can be the most beneficial.

Pro-tip #17- Traditional Forms of Marketing Still Work

Despite the challenges of tracking impressions, flyers, billboards, and posters can still create a good return for your event. Be strategic about where you place these forms of traditional marketing. Post in places where members of your target demographic are sure to be. Have a simple website address or QR code printed on your flyers and posters so that your audience can easily find more information and buy tickets.

Here’s to the end of another eventful year and to the start of an even better one! Use these tips to create your best event to date. We’d love to hear about your experiences as an event maker or attendee. Be sure to comment below with your insights! To schedule a free event consultation, visit us HERE. Happy New Year!

SpinGo | Infographic: NYE 2016 in Times Square

Infographic: NYE 2016 in Times Square

December 30 2016

The New Year's Eve Ball celebration in Times Square is one of the biggest events in the world, and it's also New York City's greatest tradition. Here are a few fun facts about what it takes to put on this huge event:

 

SpinGo | The Top 5 Inspirational Quotes for Event Makers

The Top 5 Inspirational Quotes for Event Makers

December 22 2016

It’s not easy to plan and promote an event. Here are a few quotes to inspire you through the tough times:

 

 

Sure, there’s never enough time in a day. But use deadlines to your advantage by forcing creativity and getting things done.

 


 

 

Executing an event is one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do. If you feel overwhelmed, try taking a breather to clear your head.

 


 

 

When it comes to creating an event, something inevitably goes awry. When it does, the best thing to do is to persevere through the challenge and find a solution, rather than dwelling on how it happened in the first place.

 


 

 

As an event maker, you have opportunities to lead and inspire the people with whom you work. Make them count.

 


 

 

You can define event success in many different ways. But if someone finds value in taking the time to attend, then you have indeed succeeded.

 


 

 

Jeff LewCreative Director, SpinGo

Jeff got his start telling brand stories as a copywriter for DDB Chicago, where he produced creative work for Wrigley, Altoids, McDonald’s, and Reebok. He joined SpinGo to help Event Makers tell their event stories and connect with audiences in meaningful ways. 

SpinGo | How To Use Retargeting For Your Next Event

How To Use Retargeting For Your Next Event

December 28 2016

You’ve probably heard of retargeting by now, but how does it work for your event?

Imagine someone reading your event flyer in front of a restaurant; she’s waiting for her group of friends to arrive. Before she reads the whole flyer she sees her friends and they go inside, leaving your flyer sad and unread. But, what if you could make sure she sees your poster again before your event? Well, that’s the idea of retargeting ads. Except it’s completely digital.

With retargeting, you’re making sure people who have already shown interest in your event by visiting your website or better yet – your ticketing page, see your event info again.

As most event makers know, just because someone shows interest in your event doesn’t mean they’ll end up going. By keeping your event on their radar, they’ll be more likely to buy a ticket and experience your event.

So, how do you setup your first retargeting campaign?

You can use most online advertising platforms for retargeting your event. We recommend using Google Adwords and Facebook Ads.

First things first – create your pixel.

The point of setting up the pixel (which is just a tiny piece of code) is so it can track people who have visited your site, and ultimately, so you can create lists of people you’d like to show your ads to. Whether or not you have immediate plans for a retargeting campaign, you should set up the pixel on your event site so it can start gathering data. For an effective SpinGo campaign, we like there to be a minimum of a month of data built up before we run an event’s retargeting campaign.

How to create your Google pixel:

Go into your Google Adwords account look on the left hand side under All campaigns and click on Shared library.

Now that you’re on the retargeting page, click view>> underneath Audiences.

You’ll most likely want the pixel to be on your website - this tracking setting keeps an eye on the people who have visited your website. But, if you have other goals to either get people to your app, track phone calls that come into your business, or you could already have a list of people you’d like to target, click the most applicable conversion tracking you’ll need.

Click Set up remarketing.

Now you should see directions for how to get your pixel code, and how to apply it to your website. Provide your email address below and follow the instructions provided. This part can be tricky, and you may want to consult your website manager for help if you’re unfamiliar with the backend of your website.

Here you can review your list that you’ve created from the data provided by your pixel.

Once the code is pasted in the proper place, it should be working smoothly. You can check that it’s working by downloading the Google Tag Assistant Chrome extension and it will read your website and tell you whether or not it’s running.

Create your Facebook pixel:

Log into your business manager Facebook account > assets > Pixels page.

For Facebook’s Pixel, you can now only create one pixel per account. If you’ve never created a pixel before your screen will look like this. Click Set Up Pixel to get started.

Choose the way you’d like to install your Pixel Code. You will most likely want to add the code to your event website, so choose the option – Copy and Paste the Code.

Here is the Base Facebook pixel code you need on your site. Copy and paste this code and follow the directions given by Facebook for how to install the pixel. You may want to consult your website manager or tech savvy nephew if things get weird.

Once you have the Base pixel installed, you now can create an “Event” for the pixel. Although we both love events, the Facebook Pixel Event is defined as an action that takes place on your website (not near as fun as the type of events we’re used to). That Event could be someone adding your ticket to their cart, a view on your ticketing page, or when someone purchases a ticket to your event. This next step is where you decide what you want to track. You’ll need to add this new string of code into your site as well.

Now your pixel is properly installed and (hopefully) running! Check if the pixel is working by going back to the Pixels page in your Facebook Business account and checking the status of the pixel.

Tip: On Facebook, you can import an existing list from an email or newsletter list you regularly send out.

Once you have enough data, you can create a campaign. When creating a retargeting campaign, you’ll want to get creative with the copy. These people have already seen your original ad or web page, and now need a sense of urgency to take action.  

We create and optimize retargeting campaigns for events, if you’re looking for some help in the area you can schedule a free consultation.

SpinGo | The Top 50 Events in the United States 2017

The Top 50 Events in the United States 2017

December 09 2016

If you’re looking for the top events in the USA to attend this year, look no further. If you’re just looking for the best events happening near you this week, click here. We’ve sifted through piles of extraordinary events and found the top 50 events happening around the United States (plus one in Canada) in 2017. So if you haven’t already added these killer events to your bucket list, now is the time to do so. In chronological order, here are the top 50 events happening in the United States in 2017.

 

Top Events in January 2017

 

CES

Las Vegas, Nevada
January 5-8, 2017
 
CES 2017 - Best Events USA

 

The holidays may be over, but if you’re a tech-guru, the good times keep on rolling at CES! At CES, you get the first look at the technologies that will change and shape the future, from wearable technologies to drones and virtual reality. Not only do you get to see new, innovative products, but you can attend seminars and listen to keynote speakers discuss their products and their visions of the future. CES is the ultimate techie paradise and it’s where tomorrow is on display. Learn more.

 
 

Run Disney Races

Orlando, Florida
January 2017
 
Run Disney 2017 - Best Events USA

 

If you need a break from the cold this winter, or don’t want to give up your exercise routine while you’re on vacation this summer, then the Run Disney Races are a perfect match for you. These themed races are hands-down the best themed races your find in America all year, with themes that only Disney World could pull off. Some of the races for 2017 include a Star Wars Half Marathon, Super Hero Half Marathon, and the Disney Princess Half Marathon! Dress up like your favorite characters from your favorite movies with hundreds of other runners decked out in costume! When you run Disney, every mile of your race is magic! Learn more.

 
 

Sundance Film Festival

Park City, Utah
January 19-29
 
Sundance Film Festival 2017 - Best Events USA

 

Started by Robert Redford in 1978, the Sundance Film Festival was created to attract more filmmakers to Utah. Nearly 40 years later, Sundance hasn’t just attracted more filmmakers to Utah, but it is the largest independent film festival in the U.S. and only the Cannes Film Festival in France can compare in scale. Thousands of actors, directors, producers, screenwriters, and celebrities make the trip to scenic Park City each January to watch the premier of their films and gather together as contemporaries. Downtown Mainstreet in Park City transforms from a quiet artsy getaway to a modern hang-out spot for 10 days of film screenings, concerts, parties, and seminars. If you need to take a break from all the movie viewing and need to stretch your legs for a bit, you are only minutes from hitting the world-class slopes that hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. Learn more.

 

Jam Cruise 15

Miami, Florida
January 20-25, 2017
 
Jam Cruise 15 2017 - Best Events USA

 

Jam Cruise is a one-of-a-kind music and vacation experience featuring 5 days of music aboard a luxurious cruise ship, the Norwegian Pearl. Now in it’s 15th sailing, Jam Cruise has grown into a coveted destination and a yearly retreat for both music lovers and artists alike. With multiple venues on the ship, around-the-clock onboard music, port stops in beautiful tropical locations, and some of the coolest fans on the planet, it’s easy to see what makes Jam Cruise so unique and special. Every year is a new adventure! 2017’s lineup includes The Original Meters, Moe, Griz, Galactic, and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. Jam Cruise is one of the most unique and fun filled ways to experience a music festival - so sign up today for your vacation festival! Learn more.

 
 

Key West Food & Wine Festival

Key West, Florida
January 25-29, 2017
 
Key West Food & Wine Festival 2017 - Best Events USA

 

Is there any better mix than eating some shrimp, sipping some wine, and relaxing on the warm beach next to clear blue water - all in the middle of winter? It’s time to take a break from the cold city offices and make your way down south to the Key West Food & Wine Festival where you’ll experience a series of wine a food themed events showcasing a diverse range of wines and inventive cuisine. During the four day festival, there are over 30 unique events including waterfront tasting, winemaker/chef collaborations, and local funky events that present an authentic taste of Key West. The festival attracts thousands of culinary explorers from around the country who escape the winter to delight their senses. Learn more.

 
 

Top Events in February 2017

 

Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

Moscow, Idaho
February 23-25, 2017
 
Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival - Best Events USA

Since the 1960s, the University of Idaho Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival is one of the largest and oldest educational jazz festivals in the world. With over 400 student performances, a dozen world-class jazz artists and nearly 100 workshops, clinics and special exhibits, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival honors the music, dance and history of jazz music and one of its most honored artists, Lionel Hampton. Learn more.

 
 

Wanderlust

Oahu, Hawaii
February 23-26
 
Wanderlust Oahu 2017 - Best Events USA

 

Wanderlust is a week-long transformational retreat that brings together world-class teachers, tastemakers, and experts in mindful living in a fun-filled, creative environment. At Wanderlust, the goal is to find your true north. True north is not a final destination: it’s a path, a journey, and a yearning to explore and connect to your life’s purpose. Choose your own adventure at this event with options ranging from multi-level yoga and meditation sessions, mouthwatering organic and whole foods, heart-pumping music, inspiring lectures and workshops, and boundary-pushing activities including bike tours, horseback riding, eco kayaking. Find your true north at Wanderlust 2017. Learn more.

 
 

Mardi Gras

New Orleans, Louisiana
February 28, 2017
 
Mardi Gras 2017 - Best Events USA

 

Mardi Gras surely takes the king cake for what has to be one of the most unique and constant party events in the United States. If you’re into partying, revelling, and just having a care-free good time, Mardi Gras is the event for you. Yes, Carnival is celebrated in many countries and cities throughout the world, but Mardi Gras in New Orleans is the only festival of it’s kind in the US. Celebrate Fat Tuesday by throwing on some beads, dressing up (or down) in costume, and watching the Parade roll on through the famous French Quarter of New Orleans. This is one event that everyone should have on their bucket list. Learn more.

 
 

Top Events in March 2017

 

The Lantern Fest

Dallas, Texas
March 4th, 2017
 
Lantern Fest 2017 - Best Events USA
 

By now, you are sure to have heard about Lantern Festivals happening throughout Southeast Asia, some of the largest happening in Thailand, Taiwan, and China. While you may not be able to afford the trip to Thailand to visit the Lantern Festival, you can wait for it to come to you with the Lantern Festival! Each year, the Lantern Fest travels through the United States to cities near you to bring to you a truly unique experience. At each event, hundreds and thousands of lanterns get lit and slowly take off into the air. You won’t experience any festival quite like the Lantern Festival. Learn more.

 
 

Iditarod

Anchorage, Alaska
March 4-19, 2017
 
Iditarod 2017 - Best Events USA

 

Dubbed as “The Last Great Race”, Iditarod is a dog sled race that takes place every March in Alaska. The race covers 1,049 miles since Alaska was the 49th state in the US. Mushers along with their dogs travel the trail from Anchorage to Nome in the cold Alaskan snow, bracing fierce winds and heavy snow. But if you don’t think standing around in the snow waiting for a dog sled to pass you by sounds like your cup of tea, you can take part in the celebrations happening around Anchorage and Nome including the Awards’ Banquet and the IditaRider Meet & Greet and Pizza Lunch. If you are looking for an event that will truly be one-of-a-kind, don’t miss out on Iditarod, because there is truly nothing else like it. Learn more.

 
 

Hamilton

New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago
March 10 - December 30, 2017
 
Hamilton - Best Events USA

 

Hamilton: An American Musical is the Broadway play that has taken the stage by storm. Tickets have been selling for nearly a thousand dollars on reselling sites, but now, Hamilton is going on tour. So if you haven’t had the chance to make it out to New York to see it live, Hamilton will be coming to a city near you starting in 2017. The musical itself is about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton determined to make his mark on the new nation as hungry and ambitious as he is. George Washington, Eliza Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and Aaron Burr all make their mark in this astonishing new musical exploration of a political mastermind. Learn more.

 
 
 

Holi Festival of Colors

Spanish Fork, Utah 
March 25 & 26, 2017
 
Holi Festival Of Colors 2017 - Best Evnets USA

 

The Holi Festival of Colors in Spanish Fork, Utah is the largest Holi celebration in the United States - with tens of thousands of attendees showing up to douse each other in color! In India, Holi announces the arrival of spring and the passing of winter. The festival breathes an atmosphere of social merriment and every nook and corner presents a colorful sight! Every half-hour, the crowd gathers together to toss their colors up in the air to create a giant cloud of color you can see from miles away. If you haven’t left the festival covered in color, you haven’t celebrated right. Learn more.

 
 

Top Events in April 2017

 

Masters Golf Tournament

Augusta, Georgia
April 4-10, 2017
 
The Masters Golf - Best Events USA

 

You may never earn yourself an infamous green jacket, but you can experience the tradition of this deep rooted tournament during its 83rd year at the Augusta National Golf Club. Sports-lovers put this tournament at the top of their bucket list, and you should too. Between the traditional par-3 contest, the (generally) beautiful weather and gorgeous golf course there’s no reason to not want this event on your 2017 calendar. Learn more.

 
 

Coachella

Coachella Valley, California
April 14-16 & 21-23, 2017
 
Coachella 2017 - Best Events USA

 

When you think about Coachella, you imagine the warm California nights, a crazy weekend party, and listening to the most famous artists and bands the world has to offer. But one thing you may not think about as much is how Coachella isn’t just a music festival, but is also an arts festival. You no doubt have seen the iconic images of a giant caterpillar or butterfly that make Coachella artistic and creative in a way no other event can compare. There are two different weekends for Coachella this year, so if you can’t make it one weekend, you can make the other. Learn more.

 
 

The Boston Marathon

Boston, Massachusetts
April 17, 2017
 
Boston Marathon 2017 - Best Events USA

 

The Boston Marathon is the marathon of all marathons in the United States. Each year, thousands of avid, world-class runners race multiple marathons hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but only so many make the cut. Olympic runners from all over the world compete in the Boston Marathon, completing the race in jaw-dropping times on one of the world’s fastest courses. If you aren’t a runner competing in the race, you can stand on the sides cheering on the runners as they pass by, or run in the 5k, Invitational Mile, or Relay Challenge! Learn more.

 
 

Tribeca Film Festival

New York, New York
April 19-30, 2017
 
Tribeca Film Festival 2017 - Best Events USA

 

Need an excuse to experience the rich culture New York City has to offer? The Tribeca Film Festival is a platform for creators and community members to consider how film, culture, and art affect the world and city in which we live. This event will host 500+ film screenings, 222 filmmakers, and over 30 virtual reality projects to take part in. Learn more.

 
 

TED 2017

Vancouver, British Columbia
April 24-28, 2017
 
TED 2017 - Best Events USA
 

If you’ve ever found yourself in an endless loop of watching TED Talks like us, you should consider going to their conference this year. When you go to a TED conference you spend a week amongst life-changing speakers where you hear new ideas, technologies, music, comedy acts and more. These conferences also include art exhibits, dinners, parties and wellness activities like running and yoga. Take a week for yourself and sign up for this year’s TED 2017 conference. Learn more.

 
 

Eeyore's Birthday Party

Austin, Texas
April 29, 2017
 
Eeyores Birthday Party 2017 - Best Events USA

 

Every year during the last weekend of April, the people of Austin come together for one of the most unique events of the entire year to celebrate Eeyore’s birthday. This family-friendly festival takes place annually in Pease District Park and features live acoustic music, all-day drumming circles, games and colorful maypoles. Costumes are strongly encouraged at the lovable Winnie-the-Pooh character’s party! Learn more.

 
 

The Great American Foodie Fest

Las Vegas, Nevada
April 2017
 
The Great American Foodie Fest - Best Events USA

 

This is the only event in western America where you can find the best food trucks, vendors, and specialty foods all in one location. With over 50 food trucks that drive in from all over America, Foodie Fest is 2017’s most delicious event. Join the 50,000+ attendees in Las Vegas to eat your weight in delicious foods this April. Learn more.

 
 

Top Events in May 2017

 

Tulip Time

Holland, Michigan
May 6-14, 2017
 
Tulip Time 2017 - Best Events USA
 

As surely as the sun rises each morning, each spring you know the city of Holland, Michigan will be an incredible sight as 4.5 million tulips burst forth and bloom! The city, named after the Tulip Capital of the world, celebrates its Dutch heritage and culture with food, music, 1,500 wooden clogs, and millions of tulips! You’ll really feel like you’ve travelled across the pond to old time Holland as you celebrate this event in Holland, Michigan. Learn more.

 
 

Tour of California

California
May 11-20, 2017
 
Tour of California 2017 - Best Events USA
 

The Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California’s iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring. The best cycling teams from around the world come together to compete in the Tour of California including Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and World Champions. If you’re a cycler, a cycling enthusiast, or just an experience collector, the Tour of California is as close as it gets to watching the Tour de France. Learn more.

 
 

The Preakness Stakes

Baltimore, Maryland
May 20, 2017
 
The Preakness Stakes 2017 - Best Events USA

 

Held on the third Saturday in May each year, the Preakness Stakes is the second jewel of the Triple Crown. While the Kentucky Derby kicks off the horse racing excitement - the Preakness Stakes is where the dreams of a Triple Crown champion are made. This deciding race is held just two short weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks before the Belmont Stakes. But this event isn’t just about the horses - it’s about getting dressed up, putting on your hat, drinking a couple drinks, and fraternizing at the club. You want to make sure to show up plenty early so you can get the full experience out of The Preakness Stakes. Learn more.

 
 

Sasquatch! Music Festival

The Gorge, Washington
May 26-28
 
Sasquatch! Music Festival 2017 - Best Events USA

 

The music festival season kicks off each year over Memorial Day Weekend with Sasquatch! Music Festival at The Gorge Ampitheater. All-star lineups play the stages as Sasquatch! For three days, and each night attendees return to their tents to camp out with their friends. But if camping isn’t really your thing, but you still want to attend Sasquatch! To see your favorite artists play, you can sign up for the luxurious glamping options. You’ll still be in a tent, but you’ll have your own bed, electricity, heat, and pillows so you can jam to music in the ultimate comfort. Keep your eye out for this years lineup, as it may just be the best yet. Learn more.

 
 

Spoleto Festival USA

Charleston, South Carolina
May 26 - June 11, 2017
 
Spoleto Festival USA - Best Events USA

 

For 17 days and nights each spring, Spoleto Festival USA fills Charleston, South Carolina’s historic theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists as well as emerging performers in opera; theater; dance; and chamber, symphonic, choral, and jazz music. Now approaching its 41st season, Spoleto Festival USA is internationally recognized as America’s premier performing arts festival. If you’re interested in the performing arts, this is the festival for you. Learn more.

 
 

Top Events in June 2017

 
North American Sand Soccer Tournament
Virginia Beach, Virginia
June 9-11, 2017
 
North American Sand Soccer Tournament

 

If you love the beach, and love playing soccer, don’t forget to register to take part in the North American Sand Soccer Tournament. When there is no World Cup or Euro Cup to keep you glued to your television screen, go outside and hit the beaches as teams gather to play to win the cup! The NASSC is the world’s largest amateur beach soccer festival - stretching over 20 blocks and more than 9,500 participants competing for the cash prize! Enjoy the June sun and watch some world-class beach soccer! Learn more.

 
 

EDC Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada
June 16-18, 2017
 
EDC Las Vegas 2017 - Best Events USA

 

The biggest dance music festival in the US - the Electric Daisy Carnival - brings in the world’s best DJs, more than 300,000 spectators, and more glow stick and art fixtures than you can count - all held in the world’s biggest party city of Las Vegas. Every year, people show up to look at the giant metal art, 3D superstructures, dance in the glow in the dark environment, and listen to the world’s most famous DJs. Experience the heat of the 21st EDC Las Vegas in full force this year! Learn more.

 
 

Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

Aspen, Colorado
June 16-18, 2017 
 
Food & Wine Classic in Aspen 2017 - Best Events USA

 

Each year, the world's most accomplished winemakers, celebrity chefs, and culinary experts come together in one breathtaking setting, the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. Don't miss the opportunity to experience the pinnacle of good taste, mingle with stars, and enjoy a pleasure-packed weekend at the base of spectacular Aspen Mountain. Learn more.

 
 

Top Events in July 2017

 

Summerfest

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
June - July 2017
 
Summerfest 2017

 

Welcome to America’s largest music festival: 11 days, 11 stages, over 800 acts, 1,000 performances, and nearly 900,000 of your closest friends. Set on the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan, Summerfest provides the backdrop for the music industry’s hottest stars, emerging talent, and local favorites to create unforgettable live music experiences in a world-class festival setting. You don’t want to miss out on Summerfest 2017 as it will be the biggest year yet as Summerfest celebrates it’s 50th year! Learn more.

 
 

Fair St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri
July 2-4, 2017
 
Fair St. Louis 2017

 

In America, there is no greater reason to throw a party than to celebrate the freedom and independence of the country we live in, and nobody throws a better 4th of July party than the city of St. Louis. Hundreds of thousands of attendees go to listen to fantastic music, play in the Family Festive Zone, ride on the zip line and human slingshot, and of course, watch the spectacular firework display. Fair St. Louis is America’s Biggest Birthday Party, and you don’t want to miss it. Learn more.

 

Taste of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois
July 5-9, 2017
 
Taste of Chicago 2017 - Best Events USA
 

Labeled as the nation’s largest premier outdoor food festival, the Taste of Chicago showcases the diversity of the Windy City’s dining community. The event features a smorgasbord from the city’s favorite dining locations and hip, new up-and coming restaurants. No matter what type of food you are craving, you are sure to find it at the Taste of Chicago, as well as foods you’ve never heard of before. You can order a traditional deep-dish pizza, a polish dog, order some new modern american cuisine, or taste samples of foods from every continent. You don’t want to miss out on this annual event, which brings in more than a million people each year. So come hungry and leave happy at the Taste of Chicago. Learn more.

 
 

Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

Santa Fe, New Mexico
July 14 - 16, 2017
 
Santa Fe International Folk Art Market 2017 - Best Events USA
 

The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market was voted the Best Art Festival in the United States by USA Today. Each year, the market hosts artists from around the world and over 20,000 visitors come to experience the art and enjoy international food and music. Not only that, but this event impacts more than the lives of the spectators who come to visit. The artists who attend take home 90% of their earnings, giving them the opportunity to serve as catalysts for positive social change in their communities by improving employment, healthcare, education, and well-being. Learn more.

 
 

Northern Nights Music Festival

Piercy, California
July 14-16, 2017
 
Northern Nights Music Festival - Best Events USA
 

If you enjoy camping, swimming, hanging out in the wilderness, and listening to some sweet tunes, Northern Nights Music Festival is the perfect music festival for you. Imagine listening to your favorite band play live on stage while you chill on your tube in the river or camping with all of your friends in some of America’s most scenic countryside. Northern Nights Music Festival is America’s boutique camping festival. Get ready for a weekend of camping, floating the river, and partying with your friends all night long! Learn more.

 
 

Frontier Days

Cheyenne, Wyoming
July 21-31, 2017
 
Frontier Days - Best Events USA
 

Take a step back into the wild wild west at Cheyenne’s Frontier Days. Since 1897, Cheyenne has celebrated its Old West roots with this eye-popping festival. The centerpiece is the world’s largest outdoor rodeo. Complementing the daily rodeo action are behind-the-chutes tours, trick riding and a wild-horse race. A Native American Village, an old frontier town, a saloon, dancing, a chuck wagon cook-off, pancake breakfasts and an art show carry through the frontier theme. Rounding out the program are a carnival midway, an air show, top-name entertainment, professional bull riding shows and several parades that include antique carriages and automobiles. Learn more.

 
 

Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships

Oahu, Hawaii
July 30, 2017
 
Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championship - Best Events USA
 

Grab your boards, hit the beach, and get your wet suits on for the Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships! Each year, the top paddleboarders in the world gather to race 32 miles from Kalua Koi on Molokai to the beach at the Maunalua Bay Beach Park bath house on Oahu. The race provides the most challenging course for participants and extreme fun for everybody participating, and is a hit with both contestants and spectators alike. Learn more.

 
 

Top Events in August 2017

 

Maine Lobster Festival

Rockland, Maine
August 2-6, 2017
 
Maine Lobster Festival - Best Events USA
 

When you think of Maine, the first things to pop into your mind are beautiful coastlines, lighthouses, and delicious, red lobsters - and you wouldn’t be wrong. Maine is nationally and internationally known for being the state that brings in some of, if not the best lobster in the world. Dating back to 1947, the Maine Lobster Festival has been an annual tradition in Rockland bringing in thousands of visitors each year to try and taste the freshest lobster around. So when you get planning your Maine vacation for this summer, make sure to plan it around the Maine Lobster Festival. Learn more.

 
 

Iowa State Fair

Des Moines, Iowa
August 10-20, 2017
 
Iowa State Fair - Best Events USA

 

The Iowa State Fair is one of the largest state fair’s in the United States attracting more than a million people from all over the world annually, it’s a proud salute to the state’s best in agriculture, industry, entertainment and achievement. It is the true heartbeat of the Midwest, unequaled and unduplicated and an event that should be experienced by all. Learn more.

 
 

Outside Lands

San Francisco, California
August 11-13, 2017
 
Outside Lands 2017 - Best Events USA

 

Come along and live outside with Ranger Dave at Outside Lands 2017! Every August, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park transforms into an otherworldly celebration of music, food, wine, beer, art and comedy. The lineup for 2017 has yet to be announced, but major headliners from 2016 included Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, Lionel Richie, Lana Del Rey, J.Cole, Sufjan Stevens, Chance the Rapper, Beach House, and more! If you are a music junkie, Outside Lands needs to be on your bucket list of music festivals to attend in 2017. Learn more.

 
 

Best In The West Nugget Rib Cook-Off

Sparks, Nevada
August 30 - September 4, 2017
 
Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off 2017 - Best Events USA

 

The Best In The West Nugget Rib Cook-Off is America’s biggest and best free-entry barbecue festival! You’ll take part in country’s best grilling competition, located at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada. Two dozen of the world’s top bbq competitors serve up more than 240,000 pounds of ribs for hundreds of thousands of hungry event-goers on Victorian Square. And as a bonus, admission, parking, shuttles, and entertainment are always free! So if you’re looking for some good barbecue this summer, book a trip to the Best In The West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. Learn more.

 
 

Top Events in September 2017

 

New York Fashion Week

New York, New York
September 7-14, 2017
 
New York Fashion Week (NYFW) 2017 - Best Events USA
 

Twice a year, the fashion world turns it’s attention to New York to see the new collections from the world’s best designers. Runway after runway is filled with models donning the styles that the world will be wearing during for the next six months. However, the runways aren’t the only place where you can participate in New York Fashion Week. All week long pop-up shops, runway studios, soirees, parties, and exhibitions fill the city - many of them free to attend. So if you can’t score a ticket to the show, don’t fret - there is still plenty of ways for you to participate. You may even spot Anna Wintour walking into a show! Learn more.

 
 

Oktober Zinzinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio
September 15-17, 2017
 
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 2017 - Best Events USA

 

Every September, downtown Cincinnati turns into the nation’s largest Oktoberfest celebration, drawing in a crowd of 500,000. The celebration kicks off with the annual running of the Wieners, 100 dachshunds donned in hot dog bun costumes race down the street to be crowned the champion. There is plenty of food and drink to keep the foodie satisfied and entertained the entire weekend from Beer Stein Races and Beer Barrel Rolls to dancing in the world’s largest chicken dance. Learn more.

 
 

New York City Pizza Run

New York, New York
September 2017
 
New York Pizza Run 2017 - Best Events USA
 

There are some pretty creative 5ks that happen each year around the US, but where else could you possible host the pizza run other than New York City? Famous for it’s large assortment of pizza parlors, New York City hosts the Pizza Run every September. The NYC Pizza Run is a challenge in which participants aim to complete a 2 mile run while stopping to eat three slices of pizza at checkpoints throughout the course. In a food obsessed metropolis where people are always on the run, putting together an event which pays tribute to some of the city’s most defining characteristics seemed like a no-brainer. Grab your appetite and running shoes and don’t miss the NYC Pizza Run this fall! Learn more.

 
 

Top Events in October 2017

 

Great American Beer Festival

Denver, Colorado
October 5-7, 2017
 
The Great American Beer Festival 2017 - Best Events USA
 

Watchout Oktoberfest, there’s a new beer festival in town. The Great American Beer Festival is the premier US beer festival and competition. Each year, the Great American Beer Festival represents the largest collection of US beer ever served, in the format of a public tasting event plus a private competition. In other words, it means that you have access to a lot of really good beer from all across the country. Not only that, but you can meet and chat to the actual brewers of your new favorite craft beer while you snack on cheeses that have been paired perfectly with the beers. Oh, and did we mention that you also get to dress up in crazy costumes? So come out, try a new domestic beer, and see why America has the best craft brewing industry in the world. Learn more.

