Category Archives: Event Marketing

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.

 

 

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!

 

 

 

Feeling Your Pain – Five Pain Points of Event Professionals

Feeling the pain - pain points of eventprofs

Blog Title - Pain BlogIt was the best of times; it was the worst of times.  Or so the phrase goes in Charles Dickens’ book, A Tale of Two Cities.  That’s how I often felt in my days as the event director for a small non-profit when the thrill of a great event would send me soaring but often the pain of getting there would make me so stressed and miserable that I would question “why am I doing this?!”

You get that roller coaster ride too?  What are some of these “pain points” that we share as event professionals and what can we do to make it the best of times… at least more often.

What I experienced, and what other event professionals I know considered their biggest pain points of event professionals include:  shrinking budgets and controlling costs, shorter lead times, not enough event staff, rapidly changing technology demands, continuing with time consuming event planning practices, and demonstrating the return on investment – ROI – to the “powers that be.”  Not saying this is a complete list but this blog can only discuss so many at a time.  So here we go…

The Incredible Shrinking Budget – WHAT Budget?

 Shrinking budgets and controlling costs are almost enemy #1.  OK you can’t hate the reality of working within a budget and controlling costs – it’s important for any company or organization to have a budget framework to work against.  But it appears most event planners agree that shrinking budgets competing against rising expectations of company management, clients and attendees is a painful experience.

The “traditional” cost structure for events and meetings also has permanently disappeared in the last several years shifting the focus toward smaller gatherings of shorter duration, scheduled regionally or locally to reduce travel and expenses for event staff and attendees. Sponsorships usually geared toward large sit-down dinners and elaborate event signage often is used for less extravagant but more necessary and functional event needs.  And this is just spending for the actual event itself.  What if there is the need for additional event staff to plan and execute?   Coffee and donuts at the local coffee shop anyone?

As event professionals we are faced with this reality so must set the tone for management, clients and attendees to reign in some less important expectations while creating memorable meetings and events.  You can cope with these challenges by making small, often easy changes which appear natural and planned for the attendees.

I’m Late! I’m Late! – Shorter Lead Times

Isn’t it great to come into the office each day feeling you’re already behind the 8-ball? It isn’t fun.  Event professionals invariably mention shortened lead times as one of the big pain points of event professionals.  I remember thinking “this should only take a few months to make it happen” I also recall when things got crazy with all the numerous moving parts going sideways on me asking myself why I didn’t start planning sooner.

Not to make excuses, but shortened lead times are a challenge of modern event planning.  Given that many organizations and companies don’t know their meeting and event budgets until the most recent fiscal results are available, the planning cycle has shrunk (along with those fun event budgets).  One or two years has been reduced to a few months or weeks for event professionals to plan everything.  No fun, lots of pressure, lots of pain.

However, as an event professional, you still have to work within the given time frame.  So let’s shake hands with some of your challenges – like venue availability, caterers, sponsors, event personnel resources, attendee lists, marketing for attendance, competing events.  The list goes on but you get the picture; you may have lived it.

Good Today, Better Tomorrow – Keeping Up with New Technology Demands

This is not a “keeping up with the Joneses” frivolous concern.  Incorporating the latest and most event audience engaging technology has grown from being a novelty to critical necessity.  The use of mobile devices has conditioned attendees to expect information, interactivity, and connectivity to be constantly available.  A well thought-out event website now has the essentials including apps, mobile sites, and the use of the familiar social media channel buttons to enhance event and meeting attendance and attendee experience.

And now the most current disruptive technology change happening on social media with important ramifications for the event industry – live streaming.  If I may quote Julius Solaris, Editor of the Event Management Blog:  “The live stream revolution is happening.  In the space of a few months, what used to be written is now live video.  The social networks’ mantra ‘tell us what’s up’ has been replaced by ‘Show us what’s up.’ (Italics added)

And have you noticed the Pokemon Go craze?  If you thought this was just a game for people with too much time on their hands, think again.  This is the use of augmented reality to play a game but with wider implication for us as event professionals who want to provide attendees with the best attendee experience.  Both live streaming and augmented reality are slow coming to events, but to ignore their importance – at some level in your event – is to lose out on a great engagement opportunity and a better attendee experience.

So maybe you don’t need the fanciest dinners or can eliminate that extra reception.  Sometimes skimping on the necessary technology may be more detrimental to the attendee experience than that extra ounce of food and drink.

