Category: Attendee Engagement

Coronavirus – How to Manage Your Delegate Expectations

 

Coronavirus - How to Manage Your Delegate Expectations

The coronavirus has severely impacted event planners across the globe in a number of ways. Whilst the crisis continues, your delegates will want to know what you are doing. And it’s critical that you manage their expectations well – now more than ever.  In fact, a new research study from Eventsforce this month has found that 1 in 4 event planners see managing delegate expectations in the right way as one of the biggest challenges of the job right now.

You want to be doing everything you can to protect your delegates. You want to make things easier for them, continue educating them, whilst minimising their disruption and anxiety.  Doing this well can serve you well – it will also help you build trust and loyalty for your events in the long term.

Have a look at what things you need to be thinking about when managing delegate expectations in the three most common scenarios event planners are currently facing: Cancelling or postponing events, going ahead with events (if not in immediate future) and making the move to virtual.  We also share some thoughts on how to communicate with delegates, regardless of the situation.

Read: What event planners need to know about Coronavirus

Cancelling or Postponing Your Event     

In many parts of the world, it is now illegal to hold gatherings of people that exceed a certain number. In the UK, that number is as small as two. Even if there are no legal restrictions on hosting events, you may decide it would be best not to anyway.

Whatever the situation, you need to be clear with your delegates. Have you cancelled your event or has it been postponed to a new date? What do you want delegates to do when they find out? Do you want them to phone your office, do you want them to e-mail, or do they need to complete a form on your website? Whatever you want them to do, be sure that your office is adequately resourced to be able to deal with the questions that delegates will have. You may need to draft in some temporary help.

Cancelling or postponing your event will have an immediate impact on your delegates. They may have booked flights, accommodation and paid for their tickets to attend. And as such, come the issue of refunds.

Do you give delegates a part refund, a full refund or credit for your next event? The actions you take will depend in large part on your ticketing policy. If you are waiting for a decision from your insurance company on whether you will be able to pay refunds, then let your delegates know that is your current position.

Let them know how long it’s likely going to take for a refund or claim to be processed. If you bolster your FAQs page on your event website and direct people to it for the latest updates, make sure you are keeping on top of it. If you don’t, it will soon appear neglected, which is not good.

Use the most effective communication channels to get your messaging out. You may want to use your event app, but it’s unlikely that delegates would have downloaded it anyway because most people only do that just before or at the event. So it’s better to use more obvious channels like email and getting them to check your event website regularly too.

If your event is postponed, it’s essential that you continue to build the excitement to it. Even though your original event date has changed, you can create interest along the way to the new date. It’s more important than ever that you continue to update delegates with the information for the event and keep them engaged.  This article on post-event attendee engagement may be handy for some ideas.

Going Ahead with Your Event      

If your event is still going ahead (say it’s scheduled for later in the year), it’s important that you give peace of mind to delegates that they will be safe. In addition to building the buzz around the event and communicating the usual essential information, it will be super important to show what precautions you will be taking on-site.

Have a think about what a delegate will want to know when they are at your event. If you have networking as an activity, what will you do to make sure that it is safe? Your job is not to increase the stress levels of your delegates, so explain what your networking looks like. When it comes to sitting down for lunch, how will that be organised? Will you cater for small groups of people at separate times? Will you have hand sanitisers close to the stage for delegates and speakers to access? Remember delegates may be touching microphones as they answer questions from the floor.

If you walk through the delegate journey and think of what they are likely to touch and if you have any crowds forming at entrances or registration desks, you can make a plan of how to deal with them. Once you have the plan, publish it and inform your delegates. Provide them with the assurance that you are absolutely looking after their safety.

Related reading: How to avoid long queues at events

There are many ways you can communicate how you will keep delegates safe at your event. For example, through your event website, through personalised emails, through social media, through signage at the event and of course with your event app. This is where an event app can be very useful as you can use push notifications at the event as reminders to delegates of personal hygiene measures that everyone needs to be exercising. It’s easy for people to forget, especially when they see colleagues and friends that they haven’t seen for a while.

Pivoting to a Virtual Event  

Rather than cancelling or postponing your event, you may be able to move it to a virtual format. Is it possible for your event to make that shift? Probably. Let’s take a conference that has speakers and break-out sessions and a bit of networking. You can quiet easily replicate that in a virtual format these days. It just takes some design thinking. The technology is available, there are platforms you can use and specialist advisors who can help.

Related reading: The event planner’s guide to free live-streaming tools on social media

As far as your delegates are concerned, you may need incentives for them to join. There are plenty of things you can offer. For example, maybe your conference has a scaled down agenda which means they save time by attending but still get the invaluable content. Plus, you could arrange for the sessions to qualify for CPD points. Then, you could let them know, that they can still earn their CPD points by attending online sessions (some professionals association members depend on these for their career development). You could also mention networking.  And the carbon footprint impact. Whatever incentives you use, it’s important that your delegates know that your virtual event will help them.

Your messaging will need to let delegates understand how to register, whether they need to pay and which web-link to use to access the livestream. Then they will be able to attend as a remote (virtual) delegate. Be sure to remind them to have their sound turned on, otherwise they will not hear the great content.

You could suggest they close other browser windows, so as not to become distracted, plus it may reduce their connectivity speed. And of course, you will need to make sure they are connected to the internet. Whilst these steps seem basic, the majority of queries that arise are from delegates not being properly set up.

Think about how you can help your delegates make the most of the virtual platforms that you will be using? How can they send in questions or make comments? It pays dividends to hold their hand to get going.  Imagine your delegate has never attended a virtual event before.  Go through the steps, map their journey (as you would for a live event) and then you can create helpful advice for all delegates.

