Even the most experienced event planner can find the entire process stressful, so imagine how challenging this would be without that level of expertise on hand. What are five of the key areas you should focus on, to help make your job a lot easier as you approach your event?
1. Your System
Your event registration process is, by definition, dynamic. You may have to reach out to individuals multiple times and each attendee may go through a process before they commit. To be realistic, many of your prospects will decline to attend on this occasion and some of them may initially sign up and then cancel. You’ve got to keep on top of all this or you could generate confusion, frustration and, worse yet, annoyance. Check the event status for each person in one location to see whether they have paid or whether you need to send a gentle reminder. In the event that you are oversubscribed, you’ll be able to manage your waitlist here as well.
Payment Gateway Integration
Nothing happens until those funds begin to come in — and when they do, make sure that you have a secure, safe and efficient process in place. You will need to integrate with your bank’s payment gateway system, so you can receive your funds immediately and have all the details on hand should you need to initiate any refunds.
How many times will you need to “touch” each prospect before they commit to attending? Marketing experts suggest this could be many, so you will need to have a system to automatically issue emails, linked to trigger events. For example, those who do not respond to your first invite can be sent one or more gentle reminders. When they do pull the trigger, then they should get an automated confirmation and a thank-you message. Just before the event, they should get a reminder, with important information and subsequently, a thank-you email when the dust has settled. You must have these email templates ready and a system configured to do this as automatically as possible.
2. Your Tools
Nobody goes far without their smartphone in their pocket and SMS communication has become one of the most efficient ways of keeping in touch with your prospects and attendees. You can use this tool 1) before the event to prompt people to sign up to attend, and 2) during the event, to remind them about breakout sessions, cocktail receptions and so on.
Event App and Barcodes
Good impressions begin when your attendees first arrive, and they don’t want to be standing in a long line while your staff shuffle papers and search for records. Instead, they will be impressed when they see your iOS-based app, which can make registration a breeze. Each attendee will be issued a barcode and this can be used to manage their registration and attendance throughout the function. Your app can be connected to a nearby printer, so you can wirelessly print their name labels and send them off to begin their networking.
You’ve got to put a lot of effort into your event invitations, as these must spur your prospect to take action. You will need to know how efficient each approach is and should link your templates to analytic tools to come up with the best approach.
3. Your Focus
Software Instead of a Team
All of these tasks can be inordinately time-consuming and will require the services of a complete team if you’re not careful. Surely, it’s better to use automated event management software instead? If you do so, you can focus your time on this management tool and should simply check off the tasks that move you towards your main goal. You’ll be able to avoid a lot of the unpredictability that can often be associated with event planning and no matter how good you are at organisation and time management, you are bound to reap the benefits.
4. Your Automation
You will be sending out hundreds or thousands of individual emails, but not necessarily all at the same time. You need to ensure that you have a different email strategy for each potential attendee, based on what action they may or may not take. This would be very difficult if not impossible to do manually, so email automation shines in this situation.
Likewise, SMS reminders can be tailored to specific situations and all designed to get the recipient to take action. None of this is done manually though, as it is all programmed into the event management software and messages sent when specific conditions are met.
You’ve got to be very careful when handling financial transactions and you need to avoid any issues with declined payments, chargebacks etc. You’ve also got to make sure that you get the money in a timely fashion, so you can pay all your bills. Consequently, you need to set up a safe and secure system, linked directly to your bank’s payment gateway and have a facility in place to deal with refunds or queries.
5. Your Feedback
So, how did you do? You need to get feedback from each and every attendee if possible, so you can take action to improve your product in the future. Each question that you ask needs to be meaningful and designed to solicit as much data as possible — and for this, you need a template approach. Also, make sure that you brand these templates from a marketing perspective and host them on a recognisable subdomain, so you get a good open rate. Then, once you’ve gathered all the data, you need to be able to analyse it, export for further crunching or to view the results in graphical form.
You’ll be amazed to see how much more efficient you can be when you automate your event management capabilities. You will be able to design, build and manage a branded event that you can be proud of and Swift Digital will be there to help you plan.
Take a close look at how many features you can pack into your event management campaign when you choose to work with Swift Digital. With all of these features and benefits, your event is bound to be a roaring success.
To find out how your business can get the best out of Swift Digital’s platform, contact our Sales Team today on 02 9929 7001.