 
 

Austin City Limits

Austin, Texas
October 6-8 & 13-15, 2017
 
Austin City Limits 2017 - Best Events USA

 

Austin City Limits has grown to be one of America’s biggest music festivals. 2017’s festival will feature two weekends of lineups, 8 stages, over 110 bands, art markets, phone charging stations, and they’ve brought in some delicious festival food. In the heart of Austin, TX, this festival takes over Zilker Park for a convenient choice of camping, or snagging a hotel in the city. If you’re looking for the ultimate music fest experience in 2017, this is the place for you. Learn more.

 
 

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque, New Mexico
October 7-15, 2017
 
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta - Best Events USA
 

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a world-renowned attraction and destination for kids of all ages. For nine days in October, the New Mexico skies are painted as hundreds of balloons lift off from Albuquerque's Balloon Fiesta Park. Nothing rivals the power of Mass Ascension on crisp early mornings as these graceful giants leave the ground to take their place in the cerulean desert sky. For ballooning fans worldwide, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a pilgrimage. There's something for everyone to enjoy: whimsical special shapes filled with equal parts of hot air and wonder, and Balloon Glows that create a magical night landscape for spectators to wander. No matter who you are, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta will leave you awestruck and wanting more. Learn more.

 
 

Highball Halloween

Columbus, Ohio
October 20-21, 2017
 
Highball Halloween 2017 - Best Events USA
 

Get ready for the nation’s most elaborate Halloween costume party at Highball Halloween! This is no ordinary costume party, it is the only Halloween event where couture meets costumes. This yearly event bridges runway style with the culture of the Short North Arts District in Columbus, Ohio. At HighBall Halloween, you are what you wear. What once started out as a one night event in 2008, has turned into a wild weekend of Halloween fun featuring a street party, live art, electrifying stage performances, a public costume contest, and of course, the feature event, the Battelle Costume Couture Fashion Show. Learn more.

 
 

Formula 1 United States Grand Prix

Austin, Texas
October 20-22, 2017
 
Formula 1 United States Grand Prix
 

Without a doubt, Formula 1 racing is the world’s most exciting, glamorous, demanding and prestigious motor racing series, and it is the most popular annual sporting series worldwide. From Monaco to Austin, these top-tier drivers bring their cars and their talents to drive towards the drivers’ Championship. Now, with a new track built in 2012 near Austin, Formula 1 makes an annual visit to the capital city as the eighteenth race of season, a race which could decided the hotly-contested drivers’ Championship. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to be a part of history and witness the best drivers in the world race it out on the 3.4 mile track! Learn more.

 
 

Fantasy Fest

Key West, Florida
October 21-30, 2017
 
Fantasy Fest 2017 - Best Events USA
 

Fantasy Fest is an annual 10-day party in paradise for grown-ups. Started in 1979 by a small group of Key West locals, the party was created to bring visitors to the island in what was a typically quite, beautiful season. It worked. Fantasy Fest has grown every year since its inception and is now the wildest extravaganza around! Fun-loving revelers from around the globe bring their creativity and imaginations as they descend upon Key West each year in October for 10 days filled with costuming, parades, libations, and excitement! Fantasy Fest is like a mix of Burning Man, Mardi Gras, and Cosplay all brought together in one perfect location. Learn more.

 
 

Village Halloween Parade

New York, New York
October 31, 2017
 
Village Halloween Parade 2017 - Best Events USA
 

New York City knows how to celebrate Halloween. Each year, the city shuts down 6th Ave so the costumed participants can show off their costumes to the residents of the city that never sleeps. The Village Halloween Parade is the nation’s most wildly creative public participatory event, with thousands of New Yorkers marching down 6th Ave in their costumes. In order to be a part of the parade participants must be wearing costumes. The theme for 2017 is yet to be announced, so stayed tuned! But this year, you won’t want to miss the chance to be apart of this Halloween celebration! Dress up, and get ready to march along side hundreds of puppets, bands, dancers, and artists! Learn more. 

 
 

Top Events in November 2017

 

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

New York, New York
November 23, 2017 
 
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - Best Events USA
 

Before America begins its yearly feast and settles in to watch some football, all eyes turn to New York City and the classic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. You’ll see giant balloons, marching bands, floats, celebrities, dancers, and more at this yearly tradition. But as fun as it is to watch the parade from your own home, nothing can match watching the parade in person. So before you go and get your yearly fill of turkey, enjoy one of America’s most beloved traditions, and take in all the sights and sounds that come with it! Learn more.

 
 

Festival of Lights

Riverside, California
November 25th - January 7th, 2017
 
Festival of Lights 2017 - Best Events USA
 

For 24 years The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa have presented the thousands of lights along with multiple events like the Switch-On Ceremony, Santa Claus, Horse Carriages and Entertaining. If you want to experience the most dazzling holiday spectacle south of the North Pole, this is the place to be. And, if you can’t make it out to Riverside, California don’t worry, they have live webcams set up just for you. You can view live stream of the lights and activity from their website linked above! Learn more.

 
 

Top Events in December 2017

 

Art Basel

Miami, Florida
December 7-10, 2017
 
Art Basel Miami 2017 - Best Events USA

 

When you think of top-quality art shows in the U.S. worth flying to, Art Basel is the first show that comes to mind. Art Basel bring together the leading galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa to showcase the work of masters of Modern and contemporary art, as well as the new generation of emerging stars. Art Basel is like the Superbowl of art exhibits. Paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, films, and editioned works of the highest quality are be on display at this world-class event. Art Basel is held in only two other cities around the world, Basel, and Hong Kong. You’ll be inspired by the art that you see here, and will leave with seeing some of the most spectacular pieces artists are creating in our modern age. Learn more.

 
 

The Nutcracker

Multiple Locations
December 2017
 
The Nutcracker 2017 - Best Events USA
 

When December comes around, and the smell of fresh pine and cinnamon fills your home, you know it is time to get your tickets to The Nutcracker ballet. Luckily, this isn’t an event you have to travel long distances to attend. Instead, nearly every major city holds their own production of The Nutcracker, so tickets are easy to come by. The dancing, choreography, and score are all classics learned to perfection. Seeing a production of The Nutcracker will get anybody in the mood for the holiday season. Learn more.

 

 

With over 300,000 events happening in the United States each month, adding up to a total of 3.6 million events happening each year, we wanted to leave you with a list of the top 50 events happening in the US this year. It can be hard to decide which events you absolutely cannot miss just based on the sheer amount of events happening, it would be impossible to know about each one.  We are sure to have missed a few awesome events from our list - though they are no less important than any of the 50 events listed above. We hope you can make it to at least one of these top events this year, but if you can't don't fear: there are plenty of events happening in your own backyard every day of the week! 

SpinGo | How to Set Up an Event Website in 5 Minutes Using WordPress and Bluehost

How to Set Up an Event Website in 5 Minutes Using WordPress and Bluehost

November 18 2016

If you’re planning an event, you need a website. It’s as simple as that. Nowadays, people tend to discover things to do online, and your event website is a place for them to learn all about ticketing, venue info, and everything else that will convince them to attend. An official online destination should be the first thing you create when marketing an event.  

Building a website doesn’t have to be a complicated, drawn-out process—especially for event makers who are strapped for time. At SpinGo, we’ve helped a variety of events create or optimize their websites, and we consistently recommend WordPress and Bluehost to build out their sites. This article will show you how to get your website started in just a matter of minutes using these two platforms.

 


 

Why WordPress?

 


WordPress started out as a blogging tool, but it has evolved into one of the premier content management systems. In fact, some of the most popular websites in the world are powered by WordPress, including TechCrunch, The New Yorker, and the Dallas Mavericks. Here are some of the benefits of using WordPress:

 

  • Thousands of themes and plugins - Choose from a bunch of free or paid templates that are designed just for events.
  • Easy to use and learn -  Most users aren’t web designers or programmers.
  • Search engine friendly - WordPress is written to make your website SEO friendly.
  • Easy to manage - A built-in tool gives you the ability to update plugins and themes from your admin dashboard.

 

 

Why Bluehost?

 


The first step to building your event website is to find a web host, which is how you will store your site’s files and deliver them to your audience through their Internet browsers. If you’re using a WordPress site, there are many web hosting platforms to choose from. However, WordPress itself recommends Bluehost. In fact, it has been their top recommended hosting service for more than 10 years. With Bluehost you get:

 

  • 24/7 WordPress support - You can reach out to them anytime by phone, email, or live chat.
  • 1-click WordPress installation - They’ve made it dead simple to setup and manage your website.
  • Money-back guarantee -  You aren’t locked into a contract, there are no hidden fees, and so you can try it without any risk.
  • True scalability - As your website grows, it’s easy to scale your options to fit your needs.

 


 

How to set up your event website in 5 minutes:

 

Creating Your Bluehost Account

To get started, click here to go to Bluehost’s home page. Next, click on the “get started now” button and select which hosting package you need.

 

 

The next page lets you choose a domain name for your website. If you don’t already have a domain name, you can purchase one during the signup process. Your new WordPress hosting account comes with a free domain. If you already own a domain name, you can also enter it here, and you will just have to go through a few extra steps to make sure you get your DNS pointed to Bluehost. 

 

 

After you’ve entered a domain name, enter your account information. 

 

 

The signup section presents you with a few other offers, including Site Backup and Search Engine Jumpstart, which indexes your site faster on search engines. 

 

 

After you’ve filled in your information, click the “submit” button to complete your purchase. Now that you are all signed up and are able to login to your account, you can get started installing WordPress!

 

Installing WordPress

Bluehost has made it super easy to install WordPress. Login to your Bluehost account, click on “hosting” at the top, and go inside cPanel.

 

 

Find the Website section and select “Install WordPress.” Click the “Install” button.


  

 

On the next page, Choose the domain name to install it to and hit “Next.”



Click “advanced options,” and you can edit your email address, username, and password for the new Wordpress installation. Read through the license and service agreements and check the boxes. Select the "Install Now" button.


 


WordPress will now begin installing. Make sure not to close the page until it displays “Processing complete.” The installation will take about a minute. After the installation is complete, you’ll receive an email with your WordPress dashboard login and password.

 



And that’s it, you’re all set up! From within your dashboard, you can control everything you need for your website. Build pages, write content, and manage its appearance. 


SpinGo has built websites for many different events. If you would like some recommendations on which WordPress templates and plugins to use for your site, schedule a free consultation

 


 

Jeff LewCreative Director, SpinGo

Jeff got his start telling brand stories as a copywriter for DDB Chicago, where he produced creative work for Wrigley, Altoids, McDonald’s, and Reebok. He joined SpinGo to help Event Makers tell their event stories and connect with audiences in meaningful ways. 

SpinGo | Facebook Slideshows: Make Your Event Stand Out in the News Feed

Facebook Slideshows: Make Your Event Stand Out in the News Feed

September 23 2016

The Facebook News Feed is a double-edged sword. It provides users a constant stream of engaging content, but marketers looking to advertise on the platform need to find ways to break through the noise.

Last month, Facebook released some updates to its Slideshow ads tool, which helps marketers quickly stitch existing photos together into an advertising video. Launched in October 2015, Slideshow ads previously did not support sound. With the new update, you can add music, but you are limited to Facebook’s library. Other new highlights include text, templates, and colors to provide a richer viewing experience.

The new features give event makers another weapon to stand out in the News Feed and get the word out.

 

 

In a company post, Facebook explained how Stance, a sock company, effectively used Slideshow ads to increase brand engagement. In just six weeks, their slideshow campaign achieved:

  • 2.4X lift in click-through rate
  • 48% lower cost per action
  • 1.4X lift in return on ad spend

If you’d like to give Slideshow ads a try, here’s a quick guide to help get you started:

 

1.  Create a Facebook Event

It’s important to post your event to Facebook, especially if you don’t have an event website because it’s an easy way to get details, info, and messaging onto the platform. Plus, you can reference the event in ad campaigns and posts. Users can “like”, say they’re interested, and share the event with their friends.  

 

2.  Create a New Ad Campaign and Ad Set

 

 

To create an ad campaign in Facebook's ad creation tool, go to www.facebook.com/ads/create or click Create Ad in the top right of Ads Manager. The ad creation process includes:

Creating your campaign - Choose from a variety of objectives like “Promote your Page” or “Raise attendance at your event”
Creating your ad sets - Define your target audience, budget, and schedule.

 

3.  Create Your Slideshow


 

Images
After your campaign and ad sets are defined, you can jump into the actual ad creative.
Click on Create Slideshow and choose 3–7 images to add to your ad. You can upload your images or use free stock images provided by Facebook. 

 

 

Text and Audio
You may choose to use a free audio track to play during the slideshow, and if you want to add text, there are options for selecting the font, color, background, and position.

Duration
You can set the length of your ad up to 35 seconds.

Thumbnail
Choose which image you want users to see when the video isn’t playing.

Call to Action
Enter text that highlights your event and select the call to action button you want to use.

 

 

 

4. Other Recommendations

For best results, Facebook recommends the following:

  • Use high-quality images and avoid grainy images
  • Use images that are all the same dimensions, ideally 1280 x 720 pixels, or an image ratio of 16:9 or 4:3. If you use pictures of different sizes, your slideshow will be cropped to be square.
  • For video uploads, choose .MOV or .MP4 file types.

Facebook makes the process very easy, so you can get your slideshow up and running in just a few minutes. If you’d like some additional help, SpinGo specializes in marketing events and can help you set up and manage your Facebook campaigns. For a free consultation on your event, click here.

 


 

 

Jeff Lew, Creative Director, SpinGo

Jeff got his start telling brand stories as a copywriter for DDB Chicago, where he produced creative work for Wrigley, Altoids, McDonald’s, and Reebok. He joined SpinGo to help Event Makers tell their event stories and connect with audiences in meaningful ways. 

SpinGo | How To Use Snapchat For Your Event

How To Use Snapchat For Your Event

August 18 2016

As you go about your normal daily activities, you may have noticed people under the age of 25 gathering in groups, making weird faces, laughing, and pointing at something obviously hysterical on their phones. Have you ever wondered what they're doing? Welcome to the reign of Snapchat, an app for sending photos that delete after 10 seconds.

Over the past few years, Snapchat has become one of the fastest growing and most used social media apps with over 200 million active users. With so many active users, marketers, and more specifically event makers, have been enamoured with the potential Snapchat has for reaching audiences about their events. But up until now, Snapchat has been the elusive golden snitch of event marketing; nobody has been able to truly figure out how to use it to consistently market their events.

The difficulty with advertising on Snapchat has always been that your reach is limited to the number of friends you have. While this seems similar to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, Snapchat is unique in that there isn't an easy way to search and discover accounts, meaning that if you aren't actively promoting your Snapchat account, people may be hard pressed to find you.

However, Snapchat has recently come out with a feature for events that allows you to share your event to a large audience that Snapchat users will willingly want to share with their friends - true organic marketing at it's best. It's called Snapchat Geofilters.

 

What is a Snapchat Geofilter?

A Geofilter is a creative little design that can be applied over pictures that a user takes on Snapchat. Filters are often used to denote a city, a historical place, or an event. For example, a Snapchat user in San Fracisco will be able to add a Geofilter to their picture that says San Fracisco. No matter what city you are in, you will be able to find a filter with your city name. 

Snapchat is able to do this through Geofiltering, the ability to target specific geographic locations, so each location can have a unique filter. A Geofilter can be set to as large as a whole country, or as small as 20,000 square feet - approximitaly the size of a couple houses or lots downtown. For your event, you will want to set your Geofilter to the location of your event.

 

Why Use a Snapchat Geofilter?

Geofilters are a great way to organically get your attendees to share your event with their friends. Geofilters are particulary useful for multi-day or recurring events such as state fairs, music festivals, and craft festivals. 

The main hope of using a geofilter for your event is that you attendees will take a picture on Snapchat and share it with their friends using your filter. While Snapchat doesn't allow gimmicky text on their filters such as URLs or contact information, simply stating the name of your event with a creative image that captures the essense of your event will be enough to draw interest. 

If your target audience uses Snapchat, using a filter can be a great way to share your event and draw in some new attendees you might not have previously reached. 

If you are looking to improve your online presence with a target audience mostly under 25 years old, using a Snapchat Geofilter will help greatly. 

 

How to Create a Snapchat Geofilter

To create a Geofilter, you will need a couple of things: 

  1. Snapchat Account
  2. Adobe Illustrator and/or Photoshop
  3. Graphic Design Skills or Access to a Graphic Designer.

If you don't have a Snapchat account, you'll first need to download the app and create one. Don't worry, you don't have to keep the app on your phone, you can delete it as soon as you create your account. You can download Snapchat for iOS here, or for Android here

Once your account is set up, you can go to snapchat.com/on-demand where you will see this page. You'll notice that it gives examples of Geofilters that have been created by other events and businesses. 

You'll want to select the Create Now button located beneath the For People and Businesses section.

 

Once you have clicked Create Now, you will be asked to log in to your Snapchat account. This is the same username and password you used to create your account on the app.

When you've entered in your information, click Log In. 

Step 1: Upload Image

You are now on the first of four quick steps for creating your Geofilter. 

Snapchat requires that your Geofilter meets specific requirements before letting it go live. Snapchat requires:

On this page, click the Download Templates button and you can open these in either Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator to create your Geofilter. 

At this point, you need to create a filter for your event. If you don't have Photoshop or Illustrator, you can purchase it here. If you don't have either program and you don't want them, you can hire a professional or ask a skilled friend to create a Geofilter for you. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating your Geofilter:

  • Leave a 149 pixel buffer zone at the top of your image and on the bottom of your image. This space needs to remain empty for Snapchat to accept your Geofilter. 
  • Use Your Event's Name - Most events have a unique and recognizable name that distinguishes it as an event. Incorporate the name of your event into your Geofilter to familiarize people with your event and so that they can perform a Google search for your event and find it online if they are interested.

  • Be Creative - Create a design that captures the essence of your event. 

  • Keep It Simple - Don't overdo your Geofilter. Leave plenty of open space so that people can capture the events and activities happening at your event.

Once your filter is created, click Chose File..., upload your filter, and go to the next step.

 

Step 2: Date Picker

Step 2 is the most straighforward and simple of all the steps; simply select the dates you want your filter to show. 

Snapchat charges you based upon the number of days your Geofilter is active along with the size of the area you choose to select.

If you have a tight budget and can't afford to display your Geofilter for every day of your event, try running your Geofilter at the start of your event so that it creates momentum for the rest of your event. 

Once you finish selecting your dates, hit next. 

Step 3: Select Location

When you get to Step 3, the page will open up to a big map. In the top left corner of the page, you will see a search box where you can enter the location of your event. 

Once you have found the location where your event will be held, press the yellow Draw Fence button at the bottom of the page. This button lets you select the exact area you want to target. 

To begin, click on the outside border of where you want your Geofilter to show, and make a fence around that area. You can click as many times as you want, so if your event venue is an unusual shape, you will be able to capture the entire area. 

To close the border, connect the last line you draw to the first dot you dropped. That will close the border and you will see a green shape appear on your screen.

If you don't click on the reclick on the original space you clicked, your border will remain open and you won't be able to move onto the next step. 

Make sure you click on the original mark and your area will turn green, signaling that you are ready for the final step.

 

 

Step 4: Complete Purcahse

You have now reached the final step of creating a Geofilter for your event. This page will ask you to enter in a name for this specific Geofilter. For this example, I would enter Bryant Park Event. 

Then enter your card information so you can pay for the service. 

On the right side of the page you will see your order summary. It will show you a preview of your filter, the location you are choosing to target, the dates you seleceted, your contact email, and the total cost.

Click that you agree to the Terms of Service, and your Geofilter will be reviewed by the Snapchat team to make sure it fits the requirements.

You will be emailed once your filter is approved.  

Now that your Geofilter is set up, get ready to use it at your event! Share it with your friends to help spread the word about your event.

Still have questions about Snapchat? Leave your questions below!

SpinGo | How to Create a Free Marketing Video for Your Event

How to Create a Free Marketing Video for Your Event

August 04 2016

Video content is a useful way to pitch sponsors, announce your lineup, or give an audience a taste of the event experience. You can put videos on a website or share them through online channels like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. In fact, including video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%, and 92% of mobile video watchers share videos with others. 

Many Event Makers overlook web video for more cost-efficient tactics. Shooting high-quality footage takes quite a bit of effort, and hiring a production team is pricey. Moreover, once you've finished your shoot, you still need to have the skills to craft your video with editing and motion graphics software.

The good news is that consumers crave video content—YouTube alone now has over a billion users, for example. And that means tech and media companies are building tools to make it easier for brands to share info and tell stories through this medium.

One of these tools is Adobe Spark, and it looks to be an attractive option for Event Makers.

 

 

What is Adobe Spark?

Earlier this year, Adobe released Adobe Spark, a set of free web and mobile apps to “turn your ideas into impactful social graphics, web stories, and animated videos - in minutes.” It’s aimed at individuals who don’t have much design and video experience, but still need to create:

  1. Posts: memes, inspirational quotes, announcements, invitations
  2. Web stories: ideal for photo journals, event recaps, portfolios, catalogs
  3. Animated videos: lessons, pitches, presentations, greetings

Intrigued by the promise to turn ideas into a meaningful piece of content in minutes, I decided to give the video tool a try. Using the web app, I put together an announcement video for Pogopalooza 2016, an event that SpinGo helped promote online. I was able to create the finished product with minimal time and effort:


 

If you’d like to try creating a video for yourself, here's a quick guide to help get you started:

 

Outline your message.

The app makes it easy to jump in head first, but I think it’s a good idea to do some prep work before you begin. At a minimum, make a rough outline of what you want to say, and then flesh out your message using a voice and tone that matches your brand. A good place to start is thinking about the 5 Ws—What, Where, When, Why, and Who. Determine the objective for this video and make sure your call to action is clear. What do you want your audience to do? Buy tickets? Visit a website for more info? 


Gather images.

As of this writing, you can use photos and icons with Adobe Spark Video, but you can't yet utilize video formats. Using your outline, determine what visuals best convey your message. Take some time to find the right images, including any logos and brand artwork, and put them all into an easily accessible folder. If you’re using your smartphone, you can add images to a Dropbox folder or a Google Photos Album, which both work well with the app.

 
Jump in.

If you don’t already have one, create an Adobe account. It’s free, and you’ll be able to manage all your projects in one place. Or you can log in with your Facebook or Google account. As I mentioned before, you can create a web page, a social media post, or an animated video.

When you start a new video project, you’re presented with story template options like “Promote an Idea” and “Show and Tell”. For example, the “A Hero’s Journey” story template organizes your video with placeholder slides like “Setup”, “Call to adventure”, “Climax”, and “Resolution”. Each model comes with a pre-outlined presentation and guided prompts to help you craft your presentation, which can be helpful if you need some inspiration on how to structure your video. Choose a template that best fits your message or feel free just to start from scratch.

 


 

Get to know your workspace.

Adobe has designed a clean, unintimidating app, and it's pretty self-explanatory. The central space is for adding your content pieces: icons, photos, and text. 

 

 

There’s also a button to record VO. You can capture audio with your built-in microphone or any other connected recording device, one slide at a time.

And I think it’s good to think about your slides as if building a PowerPoint presentation. How would you structure and create a slideshow? The bottom space is where you control the order and flow. From here you can delete or duplicate a particular slide. Simply drag and drop to rearrange your video content.

The right-hand pane is where you edit the look and feel of your video. Your options include:

  • Themes: Choose from over 30+ themes, each with its own look and animation moves. There are no custom themes, but you have plenty of different looks to get you started. 
  • Music:  The app includes a variety of free tracks that you can use. There’s nothing groundbreaking here so you might consider adding music that you own or purchase.
  • Layout: Choose how to organize the content. The app locks you into what you see here, and you have no ability to customize where the content goes.

 

Add your content.

You can add photos by upload or via cloud services like Dropbox or Google. As you add your photos, text, or voice over, the app automatically saves your progress. The “Preview” button gives you the ability to see how each slide animates and transitions. When you go to add an icon, you’re presented with a search tool that helps you find an image within the Creative Commons library. You can use any of these icons as your own. 

 


Get creative.

Even though you are limited in how you customize the look and layout, you can get creative in editing the flow of your video. It’s easy to change the text and swap out messages. In addition to changing the slide order, you can adjust the duration of each slide. You can also alter the theme without losing any of the content you’ve added so you can see how different looks and animations affect your presentation. 

 

Share your video.

Once you feel okay with how your video looks, click the “share” button. Here you have options to save a copy to your device, or you can generate a link and share it immediately to Facebook and Twitter. If you make edits later, you can update the link without generating a new one.

 


 

Some final thoughts.

It’s not the perfect solution. You don’t have the full creative control you get with true video editing software like Adobe Premiere or Apple’s Final Cut, and there’s no support yet for actual film footage. But with its straightforward design interface, Adobe Spark can help busy Event Makers easily create video content with a minimal time commitment.

For more ideas about how to share your event experience online, click here to request a free consultation with an event marketing expert.

 


 

Jeff Lew, Creative Director, SpinGo

Jeff Lew got his start telling brand stories as a copywriter for DDB Chicago, where he produced creative work for Wrigley, Altoids, McDonald’s, and Reebok. He joined SpinGo to help Event Makers tell their event stories and connect with audiences in meaningful ways. 

 


SpinGo | Where Is My Event Audience?

Where Is My Event Audience?

May 31 2016

*Disclaimer* I am no expert in marketing, I am just a heavy social media user and event goer!

If you are like most event makers, you spend 80 percent of your time managing your day to day operations, 10 percent of your time trying to grow your event, 5 percent of your time looking for ways to optimize your event, and 5 percent of your time wondering where your audience is hanging out online.

Reaching your audience should be one of the major tentpoles of your event marketing strategy, but sometimes that creative energy is used perfecting the event experience, and FOMO (fear of missing out) is never generated. One of the worst things that can happen to an awesome event is a silent funeral; “RIP event, sorry I didn't come to your party, but I honestly just didn't know about it!”

So, how do you break through the noise, reach your event goers where they are, and spin an event story your audience wants to read? The channels and methods you pick to reach your audience are just as important as the message. And the good news is, since so many people want to be the first to discover and share, the odds are in your favor to create a good marketing campaign that will gain momentum. Let’s take a look at different channels you can use to reach your audience, and some tips to maximize exposure.

 

Instagram

Instagram App Icon

Instagram users are mostly millennials, both male and female, but are heavy users. Instagram makes image sharing incredibly easy. And the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” certainly holds true for this social networking site. To use Instagram effectively, share images related to the theme of your event, use related hashtags heavily and make sure you either post often, or spend marketing dollars to buy ad space here. Don't expect users to click and purchase tickets from here, most people won't be intrigued enough to stop scrolling, lose their place, and jump to either a website or your profile. Instagram is used mostly just to create interest around your event.  

 

Facebook

Facebook App Icon

Facebook is another great place to create interest and awareness around your event, but also a good place to leave links for ticket purchase, your website, performer bios, etc. Because Facebook users are generally a little older, it can be seen as an outdated social media site by younger audiences. But, that is ok, you can still find users of any demographic here, just do a good job of capturing attention with your posts. Creating a really good Facebook page that is information rich, will drive up your attendance, and Facebook users will be more inclined to leave their feed to check out your event listing if you have done a really good job with your event page and images. Don’t go text heavy and scare users off! Leave the text for the about section of your event, and let users organically discover what is interesting about your event.  

 

Twitter

Twitter App Icon

Twitter works much the same way as Facebook, in that a post will show up in a timeline, except you have to create a really good concise tweet. Leave a clickable hyperlink to your website, because you never want to run the risk of a Twitter user not having a Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest account, then losing them over the sign in, or sign up page. Chances are, with that little step blocking accessibility, they won't go further to seek out your event, and you have lost them. To influence active engagement, tweet often about your event. Because Twitter moves fast, you won't be pestering any potential attendees, just hashtag your posts with relevant tags and tweet tweet tweet!

 

Pinterest

Pinterest App Icon

Images are a running theme here! It may feel odd to keep sharing images about your event when all you want to do is shout to the world how cool your event is, and do a play by play for every item you have planned for your attendee, but don't. Images are easy to share, and allow the attendee to imagine and create their own idea of the experience they will have at your event. This is especially true on Pinterest where your audience does such a good job crafting their board to look a specific way, creating their ideal space. If your image doesn't look great and pinnable, it won't be pinned. Pinterest users are mostly female, usually have higher incomes, and spend a lot of time actively searching out topics, which is much different than the passive message delivery system of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  

 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn App Icon

Unless your event is very relevant to business and networking, don’t worry about using LinkedIn. Users are on LinkedIn to network for career advancement, and they use other channels to surf for fun. But, if you do have a business relevant event, LinkedIn is a little more expensive to advertise, but you will find a very engaged audience. You can also create a good company page and share articles relevant to your event, to create engagement, but it won't be very effective, if you don't have a lot of people following your business.

 

Snapchat

Snapchat App Icon

Snapchat as a social networking site can be a little trickier to navigate. If you are a company with multiple events throughout the year and around the country, like themed runs, or festivals, it might be a good idea to create a Snapchat following to help build your brand. You can relay information about your events, or share clips of your events to interested parties who are already somewhat aware of your company. Announcing your company is on Snapchat and encouraging followers to add you could be a smart play, and you will be able to directly reach your followers.

 

While there is no magic formula for using a certain type of social networking to increase awareness around a certain type of event, these networking tools when combined will help you find more potential attendees interested in attending your event. Just remember no one wants to feel like they are being marketed to. Create a message that is attendee and experience focused, leaves enough to the imagination, and focuses heavily on several high quality shareable images.

SpinGo | A Crash Course On How To Use Instagram For Events

A Crash Course On How To Use Instagram For Events

May 20 2016

Every night before I got to bed, I like to take a minute and scroll through my Instagram feed to see what’s going on in the world around me. I like to keep up with what my friends and family are doing, as well as admire beautiful pictures some of my favorite bloggers and brands post on their accounts. But I can’t tell you how often I come across Instagram posts that would be better suited for flyers left on car windshields. Instagram is meant for visually appealing images, not for sending out lots of information about products and events. If you want to belong on Instagram and fit in, here is a crash course on how to use Instagram effectively.

