The reason that “blasts” of press releases, event invitations, etc. are ineffective is because people, in general, like to feel catered to. Blasts tells your audience a couple of things: 1. You are not worth my time to contact personally. 2. You are one of MANY people who I am trying to contact. 3. I don’t know or care who you are, really.
People like to feel special, like they belong and like you know and care who they are. This is one of many things that I have learned at my current place of employment: The Country Side Bar and Grill. Bar-tending, or working in any environment where your goal is to make tips, you tend to pick up pretty fast what you can do to make money and what you can do to ensure that you will not be getting tipped. As my Grandfather once told my Mother, “I don’t know why you are wasting thousands of dollars on a Psychology degree when you can learn everything you need to know about Psychology working behind a bar.” My Grandfather understood. He owned a bar. He was also in politics.
I have a hard time remembering people’s names. I can remember endless stories and minuet details about their lives, but their actual name just never sticks. This can lead to problems in any professional (or personal) setting because people tend to get offended when I finally break down-typically after several months of talking to them on a regular basis-and ask. However, I do have an usual ability to remember what people drink and how they like it. And people LOVE it.
“Bottle of Coors light, honey?”
“Yes! You remembered! You’re the best!”
Thank you very much. Smile.
This personalizes their experience. They feel like their order is important enough for me to remember. They know that I recognize them, and I have a connection with them, even if that connection is that I know they like the “Silver Bullet.”
I have found this concept of personalizing whenever possible to be quite effective for event planning as well. The Country Side utilizes its Myspace page as its main form of advertising. Management often posts bulletins about what bands will be playing that weekend, specials and so on. However, last week we had a particularly big event- the UFC 96- which is the biggest Ultimate Fighting Match of the year. It also happens to be something that many of our clients have a great interest in. We needed a big turn out because it was quite expensive for us to broadcast the HBO fight for commercial purposes at the bar. So I suggested to my boss that the bulletins might not be as effective as we need. I suggested that, in addition, we post personal invitations to the event on all 300 of the Country Side’s Myspace friends’ pages. Each message included the persons first name and ended with saying “It’s not a party at The C. Side without you, Chris (or whatever their name is)” Yes, this took a lot of time. Yes, it was a lot more time-spent than posting a bulletin; however, the payoff was entirely worth it. When I asked people if they were coming to fight many responded, “Well ya, I got personally invited on my Myspace so I guess I’ll be there.” We had over 300 people show up for the fight, which is an insanely good turnout for us.
Bottom Line: People appreciate you taking the time to specifically cater to their needs, egos, desires, etc.. Even if the payoff isn’t evident at first, it is important to realize that by personally catering to your audience, you are also building the foundation of a relationship with each individual contact, which is just as important as the immediate payback for you, if not more-so.