Category Archives: Online Event Registration

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online Summer Camp Registration Software – 9 Tips for Selecting

Online Summer Camp Registration gets you ready for fun!

Summer Camp Online Registration gets you ready for fun!

 

Raise your hand if you remember summer camp as a kid!  Well I hope those hands are raised in enthusiasm but  I  imagine not all summer camp experiences were that great…like the time my church camp lost my suitcase and I had to wear the same outfit for 3 days straight – UGH!  But I’m really here to talk with you camps and camp organizations.  How many of you are looking for ways to offer online summer camp registration that is easy and convenient for your camper parents and can eliminate many of the hassles of managing your summer camp programs?  Raise your hands!  OK…let’s talk.

Online Summer Camp Registration Software:  So Many Questions!

If you have evaluated online summer camp registration software lately in anticipation of upgrading your camp program registrations, you may have noticed the many software suppliers out there and all the features they offer you.  Each camp registration supplier offers what it considers to be the most important features that your summer camp absolutely must have to be successful.  The sight of all the information can be overwhelming.

But let’s focus on a few key points to consider in your search.  The first question people ask is “what is the best online summer camp registration software?”  Answer:  there is no “best online summer camp registration software.”   That is the wrong question to ask because what is best for your competitor or the organization across town, may not be the best one for you.  Your decision needs to be based on what fits you and your needs and what answers your camp registration and management challenges.  Questions like:  Do you need a full camp management system or is a more tailored system a better fit?  If you are charging a fee, how do you collect payments?  Is the software user friendly for parents and easy to administer for you? Are you maintaining a database in which you need to collect detailed or sensitive parent and camper information?  Do you need other features such as email and marketing and report capabilities as part of the software package?

And these are just a few questions regarding your priorities.  Other considerations in choosing include:  What have been the painful online summer camp registration experiences that you want to avoid in the future?  What practices do you want to stop doing?  How can you become more efficient?  The list could go on but it is really a list you need to create and ask yourself and your team when going through the selection process.  The bottom line is to know your needs, your priorities, your customer (the parents and campers) and not get sidetracked with the unnecessary bells and whistles that don’t fit your prioritized needs.

Online Summer Camp Registration Software:  What Are Your Priorities?

Since what is part of online summer camp registration means different things to different people and organizations, before you choose software decide what it means to you.  In particular, ask yourself:

  • What functionalities do I really need for my summer camp program? Ultimately you need an online summer camp registration software and management system that works for your program and not that of other camps. The software you choose should give you exactly what you need – nothing more or less.  Before you begin looking at software options, evaluate what functionalities you really need and those you’d like to have but aren’t necessary (the wish list) and prioritize them.  Do this before your search since it will help you stay focused on your needs and not get caught in the software demo trap of believing you need to change everything and your program needs every feature presented to you.  Remind yourself and ask: “Is it something I need?” If not, put it aside for now.  Perhaps a full-blown summer camp management systems with too many features isn’t a good fit for you.  Maybe a smaller more customized system tailored to your specific needs works better.  You can answer this question better if you have done your homework and prioritized what functionalities you need versus the ones you wish you could have.
  • Do I need a full online summer camp registration software and management system or is a smaller more tailored system a better fit? If you don’t run many summer camp sessions, you may not need all the bells and whistles of a more complex, feature-rich online summer camp registration software and management system. But if you’re planning numerous sessions with large numbers of campers, some sophisticated online summer camp registration tools will help you manage such things as email communications, marketing for multiple sessions, data collection, staff management, and reports. This is where you cross the line from just dealing with simple summer camp registration to actual camp management and need help with juggling many balls at once.  If your priorities have crossed this line, keep looking for a more sophisticated software fit.  Even customized systems can provide these features but make sure you will use them.
  • How will I collect online summer camp registration fees and other kinds of online payments too? If you are planning to sell items either through your website or a Camp Store, or take other online payments, it’s worth considering software that will meet all your online payment needs.   Need to offer multiple payment methods or payment plans?  Make sure your software provider offers these too so your customers can register easily and quickly.  Because anything which involves the exchange of money online, make sure whatever online summer camp registration software service you use is compliant with data requirements set by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) to ensure transaction security.  If you’re just looking for something inexpensive and don’t need elaborate features, PayPal might work well.  At an approximately 2.5% transaction fee, it’s one of the least expensive ways to take online payments.  It doesn’t, however, integrate seamlessly into your website and doesn’t offer online registration features like the ability to cap the number of registrations.  Camp organizations with more technical experience could also consider PayPal’s Pro system which offers better website integration.
  • How will I collect and manage registration information and create reports for smart decision-making? This could become a long list but consider registration information you need to track and monitor as well as create reports for you and your board?  Information like tracking changes in camp registration numbers for each of your sessions – sell-outs, cancellations, waiting lists.  This is especially important if you are doing multiple camp sessions and programs.  Any online summer camp registration software you choose needs to be able to help streamline and, if possible, automate these tasks for you so you can adjust and act quickly to notify campers’ families.  Also, having comprehensive reporting tools as part of your software to analyze everything from camper data to financial performance against your goals helps decision-making.  Check software for its report capabilities to track the information that is important to you either through templates or custom reports.  Maybe you did a special promotion or ad – how effective was that?  Who did you send camp information to but didn’t respond?  Who cancelled and reasons why?  What are your most (and least) popular sessions or programs?  Just a few thoughts but the point is to have comprehensive reporting tools so you can know and not guess what is happening.  Finally, it’s a good idea that whatever tools a software offers, that it also be downloadable into the spreadsheet program you use and shareable with important third parties. 
  • How will I communicate to campers and camper families? How will I market my summer camp?  Is this a priority for you?  It really should be no matter how small your summer camp organization.  As you well know, gone are the days when communicating with people was done only via snail-mail and the phone.  Enter e-mail and social media.  So it goes almost without say (but I am just in case it slipped your mind), your online summer camp registration software and management system should be sophisticated enough to provide email and social media marketing tools for your summer camp.  Check for email capabilities that help you create, automate and schedule informational and promotional communications to your campers and camper families.  And although flyers and brochures still may be in your promotional tool box, update your marketing efforts with social media.  Harness the power of social media to increase your reach – make sure your next online summer camp registration software and management system has these tools for the most popular social media channels.

Online Summer Camp Registration Software:  A Guide for Selecting

You and your team have asked many questions about your online summer camp registration software needs and are ready to start the selection process.  What other things should guide your decision.  There are at least four other pieces to consider before getting our online summer camp registration software.

  • Ease of Use. As when buying a car, take the online summer camp registration software you’re considering for a test-drive.  Getting a free trial so you can get the feel for the camper and camper family experience and software design is important.  While the software may look good on paper (or in a demo with the software company people), it may not be that easy to use in the real world when you use it on your own.  You want software that is easy to use for you and your camper families.  After all, the whole point of getting the online summer camp registration software is to make your life easier and create a good experience for them.  And yes, good online summer camp registration is part of the camper experience.
  • Customer Support. Not much is more disconcerting than running into software problems at absolutely the worst time and not having anyone to help you. This is especially if you’re new to online registration software or suffer from tech anxiety.  When selecting your online summer camp registration software, make sure the provider offers resources and guidance on how to successfully use the software to help you and your camper families.  Make sure you have a variety of options to contact them – phone, email, online chat.  Good customer service can define good software, especially in a crisis.
  • If you are doing a lot of camp sessions or programs, or even if you’re not but they vary in size or type, you really want to study the versatility of any software you are considering.  Consider choosing software that is capable of handling all your camp sessions and programs and is easily scalable.  Having multiple software platforms to do different sizes or types of summer camps is not only costly, it is inefficient and confusing.  Then there is the learning curve for you and your repeat campers.  Why do that to yourself… and them.  Go for the versatility in a single software that can work across all camp types and sizes.  Make life easier and less chaotic.  It’s worth it.
  • Quality of Features. There’s the old adage, “it’s quality, not quantity” and it’s important here.  If you get both characteristics in a software, great but let’s keep the eye on the quality of features.  As a busy individual, you need a number of features in order to successfully plan and hold your summer camps.  However, don’t get caught up in the comparison shopping too much.  Pay attention to the quality and richness of the features.  Make sure the functionality is there.  Look for features that are easy to use and that can actually help you and provide your campers and camper families a good experience.