Let's take a quick look at what we'll cover in the Instagram Crash Course for Event Makers:

  1. Post photos
  2. Limit text
  3. Provide a link in profile
  4. Post consistently

Before we begin, let’s take a look at the guidelines Instagram has set out for us to get us on the right foot.

Here is Instagram’s self-description from their website:

Instagram is a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures. Snap a photo with your mobile phone, then choose a filter to transform the image into a memory to keep around forever. We're building Instagram to allow you to experience moments in your friends' lives through pictures as they happen. We imagine a world more connected through photos.

From the description, photo is the word that jumps out the most. Instagram is for photos and pictures. It is a place where you can experience moments from other’s lives through pictures. Instagram is best used when you share pictures (and now video) as opposed to text and traditional ads. Now that we know photos are the content of choice on Instagram, let's see how to use them correctly.

 

1. Post Photos

As people scroll through Instagram they expect to see photos that connect them to something - not advertisements that continuously blast them. It’s a place to escape from the business world into your own personal social bubble.

So give people what they want. Give them interesting pictures to look at. Instagram isn’t about interruption marketing and making people look at it, but about posting what your audience wants to look at. Always make sure to keep your audience in mind as you are posting your Instagram photos.

Often, event planners feel the urge to post the critical event information on all their Instagram posts and the result is an overcrowded flyer. It is so tempting to share the five W’s (who, what, where, when, why) about your event, but it is not very effective - not in your photo at least.

Here is an example of an Instagram post that needs a makeover:

 


First, you’ll notice how this post doesn’t fit in on Instagram. It is not going to get much positive attention. The image is loaded with text, and it is not very visually appealing. As a paper flyer, this works great. As an Instagram post it doesn’t fit the bill for what Instagram is designed for. If somebody comes across this on their Instagram stream, you can be sure it will be skipped over with a single thumb swipe.

Instagram is a place to show interesting pictures, and as an event, you have some of the easiest and most engaging content to capture. Your event is a live thing, constantly in motion, and provides itself to great photo opportunities. Take advantage of them and share them on your Instagram. A quality photo will draw much more attention than a flyer. If people really want to know more about your event, they will be able to check it out online.

Coachella is an example of an event that does Instagram well. The pictures they post are captivating and exciting to look at. Notice how their images would pop out on your instagram feed in a positive way.

 

Coachella Instagram Account

 

2. Limit Text

Another common mistake on Instagram is when people post novels about what is happening in their picture. The trick to Instagram is to keep it simple. The less text you use, the better your post will be. A short caption about your photo and a detail about your event should be used. If your event is coming up soon, tell people the date in your caption.

Instagram is different from Facebook in that Instagram is made for photo and video - not text. If it were made for text, Instagram would have a much better desktop version of their site. Instead, they want you to use your phone because they want to keep it simple. If you have more to say about your event, share the details on your Facebook post. But when it comes to Instagram, a caption under 140 characters tends to do best.

Again, resist the temptation to splurge all the information about your event into one post. If you do, you will simply be wasting time because people will fail to read too much about your Instagram post. It may seem harsh, but that’s how Instagram works. If you want to successfully advertise your event on Instagram, you have to play by the rules of the game.

 

3. Update Bio

On Instagram, your bio is where people go to learn more about you or your cause. There are a variety of things you can do here, but some basic advice is to include the name of your event, when it is happening, where it is happening, and how much it costs to attend. Instagram even provides a place where you can add a link to your site, Facebook Page, or any other destination you want to send people to learn more about your event.

Take a look at our bio on Instagram. You’ll notice it is short, shares what we do, and encourages people to share their photos with us. There isn’t much room for confusion about what the SpinGo Instagram account is for.

 

SpinGo Instagram Account Bio

 

Make sure that this information is current and that the link leads to the right place. Instagram limits how many characters you can use in your bio to 150, so make sure you keep things concise and to the point. And that is 50 characters, not words. So spaces, periods, hashtags, symbols, and letters all count as a character.

You may notice, as you update your bio that all of your words are grouped into one single paragraph. Instagram doesn’t make formatting your bio easy, so if you want to clean up your bio and put separate sentences on different lines, you can write out your bio in your Notes app on a program on your desktop, and copy and paste the bio on Instagram.

 

4. Post Consistently

A final tip for advertising your event correctly on Instagram is to make sure you post consistently. If you have enough content to post daily, try and aim for that, but there is no shame in posting two or three times a week.

As you first start out, you may soon realize that you don’t have many followers. It can seem discouraging and difficult to stay committed to posting on Instagram when your followers are so sparse. Make sure to invite your friends and family to follow you and encourage them to invite their friends as well. If you have a following on other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, invite them to follow you on Instagram.

If you have an email list, don’t hesitate to send out an email inviting them to follow your Instagram as well.

Once you have followers, your consistent posts will help keep them engaged and encourage them to share your photos with others on Instagram. If you stop posting, people will stop following you.

When you post a picture on Instagram, make sure to include relevant hashtags as well. Each hashtag leads to a database of images that have the same hashtag associated with them. As you do this, people will be able to discover your photo in more places in Instagram and you will grow your following. Just make sure not to overuse them.

SpinGo | How To Build Hype For Your Event

How To Build Hype For Your Event

May 16 2016

Putting together an event for the first time or still trying to crack the code to draw in a large crowd? Colin and Sara take a look at how one event was able to build enough hype to draw a huge crowd. 

Learn from their insights as they examine what worked for building hype and selling tickets no matter what size of event you have.

 

SpinGo | 3 Pitfalls of a Cash Only Event

3 Pitfalls of a Cash Only Event

May 10 2016

Cash is king, or at least it used to be. In today’s day and age cash seems to be becoming a scarce commodity as people turn towards credit cards and other seamless payment experiences. Instead of paying each other back with cash, friends have turned to apps like Venmo to pay each other without ever physically exchanging currency. When the world has adopted to a virtual payment system, why do so many events insist on only accepting cash at the door?

Cash is a great option to have on hand for when people come to your event, but it shouldn’t be the only option for purchasing tickets. Here are 3 pitfalls you face by having a cash only event.


1. Not everybody carries cash

Cash only events turn away attendees. In the age where practically everybody and their dog has a credit card, Apple Pay, or Paypal, cash has become an antiquated form of payment. In fact, cash has become so out of date that many people don’t carry it at all. Yes, you can provide ATM’s for your attendees, but the fees associated with those money machines can leave a sour taste in the mouth of your attendees. Nobody wants to pay $4 to take out $10 from an ATM, and I mean nobody. Some people may decide not to attend your event as well if you only accept cash payments because they don’t carry cash and don’t want to use an ATM.
 

2. Collect email addresses

There are definite benefits of accepting cash at events, but being a cash only event has it’s downsides. One of the biggest areas of opportunities that events miss out on when they only accept cash is collecting emails. When you take cash at the door, people don’t have to enter their email information to get the tickets, they simply hand you a bill and walk through the gate. The transaction is simple, but leaves money on the table. Imagine collecting half of your attendees emails and being able to email them the next time you host an event. Your attendees are the exact audience you want to invite to your future events! With cash only payment, you miss out on a grand opportunity for increasing sales at your future events.
 

3. Loss of control

One other major reason accepting cash only payments can be harmful to an event is that the success of your event becomes dependent upon the weather. If a storm comes in on the day of your event, you will lose tickets because of lousy weather. Part of this can be solved by selling tickets online because people will be able to purchase tickets months, weeks, or days before your event takes place. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, the people who bought tickets will still venture out to experience it, but you will still collect all that pre sales revenue. Events aren’t easy to run, and a no-show caused by bad weather can really put your event in jeopardy for the future. It is nice to know that online sales can serve as collateral against bad weather.

 

These three points aren’t the only reasons why you should accept a variety of payments at your event, but they are very important. Collecting emails and selling tickets online can be critical to the success of your current and future events. Cash is still a valid option, but when you are making events in the digital age, the way you collect money serves multiple purposes.

 
Featured image via Pictures of Money on Flickr
SpinGo | 6 Apps To Help You Clear Your Mind And Regain Focus

6 Apps To Help You Clear Your Mind And Regain Focus

May 06 2016

Life as an event maker can be stressful, to put it lightly. With so many hats to wear and so many moving parts for your event, it can feel like you are up to your neck in tasks. The feeling can be overwhelming, and sometimes it becomes hard to focus on just one aspect of the event without getting distracted by another looming task.

With so many stressors, sometimes a quick break is all you need to get back on track. Taking a few minutes of time to clear your mind and reset can pay big dividends. We put together a list of six apps for event makers that will help you clear your mind, calm down, and focus on the task at hand.

Headspace app icon

1. Headspace
Headspace is your gym membership for the mind. Designed for those who don’t have time to take a break, Headspace offers 10 minute meditation courses that will clear your mind, revamp your focus, and make you more productive. Meditation helps you focus more, stress less, and live more. 10 minutes of meditation a day can help any event maker increase their productivity.

Stress Doctor App Icon

2. Stress Doctor

As it’s name suggests, Stress Doctor works on treating your stress and returning your body to calm within minutes. Stress Doctor focuses on using deep breathing techniques to return your mind and body to a state of calm, eliminating the stress that so frequently surrounds anyone planning an event. If you don’t have ten minutes for meditation, Stress Doctor deep breathing exercises only take five minutes to complete and the benefits can be greatly beneficial, including lowering stress, reducing anxiety, lowering blood pressure, and strengthening your immune system.



3. Personal Zen

Based on 20 years of brain training and anxiety-reduction research, Personal Zen effectively boosts stress resilience and decreases anxiety when used only a few minutes a day, a few days a week. If meditation and deep breathing aren’t your thing, Personal Zen lowers stress by playing a simple game. It is an example of science turned into fun to improve your overall well being.

Pacifica app icon

4. Pacifica

Pacifica gives users a holistic approach to address stress and anxiety. This app gives you tools to learn how to manage stress day-by-day. Pacifica doesn’t focus on quick fixes, but is designed to help you feel in control of yourself again. The app offers deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and positive visualizations set to relaxing soundscapes such as ocean waves and thunderstorms.

Breathe2Relax App Icon

5. Breathe2Relax

If you are having an especially stressful day, Breathe2Relax helps users learn diaphragmatic breathing, which decreases the body’s ‘fight-or-flight response. This type of breathing helps with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management. Breathe2Relax can be a stand-alone stress reduction tool, or it can be a part of your stress relieving routine. If you are feeling overwhelmed from the chaos that is event planning, Breathe2Relax can help you feel in control of the situation again.

Lumosity App Icon

6. Lumosity

Another app that uses games as tools, Lumosity helps improve cognitive skills including attention, memory, and problem solving skills. If you are easily distracted, Lumosity is an app that will help you improve your cognitive skills and train your mind to stay focused on one task. It doesn’t get much better than playing games to improve your attention span.

With these six apps to help you relieve stress and improve productivity, you will be able calmly manage your upcoming event. Remember, a ten minute break from your busy schedule can help you save time and accomplish more in the long run. Eliminate the stress and see how much better your day goes.

SpinGo | 11 Ways To Build A Millennial Event

11 Ways To Build A Millennial Event

May 03 2016

It’s official. Millennials are now the largest cohort of the population - making up more than a quarter of the total U.S. population. They have spending power, and are waiting to be sold. Now that the millennial craze is in full effect, it’s time to understand how to build a millennial events, or events that attract millennials. Here are 10 tips for building an event that will attract millennials.

 

1. Maximize technology.

Millennials use technology, and events that utilize technology are far more appealing to millennials. To attract millennials, the simple things make a big difference such as utilizing online ticketing and letting them use their phone to check into their event. Millennials don’t go many places without their phones, if you can incorporate your ticketing into an easy scan from millennials cell phones, your event will draw in more of the young crowd you are looking for.

Use technology to make your event goers lives simpler. Any technology that makes your event more convenient should be worth considering because millennials love convenience.

 

2. Give back.

Millennials love the idea of giving back to a cause. If your event helps a family in need, a nonprofit, or serves the local community, you build goodwill with your attendees. Many millennials donate money to charities, so they are wanting to help make their community a better place. If you offer millennials a good time that will help the community as well, you kill two birds with one stone, helping millennials feel a sense a fulfillment by having fun at your event.

 

3. Offer drinks and food.

If you are going after college-age millennials, offering free or cheap food always draws a crowd. College age millennials have ever-growing student loans and want to spend their time doing activities other than cooking, and they are always looking for a free meal. This simple announcement will grab the attention of many millennials.

But if you don’t want to give food away, consider having food for purchase at your event. Millennials are all about food. They love trying hip, up-and-coming restaurants. If you don’t believe me, take a look at instagram, where there are countless millennial foodie accounts with pictures of their favorite food. Millennials are willing to spend money on good food, and if you provide them access to a cool food truck, you will bring in more millennials.

 

4. Gamify.

Millennials like to participate at events. It may seem the opposite, and many won’t want to be the center of attention, but if you gamify your event, your attendees can still hang out with their group of friends and participate in the game within your event.

You can gamify your event by adding raffles, issuing social media challenges, having group contests, and more. Instead of offering individual prizes, you might want to try giving a prize to the group that wins the contest. This will encourage more participation as groups of friends would rather participate in an event than individuals.

 

5. Reach them on social media.

To reach millennials, you will want to turn towards social media - particularly Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Millennials use social media to share moments from their personal life, but they also follow brands, bloggers, events, and more. If you don’t have a strong social media following, you can ask influential Instagrammers or Tweeters to post a picture of your event and advertise it for you.

On Facebook, every event you host should have it’s own event page - a page where you can invite others to attend, and where those who are attending can invite others as well. This is one of the easiest and best ways to grab interest. If an individual sees that their friends are attending an event, they are much more likely to attend the event themselves.

 

6. Sustainable.

Millennials want a sustainable, healthy world. They don’t like leaving carbon footprints and they prefer to use clean energy if possible. If you announce that your event is sustainable, you will get a strong following of support and word will travel. Millennials like talking about progressive companies, businesses, and events.

 

7. Affordable.

Each year, graduating classes enter the workforce with more and more student debt, all while trying to find entry level jobs where they can begin to pay it off. However, despite the debt, millennials are still willing to spend money on attending live events. In fact, a study conducted by IPSOS on behalf of Eventbrite, found that millennials spent a staggering $609,764,149 each month on attending live events.

What does this mean? It means that millennials are willing to spend money on attending experiences. Yet, if you really want to draw in a larger crowd, consider making your prices affordable for the millennials that are still managing debt, because they want to come, too.

 

8. Photo sharing.

Posting photos and videos before your event takes place is an effective way to build the anticipation for your event, but while your event is happening, you have an army of photo takers ready to snap a picture. Millennials love taking photos. Add something photo worthy at your event that will encourage your attendees to take pictures and share them on their social media profiles. You can do this having a photobooth, using photo props, or having an awesome attraction at your event that people will want to take pictures of. Every millennial is a photographer with their smartphone, and they love to take pictures. Make your event selfie-worthy.


9. Make your event feel big.

According to Meetings Imagined, research shows that "millennials want to live and go to big cities where there is...a lot of nighttime activities.” But just because your event isn’t in New York City doesn’t mean you can’t make it feel like your event belongs in a big city. Create an atmosphere around your event that makes your event feel big, something that would be in New York City. If you make your event feel big, millennials will want to go to it.

 

10. Make your event happening.

Millennials like being in places where things are happening. They want to feel involved and they like to show off a little bit. They love sharing their thoughts and opinions with others. Your event is a place where millennials can go, be involved, and leave with plenty of opportunities to talk about your event both during and after it takes place. Your event can be a place that facilitates discussion and is a topic of interest for millennials. You don’t have to go all out to make your event happening either. You can bring in a couple food trucks, set up some games, have a live band, set up shopping booths, and countless other ideas. Your event needs to be an event.

 

11. Make your event look good.

Millennials are very image conscious, and not in a vain way. They understand the power of personal branding and online reputation. They like to brand themselves as cool, hip, fun, adventurous, creative, and unique. They like to be associated with things that look good i.e. cool, unique, and epic. As you are building your event, you cannot forget this important fact. While your event looks good, if your landing pages, social profiles, and website don’t look good, millennials may think twice about attending.

 

Creating a millennial event can seem daunting, but if you follow these eleven tips, you will attract more millennials to your event.

Remember - building a millennial event is more than just the event itself - it starts at your website and social profiles and extends to the feeling created at your event. If you can create a unique and convenient experience for your attendees starting at your ticketing, you will get the millennial crowd you want.

SpinGo | 6 Ways To Elevate Your Event

6 Ways To Elevate Your Event

April 21 2016

Any event has the potential to be outstanding and memorable, but those perceived impressions rely on how hard you, the event maker, work to create that experience for your attendees. Here are 6 simple ways that can dramatically elevate your event, leaving attendees wanting to return year after year.  

  1. Take your technical equipment for a spin the day before your event. “It is always something”, as the saying goes. If it is not a shortage of power or outlets, it is the bandwidth of the internet the venue provides or infrequently used equipment acting up. Be sure to check the power cord situation, make sure that you have enough extension cords, and have backups in case a vendor forgets one. Check the location of power outlets at your venue. Plan for taping down cords, bring rugs to cover messy cords, and make sure your layout works with the outlet locations. Check the bandwidth of the internet the venue provides to see if you will need to provide a hotspot for additional internet power. Power up devices, and do a dry run of your presentations or any media you will display to make note of the steps in case you are using equipment you are not used to. If you can't get into your venue the day before your event, plan ahead and just bring extra cords, tape, and maybe a hotspot to get you out of a jam. Going through your tech checklist is a must for any powered event.  
     
  2. Don’t forget about the bathrooms. Nearly every person at your event will use the restroom. Think about that. Put special touches in the bathroom like lotion, mints, and flowers. Make sure to have a volunteer or someone on staff monitor the bathrooms to keep on top of toilet paper, paper towels, and trash. Unkempt bathrooms will turn your guests off, giving them an unfavorable impression about the cleanliness of your entire event - or lack thereof.  
     
  3. Nobody likes to be the first one at a party. How many times have you showed up to an event, noticed that no one was there, and opted to run a quick errand first, and come back and check on it later instead of going in? It takes a brave soul to walk into an empty venue. All of those errands your attendees are running are costing you money, especially if your event success is based on moving merchandise and food. The sooner event goers show up to an event, the sooner they open their wallets, allowing you to maximize the amount of time your event is scheduled to run for. If you find your event doesn't start getting crowded until 45 minutes after the scheduled start time is, it is not because people are always late. It is because your event has a reputation for not getting going until an hour after starting, costing you an hour of drawer sales. Have volunteers show up and hang out at the start of your event to encourage attendees to want to come in. Another way to incentivise early birds is to offer door prizes or discounts to a select group of attendees, like the first 100 people get a free t-shirt, or swag.  These simple tweaks can help to create a happening vibe at your event.
     
  4. Encourage Sobriety. If your event is an alcohol based event with up front ticket sales, don't discourage non drinkers from attending. The current model for most alcohol based events and festivals is a slightly discounted ticket for those who are not drinking. That doesn't really scream we want sober drivers to your attendees. By offering swag, vouchers, or discounts during your event, you will see the number of designated driver attendees jump. For each group of drinkers, you will find several people in the mix who do not drink. Incentivising those non drinkers to come to your event with their friends can mean more ticket sales for you, and more merchandise sold during your event. Not only are you making it easier for your attendees to have a sober ride, you are able to capitalize on those extra attendees.
     
  5. Plan for a possible medical emergency. If your event is large, make sure your attendees know where the medical tent is, and don’t place it at the back of your event if avoidable. Once your event gets going, chances are the crowds are going to be where the action is. If a medical emergency arises, your medical staff will have to either traverse the crowd in order to reach the patron in need of assistance, or the patrons themselves will have to wade back through the crowd to make it to your medical area. Have small exits placed around bigger areas you expect crowds, where medical staff can enter and exit which will allow easy access to an attendee in need of medical attention. Even if your event is smaller, have a volunteer on staff who knows CPR and basic first aid, and have a first aid kit handy. Adequately preparing for medical emergencies is an easy way to take some risk out of the “what if” at your event.
     
  6. Surprise your guests. Have you ever been to an event where there was an unannounced door prize, a special guest speaker, or a parting gift? Special touches make  event goers remember your event.  Building surprises into your event will make event goers feel special and walk away from your event, already thinking about returning next year. Plan for these touches during your event planning process, secure the surprise, and treat your attendees to a one of a kind event experience that they will remember, after all, that is why you are putting on the event anyway!
SpinGo | Do Billboards Work for Advertising an Event?

Do Billboards Work for Advertising an Event?

April 19 2016

Featured image via sfbeautiful.org

We currently live in a digital era, a time where at most, access to the internet is no more than a  pocket-reach away. The average person now spends more time on their electronic devices than sleeping, and more time checking emails in the morning than eating breakfast. We are literally plugged into the virtual world all the time. Digital advertising has taken off, and mobile advertising is seeing huge lifts usage and effectiveness. But with so much time and focus being spent on digital marketing, is out of home advertising effective anymore? Do people still pay attention to posters and flyers, and do billboards work for advertising?

The short answer is yes, there is still room for out of home advertising - advertising that will hit people when they are looking up from their screens. Billboards are one of the most widely known and thought of out of home advertising methods - and for good reason.

Every day when workers make their commutes to and from work, they are bombarded with billboards along the freeway telling them about promotions, changes, new store openings, and events. But how do you make a billboard effective, especially when it is promoting an event? Here are four ways to make advertising your event on a billboard effective.

 

1. Choose many, not just one billboard. 

Choosing the right locations for your billboards may be the single most important thing you can do to make your billboard effective. And yes, you read that correctly - billboards, is not a typo. A single, well placed billboard will certainly draw impressions, but drivers are focused on the road, and often tune out the billboards they pass every day to and from work. Having multiple billboards improves the likelihood that your event will get noticed.

As I was driving to work the other day, I noticed a billboard for an event taking place later this month. The next day, I saw the same sign, but then I noticed another billboard advertising the same event, and another, and another! By the time I got to work, I had counted twelve billboards for the exact same event! The day before I had only noticed one of those billboards. To effectively advertise your event, especially if it is a large event, you are going to want to use multiple billboards throughout the city to make sure your event gets seen.


2. Location, location, location.

Along with having multiple billboards advertising your event, the next step is to make sure you choose the right locations for all of them. Here are a couple things to think about when choosing the right location for your billboard.

  • What is your budget? Better location = more expensive.
  • How far apart do you want your billboards?
  • Will they be on both sides of the freeway so drivers have the optimal chance of seeing them?
  • Do you want you billboards near freeway entrances, exits, or in between?
  • What is the radius for your event advertising?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you improve your out of home advertising with billboards and make your advertising effective. As a general rule, you may want to mix and match your advertisements. You may want to buy one marquee billboard spot, and then buy a few smaller ones along the way, on both sides of the freeway.

For me, I personally noticed the billboard that was located right as I entered the on-ramp for the freeway. It caught my attention and was the only billboard around.

 

3. Simplicity.

Make your billboard simple. I have noticed that billboards that utilize white space and have very little going on them are easiest to read and remember. You don’t want to overwhelm drivers and overload them with too much information. In fact, you don’t have to, and shouldn’t list all the information for your event. Pick one thing that will get people to remember your event and go with that.

The billboard that I saw showed one image, had the event name, and a short tag line. That was it. I was able to go home, google the event name, and find what it was all about. The billboard did exactly what it was supposed to do. It got me to go to the event website and find out more there.

Remember, as people are driving on the freeway, they often drive solo, meaning that commuters can’t pull out their phone on the spot and look up your website because they have to pay attention to the road. If you can get them to remember your event name, you win. Refrain from adding too much information onto the billboard. You will see better results.

 

4. Include a call to action. 

Effective billboards and landing pages have a lot in common. While one is out of home advertising and the other digital - billboards should accomplish a lot of the same purpose as landing pages. They should lead the viewer to complete action.

You can have a couple of different approaches depending on what you want the viewer to do. If you want those who view your billboard to attend your event, you can make your billboard informative with time, date, and location listed.

If you want people to view your website, make sure your billboard leaves your viewers intrigued. Try to raise curiosity and leave people wanting to find out more. People are curious and don’t like being left in the dark. They like some sort of answer to their curiosity. This was done well by the advertisers for the movie Cloverfield back in 2008. They showed a picture of a damaged Statue of Liberty and smoke and fire coming out of New York City. People immediately want to know what happened and what caused it. The billboard didn’t have to say anything else besides a date for the movie release.

If your goal is to get people to your website, you have to make sure it is the first result on Google, and you have to make your landing page compelling. Your billboard may be effective and get people to your website, but if your website isn’t compelling, you will lose out on ticket sales.
 


If you follow these hacks, your billboard will effectively capture attention and lead people to your website or event. While digital marketing makes advertising sharable online, out of home advertising through billboards captures the attention of commuters. So, do billboards work for advertising events? They worked on me.

SpinGo | The Event Goer Experience

The Event Goer Experience

April 14 2016

Within the past month, I attended three different events; a basketball game, a comic con, and a play. With each one, I found myself paying attention to what makes me, as an event goer, enjoy the experience of attending an event even more. Although each was very different, three common things from these recent events stood out to me; 1) the purchase process, 2) customer service, and 3) attendee engagements.

To me, the overall event experience starts with purchasing your tickets. As I got online to buy tickets to the play, I soon wondered if it was worth it. The theatre’s website was outdated and difficult to navigate. Often, it would say there were many tickets available for a particular show time, but when I would pull up the seating chart, only two or three seats could be found. Then, when I would try to get back to the main list of showtimes, the site would take me back to the homepage and I would have to start all over. Purchasing my tickets took over 45 minutes. In contrast, purchasing tickets for the comic con was a breeze even though I didn't I didn’t purchase the tickets myself, my sister did. She told me she went to the website, found what she wanted, and ordered the tickets all in a matter of five minutes. She ordered right before the event, so her RFID wristbands were waiting in will call. Even getting these only took 5 minutes, and we were in enjoying the fun.

Being a customer service professional myself, I always find that I grade the experience I have based on the customer service I receive. This is true from the grocery store to the events I attend. While attending the basketball game, my friend and I had access to a V.I.P. experience. We were able to get onto the court before the game to welcome in the players. As we were trying to get to the court, an usher stopped us before we could go. At first, I thought he was just being a grouchy usher and was going to demand to see our tickets. Instead, he was extremely kind and just wanted to make sure we knew where we needed to go. I experienced similar kindness at the comic con. The staff checking in attendees and directing them on where to go were extremely kind. Many times, they would go out of their way to walk an attendee to a different part of the venue to get them to where they needed to go. As an attendee, these customer service interactions made these events even more enjoyable.

From giveaways, to contests, to picture opportunities, attendee engagements keep your attendees excited about your event. The comic con was a perfect model of attendee engagement. Comic cons always have celebrity meet and greets and photo ops, but I was impressed with the app provided at this comic con. Every hour, I would get some sort of notification about something cool going on. One hour there was a celebrity panel I didn’t know about, and another hour there was a contest to show up somewhere in the venue to receive a prize. There was even a gathering to film a quick zombie scene. There were also different free photo ops set up in various places around the venue. One of my favorites was a 8 foot box that looked like the packaging for a toy. You could climb in with your costume and look like you were boxed and ready to be sold. These engagements kept me racing around the venue, wishing I had even more time.

 

 

All event makers want to create the best experience for their attendees. By paying attention to these three simple things; the purchase process, customer service, and attendee engagements, an event maker can turn their attendees from drones entering their doors to raving fans who can’t get enough.

SpinGo | Experiences Are Greater Than Things

Experiences > Things

April 12 2016

Featured image via supracer.com

‘Money doesn’t buy happiness’ is an old cliche we have all heard repeatedly throughout our lives. While we all know this is true, we all still wish we had more money in our bank accounts than we do now.

While the old adage is correct that no amount of money can make us happy forever, the secret to being happy lies in how you spend your money. What types of things do you purchase - material goods or experiences? The secret to finding more happiness in your life, according to research by Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, is to spend your money on experiences rather than physical goods. Dr. Gilovich has been studying the relationship between money and happiness for over two decades and has observed that once basic needs are met, money has a minimal impact on our happiness.

Dr. Gilovich insists that experiences will make you happier than any material good because as humans, we adapt to our new things. Think about the last gadget you bought or your newest pair of shoes. When you got them, you were thrilled to have another addition to your house or wardrobe. But after time, you become so used to having it, that you lost the thrill it provided you when you first purchased it - leading you to want to buy something new.

But how can an experience, something that only lasts for a brief period of time, provide so much happiness when it is so fleeting? Dr. Gilovich indicates that the reason experiences tend to have a positive impact on our happiness and why our memories grow more golden over time is because they are a part of who we are, they help build and shape our character.

Think back to the first concert you ever attended and the memories you have from that experience. Now think about the first tv or computer you bought. Which gives you more happiness looking back on it? Sure the tv and computer were able to help you do a lot, but over time, their value diminishes. They become old, out of date, and replaceable. But your first concert is a memory you will never forget -even if the band was forgettable- because it is a part of who you are. Your tv and computer, no matter how frequently you use them, are not a part of you. They don’t shape your personality or define who you are as an individual.

One study by Gilovich even showed that if people have an experience they say negatively impacted their happiness, once they have the chance to talk about it, their assessment of that experience goes up.

We are the sum total of our experiences. Because of this, as event makers, we help shape and create experiences that will define people and impact them for the rest of their lives. We don’t just provide entertainment, but we help create happiness in others lives. Our events, no matter their size, provide a way for people to get out and build memories, have personal experiences, and spend time doing something that will better their lives.

“We consume experiences directly with other people,” says Gilovich. “And after they’re gone, they’re part of the stories that we tell to one another.” Our events and everything that goes into them, provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences for attendees - experiences that will live far beyond when our events end.

It’s both amazing and humbling that we get to be apart of people's lives in some small way. As event makers, we get to connect with people and provide an atmosphere where lifelong memories can be made. Experiences are definitely better than things.

