Just checked in on my LinkedIn campaign. This is the one that uses job titles. Not a ton of impressions, but I can live with that at this level of targeting. Going to send this off to the team, we might run this longer given the low weekly spend.
Tomorrow we’ll send out another update to the speakers. Karla put together a nice survey with questions ranging from “are you confirmed” to “are you going to the speaker party” and a bunch more stuff that will help a little on marketing – is this their first time speaking, first time in Orlando, etc. We’ll combine with a request/plead to blog about attending. Most of the speakers will blog/tweet about it at some point, but earlier helps – we can link to it and retweet it. Interesting that our interests are aligned – more attendees is good for as an event, and good for the speakers too.
Tuesday will be our weekly email to the entire list and it’s mostly done. Information heavy this week and more graphics/color too. I’ll post a copy after it goes out. Writing the message is fun, but it is work. Something to keep in mind for marketing, the best/hard to find case would be one person “marketing” and the other focused on the messages/twitter.
My secret plan to boost attendance by decreasing the job rate is still there, but the logistics are a little crazy. We’ve got a “special event” planned for October 15th and I had hoped to delay registration for that one until close to SQLSaturday, but – I need to see the reg count on it to make some decisions, so I can’t wait until 2 weeks out. I had limited options for dates and I still think I can do some good with it. The secret part? Soon all will be revealed!
With not much time left, I’m thinking about where I’m at and I just haven’t made much headway on adding to our existing list. LinkedIn has been minimal. We’re trying to reach people via other channels, but that is indirect list building.
Quick update on registrations. We’re at 287 as of noon on August 15th, not bad. The blue part of the line is Kendal’s forecast. Realistic maybe, but I’m still working on getting to 500!
Tuesday we sent our metronomic email of the week. No huge call to action this week. My schedule called for a BI focus and I struggled to write it, so I changed to something I could write! We added in the reminder about oPASS/MagicPASS meetings, trying to reinforce the SQLSaturday <—> Chapter connection. Remember that they won’t read every email we send. As long as the message contains the basics, then we’re waiting/hoping for them to open at least one. More than anything I want every message to have a subject line that conveys a lot of reasons to open the message.
Next we have an update on our new LinkedIN campaign. Took a few days for the ad to be approved and it doesn’t seem to be generating a lot of impressions, but I’m ok with that – it’s targeted at SQL titles, so we may be spending more effectively. We’ll let this run into next week.
- I’m working on our mystery speaker plan. Slow going due to logistics planning.
- We’re close to break even on seminars and still tracking ahead of previous years. Next week I think we’ll return to “ask the boss” as the theme
- We’re discussing selling SQLSaturday Orlando polo’s online for pickup at the event. It would be about a break even effort, but I think worth it to get our brand distributed more widely. Basically no risk if we do it this way, they’ll get added to the speaker shirt order
- I don’t have an updated graph handy, but we’re at 282 registered, so we’re still tracking ahead of all previous years and if we can hold the trend Kendal is forecasting 456 registered and 350 on site. My goal was 500 way back on April 29th and I’m still focused on that. Excel forecast..bah!
I was reading http://paultebraak.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/the-wisdom-of-the-tableau-crowd/ and, no disrespect intended at all to the Tableau universe, I was astounded to see that the Tableau Conference is bigger than the PASS Summit. Both are in Seattle (different dates), and the prices look to be similar ($1495 is the number I saw for TC, but registration is closed/sold out). Looking at the Tableau event, I like what I see:
- 220 sessions
- Some “real” keynoters – by which I mean not Tableau (or in our case, SQL) people and some other featured speakers
- Paul cites 5200 attendees (I believe him, I just don’t have a supporting link)
Good for Tableau!
Does it mean anything for PASS? Is bigger better? Many would argue not. If you’ve ever been to TechEd (10k attendees) you spend a lot of time walking. It’s just big. Yet I can’t help wonder what are they doing that has grown the event to this size in 7 years or so? Are they doing things (or not doing them) that PASS should be doing? Someone should – officially – go take a look. I don’t care about number for the sake of numbers, I care about serving the people in my craft. If we’re not doing that as well as can be done, we should be trying to do better, quickly.
More notes, hopefully not repeating any from previous posts!
- Karla has used the chart showing registration growth as a way to reinforce to sponsors that we’re on track for solid attendance. I suspect it also carries with it the impression that we’re engaged in trying to drive the number up, which is always good for a sponsor. The other part of it is that silver and higher sponsors that sign up now get their logo included in every email we send out to about 2000 addresses. Emails sent aren’t magic of course, but someone signing up as a sponsor in July will end up having their logo in twelve email messages. Or they can wait until September and be in a handful. From the event perspective we’re glad to help sponsors be more successful, and getting commitments early helps us make decisions on the budget.
