Tag Archives: Attendee experience

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.

 

 

Crowdsourcing Your Next Event: 5 Helpful Steps

Crowdsouring for your next event
Crowdsouring for your next event

Crowdsourcing can make many heads better than one for your events

As event professionals we plan our events to make our attendees happy – draw them in, engage them, make them want more, and return next time.  We want to make sure that we are meeting their needs and ultimately getting a positive ROI for them and for our company or organization.  Arranging speakers and topics often 12 months in advance is a challenge.  Delivering quality up-to-date content to your attendees isn’t always as simple as highlighting trends, buzzworthy topics, or celebrity speakers.  Now attendees not only want to participate in the event itself, they also want to play a part in deciding what it is.  One tactic that event professionals are starting to use with the process of selecting topics and speakers for their events is crowdsourcing.

What is Crowdsourcing?

So what exactly is crowdsourcing and how do you use it for event planning? Crowdsourcing is the process of collecting information, content, and ideas by asking for contributions from a large group of people.  For event professionals, that large group of people should consist of those who have attended similar events in the past as well as the members of your target market.  You can use it in many ways – selecting speakers and panel session content topics as well as choosing attendee activities at your event.  Done right, crowdsourcing can be a great way to delegate some of your event work to attendees, find innovative solutions to problems, produce new ideas and generate excitement for and personal investment in your event.

Getting Ready for Crowdsourcing – Ask Questions

But are you ready to use crowdsourcing? How far do you want to jump into this type of planning process and in what areas?  How do you effectively implement crowdsourcing into your event?  Before jumping into using the crowdsourcing, you need to understand crowdsourcing an event is a co-creation process between you and your crowdsourcing participants.  It involves managing your ego as well as the egos of others in the planning process.  If also involves letting go of some of your control over every aspect of your event. Deciding if, and how much, of your event content you want to crowdsource will depend largely if these realities cause you anxiety or if you are willing to share some of the responsibility of planning with others.

If you get past this initial soul searching, the other part of deciding if, and how much of your event content and speaker selection you want to crowdsource will depend on your audience.  Some questions you should ask before you begin implementation include:

  • What kind of information are you gathering and for what purpose? New ideas? Topics of discussion? Great speakers?
  • Who do you plan to ask? What is your demographic?
  • How many sessions and speakers will participants have input on? Are you going to be adventurous and go all out or are you going to be more conservative and limit the areas of crowdsourcing?
  • What feedback have you already received from past attendees and stakeholders which can help set your direction and event framework?
  • How will you collect ideas and suggestions, evaluate them, and make the final selection?
  • How will you promote your crowdsourcing to your target audience and interested participants?

You may have others you want to include in your decision making but these should help you get moving on the right path.  Knowing the answers to these questions will help you to set reasonable expectations for your event.  They will also provide you a framework within which to do your crowdsourcing process.

Crowdsourcing Process in Action – Setting the Framework

Once you decide to use crowdsourcing as part of your event, make it easy for your audiences and stakeholders to suggest ideas by utilizing your digital and social media online resources, implement a smart evaluation and selection process, and do plenty of promotion to reach people.  Let’s start with soliciting input.

Every event has a theme providing a framework within which topics and speakers relevant to the theme are created and eventually selected.  Using your framework, you have planned your thematic messages and topic strands that are going to be delivered at your event.  But not everything needs to be determined by you – include your crowdsourcing participants in the process.  Let them choose what topics they want to learn about or speakers they want to hear from too.  Someone might come up with a new and fresh speaker or topic that you have never even heard of.  Here’s where you can crowdsource ideas from your interested participants and begin your co-creation process.

Crowdsourcing Process in Action – Soliciting Input

As an event professional, you can provide topic strands within the event program that appeal to your intended audiences and encourage their participation in the decision-making.  You can do this in various ways.  Probably the easiest is to ask them in person or online what topics or keynote or panel speakers they want to include within your thematic framework.  You also can provide topics or speakers and get feedback from them.  Exploring the feedback will give you a better idea of what is in demand and important to them and not just what you think is in demand.

Some other tools for crowdsourcing include surveys, questionnaires, social media or blogs which illicit suggestions.  Employ that email list you created and your most active social media accounts and post your questions to your target audiences.  Be innovative and engage your participants.  Maybe use a unique event crowdsourcing hashtag or a contest where you reward the winner (winners) with something valuable (maybe a free pass to your event, an opportunity to introduce a speaker or chair a session).  Offering incentives is a great way to get their involvement.  Perhaps you write a blog post about your event and solicit comments and suggestions.  E-mail a survey to your mailing list.