SpinGo | 7 Teamwork Hacks to Effectively Organize an Awesome Event

7 Teamwork Hacks to Effectively Organize an Awesome Event

April 05 2016

Every event planner has their own flair for organizing and running an event. Are you the detail-oriented, organized, task-list type of leader, or are you the impulsive, creative, visionary type? Either way, it is important to know how to work effectively with your team so that your event can run smoothly from start to finish. Here are 7 things you can do to effectively work with your team to organize an awesome event.

1.  Outline and be very specific what your goals are for the event.

Whether it is increasing attendance over last year, increasing donations or sponsorships, gaining a larger social presence or simply creating a memorable experience for your attendees, it’s important that you define early what success looks like.


2.  Organize your team according to their strengths.

Make sure you have the best person in each position for the job. Each person on your team has individual strengths that will help your event succeed. And just because one person may have previous experience doesn’t mean they are the best fit. Take into account their personality and how it fits into your organization. The best person to sell sponsorships may not be the relationship salesperson. It could be the person who is meticulously organized and will be sure to keep following up to get a deal closed.


3.  Set individual goals with your team.

Giving each team member specific goals will help them understand how what they are doing ties into the larger event goal. It also gives them a way to measure their personal success. 


4.  Meet weekly with each member of your team to review progress and ensure open communication.

This will help you know if you are running behind or ahead of schedule and keep a constant pulse on how things are coming together. It will also give you transparency into areas where you may need help or additional attention. This will eliminate some of the chaos that usually takes place in the last few days leading up to the event.


5.  Talk about and celebrate the wins along the way.

Putting an event together is not easy. Celebrate the successes along the way. Maybe one of your teammates saves you an extra $1,000 by going the extra mile and getting a couple of extra bids. Feel free to make it a big deal and talk about it. Buying them lunch or throwing a small gift card their way is a nice way to show your appreciation, too..


6.  Break projects out into weekly assignments.

Create a backlog of each project that needs to be done prior to your event, and then assign projects to your team based on priority. Have your team select which projects they want to work on and complete that week. Have them break those projects down into tasks and keep track of them as they are in progress and completed. Have a daily meeting to discuss what has been worked on, what is in progress and what is done. This is a great opportunity to identify roadblocks and obstacles, or time needed for collaboration with team members. 


7.  Inspire creativity.

Encourage your team to challenge the way things are done. Allow them the freedom to explore interesting ideas. More than likely they’ll have a lot of bad ideas, but along the way, they’ll produce some winning ideas as well..


Remember, your event and your team are unique. Each member of your team has strengths that will lift your event to new levels. Take the time to meet with them one-on-one and discuss those strengths and how they can be applied to your event. Setting goals and holding people responsible for those goals will improve the productivity of your team, and will provide order and a sense of accomplishment to your team along the way. 

SpinGo | Improving the Vibe at Your Event

Improving the Vibe at Your Event

March 25 2016

The other day, I was walking around an event and something seemed off. Here I was at a big event, yet the atmosphere lacked excitement. Even with all the people walking around, the event seemed quiet. People were walking into the event, but the big entryway was sparse and uninviting. There was no music playing, no visuals to capture people's attention, and no interactive booths to keep people involved.

Based on my observations, here are three quick hacks to improve the vibe at your event.

 

Overhead Music

The most noticeable thing missing from the event was the presence of any sort of overhead music. It is incredible how the right type of music can change the energy level and excitement at an event. Music helps keep the energy up even after you have been at the event for a few hours. It helps set the tone and the mood you are trying to create. Without music, the event seems quite, isolated, and lacks the energy that could really take it to the next level. Diehard fans will enjoy your event no matter what, but for casual fans, music will enhance the experience for them.

 

Visuals

65 percent of all people are visual learners. So what? You aren’t teaching anybody at your event, so why does it matter? If people are visual learners, they are most likely to be engaged by visual aspect of an event and will be impacted by visuals more than other senses. Visuals include video, graphics, lights, displays, decorations, and layout. Creating visually engaging displays or videos at your event will give people the opportunity to be engaged and immerse themselves in the vibe you are trying to create.

 

Interactive Booths

I’ve been to quite a few events where the there are aisles of exhibitors selling products, yet there are very few interactive booths for attendees. Event attendees pay good money to attend events, so it is worth providing interactive booths that will help entertain and leave your attendees wanting to come back next year. The booths don’t have to be complicated or expensive, either. It can be as simple as setting up a booth for corn toss, bringing in a photobooth, or having a karaoke corner. These types of booths give attendees something to do instead of just walk up and down the aisles.

 

Creating the right atmosphere for your event is critical for turning a good experience into a great experience. Music will bring energy and excitement to your event, visuals will create a magical and appealing atmosphere, and interactive booths will engage and entertain your attendees. By implementing these three ideas into your event, you will see happier and more engaged attendees.

 

Featured image via blindarcade.ca

 

 

SpinGo | 6 Common Ways to Measure Success and ROI for Your Event

6 Common Ways to Measure Success and ROI for Your Event

March 23 2016

Before doing anything else for your event, you sit down and make goals for what you want to get out of your event. What is the purpose behind planning the event? Are you hoping to make a profit? Or do you just want people in your community to have a good time?  

The easy part of going into an event is knowing what you want to get out of it, or what you want your attendees to experience from your event. The hard part is actually measuring it to see if your event was a success.

Let’s take a look at the six most common ways event planners define success for their events, and see how to best measure them.

 

Attendance

First and foremost, event planners measure success of their event by the number of people that attend. The more the merrier. This is usually a pretty straightforward metric as you can count the number of people who walk through the doors of your event, but there are better ways.

One of those is using RFID at events. By incorporating RFID at events, you don’t need to have a person at the door checking tickets and scanning their tickets. Instead, you can use an RFID scanner that allows your attendees to scan themselves into your event and also out, so you have a real time count of how many people are at your event during any given moment. You can collect and track this data to see the trends of your event to help you plan your events in the future.

RFID makes tracking attendance easy and gives you detailed reporting metrics. But if you are unable to use RFID at your event, no sweat, you can still measure the attendance of your event by scanning tickets, counting at the door, and using sign in options available online.

 

Measuring Enjoyment

One of, if not the hardest metric to measure for event success is whether or not your event was enjoyable. Often at the end of an event, event planners will turn to each other and ask “What did you think?” While it is important to ask each other these questions, they give you a biased view of how enjoyable your event truly was.

The best way to find out if people enjoyed your event is to go straight to the source: your attendees! A simple email to your attendees after the event can easily capture this information. All you have to do is ask one simple question: on a scale of one to ten, How likely are you to recommend this event to a friend?

The result of this answer is called a Net Promoter Score, or NPS for short. The total NPS score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. But who is a detractor and a promoter? Here’s how you interpret the results of an NPS score.

 

If your attendees answer between:

  • 9-10, they are your promoters. These are your event superfans. These attendees will share your event through word of mouth, possibly want to volunteer, and are wanting to come back to your next event.
  • 7-8, they are considered passives - meaning that they may have enjoyed your event, but maybe not enough to recommend it to a friend. It doesn’t mean they had a bad time, but they are kind of indifferent.
  • 1-6 range, they are called detractors. These people range on how much they enjoyed your event, but are not likely to spread it through word of mouth and are at risk of not returning next year. These are great people to interview and get feedback from so you can see how to improve your event in the future.

Knowing this information, you can focus your marketing on the three different groups based upon their experiences. For those answered 9-10, you may want to offer an early bird special to them and encourage them to invite others to attend on social media.

For those who answered 1-6, you can talk about the changes at this years event that will make it a completely different experience from last year and offer them discounts or incentives to come again.

The NPS is a great tool for measuring the opinion of your attendees, and you’ll be surprised how many people will answer the one question email you send out. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it’s easy.

 

Donations Received

While both event attendance and having a good time are solid indicators for the success of an event, some events such as charity fundraisers and galas care more about the money they raise to support their cause.

For event planners who are measuring donations, making sure they get enough donations is important. With these types of events, attendance is important, but not mandatory. A nonprofit could reach it’s fundraising goal through one generous donation, and the event would be a success.

Text to Donate - Mobile Fundraising

However, one way to increase donations is through text message. Many people ignore emails that come from organizations, and they shy away from answering their phone from unknown numbers. However, 99% of people will read a text message that is on their phone and 90% of people will read a new text message within the first three hours they receive it.

For donations, a text message has incredible power to help you reach your donation goals.

 

Merchandise and Products Sold

Some events are businesses looking to make a profit. You’ll get music festivals, comedy shows, concerts, and sports games that are organized because they are entertaining, but they also bring in a lot of money.

One way to increase profits at an event is to sell more merchandise or products to attendees. But too often, event makers wait until the day of the event to start selling products. An awesome feature that Event Master offers is the ability to sell products and move merchandise before the event takes place. Attendees can purchase swag and gear before an event starts, helping to increase the sales for event makers.

 

Lead Generation

B2B events such as trade shows and conferences often focus on networking and lead generation. These types of event are often considered a success if exhibitors and participants match and can help solve problems to each other's needs.

At these types of events, vendors will give out business cards, attendees will fill out forms, and potential customers are created. The more leads you can get, the better.

But these types of events don’t only benefit the exhibitor. Attendees benefit because they are searching for solutions to problems that exist in their industry.

There are a few ways to capture more leads. First, make sure your product is a good fit for the event you are attending. Do your research beforehand and see if your product solves the problems of attendees. Second, make your exhibit stands out. It will be worth it to spend a little bit more money if your booth attracts more attention. Make sure you have a working demo of your product and enough salesmen to help all the attendees at your booth.

 

Brand Awareness

Some events are organized to build brand awareness and help people understand what your business is all about. If this is the case, how do you measure the success of an event? Yes, it is important to know how many people attended the event, but aside from that, how else can you measure brand?

There are a few solutions to this.

Make sure you have a hashtag at the start of your event and encourage social sharing.

When you have a unique hashtag, you will be able to easily follow it on all the different social media platforms. Set a goal of how many posts you are aiming for from your event, and then monitor social media to see how many people use your hashtag. Make sure the hashtag is posted all around so people can find it no matter where it is.

You can also use gamification to increase social engagement. You can offer attendees incentives for sharing on social media, because while it is important for people to learn about your brand at the event, it is just as good to spread the word through social media.

Products like Nuvi offer a great way to measure social media and brand. You can measure likes, shares, comments, impressions, monitor hashtags, and more.

 

These six metrics are often the major determining factors for an events success. While you may not measure all six of these metrics at your event, the chances of you measuring one or two are likely. Event makers should know if their event is successful, and now there are easy, reliable ways to measure event success. Stop guessing and start knowing how to measure your event's success.

 

Featured image via FridgeMagazine.com

SpinGo | The Potential of Virtual Reality at Events

The Potential of Virtual Reality at Events

March 15 2016

Recently, I attended an event where virtual reality stations were set up. At these stations, you could try out and jump into the world of virtual reality, teleporting yourself to new worlds and new experiences. The experience was incredible and unique, and left you amazed at all the possibilities virtual reality brings to the entertainment industry.

During one of these virtual experiences, workers placed sensors on your ankles, your wrists, and even fitted you with a backpack meant to detect your movement so it could be accurately displayed in virtual reality. Once you put on the goggles, you were instantly teleported to a new world. When you walked, your character in the virtual reality world walked, and when you moved your arms, they followed as if they were your own. 

The entire experience was mesmerizing, and my eyes, as well as my friends, were opened to the possibilities that virtual reality presents for the future of entertainment. 

We imagined how virtual reality could be incorporated in movies and video games, making them completely first-person interactive, or how virtual reality could change long-established games such as laser tag by inserting you into a new world every time you play. Our minds were wrapped up in the idea of what virtual reality means for the future, and how well it will be adopted. 

But what didn’t cross our minds at the time was the implementation of virtual reality into the event space. When you think of virtual reality, most people think of how it can be used in video games, TV, and movies - a natural fit. Yet, there is a real opportunity for events to seize the moment and make virtual reality a part of their event. 

In fact, the integration of virtual reality at events is already starting to happen. My first interaction with virtual reality didn’t happen at a movie theater - it happened at a live event. And while it wasn’t the main act at the event, it was there to bolster the event and make it more engaging and more enjoyable. I left with a better experience at the event because of virtual reality, than I would have had I not had the chance to use it. Other events could, and should start incorporating virtual reality into their events to make them stand out from other events. Here are three ways virtual reality can be used to improve events. 

Similarly, other events could take the technology to help enhance their event and drive attendee engagement. Here are three ways virtual reality can be used to improve events.

 

1. Attendee engagement. 

Right now, virtual reality is new and exciting. It’s a shiny new toy that most people haven’t been exposed to yet. By bringing in virtual reality demonstrations or exhibits, your attendees will get a completely new experience that they haven’t experienced anywhere else. These exhibits could happen at any variety of events from conferences and comic-cons, to music and film festivals. By acting now and dedicating a room to virtual reality, you can get more people engaged at your event. 

 

Virtual Reality at EventsImage via Be Core Experiential Marketing

 

Often times at events, there is a lot of sitting, watching, and listening, with very little time for participating. Virtual reality can eliminate that, if even for 15 minutes, by getting attendees engaged in an attendee-friendly technology. Instead of sitting and watching, attendees have to opportunity to plug themselves into the virtual reality experience, which will leave them feeling like they did more at your event. 

Virtual reality doesn’t have to be the centerpiece of your event, but it is definitely an exciting feature you can bring to your event to help attendees actively participate. The virtual reality station was such a hit at the event I went to, that the wait time to have a turn was 3-4 hours. The volunteers running the station would have you sign up, and then you would get a text message when it was your turn to go. Sure enough, nearly everybody returned to take their turn because they were excited to try it - and everybody I talked to that tried it absolutely loved it. 

To improve attendee engagement at your event, try implementing a virtual reality station. 

 

2. Makes old seem new again. 

If you haven’t heard yet, Six Flags, the giant amusement park, recently opened up The New Revolution at Dare Devil Dive, a roller coaster where riders wear virtual reality headsets to transport them into a world that mimics the movements of the real roller coaster. Not only do you get the normal thrill of riding the twisting and turning coaster, but you get to experience an entirely new visual aspect as well, as opposed to seeing the metal rails in front of you. During the ride, you see yourself flying through a city, trying to escape an alien envasion. The mix of reality with virtual reality is perfect in this case, and makes the roller coaster experience seem brand new. 

 

This same application of virtual reality can be implemented at any type of live event. Imagine a music festival, where attendees wear virtual reality headsets that display video that matches the music being performed. 

While widespread use of virtual reality at events is a ways away, the possibilities it brings forth are tremendous. Imagine how virtual reality could change a corn maze into an entirely new experience. Attendees would still walk through the maze with their virtual reality headsets on, but could end up in an enchanted forest, a labyrinth, or a spooky town. Virtual reality has the potential to take traditional events and make them new again. 

 

3. Provides new possibilities.  

Many event makers have not taken advantage of new technologies at their events, not because they don’t want to, but because the application of new technology can pose challenging to work into the fibers of the event. In this regard, virtual reality is one of the easiest technologies to incorporate into an event because it can mix human experience with virtual experience. Virtual reality seems like a natural fit to mix with events. 

 

Image via Trend Hunter Tech

 

Virtual reality can temporarily transport your attendees to a magical world, all while they are experiencing the attractions at your event. Imagine you run a Comic-Con, and you have a room set-up for virtual reality tours and adventures that take place in the worlds created in comic books and movies. Not only will your attendees get to meet their favorite characters from these shows in person, but they will get to be a part of their favorite fictional worlds made possible by virtual reality. 

 

Virtual reality presents a real opportunities to enhance live events. While it may not be conducive to every type of event, virtual reality can certainly have a place at many types of events. Virtual reality can increase attendee engagement, improve attendee experience, make old things seem new again, and leave your attendees feeling like they had a once-in-a-lifetime experience at your event. 

SpinGo | What Disney World is Doing with RFID and the Future of Events

What Disney World is Doing with RFID and the Future of Events

March 10 2016

Disney World, the most magical place on earth, just became a little more magical. Starting in late 2014, Disney World experimented with the use of MagicBands, RFID wristbands that connect you with your experience at Disney World. Entering your hotel room, getting fast pass tickets, purchasing lunch, and storing your photos is now as easy as tapping your arm to a scanner and you’re done.

The MagicBand defragments aspects of the event experience and combines them into one friendly, hard-to-lose wristband. Disney is one of the first major corporations to make significant breakthroughs in the way we experience live events by effectively bringing events up-to-date with this latest use of technology - in what has otherwise been a slow-to-adapt industry.

By condensing credit cards, hotel keys, park tickets, and even allowing your location at  restaurants to be triangulated through the wristband, the whole live event experience is transformed into a user friendly experience. The Disney World experience becomes more enjoyable and stress free as the MagicBand eliminates any worries of misplacing items while at the theme park. The user experience for the MagicBand proves to be overwhelmingly positive as 90 percent of MagicBand users rate their experiences with them as excellent or very good, a major hit by any measure. The high ratings send a message to other live experience creators: incorporate technology into your events or get left behind.

MagicBands RFID Disney World

Image via babygizmo.com

The use of RFID throughout Disney World was no small bet, costing Disney World $1 billion in the hopes that the MagicBand leads to better experiences and more purchases, and so far it has. Disney World has paved the way for what is just the first step in an improved live event experience.

As technology continues to advance and events are built around individual experiences, this type of technology will spread rapidly, bringing a breath of fresh air to an industry that hasn’t changed much in the last twenty years. It won’t be long before other major corporations and events start using 21st century technology at their events to improve the experience of attendees.

Would it really be surprising to see all large scale events adopt RFID, NFC, or NFMI wristbands for all of their needs? Not with the results Disney World has seen. Technologies like these are just the first steps in creating a new event experience, bringing a whole new set of possibilities to events in the future by personalizing each attendee’s experience. In the future, events will fully incorporate technology as its benefits will greatly enhance live experiences, even amid the costs. Here are some predictions for what events will look like in 2020. 

  1. The Internet of Things will be actively working at events.

    The Internet of Things is the idea of putting sensors in just about all applications, such as TVs, computers, phones, fridges, speakers, and more. When all of these devices have sensors in them, they can actively communicate and exchange information with each other simply based on proximity or other sensory inputs. 

    Because the IoT doesn’t require you to opt-in and manually allow exchanges of information, it can change events in the future by enabling proximity based communication. 

    Imagine you are walking around a convention center at a trade show, and you walk towards a display that recognizes that you are near, and automatically starts presenting a demo. You decide to move on from the exhibit, it stops playing, and offers you an unbeatable offer that you cannot beat. 

    Or imagine yourself at a concert or festival where the Internet of Things connects you to an interactive game, gives you discounts to restaurants or more. Imagine the Internet of Things connecting you to a drone overhead that can take your photo and send it directly to your device to share on social media. The Internet of Things can connect and enhance any event, and marketers are left to imagine and create the possibilities at events.

  2. NFMI will make events personalized.

    Near Field Magnetic Induction (NFMI) is a technology similar to NFC, but which can communicate at further distances than NFC. Think of all the wearable technology you carry on your person at all times - a smartphone, smartwatch, fitbit, headphones and other devices. Now, imagine all of those devices talking with each other, sending each other information and relaying it back to you, the event attendee. 

    Your wearable technology will tell you when you need to get a drink, go sit down, move around, etc. Technology will inform you on how to make sure you are having the best personal experience at events. 

    NFMI technology will enable you to easily share information with your neighbor as well. If somebody is within close proximity to you, NFMI technology will easily share photos, coupons, etc. with the person next to you. Imagine that you get a coupon from a food truck at a festival, and it encourages you to share that coupon with the person next to you. 

    NFMI will also have the ability to recognize when too many devices are using wifi or Bluetooth and can automatically switch to NFMI so that the airways aren’t cluttered with radio frequencies interfering with each other.

    MagicBands at DisneyWorld - Walletless Pay
    Image via PCmag.com
     

  3. You won't have to miss a minute of the action.

    With RFID, sensors will be able to triangulate your location anywhere you are in the venue. Imagine ordering a pizza at a basketball game and never having to leave your seat to go and get it because it will be brought directly to you. An image of you along with your seat number and live location tracker will be sent to the concession stand where they will swiftly bring out your order so you don’t miss a minute of the action. 

    RFID will take customer service to a whole new level at events. Employees will welcome you by name to their food stand, to the concert, and will know if you have any special requests. With these new technologies, event organizers will be able to ask specific questions at during online registration and will be able to cater directly to your needs. 

    Disney World is already doing it. Imagine listing your allergies, your preferences, and other important information before as you purchase your tickets online. This information will provide event organizers with information to help them shape their even the best way for their unique audience. Events will be data driven. For example, pretend that before an event, you request that you want a pizza delivered to you at a specific time. Once you enter the venue, the pizza makers will be notified that you have entered the concourse and will start preparing your pizza to be delivered at the correct moment. RFID will make this all possible.

  4. Walletless pay will be fully integrated.

    NFC, NFMI, and RFID make payment easier than it’s ever been before. As these technologies expand and improve and as people keep upgrading their phones and watches, your wallet will become obsolete. Your ID, credit card, or debit card information will be on your smartphone and smartwatch, making payment and access into venues a seamless experience.

    With the adoption of NFC technology into smartphones, event attendees tickets, IDs, and payment information will be stored in their devices. This can correctly identify individuals as they enter the venue, and make them easy to contact in case of emergency.  

 

RFID, Bluetooth, NFC, and NFMI will shape the user experience at events in the near future. The adoption of these technologies at events is already starting to take place and in a few years they will be more readily available. These technologies will enable better security, faster lines, location marketing, real time marketing, social sharing, and more. What Disney is doing now is just the beginning for improving the event experience, incorporating the timeless joy of attending your favorite concert mixed with the conveniences technology can provide.

 

Featured photo via Disney

SpinGo | How to Pick the Right Event Title for Your Event

How to Pick the Right Event Title for Your Event

March 04 2016

A good event title is like a good headline - to the point and eye catching. In fact, when coming up with an event title, you should always approach it the same way you would writing a headline for an article. Your title should give your attendees an idea of what and why but still leave them wanting to know more.

The truth is, for the majority of people, your event title will be the first and only thing they read about your event. Knowing that, what type of information do you want to include into your event title? What type of information should you leave out? The right title will convert views into clicks, where interested readers can learn more about your event. Here are a few best practices for picking the right event title for your event.

 

Short and Sweet

Your event title should be direct and to the point. Since most people will find out about your event online, it is important to play by the rules of the internet. One of those rules is that search results only display 65 characters before being cut off with elipses (...).

If your event title is longer than 65 character, people may not read the entirety of your event title, which would leave them hanging in the dark. However, don’t have your event title too short, either. A good length to aim for an event title is between three and six words.  

Let’s take a look at a couple of good event titles:

The Festival of Colors - This title is short, to the point, and you get a good idea of what the event is about. This title leads you to want to know more about what is going to happen.

The Parade of Homes - Another good example of an event title that helps you understand what is going to happen, yet leaves you feeling intrigued. It is short enough that you’ll read it, but long enough to plant an image in your mind.

 

Use Impactful Words

The difference between creating a great title for your event and a mediocre one is huge. A great title can be the difference between selling out and or scrambling to get people to your event. But with such limited real estate to work with, each word you choose needs to make an impact.

Consider using words that have strong emotional appeal associated with them. If you can choose words that stand out and stir up positive emotions such as excitement, joy, or curiosity, then your event title will leave a deeper impact on the people who see it.  

If you can use words that evoke positive emotions and memories, your event title will capture readers attention.


Image via https://blog.bufferapp.com/words-and-phrases-that-convert-ultimate-list

 

Don’t Overthink It

Think of all the creative event names and titles you have heard of in the past. Coachella, SXSW, Burning Man, Bonnaroo, Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, the Kentucky Derby, and Lollapalooza, for example. Some of these names are words picked out of the dictionary, while some of them are a summary of the best part of an event.

Creativity will help you as you try to decide the right name, but you don’t look too hard. By nature of events, there is something unique and individualized about your event. Find out what makes your event different, and then highlight it. There are a lot of marathons around the world, but the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon has a very unique aspect to it that sets it apart from other marathons. They simply took what makes their marathon unique, and used it as their selling point.

There is some defining attribute to your event that will set it apart, and your job is to find it and share it with your audience. Once you find out what your unique attribute is, you can work it into your event title.

 

Make Your Event Title SEO Friendly

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. When you enter a search through a search engine, they bring back results. The results at the top of the page are the most SEO friendly because they got matched with your search term.

Choose a title that won’t have a lot of competing titles. A great example of this is Bonnaroo. How many other events have that name? If you search Bonnaroo on Google, it will easily be the first result that pops up.

First Google Search Result

 

What To Leave Out of an Event Title

 

Details

The purpose of your event title is to get clicks so people can find out more about your event. It is once they click into your event that they can start reading the details. Nobody was ever hooked by a headline saturated with details.

 

Duplicate Titles

Thousands of events happen every single day. Make sure the name you choose for your event doesn’t already exist. You will be found much easier online if your event name is unique as opposed to “City Event” or “Business Conference”.



For more tips on choosing the right name for your event, check out this blog post.

 

Feature image via worldbook.com

SpinGo | 6 #Eventprofs You Should Follow in 2016

6 #Eventprofs You Should Follow in 2016

March 02 2016

When it comes to learning from event experts, we believe in following the #eventprofs who will simplify your lives by giving you best practices, tips, advice, and tell you about technology that can take your event to the next level. But the old adage that ‘more is always better’ isn’t necessarily true when it comes to the number of event experts you follow on social media. If you follow every #eventprof, you’ll end up getting bombarded with so much information that it is impossible to keep up!

Let’s be honest: your time is valuable, and you only have a few minutes each day to dedicate to learning about best practices and updates in the event industry. That’s why we decided to make a compressed list of the 6 best #eventprofs to follow in 2016 so that you can quickly sort through the articles that are relevant to you. Now that’s a way to save time!

 

Julius Solaris #eventprof

Julius Solaris @tojulius - Julius Solaris is the editor of Event Manager Blog. If you haven’t been to his site yet, stop whatever you’re doing, and go check it out right now. It’s that good. Based in the U.K., Solaris shares his knowledge with event professionals worldwide on topics such as event planning, social media and events, event technology, and event trends. While he focuses mostly on professional B2B meetings, he dishes out info on social media trends and the best tech that are applicable for any event.

 

Liz King #eventprof

Liz King @lizkingevents -  Liz King is an event planning superhero by day, and a closeted tech geek and introvert by night. She runs her own blog, Techsy Talk, that was built by event planners for event planners. Liz stays up to date on her best tips and practices for event planning, and tweets them out regularly while constantly updating her website with the best content. Some of her features include, “Behind the Hustle, Event Tech of the Week, and Event Planning”. Liz is the event planning guru.

 

David Adler

David Adler @davidadler - David Adler is the CEO of event news giant, BizBash which covers event planning, production, and event trends in marketing, design, and style. If you want to hear what other events did to achieve success, this is the #eventprof to follow. You’ll find inspiration for your event by reading about great ideas that have worked for other events. With BizBash, there is no shortage of event news. Adler is always sending out resources for event makers whether you are a non-profit or a high profile event planner.

 

Kreg Peeler #eventprof

Kreg Peeler @kregpeeler - SpinGo’s founder and CEO, Kreg posts content that will help you make, market, and manage your event. Kreg makes a name for himself as an #eventprof by speaking to every type of event maker, no matter what your event may be. While many #eventprofs speak directly to B2B professionals who plan conferences, meetings, and trade shows, Kreg speaks to events of all shapes and sizes from music festivals and comedy shows to comic-cons and wine-tastings. For those whose events are outside the realm of professional meetings, Kreg is the #eventprof to follow.

 

Amanda Cey #eventprof

Amanda Cey @ABCeyEvents - Amanda Cey is the founder of ABCey Events - which specializes in private and corporate event planning, production, and management. Amanda is always serving up tips and advice and keeping us up to date on the latest trends. You can bet you’ll get the best advice by following Amanda.

 

 

 

Dahlia ElGazzar #eventprofDahlia ElGazzar @DahliaElGazzar - Dahlia ElGazzar runs the website The Meeting Pool, and is an #EventTech evangelist and speaker. Dahlia knows the best apps and tech to make your event more productive, efficient, and organized. When you follow Dahlia, you’ll learn the best ways to take your event planning mobile. By following Dahlia, you’ll be equipped to work on-the-go, not just behind a desktop.

 

 

 

 

Feature photo via rustinbanks.com

SpinGo | Using Rich Media Ads to Boost Your Event Marketing

Using Rich Media Ads to Boost Your Event Marketing

February 23 2016

The digital age of advertising is fully upon us as old fashioned tactics for advertising continue to be replaced by more targeted, effective, and efficient ads on the internet. Now that more than 3 billion people around the world use the internet, marketing for your event becomes most effective by using internet to share your message instead of billboards, flyers, and posters. Through the internet, you can reach mass numbers of your niche audience through targeted advertising.

One of the newest and most exciting developments in online advertising over the past few years is the creation of rich media. Rich media is the most complex form of advertising on the internet, a step up from text and display ads.

So what exactly is rich media? Rich media is a digital advertising term for an ad that uses features like video, audio, or animation that encourage viewers to engage and interact with the content.

Rich media is especially useful for events because it can enable you to showcase the uniqueness and highlights of your event that text or image ads cannot express. Essentially, rich media ads can be anything you choose to create, so the possibilities of what you can do for your event is endless. Your ad could be a slot machine, an animation of people at your event, a video, or more. Rich media makes your advertisements fun again, and if you use them right, people will willingly engage with them.

To understand a little more of what you can do with rich media ads, they are able to:

  • Embed a video
  • Embed audio
  • Play animations
  • Integrate touch interactions
  • Add an event to the user’s calendar
  • Send a SMS message
  • Call a phone number
  • Save a picture
  • Resize, move, hide, or expand a creative
  • And more

Here are some examples of rich media ads: 

This powerful advertising tool is customizable and is only limited by your imagination. When you decide to start using these for your events, they provide some added benefits that neither display ads nor text ads can provide, like providing a way for viewers to add your event to their calendar, share it on social media, and more.

