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Jan 13, 2009
Case Study

Lift Event Attendance with Interactive Ad Partners Place on Their Sites: 10% Boost

SUMMARY: Your media partners can pull a lot of weight when it’s time to raise awareness for an event. Some will put up ads to your website; others will write a blog post with a link; what’s even more effective is pushing tickets directly from their sites.

Find out how an event marketer sold more than 10% of her tickets though advertising partners by creating an interactive ad. Includes creative samples and lessons learned.
CHALLENGE


Edith Yeung, Executive Producer, BiztechDay, had three months to build buzz for a one-day event last October for small business owners and entrepreneurs. The event was held in San Francisco, a region loaded with tech events.

Yeung had a website to receive traffic, explain the event and sell tickets. But she wanted to sell tickets with fewer clicks and directly, rather than through display ads. She looked to her media partners for help.

Here are four steps Yeung and her team took to involve their partners:

CAMPAIGN

Yeung’s team built an interactive display ad that launched the purchasing process. The ad mimicked a widget that partners could add to their sites.

Step #1: Build a simple interactive online ad

Yeung’s ad clearly communicated to visitors that it was a ticket-buying application. It showed visitors to the first step of the buying process by asking them to select their desired number of tickets (see creative samples below).

The ad contained:
- “Ticket Information” headline
- Titles and info on early bird and general admission tickets
- Prices
- Ability to select number of tickets
- 6 credit card/online payment logos
- “Order Now” button

o Tie it directly to ecommerce

After clicking “Order Now,” visitors were taken to a landing page. The page loaded the type and number of tickets that visitors requested in the ad.

o Make it easy to spread

Yeung’s team created four lines of code that could easily be added to a website’s HTML to include the application. The code was the same for every partner.

Turning the ad into four, easy-to-copy lines was instrumental in getting partners to agree to add it to their sites. You don’t want to give your partners a headache when you’re asking them for a favor.

Step #2: Create landing page

The landing page further assured visitors that they were purchasing tickets for the BizTechDay event, and asked them to enter the relevant personal information (see creative samples below). Visitors could use either PayPal or Google Checkout to complete the transaction.

The page included:
-BiztechDay header graphic
-Event title, time, location
-Order summary: number of tickets requested and amount due
-Billing information request
-Request to subscribe to a newsletter
-Request to participate in a special event session
-Request for special session ideas
-Links to a third-party checkout

The landing page was the same for every visitor purchasing through the ad, regardless of where the ad was hosted.

Step #3: Create homepage to explain more

It’s likely that you will have a website for explaining more about your event. But it should be noted that having an informative website is vital to making this strategy work. Visitors who encounter the ad and are not persuaded to immediately buy tickets will want more information.

Your website should tell them everything they want to know, including:
-Date, time, location
-Ticket information
-Event description
-Agenda and speakers
-Info and pictures from past events
-Press coverage and praise

Step #4: Ask partners to place the ad

Forward the lines of code to your media partners after the ad is tied to your ecommerce system and tested. Yeung has a list of partners, many of whom run events. The partnerships often involve helping to promote each other’s events and trading logos for their websites, Yeung says. Posting the ad was similar to posting a logo or a regular display ad – it involved only a few lines of code. “I did not have a special incentive for them to post it,” Yeung says.

o Ask many partners; expect a few yes’s

Yeung has a few dozen partners and sponsors, both large and small. While large companies often have larger audiences, they’re more reluctant to place an ecommerce ad on their sites and are slower to respond, Yeung says. Not everyone was willing, or immediately willing, to place the ad.

o Explain the ad

Make sure that your partners understand that the ad sells tickets to your event. Those who are most willing to help might write a blog post or a few lines of copy to introduce it. That will much more powerfully connect with their audiences than the ad alone. Try to get at least a link to your website for more information.

Yeung let her partners do whatever they wanted with the ad – as long as they posted it. “I left it up to them. A lesson learned is that I probably won’t next time. I’ll probably give the whole sales copy, not just the code for [the ad], but all the text around it, too,” she says.

o Choose trusted companies

Companies that have tight bonds with their audiences are the best ad hosts, Yeung says. “I can do emails. I can put ads everywhere. But when users see it on a blog, when they see there is a post that is written by an organization that they trust, or people that they trust, it’s a lot stronger.”

o Don’t forget your sites

Use the ad to sell from websites in your company as well. Yeung has two other websites from which she was able to sell tickets.


RESULTS


Three partners agreed to host the ad on their sites and were able to sell tickets to the event.

o About 90% of the people who purchased tickets for BiztechDay purchased through the ads on Yeung’s sites and her partners.

o 10.63% of the tickets were sold through her three partners’ pages.

“I’m very intrigued by the numbers. It’s a great thing to hear,” Yeung says.

Although she did not offer her partners any special incentive to post the ad to their sites, Yeung says that “knowing they sold 10-something percent, I’m definitely going to do something about it next year.”

Useful links related to this article:

BiztechDay Creative Samples:
http://www.marketingsherpa.com/cs/biztechday/study.html


Note: 2008 BiztechDay Samples were not available at the time of publication. The samples are for the 2009 event. Yeung has assured us that the ad and the landing page are almost exactly the same as the 2008 ones.

How to Get Busy Execs to Attend Your Complimentary Event - 9 Best Practices
http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article.php?ident=30141


Eventbrite: Creator of the ad
http://www.eventbrite.com/


Google Checkout
https://checkout.google.com


PayPal
https://www.paypal.com/us/


BiztechDay
http://www.biztechday.com/



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