Soft&Apps: before, during and after the event
Your event strategy, like any marketing campaign, is cyclical. It’s built on the premise of: build, measure, learn and build again. Each event is an opportunity to improve off of the previous one. To flourish in the hearts and minds of your attendees and to conquer your campaign KPIs you have to use technologies and software all over the way: before, during and after events.
Before the Event
Before the event day arrives, a lot needs to happen. In this section we’ll examine tools for establishing and promoting your event.
Building an On-Brand Event Website
Your website is the digital home of your event. It is often the first impression that people will have of your event brand and what it stands for. In addition to hosting info about your event, your website will be where people got to register for your event. You have a lot of tools at your disposal:
-- Third-party Developer Tools: For building a website quickly, look no further than Wordpress, Squarespace or Wix. These tools all operate on the “freemium” model: they are free to use, but require payment to access additional features. While these tools do not come with event registration capabilities by default, you may be able to find a registration plug-in or integrate registration widgets from your event management software.
-- Custom Development: Whether you prefer to outsource the creation of your site or delegate it to an in-house developer, a custom developed website is an option that you may choose to go with. Here you can use registration widgets from event management software or even build out your own registration tools. However, if you do build your own registration tools, it’s important to note that any data you collect or process will likely need to be manually exported in order to integrate with other platforms.
-- Event Management Software: It is not uncommon for all-in-one event platforms to come with their own website tools. If you are using an all-in-one event software like Bizzabo, you will have access to a powerful event website builder that provides the flexibility and branding of a custom developed website with the ease of use of a third-party developer tool. Most importantly, anyone who registers for your event will automatically be integrated into your event technology stack.
Managing Event Registrations, the Event Agenda and Speakers
Once you’ve built out your website, you’ll need to manage an assortment of other tasks, such as building out your event agenda and managing registrations. While you could use a variety of tools for each specific need, you could also go with an all-in-one platform that seamlessly integrates data from all of the above. Why deal with customer support, legal and finance for multiple organizations when you can just do so with one?
Promoting Your Event with Email
According to the Event Success Formula, marketers from the most successful organizations believe that email marketing is the most successful channel for promoting live events. Executing a successful email marketing campaign is equal parts data and design. On the one hand, you want to intelligently segment email contacts based on your event objectives. On the other hand, you’ll want your contacts to read beautifully branded emails. Keep in mind that there are three essential ingredients that go into successfully promoting an event campaign: a CRM, marketing automation software and event management software.
Promoting Your Event with Social Media
Common best practices include having an event hashtag, monitoring social media channels for chatter about your event and leveraging influencers to help promote your event. We’ve found that attendees can often be the best event promoters. This is especially the case when you offer a referral program like Ticket Boost that incentivizes them to drive associates in their network to register.
Your event management platform should come with various features for promoting your event on social and measuring its success. When it comes to scheduling posts to be published, your marketing automation software is your best friend.
During the Event
In this section we’ll explore how technologies can help manage a variety of event-day processes, from checking in attendees to showcasing event sponsors.
Facilitating a Smooth Event Check-in
Leading up to your event, attendees will have many touchpoints with your event brand. They will have visited your website, received emails from your team and potentially have seen retargeting or paid ads. If someone has a lousy event check-in experience all of this can go out the window.
Fortunately, most event management solutions now come with intuitive tools for checking in attendees. Dedicated on-site management software like Boomset can provide an even more customizable check-in experience, in addition to other services like badge printing. Event management software and on-site management software can be integrated with one another for an even more powerful event check-in experience.
Tracking Session Registration
Who signs up for each session and which sessions are most popular with attendees is helpful to know. On the one hand, data on the amount of session registrations can tell you which sessions are most popular. On the other hand, knowing what sessions your attendees are interested in can help you craft future event content or post-event content for following up with attendees.
Both event management software and on-site management software can help here.
Attendee Networking and Engagement
As mentioned above, attendees have grown accustomed to using event apps to navigate through events. Below are several use cases for an event app.
- -- Viewing an event agenda and create their personal agenda
- -- Researching who will be at the event and networking with other attendees
- -- Participating in polls and surveys
- -- Learning about event speakers
- -- Receiving real-time event updates via push notifications
Giving Partners and Sponsors Exposure
Event sponsors are absolutely essential for making B2B events possible. For securing event sponsors and keeping them happy, event marketers need to demonstrate that their event is worth the investment. The same goes for other event partners.
Event marketers have multiple ways of making an event worthwhile through sponsorship packages. They can give a sponsor a booth at an event, showcase their logo on printed materials and give them shout-outs in media and emails. Some event apps offer dedicated features just for sponsors. For example:
- -- Dedicated sponsorship pages
- -- Special offers that drive attendees to specific web pages
- -- And the ability to track and measure attendee interaction with all of the above.
After the Event
The stage after your event is the time for driving action and optimizing your strategy.
Passing Leads on to Sales
Thanks to your event management software, you should have a list of everyone who is registered for your event. You may even have other information such as what sessions they attended, which sponsors they visited and more.
Once this info is synced with your CRM, your sales team will have a good idea of who they should reach out to next.
Naturally, you’ll want to make sure that these contacts are tagged with the event campaign. This will factor into marketing attribution and measuring ROI, which we’ll discuss below.
Following Up with Attendees
When it comes to following up with attendees, you have options. You can use your event management software or you can use your marketing automation platform. With event management software, it may be easier to make lists based on an attendee’s event activity. Conversely, the information passed to CRMs and marketing automation platforms may not have the same level of granularity, but will let you expand the scope of your email campaign beyond those who are in your event database.
Measuring Event Performance and ROI
Modern event management software comes with a variety of measurement tools built into it. You can measure revenue, registrations, the popularity of sessions, the exposure of sponsors and more—all through easy to read reports and visualizations.
Some platforms allow you to compare cross-event analytics so that you can easily see how one event performed in comparison with another.
Using data warehousing software, you can aggregate data from across your event technology stack. From there, you can use data visualization software to compile reports based off the resulting data. For example, an event marketer could create a report that pulls event revenue and attendee information from event management software and each attendee’s lifecycle stage from a CRM.
The sky's the limit when it comes to the technologies that you can use to help you with your event lifecycle:
- -- Event Management Software
- -- Event App
- -- On-site Event management Software
- -- CRM
- -- Marketing Automation Software
- -- Data Warehousing Software
- -- Business Intelligence & Data Visualization Software
At every stage of the event lifecycle there is the opportunity to harness technology to make you and your team more productive than ever before. In this post we covered the core technologies that can take your event strategy to the next level. As you continue to build out your event technology stack you may find other technologies that serve your event strategy.
- -- Leverage event management software, CRMs and the rest of your event stack to maximize productivity .
- -- Before your event, you can leverage technology to build the foundation of your event campaign and promote.
- -- During your event, you can leverage technology to showcase sponsors and partners, engage attendees and harvest valuable attendee data.
- -- After the event, technology can help you coordinate between different teams, follow-up with your attendees, create reports, visualize data and prove ROI.
- -- At every stage of the life cycle, ensure that your technology is seamlessly integrated so that no data is lost.
The perfect event technology stack starts with the perfect event software.