To make your rich media ad effective for your event, here are five elements that your ad should include to that are specific for events:

 

  1. Calls to Action
    Unlike most advertisements which have a single call to action, rich media ads can have up to twelve different calls to action. This allows you to test out different calls to action on the ad to see which one gets the most clicks and engagement. Having twelve different calls to action may be a little overkill, but having three or four is a great way to see what your target audience reacts to. These different calls to action can include buttons that allow the user to buy tickets, add the event to their calendar, share the event on their social media, get directions, call to ask questions, or more. Imagine how much more effective your marketing can be if you can enable people to buy tickets, save the date, and invite their friends to come, all from one ad.
     

  2. Sense of Urgency
    One of the unique features of rich media ads is their ability to have eye catching, active content. For example, imagine that you have a video of your event that viewers can watch, click on, and then on the same ad, they see a countdown to the event date. This instills within them a sense of urgency that inclines them to act now as opposed to wait to make a decision. You could do this for early bird ticket pricing as well - creating a sense of urgency for people to buy their tickets in advance before the prices go up. Along with having a countdown to your event, you could include a list of how many tickets are still available, increasing the urgency to purchase tickets now. Rich media ads are the only type of ad that are capable of creating an ad that truly awakens people to action by creating a sense of urgency.
     

  3. Creativity
    To make your rich media ad the most effective it can be, you need to pull out your creative side and fill it full of content that will attract eyes. Don’t just use an image with text on it and have a single call to action. If that’s what you want to do, do a display ad. Yes, rich media ads are more complicated to create than display ads, but they also provide greater returns. What will get people to stop and pay attention to your ad? Do you have amazing video footage of your event? Use what you can to grab the attention and let your creativity go wild. Rich media ads were built for creativity and to get messages across in ways that were previously not possible.  
     

  4. Video
    Video has taken the internet by storm, and sites like Facebook and Airbnb are catching on quickly. If you notice on Facebook, native videos will start playing automatically as you scroll past them, grabbing your attention. Your rich media ad should have the same effect. When our eyes see movement on a static page, it naturally catches our attention, and we turn our focus to it. If your event advertisement is compelling enough, people's eyes will stay glued to your advertisement. Marketers are beginning to understand the power of video, as sites like Airbnb use high quality video on their homepage to keep their users engaged and on their page longer. Adding video content to your media rich ad will capture more impressions than any text or image ad ever could.

 

  1. Direction 
    We already talked about having multiple calls to action, but making them easily recognizable is another issue. Sometimes ads can have amazing content, yet the call to action is hidden and lost in all the other content on the page. However, your call to action is the most important part of your ad because that is where people make decisions to buy tickets, attend your event, or share it with their friends. Make sure your content leads to a call to action and that it doesn’t distract from the real purpose of your rich content ad.



Feature photo via freestocks.org on Flickr

SpinGo | Attendee Behavior:  The 2 Main Reasons Why People Go to Events

Attendee Behavior: The 2 Main Reasons Why People Go to Events

February 19 2016

During the last 2 ½ years at SpinGo, I’ve worked on a personal level with dozens of event makers on new marketing approaches, and talked to hundreds of event attendees about why they do or don’t attend events. I am in a unique position because 1) I am my target demographic and 2) I am studying my target demographic. When it comes to event attendance, I’m the scientist and the lab rat. 

 


 

Today's Event Attendee

 

I am a "millennial:, meaning I:

  • Grew up with Internet fluency. It is the primary way I share and consume information.
  • Am socially active. Married with lots of friends married and single.
  • Am employed full time. I have available income.
  • Am passionate.
  • Play the violin in a local European folk group, St. Boheme.
  • Am health conscious. I participate in races and outdoor activities.
  • Am an active volunteer in my neighborhood.

Also, like most other millennials, I am commitment shy. I’m not as bad as others—at least I’m married ; ) But in terms of entertainment, I’m just as flakey as the rest. I’ll come back to this—but for now I want to share a brief comparison of two of my recent event attendance decisions:

 


 

2 Examples of Event Attendance Decisions
 

 

Example 1:  Musician - Tallest Man on Earth at the Fox Theater in Oakland, CA. 

I love the Tallest Man on Earth. I mean, I really love him. I have listened to his music daily for the last 5 years, and you know I belt it shamelessly in my car as if I was on the mountain tops he sings about.

One day last February, I heard 1) through SpinGo and 2) through a newsletter that he was playing in the Bay Area the following May. In 24 hours, I:

  • Spent $100 on two event tickets.
  • Spent $400 on two plane tickets.
  • Arranged lodging with a friend living out there.
  • Took that weekend off work.

It was a big commitment, and every penny and minute I spent was worth experiencing that music that I love so much.

 

 

Exampe 2 - Festival - RISE Lantern Fest in Mojave Desert, Las Vegas, NV.

I would not consider myself passionate about lighting thousands of lanterns on fire and watching them float into the sky. In fact, I was aware of, but did not attend, a similar festival just 20 minutes from my house. BUT, when a couple friends pitched the idea of attending the RISE Lantern Fest in Vegas—which is roughly 5 hours from my SLC home—I couldn’t say no. Road trip? Yes, please. Festival with music and food? I’m in. Sure-to-be priceless memories with close friends? Sign me up.  Once again, I found I had:

  • Spent $200 on two tickets.
  • Arranged local lodging through a friend of a friend.
  • Budgeted $150 for food and gas.
  • Taken that weekend off work.

This event won a big commitment from me, regardless of the fact that my attitude to the actual event was … “meh”. 

 


 

The 2 Reasons Why People Go to Events

 

 

The above comparison illustrates not just my personal event attendance patterns, but those I’ve seen in surveying hundreds of attendees.

People go to events for two reasons

  1.  Passion. A specific interest.
  2.  As a medium for spending time with others.

Reasons for attending events usually amounts to some combo of those two things.

The best events are a heightened match of those two.

As an event organizer, it is important to realize attendees will come to your event because it is solving one of those two things.

Now this is something we’re all probably generally aware of, but I want to dive a little deeper into how that affects attendance decision patterns.

 


 

Decision Patterns

 

 

Awareness & Decision

  • Awareness - The result of most marketing. You saw it on a billboard, you saw it on Facebook, you heard it on the radio. These are all passive impressions.
  • When I’ve surveyed audiences at events, the answer “I can't remember.. just around” is surprisingly common. They can’t even remember where they heard about the event, but they can tell you exactly what (who) actually got them to go.
  • Decision - This is the commitment, and almost always involves other people. Either you decided to go and have invited someone to come with you, or you were invited. Either way, events are inherently social, so is the decision to attend is too.


Now let's look at how that Passion<———>Social spectrum looks during the Awareness<———>Decision life cycle.

 


Awareness: Passion
Turns out the passion-based attendees are usually the first to find out about the event because they follow email newsletters, interest-specific social handles, blogs, word of mouth, or they know the organizer and don’t need much convincing to commit. They committed because they commit to that interest in one form or another anyway. 
In a survey of 87 attendees, 72% attended because of a "special interest", and 24% attended from an ad.

Decision: Passion
This involves planning ahead and/or rearranging their schedule and inviting others. 

Awareness: Social Medium
These are your attendees who don’t even realize where they heard about the event. They glanced past a sponsored post on social media, saw ads on a website, heard it on the radio, saw a billboard, TV, local calendars, and flyers.

They Put the decision off. This is where the commitment shy thing comes in. They think, "Maybe I want to go, but I might have to work late, or that cute kid on Tinder might finally ask me out, or is there food there? How much does it cost? Most importantly, who is going to be there??? Because I am inundated every day with social media, advertising, constant information onslaught, I have options, too many options, and I am going hold on to all my options until I have to make a decision." Awareness for the social medium attendee is important, because it lays the foundation to the decision stage, but it is rarely enough alone.

Decision: Social Medium
Someone invited or prompted them to come. In surveying about 232 event goers, I found that each attendee brought an average of 1.5 more attendees with them. So every 10 attendees at your event brought another 25 with them, and these additional 15 are your attendees who made a decision based heavily on social factors.

 



Decision Pattern Examples

Let's look at some examples of how this actually looks.

Example 1: Black Tie Affair - Friday Jan 29, 2016 - Independent event maker. Open-invite party. General interest. Something fun for an open weekend evening.

 

 

  • Amanda, top left: Says explicitly that her decision is based on other people.
  • Look at all the soft-ball phrases:
    • just so you know haha”
    • what do you think?
    • this could be fun? : ) 
    • what do you think???? : ) : )
    • thoughts?
    • this would be fun!
    • this seems cool
    • we could go to this
  • Each and every comment has tagged another person - involving another person in the decision
  • Just look at all the question marks!
  • Notice how the tag-ees aren’t responding- the joint decision is being taken to a text/phone call

 

Example 2: Get Lucky EDM Festival - March 12 2016 - V2 Presents Entertainment Group
AKA a “rave”. Niche interest. Not for everyone. 


 

  • Firstly we see Hector in the middle, who not only has bought tickets two months in advance, but is broadcasting it.
  • Bailey, top left- you know what her next paycheck is already spent on.
  • Notice the shoutouts to the event maker:
    • Thank you V2 for such an amazing lineup
    • Oh v2 thank you so much
    • Soked you guys brought some hardstyle
  • Not only are they loyal to this EDM nich, but even to sub-niches- ‘hardstyle’
  • Joser, bottom middle - ‘set times?’ He’s already making micro-planning decisions.
  • ZERO friends were tagged here to chime in on the attendance decision. These attendees are going, friends or not.

 



Attendee Breakdown

 

 

In attending several events to survey the attendees there, I found that out of 242 attendees, 97 were responsible for the actual attendance decision, and that they brought another 145 attendees with them. The pattern went like this:

I’d approach a small group of people, and ask how they heard about the event. Some of them would shrug their shoulders, offer an inconclusive answer, then turn to an individual in the group saying “he knew about it and invited me”. Here at SpinGo, we’ve begun calling these ringleaders “initiators” for initiating the attendance decision.

So, then I’d drill in on the initiator, asking how he heard about it and what made him decide to come. Of these 97 initiators,

  • 67% discovered the event from an interest-specific based channel (interest specific social handles, blogs, email newsletters, knowing the organizer, knowing a previous attendee, etc)
  • 33% discovered the event from an ad and simply decided to come

These initiators are your gold. They are magnifying your efforts, evangelizing your cause, building your momentum.

 



Recommendations

Incentivize, enable, encourage your passion-attendees to share and invite friends. Create a relationship with them. A few examples:

 

 

  • Reach out personally, offer discounts or VIP experience to them and 3 friends, or discounts to the next event
  • Hand pick an individual from your audience, followers, recipients, etc, and offer them free admission and 50% off for everyone they bring
  • For free events: follow the same structure, but with value-adds instead of ticket discounts
  • For free events: Work with local restaurants in the area to be able to offer 50% off to a certain attendee, and 25% off for everyone they bring with them. We tried this, and got a very positive response from local restaurants.

 


 

In Summary

Attendance motives: 

  1. Specific interest 
  2. Social medium

Different events land in different places on this spectrum. Where does yours land?

Awareness and decision patterns

  • How are attendees finding out about your event?
  • Is the decision to attend heavily social?
  • What sentiments can you catch about how attendees’ decision factors?
  • Who are your initiators, and how can you connect with them?
SpinGo | 4 Strategies to Market Mobile Fundraising to Your Event Attendees

4 Strategies to Market Mobile Fundraising to Your Event Attendees

February 09 2016

As you may have learned in this article, mobile fundraising is an amazing tool for fundraising of all kinds. But like most tools, if people don’t know they exist (or don’t know how to use them properly), they’re likely to remain tucked away on a shelf in the garage, gathering dust.

Events are actually the perfect time and place to grab mobile fundraising right off the shelf and put it to good use.

With these 4 highly effective strategies for marketing mobile fundraising to your event attendees, you can be sure that your donors will know just how to get started with mobile giving.

 

#1. Enlist the Help of Your Existing Donors

You’ve already promoted your event on Facebook. All the right people have clicked “Attending.” Your whole board is pretty jazzed about the guest list, and you’ve cultivated the perfect amount of buzz around your nonprofit’s event.

How can you take this excitement and make it work for you?

One of the simplest and most effective ways of marketing any kind of fundraising, online or offline, is through peer pressure.

No, not the kind of peer pressure that involves gum being stuck in someone’s hair or names being called. The positive kind that incites real change.

For most nonprofits, it’s known as peer-to-peer fundraising or P2P, and it’s an incredibly useful tactic for marketing your mobile donation page or anything else your nonprofit may choose to promote.  

Essentially, your nonprofit will want to:

  • Reach out to its key influencers before your major event.

  • Give those key players (the movers and the shakers) the mobile fundraising tools they need to start a chain reaction.

  • Instruct your influencers to reach out to their social networks (friends, family, coworkers, etc.).

  • Sit back and watch as the magic of peer-to-peer fundraising unfolds!

When you leverage your existing donors, you end up reaching ten times as many potential donors as you might have otherwise.

 

#2. Encourage Donors to Whip Out Their Phones

Even though asking for donations can at times be awkward or uncomfortable, everyone loves a good call-to-action.

That’s part of why live fundraising events are the absolute best times to reach donors and market mobile fundraising. You have everyone’s attention.

All ears are yours, and all eyes are on you.

Not to mention that fact that everyone is already in the giving spirit if they’re attending a fundraising event!

Even if it’s not specifically a fundraising event, a live event of any kind provides all sorts of opportunities to insert a plug for your mobile fundraising or text-to-give campaign.

Once you’ve captured your audience’s undivided attention, you can simply ask them to take out their mobile devices, whether they’re phones or tablets, and you can explain the mobile giving process.

After a short explanation, your donors should be ready to give! Bonus: they’re now primed to go home and tell all of their friends and family about this innovative new way to get involved with your charity.

 

#3. Offer Positive Incentives

Everyone loves a great free T-shirt or promotional mug. At any live event, you’re sure to find a T-shirt cannon as well as a few dozen avid fans with arms wide open, waiting to catch that free tee.

Giving away items like mugs, T-shirts, and even really enticing gifts (like a $100 gift card to a nice restaurant) incentivizes donating. New donors and existing donors alike feel like they’re not only donating to a great cause, they’re also getting a valuable gift in return for their philanthropy.

In addition to providing physical incentives for giving, you can also offer different giving levels to encourage your event attendees to donate via mobile device.

Studies have shown that donors respond positively to the option to give at different levels. In fact, when given several different options, donors are much more likely to give a greater amount when compared with what they might have given if the choice were entirely up to them.

Essentially, offering a blank donation amount gives no incentive for donors to give as much as they’re capable of contributing. Why not incentivize your donors to give just that much more?

It is so easy to offer your donors some positive encouragement, a promotional shirt or two, and the option to choose a donation amount. If you implement these straightforward strategies at your next live event, you’re guaranteed to notice a positive change in no time.

 

#4. Lather, Rinse, and Repeat.

On every shampoo bottle, you’ll find a sentence in the instructions that reads, “Lather, rinse, and repeat.”

How often do you actually repeat, though? And does it make a noticeable difference?

Unlike with shampoo, with marketing your mobile fundraising campaign, the key is to repeat.

You can’t expect your message to penetrate the hearts and minds of your donors if you only ever tell them once or twice.

Incorporating mobile fundraising into your existing fundraising marketing strategy is a major step that will take time and planning, but doing so is of the utmost importance if you want your ventures to succeed.

To incorporate mobile fundraising into your existing plans, your nonprofit can:

  • Send out reminders in email newsletters.

  • Include information about mobile giving in your direct mail campaigns.

  • Craft a compelling social media blast about mobile giving (with a link to your donation page, of course!).

  • Repeat your speech about mobile giving at every live event you have. You never know what new donors you may reach at each event, and it doesn’t hurt existing donors to hear the basics twice (or even five times).

  • Find new and creative ways to get the word out, however you see fit!

 

Whichever way you choose to repeat your message, the point is to remind people that giving on their phones is a viable, terrific option.

 

----------------

 

With a useful tool like mobile fundraising, the key is to make the instructions for use as simple and straightforward as possible. If you market it correctly, soon you’ll find that your donors are as handy with mobile giving as a carpenter is with a hammer and nail.  

----------------

 

John Killoran is CEO of @Pay, a exciting new fundraising technology that makes it easy for people to donate in two clicks from text, email, web and social media sites.  John pioneered SMTP payments and has been a major innovator in the mobile payments space for the past 5 years. When he is not running a company, he is cooking food for his family and telling his dogs to stop barking.

SpinGo | Introducing SpinGo Event Master

Introducing SpinGo Event Master: The All-In-One Event Ticketing and Management Suite

February 11 2016

SpinGo introduces SpinGo Event Master - the only ticketing solution that integrates with your scheduling, reporting, marketing, volunteer management, and other tools you need to manage your event. Access it all from a single, easy-to-use dashboard, and bid farewell to managing your event with spreadsheets. SpinGo Event Master includes three major features to simplify the entire event organizing process:

Ticketing

 

SpinGo Event Master ticketing

 

With SpinGo Event Master, you can now enjoy headache-free ticketing. Event Master gives your attendees a single ticketing page that takes them through the entire purchasing process- from start to finish. There are no redirects or multiple websites needed. Everything you need for your ticketing comes from one source. Here’s what you get with Event Master:

  • Easy Check-in - Scan multiple tickets at a time to cut down lines at the door.
     
  • Platform Compatibility - Use the latest ticketing technologies, including, Passbook, MMS, Epic Photo, RFID, and more.
     
  • Multiple Pricing Levels - Accommodate various ticket prices and easily upgrade any ticket. If you want a uniform price for your tickets, that works too.
     
  • Product Sales - Sell event products in addition to tickets such as t-shirts, cds, wristbands or whatever you hope to move off the shelves.
     
  • Promo Codes - Accept and track promo codes, run campaigns and redeem vouchers.
     
  • Reports - Track sales and trends
     

Scheduling

In addition to providing a user friendly ticketing experience, Event Master organizes schedules for:

  • Event Planners - planning an event is hectic, sticking to a schedule is vital - your schedule is now synced with the rest of your event. 
  • Special Guests - including artists, musicians, keynote speakers, celebrities, and more.
  • Attendees - Print and display the events available to the attendees. 

Balancing these three schedules takes the stress off of you, as you can track what needs to get done no matter where you are. Event Master provides a single entry system for your event so you can easily schedule meetings, lunches, photo-ops, panels, autograph sessions, and more. Event Master has the capability to schedule both public and private schedules, so you don’t accidentally print a schedule for a private event.

Once you add an all the events into your schedule, you can use it to populate the web, your app, digital signage and can be used to generate your printed program.

Managing

 

SpinGo Event Master

 

Event Master saves time and money by giving you the ability to manage volunteers, guests, panelists, and exhibitors, all from one place. Having one dashboard for all your management needs makes finding and tracking your event  Here’s what’s included:

  • Volunteer Management - Make assignments, schedules, and receive applications.
  • User Permissions - Get your entire team on the same page.
  • Reports - Track revenue, campaigns, promo codes, attendance, and more.
  • Marketing Programs - Create promo codes and send out emails to attendees.
  • Reserved Seating (coming soon)Manage venues and seating.


By creating an all-in-one dashboard for event ticketing, management, and scheduling, organizing an event just became a whole lot easier.

To use SpinGo Event Master for your event, click here. 

SpinGo | How Corporate Philanthropy Should be Incorporated Into Every Nonprofit Fundraising Event

How Corporate Philanthropy Should be Incorporated Into Every Nonprofit Fundraising Event

February 02 2016

Many people see the nonprofit world and the corporate sphere as two separate entities. One is concerned with serving a particular group or area, while the other is primarily focused on profits and pleasing consumers.

But while the two sectors serve different purposes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to be isolated from one another.

In fact, companies with robust corporate philanthropy programs often find themselves partnering with nonprofits to create positive change in their local communities via volunteer programs, employee giving programs, and more.

However, nearly three fourths of Americans feel a disconnect between causes and the products or services that companies offer. For businesses, this means finding a way to integrate their corporate philanthropy with causes that their consumers and employees care about.

For nonprofits, this means combining corporate philanthropy with existing fundraising initiatives, including fundraising events!

Let’s talk about how corporate philanthropy and nonprofit fundraising events can go hand in hand with one another!

And make sure you check out the top 30 events that everyone should go to this year.

 

1. Ask for corporate donations.

Let’s face it: fundraising events are no picnic (I mean, they can be picnics, but we won’t go into that right now). Nonprofits have to throw a great event but also bring in enough money to cover their costs, and then some!

Asking for donations from individuals just doesn’t cut it sometimes. Your organization might find that the generosity of local companies is a good supplement to your existing fundraising strategies.

The great thing about corporate donations is that they can come in a variety of forms:

  • Cash donations. This one is pretty obvious. You ask a company for support. They write a check.

  • In kind donations. Instead of giving money, a company may choose to donate goods or services to your nonprofit’s event. If you need food for your gala attendees, ask a local restaurant if they would cater the event for free or at a reduced cost.

  • Volunteers. Many corporate employees enjoy giving back to their communities; one way companies can express their corporate philanthropy initiatives is by encouraging their employees to donate their time. Ask local businesses if they would consider lending their employees’ time and talent for your fundraising event.

Asking for corporate donations is just one way that corporate philanthropy can be incorporated into your nonprofit’s upcoming event. It’s important to remember, though, that your nonprofit should be prepared when asking for corporate donations of any kind.

This means creating cohesive fundraising materials like appeal letters, presentations, and acknowledgements. If your nonprofit wants to seriously receive corporate donations, you have to be serious about asking for them.

 

2. Promote corporate giving programs during your event.

Whether you’re throwing the kickoff event for your capital campaign or are hosting your annual walkathon, you can promote corporate giving programs to your attendees and participants.

Some of the most common corporate giving programs include:

  • Matching gifts

  • Individual volunteer grants

  • Team volunteer grants

Let’s go over each of these briefly and examine how they can be tied into your nonprofit’s next fundraising event.

 

Matching Gifts

This two-for-one special of the corporate giving world allows donors to double their contributions with the help of their employers’ matching donation.

If a supporter donates $100 during your fundraising event and then fills out the appropriate paperwork, your organization can potentially receive an extra $100 from the employer a few weeks or months later.

Your nonprofit’s job is to let donors know about matching gifts before, during, and after your fundraising event. This way, they don’t miss the opportunity to double their contribution!

 

Individual Volunteer Grants

If you have a number of volunteers that help facilitate your fundraising event, encourage them to look into volunteer grant programs that their employers might offer.

Similarly to matching gifts, volunteer grants reward employees who give back to nonprofits. After an employee has volunteered with a particular organization for a certain number of hours (predetermined by the employer), they are eligible for a volunteer grant that results in a monetary donation to the organization.

Promote individual volunteer grants at your fundraising event so that your volunteers can give back with company donations as well!

 

Team Volunteer Grants

This section will be short since team volunteer grants are very similar in nature to individual volunteer grants.

The only differentiator between individual and team volunteer grants is the number of people involved. Team volunteer grants reward groups of employees who volunteer together for a particular amount of time. The application process is generally similar to that of individual volunteer grants.

 

3. Leverage your existing supporter connections.

Do you have an advocate that works for a company without a robust corporate philanthropy program? Perhaps your core group of volunteers all work for the same business.

Tap into the corporate giving potential that you could be missing out on by leveraging your existing supporter connections.

Maybe one of your volunteers can speak at your next event about the benefits of volunteer grant programs.

Perhaps you have a donor who has repeatedly had her donations matched by her employer. Place her story on your promotional materials and within your acknowledgements so that your other donors know about matching gifts.

By using your existing supporters as a jumping off point, you’ll be able to encourage more of your event attendees and participants to look into their own employers’ corporate philanthropy programs.

 

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Corporate philanthropy doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It needs employees who are willing to give back to the community as well as nonprofits who need extra fundraising help.

The good news is that your nonprofit organization can look to corporate philanthropy as fundraising strategy that can be used in conjunction with your existing tactics, including any and all of your events!

Whether you need to raise money for a particular project or are just looking to further your mission in general, fundraising events and corporate philanthropy programs can be combined for better fundraising success.

 

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Adam Weinger - Double the Donation

Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. 

 

 

Featured image via http://www.pearleliteevents.com/gallery/2

SpinGo | 8 Landing Page Services to Try Out For Your Next Event

8 Landing Page Services to Try Out For Your Next Event

January 29 2016

Your event landing page is one of the most crucial components of your marketing efforts. It’s where potential attendees learn more about the important details of the event like how to get tickets, when and where it’s happening, the program lineup, parking info, etc. Ideally, this is the place where all your event listings, email marketing, display ads, and social media marketing are sending your desired audience to. So if your event website isn’t optimized to convert that audience into ticket sales and registrations, you might be losing out on attendees.

Your event website can be just a single page. In fact, putting all the key information into one page speeds up the purchase decision making process. Also, a landing page doesn’t just have to be about selling tickets. Use one to run a social media contest or grow your email list. Just make sure you have a clear objective for your audience.

If you’ve never built a website, or you don’t know how to code, the idea of getting something online can feel daunting. Fortunately, there are a few different services that can help you get up and running without programming skills, design, or copywriting experience. These services offer a variety of templates to start from, so you don’t need to be a designer to build a functional, beautiful website.

Here’s a list of landing page services for you to explore:

 

1.  Unbounce

It’s probably the most well-known platform on this list for its comprehensive feature set. They offer templates that have already been tested out, so you don’t have to prove its effectiveness on your own. It’s certainly not the cheapest option, but it is a good one.

 


 

 

 

 

 

2.  KickoffLabs

This platform empowers users with benefits like influencer tracking, newsletter crafting, daily analytics reports, email capture, and quick setup.

 


3.  Lander

A well-rounded service that offers A/B split testing all all its price points. Pages integrate smoothly with Paypal, Mailchimp, Salesforce, social media, and others. Pricing starts at $37 a month  for 3,000 visitors. If you expect more traffic, the next tier is $74 per month for 25,000 visitors.

 


4.  LeadPages

LeadPages is an easy-to-use platform that emphasizes the lead gen aspect of landing pages. integrates with major email service providers. A LeadPages subscription gives you a powerful set of tools and features like opt-in boxes, click-to-subscribe text links, and email list building. 

 


5.  Instapage

Instapage has a simple, friendly interface that is easy to figure out. With a large selection of high-quality templates, it’s a solid option for any event maker.

 


6.  PageWiz

It’s a tool appropriate for marketers of all levels. They’re customer support is top-notch, and they have some of the most beautiful, modern design templates.

 


7.  Wishpond

Wishpond has a starting price of $44 per month, and it’s one of the few services that don’t limit the number of visitors you get for the price. 

 



8.  Landingi

$29 per month for 10,000 visitors is a compelling option for anyone looking to create a landing page. A great selection of templates is definitely a huge selling point.

 



Many of these services offer a free trial. So give ‘em a shot and see which one fits your event needs the best.

SpinGo | The Human Touch: Why One Event Maker Focuses on Building Relationships for a Successful Event

The Human Touch: Why One Event Maker Focuses on Building Relationships for a Successful Event

January 27 2016

Iva Nedelcheva remembers the day she decided she was going to be a full time event maker. It was back in 2002, as she was completing her masters degree from NYIT that Iva organized and put on a charity fashion show for one her friends and followed that up by worked on the Miss Bulgaria pageant, and she was hooked. The experiences had such an impact on her, Iva knew that she wanted to work on events for her career. And she did. 

After realizing that event making was her passion, Iva organized high profile entertainment events at beach parties with famous DJ's Tiesto and Armin van Buuren at Cocoa and Sunny Beach, and later moved back to Bulgaria to pursue her passion in her home country. She worked for the president of Bulgaria as a protocol expert and helped organize all official ceremonies, visits, and meetings of both the presidnet and vice president of Bulgaria. 

Later, Iva opened her own public relations agency that ended up organizing corporate events which lead to her working on international events at Eventex, a forward-looking eventof education, networking, entertainment, and awards. She worked on Eventex 2015 and is currently working on Eventex 2016 and still living her dream of working on events. 

SpinGo caught up with Iva to ask her some questions about Eventex, how PR relates to events, and how to make a successful event. 

 

Iva Nedelcheva

 

SpinGo: You help organize Eventex - Tell us a little more about it.

Iva: Eventex is one of the most exciting professional events in the meetings and events industry. It started as an annual gathering of local event professionals back in 2009 and grew to a large international industry event in 2015. Last year we had attendees from India, Dubai, the US, Europe and Saudi Arabia to give you an idea of how international we are. This year we’ll deliver the biggest Eventex we’ve ever put on: 3 days of exceptional education, inspiration, networking and fun! We’ve planned a lot of surprises for our attendees so they can go back to work full of excitement, valuable know-how and new ideas to implement in their practice. The first two days are dedicated to masterclasses on a variety topics and the third day we have a non-conventional conference. Meanwhile we’ll award the best events, agencies, venues, speakers and event technology from around the world.

 

What are your main responsibilities with organizing Eventex?

I have a lot to do, starting from the initial brainstorming; going through the event planning process; communicating with partners, attendees, performers, and jury members; creating the PR and marketing campaigns; and finally collecting all data and communicating it after the event.

 

Eventex 2015

 

What are some of the biggest challenges you face while organizing Eventex?

Time management is a great challenge, of course, but the greatest challenge comes with working through the limitations of the event destination. Bulgaria is a beautiful country, but it has a long way to go until it evolves into an attractive and convenient event destination. We need more venues, more hotels, more direct flights, stronger government support and a boost on event suppliers and technology.

 

What’s it like organizing an international event as opposed to a local, domestic event?

We communicate with media partners and delegates from Europe, Asia, Australia and the US. All of them have different cultures and business routines. Finding the right balance between the local and international demands in terms of topics, technology, and overall event concept is quite a stretch.

 

What are some of the unique challenges that come up with hosting such an event?

We organize an event for event professionals. We are required to be inventive, captivating and novel. It’s necessary to present trends, to show our delegates how to excel at work, to inspire and surprise them. This is really hard as most of our attendees visit the greatest industry events around the globe.

 

What solutions have you found to overcoming those obstacles? What works for you?