Provide detailed instructions and helpful advice in their information packs when they register. Plus, if you create a short explainer video around getting the most out of the experience that can be very useful. After all, becoming tech frustrated is not the way you want a delegate to experience your virtual event

Related reading: 7 mistakes to avoid when using Facebook Live

Other Important Considerations:

1) Maximise Social Media   

Social media is a great way to market your event. But it’s also a great way to communicate important announcements and updates. With public facing events, social media could be used to inform your delegates of the actions you are taking whilst the coronavirus crisis lasts.

It doesn’t matter whether you are postponing or cancelling, whether you are going ahead with your event or whether you are pivoting your event to being virtual, social media will help.

You will need a strategy otherwise you will waste time and energy. Target the right social media channels that your delegates use and have a simple hashtag for your event. A hashtag that is easy to remember and spell.

2) Speak to Delegates in the Right Way    

What is the right way to talk to your delegates? It’s a tough question, but even in times of crisis, you should be using your usual tone and style. Think of safety briefings on flights. The airline has its own voice and you know how the airline staff will treat you. What’s common to every airline, however, is that they want you to listen to their safety announcement. You could adopt the same approach when you issue your messages to your delegates.

Be clear when making your statements. How clear is your message? How would you react if you received the message? Put yourself in the place of the delegate. If you have any ambiguity in your messaging, you can guarantee that you will confuse your delegates. It’s not something you want especially when you are seeking to offer calm reassurance.

3) Keep Communicating   

It’s essential that you keep communicating with your delegates at any time, but this is heightened especially at the time of a crisis. The timing of when to release information is critical. The crisis is happening and you need to let delegates know what that means for them. If you don’t say anything, delegates will fill the void with their own interpretation of what’s going on – and you don’t want to do that.

Related reading:  How to handle a big crisis at your event

There are some basic principles you should follow, such as being honest, not making things up, providing clear guidelines, keeping to timelines for updates and remaining optimistic but realistic in tone. Your communications can be issued with regular follow up. You can do this easily through your event management system which can manage all your delegate emails, app notifications, updates on your event website(s) and through adjusting registration and supplementary forms to ask important questions that have become relevant.

Whilst you are working through the crisis and having lots of communication with your delegates, do not forget that there will be malicious scammers looking to steal personal data. A crisis can easily hide their activities, so be mindful of protecting personal data and complying with GDPR as well as managing the expectations of delegates and looking after their personal safety.

Keep communicating and be clear. With so much ambiguity coming from the media, governments and other suppliers, your delegates will appreciate your efforts as you demonstrate that you take crisis communications very seriously.

Use the technology, use your network and keep learning. The coronavirus crisis will eventually pass but in the meantime you need to do everything you can to manage your delegates’ expectations regardless of the situation you are in.


Considering a move to virtual events? Eventsforce can help you deliver your sessions online and engage with audiences in the same way you would for your in-person events.  Click here for more information or get in touch for a chat.

If you are an Eventsforce customer whose events have been impacted by COVID-19, please get in touch with your account manager for information on how we can help.

 

How to Use Video Emails for Attendee Engagement

 How to Use Video Emails for Event Marketing

It’s a fact. No other marketing channel can communicate as quickly and successfully as video.  We see it on websites, social media and other online platforms – and it works.  So using video in your event’s email marketing makes a lot of sense if you want to boost engagement, drive brand engagement or simply get people to click through and sign up!

After their hugely popular post on top subject lines for event email campaigns, we decided to once again speak to email marketing automation experts, Moosend, to understand exactly what are the benefits of using video in emails, what kind of tools organisers can use and what forms of video work best to boost engagement with attendees.

What is Video Email Marketing?

Video email marketing is an email marketing strategy that uses, as you might have already guessed, videos. Alternatively, you can also have GIFs (both animated and cinemagraph GIFs), static images with a play button that redirects the recipient to the actual video of the sender’s choice, and of course, HTML5 videos.

The amount of engagement this tactic can bring is crazy. And events are all about interaction and engagement.

As seen in a report by Forrester, a video in your email marketing campaign can help you increase your CTR by 200-300%. Some reports also show that just by including the word ‘video’ in an email subject line can have enough of an impact to increase your open rates! This is the first benefit you need to keep in mind.

Secondly, moving images appeal to a prospect’s curiosity and can satisfy it quicker and easier than simple images. This is why video tutorials, for example, are so popular.

Lastly, videos have the tendency to get shared around pretty quickly, resulting in a brand or company going viral.

So, increased CTR, social shares, going viral and more attention to your marketing emails? Not too shabby, especially when promoting an event, right?

Top Tools for Video Email Marketing

You can go nowhere without knowing what you can use, in order to make video email marketing work for you. Below is a list of tools we’d recommend using:

MoosendYou’ll get the benefit of including a static image with a play button in the email. If one clicks on the image, they get taken to the video. No muss, no fuss, no video code issues that could get your email into the spam folder.

TailoredMailThis platform promises to allow users to embed actual videos in their email campaigns, as well as podcasts and carousel images.

Mailchimp – One of the best-known platforms, Mailchimp uses the static image approach as well. It will get a thumbnail of your video and merge it into the content of your email with an overlay of a play button.

MixMax – With Vidyard by MixMax, you’ll be able to select a video in your camera roll or record and upload a video on the spot, and embed it in your email.

Hyperise – This platform allows you to create hyper-personalised images and embed them in emails. Combine that with the overlay of a play button and there you have it!

Lemlist – One of those platforms that use personalised clickable thumbnails to save you the HTML5 time and hassle. Oh, and it specialises on cold emails, too!

As you can see for yourself, there are not many platforms that can embed actual HTML5 videos in their email campaigns, mainly because this form is not supported by most email clients and you can’t risk to afford your email going to waste.

So, by using the personalised GIF and/or static image with a video button overlay tactic, you’re bound to entice more people, as most email clients support those.

Top Considerations for Your Video Email Campaigns

Let’s look at the first steps you need to take if you want to be sure that video email marketing is definitely what you need, the moment you need it.

