How to Get the Right Event Attendees

Getting the right event attendees makes an event a success

Getting the right event attendees makes an event a successYou’re planning your next event or meeting – maybe it’s a new one or you’re trying to improve  attendance from your last one – and the question arises who are the right event attendees for it and how to you get them there?  When organizing an event or meeting, you don’t want just anyone to show up.  It’s about getting the right event attendees to show up.  No matter how much time, effort and resources you put into doing an event, it will be difficult to find success if the right crowd is not in attendance.

Whether it’s a huge multi-day conference or a small intimate meeting, getting the right event attendees is the first key to hosting a successful event.  But who are the right event attendees to invite and how do you get them to come?  Who makes up the right crowd of people?

Getting the right event attendees requires successful event marketing including social media, content marketing, and ads are important to attracting the right event attendees.  Often, however, the one area not given enough attention is conducting an effective event email marketing campaign.  Many event professionals are clueless on how to run one that brings in the right event attendees.  What starts out as well-intentioned communications turns into a SPAM fest, unopened emails, unsubscribers, and lost potential attendees.

How do you turn this situation around?  One way is better segmenting of your event marketing lists and using them to target the right event attendees you want to come.  Here is how to get the right event attendees to your next event or meeting by effective segmenting of your event email marketing lists.

Getting the Right Event Attendees:   Determining Who They Are

To determine who they are, ask yourself a couple of questions:  what do I want to accomplish with this event?  What are the business goal and strategy which this event is meant to support?  Your answers will help you define the right event attendees.  Also it will give you a clear direction to head to that will help you to make better decisions while planning and implementing your event.

Next, you want to make sure that the people you’re inviting to your events are at least the right audience.  This might seem easy but figuring out what types of people you want at your event is a step not to be taken lightly.  There should be strategic thought given to who you want to reach.  It is up to you to determine who the right event attendees for you.

First off, the right event attendees consist of the people who will be most receptive to your event or meeting’s purpose and message.  It also includes people who are invested and loyal to your company or organization as well as influential prospective customers, donors, sponsors, or business partners.  Having the right event attendees not only fosters deeper engagements, it also turns them into devoted advocates for your company or organization.

Once you are aware of your business goal and what strategy your event will support, it is time to define the right event attendee profile you are going to target.  The best way to do this is by searching your event email marketing lists for the potential attendees that will deliver your goal.  Organize through segmentation, the data there and use it to target, or focus on, the type of people you want to invite and eventually come to your event.

Getting the Right Event Attendees:  Why Segment Your Lists

If you are experienced in email marketing, you are probably familiar with the terms segmentation or segmenting.  The term simply means dividing people into groups based on information like interests, demographics, geography, passed behavior, preferences, and other psychological attributes.  When dividing your list into groups, make sure you spend time on data quality to ensure that the lists can be reused in the future.

The idea is to try and understand what your most valuable attendees or potential attendees have in common and how they differ from the rest of the people in your event’s universe.  That way you can be more targeted (focused) in your event email marketing efforts and appeal to your high value attendees.

When used for events, segmenting your email marketing lists is vital to getting the right event attendees registered.  When done properly, you can significantly increase the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns and the eventual success of your event.

Often emails are not one size fits all but must be tailored (segmented) to appeal to the right event attendees.  This is especially critical when developing the right message for a particular list segment.   One email might appeal to some people on your list while others need something completely different.  The people who aren’t interested in your emails might delete them or, worse for you, unsubscribe if they find that your messages aren’t relevant to them.

A study by the email marketing service, Constant Contact shows that 56% of people who unsubscribed from a business or non-profit list did so because the content wasn’t relevant.  Segmenting your event email marketing list to target the right group of people with the right relevant message or content can help you avoid this problem and increase your event success.

Getting the Right Event Attendees:  Prospects and Previous Attendees

There are so many different ways to potentially segment your email marketing list to get the right event attendees.  From an event marketing perspective, the simplest way to divide your list is into people who have never attended your event  (prospective attendees) and those who have attended in the past (previous attendees).  Then create the right message and provide the right information for people in each list to ensure getting the right event attendees.

Marketing to Prospective Attendees.  If someone has never attended one of your events before or knows very little about your company or organization’s mission, then your marketing approach needs to be different.  When it comes to converting prospects, your focus needs to be on building trust and credibility.  Concentrate on creating a value proposition for them to attend your event, moving from showing value to eventual registration.  Starting off with a hard core sales pitch sets you up for failure and perhaps losing a prospective attendee.

Marketing to Previous Attendees. One of the greatest ways to jump start your event registration is by targeting your list of previous attendees.  Most likely, the right event attendees are those who have attended your event before.  Provide your previous event attendees special attention with your best deals you can offer.   This doesn’t have to be a huge ticket discount; is there a value-add or additional premiums you can offer them.  When you go the extra mile for previous attendees, it pays with early registrations for your event.  It also gets them back in the future too.

Getting the Right Event Attendees:  Taking a Deeper Dive with Your Lists

But you can divide your list down even further.  Here are 5 common ways to potentially segment your email marketing list more and help you get the right event attendees.  You might want to use them to improve your event marketing and promotional efforts.

  • Geography
  • Demographics
  • Type of Company or Job
  • Behavior
  • Psychographics

Geography.  One of the simplest places to start in further segmenting your email marketing list is based on geography.  For example, if you find that your previous event attendees have come primarily from a certain location or locations, you may consider segmenting your list to focus on these particular geographic areas.  See whether spreading your event marketing budget and efforts across a broader geographic area is the best thing to do or whether targeting specific geographic locations is more successful in getting your right event attendees to come.  Evaluate activity throughout your registration process and see the results.  This should lead to a much better outcome for getting the right event attendees as well as marketing ROI for your events.