We have two lucky stars in achieving these goals: 1. The people we work with are all skillful speakers, advanced in event technology, and some of the brightest visionaries who see the potential of the event; 2. The motivation and ambition we have to provide excellent education to event professionals across the globe and make a real difference in the way professional events are organized.


Eventex 2015

 

You have a lot of PR experience for events - In your opinion, what is the most important aspect of PR to make an event successful?

PR might be a mechanism of creating a brand awareness or loyalty, but what’s most important is making it personal. When I think about our PR strategy, I start off by thinking about the experience we will create for our attendees. I try to develop a real relationship with the audience - find out their demands and the best ways to deliver to their expectations. It’s crucial to know who you’re addressing.

 

How are you able to reach an international audience when marketing? What channels do you use to reach the right audience?

We mostly use a direct approach - email marketing, social media communication, and phone calls. We talk to our actual and potential attendees a lot. Word of mouth and direct recommendations are our main strength but the support we get from our global media partners is also vitally important, especially in markets we haven’t previously worked with.

 

What are you most nervous about when organizing an event?

We want to make progress with each Eventex - we constantly upgrade our event concept as we go, so there’s always some anxiety on how our audience will react to that before, during and after the event.

 

Where does your passion for events come from?

I think it all started with my short teenage modelling career. I was part of a couple of pageants and some catwalks when I had a significant car accident. As I was lying in the hospital, thinking of how my emerging career has come to an end, I remembered all people who were making those glamorous events actually happen: marketing experts, agents, decorators, artists, technicians, musicians, stylists, and event coordinators. I realized that I didn’t have to be a model in order to be part of these events - this was my breakthrough.

 

Eventex 2015

 

How has relationship building payed off for you?

People mean everything to me. I believe that no man can achieve anything alone. One doesn’t even have to ask for help - the more people you know, the more inspiration you have in your mind and the easier it is to find a solution to any situation. Each person in my life has taught me something, and I’m very grateful to have learned many lessons that way.

 

What is one thing you always make sure to bring with you to your events?

My smile and a couple of band-aids. I walk and talk a lot during my events. Matching a face to all those emails during the event preparation is my favorite moment.

 

What apps do you find helpful for organizing your event?

Audience engagement is key. That’s why the more features an event app offers on this aspect, the greater advantage it has in our decision-making process. Last year we worked with Guidebook and Sli.do, and this year we chose Attendify, which offers a private social network for events.

 

Eventex 2015

 

What are you doing during the event?

It’s hard to summarize - besides monitoring the smooth running of the event, there’s the networking, crisis management and crowdsourcing. I turn into a hybrid between an attendee and an event organizer.

 

You attend many events each year, what do you find makes for a successful event?

A tireless team with a distinctive concept.

 

What’s your most memorable event experience?

I’ve was a part of New York Fashion Week during my internship with Donna Karan International in 2010. That really gave me a solid ground in event planning and all details that go along with it.

 

What are your personal and professional plans after Eventex 2016?

I have an idea to create something really valuable for the local event market and this will be my top priority on a personal level. As for Eventex 2017, it will definitely be taken a step further, but I can’t reveal any more details at this point. What’s certain is that 2016 will be a very intense year and I have a lot of excitement about it!

SpinGo | Who Said Blogging Was Dead? How To Blog For Your Event

Who Said Blogging Was Dead? How To Blog For Your Event

January 20 2016

Last week, I wrote about the reasons why you need a blog for your event, but I want to move past the reasoning for why you need a blog for your event, and focus more on the technical aspects of blogging - the how to create a winning blog for your event. Maybe some of you have never blogged before, so the idea of starting one seems overwhelming and daunting, maybe it seems too much to handle right now. I want to tell you that blogging doesn’t have to be hard, in fact, the hardest part about blogging is making sure to keep on top of it. Having a powerful blog will make your event relevant and separate you from your competition. A blog can create fan loyalty and win over potential customers, but in order to do that, you have to make your blog great. A poorly executed blog will make your event seem second rate, while a great blog will put you leaps and bounds ahead of your competition.

To get the most out of your blog, here are a few rules you should live by.

 

1. Determine your strategy.

Before you get started blogging, decide what it is you hope to achieve by blogging. Do you want to generate awareness for your event, sell tickets, or build relationships? Depending on what you decide is the most important goal for your event, create content that accomplish your goals. If you want people to donate to your cause, create blog content that will encourage donations. Not every blog has the same goal, as some are meant to inform while others are meant to build relationships. Take the time to sit down and discuss your goals so that your blog can have a clear focus. In fact, before you ever start writing, answer these eight questions about your blog. This will make all the difference in the world as you build out your blog.
 

Blogging strategy checklist

 

2. Blog consistently.

Blogging for your event requires more than a random post once every couple of months. If you decide to take a passive approach to your blog, you are not going to see an increase in traffic to your website. In order for blogging to be effective, you must post consistently. Before you start writing your first blog post, make a conscious decision that you are going to post between one and three times per week. Here at SpinGo, we have decided that we are going to post every Tuesday and Thursday. This gives us a clear timetable for when we need to get our blog posts written, edited, and posted online. Before we put a strong emphasis on blogging here at SpinGo, we would post sporadically whenever we had updates about the company, when we won an award, or had a contest starting. This type of posting lead to a very ineffective blog. However, we made the conscious decision to post relevant content twice a week, and since then, the blog has become a major way for us to get visitors to our website, with noticeable increases in traffic over the past six months.

One of the greatest benefits about posting twice a week is that it gives people so many more ways to find you. When you are writing blog posts, each post can show up for hundreds or even thousands of google search results, depending on the length and content of your post. Naturally, longer blog posts have more text and content in them for google to crawl through, so longer blog posts will show up in more search results. Going back to our own website, not every blog post is a major hit like we would hope. Some blog posts perform great while some draw little attention. By writing more content, you will notice that one blog post will bring in 50 views, during a month, while others bring in 10 views a month, and some may bring in hundreds or thousands of views every single month! If you are new to blogging, your numbers will seem small at first, but don’t fret! It takes time to build up your content library and gain an active viewership. If you already have a large contingency of followers on social media or email, share your blog posts with the audience you already have and invite them to share your posts. Unless you already have a large following on social media and email, your blog will probably have very few views for the first little while, but that is only natural. In time you will see your blog views increase significantly as you consistently post quality content.
 

Blogging consistently will make your blog successful

 

3. Don’t only talk about yourself.

It is easy to talk about yourself in blog posts, and as an event organizer, it is probably even easier to do so since you have a killer event to talk about. With so much great content going on at your event, it would be easy to focus solely on everything happening around your event.

Normally, the rule for writing a blog is to rarely if ever talk about yourself, but in the case of an event, I find that this rule doesn’t apply. Now, don’t take that as a free pass to talk about your event nonstop. You should still find topics that will be interesting to your audience that go beyond the scope of your event, it’s just you that your event is naturally captivating and easy to talk about without sounding too salesy.

While you can still talk about your event, try to limit the amount you talk about it by sticking to a rule. You can follow a rule that says for every four blog posts you write that don’t have your event as the main subject, you can write one blog post that features your event.

Another simple way to write relevant content comes from understanding your buyer personas. If you don’t have buyer personas, you will have a difficult time connecting with the people who spend money on your event. Once you have your buyer personas down, you will know what topics are interesting to your customers. For example, if your event is a music festival, you will see that your buyer personas are interested in more than just your festival, but they are interested in the musicians, the musician lifestyle, clothing styles, etc. This will guide what you can write about on your blog, such as websites for finding great music, artist spotlights, what to wear to a music festival, and more. If you host an arts festival, you can talk about up and coming artists, highlight artists at your festival, talk about your sponsors, talk about art galleries, gallery strolls, different styles of painting, you get the idea. There are so many ways to connect with your audience through your blog that you don’t want to miss out on any of the opportunities to give them helpful information. People want information that is relevant to them, not just information about you.
 

4. Write to an audience.

I already mentioned this, but writing to a specific audience will help you understand what to write about, instead of blindly guessing what your audience will find interesting. There is probably more than one type of person who attends your event, so you should be able to identify different topics for each persona. For example, you may have Tommy Teenager as one of your buyer personas who would be interested in different topics than Twenties Tawny. But that is actually a good thing for you, because it will give you more blog ideas to use.

Keep your blog strategy in mind as you write to your specific audience. Your blog strategy should always be on the top of your mind as you put your posts together. The way you reach each audience will be different, and what motivates one audience to action will be different than what motivates another audience. You need to find out what makes your different audiences share blog posts, buy tickets, or comment on your posts so you can reach them effectively.
 

5. Diversify your blog posts.

Blog posts are more than a collection words on a page. Blog posts can take a variety of forms such as video, photos, infographics, and quizzes. Not every person likes to read long articles, and some people enjoy viewing video much more than reading. This is a trend that can be seem on Facebook, where video gets significantly more views than text posts. As you diversify your blog posts, you will keep your audience engaged as you find different ways of communicating with them.

A friend of mine teaches a writing course to college freshman at a nearby university. For one of the projects, he assigns his students to write a standard essay arguing their position. They write their paper, turn it in, and get graded on it. But then, he assigns them a second part for the project, where he assigns the students to take their argument and present it to a different audience. For this part of the assignment, they can make a t-shirt, draw a picture, make a video, or do any other form of communication. By doing this, the students learn that there is more than one way to communicate the same message. The same can be done with your blog posts; do you need to write an article, or could your message be more effective if you shared it through a video?
 

6. Write long blog posts.

The longer the blog post, the more it will show up in different google search results. If you write a 500 word blog, your post will have a much harder time showing up on the top page of a google search result than if you write a 2,000 word blog post. One of the points of writing your blog is to have new interested audiences discover your event. As you write detailed posts about your event or about topics related to your event, you will find that more people will stumble upon your website, which is the whole purpose of having a blog. I would recommend writing a blog post that is at least 2,000 words long if you want to see the best results. The average length of content for the top search result on google is about 2,450 words, give or take. 

 

Average Content Length of Top 10 Results on Google

 

7. Create great content.

This is a no brainer, but you are what you publish. If you decide to skimp out on your blog, you are probably going to get mediocre results. If you start publishing content that is going to solve your buyers needs, they will start coming to you for solutions and trusting your content. If people want to come to your blog for no other reason than to be entertained, then your content better be entertaining.



Depending on your audience and the type of event you host, the content you produce is going to vary. However, the best advice out there for blogs is that if you are going to blog, make sure to do it well. Don’t just provide content because it is something you should be doing. If you really want to make your blog the best, then put the effort in to make it great. Ernest Hemingway's character from Midnight In Paris said it best by arguing, “If you're a writer, declare yourself the best writer.” If you are a blogger, declare yourself the best blogger, and make your content the most readable, shareable, and likeable content there is.

Great content is sharable content. If you are producing great content, it will be shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr, and more. As you write content, aim to make it sharable and something you would be proud of ten years from now. The first time you start blogging, your content will not be as good as it is five years down the road, but the fact of the matter is that you should always be producing your best work when it comes to keeping a blog.

Producing great content is the single most important thing you can do for your blog, because it creates credibility and trustworthiness. Once you prove that you can create great content repeatedly, people will start to think of you as the source for all good content relating to your niche.

Doing this for events can be tricky, as you are probably wondering how to create great content that will keep people coming back to you. The truth is, you have to keep writing, you have to take notes whenever an idea pops into your head, and you have to get into the mind of your buyer and find out what problems they face. Once you know the problems of your audience, you have to give them a solution. It may be the case that your buyer doesn’t verbally say what problems he faces, but you can solve that by stepping into his shoes and articulating that for him, as well as providing the solution to their problems.

People go on to the internet to get answers to their questions. When people perform searches on the internet, most of the time they are looking for an answer to a question that they have. This is where your blog comes into play. Whether people are trying to beat boredom, find a new band to listen to, looking for ways to volunteer, or looking for something fun to do for the night, you have the answer for them.
 

8. Focus on keywords.

The dictionary defines a keyword as “an informative word used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document.” To simplify, a keyword is either a single word or a phrase of words that people search on google. For an example, if I like cats, I may type “funny cat pictures” into google. The phrase “funny cat pictures” is the keyword Google searches for. Any content on the internet that has that phrase will be pulled by google and displayed in the search result page. If you pick the right keyword to use for your blog post, you can get in front of a very targeted crowd.

You will want to think of what people are searching for online that would be related to you and your event. You probably have an idea of phrases people search for, and so you can take those ideas and plug them into the google adwords keyword finder tool. This tool will suggest keywords that people are actually using that are similar to what you typed, and you may find better search phrases than you originally thought.

Once you have used the keyword tool to highlight one or two main keywords, you will want to incorporate those into your blog post. Make sure you use the keyword naturally and don’t overuse it, as google will realize you are keyword stuffing (trying to fit too many keywords into your content).Use your keyword in the title of your blog post, in the heading, at the very beginning of your blog post, and in the closing paragraph of your blog post. To make your keywords stand out to google, you can underline, bold, or italicize the keywords throughout your blog post. This tells google that these words are important.

These keywords will help your blog post rank higher on google, which makes your event easier to find.
 

One final recommendation for your blog that you will find incredibly helpful is to get a head start on creating content before you make your blog go live. Have a month’s worth of content created and ready to post before you make your blog public. This will save you headaches and give you the ability to plan ahead. Stay on top of your posting by creating a content calendar and sticking to it. And remember, keep writing a blog post a week, even if it seems like you have a large supply of blog posts in your inventory. If you miss writing a post one week, you will miss two weeks, and before you know it, you’ll be playing catchup and struggling to stay on top of your blog. Don’t let yourself get into that situation, because it becomes very difficult to escape playing catchup.

Hopefully this information is helpful as you start blogging. If you have any questions about blogging, ask them below in the comment section. I would love to answer anything I can!

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SpinGo | Introducing SpinGo Reach

Introducing SpinGo Reach

January 21 2016

SpinGo Reach is the most efficient way to list your event online. We heard from hundreds of event makers asking why there wasn’t a better, more unified way to list an event online. We know that life as an event maker is busy, and that there just isn’t enough time to enter the same event information on ten, twenty, or thirty event calendars. At SpinGo, we decided the problem had gone on for long enough, so we set out to fix it. The result was SpinGo Reach, the one-stop-shop for event listings.

SpinGo Reach works in three simply steps:
 

1. Enter your event onto SpinGo.

Every event has to be listed at least once in order for it to have a presence online. By adding your event onto the SpinGo calendar, you get the added benefit of having your event listing automatically distributed to the SpinGo Network for free, meaning your event already appears on dozens of event calendars.

Introducing SpinGo Reach

2. Select SpinGo Reach. Not every event calendar is part of the SpinGo Network.

We understand that there are sites specific to your audience that don’t automatically receive your event listing, which is why you can choose to add your event listing onto those calendars through SpinGo Reach. By selecting SpinGo Reach, you will get to select a minimum of five event calendars from the curated list of sites in the menu. The sites appear from highest to lowest in the amount of traffic they receive, so you can be sure to reach the largest audience. If you don’t see a site you are looking for, you can request it in the comment box below the menu of event calendar sites.

SpinGo Reach Complete

3. Click Submit.

Once you have selected at least five calendars and are ready to complete your order, hit the next button, and you will move onto the next step of your order. When your order is finalized, your event will be added onto the calendars you selected within two business days, and you will receive an email notifying you that your SpinGo Reach order was completed.

 

With SpinGo Reach, one event listing is all you’ll need to get your event onto every major calendar in your target city. You’ll save time on marketing so you can focus on the things that really matter, like planning your event. SpinGo Reach starts at $20 for the first five calendars you add and only $1 for every additional calendar after that. 

SpinGo Reach is initially launching in New York City, San Diego, and Denver, but will be introduced nationwide throughout the year. To try out SpinGo Reach for your event, click here! 

SpinGo | The Top 30 Events in the United States 2016

The Top 30 Events in the United States 2016

January 11 2016

Each month, there are 300,000 events happening across the United States, adding up to a total of 3.6 million events happening each year. With so many exciting events to attend, it can be hard to decide which ones you absolutely cannot miss! To help narrow down your options, we’ve looked through our database and found 30 events that stand out as the top events for 2016. Take a look at the top 30 events you are sure the have the most fun at in 2016! Make sure to check out our top events in the United States for 2017!


The top events of 2016:

 

  1. Key West Food & Wine Festival

January 27-31, 2016 - Key West, Florida

Key West Food & Wine Festival 2016

Ranked as one of the best food and wine festivals in America, who wouldn’t want to spend a week tasting a diverse range of wines and inventive cuisines on the warm beaches of Key West? Escape the winter and discover some new favorite drinks and food throughout the week as you participate in over 40 different dine and drink events in one of the most beautiful places in the country.
 

  1. The Cheesemonger Invitational

January 17th, 2016 - San Francisco, California

Cheesemonger Invitational 2016

Do you love cheese? I mean really love cheese? If yes, there is no better event for you to attend all year than the Cheesemonger Invitational in San Francisco this year. The invitational takes the best cheesemongers in the country and pits them against each other in a grueling cheese battle extravaganza. Enjoy all the delicious flavors as you walk through cheese paradise for the evening, treating yourself to fondue, raclette, and grilled cheese sandwiches along the way! 

 

  1. Sundance Film Festival

January 21-31, 2016 - Park City, Utah

Sundance Film Festival 2016

Every year, the nation's biggest film festival takes place in a small ski town in Utah. Take a trip up to Park City, watch premieres of masterfully done films, and spot celebrities along the way. The Sundance Film Festival is the perfect event for the film lover, the ski junky, and the pop culture enthusiast. In your downtime in between films, participate in seminars, attend parties, and see some big name concerts for ten days of the perfect cinema experience.
 

  1. Ragnar Relay Series

February - October 2016 - Various Cities

For the running socialite, there is no better event to participate in than Ragnar, a 200 mile relay that spans two days and one night. Ragnar encourages you to get your team of 12 together, dress up in crazy costumes, and make unforgettable experiences! The relay race makes its way across the country, so there is sure to be one near you.
 

  1. Super Bowl 50

February 7, 2016 - Santa Clara, California

Super Bowl 50

The Super Bowl isn’t just another football game. It is the football game that brings an entire nation together for a few hours of friendly entertainment, trash talk, and some pretty creative commercials. This year celebrates the 50th time the Super Bowl will be played, making it a game to remember. If you have never attended the game in person, this would be the year of years to attend, especially in the new Levi’s Stadium, which was built to incorporate your phones and social media during the game. Don’t just watch the Super Bowl this year, be a part of it.
 

  1. Mardi Gras

February 9, 2016 - New Orleans, Louisiana

Mardi Gras 2016
Image via bigfishpresentations.com

Mardi Gras surely takes the cake for what has to be one of the most unique events in the United States. Yes, Carnival is celebrated in many countries and cities throughout the world, but Mardi Gras in New Orleans is the only festival of it’s kind in the US. Celebrate Fat Tuesday by throwing on some beads, dressing up in costume, and watching the Parade roll on through the famous French Quarter of New Orleans. This is one event that everyone should have on their bucket list.
 

  1. Groundhog Day

February 2, 2016 - Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania

Groundhog Day 2016

Image via usatoday.com (Gene J. Puskar) 

Tired of the cold winter weather? Be the first to know if this leap year will give us an early Spring! Each year Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his home to forecast the weather over the next six weeks. The town of Punxsutawney provides a show and activities for everybody who attends from Gobbler’s Knob Got Talent to a top hat decorating contest! The events at Gobbler’s Knob is perfect for any family.
 

  1. SXSW

March 11-20, 2016 - Austin, Texas

SXSW (South by Southwest) is the ultimate convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. This year's SXSW headlines Crystal Castles, Alex G, Caveman, and HÆLOS, and keynote speakers Casey Gerald and Andy Puddicombe will be in the spotlight. SXSW is the premiere launching pad for new creative content, and sparks new ideas to carve the path for the future of each ever-evolving field, long after the events’ conclusion.
 

  1. Ultra Music Festival

March 18-20, 2016 - Miami, Florida

Ultra Music Festival

Every year, Miami plays host to one of the most exhilarating electronic dance festivals in the country - with over 100,000 people attending. This year shouldn’t be any different as headliners include Armin Van Buuren, Avicii, David Guetta, Kaskade, Nero, Tiesto, and ZEDD among many others. The Ultra Music Festival takes place in downtown Miami, and you are just a stone's throw away from the warm South Beach waters.
 

  1. Lantern Fest

March - October, 2016 - Touring the country

Lantern Fest 2016

If there is one event you need to attend this year, the Lantern Fest is definitely it. There is nothing quite like being surrounded by thousands of glowing lanterns as they begin to take off into the air right in front of your eyes. The moment when everybody lights their lantern and the first ones start to take off is nothing short of magic! The only way to experience such a beautiful and fun event is through the Lantern Festival!
 

  1. New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

April 22 - May 1, 2016 - New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 2016

If you want to listen to some true jazz music, there is no better place to do it than in the heart of jazz country itself - New Orleans. This ten day festival will give you all the jazz music you crave, and leave you with a list of new artists to follow. Get your fill of southern cooking, New Orleans culture, all the jazz rhythm in one place at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
 

  1. The Cooper River Bridge Run

April 2, 2016 - Charleston, South Carolina

Cooper River Bridge Run 2016

The Cooper River Bridge Run is one of the most unique runs in the country due to its beautiful setting in Charleston and the fact that over 40,000 people participate in this 10k. While everybody knows about the Boston Marathon, this lesser known 10k is perfect for both beginning and advanced runners. Celebrate your health and participate in a 10k that gives back to over 15 different charities. Your run will make a real difference.
 

  1. The National Cherry Blossom Festival

April 16, 2016 - Washington, DC

National Cherry Blossom Festival
Photo via www.washington.org

If you have never seen the cherry blossoms in DC, this is a must attend event for everybody in their lifetime. The blooming cherry trees line up and down the National Mall, making one of America’s most beautiful cities even prettier. The event celebration kicks off on March 18th with the Pink Tie Party fundraiser, followed by the Opening Ceremony on the 26th, the Blossom Kite Festival on April 2nd, and concludes with the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade on the 16th. The entire month of celebrating is the event of springtime.
 

  1. Kentucky Derby

May 7, 2016 - Louisville, Kentucky

In 2015, American Pharoah became the first horse to win the Triple Crown since 1978. The last time a horse won the Triple Crown before that? 1977. If history repeats itself, 2016 may be the year of back to back Triple Crown champions, and the Kentucky Derby is where all the drama kicks off. The Kentucky Derby is much more than just a horse race. It is a time for dressing up, for socializing, for making a couple bets, and having a good time. Take part in one of the greatest subcultures of 2016.
 

  1. Savor

June 3-4, 2016 - Washington, DC

Savor 2016

Savor is an American craft beer and food experience held at the National Building Museum in downtown Washington. This festival features craft beers and artisan cheese from across the country. If you love beer, this formal experience is one you need to attend this year.
 

  1. The Old Town Art Fair

June 11-12, 2016 - Chicago, Illinois

Old Town Art Fair 2016

Art lovers unite at the Old Town Art Fair in Chicago’s historic Old Town Triangle District for your pick of art mediums including 2D and 3D mixed media, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, and works in metal, stone, and wood. In short, any art you can imagine will be here. Known as one of the top art fairs in the country, the Old Town Art Fair celebrates its 67th year, and you are sure to walk away with a new piece of art for your living room.
 

  1. Firefly Music Festival

June 16-19, 2016 Dover, Delaware

Firefly Music Festival

Summer is the season for music, festivals, and concerts and the Firefly Music Festival in Dover offers one of the most unforgettable experiences of the summer. Featuring big name artists like Mumford & Sons, Florence + The Machine, Ellie Goulding, and Of Monsters and Men, the Firefly Music Festival is the perfect event for camping out, hanging out with friends, and creating lifelong memories.
 

  1. EDC Las Vegas

June 17-19, 2016 - Las Vegas, Nevada

EDC Las Vegas 2016

The Electric Daisy Carnival has found a home in Las Vegas for the last 20 years, each year drawing in a bigger and better crowd for the three day carnival! This year, more than 300,000 people are expected to show up in EDC attire to look at the giant metal art, 3D superstructures, and glow in the dark environments. There are rides, food, and of course the best EDM DJ’s from around the world. Experience the heat of the 20th EDC Las Vegas in the full force this year!
 

  1. Utah Shakespeare Festival

June 27 - October 22, 2016 - Cedar City, Utah

Utah Shakespeare Festival 2016

The beautiful scenery of Southern Utah makes the perfect backdrop for the best Shakespeare Festival in the country. Each year, more than 100,000 people flock to Cedar City to watch the plays put on by the at the Shakespeare Festival, a festival that has received both a Tony Award and an Emmy! The festival runs for a large part of the summer and into the fall, so you have plenty of opportunities to make your way to Cedar City - and then see some of the country’s most beautiful National Parks with Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park a quick car ride away.
 

  1. Adele

July - September 2016 - Touring the country

Adele 2016 US Tour
Image via www.cultofmac.com

The most anticipated concert ticket for the summer of 2016 easily goes to Adele, and her record smashing album ‘25’. The singing sensation from London starts her long anticipated U.S. tour in Minnesota and ends in New York City. She doesn’t travel to every major city, so if you want to get a ticket to her show, you may have to travel a little bit to see her, but you know it will be worth it to hear her sing ‘Hello’ in person.
 

  1. Taste of Chicago

July 6-10, 2016 - Chicago, Illinois

Calling all foodies! Taste of Chicago is the nation’s premier outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago’s dining community. The delicious array of food served at Taste of Chicago is complemented by music and fun filled activities for the entire family. Every summer since 1980, Chicago’s beautiful Grant Park on the city’s magnificent lakefront has been home to the world’s largest food festival. The Taste of Chicago features more than just deep dish Pizza, though you’re sure to run into some while you’re there. 


 

  1. San Diego Comic-Con

July 21-24, 2016 - San Diego, California

San Diego Comic Con 2016

The largest and original Comic-Con is gearing up for it’s best year yet, featuring your favorite characters from all your favorite movies, comic books, and shows! You never know who you will meet at the upcoming Comic-Con, and you know the biggest names from this years hit shows will be there. Of all the Comic-Con’s around the country, the one in San Diego by far the best known, and most highly anticipated event of them all. From it’s humble origins, this Comic-Con has grown into the largest gathering of comic, movie, and science fiction fans in the nation!
 

  1. Newport Folk Festival

July 22-24, Newport - Rhode Island

Newport Folk Festival

The Newport Folk Festival features plenty of high-energy performances from both old times and young indie acts. The festival was made popular by musicians such as Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters, and Howlin’ Wolf, and in recent years has headlined big names like the Decemberists, Fleet Foxes, the Avett Brothers, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. This folk festival focuses on being green and suggests getting to the festival by bike, water shuttle, or ride sharing. If folk music is your scene, the Newport Folk Festival is one event you need to attend this year.
 

  1. The Olympics

August 5-21, 2016 - Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Rio De Janeiro 2016 Summer Olympics
Image via www.hotelroomsearch.net

 

No, the Olympics are not happening in the United States, but how could we leave off one of, if not the biggest event of the entire year! Each year, the world comes together for two weeks to watch the most gifted athletes from around the world compete against each other. Who could forget Michael Phelps’ gold medal chase, Usain Bolt’s world record setting 100 meter sprint, or the Paul McCartney singing “Hey Jude” at the opening ceremonies? You can bet the world will be watching the Olympic Games this August, every one of us a patriot, cheering for our country. There is no bigger or better event than the Olympics.
 

  1. The U.S. Open

August 29 - September 11, 2016 - New York, New York City

US Open 2016
Image via www.si.com

 

Shortly after Rio, the attention of the tennis world will shift to New York City, as the world’s best tennis players face off as they try to win the U.S. Open. This tennis tournament is the fourth and final tennis major comprising the Grand Slam each year, and the only one on U.S. Soil. Familiar names will take the court and battle to be crowned the Grand Slam champion, such as Serena Williams, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic.
 

  1. Burning Man

August 28 - September 5, 2016 - Black Rock City, Nevada

Burning Man is one event that is not for everybody. Every year, thousands of people gather together in the Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. That’s right, for one week, a temporary city hosts Burning Man, and when it is over, there is no trace that people were ever there. At Burning Man, you are guaranteed not to be the weirdest kid in the classroom, as a wide range of creative/unique individuals gather together in self-expressionism. Burning Man is not for everybody, but if it is calling your name, it is one experience you are sure to remember for the rest of your life.
 

  1. Feast Portland

September 15 - 18, 2016 - Portland, Oregon

The rain isn’t always pouring down in Portland, but the tasty food is always being served up. One of the culinary world’s most inspiring places, Portland is home to Feast Portland, a movement that showcases the energy, creativity, and enthusiasm that is driving America’s food revolution. From spirited one-of-a-kind large-scale events featuring trendsetting chefs from all over the country and world, to intimate hand-on classes, collaborative dinners and panels, Feast Portland offers some of the most compelling experiences and original programming in the modern food festival conversation.
 

  1. NYC Wine and Food Festival

October 13-16, 2016 - New York City, New York

Eat, drink, and end hunger. The New York City Wine and Food Festival is a national, star-studded, four-day event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs, culinary personalities, and America’s most beloved television chefs while fighting to end hunger. With more than 100 events in the span of four days, the New York Wine and Food Festival is widely recognized for it’s intimate dinners with world-renowned chefs, late night parties, hands-on classes, educational seminars, coveted wine tasting, and more. Money from the festival is raised to help end hunger, and last year alone $9.5 million was raised to beat hunger.
 

  1. Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Las Vegas

November 10 - 13, 2016 - Las Vegas Nevada

Run the light-filled Las Vegas Strip at night as you race to the sound your favorite beats. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon was created to make running fun. Have you ever tried running without a beat? Exactly. While Las Vegas maya be the marquee run in this event, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon travels the country and makes stops in cities like D.C., Phoenix, Dallas, Nashville, Seattle, Chicago, and more. If you love running and music, this event is for you, as you can choose to run a 5k, 10k, half marathon or full marathon! 

 

  1. Texas Renaissance Festival

October-November, 2016 - Houston, Texas

Texas Renaissance Festival 2016

Starting from humble beginnings in the 1970’s, the Texas Renaissance festival has grown to become the largest, most acclaimed Renaissance Festival in the nation with over 500,000 guest passing through the Festival’s gates each year. Upon entering the gates, you take a trip back through time to the 16th century, as you explore the 55 acre, authentically recreated park. You wou see musicians, magicians, acrobats, jugglers, and dancers, with over 200 daily performance on over 20 stages throughout the village.

