Reach or engagement?

What’s better? 60 people signing up for your event and only 20 actually showing up, or 25 people signing up for your event and 15 showing up.?

In the first scenario, you’ve reached more people, you’ve engaged more people plus If you charged $10 per person and everyone pays on sign up, you made $600 vs $250. Clearly a win. Right?

Even when we cast aside your preparation time, the cost of a venue to comfortably host 60 people and catering, a 30% attendance rate brings with it a host of rich information about your process.

For example, it could be telling you that your price is too low. After all, if people are prepared to give up their $10 investment without even bothering to show up and hear what you have to say, $10 was not enough to ensure their commitment.

It could be telling you that you have an issue with your communications plan. Did you clearly lay out what people would get from attending your event? Did you send at least one reminder about your event after they signed up? Was the information to be shared at your event not easily found through other more convenient sources?

The second scenario communicates a very different message. It’s telling you that the price people paid made it worth it to show up. It’s telling you that your event while having lower mass appeal, is speaking directly to a niche audience, arguably far more important in the long run. And planning for 25 and hosting 15 means you were able to book a more intimate space, conversations could run longer and deeper. Everyone walks away believing your event was a success.

So what’s better?

Marketing strategy vs. marketing tactics and why you need both.

One of the most common areas of confusion I see among my clients is the difference between strategy and tactics.

“Should I make a brochure?”

“Should I update my business cards?”

“Should I be making videos? A podcast? A blog?”

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Building a machine

A marketing campaign is like a machine. And not a machine you buy off the shelf or even a machine you build yourself with numbered instructions to follow step-by-step.

Marketing campaigns are like brand new, complex inventions with hundreds of moving parts. And when you take it out for its maiden voyage, things are likely to go wrong.

You may discover that some of the parts you used create unexpected friction with other parts. Or perhaps that cheap part you used was cheap for a reason. Of that when you started cutting corners because you were running out of time, those actions had bigger consequences than you anticipated.

Obviously, you will find no shortage advice online about how to run a successful marketing campaign. Everything from how to write the best headline, to how to segment your audiences, how to structure a Facebook live event. Not to mention the benchmarks for email open rates, how many clicks to expect, how much to invest per conversion.

But none of these benchmarks relate exactly to your business with your unique proposition and your niche audience.

When you are disappointed by the results of your first campaign, you might think the entire thing was a failure. An activity to be avoided in the future lest it cost you more money.

What many entrepreneurs don’t see is that the only difference between the campaign that generates thousand of dollars in sales and the failed campaign they ran yesterday is the number of times they did it.

Working with what's known

Much of what we do as marketers is to work from what we know.

When we begin, much of what we have is merely hypothesis. A series of questions we pose for our audiences to then answer.

We need to take each question, hold it up to the light, test it in a range of conditions until we can gather enough information to derive some level of truth. We start to expand what is known.

Sometimes we forget this. When we view them in isolation, our marketing campaigns can seem like nothing more than failed experiments.

It’s only when you view them side by side, in relationship to one another and how each informs the next, that you can start to see your strategic trajectory take form.

Sometimes we all need a reminder of just how far we’ve come.