But We’ve Always Done it This Way – Using Outdated Planning Practices

Well this is one of the most painful of all pain points of event professionals.  The use of multiple spreadsheets to track attendance and event financials; manual payment methods; malfunctioning databases and CRM systems; manual email invitation distribution; manual check-in (and the long lines);  paper evaluation surveys.   You name it, I experienced it all.  Do. Not. Laugh.

So what are some of your old event planning practices you hang on to?  Do you really want to keep them 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 as 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 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 very labor intensive, extra work generating event planning practices.  Break those old event 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.

You’re Only as Good as Your Last Event – The Pursuit of Good ROI

When your event or meeting goes well, everyone will let you know and shower you with kudos. If it doesn’t go quite so well… watch out!  You’ll DEFINITELY hear about it.  Every planning and execution step taken is scrutinized and questioned so being ready for a successful event or meeting is essential.  Sure, every event professional experiences hiccups along the way but positive ROI breathes long life into any event or meeting.  But what are you measuring to determine ROI?

Proving return on investment (ROI) is the biggest struggle for event and meeting professionals.  Sure you can measure the tangibles such as attendance goals met, expenses, evaluation feedback but what about the intangibles?  Placing values and determining ROI on the intangibles hinge on measuring a variety of hard to measure facets and quantifying them to determine the overall effectiveness of a meeting or event.  Such as how much time attendees spent in sessions, with key board members or partners or clients; how many attendees interacted with exhibitors and became customers; what about tracking social activity and attendee engagement after the event – just to name a few.

How attendees spent their time equates with interest, engagements and relationship building.  Knowing this helps you create better events and to guide future action around what has proved interesting and useful to your attendees.  In addition to time, knowing how many people actually interacted with exhibitors and engaged with sessions influence event attendees to return again and helps you justify the investment in your event or meeting.  All these intangibles are important to ROI and a struggle sometimes to measure.  Therein lays some pain for us all as event professionals.

Who Ya Gonna Call?  No, Not Ghostbusters

So you’re feeling the pain and at rsvpBOOK, we’re feeling your pain too.  Smaller budgets, shortened lead times, keeping up with new technology demands, stuck with labor- intensive event practices, quantifying good ROI and more.  So who ya gonna call?  No, not Ghostbusters.

rsvpBOOK can’t be your savior on everything.  We can, however, provide 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 in this era of increasing constraints but 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.

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.  No need to duplicate information, manually process, and drag huge binders of forms with you everywhere.  rsvpBook has you covered so your event can manage itself.   Smart. Simple.  Efficiently.

So ditch the spreadsheets and reduce the paperwork!  Alleviate some of the pain points of event professionals.  Save your time and money, so you can use it to take care of more demanding matters and focus on what’s important – creating the best event and valuable attendee experience imaginable.

Come try us at www.rsvpBOOK.com  Work smarter, not harder.

 

5 Plus Ideas to Have Some Hashtags with Your Event

5 Plus Ideas to Have Some Hash(tags) with Your Event

Many years ago when my day job was the event manager at a national non-profit, I first encountered the prefix “#” before a word and thought it was a typo.  OK, I am from a different generation which did not grow up with the vast array of social media options which are so popular today.   It was a much different time and I was a much different event manager and the ubiquitous hashtag was not the powerful event marketing tool it has become today.

So I learned and became effective with using the hashtag when marketing my organization’s events.  A few experiences and pointers I want to pass on – perhaps not new but they do bear repeating especially when you’re rushed for time and thinking about a great event hashtag may stymie your creative juices.  These tips may help you be better focused.

Here are some key features to consider in your event planning to create a great event hashtag.

Make it Unique

Believe it or not, this can be more difficult than you think.  There are tons of events going on so coming up with something unique takes a bit of effort.  However, it’s important to pick a hashtag that isn’t being used at the same time as the one you want to use.  Do a search to see if your hashtag is currently being used.  Also do not use one that may be easily confused with another event or purpose.

Some of my first attempts at “being unique”  failed when I used what I thought was a catchy phrase then found out several other organizations thought they, too, were being clever.  Back to the drawing board I went…several times before I found something that fit this feature of uniqueness.

Make it Concise…but Clear

We all need to be concise with our hashtags, especially when running up against character constraints such as those on Twitter.  I read that the perfect hashtag counts only 8 characters or less.  In my brain, that was always too difficult but I did try…succeeded rarely.  However, the point to remember is don’t be so concise that a person will have difficulty deciphering what you’re saying or the name of the event.  A little more length is more important than brevity if you want potential attendees and their friends on social media to understand immediately what your event is all about.  And, of course, attend!