Demographics.  This is perhaps the most familiar ways to segment your event marketing list. It is a way of looking at your potential event attendees based on common attributes such as age, gender, income, marital status.  Combining several demographic attributes, you can create a much targeted event attendee breakdown, which becomes a target persona.   Build your segments off your previous event’s information so you know who is actually registering and not just who you think might be registering.  Once your event is done, you can review your attendee report and look for trends.  What you find, can be used to build other target personas for future events.

Type of Company and Job. Another good way to further segment your event email marketing list is by grouping your potential attendees based on the type of company they work for.  Often this is based on what industry they work in, such as retail, non-profit, automotive, software technology and others. Or segment them on company size, revenues or location.

Within the company segmentation, you also can further segment based on the job or position held by the targeted event attendee such as sale, marketing, human resources, IT.  Combining two attributes such as position and job gives you yet another way to segment your list to get the right event attendees.

Behavior.  Potentially the most powerful way to segment your event marketing list is based on behavior of your event attendees.  While this may be tricky to determine for first time attendees, it can be done for previous attendees.

One example is to segment them based on behavior when registering for your event.  Segment your list of previous attendees by how and when they registered for your event.  Group the “early bird” registrants into a segment; do the same for those who register late or at the door.  Another group could be your long time attendees.  Create a more effective marketing effort to reach each group based on their past behavior.

Personalize the email invitation message based on this behavior to get them in the door.  Maybe you can even get those who register late or at the door to become “early bird” registrants.  Also, your long time attendees deserve special attention and a more personal approach.  Show how you value them when communicating with them in an email invitation that is specifically for them.

Psychographics. Psychographics is the subjective information about what motivates and interests your potential even attendees.  It’s a look at internal motivations such as values, attitudes, personality rather than external attributes you find in demographic information.

To develop such data, survey your event attendees before your event to gather revealing psychographics about their values, lifestyle, attitudes, or whatever subjective information is important for you so you can target the right event attendees.  Analyzing survey results helps you develop the target personas for your event so you can create highly focused and effective event communications for each segment.  Psychographics information can help you hone in on what makes them tick – and click.

Developing tailored psychographics profiles also can help you refine the right message for the right group of people.  Understanding what type of message will appeal to people in a group divided by psychographics information can make your event marketing campaign more successful and get you the right event attendees.

Getting the Right Event Attendees:  Benefits of List Segmentation

Segmenting your list means you will have to invest some time and money sorting to get your right event attendees.  But it also means you will have more success with your event email marketing campaign.  So what are the benefits of all this work?  Here are at least 3 benefits.

Better Open and Click-Through Rates.  There has got to be nothing worse for an event marketer than putting together an email marketing campaign, send the emails out,  and….nothing or next to nothing with responses.  Ouch!  That hurts a lot.

To get people to attend your event, you need to get people to open you emails and click.  To increase the chances of this happening, you need to create a tailored, relevant email with interesting content which motivates them to take the action you want – register for your event.

To ensure a high open and click-through rate, have an appealing subject line that makes a person want to open the email.  Once opened, the message in your email needs to be engaging and persuasive so the person takes action and registers for your event.  If you are seeing low open and click-through rates, try testing different subject line text or messages to see which gets better results for you.

Fewer Unsubscribes. Not everybody is going to be interested in your event emails so unsubscribes will happen.  However, if you’re seeing a high number of people unsubscribing to your event emails, then you have a problem needing attention.  An increase in unsubscribes is like adding insult to injury.

Before pushing the panic button, assess your email messages.  Perhaps the person unsubscribing might have been interested in your event but the email didn’t seem relevant to him.  This happens frequently when using generic mass emailing rather than segmenting your email list and customizing your content for a target group.

Next time, segment.   It is likely you will see fewer unsubscribes and a higher positive response rate for your emails.

List Fatigue.  Wearing out your welcome in the inbox is tough.  There is a fine line between creating your event buzz and providing the necessary event information and being just a bit too annoying to people.  So much so, they delete your emails or, worse yet, unsubscribe from your list completely.

A person has to care about what you are sending him and see the relevance in the message you’re sending.  Again, mass generic mailings increase the possibility of a negative outcome for you.  A targeted approach using segmented list with customized messages is more effective.

Strategically send you emails to your smaller, segmented event email marketing list, staggered over time throughout your event planning.  This allows you to get you message and information out without being an unwanted presence in a person’s inbox.

Getting the Right Event Attendees:  Conclusion

It may seem a lot of tedious work but the more customized the event emails sent to smaller groups that share a common characteristic, the greater the chance of success for your event marketing efforts.  More segments and personalization creates more responses.  This increases the chances of a larger turnout for your event.  More than what you might get using generic emails sent to a large group of untargeted invitees.  If you want the right event attendees, it’s worth the extra effort.

 Getting the Right Online Event Registration Software:  rsvpBOOK

Using event technology to make your event planning and management easier and run more smoothly is really a no-brainer.  Finding the right event technology to help you is another story.  At rsvpBOOK we believe we are the right online event registration and management software to make complex tasks like event email list segmentation easier.

We can provide you smart, simple online event registration and event management software to save time, save money and allow you to work more efficiently to get things done right and on time in this era of increasing high expectations.  And, the versatility of rsvpBOOK event management software meets your needs no matter the event type or size, from professional training meetings and workshops to large conferences.

rsvpBook has you covered so your event can manage itself and you have less event stress.   Smart. Simple.  Efficiently.

Try us at www.rsvpBOOK.com.  We make the complex, easier.

 

 

Manual Event Registration: 9 Scary Ways it’s Costing You

Manual event registration is costly and stressful. Time to switch to an online system

Manual event registration is costly and stressful. Time to switch to an online systemTime. Money. People. Labor. Do you want to waste these precious resources?  We didn’t think so.  Then why is it that manual event registration methods still survive in planning and executing events?

