I just checked in again on our LinkedIn campaign, had a couple days with good impression counts. We can still only tie 1 registration to all of the LinkedIn effort so far. Keep going, or ? I think I’m going to see if I can change the URL to a tinyurl, don’t know if that will pass the ad approval process or not.
I wanted to take a look at the effectiveness of each email, but because of a data problem graph is really skewed. There is the idea of a “bulk loaded” list so you can work with all your data in one place, but there is a bug in the registration proc (which I think I wrote, way back when) that doesn’t update the registration date. Kendal is compensating in the weekly graph, but the data on a daily basis isn’t great. I see the expected “Tuesday spike” most weeks except the week of Aug 5th. It could be we had a bunch of people register from the bulk list, but I think more likely the subject line (SQLSaturday Orlando – Sign Up For Our Dimensional Modeling Seminar on September 26th) didn’t drive enough people to open the email.
It’s a nice steady trickle of registrations, we’re at 321 as of today.
I’m continuing to experiment with the messaging. Without A/B testing (and maybe even with, given the small list size) it’s hard to know what works, or doesn’t. If nothing else we’ll poll on it post event. I have some guidelines:
- Message every Tuesday. If they read them all good, but even if they don’t, it builds rhythm and makes it feel consistent (or so I’d like to think)
- Make them fairly consistent. Look at the subject list below, I’m making it easy to see which messages are about SQLSaturday Orlando (and to filter them, if needed)
- Make the subject line useful. I don’t want to send “update #7” or “59 days out”, I want something that informs them and gives them a reason to open it. Steve thinks maybe the subject lines are too long – don’t know? Thoughts?
- Include the seminar information and the event information in every email
- Include oPASS/MagicPASS logos in every email
- Include all paid sponsors in every email
- Check that it renders ok in Outlook and Gmail
Here are the subject lines we’ve used so far this year with 5 weeks to go (which means 5 more ‘standard’ messages, plus some extras):
- SQLSaturday 318 Orlando – Full Day Training
- Registration for SQLSaturday Orlando Is Open – Please Register Today!
- SQLSaturday Add-On: Spend a Day Learning Monitoring Strategies for SQL Server for only $120
- SQLSaturday Orlando – The Presentation Schedule Has Been Published! (54 Reasons To Register)
- SQLSaturday Orlando – Presentation Schedule Now Available!
- SQLSaturday Orlando – Sign Up For Our Dimensional Modeling Seminar on September 26th
- SQLSaturday Orlando – Meet The Speakers, Lunch, And The After Party
- SQLSaturday Orlando – Why The Boss Will Say Yes To Paid Training, How To Get Your Own SQLSaturday Polo, and Asking Your Colleagues to Attend With You
And here is last year:
- 7th Annual SQLSaturday Orlando – Register today!
- SQLSaturday #232 Orlando – Final Agenda is now LIVE!
- SQLSaturday Orlando – SpeedPASS and other details
- SpeedPASS Error
- SQLSaturday Orlando – Sept 11-14th
- SQLSaturday Orlando – Sept 11th – 14th
Note that that doesn’t include any email sent to the oPASS or MagicPASS list. I think our list this year is somewhat bigger than last year, it’s the distinct list across all SQLSaturday Orlando events. About 2000 on the list this year. The combination of a bigger list and more email I think accounts for the increased sign up so far. The subject line/message is NOT as important as those two things. Note to event marketeers, you can see the messages from previous years AND all other events. Fun to browse for ideas.
We’re at 308 registered. Here’s the chart and notes:
- Kendal has added a forecast line. We’re either over/under the line and still on track, or about to nose over to our previous year count. We shall see!
- Leigh Freijo plugged the event at the Pinellas meeting last night – good (and thanks!)
- I also mentioned our “special event” coming up on October 15th
Just to add a little sauce to things, here is the most recent message (copied as three images, sorry!). Feedback always appreciated.
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!
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.
First, a quick update on the LinkedIn advetising campaign. One click so far, no registrations. More views than I expected for a Sunday.
I drafted the next message to be emailed out this weekend and sent out for feedback. Good feedback on the first draft, made those changes and more, waiting on next round of feedback. We added a sponsor over the weekend so I may have to update the footer. Sending the weekly message out at about 10 am on Tuesday works well, it’s a good for email (better than Monday anyway) and we have our weekly call at 1130 so we can launch directly into the next message.
Here’s what I have in mind for the remaining weeks, subject to change:
- 8/12. Focus on BI topics
- 8/19. Bring a Colleague
- 8/26. Make It 3 Days (seminars + Sat)
- 9/3. (Labor Day week) Open for now
- 9/16. Attend SQLSaturday to Get a Guaranteed Seat to see ***** on October 15th!
- 9/18. Highlight the speakers/last call for reg
- 9/23. Sponsor email (reg list only)
- 9/24. Last chance for seminars
- 9/25. Sponsor email (reg list only)
- 9/26. Event reminder/logistics/Guaranteed seat for Oct special event
- 9/27. Final reminder about the event/is ok to arrive late or only do half of the day
Still not getting much traction on Twitter. Not unexpected, we’ll keep at it.
I wrote three abstracts for a half day “From Student to IT Professional” that will cover networking, staffing firms, SQL community, and a very basic introduction to SQL Server/SSIS/RS. We’ll be talking about those tomorrow and tweaking, plus identifying who will do the presentations. I have to get the email message and flyer to the college by Friday, so not much time. We’re also working on a beginner/career changer half day in the afternoon.
We had a great meeting last week with the ONETUG leadership team and started work on a reciprocal support agreement to really work at promoting each others events. Different focus, yet very similar approaches, and yet plenty of differences to explore too! I’ll be at the August ONETUG meeting to hand out flyers.
Still a lot to do.