1.Who Is Your Target Audience?

Defining your target audience is one of the first things you’ll need to clarify, even before you create a marketing strategy and decide on your marketing collateral.

An appealing message will make all the difference. Not everyone needs to see a testimonial video and even if they do, they don’t need to see the same things.

By knowing your audience you’ll make sure you can create a video email marketing campaign that will resonate with them and the goals you’re trying to achieve.

2.What Are Your Goals?

You need to take a good look at your data and see which segment of your audience would be interested in the message that would serve your goal at that specific point in time. And then work with what you have.

So, let’s assume now that your target audience simply loves videos and you see great results in those video email marketing campaigns. Take some time to review what you did send.

Why did it work? Was it luck or good relevant content?

3.Can You Match the Video to Your Content Strategy?

You’ll need to align your video content with your overall content strategy. The reason behind that lies in your target audience. Just take a look at some not-so-rough numbers:

(Source)

As you see, your tone of voice is one of the most important things for your brand. It makes you memorable, it builds trust and it can make your audience identify with your core values.

Remaining true to your brand’s tone will create a seamless experience and will allow your prospects to share your content around if they feel like it. This will increase the possibility of your video going viral.

Oh, and mind you, your brand’s tone includes brand colors. So, be very careful about that.

Related reading: 3 Important Content Marketing Tips for Event Professionals

4.Aim for a Clean Email List

None of your email marketing efforts will work otherwise. A clean email list is pretty much your best and surest shot at success. Why?  Have a look:

  • Reduced bounce rates. Lower bounce rates mean lower spam rates.
  • Higher deliverability rates. This will get ISPs to trust you. Good reputation gets you everywhere in life and in email marketing.
  • Hitting the inbox every time. Emails that bounce, emails that get no response and those that get delivered to inactive accounts will do you no favours.

A clean email list is your most important tool when it comes to getting your event’s message across and hitting that fantastic ROI.

Top Video Emails for Marketing Events

Okay, so you’ve decided what your brand’s tone should be, you’ve nailed your data, you’ve even set your goals and created your marketing strategy.

Now what?

Well, now you need to find the type of video that would make your audience RSVP easier. What type works best will depend on your event’s campaign and goals.

1.The Pre-Event Video

This kind of video should be a roundup of all the things leading up to your event. What was it that urged you to create it?  What are the needs of your audience that the video addresses?

This type of video in your email marketing campaign will work beautifully for first-timers. People who don’t have a clear image of what your brand is all about will be able to see why you felt the need to create such an event.

If you’re about to host an event for an online school opening, send a “How to start an online school” sort of video that will be able to show bits and pieces of the process.

This video’s aim is to inform with snippets of what’s to come, through brief, fun and engaging explanation.

2. The Behind-The-Scenes Video

In these types of videos, it’s all about showcasing the preparation process behind your event. Perhaps you can include bloopers, too!

This type of video differs from the pre-event video in one key thing: The behind-the-scenes bits can be anything. From the concept or creation of a product or an idea, to introducing one of your employees or one of the key people behind your event.

Your data will be the ones to show you the type of audience this would work best for. Use your event management software to segment your lists according to the data you have on people from registrations or past events.  Look into your website analytics too.

This video aims to inform your prospects about your own actions and brand as an event organizer and it would be, much like the pre-event video, perfect for first-timers as well as fly-bys.

3. The Former-Event-Video

A video that features snippets of former events that took place, along with the coverage of the press for the event(s) mentioned, could be one of the best means to advertise your brand and how it works.

If you’re targeting new attendees or would like to engage one-timers to become returning delegates, this sort of round-up video email marketing campaign is for you.

A former event video can showcase the end result and, combined with social proof, will definitely keep those you want to nudge gently (further) down the sales funnel, on their toes.

It will be a great way to showcase what your actions are and the quality of the events you can plan.Also, the former event video in your video email campaign can serve as an explainer video and a gentle reminder of the quality of your services.

4. The Testimonial Video

This is one of the most useful. Testimonials of attendees from previous events are the best way to use social proof to your advantage.

These types of videos can be used to engage those that have never attended and those that are not sure if they’d like to come to another one of your events.  If you combine that with influencer marketing, then you’ve got a certain win.

Check, for example, how selling on Instagram works. Influencers are constantly promoting products, services or events through videos.  Imagine how much engagement brownie points you could get from collaborating with an influencer on a testimonial video!

Related reading: How to Choose the Right Influencers for Your Event Marketing Activities

The Event Follow-Up Video

The event follow-up video will serve as a thank-you to all attendees. It will also keep them posted about future events. This particular video email campaign would be what would showcase the value of your event, after everything’s been said and done.

So, let’s assume that you’ve organised a fundraiser. By sending out an event follow-up, you can thank attendees for participating and inform them of how much money was raised. It’s important that you make clear that none of that would have happened, had it not been for them.

This format works best for those that actually attended your event. You need to thank them first. And, perhaps, urge them to share your message around.

Conclusion

Of course, video email marketing in and of itself is not the only tool that can help your efforts.  A pre-event video can be paired wonderfully with a landing page that will be optimised according to the advice of your trusted SEO services, especially for that lead-gen and sales aspect.

An online form that features a small snippet of what’s included in your video email campaign would be perfect for those lead-gen opportunities.

And our last-but never least-honourable mention should go to content that is shareable. Urge your prospects to share your email that features the video you’re trying to promote. Nothing is a better new lead magnet than shareable content and turning your prospects or attendants to brand ambassadors.


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How to Choose a Mobile Event App

Why cost should not be the reason you choose an event app

Event apps are no longer an option for many events today. Tech-savvy delegates expect them. Sponsors, partners and exhibitors dive into the granular data they get from them. In fact, according to a recent research study from Eventsforce, a staggering 81% of planners cited driving attendee engagement as their number one reason for using event apps.