In many situations the person or persons making the decision about whether or not to use online event registration software is not going to be involved in the daily planning and running of the event.  Often the things these decision makers care about most – like cost – are not always the same as the things that can keep an event professional up at night – like please make it easier and quicker for me!  With such a disconnection, how do you make the case to ditch manual event registration and upgrade to online event registration software?

When you, as an event professional, are choosing online registration software, you already know about the biggest advantages this type of software offers.  Among the many benefits, you can automatically collect attendee information in a fraction of the time manual event registration requires and without the huge labor expense.  Also switching from manual event registration to online registration reduces the stress load on the people running the event – you.

If you need to convince someone to give you the ok for online event registration software, then you need to show the costs of the traditional manual event registration and the benefits of going to online event registration software.  So we prepared 9 scary ways using manual registration is costing you as well as the benefits to using an online system.

Objections!  Why Are You Staying with Manual Event Registration?

The most common objections to moving from manual event registration to an online system include:

  • It’s not in the budget
  • Our old system is working (or worked) fine
  • We aren’t ready for online event registration

Do any of these objections sound familiar in your office discussions?  Do you really want to keep old manual event registration practices or do you want to move forward?  OK, I get it.  As event professionals we are always short on time and money and sometimes we rely on tried and true practices because it seems like the quickest or easiest thing to do. Or maybe “we’ve always done it that way” feels comfortable and taking the leap to do things differently fills you, your boss or clients with dread.

But it’s really time to stop and reconsider.  It’s time to come into the twenty-first century and lose some of those costly, very labor intensive, extra work generating event planning practices.  Break those old event registration habits, or at least the worse ones, and push your boundaries.

When you do, you will realize that if you update your tools and choose the best modern practices to support your organization, it can lead to much better event and meeting success outcomes – with more hours in the day for you to focus on creating a better attendee experience.   To work smarter and not harder and provide your attendees the best event experience, it’s time to change.

9 Scary Ways Manual Event Registration is Costing You vs the Benefits of Going Online

People typically make objections to switching from manual event registration when they don’t know how online event registration works and how it will help them.  What you need to make your case are some effective arguments showing the costs – in terms of time, money, labor, inefficiencies – of staying with a manual process vs. the benefits of replacing it with an online process.  Here are some great ones for you to use.

Quick and Easy Registration Experience for Attendees

With manual event registration, potential attendees need to download a paper form, fill it out and either fax or mail it back to you.   All event registration takes time to a point but this old traditional way is far more time consuming for attendees.

Manual event registration also has potential for lost registrations, data and payment security issues and delays in registering attendees.  Another problem – when you’re closed, so is your event registration process.  Not good – you may miss out on getting those potential attendees.

Online event registration is fast and seamless experience for attendees linking them to a form from your event website which they can complete and return with a click of a button.  The registration information is submitted to your database within minutes.  No need to deal with faxing and mailing.  No delays with receiving information; no data or payment security issues.

Also, online event registration is always open so attendees can register any time whether your office is open or closed.  This is especially important when dealing with people from different time zones.

Registration Forms with Built in Logic

People make mistakes.  This happens of course when completing registration forms for events.  When using manual event registration methods, such as faxes and mail-ins, catching and correcting these mistakes gets difficult and costly in terms of time and a person’s labor.  It also can create confusion down the line at the event itself if not caught and corrected in time or at all.

Online event registration forms can prevent people from making mistakes or invalid or conflicting selections.  This results in more accurate and complete data.  For example, if someone leaves an important mandatory field blank and tries to submit the form, the built in logic of the form can create a message asking the person to fill that section in before continuing.

Similarly, if a potential attendee must choose between one option and another, the form can eliminate the possibility of the person choosing both options.  This is not possible with fax or mail-in registrations.

Elimination of Manual Data Entry for You

Manual event registration requires you and your team to manually enter all the data from paper forms faxed or mailed in, into a computer, or worse, create some paper filing system.  The potential for data entry errors is significant and the time and labor it takes to manually organize the data can be excessive.

With online event registration, potential attendees enter their information into an online form.  It is automatically organized and stored in an online database that you can immediately access, anywhere at any time.  There is no opportunity for someone else along the line to misread the data or enter it incorrectly.

More Manageable Information, Better Data Integrity

A common challenge in event planning is maintaining your data so that what you need is stored in one place, not on several different computers, in filing cabinets or on various desks throughout your office.  This is often the untidy situation with manual event registration which can create a real potential for inconsistencies, errors, and headaches for both you and your attendees.

Online event registration holds all information in one central database.  Any changes or updates are done automatically.  Everyone sees the same information.   Information is consistent and up-to-date at all times.  Also, you can access and sort the information online or automatically download it to your spreadsheet, making it easy to create mailing lists, name badges, or whatever you need to do.

Automatic Event Confirmation

When using manual event registration, the average turn-a-round time from the day a paper registration form is received until the attendee gets a confirmation can take a few days.  With fax and mail-in registration, confirmation is delayed as your team manually processes the registration, checks availability, and then manually creates a confirmation email or letter.  This is a highly inefficient and costly use of your precious time and event personnel.

Once a person submits their information through the online event registration form, the system automatically generates a confirmation email that is sent out to the potential attendee confirming their registration.  This email can also contain other information you may want them to know once they have registered.

Secure, Real Time Payment

Ensuring safe, secure payment is yet another reason to ditch manual event registration processes.  When using manual event registration, you can often be waiting for the check to come in the mail or for a credit card transaction to be approved – or declined.  In the meantime, you may have to put other potential attendees on a wait list until you know for sure that payment is coming and secured.

Using online event registration, you use real time, secure online credit card processing.  Within a few seconds you know if the transaction has been approved and you have the security of know you have the fees.  Online credit card processing also allows people registering for your event to process their own transactions.  This eliminates the need for you to individually process each transaction and from having to track people down when cards are declined because the number is incorrect or funds are not available.