Make it Memorable

Create your hashtag so it sticks in people’s memory!  If potential attendees can’t remember it, the hashtag can be quite useless and you’ve lost all marketing potential with it.  How can you make it memorable?  Make sure it’s understandable, make sure it makes sense, make sure it’s relevant to your event or purpose.  Jumbled abbreviations, words that don’t relate to your event or purpose will only confuse and frustrate and turn potential attendees away scratching their heads.  Avoid them or attendees will avoid you and your event.

Watch out for Negative Connotations

Has this happened to you?  It almost happened to me and I have seen it happen to others.  If your hashtag can be interpreted in another negative way or contains bad implications or associations, toss it fast.  Not good. Not funny.  Don’t go there.  A potential career buster.  Check and check again. Have another set of eyes check too.  You want the marketing campaign for your event to be remembered the right way.

Be Creative

Here’s where bringing all this together and letting your imagination run wild comes in. You and your team might check other successful examples of great event hashtags to inspire you to reach your creative heights.  Brainstorm about what you see, create hashtags, then tick off all the boxes – unique, concise but clear, catchy, easy to remember, no bad associations. Which one has all these features and works for achieving your event marketing goal?  You got it!

Give Me Examples You Scream!

OK I will.  Each year the Village of Arlington Heights, Illinois holds its outdoor food fest block party for its residents…and then some.  Called the Taste of Arlington Heights, the event has been a huge regional success.  Every year the block party hashtag changes #AHTaste2014, #AHTaste2015, #AHTaste 2016.  All perfectly simple, short, recognizable and predictable for block party fans.  Adding the year to the hashtag is an easy way to make it unique.

Using Hashtags on Twitter for a Community Summer Block Party
From the case studies file of Tweet Beam (www.tweetbeam.com/cases) is the example of the popular soda, Mountain Dew.  The “green” soda used #DewGreenScreen for their Dew Green Screen campaign, a series of exclusive movie premieres in the United Kingdom.  The hashtag was catchy, unique, memorable, and although not real concise, it was very clear.  Effective? Yes!  The engagement of Mountain Dew fans turned #DewGreenScreen into a trending topic on Twitter.

Mountain Dew's effective use of a hashtag for its #dewgreenscreen event

Time to Launch!

You got this far, so make it happen as a marketing tool.  What can you do to make the most of your event hashtag?

Make it Your Brand

Whether you are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media platforms, use the same hashtag for all content related to your event to create a branded hashtag for your event.  Using a branded hashtag will be easier for other to follow activities around your event.  It also provides you a clear way to track social activity across all social platforms you are using.  Consistency is key for successful marketing!

Be Promotional

Don’t limit the use of your event hashtag to just social media platforms!  Use it on your posters, signage, presentations, news releases, and website.  Make it part of your everyday conversation.  Encourage speakers, sponsors and attendees to use the hashtag for their own social activity before, during and after your event.  And about your employees… your greatest advocates are sitting right next to you… or down the hall.

Keep Track

No matter how you may try, there will be people who will add their own personal twist to your hashtag and brand your event slightly differently.  Monitor this activity and all hashtags that refer to your event so you can keep up with what is being said about the event on social channels.

Also one of the great advantages of using hashtags is that you get to see exactly who was talking about your event and what they were saying. Use both quantitative and qualitative analysis of your hashtag to learn more about your event. How many people tweeted? What did people like? What really bugged them? You should also be keeping a close on the hashtag before, during and after the event itself so that you can quickly respond to questions or comments.

So stop and take the time to plan a hashtag strategy before your event takes off and you’ll have a much stronger and effective social media campaign.  Hashtags tie us together across a range of social media platforms which makes them an invaluable marketing opportunity for event professionals hoping to spread the word about their events.

rsvpBOOK and Social Media Tools for Your Event

At rsvpBOOK our Social Media Network tool can assist you when you’re ready to get the word on social media out about your event.  We’re here to let you work smarter, not harder in your event planning and marketing. So when you’re ready, check us out at www.rsvpBOOK and try a free trial of our online event registration and management software.

With social media as the major conduit of information for just about everything, spending the time and energy to come up with an event hashtag is imperative.  It can be the difference between a mediocre (maybe a flop?) event and one that knocks attendees’ socks off and have them crying for a repeat.

 

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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