Friday, June 24, 2016

Always Trust the Gut - Before

I created an agency to provide entertainment to the motorcycle community. Up to this point my experiences have been good ones. I've learned a lot, met some very nice people and made some great friends.

I knew going in that I was going to have some obstacles to overcome. I knew that as with everything else in life, there was going to be a lot to learn.

I sure learned at lot at this last event.

You have to put yourself out there and with this event we were doing just that. Up until this one, we had negotiated a performance fee for our appearances. This one was different, it was up to us to sell out own tickets. We were going to be able to control our own destiny.

Here is how it was supposed to work ...

The event provides us with a performance space, they advertise our show The Rock & Roll Comedy Tour TM in their event and we sell our own tickets. They give their attendees another show option at very little cost to them and we get to keep the ticket sales. Everybody wins!

That's not exactly how it worked out ... I saw it coming and I could have avoided it. let me explain.

About a month out of the event I suspected that something wasn't going well. We had set up a page to sell tickets in advance and so far sales had been "weak". And by "weak", I mean none.

So I looked up the stats for that page and immediately found the problem. The page had been up for at least 60 days and we had the sum total of 49 views. When I looked at the page referrals I found that only 8 of those had come from the event site.

What this tells me is that the event is clearly not doing well at promoting us, so my next step is to look at the event site and what I find there confirms my suspicion, we're not really being promoted very well. Plus the site itself has very little to offer anyone interested in coming to the event. There's no real information about this years event, just a video from 2014 and a link to this years press release. When you look at the lodging page you see "check back soon". The vendor page has links to sign up to be a vendor. Event info (the schedule) is non existent.

Then I click on the "Entertainment" page and this is how they are presenting us?

There is nothing about the above image that would give anyone a reason to click to find out anything more about our show. They don't even have the name of the show in the image.

I have to put some of this on me. After we negotiated the contract, communications weren't good. I thought it was because they were getting everything ready to announce their event, so I let it slide some. Then I didn't follow up well. On the other hand, they never asked us for any information. They pulled the above images off a page that had the image for our show but chose not to use it. Why? I have no real idea.

I hastily put together an email expressing my concern and pointing out that they don't even have the name of the show on their page. I attach to the email the image for our show, along with a better show description; all formated to fit exactly into the space they already have on their web site. I'm not just a comic, I'm a web developer, too; I can do that.

I receive no answer to my email and wait several days before sending a follow- up message. The next day I still haven't received any response so I check their site, and I can see that my images were used, but in a very poor way. They had even reduced the size of the show description to a point it was unreadable. I get my biggest surprise when I click on the link, it takes me to a photographer's web site.

Now I know we're going to be in trouble, and after a lot of thought I decide it's time to pull the plug on this show. It's obvious to me that we are not getting the kind of promotion we need to get our name out there. I send an email to the event coordinator expressing my concerns and our notification that we're going to cancel.

I expected no response or an angry response, and was surprised when I received a rather panicked reply. I was asked to reconsider my decision and to please call to discuss what was going on. I felt like I owed them that much and called. After some discussion and some assurance on their end I reversed my decision. I'm not going to get into what I was told, but will say I felt like everything I was told was reasonable enough; plus, I really did want to try out this show concept. we were back in again.

I even helped them out by making a new graphic that they could plug directly into their web page,

which they did use.

There was a flurry of exchanges between us and the event coordinator to get the promotion end of things going. I'm not going to say I thought everything was going to go well; I was still concerned.

There was nothing that could have prepared me for what was coming next ...