Managing Event Capacity

Often you want to limit the number of attendees to an event or meeting.  With the old manual event registration method there is no easy or fast way to monitor the attendance numbers.  Faxes might still be coming in when you reached your event limit and then you have to contact potential attendees to let them know that you couldn’t process their registrations because the event was full.  Awkward!

Online event registration helps you set the limits so that it limits the number of registrants to a particular event, workshop, or sessions.  Once the limit has been reached the form will not allow any more registrations and it will notify potential attendees that the registration limit has been reached.

Real Time Reports- Tracking Attendees and Revenues

One of the big complaints we as event professionals experience is that we often don’t know how many attendees are showing up to our event until the very last days of the registration period.  This can be hugely frustrating as we try to finalize numbers for our venues, our food and beverage vendors, and any last minute materials we are preparing.  Using manual event registration methods only makes this situation more agonizing.  The workload is already heavy leading up to your event, who needs to make it worse?

Using real time reports in online event registration system offers you the ability to watch your registration data flow into the database in real time so you can get a more accurate count of expected attendees and what you will need for your event.

Interested in tracking your revenues?  No kidding!  With real time online reporting you always know how much revenue has been collected, if any credit cards were decline and which potential attendees still need to mail their checks.  Manual event registration can’t quickly supply this type of important information which can create embarrassing registration situations for your or you client.

Lower Materials Costs; Lower Labor Costs

In the traditional manual event registration, a lot of time and money is spent on creating and printing hard copy materials – from registration forms to slick event brochures and information packages.  While all this might be nice and attractive, it is also hugely expensive when it comes to printing and mailing and the labor involved in getting it all done.  Does your budget allow this?  Not many do these days when event budgets are usually pretty tight.

Online event registration allows you to eliminate or greatly reduce paper materials.  You can present your event form and entire event information package online.  If you want, you can print a smaller, less detailed brochure that will direct potential attendees to your website for all the information they need, including how to register online.

Labor costs are much lower when using online registration than when using manual event registration methods.  Less phone calls, faxes, data entry, copying, and mailing.

Ditch Manual Event Registration – Go Online with rsvpBOOK

No time to spin your wheels with manual event registration?  We didn’t think so.   The tools in the rsvpBOOK online event registration and management software are made to make your life easier.  We’re here to save time and money so you can work smart and be successful, no matter the type or size of your event or meeting.  We make the complex tasks of event planning and management, easier.

rsvpBOOK helps you streamline your event processes, from beginning to end, from website details, to on-site resources, and final real time attendee and revenue reports.  No need to duplicate information, manually process, and drag huge binders of forms with you everywhere.  Let’s reduce the paperwork!  Use your time to take care of more demanding matters – creating an outstanding attendee experience at your event.

And if these reasons aren’t enough, rsvpBOOK was named a Top 20 Most Affordable Event Management Software by Capterra, the business software review website as well as a Top 5 position in Reviewers’ Choice by Software Advice, online technology review firm.

rsvpBOOK.   It’s smart, simple, saves you time and money.  Try rsvpBOOK at www.rsvpBOOK.com.  Start your free trial today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Event Speakers: 7 Great Ways to Choose the Right Ones

Choosing the right event speakers is critical for your event success

Choosing the right event speakers is critical for your event successWhether you are a newbie or experienced event professional, the day comes when you are put in charge of choosing the speakers for your event.  Selecting the right event speaker or speakers can be the difference between great or not so great attendee experiences.  It also can be the difference between receiving “high fives” or “thumbs down” feedback from them, your colleagues, and boss.  Uh-oh…

I know the feeling as I have had my share of out-of-the-park home runs with event speakers as well as the where-can-I- hide-from-the-angry-mob disasters.  Needless to say, I want, and you want, the home runs.

When planning a conference or event, one of the key elements to its overall success is having the right event speakers.  This include sessions, guest, and keynote speakers.  They help set the tone of the event and make it memorable for your audience.  They also can be great advocates of your company or organization’s mission or vision and help you deliver that message to your audience.

So what makes a good speaker and how do you select the right one – or ones – for your event.  Your event speakers will command the most attention so give this task the careful deliberation it deserves. Here are 7 questions for you to consider when selecting your event speakers.

What Makes the Good Event Speaker?

Approach event speaker selection as a positive opportunity rather than yet another dreary task to tick off your to-do list.  Selecting a good speaker can bring your entire event into sharper focus and engage your audience.

So in general, what makes a good event speaker?  A good event speaker needs to be capable of entertaining an audience, engaging them and inspiring them to take action when they leave the room.  The right event speaker for you, however, also depends on your specific vision for the event and what you want to achieve.

First, what makes a good event speaker?  A good event speaker needs to be able to do at least some of the following:

  • Attract attendees
  • Engage an audience
  • Reinforce key event themes
  • Entertain an audience
  • Educate an audience
  • Inspire audiences
  • Provide fresh insight and perspective on event-related topics

With these general criteria for a good event speaker in mind, you can move on to other important considerations for choosing the right speaker that are specific to your event.

Questions for Choosing the Right Event Speakers

What is the Purpose of Your Event?

Sometimes as event professionals we are in a rush to produce an event and don’t think deeply enough about questions around “what” and “why” an event is being planned.  This can create real problems when trying to get the right event speakers.  Ask yourself “Why are these attendees coming together?  What are our objectives?  What do we want these people to take away from the event?”

Get clear about your event’s themes and objectives to help you narrow down your event speaker search.  By the time you have reached the point of searching for your event speakers, you should already have a clear idea of the main themes of your event, the topics and the overall goals of the event for your company or organization.  The speakers you select should align closely with all of these.

What is the Purpose of Your Event Speakers?