 

The truth is, there are too many fun events in 2016 to limit this list to the top 30, so here are some notable events for 2016 that are interchangable with any of the top 30 events: 

 

Other Notable Events in 2016:

For more events in your area, click here!

SpinGo | Using Facebook to Promote Events

Using Facebook to Promote Events

January 08 2016

When Facebook Events first launched in 2005, it became more of a platform to share parties, rather than a place to list events. Now, more than a decade later, Facebook has begun to develop its platform to be much more useful for events. In fact, the company has made some small but impactful changes in recent months to help users better discover events.

There are many ways event makers can leverage Facebook in their marketing efforts. But first, here are the changes to Facebook you should be aware of:

 

New Event Browsing Experience on Mobile
Facebook has a new event browsing experience that lets users specify when they’re looking for events: “Today”, “Tomorrow”, “This weekend”, or “Next Week”. There’s also a “Suggested For You” section that recommends events based on user data.

 

 

With the new experience comes categories: Music, Food & Drinks, Nightlife, Sports & Fitness, Fine Arts & Crafts, Community, Film & Photography, Performing Arts, and Causes. These can all be sorted by date, and users can now adjust their location to see what’s happening in whatever city they’re in.

Currently, these new features can only be seen by people using their iPhones in major cities — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle, Miami, Houston and Washington, DC. But a wider rollout to more cities and Android devices is likely, given Facebook’s new emphasis on events.


Event Subscriptions on Pages
Facebook added a subscribe button to the Events section of all Pages on desktop and mobile. Once clicked, users get a Facebook notification when that Page hosts an event near where they live.

 

 

 

Events Integration with the Page Plugin
The Page plugin lets you easily embed and promote any Facebook Page on your website. As with Facebook, your visitors can like and share the Page without leaving your sites.

Facebook updated the plugin so that attendees can now discover and interact with events from your Page, right on your website. For example, if you're promoting an upcoming concert, you can create an event from your Page and feature it on your website, while managing the details from one place.

 

 

 

Sell Concert Tickets Directly Through Facebook
It’s currently in limited release, but the company has introduced a “Buy Tickets” button, which people can use to purchase tickets without leaving Facebook. The tickets, when purchased, will be available for pickup at Will Call windows. Electronic or paper tickets are not included with this feature, but could possibly arrive in the future.

Event Reminder Notifications on Mobile
Facebook updated its notifications tab view on the mobile app. It now displays notifications for:

  • Friends’ birthdays
  • Friends’ life events
  • Your upcoming events
  • Today’s top sporting events
  • Today’s top TV shows
  • Trending Topics
     

And if users let Facebook track their location history, they’ll also get:

  • Popular events nearby
  • Local weather
  • News shared locally
  • Nearby Places your friends may have visited or reviewed
  • Movies playing in nearby theaters
     

 

 

Leveraging Facebook in Event Marketing

As Facebook pushes events more heavily, it makes more sense than ever before to use the social network in your event marketing efforts. There are a lot of different ways users and your attendees interact with events, but there are just a few things you need to do on your end:

  1. Create an event Page - This is a great place to share photos and updates about your upcoming event. Use it to build engagement and excitement. You can also use the Page during the event to give live news and updates. The Page is live even after the event has ended, so feel free to use it to invite attendees to future events.
  2.  Share your event on your business Page - If you organize multiple events, you should have a separate brand and business Page that you are managing to get followers. It’s a no-brainer to share your event on that Page’s timeline.
  3. Use the event calendar - On your business Page, don’t forget to manage the event calendar. This is where your followers can subscribe to your events.
  4. Create a Facebook Ads campaign - Reach beyond your followers and drive attendance and discovery with Facebook Ads. If you’re new to digital marketing, this is something SpinGo can help you with. 

Facebook is just one weapon in your arsenal, but when used correctly, it can be an extremely powerful one. What other ways do you use Facebook? Let us know in the comments.

SpinGo | 3 Event Ideas for Securing Major Gifts

3 Event Ideas for Securing Major Gifts

January 05 2016

Major giving is a major deal for nonprofits. Rightly so! Some organizations report that more than 80% of their donations come from less than 20% of their donors. Want to know who tips the balance in that direction? Major gift donors.

With the help of just one major gift, your organization is suddenly far more financially free to serve your mission. That just becomes truer as you build out an entire major gift program.

Whether you’re in the position to stand to benefit from improving your major gift game or you’re trying to maintain your stellar success, fundraising events are a great supplement to your efforts.

With these three ideas, you’ll be sure to increase major giving at your organization.

For a comprehensive look at major giving, check out our Major Gift Officer Survival Guide.

 

1. A Formal Gala

Galas are one of the most popular fundraising events for a reason. Their glitz and glamour are a perfect complement to a great night of fundraising.

Make it a black tie event and pull out all the stops. Sell both seats and whole tables to interested parties. Hire a live band. Serve gourmet food. You want your gala to be a night to remember.

Use the gathering to promote all of the work your organization has been able to accomplish thanks to the generosity of your supporters. Focus on what their giving has enabled you to do and show concrete examples of the positive impact their funding has had.

Encourage donations throughout the evening, and you’ll raise money both through ticket sales and donations during the gala.

Remember that this event can be about more than your major gift donors. Invite a variety of supporters from advocates to volunteers. Take advantage of the evening to forge bonds with all the people who are important to your organization, not just your major gift donors.

 

2. An Auction

Auctions, live and silent alike, combine charity with many people’s favorite activity...discount shopping!

If you can solicit items high in value, an auction can be a fun and exciting night out for your major gift donors. Many of these major-gift-focused events are less about securing gifts of that size in the moment and more about fostering a stronger relationship with your donors and prospects. A perfectly cultivated auction list, however, can accomplish both.

As you set about gathering gifts-in-kind, go to your top-level fundraisers, organizational leadership, board of directors, and volunteers. Form a committee to gather donations, draft some common item request copy (phone scripts, one-page handouts, etc.) and send them out to make calls to friends and local businesses.

At big auctions, the most popular items have a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ feel. People bid on items they normally don’t just go out and buy with their own money elsewhere. VIP tickets to concerts, floor seats to NBA games, all-inclusive vacations, and the like are all popular auction packages.

As a supplement to the more common, popular items, consider what your organization can offer that is unique to your work. Maybe you’re running a capital campaign to build a new building; you could offer to name a room in the building after the winning bidder. Those items with a personal touch will resonate with all of your dedicated supporters who are in attendance.

 

3. Golf Tournament

Golf tournaments are the perfect opportunity to get your major donors out in the fresh air for a day of healthy competition.

Players pay-to-play and get sorted into groups of four for the tournament. In addition to the traditional competition, you can add in fun contests like a hole-in-one challenge and best putt.

Golf tournaments are great social and business networking events and tend to draw the major donor crowd. It might be a good opportunity to meet with new major donor prospects in your area or even reinvigorate your relationship with past donors.

Although the events lend themselves to raising the big bucks, you can add in low-key, smaller and mid-level donation options through innovative giving avenues, such as text-to-give campaigns, throughout the day on the green.

Plan for a closing ceremony to announce the tournament’s winners. While your organization has the attention of all the attendees, have a higher-up from your nonprofit make a donation appeal to close out the day’s festivities.

 

————————

 

Even if major gifts aren’t your current focus, there are still plenty of other excellent fundraising opportunities that can come from these three events. Tweak them to fit your nonprofit’s specific needs and have fun with it.

Looking for even more advice? Attend a fundraising conference to learn from your peers in the community. Even the most experienced fundraisers serve to benefit.

 

 

Bill Tedesco of DonorSearchBill Tedesco is a well-known entrepreneur in the field of philanthropy with over 15 years of experience leading companies serving the fundraising profession.

Bill has personally conducted original research to identify markers of philanthropy and has developed modeling and analytical products that use those markers to accurately predict future giving.

Since 2007, Bill has been the founder, CEO and Managing Partner of DonorSearch.

 

 

Header image via http://www.facts.at/en/events-communication/events/

SpinGo | Why you should be blogging about your event

Why You Need To Blog About Your Event

December 29 2015

Many online detractors claim that the internet has moved past blogs and that blogging nowadays will have little to no impact on your site because blogs flood the internet. While these critics rave about the dawning of a new day, one without blogs, they overlook the crucial fact that the reason the internet has so many blogs to begin with is because they are incredibly effective at drawing attention and capturing an audience. Blogs are one of the most powerful tools ever created for providing the right content to the right reader at exactly the moment it is needed.

If you pick a random topic and search for it online, you are practically guaranteed to find a handful of blog posts that talk about whatever it is you searched for. Whether you are into collecting stamps or are serious about hamburgers, there is a blog for that. What critics really mean when they say that blogs are dead is that it has become harder for blogs to stand out from the crowd because there are so many of them on the internet. When the internet first started and blogging was brand new, blogs could easily be found because nobody else was doing what these original online pioneers were doing; talking about their interests and their life experiences. But blogging has transformed away from being an online journal to becoming a mega hub for finding ideas, gathering inspiration, and sharing tips, advice, and experiences.

Blogs are one of the most powerful tools ever created for providing the right content to the right reader at exactly the moment it is needed.

Blogs have become focused on specific niches rather than general insights on everything associated with the human experience. Blogs are still heavily used by stay-at-home moms, but they have also been adopted by a large contingency of businesses. As you can see, the problem that rises with having a blog is finding the real estate for it to be found online. Google only has ten real meaningful spots, which means that competition is high. The trick to getting into one of the top search result spots comes from keyword research, writing great content, and a strong strategy.

Yet, despite all the competition for attention and space on Google’s search results page, blogs are more meaningful than ever before, and if you aren’t using one for your event, you are missing out on potentially hundreds or even thousands of potential event attendees. Here are five reasons why you need a blog about your event:

 

1. Win new customers.

Today, eighty-one percent of shoppers conduct online research before they make a purchase. You may not consider your event as something that people are shopping for, but you should. As people go through the week and look through event calendars, they are shopping for experiences, date-nights, and something fun to do. As people are doing research, they like to find information that will help them make a smart purchasing decision. People have a finite amount of disposable income, and consumers are getting wiser with their purchasing decisions, so if you aren’t trying to win them over by creating valuable resources and handing out information to them, they will choose to spend their money on something else instead.

By having a blog, you can give your event shoppers all the information they need to make the decision to purchase a ticket to your event. Your event blog lets you tap into your brand and share what you’re all about. Your blog becomes a place where you can share information, emotions, videos, and images that will help shoppers decide if your event is something they want to attend. It will convince many people of the value of the experience you can offer them, and they will make an informed decision that will leave them counting down the days until your event takes place. Blogs are a great way for potential customers to find out more about your event, your brand, and the experiences they can expect if they purchase a ticket.

 

2. Build existing relationships.

The purpose of a blog isn’t just for finding new attendees, but it is for building strong relationships with past attendees, as well. Blogs are a strong way to create engagement among people who are already loyal to your event. Enabling your blog readers to comment and writing blog posts that encourage commenting can do more for your event than many other forms of social media could. As people read positive, pleasant feedback from past event attendees in your comment section, it generates goodwill and builds credibility for your event. It tells readers that if these past event attendees felt strongly enough about your event to come back and leave a positive comment on your blog, then you (the event organizer) must have done something right.

Your blog can also be a direct way for your event attendees to talk and discuss experiences with other event goers. One way to highlight your blog is to post it on your social media channels, and share what your post is all about. Your blog posts don’t just have to be writing, either. In fact, mixing up your blog posts will generate interest in your readers as some people love writing, while others love pictures, and others like video. You can do fun posts like photo stories and tell your audience that you have uploaded a story of your event on your blog, and then ask readers if they can find themselves in the images. Posts like these can really help you build your relationship with your current audience if you take the time to let your fans know how much you appreciate them. If you do your blog posts right, you can create goodwill and loyalty between your event and your attendees that extends into many future events.

 

3. Share information.

Social media has stolen the show as the primary way to share new information about anything, and that includes updates and notifications about your event. While social media is incredibly effective at sharing that information, it comes with restrictions such as branding, character limits, and detail restrictions. Blogs are bulkier and far less sexy than social media in the current information sharing age, but blogs give you control over what you say and how you say it. Do you have an update that you need to share about a last minute parking switch that requires a bit of explaining? Yes, send it out in email first, but make sure you then post it on your blog, share it on Facebook and Twitter, and see the results of your blog in action. You will quickly realize that sharing information via your blog post has major advantages to it because blog posts can be as long or short as you like and you can include as many images, videos, and other content as necessary. It doesn’t hurt that you can include buttons right in your blog post to buy tickets for your event, either. Plus, when people come to your blog post, they come to your website, which will allow you to trigger retargeting ads for your event if you elect to go that route. Blogs are the best way to share any information you need with your audience.

 

4. Makes content easily sharable.

Social media is by far the easiest way to share content, yet social media is really just a tool that was created so you can share your blog posts. Social media is the method of delivery, and your blog is the important message being delivered. Blogs become incredibly easy to share, especially if they are full of relevant content, because people will naturally want to share cool things. You can elect to have social share buttons which include Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, email, and more that make sharing your blog post as simple as the click of a button.

Once your blog post is shared on social media, it can spread like wildfire if the content you provide resonates with your audience. For example, if you want build excitement by posting a video about your event, you may want to embed the original video in a blog post on your site. This way, all the traffic from the video leads to a clear landing page where viewers can elect to find out more about your event though other blog posts, or purchase tickets directly from your site. Early this year, the Stunt Run announced they would host their first ever race and posted a video that featured highlights from GoPro cameras they had set up along the race, stitched it together, and got over 3,500 likes, 3,400 shares, and over 275,000 views on their video, all for a first time event. The video raised awareness, and if they linked the video back to their website, that could potentially be 275,000 ticket sales. The power of social and blogging together can spread news and awareness about your event all across your city, state, or country if you do it right.

 

5. Findability.

Findability means getting your event found online. Some people call this SEO (search engine optimization), but the reality is, SEO is just a daunting name that scares people away. The logic behind findability is simple: the more content you produce (the more blog posts you write), the more times you will show up in Google searches. If you don’t ever write a blog post, you are dramatically lessening your ability to be found online. To illustrate this, imagine that you decide to write one blog post a week, giving you a total of 52 blog posts at the end of the year. That means you are giving people at least 52 new ways to find your event. I say the words, “at least”,  because your blog post will show up in a couple different Google searches because of the keywords found in your blog post. This is a free way to market your event on the most used website in the nation! Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

Writing blog posts lets you focus on keywords that people commonly search for that are related to your event. Let’s say you organize a music festival that tours around the country and hosts a ton of bands. To make your event findable on the internet, you could write blog posts about the specific bands that will be performing at your festival. Each time you write a post about a band, it increases the chances that a person interested in that band will find your event online.

For example, pretend you have Coldplay performing at your festival. You decide you want more people to know they will be playing at your festival so you can increase ticket sales, so you decide to write a blog post about Coldplay. You write a well-written blog post that you know Coldplay fans will be interested in reading. Then, John Doe does a Google search for “Coldplay” and your blog post pops up on the search result page. John Doe is intrigued, clicks the link to your blog post, and viola, he finds out that they will be performing at your festival near his house this upcoming summer. John Doe suddenly becomes very interested in your music festival which he didn’t know anything about two minutes ago and decides to purchase a ticket. John wins because he gets to see his favorite band play live at your festival and you win because you sell another ticket. If you wouldn’t have written the blog post, John may have never known that you were hosting his favorite band at your festival.

However you decide to write your blog, you want to diversify your blog posts so that you can reach the widest range of people possible. Blogging regularly can dramatically increase the amount of traffic you get to your website, which ultimately should lead to more ticket sales. Writing a blog can be essential for finding people who would be interested in your event, but just don’t know that it exists yet. Blogs increase the chances you will be found by the right people as they search the internet.

 

What are your blog success stories? Start a conversation and share your stories with us in the comment section below! 
 

Featured image via kidslearntoblog.com

SpinGo | SpinGo’s 2016 New Year’s Resolutions

SpinGo's 2016 New Year's Resolutions

December 21 2015

2015 has come and gone in the blink of an eye. With the new year approaching fast and Auld Lang Syne moving to the top of our playlist, we are happy to look back at the progress SpinGo made during 2015. This past year was full of hard work, innovation, and improvement at SpinGo, but looking back at 2015 only gets us more excited for what is to come in 2016.

We’ve asked some of our team members what they are excited about happening at SpinGo in 2016. Here are some of the new year’s resolutions for us have at SpinGo for 2016:

 

Kreg Peeler

Kreg Peeler, CEO:

"In 2016, SpinGo will build upon its reputation as the event expert and find new ways to share that expertise with our publishers, brands, event makers, and event goers."

 

Jessie Warner
Jessie Warner, General Manager:

"My resolution is to improve the Edit Request Process. We've received customer feedback that the process to edit an event is not as efficient as it could be.  My resolution in 2016 is to give more control to the event submitters by allowing them to review and edit their own events. I believe this will provide a greater user experience and a faster turn-around on edit requests and approvals."

 

Mary Thomas

Mary Thomas, VP of Administration:

"My SpinGo New Year’s resolution for 2016 is to sign more content partnerships with the largest ticket providers in the nation, resulting in the very best and most comprehensive event content."

 

Chad Taylor

Chad Taylor, Director of Partner Success:

"My New Year’s resolution is to work with our partners to identify event management headaches. In doing so, I hope to identify potential areas where we can improve our platform offering for our partner network."

 

Cassandra Darley

Cassandra Darley, Project Manager:

"At SpinGo, we've spent the last three years working at the center of the local media industry as a part-product, part-content, part-advertising company. For 2016, I'm excited to apply our learnings of how 'content' and 'advertising' are increasingly and inevitably synonymous with some new product releases!"

 

Nick Dibble

Nick Dibble, Director of Sales:

“My goal for 2016 revolves around increasing our brand recognition. As our network of partners grows, so do the number of repeat event creators, or  "serial submitters" as we call them.  As it is with any marketing, the more times you’re seen, the better chance of success. My New Year’s resolution is to create a win, win, win scenario for all parties involved in contractual promotions. It’s a win for SpinGo to create consistent promoters for our platform, a win for our partners because of continual revenue share, submissions, and the best events, and a win for our customers by creating brand recognition through consistent ad display.”

 

Matt Polichette

Matt Polichette, Director of Engineering:

“As we start into 2016, my resolution is to give our users more control of the events they care about and to make them feel like they own a part of SpinGo.”

 

With goals like these, we are looking ahead to what 2016 will bring!

 

 

Cover Photo by Adam Carter via flickr.

SpinGo | Who’s Listing Events on SpinGo?

Who's Listing Events on SpinGo?

December 18 2015

SpinGo receives more than 40,000 event submissions each month from a wide variety event makers looking to get the word out. Most of these submissions come through our calendar network, and they create a diverse selection of unique events. SpinGo displays events of all shapes and sizes, but we can typically assign submitters of any event type to just five different groups:

1. Nonprofits
Event makers that work for nonprofit organizations are in charge of things like submitting events, managing budgets, and marketing strategy. They work in a variety of industries including, social services, civic organizations, politics, education, and religious organizations. Nonprofits organize fundraising events, community gatherings, carnivals, fun runs, galas, auctions, and other events that provide value to the community.

2. Professional Event Makers
Professional event makers work for companies or organizations that specialize in events. They’re in charge of planning large scale events, and they work with many vendors to execute the job. Industries include convention and trade shows, event planning services, arts and entertainment, sports, and media. The professional organizes large nationwide events, concerts, expos, mainstream sports, races, fun runs, arts, entertainment, festivals, rodeos, public sports, fairs, cultural events, conferences, and tradeshows. 

3. Volunteers
Similar to nonprofits, volunteer submitters are quite passionate about the cause they believe in. Their industries are spread across arts, entertainment, charities, social services, government, and education. They organize fundraising activities, carnivals, fun runs, festivals, and fairs.

4. Corporate Companies
Event submitters from corporate companies plan and execute events as needed. These can be either B2B or B2C events, including tradeshows, luncheons, galas, sporting events, grand openings, sidewalk sales, book fairs, appreciation events, networking events, and seminars.

5. Agencies
Agencies submit events on behalf of the clients they work for. They’re responsible for strategy, branding, and creative development. They organize both private and public events across all categories.


SpinGo tracks how many events each group is submitting across all of our calendars. Here’s how each group is submitting:

 

And here’s how each group is promoting:

 


What this means for SpinGo partners.

SpinGo partners can look at this data and see which event makers value the ease of submitting and promoting their events on the calendar pages. Nonprofits and professional event makers rank among the heaviest users, relying on local news media sites to market their events.

SpinGo | 3 Sites To Find Volunteers For Your Nonprofit Event

Volunteer Help: 3 Sites To Find Volunteers For Your Nonprofit Event

December 15 2015

Time and money: the two things every nonprofit wishes it had more of. While the ultimate question is how to get more of each, one solution to having more time and to make your dollar stretch further is to use volunteers for your nonprofit. Many hands make light work, and using the services of volunteers will free up your own hands so you can focus on the areas of event organizing that require your expertise. But as convenient as having volunteers sounds, finding those volunteers is just another time consuming task to add to your to do list. Fortunately, there are good people out there who have spent their time and effort to create platforms that connect nonprofits with volunteers, so you don’t have to spend too much of your time trying to track them down. Here are three sites (and apps) that will help you get volunteers to your nonprofit events.

 

1. GiveGab

GiveGab Volunteering App for Nonprofits

 

GiveGab is a nonprofit giving platform that enables nonprofits to connect with their members socially much like Facebook. GiveGab is a giving app to help you experience a better way for your nonprofit to raise more, engage more, and do more. One of the benefits of using GiveGab to find volunteers for your event is that GiveGab makes it easy for your volunteers to share their experience volunteering for you. They can upload pictures, share their thoughts, and their friends are able to see where they are volunteering as well, and join along if they want to. You can download this app for free, post your event information, and wait for people to sign up. Not every city has as many users, but the convenient aspect of the app is that it is available anywhere in the U.S.
 

2. VolunteerMatch

VolunteerMatch - Finding Volunteers for Nonprofits

 

VolunteerMatch brings good people and good causes together. Nonprofits focus on making their communities and the lives of others better and volunteers are looking for a way to bring that all together. VolunteerMatch does an excellent job of matching volunteers with the nonprofits that best fit their interests through their specific filter options. Volunteers can search for service opportunities based upon their interests, whether they are more people focused, or would rather help behind the scenes. VolunteerMatch is only available in certain cities, so check and see if they are available in yours. If they are, you are in luck for getting some great volunteers for your event which will help you save on budget and stress.
 

3. AllForGood

All For Good - Connecting Volunteers and Nonprofits

 

All For Good’s platform is built for volunteer work in your local community to help make it a better place. Volunteers can find ways to sign up for search disaster response, or search for volunteer opportunities that fit their interests. As you are listing your nonprofit on this website, make sure to list the keywords that describe your nonprofit and volunteer opportunity so that you can find the volunteers that match best with your nonprofit. Like VolunteerMatch, All For Good is only available in certain cities, but one of the claims listed on it’s website states that over 64 million searches happened through All for Good last year for 300,000 volunteer projects. If you have an event going on, All for Good will help you connect with the right volunteers for your event.

SpinGo | How to Create an Event Listing That Sells

How to Create an Event Listing That Sells

December 11 2015

“Nobody reads advertising. People read what interests them; and sometimes it’s an ad.”  -Howard Gossage, Is There Any Hope for Advertising?

If you have a limited marketing budget, event listings are a great (and free) way to get the word out. There are many event calendars and places to list your event online, including SpinGo.com, and the best part of getting listed is that your event is displayed in front of people who are actively browsing new and interesting things to do. 

On the other side of the coin, however, your listing competes with all the other events for attention. If your listing doesn’t immediately grab someone’s interest, your event will be ignored.

Many of the event makers we speak with say that they spend hours upon hours getting their events listed on multiple websites. With such a huge investment in time, it’s crucial that your event listing is performing at its best. 

Here are some simple tips to immediately elevate the quality of your listings.

 

Achieving synergy with your event name and image.

Wherever it’s displayed, your listing involves some relationship between showing and saying: show an image, then say something about it. Or say something, then show a picture about it. This relationship between your event name and image is the most important element of creating an effective event listing. It’s the first thing that a potential attendee sees, hears, and feels about the event.

Try to create the tightest relationship as possible by achieving synergy between your event name and event image. Synergy happens when two or more elements combine to achieve a total effect greater than the sum of their individual effects. The word/image relationship transcends event listings, and it’s something you should leverage on printed flyers, social media posts, and other advertising.

This classic ad for the American Floral Marketing Council, illustrates how words and imagery can work synergistically:

 

 

Some visual advice.

In a previous post, we discussed ideas on how to name an event. Once you have a great name, you can pair it with an image. Your image shouldn’t be an afterthought, and you may need to do purchase an image or hire a graphic designer to achieve that tight relationship with your event name.

Here’s a list of the most frequently used visual approaches:

  1. Demonstrate the event in action: if it’s got some motion or drama, show it.
  2. Present a close-up of some critical part of the event: delicious food, the brilliant lights, and so on.
  3. Emphasize a visually interesting aspect of the event that you discover in your research: a piece of historical data, a founding member, etc.
  4. Emphasize not the event but a person connected to it: this person may be a performer, an invented character, or an attendee.
  5. Highlight the benefit of attending the event: the people pleasures rather than the vent itself. In other words, show the payoff, the result, of attending the event. Or show the negative consequences of not attending the event.
  6. Go a step further and show the lifestyle the event helps create: beyond smiles and selfies, there is a desired lifestyle. Show this state of mind and attitude that the event engenders. 

 


Sweating the details.

Once you’ve hooked your audience with your event name and image, your event description is where your event brand and voice really shine. Sure, it’s where attendees get the details, but it should also be an extension of your event experience. It's an opportunity for you to entertain, educate, and engage. How you do so depends on your voice. Before you write the description, ask yourself:

  • What voice is the best expression of my event?
  • How will I use this voice to communicate the objective of my event listing and other advertising?

When you can answer these questions, then you are ready to write an effective event description. When writing your description, keep in mind the principles you might learn in a freshman english composition class:

  1.  Voice: The writing has a natural, authentic sound, free clichés
  2.  Details: The writing is full of specifics; it’s particular, not vague
  3.  Style: Form matches content; the prose is not overwritten. It’s stylistically graceful, with strong, clear sentences and well-chosen language.
  4. Thesis: The writing has one central, unifying idea. It hangs together.
  5. Organization and structure: The writing develops this idea in some order; has a beginning, middle, and end; and coheres throughout.

Here's a great example of how voice influences branding and image:

 

 


In conclusion.

There are other elements of your event listing to take note of like venue info, videos, social media links, ticketing links, etc. But the most crucial things to get right are the name, image and description. Add some polish to those aspects, and you’re on your way to an event listing that doesn’t just describe your event. It sells it.

SpinGo | 3 Tips for Networking Success at your Next Fundraising Conference

3 Tips for Networking Success at your Next Fundraising Conference

December 07 2015

There are a ton of nonprofit conferences coming up next year. Are you going to any of them?

If so, you can’t afford to miss out on all of the fantastic networking opportunities that these events offer. Whether you’re looking to more effectively measure your fundraising metrics or boost your donor acquisition, nonprofit fundraising conferences can give you a wealth of information and are perfect for meeting other nonprofit professionals.

 

Have a look at these three networking tips and take them along to your next fundraising conference.

And in case you missed it, check out these takeaways from the SLC Event Makers Summit!

 

1. Research beforehand

After you’ve registered for the conference, don’t just assume that networking opportunities are going to fall in your lap the minute you show up. A major component of effective networking at a fundraising conference is doing a lot of research before you even walk through the venue doors.

Conference hosts publish and update information about the different sessions and speakers that will be present at the conference. Based on the resources and advice that you and your team need, plan around these sessions and speakers.

If you need more help with your fundraising events, attend a workshop or session designed for boosting event attendance. You’ll be able to connect with other nonprofit professionals and meet the thought leaders who can help you fundraise more effectively.

Additionally, many conferences will post a list of confirmed attendees at some point. Depending on the size of the conference you’re attending, this list could be thousands of names long, but sifting through it to determine who will be at the conference is well worth your while.

When you know who is going to be at the conference, you can more efficiently direct your networking strategies. It would be a waste of time to try to talk to every single person that attends the conference. Instead, narrow your focus and hone in on the individuals you need and want to speak to.

 

2. Be engaged

No two conference goers are the same, and everyone networks in their own way. But the common thread among all conference attendees who network effectively is their engagement.

Being engaged at a conference can take a variety of forms. It can include:

  • Showing up early to sessions. This shows that you are interested in the topic at hand and want to learn more. It also helps you meet more people as they filter into the room before the speaker begins.

  • Attending optional events. At the end of the day, you might not want to go to the optional fun event at a local restaurant or in the hotel lobby. But part of being engaged and effectively networking at a conference is going to these optional events. You’ll meet new people and expand your professional network.

  • Knowing when to take a break. You can’t be engaged and alert if you are nodding off during sessions and forgetting your organization’s name while talking to a vendor. Know when to take a walk, a nap, or a breather and then get back to networking!

When you’re engaged at a conference, you are better able to network with your fellow fundraising colleagues and learn more from them.

 

3. Follow up

Just because the conference is over and everyone has gone home to their respective cities and organizations doesn’t mean that the networking should end.

Stay connected with the people you met at the conference and trade fundraising strategies every now and then. If someone had some great tips for volunteers, give them a call to get more information.

When you follow up with conference attendees and speakers, you increase your chances of fundraising success. Two heads are better than one, and multiple fundraising heads are even better!

----


Before you hit the road for your next fundraising conference, make sure that you are properly prepared to effectively network. Your organization and your donors will thank you!