Online Summer Camp Registration Software:  rsvpBOOK Fitting Your Needs

So you’re searching for online summer camp registration software to fit your needs.   rsvpBOOK can be your fitness savior.  We take the complex and make it easier.  We provide you smart, simple online summer camp registration 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 management, communications, marketing, reports, databases integration, online payment processing tools you need into a single place. We help you streamline your processes from beginning to end.  And if you need us?  We’re here for you via phone, email, or online chat.

rsvpBOOK saves you time and money, so you can use it to take care of more demanding matters and focus on what’s important – creating the best summer camp experience imaginable.

 Come try us at www.rsvpBOOK.com.  We’re making the complex easier.

Online Event Registration Software: 7 Tips to Find Your Fit

Online Event Registration Software: Finding Your Fit

 

It’s December and another year has blown past us faster than the Starship Enterprise.  It’s often a time for reflection on what has been good and not so good and pondering ways to improve for the next year.  For event professionals such reflections can turn to reviewing event management practices and technologies used during the past year and deciding to keep them, upgrade them, or toss them out for something different.  One item that may be on this list is your online event registration software.

These days, most attendees expect to register for events online which means you’ll need software that accepts online payments, manage attendee information and more.  Fortunately, there are many tools to help you, ranging from simple to sophisticated and all the way to multi-functional.  So many, in fact, that choosing one can be overwhelming.   Online event registration means different things to different people so the choice you make needs to work for what it means to you.  To decide what might be the online event registration software for you, ask yourself some relevant questions.

Online Event Registration Software:  What to Ask Yourself

When selecting an online event registration and management software, the first question many event professionals may ask is, “what is the best event registration software?”  That is probably the wrong question to ask because what is best for your competitor or the organization or company across town, may not be the best one for you.  Your decision needs to be based on what fits you and your needs and what answers your event planning “pain points.”  Questions like:  How many events or meetings are you doing each year? What are your event registration priorities? For example, do you just need to get some basic online event registration capability up and going, or do you have more sophisticated requirements?  If you are charging a fee, how do you collect payments? Am I maintaining a database in which I need to collect attendee information?

And these are just a few questions regarding your event priorities.  Other considerations in choosing include:  What have been the painful event registration experiences that you want to avoid in the future?  What event practices do you want to stop doing?  How can you become more efficient?  The list could go on but it is really a list you need to create and ask yourself and your team when going through the selection process.

Online Event Registration Software:  What Are Your Event Priorities?

Since online event registration means different things to different people, companies, and organizations, so before you choose software decide what it means to you.  In particular, ask yourself:

  • Do you simply need a quick, inexpensive and easy way to do registrations for a few events per year? If you don’t run many events, you may not need all the bells and whistles of a more complex, feature-rich online event registration system. But if you’re planning to hold complex conferences, meetings, or other larger events, some sophisticated online event registration tools will help you manage such things as lodging, an event website, name tags, registrations for multiple sessions within the event, social media, check-in and much more.  This is where you cross the line from just dealing with simple event registration to actual event management and need help with juggling many balls at once.  If your event priorities have crossed this line, keep looking for a more sophisticated software fit.
  • How will you collect registration fees and other kinds of online payments too? If you are planning to support online donations, sell items, or take other online payments, it’s worth considering software that will meet all your online payment needs.   Because anything which involves the exchange of money online, make sure whatever online event registration software service you use is compliant with data requirements set by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) to ensure transaction security.  If you’re just looking for something inexpensive and don’t need elaborate features, PayPal might work well.  At an approximately 2.5% transaction fee, it’s one of the least expensive ways to take online payments.  It doesn’t, however, integrate seamlessly into your website and doesn’t offer online event registration features like the ability to cap the number of registrations.  Companies and organizations with more technical experience could also consider PayPal’s Pro system which offers better website integration.
  • Is integrating registrants into your database a key event priority? If you conduct a lot of events and meetings and attendees are key stakeholders for your company or organization, think through how you get registrant information into your database.  Consider integration methods or software systems that support not just online event registration but all your stakeholder management needs.  Does the software integrate with a CRM through data sharing or can it export data (as a .cvs or .xls file) that you can import to your database?  If you’re conducting a lot of events, or want a clear view of how your stakeholders are involved with your company or organization, generally a more sophisticated integrated software system can be worth the investment.  So evaluate the functionality of your existing (or first being purchased) online event registration software and see if it is fitting your needs here.  If not, time to check other options.

Online Event Registration Software:  A Guide for Choosing

You and your team have asked many questions about your event planning needs and are ready to start the selection process.  What other things should guide your decision.  There are at least four other pieces to consider before getting our online event registration software.

  • Ease of Use. As when buying a car, take the online event registration software you’re considering for a test-drive.  Getting a free trial so you can get the feel for the user experience and software design is important.  While the software may look good on paper (or in a demo with the software company people), it may not be that easy to use in the real world when you use it on your own.  You want software that is easy to use.  After all, the whole point of getting the online event registration software is to make your life easier and create a good experience for your attendees. And yes, good online event registration is part of the attendee experience.
  • Customer Support. Not much is more disconcerting than running into software problems at absolutely the worst time of your event and not having anyone to help you. This is especially if you’re new to event planning software or suffer from tech anxiety.  When selecting your online event registration software, make sure the provider offer resources and guidance on how to successfully use the software to help you and your attendees.  Make sure you have a variety of options to contact them – phone, email, online chat.  Good customer service can define good software, especially in a crisis.
  • If you are doing a lot of events, or even if you’re not but they vary in size, type or format, you really want to study the versatility of any software you are considering.  Consider choosing software that is capable of handling all your events and is easily scalable.  Having multiple software platforms to do different events is not only costly, it is inefficient and confusing.  Then there is the learning curve for you and your repeat attendees.  Why do that to yourself… and them.  Go for the versatility in a single software that can work across all events.  Make life easier and less chaotic.  It’s worth it.
  • Quality of Features. There’s the old adage, “it’s quality, not quantity” and it’s important here.  If you get both characteristics in a software, great but let’s keep the eye on the quality of features.  As a busy event professional, you need a number of features in order to successfully plan and execute your events and meetings.  However, don’t get caught up in the comparison shopping too much.  Pay attention to the quality and richness of the features.  Make sure the functionality is there.  Look for features that are easy to use and that can actually help you achieve event goals and provide your attendees a good user experience.

Online Event Registration Software:  rsvpBOOK Fitting Your Needs

So you’re searching for online event registration software to fit your needs.   rsvpBOOK can be your fitness savior.  We can 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 online event registration 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 event registration and management, marketing, onsite check-in, evaluation and attendee feedback reports, databases 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.   Smart. Simple.  Efficiently.

Save you 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.  Start with our FREE trial today!

 

Attendee Experience – 5 Ways to Make it All About Them

Attendee experience is important to event successSo I have been reading yet another article or two on improving attendee experience at events and meetings and felt I needed to chime in here on the discussion.  Why another blog on this topic? Well partly because I have been both an event professional and an attendee – as I am sure most of you have – and want to provide my own two cents from seeing both sides of the event table.  I also have noticed that the articles I have read are either focused almost exclusively on the logistical angle (ok I am guilty of at least one blog focused on this) or totally focused on how to help attendees party like it’s 1999 (did I just date myself here?)