- We’ve set up a half day seminar co-located with us for students. We’re using EventBrite for registration so we can clearly measure sign ups. I’m hoping for 25. If we get more we’ll be space constrained, but it would be a nice problem to have. I sent all the IT instructors a message about the event, plus powerpoint slides, plus an email message to send to their students, along with a soft ask to make it a class assignment or extra credit opportunity. Rodney Landrum will be doing most of the SQL part of the seminar, I’ll do the intro and maybe a bit on career paths, we’ll have a recruiter, and someone yet to be picked to talk about networking, community, blogs, user groups, and some more odds and ends. We don’t know if it will work, but it’s worth trying.
- This past week our message was focused on our Dimensional Modeling seminar, with a mention in the close (and in the right hand pane) about event registration. The reg numbers barely moved the next two days, making me nervous about my strategy of alternating messages each week (registration, seminar, registration, etc). I need 30 a week to register. We’ll see. The good news is that we did see more signups for the seminars (I’ll share more on that later).
- We’ve added ONETUG, our local .Net group, as a sponsor. No cash, but we’ll be a sponsor at the next Code Camp. Good for both teams.
- I’ve been sending out my ad copy to the group for comments, which are often helpful but make me feel like I can’t aim sometimes. It’s not easy, for me anyway, to write something and critique it too. I put a lot of effort into the subject line (so they’ll open it) and a lot of effort into making the first sentence and the first paragraph the most important and useful to the reader. It’s a bonus if they read further or scan the right hand pane with the ‘calendar’ section.
- I took my ‘how to ask’ for the seminar message and sent it off to someone to see if they will pay, and also made a pitch for a local employer to sponsor with the idea being they could do on the spot first interviews. Walking the walk is good. If it doesn’t work, I’ll still learn something.
- I’m scheduling 3-5 tweets a day in Hootsuite. I’m using the free version so I have to schedule one at a time, but at 3-5 a day it’s not a lot of effort. I also loaded all the speaker handles into a table and generated three different tweets for each based on name, session title, and handle. They are mechanical, but I hope that they catch an eye here or there, and it’s a way to try to get speakers to engage – many will retweet it.
- I looked at Twitter cards, but it requires access to the header section of the page and I can only get tags into the body. Something for PASS to look at.
- Not quite marketing, I’m handling the few unsubscribe requests that come in. There is an unsubscribe link in each email, but it requires logging in. Aggravating if you don’t want the email AND you don’t know your password, a lot of work to unsubscribe. Only 3 or 4 manually processed.
- Also not quite marketing we’ve had a handful of dupe registrations. The system emails if it detects someone registering with the same first/last name, but doesn’t change their status. We have to go look and decide/investigate. Good to do to try to keep to the reg count accurate. There is a status of “not attending – continue to email” that is perfect for someone who wants to get the messages at work and home, but will use one of the two as the “paid for” reg.
- Thinking about next year we really, really need a way to add source codes to registration links, and it would also be nice if the system captured the referring url too.
- 49 days out as I write this, and still two big things to work on – “bring someone” (our BS campaign!) and using our “mystery guest in October” to try to increase reg/decrease the standard Saturday drop, hoping to finish one of those this week
I just paused our first LinkedIn campaign, the one that was based on a functional area of IT in the Orlando area. We had one registration that had “LinkedIn” as the source, so we’ll say we converted 1 click to a registration for certain, possibly a few more. If all nine converted – unlikely – we’re at $4.55 per click. At $5/click I’d think spending $500 to add a 100 registrations would be worth doing. At $40/click, well, probably not. The first two images below show the first campaign. The third image shows the new campaign, this one based on job titles. The number of “dba-ish” titles was less than a 1000, so I added some developer titles to get the count up for 2500. I’ve set it for impressions with a $5 per 1000 bid and a $10/day cap. We’ll run this through Monday and decide if we should continue. One more note; I hacked at the job titles using their suggestions, but events have job titles for this year and previous years, probably worth doing a distinct on those and seeing if any interesting variations turn up.
Even if we stop later this week we may turn it back on about 10 days out when we can push the ‘register now’ message with a little more urgency and realism.
Few things have more impact on our career than job titles. The job titles we’ve held tell future employers a lot about us, and job titles on positions we’re considering are the first visual filter we apply. Titles are the most abbreviated way there is of saying “I do this” or “I want do that”. Read more and follow the discussion at http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Editorial/109958/.
One of the better graphics I’ve seen in a Connector that shows the timeline:
I’m on the Nominating Committee this year so I won’t endorsing or coaching any candidates. I’ll miss that part, but I do look forward to reviewing the applications and asking a tough question or two during the interview stage!