Finally, what feedback have you received from past similar events?  Using responses and data collected from surveys and live polls taken at the time is a direct link between your event and your attendees.  This information offers a multitude of opportunities you can easily act on.  The insights gleaned can be used to design better events and attendee experiences and help you make your event as relevant and engaging as possible.

These are just some initial suggestions to get you moving forward in your crowdsourcing efforts.  What is important is to start the process and get the input so you create your event.

Crowdsourcing Process in Action – Evaluating and Selecting

How democratic do you want to be in evaluating and selecting?  This is your call and can range from opening it to all interested people in your audience to “vote” on suggestions made or establishing a smaller group of “judges” to make the final determinations on topics and speakers.  If you decide on an open process, you need to determine who gets to be a “voter” –  the entire public or only registered attendees.  Most events that use crowdsourcing require that “voters” be registered as they have more of a stake in ensuring a quality lineup at the event they are attending.  One of the big trade-offs of this type of democratic process is that final selections can delay your overall event programming and cause last minute time crunches as you finalize topics and speakers.  To avoid this, voting deadlines need to be established.  Also focus and quality may suffer but again, you hope your potential attendees are selecting for the best and hottest topics and speakers to make the event program.

On the other hand, just because you are involving the outside talent of your audience and stakeholders with crowdsourcing doesn’t mean you have to be totally democratic in your evaluation and selection process.  There needs to be some limits or restrictions here to avoid the whims of fancy.  Also setting some safeguards for evaluating and selecting topics and speakers can maintain your event focus and theme as well as ensure a certain level of content and speaker quality.

Here is where creating an advisory board or committee and using their expertise to help curate the most relevant content and speakers is beneficial.  Adding such boards or committees help you with the evaluation and selection process in some way lightens the burden and responsibility for you to make these decisions alone.  It also is a great way to gauge the kinds of topics that will most interest your event audience, especially if they have history with the event or the subject matter which has been selected as your event theme.

Once again a middle or hybrid course may be the solution for you.  An option is to use the advisory committee or board to do the initial screening of topics and speakers before opening the process to voting by the public or registered attendees.  It can be easier and more effective for those who participate in the selection to have a refined list of possibilities rather than an endless, and perhaps confusing, list.  It also helps you with a bit of quality control.

Crowdsourcing Process in Action – Promoting Your Efforts

Don’t forget to promote the opportunity to get involved in your crowdsourcing efforts. Whether you are crowdsourcing ideas before your current event or during a previous event, make sure everyone knows they are invited to contribute and how to do it.

As with soliciting suggestions input, use your email list of current and previous attendees and other stakeholders; actively engage with your target audiences on your most active social media accounts and hangouts; and don’t forget in-app push notifications to get the word out.  Your website and blogs are also great promotional tools to let people know what you are doing.

Whatever methods you use to promote your event crowdsourcing efforts, it is important to reach as broad and diverse a segment of your targeted audience as possible.  It provides you a great pool of talent and ideas which you alone may never have thought of or even considered.  Perhaps two heads are better than one?  It also engages them as potential attendees to your event and provides them an opportunity to engage with you and your brand.

Crowdsourcing Conclusions

The benefits of crowdsourcing are clear – not only do you gain ideas from a diverse group of people and get more interesting results for your event but it also allows you to actively engage your attendees and ensures you are covering what they really want to discuss and learn at your event.  The potential for a richer attendee experience is greatly increased by involving them.  They will be much more engaged with your event and more likely attend if you include them in the decision-making process.  For you, it positions you as creative and innovative and if that isn’t enough, it can lighten your event programming load by including others in the process.  Between you and your crowdsourcing partners, you are creating a successful event.

About Us – 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, attendee and stakeholder feedback technology, 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!

 

 

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.

 

Online Event Registration: 7 Tools for a Better Attendee Experience

online event registration toolboxIn a previous rsvpBOOK “Bits from the BOOK” Blog, (Feeling Your Pain – Five Pain Points for Event Professionals), I talked about one serious pain point for event professionals is being stuck in old event registration and management habits.  Everything from paper registrations, voluminous binders with spreadsheets tracking attendance and event financials, long on-site check-in lines, paper evaluation surveys, and clumsy event reporting tools.