Surely there is a happy medium of where one can merge the two to discuss the best of both topics – managing traditional logistics and creating experiences that engage attendees and encourage social interactions and relationship building.  Both play an important role in the overall attendee experience.

Attendee Experience – What it is, What it is Not

Going out on a limb here and giving my perspective of what the attendee experience is and is not.  It’s not just having all your logistics lined up so you’re not panicking.  It’s not your attendees fed, moving around effortlessly from session to session listening to speakers and no one complaining (yet) about the WiFi connection.  It’s not just having the right content for the right audience.  It’s not just about having loud audacious receptions and the latest gaming technology available for them to play with during your event or meeting – although in some situations, these are not the worst ideas.   It is, however, expertly packaging all these event essentials and seamlessly incorporating them into your event or meeting.  It is the logistics essentials worked out as well as the intangible element ensuring the attendees’ desire for social interactions and relationship building is also part of your event plan.   In reality, it IS all about them.

So if we are going to discuss the essentials of the attendee experience, we can discuss the key logistics necessities which put smiles on their faces as well as the ways which events and meeting can ensure those other intangible needs are met to ensure people really are the ultimate focus.

Attendee Experience – What Do You Really Want?

What do attendees really want?  This is the $64,000 question and getting inside the heads of attendees to learn the answers can be challenging.  I can’t write about everything but I will discuss a few big “I wants” I’ve heard repeatedly and provide some simple solutions.  I’ll then discuss addressing the intangible needs of attendees and how you can make them part of your great event attendee experience.

Attendee Experience Really Want – Online Event Registration

Attendees have gone digital and you had better be by now.  That’s where they want and expect to register for just about everything.  Ditch the paper registration forms – if you haven’t already – and get online now!  With the plethora of online event registration and management software platforms available, doing paper registration must not be even a consideration.  Collect registration details once and use the information provided to quickly and easily compile future marketing data, print name badges and rosters, personalize all future communications, and check-in attendees on-site or before your event.

Attendee Experience Really Want – Fast Check-in

Checking in should not be the event version of the Beatle’s song, The Long and Winding Road.  No reason for this at all with today’s on-site check-in technology readily available.  Attendees want to be checked in quickly, not with several minutes of organized chaos while you look for their registration information.  On-site line management is both a science and an art for event professionals which can be mastered with the right tools.  With technology like scan guns and barcodes and QR codes , scanning keeps lines moving is fast becoming the norm at events and meetings.  In addition, on-site self-check-in kiosks are another way attendees can move along without your involvement.   Making event check-in as seamless as possible for attendees makes your life easier too.

Attendee Experience Really Want – Communication, Early, Often and Via Mobile

Do we really need to discuss this?  Probably not but I will briefly.  Your attendees are connected to the outside world via smartphones, tablets or other mobile devices so connect with then wherever and whenever.  Send them up-to-the-minute event details, program changes, email notifications and automatic alerts.  Give them easy access to event materials that they can share on their social networks, downloads of handouts and relevant links.

Communicate with them early and often.  You are not the only email or text message they receive.  You are up against stiff competition but you can get through to them.  It just may mean being repetitive perhaps through a series of email notifications or alerts over a period of time rather than just one.  And email is not the only channel to use – you do know about social media.  Communicate with them across all your platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, wherever your target audience is found.

Finally speed is paramount.  In a world where connectedness reduces time delays, attendees expect and demand fast action.  They are happiest when you respond to their questions or messages quickly, usually within the same business day.