Consider the purpose of your speakers and what you expect them to bring to your event.  Are they expected to motivate and educate your attendees or simply to entertain?  Identifying the reason you’re seeking each speaker will be a powerful tool in identifying who is the right fit for your event and who you should skip.

Evaluate and select them based on their experience speaking at similar events if you are choosing them to motivate or educate attendees.  If they are there to entertain, be sure that their performance style is suitable for your business or event.

What is Your Audience Demographic?

When choosing your event speakers, be sure to match them to your audience.  Will you audience be filled with engineers and technicians, business executives and sales types, or will they be mostly creatives and artsy types?  The secret to choosing the right event speakers is to ensure they match your audience general demographic and are relevant.

There’s no point in picking your favorite thought leader, comedian, author or life coach to deliver your event speeches if they aren’t likely to appeal to the attendees.  Ask yourself why are your attendees coming?  What are they looking for?  Are they interested in something light-hearted and amusing or do they want serious advice and clear calls to action?

Know your audience and understand what they – and you – expect from your event speakers.  Finding the right event speaker for your audience is essential so do your research into their needs and expectations.

What Level of Knowledge Do You Want?

You have to decide how important it is that your event speakers have industry knowledge.  If you want an expert in a field that is relevant to your event, its key themes and your audience, then this will narrow the field a lot.

An industry or business thought leader adds value by being highly relevant to attendees.  They are able to provide insight into state of the industry or business, emerging trends.  They can share and exchange data and information and offer calls to action that have a positive impact on attendees.  Choosing these kinds of speakers are important for educational sessions where attendees are at the event to learn.

Another alternative is to opt for event speakers that have limited or no industry or knowledge of your business field but will fulfill another purpose.  This could be a motivational speaker, celebrity, or author who has the ability to engage and inspire you audience.

Regardless of the type of event speakers you decide on, you are looking for their ability to connect with the audience.

How Diverse are Your Event Speakers?

When discussing diversity here, it means diverse opinions, different angles, more meaningful debate and an overall progression of ideas.  By choosing event speakers from different backgrounds you can create a more engaging and enriching experience for the audience.

There also is no excuse for a lack of diversity when it comes to speaker line-ups at events.  You should make an effort in choosing event speakers to look beyond all-male and all-white line-ups.  Chances are your audience is pretty diverse.

What is Your Budget?

When planning an event, speaker decisions often come down to staying on budget.  This means knowing exactly what your budget is for your event speakers.  It would be nice to pick the best and brightest keynote, session speakers or guest event speakers from around the world, but as we all know, event budgets don’t often stretch this far.

And yes, you do need a budget for event speakers.  The days of freebies and speakers talking in exchange for exposure are over, especially if you want professional speakers.  It takes time, efforts and experience to deliver a good presentation and these needs to be paid for.

The best event speakers will want to learn more about their future audience, what challenges they may be facing and will change their presentation to address those issues.  This means extra time adjusting and further tailoring their message and story.  Extra time means extra money so keep this preparation work in mind when creating your speaker budget.

If you know how much you can afford then this will narrow down the list of potential event speakers.  When you enter into discussions, it’s important to be clear on exactly what you are paying for and when it will be paid.  Some event speakers will expect travel and accommodations to be provided on top of their fee.

Knowing all expenses in advance will help avoid any confusion down the line and ensure that you are only choosing event speakers whose cost is within your budget.

Final Thoughts on Choosing the Right Event Speaker

When we were growing up in school, we were seated in a room – classroom style – with a speaker – the teacher or professor – talking at us from the front.  We were expected to listen passively and only ask questions when given permission.  Wow!  Not fun and, if my experience is any example, very boring and uninspiring most of the time.

Whereas this style of speaker presentations is still very dominant in workshops and conferences, and sometimes very necessary for presenting the event topics, as adults and event attendees we expect and want more from event speakers.  This requirement is even demanded more by attendees who are paying money, sometimes big bucks, to hear a speaker.

Now, attendees want more participation and more interaction with event speakers.  They require different stimuli from speeches and presentations and sitting in a chair passively listening is not acceptable anymore.  Participation and interaction between them and event speakers, and among them and other attendees is now essential for a positive attendee experience with event speakers.

Remember this when choosing event speakers.  Make sure they are willing and able to comfortably and professionally interact with the audience.  This includes sticking around later and answering questions and not rushing off to another engagement, meeting or lunch.  It should be part of their obligation as much as it is part of your obligation to provide a positive attendee experience.

Conclusion on Choosing the Right Event Speaker

Finding the right speaker is not necessarily difficult but it does take time and a fair amount of consideration and early planning.    Choosing right can easily elevate your next event from the merely satisfactory to the huge success for which you had planned.

Now Choosing the Right Online Event Registration Software:  rsvpBOOK

Using event technology to make your event planning and management easier and run more smoothly is really a no-brainer.  But like finding the right event speaker, finding the right event technology to help you is another story.  At rsvpBOOK we believe we are the right online event registration and management software for your events.  We make the complex easier.

We can provide you smart, simple online event registration and event management software to save time, save money and allow you to work more efficiently to get things done right and on time in this era of increasing high expectations and event stress.  And, the versatility of rsvpBOOK event management software meets your needs no matter the event type or size, from professional training meetings and workshops to large conferences.

Our powerful software brings together all the online registration and event management, marketing, email automation, social media tools, onsite check-in, evaluation and attendee feedback reports, database integration, online payment processing tools you need into a single place. We help you streamline your event processes from beginning to end.  And if you need us?  We’re here for you via phone, email, or online chat.

rsvpBook has you covered so your event can manage itself and you can focus on getting the right event speakers.   Smart. Simple.  Efficiently.