It’s really time to come into the twenty-first century and lose some of those very labor intensive event planning and management practices.  Break those old event habits, or at least the worst ones, and push your boundaries by adopting online event registration and management software.  When 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 and a much better experience for you and your attendees.

What’s online event registration have to do with having a better attendee experience?  More than most people (other than attendees) realize.  You don’t want to spin your wheels and are looking for ways to make your event easier.  Attendees are no different – just they are on the other side of the registration table – so to speak.  Put everything online – it not only expedites the registration process, but it also ensures more accurate information.

So what are some online event registration and management software tools which make a better experience for everyone?

Tool 1 – A Customized and Branded Online Event Registration Website

Don’t make your attendees search endlessly for your event information.  Create a custom, personally- branded online event registration website with a landing page which clearly describes your event and event details where attendees can visit and get event information.  Start with creating a design theme for your entire event that matches your brand colors and logos that will carry across your event website, registration form and marketing emails.  This provides your event important identification with attendees which they always will recognize.  Almost for this reason alone, a custom registration page and website is valuable in a registration platform.

And good news!  You don’t have to be a programmer to create your registration website either.  Using online event registration and management software like rsvpBOOK, you simply use preexisting but customizable templates.  Using a wide selection of easy-to-use tools, you can create, edit and manage your online event registration websites for all types and sizes of events and meetings.  rsvpBOOK helps you make a perfect first impression with attendees right from the beginning.

Tool 2 – We’re Going Mobile – Using Mobile Apps

While creating your website, you also can produce a web-based mobile app for your event.  According to CrowdCompass by Cvent, 44% of attendees use mobile event apps and that number is expected to continue to grow in the future.   A mobile app gives attendees the option to register wherever they are and at any time.   When half of your revenue comes from registration, you want to encourage it when the thought to do so is fresh in the registrant’s mind.

Mobile access also keeps you and your attendees connected and in contact.  Throughout the registration process – and during the event – you can send email notifications, automatic alerts, program schedule information and updates, session descriptions and additions, last minute meeting materials or location changes. Finally, that feedback survey you want attendees to fill out?  Yep, send that in a mobile-friendly format and forget the piles of paper to track.

These mobile app features are important to make your registration process and actual event less stressful, time-consuming for you and easier, more seamless for your attendees.  It is part of the attendee experience they have come to expect from you.  As an online event registration software provider, rsvpBOOK knows what you want in your web-based mobile app and provides it.  It’s what you expect from us.

Tool 3 – Got to be Nimble – Flexible Online Event Registration Options

As an event professional, you realize one registration option does not fit every event or meeting type.  If you are holding a conference, workshop or training classes, you may need to allow for registration by session.  If you are holding a fundraiser, you will want to provide your donors or sponsors the ability to donate through your event page or set up a group registration to help manage event tables.  If you are planning one main event, the registration process is also different.  Single or multiple sessions, fundraiser or social event like a wedding, flexible registration options are important.

Also important is allowing group registration and not just individual ones for your event registration website.   Group registration is a great way to increase overall attendance and at the same time simplify the registration process.   You want to get as many registrations as possible, as efficiently as possible and with as much ease for your attendees.  Whatever the situation, be prepared to handle the variety of registration needs smoothly and seamlessly and allow your website to accept both individual and group registrations.

rsvpBOOK’s online event registration software tools take the complexity out of the event registration process,  capturing information efficiently and accurately for you and simply and hassle free for event registrants.  Your website can be created to fit any event type, to manage one or multiple sessions, workshops or classes with ease, and to accept individual and group registrations.

Tool 4 – Multiple Payment Options, Adaptable and Automated Processes

Attendees want to pay in the manner in which they are most comfortable and familiar which requires your online event registration website to accommodate these personal preferences and provide multiple payment options.

Typically people choose to pay by credit card.  Others may forego credit cards (yes there are such people) and opt for a personal check.  Still others may feel more comfortable with PayPal.  Finally, there are times where company checks or electronic wire transfers are preferred.  In all cases, you need to accommodate multiple payment options to ensure the simplicity of your registration payment process for attendees.