Attendee Experience Really Want – You to Be Prepared

To paraphrase the words of a song in Mel Brooks’ movie The Twelve Chairs, hope for the best but expect the worst.  Perhaps a bit dire, but you do need to be prepared for the unexpected and make such happenings as painless as possible for you and your attendees.  The most common “unexpected” is when an attendee can’t make it and wants a refund.  Make sure your policy is clearly stated.  What’s your viable back up plan for inclement weather?  Or if the staff at the hotel you are having your event goes on strike. (this last one did happen to me – oh boy!)

Recently, there is a movement to establish an event code of conduct.  Setting up your expectations upfront and ensuring your event is a safe place for everyone is increasingly becoming part of your event or meeting preparation.   A code of conduct is your public statement that you value your attendees and will protect their rights to attend and learn without harassment.

Attendee Experience Really Want – The Important Intangibles

So well planned logistics put the smiles on attendees’ faces and lowers your stress level.  What about those intangibles which are harder to measure but are critical to the attendee experience?  You cannot shy away from addressing this part of the attendee experience just because it is more elusive to design and plan or difficult to measure success.

As Jeff Hurt with Velvet Chainsaw wrote about improving attendee experience, “Successful conferences will focus less on the logistics and more on creating experiences that foster communication, interactions and relationship building of their attendees.  They will focus less on providing experiences that transfer information and more on experiences that will allow people to discuss content, share stories and build connections.” (Improving Conference Attendee Experiences, Velvet Chainsaw, March 19, 2012).

This statement is as true today as it was four years ago when first written.  Today’s event attendee demands and expects more time to connect and communicate with other attendees at an event or meeting.  Large audacious receptions and gaming opportunities may provide some of this for certain types of events and attendees.  However, it has been my experience both as an event professional and an attendee, people are looking for more intimate one-on-one or small group opportunities to discuss, communicate and build the important relationships.  My perspective has a lot to do with the type of events I did but even so, peace and calm are eventually where people go to get their best interactions done.

What are some ways to design these attendee experiences?  Going back to articles by Jeff Hurt again, he validated some practices I have used (after trial and error and making many mistakes) but also provided some additional great ideas.  Let’s start with the typical event or meeting format.  When possible, move away from the large sessions with talking heads and promote discussion among attendees by designing for small group interactions within the larger session.  Better still create smaller sessions for the more intimate exchange of ideas and greater attendee participation.

Craft sessions which lead with questions that encourage attendees to participate and ask more of the right questions rather than provide “the” solutions to problems.  This format encourages out-of-the-box thinking, new insights and fresh ideas to address old professional or work problems facing attendees.  What value that adds to an attendee experience!

Move away from the “expert” speaker monologue with PowerPoint slides and actively involve attendees.  Facilitate this with a dynamic question and answer format that immediately engages attendees.  Speaker or panel interaction with attendees reduces the droning head and heavy eyelids of attendees.  The sleepy one-sided presentation is replaced hopefully by buzz and energy as people talk more informally and share insights and ideas more freely.

How about those networking and relationship building opportunities?  Creating the small group sessions is a great beginning.   Attendees are interacting already on a more personal level.  Although meeting up at receptions is still common, deeper dives and closing the deals are often best left to private conversations.  Provide attendees with comfortable physical space on-site if possible to conduct these conversations.  You also can help match them up in advance using the registration information – with their permission of course – to help make initial connections.

Finally, be thoughtful and creative with physical setup. Design purposeful seating arrangement so attendees have all the tools and encouragement they need to achieve their personal goals for attending your event or meeting.  Facilitate social interaction and networking opportunities.   Create meeting spaces, networking spaces which simplify interaction attendees’ desire.

Attendee Experience – rsvpBOOK

Although rsvpBOOK cannot provide you the intangible needs for your attendee experience, we can provide you more time in the day for you to focus on creating them.  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 more efficiently and be successful, no matter the type or size of your event or meeting.  We want you to work smarter, not harder.  rsvpBOOK lets you use your time to take care of more demanding matters – creating an outstanding attendee experience.

Try rsvpBOOK today!  Smart, simple online event registration software.