 

 

Jack Karako has 30 years’ experience within the charitable and philanthropic industry that he brings to the forefront with IMPACTism. Jack has been a major gifts fundraiser and senior organizational executive working with or consulting to nonprofit and advocacy organizations.  A generous community and civic leader who has served on several nonprofit boards, Jack has a unique perspective as a donor, benefactor, and as an industry thought leader.  Working closely with senior leadership in strategic planning, Jack has personally raised over $50 million in annual and deferred gifts. 

 

Featured Photo via http://www.andriyy.com/interactive-networking/

SpinGo | Event Safety: How to ensure your attendees feel safe at your event

Event Safety: How To Ensure Your Attendees Feel Safe At Your Event

December 03 2015

Recently, SpinGo conducted a new survey revealing how U.S. event attendees feel about their personal safety at live events and how their safety perceptions have changed after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. The data poignantly revealed that recent attacks at live events impact attendees feelings of safety, with nearly 33 percent feeling worried that a violent attack may happen to them at a live event. Additionally, 33 percent feel they cannot rely on facility staffers to resolve a safety concern if one were to come up. Despite their concerns, the large majority (76 percent) still feel that live events are safe.

As event planners, you know that creating the right environment for your audience is essential to putting on a successful event. Part of creating that perfect setting comes for ensuring that your attendees feel safe, especially if they have never attended an event you’ve put on before. While it’s great that 76 percent of people feel safe as they go to events, what the data really says is that one in four people don’t feel safe. This means that people will potentially opt out from attending your event because they don’t feel comfortable for whatever reason. While the law of statistics says that you will never be able to make everybody feel safe, you can still make great strides towards improving the sense of security surrounding your event. Based on the data from our survey, we have a few suggestions to improve the feeling of safety at your event.

 

To harbor safety - security, location matter.
 

More than half of those surveyed (54 percent) feel there is a need to increase security measures at live events following the terrorist attacks in Paris. To alleviate those concerns, roughly one third surveyed said that seeing security personnel provides them with the greatest sense of security. At your event, see if it is possible to have a form of security at the entrance of your event. This doesn’t mean you have to have a police officer in uniform staring everybody down as they enter, but depending on what type of event you are running, that might not be a bad option. Larger events should have security personnel at the entrance, while smaller events can simply get away with a bouncer. If your event is small enough, a simple ticket check, or check in at the front should suffice.

Attending an event in a good area provides the second highest sense of security to your event attendees. When you are choosing a venue for your event, see what you can do to find a venue in a neighborhood with a good reputation. The survey also revealed that one of the factors that make attendees feel the most unsafe at an event is if they are unfamiliar with area where the event is taking place. Research is going to be of critical importance to you as you select where to host your event. Even if your attendees have never been to the venue you select before, if the venue is located in an area with a good reputation, they will feel better about attending your event.

 

Take me out to the...play.


When it comes to hosting your event, the type of venue you select matters greatly. The study revealed over 33 percent of people feel the safest when attending an event at a performing arts theater, followed closely by events held at small concert venues (26.83 percent). However, nearly 25 percent of event attendees have safety concerns when attending events at sports arenas/stadiums. So how do you solve this? Obviously, some types of events require certain venues such as major sporting events. However, some types of events are flexible for their location, such as concerts, conferences, lectures, etc. If your event is flexible, see if you can choose a type of venue where people will feel safest. If you have an outdoor event, your venue choice will be limited, but try and be creative to see how you can improve the location of your event if you feel safety is a concern for some of your potential attendees.


These are a couple of tips we have come up with based on the research we conducted, but we know there are other ways to improve the sense of security around your event. Below is an infographic with other data from the survey. See how the information can help you shape your event for the better and make your event a safe haven for all, so that your attendees minds can be focused on the reasons why they went to your event in the first place; to have fun, make memories, and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

 

 

Event Safety Infographic

SpinGo | How To Write a Press Release for Your Event

How To Write a Press Release for Your Event

December 01 2015

Writing a press release for your event probably isn’t your favorite part of your job, but as an event maker, a well written press release can garner attention from well respected publications in the area where your event will take place. Your press release will be a success if you can get the critical information to your readers. Press releases aren’t fancy, you don’t get to put a lot of voice into them, but they get the information across and they do so effectively. Here are 5 hacks for getting the most out of your event press release:

 

You want your writing simple enough that a sixth grader could understand everything you are saying.


1. Keep it simple.
 

When you write your press release for your event, the most important thing you can do is to keep it simple. There is a misconception when it comes to writing press releases for events where people believe that sophistication equals professionalism, but the truth is, you can still sound professional while writing for understanding. You want your writing simple enough that a sixth grader could understand everything you are saying. The easier your press release reads, the more people will remember the key information from it, such as the time and place of your event. This rule applies to any audience you are talking to, whether you are planning a conference for doctors or hosting an arts festival for the general public. Keeping your event press release simple will improve the chances a paper will pick it up and that your audience will read it.

Keeping it simple doesn’t mean that your press release has to be boring. Keeping a press release simple implies that you are using commonly used vocabulary so that everybody understands. If you use words that a 12 year old wouldn’t know, you will turn away potential attendees. If you are targeting a niche audience, use the commonly understood language within that niche to better reach them. But the key remains the same; the language you use needs to be understood by the majority of your audience. Simple is always better when writing press releases.
 

2. Pick the right headline.
 

Headlines by definition are meant to be exciting, to capture attention, and provoke readers into action. When somebody reads your headline for your press release, they should want to know more about your event. You should include the name of your event and something tantalizing about it that makes them want to know more. If you are doing an online press release, remember that Google will only display the first 60 characters of your title in the search results page, so choose the right keywords that your audience would search for and include them in your 60 character title.
 

3. Don’t bury the lead.

In reporting terms, sometimes journalists get caught “burying the lead” meaning that they leave the most important information for last and try to build up to that final grand statement. When you bury the lead, you risk having your readers stop reading your release before they get to the main story. When you start your press release for your event with your lead, the most important information will be the first thing readers see. After your lead, you should say your second most important piece of information followed by your third and so on. You can risk trying to keep your readers entertained through your whole press release, or you can make sure they get the critical information first.

Your lead paragraph will be full of information, answering the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your press release. The format for writing the lead paragraph is as follows: City, State - (Month, Day Year) - Details. If you follow that formula, you will start off on the right foot, but the right formatting is the least important part of your lead paragraph. The lead paragraph needs to be captivating and compel the reader to keep reading to the end of the paragraph. You want to start your lead with the most important information first. Get it out of the way and then start sharing the details. Every other sentence in your press release should be connected to this first line, which should be connected to your headline.
 

4. Details in the body.
 

The details of your event can fit into the remaining portion of your press release. Many PR distributors will charge you a flat rate for the first 400 words of your press release and then charge a steep price for anything above that. If you can, try to limit your press release to 400 words to stay within your budget.

The body paragraphs should include a quote from somebody in charge of the event, more details about what will happen, when, where, and how, and you can even make reference to past events as well if it is an annual event. The body can also include a quote from an event attendee mentioning their experience from past years and their excitement looking forward to this years event, or whatever angle you want to play. Make sure the quote you get from an attendee is real and that you have their approval before adding it in your press release.

 

5. Boilerplate and contact info.
 

Once you finish getting out the information and telling the story you want to share for your event, you need to end the press release for your event with a boilerplate and contact information. A boilerplate is essentially the about us section of the press release, giving some basic information about your event such as when the event was first organized, who manages it, key sponsors, etc. If you take a look at any major press release, you will see they always include a boiler plate that gives some information about the event as a whole. If you are a non profit, you can use the space to write a little bit about your nonprofit, or if you are a business you can use it to talk about your company.

Contact information should include your name, work title, email, a working phone number, and if you use it, your twitter handle. Remember that both the boilerplate and the contact information counts towards the 400 words in your press release, so make sure you remember to include them as you are doing your word count.



Writing press releases for your event should be simple and painless with this formula. Know your audience,  know their language, and get the key information out first. Let us know how this works for you in the comments below, or share what other tips you have for writing a good press release.

 

Feature Image via http://nesfinancial.com/nr/ 

SpinGo | 5 Affordable and Effective Swag Items

5 Affordable And Effective Swag Items

November 19 2015

Have you ever gone to an event and left with what you felt was a real steal? Sure we’d all love to hand out swag that Oprah would be proud of, the expensive iPads or cars that everybody would rave about, but the reality is, most of us don’t have the budget to give away tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts. In the real world, we have budgets, time limits, and a clear purpose for our swag. If you can give away a branded iPhone, maybe you should go that route, but if you don’t have that much cash to spend, here are some impactful, but reasonable swag ideas that have been done in the past.

 

The purpose of swag: 

As with everything in event planning, there is a purpose behind handing out event swag. Most often, brands hand out swag that will increase brand awareness and create goodwill with their audiences. By handing out something of value, people will come to form a favorable opinion of your brand. If you hand out cheap, unusable swag, people will associate you with that as well. You are what you hand out. Here are 5 examples of effective, yet reasonable swag handed out at events:

 

Facebook Seattle Espresso Cup

Via Jennifer Apacible on Quora 

 

Why this is so good:

First of all, the quality of the cup is good. It’s not going to break unless you knock it off a tall counter. Secondly, it serves a real purpose. Many people drink coffee and nobody complains about having another mug for your drinks. Third, the logo is simple. When you look at this, the Facebook logo doesn’t dominate the cup, it’s small, simple, and something you would feel comfortable taking to work or leaving in your cupboard and home. Fourth, it has the space needle on it, which gives the cup more personality. If you are hosting an event, you can find a unique symbol to put on your own cup, and keep it simple. People will keep a piece of swag like this for years, and your branding will get seen for a long time to come.

 

IFTTT Custom socks

Via Ethan Smith on Quora

 

Why this is so good:

You’ve seen custom shirts before, but custom socks are unique, memorable, and trendy right now. If you walk into an office, you are bound to see a handful of colorfully unique socks. This also works well because everybody could use one more pair of socks. It doesn’t take up a lot of space, it can fit in a bag, pocket, or suitcase without taking up too much space. People will want to show off the new socks they got from your brand.You can capitalize on brand awareness by having people wear your brand into the office every day. 


 

Branded Tote Bags

@sarahdkhf instagram -Cactus bag:

Image from Hello Olive Designs on Pinterest 

 

Why this is so good:

Tote bags are reusable and cheap. You can make a nicely designed tote bag for your audience that will be used for years to come. People use tote bags when they go shopping, when they travel for vacations, and for moving things around the house. The key to this is to use simple, limited branding on your bags. Like the espresso mug above, keep your branding simple and clean, and maybe even create a design that reflects your brand. If you are hosting your event in an iconic city, you can find a landmark to repeat in a pattern like the cacti above. 

 

Portable cell phone chargers



 

Image from Brand Spirit Blog

 

Why this is so good:

Almost everybody has a smart phone these days, and they have become just as important, if not more so, than the rest of our appendages. Cell phone companies keep making the battery life better, yet we will always find ourselves in situations where our phone is about to die just as we need it. These phone chargers may be a little bit on the pricey side, but they will get used over and over again. It may be worth it to dish out a little extra money to give your attendees phone chargers, especially if you work at trade shows or conventions, where people’s phones are necessary for work.


 

5. Moleskin Notebooks

 

Photo from Bureau Business

 

Why this is so good:

You may be thinking that in the digital age, notebooks are a thing of the past. However, one of the most desirable pieces of swag we’ve seen at events is the Moleskin notebook. You can brand them for cheap, and people love the simple, classy look of the notebook. People still take notes by hand, and you are giving them a usable gift with your logo slapped right across the front of it.

SpinGo | 5 Fun Fundraising Event Ideas

5 Fun Fundraising Event Ideas

November 14 2015

Photo by:  Howard Lake


 

For non-profits and charities, hosting an event is a tried and true way of raising much needed funds. But if you’re looking to mix things up and go beyond just variety shows and silent auctions, we’ve gathered a few more creative ideas that will engage and entertain your donors. 

 

1.  Guess the Weight

via:  Alder Hey

Photo by: Scott Beale

Bake a cake or fill a box with something sweet. Ask your audience to guess the weight, but they must donate $1 or so for each guess. The winner receives the object being weighed.

 

2.  Reverse Raffle

via:  Reality Crowd TV

Photo by:  Matthew Loberg

All potential donors receive free tickets, but they are required to do something embarrassing unless they pay up a predetermined amount. 

 

3.  Trivia Tournament

via:  DonorPro

Photo by:  ocean yamaha

Host a tournament for teams to compete in a trivia challenge. Charge an entrance fee and audience admission. 

 

4.  Speed Networking

via:  NonProfit Information

This is a combination of speed dating, networking luncheons, and happy hour events.

 

5.  Food Challenge

via:  EventBrite

Get local restaurants or caterers to donate/sponsor massive food creations and see how fast entrants can complete the challenge.

 


 

Make your fundraising event more memorable by brainstorming creative ways to excite your donors. Have any more ideas? Share them in the comments below.

If you’re planning a fundraising event, SpinGo can help you get the word out. Start by listing your event on our calendar network for free.

SpinGo | The Trick to Balancing Social Media

The Trick to Balancing Social Media

November 04 2015

The best thing about news lies in the name itself: it’s new. As you compete for traffic to your site, you have the benefit of displaying new content on your website everyday, or whenever breaking news happens. But news isn’t all that you have to share with your audience to gain traffic. What you carry is more than just a news article, what you share touches the lives of your audience. You talk about schools, families, relationships, politics, sports, business, miracles, tragedies, arts and entertainment, and holidays. Is each category making it into your social media posts? Are you showing your readers all you have to offer, or are you bombarding them with the same types of stories all day every day?

 

The Benefit of Balance:

Balancing your social media posts shows your readers that you are the experts on all types of news. While you may cover certain topics more than others, you cover more topics than your main talking points.

Imagine if you were a bakery, and all you ever advertised were your delicious chocolate chip cookies. People would come to you to get your chocolate chip cookies, because that is the only thing they heard you advertise. Yet, sitting on your shelves next to the cookies are rows of cakes, eclairs, danishes, and doughnuts. What a surprise to your guests that you are more than just a cookie shop! However, the people who saw your advertisements, but don’t like chocolate chip cookies will never know that you sell other pastries because they will never set foot in your store. You will miss out on all the doughnut lovers, eclair connoisseurs, and danish devourers.  The same can be said about your publications. If you only advertise your political articles, you will become the political newspaper. While you will build your political brand, you may never entice the reader who wants to know more about local businesses, even though you carry content about that.

Diversifying your social media posts is a simple way to reach out to new audiences and show that you are more than a one-trick-wonder. Yes, you may have a brand and a forte for a specific niche, however, that doesn’t justify ignoring the other aspects of your site.

As you diversify the content you share on social media, you will attract the eyes of new readers who never knew that you had such proficient lifestyle, sports, or opinion columnists.

One of the biggest challenges of any company is to stay ahead of the competition. By diversifying the content you share on social media you can separate yourself from your competitors by highlighting areas of interest that your competitor chooses not to highlight. You can see examples of this all the time in fast food burger restaurants. Both restaurants start out advertising their burgers, but then as a strategic move, Restaurant A highlights their chicken nuggets while Restaurant B highlights their new healthy chicken wrap. Both restaurants are in the business of selling burgers, but both want to separate themselves from their competition and can do that by diversifying their portfolio. By highlighting these alternative meal options, they are trying to win market share and appeal to different audiences. Everybody knows they sell burgers, but if they can show alternative options, they might sell more burgers and more chicken wraps.

Looking at your competition, what type of content do they claim to report the best? See how you can differentiate yourselves from your competition and find new ways to stand out in your industry, and then share those on social media.

 

Different channels:

If your audience isn’t actively visiting your site, you are going to have to find ways to draw them to your site. Using social media works as an incredible medium for driving new traffic to your site. There are a few places as a media publisher that you need to be posting your content. Facebook stands alone as the most important form of social media for getting your content viewed. Facebook drives 25 percent of all internet traffic. If you aren’t using Facebook, now is the time to jump on and get started. But chances are, you already have a Facebook page and are adding content to it regularly. You don’t want to oversaturate your Facebook page by adding too much information onto it each day, so you have to be selective. Research from different websites shows that you start to lose engagement and clicks drastically after your fifth post in a day. However, different companies and different industries find different results. Test it out and see what works for you.

Besides Facebook, there are a myriad of social media channels to help you distribute your content. The popular and obvious choices include Twitter and Instagram. Twitter is incredibly useful for sharing news, but the lifespan of a tweet is about 24 minutes. That means you have to tweet, retweet, and tweet again in order to get the news out you would like. Instagram becomes quite difficult for news because you can only put one link in your profile, so you have to be smart about where you direct traffic from Instagram.

Some other less used social media sites, but still critically important to finding new and devoted audiences include:

Pinterest: Second on the list of social media traffic drivers, Pinterest directs 5 percent of all internet traffic. The next closest social media drives less than 1 percent of internet traffic. One secret to tapping into Pinterest is to create infographics with nice layouts. The majority of Pinterest users are female, so take into account what type of content you pin onto Pinterest.

Reddit: Maybe you don’t consider Reddit social media in the traditional sense, but Reddit is a haven for news of any kind. Have an article about politics, events, or sports? There is a subreddit for that. You already have a targeted audience with Reddit, but you can get banned incredibly quickly if you aren’t participating in the community as a whole and only promote yourself. Take the time to develop your credibility in Reddit and share your articles there, as it can effectively drive traffic to your site.

StumbleUpon: StumbleUpon is a social bookmarking site that allows you to add articles, stories, videos, images that will randomly pop up on users screens as they click the Stumble button.

SnapChat: SnapChat can be difficult to use if you don’t have the time or resources, but provides an authentic feel to your followers. You can create a Snapchat story which stores your video and images for up to 24 hours, but disappear after that. Forget the professional cameras, your cell phone will do the trick to bringing authentic perspective to any situation. The staying power of Snapchat isn’t strong, but if you can constantly update your Snapchat story, you could find loyal followers.

Yik Yak: Anonymity reigns over Yik Yak.  There are specific rules there, and for the most part, I would stay away from Yik Yak as it provides an incredibly difficult challenge for businesses to brand themselves, but if you have a go at it, you can leave comments related to topics you have covered in the news to generate interest. It could lead people to do more research where they stumble upon your content.

Tumblr: Tumblr is a blog platform that allows you to post anything from anywhere onto it. Tumblr generates a lot of website traffic and may be worth looking into if you want to have one more voice out there touting your content.


There may not be enough time in a day to manage all of these different social medias, so the trick is to experiment with them, see which ones work for you and find out what type of content works on each one. People on Facebook are probably looking for different things than people on Snapchat. See how you can get your content out there, because as you branch out by sharing new articles, you will find you attract new and loyal visitors.

Social media was built for being social and connecting, and the information you share can bring together an entire community that looks up to you for the best and most relevant information on the web.

SpinGo | 5 Native Advertising Tips for Publishers: Successfully Incorporate Events into Your Strategy

5 Native Advertising Tips for Publishers: Successfully Incorporate Events into Your Strategy

November 05 2015

Readers are responding well to native advertising. A recent study shows that they prefer tailored content that tells a story over typical product ads. 

In a digital news report, Shaun Austin, director of media research at the London-based market research firm YouGov, says that Millennials in particular are more accepting of native advertising, because “they are more likely to visit websites where native advertising is present, such as BuzzFeed, and therefore are more accustomed to reading it. Young people have been brought up more in a brand culture, where they can ‘like’ a brand on Facebook or its content on Instagram. Seeing brands crop up in different contexts and unusual guises is part of the everyday for them.”

 

Types of Native Ads

The Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) Native Advertising Playbook defines six core types of native ad formats. Understanding these formats will help you decide where to display event-related native ads. The six types are:

  • In-feed units - These ads appear in news outlets and social media networks with a “sponsored content” label or something similar.
  • Paid search units - The advertiser pays to be listed at the top of keyword search results on Google and other search engine.
  • Recommendation widgets - These units display related content and list them at the bottom or to the side of your editorial content (e.g., Taboola and Outbrain are popular platforms).
  • Promoted listings - They are similar to paid search units, but are more widely used on marketplace sites like Amazon, Etsy, and Foursquare. 
  • In-ad with native element units - These are placed alongside editorial content based on contextually relevant topics and keywords, but link away from the page.
  • Custom units -  Very platform specific ads (e.g., customized playlists on Spotify).

 

Selling Native Ads

Native advertising has proven to be effective, but what ad categories should you sell? Your clients can include, travel, real estate, fashion, and healthcare. Event promoters should also be included. When approached the right way, they are a natural fit and can be quite beneficial to your publication.

Why do events make sense for your native advertising strategy? 

  • Events are relevant to your audience.
  • Event makers are willing to spend money to get the word out. In fact, according to an IBISWorld Industry Report, event promotion is expected to grow into a $32.1B industry by 2020.
  • Events are easily condensed into the popular “list story” format (e.g., Top 7 Fall Events, etc.). 

For many publishers, native advertising is a work in progress. Here are a few tips to help you successfully include events as part of your strategy.

  1. Control the experience. Not all events are relevant to your publication. Be prepared to walk away from event advertisers who don’t make sense for your brand, your voice. You know your audience; make sure to craft or accept content that enhances their experience.
  2. Consider which type of event makers you want to target. SpinGo works with all types of event makers, from full-time producers to part-time non-profit promoters. Each audience has a budget, event category, and timeline that may or may not make sense with your pricing points. 
  3. Manage event maker expectations. In our research, SpinGo has determined that when an attendee is deciding on which event to attend, local news media channels are an essential component in the awareness and discovery phase. Advertising an event on your website will certainly drive clicks to a landing page, but it might not translate into ticket sales and registrations. By helping your clients understand these expectations, you will build the relationships needed to attract repeat business.
  4. Determine how to measure success. What metrics do your clients typically use to judge success? Again, it’s all about getting on the same page as the event makers. You’ll want to attract promoters who are more likely to use top-of-the-funnel brand engagement metrics (e.g., views, likes, shares, time spent) rather than bottom funnel ones (e.g., sale, download, data capture, register, etc.) 
  5. Gather feedback. Like with all of your products, it’s important to learn what is and what isn’t working. Asking for feedback helps in furthering your relationship with event advertisers. 

With native advertising becoming more prevalent, publishers, advertisers, and readers alike are at a turning point. Event content may not be the highest priority for everyone, but with the right approach, it is possible to display tailored event content that engages your readers and sees success for your ad clients.

Have you sold native advertising to event makers? We’d love to hear how it went. Leave a comment below or send a message to partners@spingo.com.

SpinGo | How to Use Pinterest to Plan Your Event

How to Use Pinterest to Plan Your Event

November 03 2015

How do you learn? Are you the one who can sit and listen to lectures and understand everything perfectly? Or do you learn better when you watch videos and see pictures? For me, I am the type of person that learns by seeing and doing. If I can follow along with a video or see an image of how something is done, I know that I will be able to do it myself. Which is what makes Pinterest so effective for learning how to do things. But besides just providing visually enchanting photos, Pinterest is perfect for learning by vision. You can see and do, gathering ideas and inspiration for your event. Pinterest lets you search, click, and save images that will help you plan the perfect event.


What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing and most used social media sites that focuses entirely on visual. Pinterest is especially helpful for getting inspiration as it is a wall of images that link back to articles from around the web with instructions, ideas, and top ten lists. You can search for any term and look for inspiration on whatever you need. Pinterest is like a much better version of a google image search, as it specifically categorizes and lists images that are relevant to your search topic. Search anything and you will find hundreds of aesthetically pleasing images that will let you simply copy and paste the idea from the web to reality in a matter of minutes.


How to use Pinterest

Pinterest has a few different uses as you look for creative ideas for your event.

 

  1. Inspiration. What may seem like the most obvious of all the answers, Pinterest is there to spark your imagination and inspire you with new ideas for things you can try at your event. Do you need to look for centerpieces for tables at your event?  Do you want to see creative flyer ideas to hand out to people that will get noticed? Pinterest can help you find both. Simply enter the search term into the search box and start scrolling until you find something that you like. Luckily for you, most pins are connected to an article so if you have further questions or need more instructions, you can click on the image and it will link you to another site where you can find step by step instructions on how to do things.

    Pinterest inspiration

     

  2. Market Research. As you are searching for inspiration for you event, you can actually be doing lots of market research to see what you can add to your event to make it stand out. As you click on pins, you will notice a little number in the corner showing you how many people have pinned a particular pin. The more pins there are, the more people have posted it to one of their boards, meaning that they like the picture. This makes things really easy for you. If you want to find out what people want out of your event, you should look at Pinterest, gauge what types of activities, decorations, and lighting people want at events, and include it into your own. It is a simple way to do some free market research and see positive results at your event. If you are having a themed event, you can look at different pins and see what worked for other people so you can know they will work the same for you. With Pinterest, you will be in tune with your audience because you are listening to what they have to say.

    Pinterest market research

     

  3. Find Trends. Pinterest may be the best place on the internet to find out current trends. Unlike Facebook and Twitter which have high hashtag usage, Pinterest has images from all across the web and will display the most relevant pins first. Whatever is trending around the the world will show up at the top of your pinterest search board and you will be able to see what it is other people like. Then, Pinterest makes it easy to store that information by simply pinning that image to your own board. That way you never have to lose your ideas or your inspiration. Pinterest is a giant bulletin board for people’s wants and wishes.

     

SpinGo | Don’t Burn Bridges: How a Full-time College Student Organized the Largest Halloween Party in Utah

Don't Burn Bridges: How a Full-time College Student Organized the Largest Halloween Party in Utah

November 02 2015

Korey Smith created his first event while attending high school in Roseburg, Oregon. The school administration had canceled a school dance, so he took matters into his own hands. He rented out a bowling alley and charged a couple of dollars at the door to pay for sound equipment, giving his fellow students a place to dance that night.

The enterprising student brought his event making skills to college at BYU, where he eventually caught the attention of Provo Live, a non-profit initiative to deepen the music and entertainment event scene in the college town of Provo, Utah. They asked Korey to be their event producer. And they also asked him to organize the biggest event he’s ever done.

Provo Live throws events throughout the school year, but none is bigger than the annual Nightmare on Center Street. Now in its 5th year, the Nightmare on Center Street started out as a small dance party to give college kids a place to hang out on Halloween. Korey has helped turn it into the can’t-miss event of the night that includes free admission, free drinks, closing down the historic Center Street, lighting up a huge stage with revolving DJs, dropping thousands of balloons, contests and giveaways, and sponsors like Coca-Cola and Monster Energy.

 

 

Photos by:  Miles Mortensen, Provo Live

 

In his role as event producer, Korey handles everything from marketing, hiring photographers, lining up sponsors, coordinating talent, pulling permits, and blowing up balloons.

This year, the event attracted an estimated 9,000 costumed partygoers. That’s a pretty remarkable accomplishment for a full-time college senior, urban planning student, collegiate athlete (Track & Field), and new husband. 

SpinGo caught up with Korey between midterms and track practice a few days before Halloween to talk about the event, his approach to event making, and achieving balance. 

 

My number one priority is my wife, and then school and track. I make sure I take care of those things first, and then I bury myself in whatever needs to be done.


SpinGo:  What's it like trying to balance school and organizing this event?
Korey Smith:  It's hard. I'm in school all morning. I'm at track practice from 2 to 5. So my whole day until 5 o’clock is consumed. I'll get breaks in between classes, and I'll be able to make phone calls and send emails to different people to organize things. I spent the last couple of weeks seeing how the sponsorships are going and lining up more sponsorships as well. Yeah, if there's something that needs to be done, I'll make time for that.

I got married in June. My number one priority is my wife, and then school and track. I make sure I take care of those things first, and then I bury myself in whatever needs to be done. Whether that's checking the Facebook page and making sure everything's going smoothly and seeing if I need to grow it or promote it more...or designing flyers or hiring the photographer. It's a combination of a lot of things. Honestly, it’s just kind of buckling down and see what needs to be done and making sure those arrangements follow through. 

 

Photo credit: Korey Smith

 

Any particular challenges?

On the day of the event, we are not able to close the street down until 2 pm. We’ll have to rush to get everything ready. Last year we had it closed down for 24 hours. This year we'll need more help, more hands. Clean up is always a hassle when you have that many people. That takes manpower to sweep all that up.

 

Where does that manpower come from?
Because it's a free event, we don't really have the budget to pay for manpower. Last year we had interns. This year, BYU's student volunteer organization will send people. Other than that it comes down to friends who are willing to help out. It’s purely volunteer-based. It's whatever we can get. People beforehand are pretty willing to help. But as soon as the event starts, they aren’t as willing to stick around. They want to celebrate Halloween and enjoy the holiday. 

Last year I was there for 24 straight hours to make sure everything got done. And it's something, that if I have to dig in again, I will.

 

How long have you been planning?
We start thinking and planning during the summer. We’re always trying to think of what we can do for a backup plan just in case weather isn't good—like if we need to move it to a parking garage.

 

So you have both places locked down?
Yeah we figure that out and start pulling permits early. 

 

What's that process like?
We have done this in the past and we have a pretty good relationship with the mayor, and he likes what we do. He actually speeds up the process for us and has been good in helping us out in pushing the sound ordinance past 10. We go until midnight and need the approval of the city.

 

 

How has it been with promotion?
We've had success. Again it comes down to manpower. Hanging up posters. Doing flyers. Facebook ends up being a big source for invites and getting people to share. I made a video from last year and uploaded it to Facebook and offered a prize to everyone who shared the video on their wall. The prize is a gift card that winners will get on the night of the event. The video has a few thousand views now. 

We try and make do with what we have. Becauses it’s a free event, we try and keep our marketing expenses as low as we can.

 

What are you the most nervous about?
Weather is our biggest worry. Last year it was 75 degrees. Next year it could snow. You never know what could happen with the elements. I worry about malfunction and just not providing the best event that we can. Letting the people down is my biggest fear. We want to keep it growing every year and keep people wanting to go to Center Street for Halloween.

 

When you make the event about your audience, that's how you are going to reach success.

 

Where does your passion come from?
I'm passionate about the things that are going to make the crowd enjoy it more. Just seeing that many people show up and have a good time—that's what is most fulfilling.

 

Describe your approach as an event maker.
The most important thing for event makers is to not burn bridges. Make as many relationships as possible and keep good relationships with everyone. Whether that’s the day of the event o