When integrated seamlessly with your events, event apps can help you deliver a personalised experience at scale. But with so many apps out there all offering similar features, how do you choose the right one?

Why Cost is NOT the Reason to Choose an Event App

Whilst research shows cost is the biggest determining factor for organisers when deciding on whether to use an event app, it shouldn’t be the only one. Doing so could lead to all sorts of issues for you and your delegates.  Issues you never anticipated.

With that in mind, let’s look at 8 other important considerations that we believe should be included in your event app decision making process.

1) Functionality  

What functionality will the event app provide? What do you need it to provide? There would be little point in buying an event app that didn’t do all that you needed from it. Review the attributes you need and then find out if they are provided. If they are not, would you be compromising the delegate experience?

For example, do you need functionality that allows delegates to search an event programme, create their own schedules or use an interactive floor plan? What you need will depend on your event but there will be some functionality that is absolutely needed and some functionality that is nice to have. Research from Eventsforce, for example, shows session information and personalised agendas ranked as the most popular app features used by attendees. You would therefore be wise to include such items as requirements. But only you, will be able to decide whether the event app being considered is going to work for you and enhance your productivity and deepen the delegate experience.

2) Ease of Use

Simplicity of your event app is key for two main reasons. One for you as the organiser and secondly for your delegates. For you, the planner, the app should be designed not only to enable you to do more, but also to make your life easier. It should be easy to set up and empower you to focus on delivering the best event experience possible for your guests, not on learning and navigating cumbersome screens that add complexity.

For your delegates, event app design is key to whether apps are downloaded and used. If it’s too difficult for people they will give up and simply not use it. To boost engagement your app needs to be straightforward and a joy to use. Don’t forget that the app plays a part in the overall attendee experience. The app doesn’t need to have all the latest bells and whistles. As long as it has the right features that delegates value, then an event app that has been designed intuitively and is easy to use for attendees, will be spot on.

3) Support       

Event planners understand that there are a lot of things that can go wrong with an event. The stress can be enormous. They certainly don’t want to add event app technology glitches into the mix. The event planner needs to know that if there is a problem, support is readily available to help.

According to research from The Event Manager Blog, 40% of event professionals are still uncomfortable with event technology, and having strong support is one of the most deciding factors in their buying decision. With an attendee-facing tool like your event app, it is crucial to have quick and knowledgeable staff available to help you with any problems that might occur – before, during and after the event.

4) Integration     

Integration between different technology systems is essential. If the technology cannot be integrated, then event planners will just add to their workload. Seamless integration is imperative. Integrations connect your different tools and make them work together automatically. If your technology is fragmented, you will be wasting time, energy and data.

However, most technology suppliers are well aware of the demands of planners and offer integration services. Your event app providers should be able to customise connections between theirs and your existing software to fit your event.  Or you can deal with one provider who manages all your registration and app data on one centralised platform.

Make sure you review what you can integrate from your current event technologies into the app. This could (and should) include ticketing solutions, digital maps and interactivity tools for audience engagement.

5) Time    

Time is never the friend of an event planner. There is always a need to find more of it. An event app should help you with this. You need to be clear on whether the event app can help you avoid duplicating your work load. Running an event requires many programme updates and they should mirror each other on your website and the event app. Having to input changes twice wouldn’t be the best use of your time.

Remember, apps bring value to events only when they successfully connect attendees to the right content and right people at the right time. To do this effectively, organisers need to make sure that the information attendees see on apps is always accurate and up-to-date.

Ask the provider about some scenarios before committing. For example, can the event app block attendees from registering for sessions that take place at the same time, can you define quotas on the number of people per session based on room capacity and will attendees receive notifications to rate a speaker? These are just some questions that come to mind. If the event app doesn’t help save you time, it’s not helping.

6) Security   

The event app you finally choose needs to be strong in terms of security and data protection. GDPR has highlighted the whole business of data protection and mobiles being infected with harmful viruses is one of the ways that organisations can be vulnerable to attack. If you want to boost your event app engagement you need to give attendees reassurance that they are safe and that in choosing the event app you haven’t taken any short cuts at the expense of security protection.

It was pretty devastating for the Conservative party when it was discovered that their 2018 conference app had a security flaw that allowed anyone to access the personal data of attendees. Logging into the app only required an e-mail address with no additional verification being needed. Don’t go down the same path. Make sure your security is top notch.  It’s more important than ever.

Read: The Event Planner’s Guide to Data Security

7) Analytics    

Analytics are super important for event evaluation, the planning of future events and reporting back the hard numbers to the senior leadership team. If the event app you decide to proceed with doesn’t have relevant and insightful reporting, then you will be at a disadvantage.   Also, where is the ROI?

A great event app will help you demonstrate with hard numbers: the who, what, where and when. What sessions did your delegates go to, which downloads did they access etc. It’s invaluable information. Plus you will be able to see and benchmark your event app adoption rate. When data is critical for event success, you definitely need analytics to help you.

Read: How to Boost Adoption of Your Event App

8) Monetisation    

The monetisation opportunities you can get with your event app is another consideration to take into account. Does the app have the ability to monetise your conference or exhibition? Can it drive leads for your exhibitors and sponsors? Helping your sponsors and suppliers connect with attendees in a personalised way through sponsors adverts, targeted notifications, logo placement and information about their product gives ROI to these partners. If the app doesn’t have the capability of helping you increase revenue through monetisation, you could easily miss out on golden opportunities to work more closely with sponsors and exhibitors. Monetisation is also another way in which the investment in the event app can pay for itself.

Conclusion

Event apps entice event planners with their latest features and benefits. If the app is free or low cost, it can become even more tempting for some event planners. Especially those that are under considerable pressure to demonstrate cost savings whilst still delivering an engaging attendee experience. Cost becomes a real consideration, but as we have highlighted it shouldn’t be the main consideration. Just as important are functionality and integration – and these are things that can easily go wrong with free or cheap apps.