 

Try us at www.rsvpBOOK.com.  We make the complex easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Steps to Reducing Event Stress

7 Steps to Reduce Event Stress

Reducing stress is important for event professionals

Just breeeeathe….If only it was so easy to do when you’re in the middle of the event planning crunch. Event stress is like the proverbial monkey on an event professional’s  back –  hard to shake it off but so necessary to get things done for your event or meeting.  By now you have heard that event planners have one of the top 10 most stressful jobs (landing at #5) according to CareerCast.com  study “The Most Stressful Jobs of 2017” (http://bit.ly/2oFXvED ).

If you are an experienced event professional, as I have been, this is not surprising – you have experienced – or are experiencing event stress first hand.  Getting a grip on and reducing event stress as best you can is critical not only for hosting a successful event or meeting; it is essential for keeping you cool, collected and stress free (ultimate goal!) throughout your event planning and management process.

Doing an event takes a lot of careful planning, coordination, and management of time and resources – money and people in particular. But in talking with other event professionals, there are some tricks to manage event stress and even ways to reduce or avoid it completely.  Let’s check out 7 steps to reducing event stress that go beyond taking those deep breaths.

  • Making Time and Being Prepared
  • Making Back up Plans
  • Learning to Love Your Checklists
  • Working with a Strategy in Mind
  • Working Collaboratively with Your Team and Delegating
  • Taking Care of Yourself
  • Using Event Technology to Help You Plan and Manage

Make Time and Be Prepared to Reduce Event Stress

Stress often comes from not being ready for something and event stress is no different.  It creates feelings of panic, loss of control and being overwhelmed.  To prevent event stress, think of the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared.”  When you are prepared and something unexpected occurs, the situation is handled more effectively because you are prepared for the possibility of an unexpected event.

How do you prepare?  Start planning early.  Sounds like good common sense but it’s surprising how some event professionals will see a long lead (a rarity in itself) time as an opportunity to put things on the back burner.  Even if your event target date seems far away, do not delay and wait until it is closer to that time.  Time has a way of passing quickly and life gets busy so plan as soon as possible.

If your time has passed too fast or work life took a turn to chaotic and busy, consider pushing your target date back an extra week or two to give yourself more time to prepare.  Devoting extra time at the early planning stage helps you review all the event’s necessary parts in ways you might not do if you are more pressed for time.  It also reduces event stress.  Remember this is the time to think about your event as a whole writing down ideas for venue, theme, program, speakers, menu, entertainment, and invitation style.  Think big picture and start your planning!

Back up Plans Reduce Event Stress

And part of “being prepared” is having a backup plan.  Things can, and often do, go wrong or at least not as you envisioned.  Speakers can drop out, people change their minds, venues don’t work out, and marketing strategies aren’t delivering.   Always ensure you have a backup option for everything and not relying on just one.  Talk about event stress when your first option falls through. It’s best to prepare yourself for the worst possible outcomes and this will reduce your event stress as you’ll know you can overcome everything with ease.

Having backup plans and preparation also applies to the actual event.  No matter what you do, there will always be unexpected things that happen, no matter how planned or organized you are.  You just have to work under pressure and that’s why having you and your team ready and able to deal with the unexpected on site is important.

Although having a backup plan will help avoid major fallbacks and reduce a lot of event stress, it’s not always possible to have a backup plan for everything, especially on site.  An experienced event professional – you – will keep calm and carry on, infusing a sense of tranquility to those around you.  At times as an event professional, you need to accept and embrace failures when they occur.  You need to understand the impact of a failure and what to do to avoid it in the future.

Learning to Love Your Checklists Reduces Event Stress

There are a lot of different components that make up an event – are you planning on keeping track of all of them in your head?  Not a good idea, especially if you want to keep your event stress low.  You could cause a decision making bottleneck because your team and vendors are looking at you for decisions. Juggling all the different parts can be challenging.  Visualizing all of them on a checklist (and not numerous Post-Its around your office or car) can be incredibly helpful.

Think of all the tasks you need to do before, during, and after the event and create an event checklist to keep you organized, on schedule and to make sure you haven’t missed anything.  Write down everything that needs to be done for your event and when it needs to be done and by whom.  This may include setting a budget, sending out invitations, selecting speakers, ordering food and beverage, and hiring vendors.

Don’t be too vague about describing the tasks you need to do.  Breaking down your event into small individual tasks is one of the most effective practices in reducing event stress.  Seeing the smaller steps helps you remember all the parts better and not worry you are going to miss doing something.  Also, there is something very therapeutic to crossing tasks off the list as they get completed.  Humor yourself even if the list is very long.

Looking for help to make that checklist?  Sometimes emptying your head of what needs to be done is not as easy you think.  If so, try a couple of online tools such as Evernote, a powerful cross-platform tool that helps you “dump” what is inside your brain.  Another option is Basecamp, a web-based project management tool as well Asana a web and mobile application designed to help teams track their work.

Reduce Event Stress by Working through Tasks with a Strategy

A lot of people cringe at the word “strategy.”  Sounds hard to do and above my pay grade.  It’s not and it shouldn’t be.  It’s part of organizing your planning, forcing you to stop and think things through clearly before you take action.  If you think about it, doing events without an approach or strategy results in poor performance and only makes additional event stress for you.  So slow down a minute and think before acting.

One way to lay things out strategically is by creating an action plan with realistic timelines and goals.  This step really should be done before developing your event task checklist.  Without setting up your action plan and event goals and timeline, it’s difficult to breakdown specific tasks necessary to move your action forward and achieve your event goals.  Having the plan, timeline and your event checklist helps you stay focused and see the purpose of your event for your company or organization.  Add this as another event stress buster!

