A recent study into the uses of event software in the event management industry shows that event organisers are embracing the use of various technologies to help plan and manage their events. The research was conducted online, during the month of November 2009. Participants were asked to rate what type of event software they use on a regular basis. The four most popular tools were:
– Email Marketing
– Online Registrations
– Online Surveys
– Event Reporting & Analysis
13% of respondents said that the use of email marketing was now one of the main event software tools being used to help manage their events. This increase in use can be attributed to the advancing sophistication of such tools, as well as their ability to provide a cost effect method of promotion during the current recession.
Email marketing can be used to promote an event beforehand, to send targeted personalised invitations and to manage delegate surveys after the event has occurred. Email marketing software can now track how many emails are opened, deleted, what links were clicked, if the email was forwarded onto someone else and many more measurements. This is enabling event managers to learn from their past campaigns, helping to shape future promotions into more cost effective and efficient campaigns.
Linked into a database or CRM system, email marketing helps make the recipient/delegate selection even easier. The database can be segmented into various groups, with the message in the email invite tailored accordingly. Integrating the email software tool with a CRM system also means that the contact data will remain current and up to date at all time – automatically updated as and when contact information changes.
Since email marketing saves on printing and postage costs, it is now also becoming the method of choice for those organisations wishing to cut down on their event costs, as well as providing a more ethical, lower carbon option of event promotion.
After the event has occurred, event managers can use their email marketing tool to send follow up surveys. These can be personalised based on the delegate and can be automatically generated after the event. A link in the email will take the delegate to a webpage where they can complete an online survey. Event managers can easily track who has completed the survey and who has not yet even read the survey email; allowing them to make their follow up calls more productive.
Over half of all respondents of the survey (56%) also stated that the ability to allow delegates to register online was also an important part of modern event management. Online event registration empowers delegates to manage their own registration process – by removing event managers from this stage, it enables them to focus on more productive areas. Online registration forms can be customised to the individual event, ensuring that the specific data required from delegates is easily obtained. Registration forms can also be saved as a template, allowing them to be easily replicated for future, similar events.
Directing delegates to the host website to register also helps to boost website traffic and can be used in conjunction with online promotions to help increase the number of website visitors and online conversions in other areas.
The use of events software to help manage part or all of the event management process can be further extended to cover the post event analysis. Ensuring events provide a high ROI is one of the key metrics that event managers are measured on. Being able to effectively measure ROI and other KPIs quickly and effectively is now something that event planners demand. The use of event management software to quickly and accurately create post event reports means that event organisers are able to effectively evaluate the success of their events.
Used in conjunction with the email surveys mentioned earlier, event software reporting tools can measure event metrics such as:
· Attendance vs. Delegate registrations
· Expense to Revenue Ratio
· Conversion rate of invites sent vs. delegate registrations
· Delegate Lead Quantity and Quality
· Opportunities and Sales Cycle
Automatically importing the results of the email surveys into the event management software enables the user to create customised and event-specific reports. These can be done automatically by the software and has the ability to drill down into very minute detail. Quite often the process of creating post-event reports can be a very time consuming job, however the use of event software to help manage this activity means that event managers are able to quickly and easily see the results of their events.
Event software is now one of the fastest growing areas in the event management sector. Taking advantage of the benefits of automation and online software tools is helping to keep the event industry afloat during this recession. Increasing efficiency and reducing the cost of event management all helps increase the return on investment provided to both delegates and event hosts. Many event managers are choosing to use a full end-to-end event management software solution that encompasses:
– Website registrations
– Email marketing for promotion, invites and post event surveys
– Automatic badge production
– Resource management
– Online payment facilities
– Sophisticated reporting suites
Making the investment in a total event solution that offers all the event management functions required for event planning can help make the difference between a poor event and a successful event.