Ease of payment makes a better attendee experience – and less of a headache for you as an event professional.  In addition, customize your flexible online payment process based on event types, registration types, discounts, refunds, and promotional codes all in one place.  Also save additional time by using automated purchase confirmation emails and receipt processing!  More efficient for you; more user-friendly for your attendees.

rsvpBOOK knows the sensitivity of online payment for you and attendees and has created tools to manage your payment process efficiently and securely.  Multiple payment options? Check.  Customized and automated online payment process? Check and check.  Saving you time and making payment more user-friendly.  Yes we do.

Tool 5 – Can you Hear Us Now?  We Like Social Networking!

What would the event world be like without social networking?   Online social networking has numerous purposes but for event professionals social networking is a great tool for creating buzz and publicizing your event before, during, and after it happens thereby boosting your attendance.  You use it but encouraging your attendees to use it by providing them easy access to social networking link icons via your event website and other online event registration and marketing communications, magnify its impact as an event marketing tool.

The popularity of Facebook as the social media choice leading up to an event and after an event is documented by the FreemanXP Event Marketing Institute.  Use the Facebook Event Manager tool to automatically post information about your event to your Facebook Events page.  The “in the moment” nature of Twitter makes it the “go to” social media platform to use during events using your event hashtag.  Although these platforms are the most popular, event professionals would be remiss to ignore others like Instagram (pictures are worth a thousand words) and LinkedIn (top site for reaching other professionals) for event marketing.  In the end, choosing the right mix of social network(s) depends a lot on which are the primary hangouts of your targeted audience so consider that when determining your social media outreach.

rsvpBOOK event management software includes social media tools which can help you create your event buzz and get the word out to help you raise attendance.  Our tools allow you and your event attendees to share links to your event through their social media profiles.  We help you quickly raise awareness in your social network and empower your registrants to help you as you broadcast and post your event details on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media networks.

Tool 6 – On-site Technology – Reducing the Check-in Lines

Ever show up at an event or meeting and the attendee line snakes around for what seems like a mile from the check-in table?  Perhaps long lines are not the top nightmare for attendees (and you), but certainly lands in the top five aggravations.  They are not a good attendee experience.  Are there solutions for this found with online event registration and management software?  Yes!

Professional event software like rsvpBOOK provides the on-site technology which takes the long lines out of checking in at an event or meeting.  Using scan guns connected to a laptop or PC only works well for larger events.  Scanning remotely using a smartphone or tablet app is another option that can be used for both small and large numbers of registrants.  For events or meeting with many registrants, Onsite Kiosks make check-in fast and easy and reduce check-in times.  The rsvpBOOK On-Site KIOSK Mode sets up a predetermined number of computers to allow last minute registrations, registrant self-check-in on-site badge printing and making final payments.  This arrangement removes the time consuming and labor intensive work from a potentially aggravating situation at any event or meeting.

Tool 7 – How’d We Do?  Online Attendee Feedback and Event Reports

If you’re using spreadsheets to keep track of the result of your event or meeting, you know how tedious and labor intensive it is.  There is a lot to keep track of including sales, attendance, after-event attendee survey responses.  With so many things to keep track of, there’s always the risk of incomplete information and errors.  In addition, it is laborious to compile the data and covert it to a format that is easily understood and shareable with others within your organization.  It’s time to ditch the paper and save time and money by going electronic with online surveys and real time accounting reports.  You and everyone else is curious to know how your event did and how to improve next time so work smarter, not harder.

Your attendees already have gone digital, so should your surveys to ensure optimum feedback on your event.   With rsvpBOOK software, you can design a custom attendee survey and easily send it automatically and track the results in real time.  And all that information can effortlessly be exported to any spreadsheet program of your choice.  Make it fast, easy, and green so you have that information for future planning as well as for your final reports to organization management.

And about those accounting reports to management?  With rsvpBOOK online event registration and management software, all the pertinent information is a click or two away.  You can track every part of your event with real time insights and quickly report revenues to your stakeholders with customizable report tools.  All reports are downloadable and can be exported to a spreadsheet program of your choice.  With rsvpBOOK software, no log in is required for sharing reports which are up-to-the-minute accurate.

Finding Your Online Event Registration Toolbox with rsvpBOOK

No time to spin your wheels?  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 want you to work smarter, not harder.

rsvpBOOK helps you streamline your event processes, from beginning to end, from website details, to on-site resources, and final accounting 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.

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!