Foster Team Collaboration to Reduce Event Stress

Unless you are some Super Event Professional wearing a red cape with nerves of steel and moving faster than a speeding bullet (well I think we all do the latter a lot), you are usually working with a team of people to do an event.  Working in a team and delegating tasks does help reduce event stress because it shares the event planning and management load.  However, working collaboratively as a team without some sort of conflict can create a double-edged sword for you.   You want the help but not the drama of conflict in a team.  Articles on building team collaboration are numerous but one of particular interest is the 2007 Harvard Business Review study called Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams.  And, as with most everything these days, there’s an app for that…see the Scoro blog 40 Top Team Collaboration Tools You Need Right Now.

Once your event checklist is complete, delegate event tasks to relevant persons on your team.  Stop believing you’re the only one who can do the job right and need to do everything or your event stress will skyrocket.  Sacrifice some time in the beginning to save time in the long run by teaching team members that you trust how to do the things you need done.  Then embrace their autonomy to get the job done without you micromanaging their efforts.

Reduce Event Stress by Taking Care of Yourself

After a while, organizing an event can send you a bit stir-crazy and blunt your sense of reality so it is smart to take regular breaks and switch off.  As a hard-charging event professional, you may ignore the signs and move forward but you do at risking your health and well-being.  Stop!  Breathe!  Unplug!  Even if you do this for a small amount of time, it refreshes and recharges you physically and mentally.  You may have ways that help you switch off during stressful times so use them now.  Going for a run or walk, exercise (my personal event stress buster), yoga, meditation, listening to music (yay!), seeing friends are just some suggestions for de-stressing.  Whatever works to help you unwind and relax.

Some things you also need to avoid in order to decrease your event stress level.  These include avoiding stimulants such as coffee (bye, bye Starbucks runs!) and alcohol.   It’s only temporary so you will survive.

Probably the most important things to help you de-stress, and people take for granted or ignore, is getting enough sleep and eating healthy.  Both activities seem to go out the window quickly for event planners, especially at the peak of event planning.  Sleeping and eating healthy aren’t just for well-being and beauty, but are important to helping you stay energized, ready to work productively, and reduce event stress.

The better you take care of yourself, the fewer tendencies you will have to over react to everything.  Event professionals tend to be prone to offering hospitality to others and ignore their own needs.  Don’t fall into that trap.  Here’s where just breathing is important.

Using Event Technology Helps Reduce Event Stress

Use event technology where it provides usefulness and cuts down on tedious work.  In this day and age of tight budgets, fast-paced planning, and short timelines, this is critical to keep your event stress under control.  You know it’s true.  We discussed earlier the online technology for helping you create your event checklists – what else should be on your event technology list?  Other obvious technologies include using safe and reliable online event registration and management software and get rid of the old fashion way of registering by fax or phone which is slow and stressful.  Event registration and management software is a case of using technology wisely, saving time, and reducing event stress.  Think about automating emails and social media posts, a feature which should be part of event management software.

Another example is to use social media accounts like Twitter for getting the word out and marketing your event  – before, during, after -as well as creating a community for your event attendees.  Sound like just one more task to do?  Maybe, but it is amazing in how it can help reduce your stress of “how can I reach more people?”  It’s also a wonderful way to engage your attendees and create a fun event.

Our Conclusions on Event Stress

As event professionals, we all experience some level of stress as we plan and manage our work life.  We need to deliver great attendee experiences, make our bosses or clients happy but also need to preserve ourselves and stay physically and mentally healthy.  Our stress deeply affects the way we perform.  Our team, our colleagues, our attendees notice it.  Using some, maybe all of these steps discussed can help keep your event stress in check, keep you healthy, and hopefully sane.  Try them and happy event planning!

Online Event Registration Software:  rsvpBOOK Reduces Your Event Stress

Using event technology to make your event planning and management easier and run more smoothly is really a no-brainer.  Finding the right event technology to help you is another story.  At rsvpBOOK we believe we are the right online event registration and management software to reduce your event stress.  We believe we make the complex easier.

We can provide you smart, simple online event registration and event management software to save time, save money and allow you to work more efficiently to get things done right and on time in this era of increasing high expectations and event stress.  And, the versatility of rsvpBOOK event management software meets your needs no matter the event type or size, from professional training meetings and workshops to large conferences.

Our powerful software brings together all the online registration and event management, marketing, email automation, social media tools, onsite check-in, evaluation and attendee feedback reports, database integration, online payment processing tools you need into a single place. We help you streamline your event processes from beginning to end.  And if you need us?  We’re here for you via phone, email, or online chat.

 

rsvpBook has you covered so your event can manage itself and you have less event stress.   Smart. Simple.  Efficiently.

 

Try us at www.rsvpBOOK.com.  We make the complex, easier.

 

 

5 Simple Ways to Keep Your Event Data Safe

Keeping Event Data Secure is critical

Keeping Event Data Secure is critical

In a recent article by the Event Manager Blog, the post discussed the Coachella music festival website data breach earlier this year which led to hundreds of thousands of people’s personal information ending up in the wrong hands.  (http://bit.ly/2nHgnpE )  Such an event data breach is certainly an event professional’s worst nightmare.  Although you can’t always prevent very determined cyber hackers from stealing personal and financial information, you can make every effort to make your event data as secure as possible,

From retailers and banks to tech companies and Hollywood movie studios, data has been exposed as crackable, hackable and exploitable. Your event data is just as vulnerable.  With today’s events reaching thousands or even millions of people, event data breaches become more possible.

How can event data hackers access event attendees’ personal information? Opportunities to collect event data are everywhere at events including pre-event emails, registration systems (online and onsite), interactive technologies especially those using unsecured Wi-Fi, mobile apps, insufficient event tech provider security.

… And the list goes on. Event data brings incredible insights and measurement capabilities to event professionals. However, with the industry overflowing in information, we now also have the responsibility of protecting it.

Although such breaches are unlikely to be problems, you still don’t want the fear of an event data breach of your attendees’ personal information to keep you awake at night.   Safeguarding event data is key, but how?