What is needed is an event app that will enable you to focus on optimising your attendee experience, without worrying about an event app that only does half the job.

Take a breath before you commit to an event app and think strategically. How will the chosen event app work to help your strategic event objectives? If it will, then great. But if you are buying on cost alone, it’s likely to be an expensive mistake in the long run.


Want to create the app experience your attendees want?  Eventsforce Mobile is an intelligent app designed to engage people and deliver event success.  Schedule demo to find out more!

 

 

 

8 Event Marketing Ideas to Boost Attendance

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Creating buzz and excitement around your events is so important as it makes it easier to convince people why they should attend in the first place. As well as encouraging them to sign up, successful event promotion can also drive people to share their experiences more and come back year after year.

Whether you’re looking for some fresh new ideas or want to go back to basics, have a look at our list of popular marketing activities that engage people and convince them to come to an event:

1) Create Exclusive Content      

Content is so important – specifically exclusive content that is not available anywhere else. The content can take any form: such as blogs, podcasts or videos. But the key point is that this is new content. It is not recycled content.

You can create interest around your event by developing sneak previews of what will be on offer. For example, let’s say that your key speaker for a medical event is an expert in Toxicology. She has written many books on the subject. Her previous talks are available on YouTube and she has presented several webinars. Many potential attendees may already be aware of her work.

What you need to do is to offer people a sneak preview of what she will talk about that is new. Promoting the fact that she will be a speaker will generate some interest but with exclusive content you can really ignite potential attendees and increase their anticipation.

Related reading: 3 Content Marketing Tips for Event Planners

2) Harness the Power of Video    

Video is a great tool for marketing events. It gives your attendees the opportunity to learn more about your event and does a good job of conveying the personality of your organisation. It also is a lot more engaging than text.  Forrester Research claims that a minute of video can be equivalent to 1.8 million words.  That is the equivalent of 3,600 typical web pages!

Mini videos can be extremely useful to aid your marketing efforts. You could create a number of mini 30-second video clips and release them as part of your campaign over a period of time, building interest in your event.

As well as previewing what is to come, you could use testimonials as part of your awareness raising. You could also get a few people to talk about why they are coming to your event.

The opportunity to use videos and tell the story of your event before it’s happened is enormous as long as you keep in mind the benefit to your viewer of attending.  For more ideas, check out this article that lists a number of ways you can use video when promoting events.

3) Use Partners and PR

Events as you know, are not produced in a bubble. There can be any number of partners involved helping to bring your event to life. Just think of possible partners that could help with broadening the reach of your marketing. Partner up with the host venue, host destination, sponsors, an association(s) or speakers and discover ways in which you can work together.

For example, when working with a speaker you could ask them to produce a blog post or a mini video clip for you. It doesn’t have to be about the content they will deliver at your event. It could be on a separate subject, but it will provide potential attendees with a glimpse of the speaker.

You could provide partners with some pre-written social media messages, including registration pages and maybe a discount code to share with their followers or members. Promote your partners and tag them on social media channels.

If you can also obtain coverage in their newsletters or LinkedIn group(s) that would also help.  It’s all about spreading the message far and wide. Don’t forget to use PR where you can. You or your partner(s) may have an agency that can help with media interviews, show previews and by-lined articles.

4) Engage Influencers and Use Word of Mouth  

People are basically social. We rely on our circle of family and friends for support and assistance. We tend to trust people we admire and often model our behaviour after theirs. This fact along with the explosion of the internet and social media has led to the rise of digital influencers and influencer marketing.

Traditionally, an influencer could be anyone from an A-list celebrity to a subject matter expert. The only criterion being that they must have a substantial following on some type of online platform.

But, let’s change our thinking from seeing the ideal influencer as someone who has an impressive number of followers, to someone who might have a smaller but more relevant following. You can use micro influencers who are immersed with your target audience. They are extremely valuable and often have highly engaged followers.

As well as using influencers, you can use of word of mouth as another technique to boost attendance. Encourage your attendees and interested parties (stakeholders) to talk about the event and inspire people to come along. Word of mouth is great for getting people who are not on your email lists, in your event management system or on your social media radar.

Related reading: How to Choose the Right Influencers for Your Event Marketing Activities

5) Get Your Email Marketing Right   

Email marketing is essential for promoting events. It is also one of those things that needs to be executed in the right way. For example: creating the email invitation, inviting VIPs and maximising email signatures are just three things that spring to mind.  If you get any of these wrong, you could be in trouble.

Invitations are one of the most important things to get right. They help set the tone of an event and are often one of the first opportunities to make a good impression with potential attendees. However, research has found that getting people to open that email, click through and sign up to the event is something most organisers struggle with when it comes to event invitations. Strong subject lines and simple design and layout of your email will help.

Related reading: How to Create Invites that Draw People to Your Events

If you decide to invite people as VIPs, then make sure that they are significant to your event. Some organisations send VIP invites to lots of people without filtering who really should be a VIP. Send your special invites to the people that really matter. A small number of well-considered invitations could make a big difference to the success of your event.

Email signatures are often overlooked but they provide a great way of amplifying your event. Include a call to action to drive more registrations. Change the email signature as you get closer to the event and highlight different aspects of it.

6) Make Your Social Special  

Social media is another effective way of promoting events.  But you will need a strategy, otherwise you will waste time and energy. Target the right social media channels for your audience – there is no point creating buzz in the wrong places.

You will need a variety of content to share and a posting schedule. You can reflect your events’ branding throughout the campaign by replacing generic background images with event logos and your event hashtag.

You can tag in people that are participating such as speakers, hosts, the planning team and maybe delegates that have registered (just make sure you don’t violate any GDPR rules). Have a simple hashtag for your event, one, that is easy to remember and spell. Incorrect spellings of your hashtag will not help your marketing.

