I’m on vacation this week, but enjoying some quiet time during the day to think a little, going back through my first 17 posts and wishing I had them printed – sometimes marking up a document is good for thinking!
First, a recap of key items on the task list so far:
- Review previous year plan/results
- Set attendance goal as final goal, set registration goal as key metric to measure progresss
- Build at least one event flyer, plus a flyer for any seminars
- Bring forward previous year list into current event
- Create/update event Twitter with all known attendee Twitter handles
- Create marketing calendar
- Create/update email marketing template
Creating the flyers has been tedious. Fiverr has been interesting, but it’s only as good as the input. It looks like we’re going to go with one that Kendal created. That’s not all bad, the exercise drove us to an agreement on what we needed – just enough text, no more. For those that lead marketing for an event, you’ll either get no input or too much input, both are tough to deal with. I’m really hoping we can reuse these flyers for next year. I’m glad we started early or we’d be way behind. Note also that Kendal ended up filling the role of the graphics person. We’re trading time for money. I might argue that we should spent the money! We definitely didn’t try hard to find someone from the greater group that could have helped, that’s my mistake. Note that I’m not fussing at Kendal, he’s the leader, he gets to jump in anywhere he wants to and his help has been good.
Related to that, I’ve been doing at least a weekly call with Kendal, blogging here, but probably not interacting enough with the event team. I’m going to try to bring in a couple advisors in the next week just as sounding boards for the next part of my plan.
Next hot item for us is the email template. The default one is blah, and we need to add in the seminars and our own Twitter handle.
I’ve also asked for help in updating the event home page. Right now our seminar options consist of pointing them to a very long URL at EventBrite, or pointing to our home page. We’re doing the latter (and in fact we’re standardizing on http://orlando.sqlsaturday.com as easy to remember) but the seminars are down the page. Is scrolling hard? No, but it’s friction. We need seminars placed in a way that adds to the event but doesn’t confuse. Tough in so little space.
On the seminars, we have two great speakers/sessions lined up. That’s good. The slightly bad is that neither has a large web footprint. I think going forward we’re going to look for speakers that maintain a blog. That’s not to underestimate Twitter, but it’s hard for the boss to appraise someone based on Twitter. We can coach on this, and there is definitely more than one path to success.
One of my ideas now is that the flyer pdf we can distribute can be multiple pages. Page one is obviously the final/key flyer, but we’re going to follow that with the seminar flyer, the retro event flyer, and then a couple fun things – the SQLSaturday van cut out, some kind of branded Origami (more soon on that), and maybe even a drawing for the kids to color. Relatively small effort to package, why not?
At my presentation in South Fla I asked how people heard about the event. Several heard via the college, it turns out some of the classes align pretty well. Another was there because of a colleague. Just reinforces for me that we need to work as many channels as we can.
I’ve also been trying to think what does PASS do that we don’t? The main driver for PASS Summit is the “price bump”. We can try that with seminars, but it’s a pain and feels blah given the relatively low cost, not enough swing to move a decision maker along. Summit has a very active twitter/social component, we can try for that, but I think hard to get the critical mass – which isn’t to say we shouldn’t try. PASS does bottom up “sales” just like we do, and aside from better graphics, I’m not sure I see much there I can borrow. Maybe that’s wrong, need to think/ask on that.
My goal for this week, in and around my vacation, is to try to come up with one or two concepts for the “bring someone” plan. I still see that as the best shot I have for a major jump in attendance.