There are basic protection actions, such as using PCI-compliant registration collection platforms and identifying a privacy policy and a communication plan if and when an event data breach does occur and deploying apps that allow for opt-ins, or additional levels of security in areas that are considered more vulnerable.  But in addition to these protections, here are 5 other simple ways to keep your event data safe.

Make Your Event Data Safe by Watching Your Emails

It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s convenient.  It’s also a great way for you to accidentally let attendees’ personal information and event data flow into the wrong hands.  Most of us conduct our event planning and management via emails because of its speed of delivery and efficiency.  We are not suggesting you stop using email for your events – that would be ridiculous.  We are suggesting, however, you think twice about what attendee information and event data – such as lists, invoices, and reports – you are sharing in an email and who you are sharing the information with.

Don’t put anything in an email that you wouldn’t share openly in the least secure manner.  If you don’t need to email it, don’t – try walking over to your colleague’s office or use the phone to call your partners, stakeholders or tech provider with event data.

What about Those Passwords and Your Event Data?

In a world where cybersecurity and identity theft are on everyone’s radar, it is amazing how many event professionals are lax in password protection protocols.  We all understand strong passwords are critical but once in place, very few event professionals set up a schedule to change and update their event system passwords regularly.  To you this screams “hassle!”  To event data thieves this screams “access!”

Password changes are usually done under the direction of the IT person and can range from 90, 180 or once a year.  Best practices for how often vary but it is good to make it happen, especially when there is a change in personnel or when an event data breach, no matter how minor, has occurred.

Are you in the habit of sharing your passwords with colleagues?  Guilty too.   It’s often quick and easy but sharing passwords even with members of your own team can lead to intentional or unintentional breakdowns in security of event data, especially the critical financial information.

Make sure you know who on your event team has access to your event system and event data.  Monitor and possibly restrict access or create multi-level access processes as necessary.  And be sure to cut access immediately to those employees who leave your company or organization as well as former vendors or stakeholders.

Is the thought of managing passwords making you feel stressed?  Remembering your personal passwords is hard enough but now adding those you have at the office can seem overwhelming.   Then try one of many password manager options available to help you out, like LastPass or 1Password that help pick random passwords and synchronize them across many devices.

Moving Event Data Around – Printing and Using USB Devices

Having event data in hard copy print form or moving it around on USB devices greatly increases the chances of it getting lost, stolen or compromised.  It is best not to use such methods.   Cut out the need to print out materials or transfer between systems with a USB device by integrating event data with all the other systems you use for your events so that it is automatically updated in all systems.

This is particularly important while onsite at events.  Don’t leave registration lists or electronic devices like laptops, tablets or smartphones unattended.  Make sure any event data on your screens is not visible to unauthorized users and, of course, do not discuss sensitive information in public areas around strangers where it can be overheard.  Seems like common sense – it is, but under stressful and fast-paced onsite event situations, we can forget to be cautious.

Ensure your team is well trained to protect event data and know the measures they can take to keep it safe from prying eyes and itchy fingers.  Creating and following event data security policies is important and a wise practice for you as an event professional.

What Your Event Tech Provider Has to Do with Event Data Security

Event and meeting professionals often use outside event technology vendors to help with event registration, planning and management.  Because you do, they become an important part of your event data security umbrella.

Make sure your event technology provider’s security policy and practices make protecting your event data a top priority at every step of your event process.  Find out from your provider where your event data is stored and how it is stored – how often it is backed up and when it is deleted.  Learn its plans and practices to protect your event data in case an event data breach does occur.  Ensure that your event data is protected if it is integrated with event apps, event registration and management systems or other event-related systems.  Finally, make sure you know and are happy with the people at your event tech provider who have access to your event data and how they provide authorization and share that information.  How do they deal with an employee who has access to your event data but leaves?

What Do You Do When an Event Data Breach Occurs?

So it happens and you’re devastated.  Who wouldn’t be?  As with any crime, you need to report it to the proper authorities.  And, as scary and uncomfortable as it is, it is important to be transparent and as soon as possible inform your registrants and attendees. The sooner they can take action to protect themselves by changing passwords, the less of a problem you will have on your hands.
To avoid stumbling around and panicking when an event data breach occurs, it is wise to have an existing company or organization policy in place and the right staff trained to take action when an incident occurs.  Preparation can take the edge off such distressing situations and help you and your team focus and respond quickly and efficiently.

Conclusion

It’s impossible to make your event data completely hacker proof, but it is important to take steps to lessen the possibility of it ever happening.  Consider the ways discussed here and others from your team and IT people to make sure your event data is safeguarded.  Also have a plan in place for if or when an event data breach occurs.  You’ll sleep better at night.

And one more thing…please share these tips with others and repost this on your social media channels and emails.  We all want our event data to be safe and secure.

rsvpBOOK – An Event Tech Provider Safeguarding Your Event Data

At rsvpBOOK we realize you have your hands full with planning and managing a successful event.  Worrying about the security of your event data should not be one of those issues you lose sleep over at night.  That is why as your event tech provider we put safeguarding your event data at the top of our list.  How?  Just a few ways include:

  • Using a PCI-DSS compliant collection platform
  • Every transaction is sent using 256 bit SSL secured connections
  • Event-specific login control to minimize unnecessary employee access to data
  • All shareable event reports containing attendee event data can be password protected before sending to third parties

rsvpBOOK provides you a smart, simple online event registration and event management software to save time, save money and allow you to work more efficiently to get things done right and on time.

Our powerful software brings together all the online registration and event management, marketing, onsite check-in, evaluation and attendee feedback reports, online payment processing tools you need into a single place. We help you streamline your event processes from beginning to end.   And, the versatility of rsvpBOOK event management software meets your needs no matter the event type or size, from professional training meetings and workshops to large conferences.

Try us at www.rsvpBOOK.com.  We make the complex, easier.