If you have some budget, you may choose to buy advertising or sponsor content on social media channels. There is currently a trend to do more paid social as the organic reach of social media is reducing – especially on platforms like Twitter. Use search engine marketing platforms like Google’s AdWords where you can pay to have your event advertised at the top of a search results page.

A combination of paid and organic social media is likely to provide you with the best results.

7) Use Text Messaging

Messaging potential attendees is another way to boost attendance. Not all of your marketing messaging should be done through using only email or social media. There are other ways in which you can get your message across. Some people respond well to texts or messaging apps. Whilst others are happy to take a phone call (yes it still happens).

Then there are messaging apps that you can use. For example, WhatsApp and Slack are pretty good for building interest and community.

Whatever means of messaging you decide to use, it has to work for your potential attendees.  You will probably need to use a combination of methods as everyone has a preference on how they like to be contacted. You should be able to locate their contact preference information within your event management solution.  Systems like Eventsforce can also help you track this consent to ensure you’re always communicating with attendees in a GDPR compliant way (watch video).

8) Personalise Registration & Don’t Forget Discounts   

Though it has its own set of challenges and can vary in effectiveness from one event to another, personalisation doesn’t have to be as complicated as one might think. Most organisations today use some form of automated system to manage registrations around their events and it is good starting point for any kind of personalisation you may want to do.

You could use your event management system to personalise the registration journey for your different audiences to demonstrate how important they are. For example, having a unique registration path for your VIP guests will ensure the questions and prices offered to them aren’t visible to other attendees which will make them feel that the whole experience was ‘personalised’ for them the whole time.  You can get all sorts of similar personalisation ideas from this industry eBook – ‘The Event Planner’s Guide to Personalisation’.

An event management system should also provide you with the flexibility of offering tiered pricing, one off sales and early booking discounts. Using discounts is one way to boost event attendance but it shouldn’t be the one that you rely on.

Conclusion

The ideas we’ve outlined can be mixed and matched according to the individual event. Some techniques will work better for some events than others. The important thing to remember though is to adjust as needed. Make sure you have a strategy for your event marketing campaign and understand why you are following certain actions.

In all the ideas, there is a simple common thread: You have to be clear on what you are saying and why people should come to your event. If you are not clear, it doesn’t matter how many things you do or how much money you spend, your efforts will fail.

Understand who your potential attendees are, use straightforward language, offer a clear proposition and you should see the results you want.


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How to Avoid Long Queues at Your Events

How to Avoid Long Queues at Your Events

It’s never a good experience for attendees to arrive at an event and be welcomed with long queues. Last week, organisers of RuPaul’s first-ever DragCon UK had to apologise to fans who were unable to get into the venue – despite being ticket holders and waiting for hours outside. As an event planner, you may have your own horror stories with attendees waiting in the wind and rain to enter an event. Or maybe you have personally queued for hours only to find out it’s already over capacity?

Either way, long queues shouldn’t happen.

As well as having a negative impact on the attendee experience which can be long lasting and damage future engagement and perception, there is also the very real issue of health and safety concerns.  First impressions matter too and waiting too long in line to get access to the event is not a good start – for anyone.

With that in mind, we have put together seven things you can do to help minimise the impact of queues at events and help you deliver the experience your attendees want. Have a look:

1) Use Your Event Data to Predict Attendance      

You can use event registration data to predict and manage attendance. Data from pre-registration is invaluable as a start point. You will then need an estimate of walk-in attendees. This may be more difficult to calculate but you can look at patterns of attendee numbers for past or similar events.

Any historic information you have on attendee flow will also be useful. For example, are more delegates likely to turn up around lunch time just before the keynote speaker takes to the stage? You can also look for sign-ups to your sessions to help predict which sessions are likely to be more popular. This data will enable you to understand when a sudden occurrence of people is likely. You can then prepare accordingly.  Event management systems like Eventsforce can help you do this quite easily – with real-time information on all session registrations.  You can also look at chatter on social media channels to see which sessions and speakers people seem to be most excited about.

New eBook: The Event Planner’s Guide to Good Data Management

2) Brief On-Site Staff, Volunteers and Security personnel   

Ensure that you have fully briefed staff, volunteers and security personnel who will be working at the heart of the registration area. It is essential that everyone pulls together and understands their responsibilities. Make sure the staff and volunteers understand who is in charge, what decisions they need to refer and when they can go for breaks, etc.

Security staff are invaluable in helping make sure that the venue is protected and event attendees remain safe. By working with them and utilising their experience you can gain insights that will help enhance the registration process. For instant communication and to facilitate working together (especially in case of crisis situations) you may want to create an internal group on WhatsApp. Don’t forget to have extra resources (people) on standby if you expect an influx that you cannot handle.

Read: How to Handle a Big Crisis at Your Event

3) Design Your Event Registration Area  

Think about the attendees’ journey from the moment they come into the registration area to the point at which they enter the event. The more obvious and efficient you make the area, the more it will enhance the experience. Whilst it is unlikely that delegates will make positive comments about the registration area, you can be sure that they will complain if it’s not up to scratch.

Once inside the registration area, is it obvious where people need to go? Where does a VIP go? Where do visitors that have pre-registered go? Members of the press? Clear and bold signage should be used. Easy to read signage is crucial and can have a significant impact on first impressions when people arrive. Your attendees don’t want to start their journey by standing in the wrong queue.

4) Make Event Check-in Super Simple   

Check-in should be super simple. Make sure that the technology you use will assist with this. Self-service systems like Eventsforce Kiosk, for example, can cut the whole process of check-in and badge printing to seconds. Your attendees can check-in to an event through a simple name search or QR code scan and print their badges on the spot. Full integration with your registration solution ensures that the kiosks always display the most accurate and up-to-date registration information.  This means that even your walk-ins won’t face any issues in finding their details on the system and checking-in.

Systems like these also provide valuable real-time data on attendance levels. The event manager can use their mobile phone to access the analytics tools and see in real-time how many people are checking in at any given time. This allows them to make quick decisions on adding more resources and it also helps with next-day or future planning.

Read: 5 Ways Self-Service Check-In Can Improve Your Events

5) Allow Time for Dropping off Coats and Security Screening

When you considered the design of your registration area you looked at the flow of people and how they could easily join the right queue. Equally important in your design thinking is where they go to leave luggage and coats. Is the cloakroom easy to get to or does it mean your attendees have to back track so as not to cross lines of people?

Attendees will also likely need to go through bag security.  All the good work up to now of speeding delegates through check-in can come to a shuddering stop if the bag security isn’t well executed. To keep things moving along and to not surprise your attendees, you can let them know in advance that there will be a security check. Give them time to get their bits and bobs ready for inspection. You could advise them of this in your email communications and by posting information on your event website. Look at what happens at security screening at airports and apply some of their techniques to your event. Creating awareness of what people need to do at security screening will speed up the overall process and reduce the time that attendees wait in queues.

6) Use Social Media to Your Advantage     

Social media is a double-edged sword that you can use to your advantage. Attendees waiting in line longer than they think is appropriate (remember we live in a world of immediacy) are likely to take out their phones and use social media channels to vent their unhappiness.  This is not good especially when you want to encourage people to come to your event. You do not want potential attendees put off from coming to your event.

However, you can use social media channels as a means of helping attendees understand what is happening. Managing expectations is half the job if you have a problem on your hands.

7) Stay in Control   

If you have more delegates showing up than anticipated, you may need to restrict entry until you can safely allow more people into the event. There would be little point in moving delegates from the registration area to then crowd the exhibition floor or conference rooms. You always need to be in control, not least because of health and safety issues.

You may need to borrow some of the tips and techniques used by organisations that are used to dealing with crowd control. Think of the times when you have to wait to go to an underground platform to get your tube. You have to wait until there is room enough on the platform. The same principle applies to your event.

Again, event tech can help. Using push notifications on your event app is a great way to keep attendees up to date with any potential issues. The main thing is that you keep people informed and stay in control.

An Ongoing Strategy   

The challenge of queues at events and ever-increasing attendee expectations is here to stay. It has been for some time but in a world where almost everything needs to be delivered immediately, the challenge is accentuated.

To help you deal with the issue of long queues at events we have provided some steps that you can put into place immediately. However, what’s needed as well, is a strategy that you create and continuously develop. What can you learn from people behaviour at events, what data can you use and how can you keep improving that amazing attendee registration experience? Keep asking these questions around each event, look at other industries, use robust event management software and keep learning.


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3 Content Marketing Tips for Event Professionals

To promote an event successfully, you’ll need to create the right kind of buzz.  And one of the easiest ways of doing this is using content that engages audiences – right from the start. In fact, not making the most out of the content you can create around yours events may mean missing out on a huge opportunity for brand promotion and highlighting what makes your event a “can’t-miss” experience.

We spoke to Rebecca Reynoso, content editor at leading software reviews site, G2, to find out what kind of content works best for event marketing and how that content can be leveraged to engage audiences before, during and after an event.

How to Create Content Around Your Event 

Before your event can go off without a hitch, you’ll need to make sure people know about it, are excited for it, and most importantly – are spreading the word about it. Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the core ways to get your event “seen” by the larger audience you’re targeting as the market for your event. In order for this to happen though, you’ll need to create content about your event before it occurs, while it’s happening and after it’s over.

You can’t sloppily put just anything out into the world. You have to create the right types of content in order to ensure your event stands out against the competition. Project management tools can keep you organised during the creation process and ensure that you’re covering your bases. The following types of content are not only the easiest to produce, but will be expected by your customers, clients, and extended audience following the progression of your event from start to end.

1. Write Blog Posts 

As with any company that is hosting an event, it’s crucial to have literature that can be disseminated easily. Blog posts are the simplest way to get the word out quickly and create high-quality content for your readers. Before the event, you can write articles that discuss the purpose of your event and highlight the core details readers want to know: Date, time, location, length, and event type.

Give pre-event information 

As mentioned above, all the nitty-gritty details will be the deciding factor for many on-the-fence attendees. Remember that not all of your potential attendees live down the block; some may be coming from overseas. So knowing the basics like when and where the event will be should be your priority.

Secondary information such as which speakers will be there, the topics they’ll be covering, and the overall schedule of events should be the next most important information to release to the public.

All of this information can be written in a single or series of blog posts – whichever makes more sense for your brand. Plus, once you have a blog post published, you can share it on your social platforms as many times as you’d like up until the event, including day-of.

Provide readers with a FAQ section 

Besides the where, when, and what, people will also want information on things like the venue, food and drink options, accessibility, and more. Is there onsite parking, and if so, is it free? How can I access the event via public transit? When the event is over, are there any good restaurants around to have a sit-down meal or have meetings?

Queries like these and many more will arise, so answer them before you get bombarded with emails about event-adjacent concerns. Not only does this put your attendees’ minds at ease, it shows that you know what you’re talking about, which tells people – chill, we’ve got this!

Get attendees “in the know” about speakers and their presentations 

Nobody likes going into an event blind.  Which means it is your responsibility to craft content about your event speakers, the topics they’ll be covering, and some background information so people who don’t know a speaker by name can get to know them before the day of the event.

Some easy-to-create content would be a “5 fast facts about [speaker name]” where you list what the speaker does, why they were chosen, and what value they’ll be providing to attendees. Show people your event is valuable and make them feel that missing it will leave them with FOMO (fear of missing out) syndrome.

