Sunday, August 22, 2010

How to Reach Facebook Fans in a World of On-line Noise

Back in the day, I could send out a Facebook invite for an upcoming performance and a couple of things would happen: 1) About 90% of those I invited would rsvp (either yes, no, or maybe) and 2) About 40% of those invitees would actually show up at my event. It was my most effective marketing tool.

When Facebook decided to turn on its money making machine about a year ago, the typical invite got lost in the shuffle.  Now,  I'm lucky if I get a 20% RSVP rate and for a 100 seat theatre, I'm lucky to sell 3 tickets from Facebook invites.

I understand the problem. Having nearly 1,800 friends on Facebook myself, not only do I get a lot of invites each day (about 15-20) but I also get a lot of other stimulation on my Facebook page that ends up looking and sounding a lot like on-line noise. There's just too much stimulation on my page for me to pay attention to something as specific as an invitation.

Although I've always tried to be personal with my marketing efforts, I have to be even more diligent now to make sure that my own invitations can be seen and heard through the haze of saturation. To be honest, I have ADD when it comes to Facebook and if you're planning an event, you should assume every friend you're sending an invitation to has ADFBD (Attention Deficit Facebook Disorder) too.

Here are 10 ways to make sure your invite gets over the firewall:

1) Use a title that describes the event itself or the location. For example "Illumination: Four Tellers Telling in Maryland" is better than just "Illumination." There is a balance between including interesting, length and location in your title.

2) Within the body of your invite, place just enough information to spark someone’s interest. In other words, don't cut and paste something from your website into your invitation. I don’t want to read through every review that’s ever been written about you.

3) Attach event-related photos, videos and other links on the actual invite page. Sounds obvious, but don't make me search to find out more information about the event. Also, use captions with every photo.

4) Put a “click-thru” link on the invite that will take invitees to a place where they can purchase tickets.

5) Invite all your friends, even the ones that live in Spain. Most friends want to stay in touch with you and will want to know what's going on in your performance world. An invite allows them to do this. Besides, if your friends like your work (which they should if they are your friends) this will allow them to forward the invite to their own friends who can attend.

6) Wait two days and then from the invite page, message all your guests with a short personal e-mail such as:

Just wanted to let you know about my next performance at Seeker’s Church on September 25 at 7:30. It’s a storytelling concert I’m doing with three friends and I thought you might be interested.

For more information or to buy tickets you can visit.:


*This friendly note alerts people like me who received the invite, but didn't open it or even know where to find it to the fact that you are having an event. Without this note, I'd never know.

7) Four weeks before your event, begin to post one status update related to your event. 

Remember to use the “@” symbol in front of your event title, wait for the link to upload and then place it in your status bar.  For example, “Looking forward to @Illumination: Four Tellers Telling later this month. I’m so excited!” The @symbol should disappear and make your title into a live click-thru link. (Double check to make sure it works)

*Studies show the best times for status updates are usually 8am and 4pm

8) One to three  weeks before your event, post 2 status updates related to your event that are similar, but different than the one above. For example, “Tickets for @Illumination: Four Tellers Telling are selling well.”

9) One week before your event, go back to your invite page and: a) send a personal note to anyone who has rsvp’ed Yes or Maybe. B) send a new personal note to those who haven’t sent in an rsvp.

10) If you want to bump up your response rate to nearly 35%, then you should actually send out a personal invite to every one of your friends. Yes, I actually do this for important events. Although I have nearly 1,800 friends and this takes a few days, it's an important and personal step.  If tickets sales, filling seats or connecting with friends you haven’t heard from in a while are important to you, you’ll consider doing this too.

If you'd like to see an invite for my upcoming storytelling concert on Facebook visit

For more info storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Question of the Week: Funding

Hey Mister!   I gotta a question for you. When you are looking for underwriters and donations, do you send out a feeler e-mail or do you send the whole kit and kaboodle?      Gotta project I am trying to make happen. It is so close, but thinking maybe I could get someone to underwrite part of it - then it would actually happen.      Thoughts ideas??      Thanks!    

It depends on what you're looking for in terms of donation amounts.  Asking for $10 donations is very different than asking for $5,000. The latter requires a different approach.  

As a general rule  - the more personal the better - there's no shortcut for that.  And the more options you give for giving the better with it clearly spelled out what they are contributing to and how it will help you.  

Blast a *yawn* *yawn* cut and paste e-mail out into the e-mail or snail mail ether and you're lucky to get a 1% response rate. 

If I got a request from you, I would most likely delete it or throw the request away myself and I know you.  Don't send anyone anything unless you've developed a relationship with them to begin with AND they are expecting to receive it. If you break this rule, it's sort of like sending a big huge can of spam, especially in the world of money. The money people are getting hit up every other day to make a contribution for the next, best, greatest thing. A couple of my business mentors always had a pile of requests on their desk from people they didn't know that grew taller each day.  

Better to spend 40 hours making phone calls than to spend 40 hours stuffing envelopes and sending out e-mails. It all goes back to old-skool rules. The politicians do it every time an election rolls around - One handshake at a time.           

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit

Friday, August 13, 2010

Question of the Week: My Press Release

Q: Hey there!
I'm getting ready to do some press-release-sending out, and am it better to actually mail a press release or to go ahead an email the release and a few photos to the contacts you sent? I suppose I got the cart ahead of the horse, and didn't think about method of sending. Thanks, Khalima

How to Use Your Media Contact List
The E-Teaser
A month and a half before your event, send out a short 1-2 line e-mail to each, individual journalist. In the subject bar type “story idea” in small case letters. In the body of your e-mail use their name and ask them, for instance, “If they accept story ideas relating to theater related events.” See the example below:

Subject: story idea
Hi Mike,
Do you accept story ideas for the San Francisco area? If so, I think I have one your readers would really enjoy.
Slash Coleman

Your initial e-mail serves two purposes. One, it allows your initial contact to get through the spam filter. By using all small case letters in the subject bar and keeping your e-mail brief, chances are better that your query will get through the spam filter.

Two, an e-mail such as the one I suggest puts you in a position of power. Rather than asking the journalist for something, you’re identifying that you have something that may help the journalist. Journalists, like artists, are usually hungry for their own big break. Could you be the key to that break? Maybe. The short e-mail like the one I’m suggesting is usually enough to perk the interest of even the busiest journalist. In addition, it allows you to make the first step in developing a relationship with the person on the other end of the e-mail – it’s a polite introduction of sorts.

You’ll be surprised at how quickly most media representatives will answer a teaser like the one above.  Response times vary from 1 hour to 2 days. In  some cases, the journalist will let you know a better person to contact.  If they e-mail back saying they're not interested or they refer you to someone else, thank them and save their e-mail for the future if appropriate.

More likely than not, you’ll get a short response back that reads something such as “We sure do!”, “Yes” or “Go ahead and pitch me.” When you get this answer, send a press release.

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit