Category Archives: Business Conference

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Event Websites: How to Make Yours Stand Out

Creating a stand-out event website
Creating a stand-out event website

Creating an event website doesn’t have to be overwhelming but does require creative and strategic marketing thinking

 

So you have just been given the green light to get working on that event which has been waiting in the wings for the past couple of months and you have a “to do” list a mile long of things you need to get done –  Invitations, flyers, e-mails, sponsors, program, speakers, marketing campaigns, social media posts, event website.  Wait!  Event website?  Yes, you knew about the event website part but now are wondering how to create one to be as great as that event you’re planning.  Where to begin?

Creating an event website does not need to be an overwhelming task but does require time, creativity, and strategic thinking to rise above basic functionality.  What a lot of event professionals forget is that your website is the primary point of contact and first impression of attendees to your event.  Before people even arrive at your event, your website is the initial face you present to people and they will be judging your event on the basis of your website.  As such it is your most important marketing tool.  If you want to sign up more attendees, attract exhibitors, sell more sponsorships, then you need to create your event website that will attract attendees and compel them to invest their time and money in your event.   With this in mind, we are sharing some important “how to” tips to create a stand out event website.

Your Stand-Out Event Website is Functional and Informative

Ok, so this isn’t the most exciting part of creating your event website but event professional hubris has been the downfall of some otherwise great event websites.  A well-designed website should offer all the important information you need for your event and be engaging and encouraging prospective attendees to register.  When creating your event website, use the best practices and fundamentals of a good website design – simple pages with an eye-catching image which engage your visitors.  Emphasize clarity in your information and ease of navigation for your website so people will get what they need in the shortest possible time – seal the deal while the intention is there.  Make sure the most important content – event location, date and details, event description, registration button – are front and center.  Have a clear navigation bar which is well-organized, visible, and prioritized based on your popular pages.

Don’t ignore the event description.  It needs to convey in as short as possible text, what’s great about your event, what you do and why people should register for it.  Why? When people search for your event in Google, they’ll most likely get a title and description for your event homepage in the search page results.  That text is coming directly from your website and you can control that with tags in your html head section.  There are important restrictions here:  title tags should have fewer than 65 characters and description tags should have fewer than 150 characters.  Anything beyond that will not be seen by search engines or people.

Your functional website also will be adaptive, meaning it will look good on all devices (desktop, phone, tablet) and on all screen sizes and browsers.  The registration button pops out and catches attention and takes prospective attendees to a very straightforward online registration process.

Your Stand-Out Event Website is Search Engine Optimized

Your event website also needs to rise above the other event noise and be optimized in order to be found in search engines by prospective attendees. Start with a memorable website address and descriptive event title.  Keep the address as short as possible and make sure it matches your event title.  Short and original makes it easier for prospective attendees to remember, search for, and share your event.  Also, search engines use titles to help group your event with other keyword searches and to indicate what the main topic of the page is.

Without keyword stuffing, use keywords in your title and event website content which will get you picked up by search engines and found by your target audience when searching.  Especially use your keyword(s) in the title of your event.  Ideally you should work your keyword(s) into a title that’s also compelling for readers in order to get clicks from people who are browsing the search results.

Of course, good SEO means knowing your audience and the right keywords they would use to search for your event.  Understanding the right keywords will help you better optimize your website title, content, headings and website address.  Keep this in mind when creating them.  Need a little help here? You can try Google AdWords (free) or Moz’s Keyword Explorer (free trials available) to create good keyword list.

Because SEO is based on links, the number and quality of other sites linking to you link early and link often.  Link to other relevant pages from your event website as well as any blogs or websites you have access to.  Be sure to link appropriate things to appropriate places and make sure your links include your keywords. When it makes sense, include a few outbound links to non-competing pages in your content.  Search engines crawl the web by following links to and from other pages to get a better idea of how your page interacts with the rest of the web.

Your Stand-Out Event Website is Social Media Optimized

One of the main reasons people attend events is networking so anything you can do before, during and after your event with your website to improve networking is going to add value to your efforts to get people to attend and become loyal audience members.  Social media provides such an opportunity for your prospective attendees to, well, socialize and network.  Optimizing your website for social interaction creates an environment in which your attendees, exhibitors, sponsors and other stakeholders can participate in your event on personal level.  Optimizing for social media makes use of the fact that your attendees and your other stakeholders are your biggest champions and uses the power of the social media as a valuable marketing tool.

Optimize for social media, primarily Facebook likes – and don’t forget Facebook Events – Twitter tweets and, increasingly, Linked In.  Each platform has its own quirks so keep them in mind when optimizing for social actions and use best practices for each specific platform like best time of day to post for each platform, using the hashtag for Twitter, writing in the right content format, and the extra engagement value of great images.

Also, when doing social media optimization, you should think in terms of both technical and content.  On the technical side, make sure you have a set of unique html tags included in titles, descriptions, links, and shareable images.  And how about those ubiquitous social media site share buttons?  They are important to encourage prospective attendees and make sharing easy.  On the content side, think strategically about your session names.  Are they catchy, clear, concise and specific?  How will they read as tweets? What would someone say in a retweet or a Facebook comment?  Increase your creativity here and the social media benefits can provide great rewards.

A word of caution: if you optimize for social media, you must be prepared to invest the time and energy into keeping the social buzz about your event alive.  It requires constant attending to as you are constantly talking to its visitors, pushing out fresh content by the way of news, tweets, posts, and blogs.  So let the social sharing begin!

Your Stand-Out Event Website Has Unique Content

Take an honest and strategic look at the language you use to describe your event.  Is it unique?  Is it compelling?  Would anyone notice if you switched it with text from a competing event?  Does it show what is different about your event and make people want to sign up to attend?  It should.  Is other key content such as the speaker bios canned and boring?  A bit more creative effort by you can make your event website the one that sticks out because it has new information.

Functionality and optimization are important but you need to help prospective attendees connect the dots of how you are unique and are going to deliver the education and connections they are looking for.  Your event website must convince them that your event will deliver value and be worth the time and money investment they are making to attend.  Here is where great “sticky” high quality content is crucial, content that is simple, credible, and elicits positive emotions.

Simple:  Create a simple message that conveys the reason(s) people should attend your event.  This requires you to think like an attendee and discovering why you event matters.  At the same time, generate interest and curiosity in your event which will be satisfied by attending.

Credible: We all want people to attend our event but promising and not delivering will kill your credibility and reputation.  Tell how you will deliver on your promises of a great event by painting a clear picture of the specific things people will get from attending your event.  Perhaps it’s highlighting specific event activities or a major influential speaker.  Show with images how these promises have been fulfilled in the past to add to your credibility.

Elicits Positive Emotions:  Our decisions to attend events are not always logical choices.  They are often influenced by our expectations and anticipations about what we are going to receive in return for our investment.  We invest time, attention and money into things we care about and think will make a difference.  Your event website content needs to address the question: how will my event make people feel?  You can help people by featuring testimonials and stories on your website from past events and encourage attendees to tweet and blog before, during and after the event.

One other consideration for your content – structure it so it is easily shareable.  For example, if the focus of your event is its speakers, make sure each speaker has his own page, image and link – it’s easier to tweet about and pass around.  You’re also empowering others to leverage their own networks.  The same goes for panels, special event features and your sponsors!

Having a functional and attractive event website fully optimized (SEO and social media) to do its “technical” job is important.  However, to maximize your event website you will need to dedicate time, creativity and thoughtful effort to make sure you have fresh, relevant high quality content that speaks to your audience.

Your Stand-Out Event Website Creation

So back to that event you are planning and creating that stand-out event website.  Remember your event website represents your organization and your event to your audience and others.  It is their first impression of you even before they get to the event so make that first impression count.  Most people will make their decision based on how your website looks, functions, and what it says.  Don’t use no money and no time as excuses for having a poor website that turns people away before registering for your event.  Put in that extra effort and creativity and it will pay huge dividends for you, your event, and your attendees.

About rsvpBOOK

rsvpBOOK is an online event registration and event management software.  We help you streamline your event processes, from beginning to end, from creating your event website, to on-site resources, and final accounting reports.  Use your time to take care of more demanding matters – creating an outstanding attendee experience.

rsvpBOOK.   It’s smart, simple, saves you time and money.  Let’s you work smarter, not harder.

Try rsvpBOOK at www.rsvpBOOK.com.  Start your free trial today!

 

 

 

How Event Management Software Helps You Sell Your Event Tickets

How Event Management Software Helps You Sell Your Event Tickets

Tickets

Event management software enables you to manage multiple events quickly and efficiently. The software is easy to use and gives an overview of all activities related to your events. You can use it to input event details, communicate with participants, create reports and much more. One of the benefits of event management software is the ability to sell tickets from your event registration page.

How Can Event Management Software Help To Sell Your Event Tickets?

The software can be used to quickly setup an event registration page in which people can register and purchase tickets. The entire process of registering and purchasing ticket(s) can be completed in minutes. Using pen and paper event management requires you to employ a staff to manually process registrations and ticket payments. There can be errors when processing the information manually and the potential to lose information which results in problems with attendees and ticket sales. These problems are mitigated with a good Event Registration Software & Management tool because it automates the registration and ticketing process thus saving time and money. The payments are processed using credit cards which allows registrants to purchase tickets at their convenience. You can also go paperless by giving registrants a ticket number or including a Bar-code/QR in the confirmation email that can be scanned from their smart phone. All these features make the ticket processing easy which motivates people to buy tickets through the event registration page. The software not only offers an easy event registration page and secure payment processing but includes options for automatic discounts, group discounts, discount codes, and asking lodging and travel information.

Event Registration Software & Management can be used to easily market any event that you are managing. It can be integrated with social media sites so that your event page can be accessed by registrants through Facebook, Twitter, etc. This opens up opportunities for more ticket sales as more people know of the event registration page from these sites. You can use email marketing with the software. Email marketing is a very effective means of spreading information about an event and you can send out emails fast using the software’s email features. By making use of event registration software you can impress people with a smooth event registration page and increase ticket sales.

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Check-boxes or Radio Buttons?

Check-boxes or Radio Buttons?

Checkboxes

How do you choose between check-boxes and radio buttons? One is square and the other is round; which fits your event registration website? There is more to choosing than just looks or your favorite shape. Choosing the right option will decrease confusion for your registrants and increase the accuracy of your session selections.

Check-boxes in a group of sessions allow 1 or more to be selected while Radio Buttons allow only 1 selection.

Examples:

  1. If you have sessions that occur on different dates OR at different times, then you will want to place them together in the same group AND use check-box selection – allows more than 1 to be selected .
  2. If you have more than one session that begins at the same time, then you will want to place them together in the same group AND use radio button selection.

How do I decide how to Group my Sessions?

Grouping your sessions correctly is the key to insuring that your registrants are not confused by the selection options. A couple of general rules:

  1. If you have sessions that start at the same time, make it impossible to register for more than one session – put all of these sessions in one group.
  2. If you have sessions that start at different AND non-overlapping times, then you will want to make it easy to pick as many as sessions as they want – put all of these sessions in one group.

Tips

  1. There cannot be check-boxes AND radio buttons in the same group.
  2. If you require attendance at a session, then this session should not be in a radio button group with other sessions.
  3. You can require attendance at the session level; however, …
  4. Do not place 2 sessions, each requiring attendance, in a group with radio buttons

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Are you asking questions on your registration page?

Are you asking questions on your  registration page?

If you’re organizing an event—like a conference, a fundraiser, a training seminar, or a professional event— asking the right questions is critical and can determine the success of your event.  With an online registration tool like rsvpBOOK.com, you can ask the important questions to registrants easily. Not only will you save time but your guest will love providing all pertinent information before the event.

Lets face it, you will need the information in order to increase your chances of having a successful event.

What are good questions for event registration?

Some people are unaware of the types of questions that are useful when managing your event. Capturing useful information from your registrants can substantially affect the quality of your event management tasks.

These questions are intended to give you ideas about what questions can be useful to you.

FLIGHT ARRANGEMENTS GROUP ARRANGEMENTS HOTEL INFORMATION MISCELLANEOUS REGISTRANT INFO

Benefits of using rsvpBOOK.com to ask questions

  • Capture additional registrant information using  customized questions you create
  • Use conditional logic to display different questions based on specific responses
  • Use conditional logic to display Sessions and/or Sales Items based on question responses; can be used to display different sessions and sales items to different registrant types, for example guests, sponsors and exhibitors
  • Design your question responses using text fields, radio buttons, check-boxes, and drop-down menus
  • Show different questions for each registrant type
  • Organize and display your questions using section headings
  • Specify whether or not responses are required or optional
  • Easily export question responses to any spreadsheet program using our standard reports
  • View responses by question or by registrant
  • View and download attendee responses, easily filter by any specific question, such as arrival time, meal preferences, lodging arrangements
  • Use our standard reports or create custom reports to meet your specific needs.
  • Easily share question responses with vendors and include only the information they need. All reports are accurate in real time; send to the caterer, the hotel, the shuttle company, colleagues and managers

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