Read: How to Create Invites that Draw People to Your Events

2. Be Active on Social Media 

You should always maintain an active social media presence – before, during and after an event. Where flyers and handouts might have been the main information source years ago, the past decade has proven time and again that social media is the quickest way to spread the word. It’s a great way to share information or even implement a social media contest to gain followers and increase awareness around your event.

Read: Top Social Media Trends for Event Marketers

It’s no secret we live in an era where if you as a brand or company are not active on social media, people tend to wonder why. If your competition is on the ‘gram and you’re nowhere to be found, chances are they’re reaching a wider audience than you could ever hope to.

With this in mind, it’s crucial to show a strong presence on social media at all times, but most especially over the course of your event. Below are three of the most crucial social media platforms to use if you want to engage a highly-social audience: Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Live tweet during the event (and beforehand) 

Assuming your company is active on Twitter, the main account should be tweeting reminders semi-regularly to keep interested parties up-to-date about any coming changes. Did a speaker who was scheduled bow out? Let your followers know.

In fact, dedicating a few members of your social media squad or general marketing team to do the legwork of live tweeting during the actual event can take some of the stress off for the event organiser. Better yet, you can set posts to go out at specific times, e.g. when one of your speakers is scheduled, have your social media management software automatically tweet an image of the speaker with a quote from their latest novel to prep your social network for what’s to come.

Whatever you choose, make sure your company’s Twitter account is tweeting often. Something as simple as speaker insights or quick and memorable quotes that have the #EventHashtag of your choice can bring massive exposure to the event as it’s ongoing.

Make LinkedIn statuses and videos to promote your event 

To promote an event, many companies will use their LinkedIn page, and that of their employees who are involved with the event planning process, to promote the event itself. Whether that’s by sharing a new LinkedIn status as a reminder to connections or crafting a 2-minute video that’s sure to capture the attention of even casual followers. The more you post, the more attention you’re bound to receive.

For instance, in the video below, I helped my company promote our first-ever event, #G2Reach, with a simple video reminding my connections of the looming event date – and a sweet 50% off code for their ticket purchase. That was guaranteed to spark interest among people who were on the fence.

The success is in the numbers. Over 450 people viewed the video and 34 people reacted to it. Every time someone reacts to a post on LinkedIn, their connections get a notification as well. Basically, you make a short, informative video and your connections will create word of mouth promotion for you. It’s a win-win, really. And whether the views and likes amounted to direct ticket sales or not, the fact of the matter is the video drummed up talk about the event, which was its intended purpose.

Read: Why Video is a Big Deal for Marketing Your Events

Post on Instagram Stories in the days leading up to your event 

There’s probably a whole discourse around whether Snapchat or Instagram is the hotter app to have (even with TikTok creeping its way to the top), but Instagram’s Stories feature is a must-use for event promotion with 2020 on the horizon.

Weeks before the event, have your company’s VP of Marketing (or a similar high-level figure) make an Instagram Story video about how pumped they are for the coming event. They can let your Insta followers know what to expect in much shorter, more conversational form than a formal blog post.

A 30-second video clip of the VP outside of the venue a few days beforehand showing the set-up process is a fun, no-frills way to let people know that everything’s going smoothly, which should get them excited to be attending your exclusive event. You can even set up polls so your viewers engage with your Instagram Stories.

And on the day of your event, share user Instagram photos and Stories to the main company Instagram page. Whenever you’re tagged in something, it becomes accessible for you to share on your own page, so take advantage of this feature. A small action like this makes attendees feel “seen” and important.

3. Follow-Up with Attendees Post-Event 

Not only should you be sending out thank-you emails to everyone who purchased a ticket to attend your event, but you should provide them with a takeaway in the form of exclusive, attendee-only content that is gated for non-attendees, but free and accessible for those who were there. Prioritise high-quality content and ensure that your emails are deliverable so your audience can enjoy your event even after it’s over.  You can also make things easier by using an event management software that can automatically pre-schedule all the emails you want to send to people engaging with your events.

Whether it’s exclusive photos, videos of all of the speaker presentations, a downloadable mini eBook with insights about the event, or something else, giving special treatment in terms of exclusive content is one way to win over attendees and get them excited for next year’s event!

Taking Over the World One Event at a time 

Now that you have a fully-loaded toolbox to help you craft content for your event, you might be wondering how to take your event content to the next level. The key is integrating a mobile-friendly element to your events via a mobile event app platform.

Not only do your attendees get to access all of your content from their computers, but they can access and share all content surrounding your event straight from their phones. Overall, it’s something no event should be without!


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Top 10 Most Popular Stories on Event Tech Talk

Top 10 blogs on Event Tech Talk

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Event technology has fast become a critical aspect of all event planning activities over the last few years.  Knowing what technology to use and what value it should bring to events and attendees is something organisers can no longer ignore. Despite its importance, however, new research has found that only 48% of event planners see themselves as tech-savvy.

More worryingly, perhaps, is the fact that less than one in two say they have limited skills to make confident, informed decisions around their event tech investments – despite holding responsibility for it in majority of organisations.

The stats also show found that as well as limited tech skills, 75% of event planners struggle to keep up with new trends and offerings in the market. Yet when asked how they try to stay up-to-date, conversations with peers (78%) and reading blogs and news sites (50%) topped the list of activities they found most useful.

With that in mind, we thought we’d share the top event management and tech stories that really hit the mark with our readers over the past year.  They give a good indication of the kind of topics that organisers seem most concerned about too.  Based on unique page views and social media shares, have a look at our top ten blog posts from 2019:

#1 How to Organise Successful Corporate Team Building Events

Corporate team building events are on the rise – more and more companies are realising that you can’t just put random people in the same office and expect them to mesh on their own. What’s more, developing people-skills that go beyond the duty of each employee is essential as well – without communication and collaboration, even the most talented group of workers can fail to achieve their goals. For event departments specifically, running team-building events can be critical to an event’s success.  They can help team members learn new ways to work better with each other in different and high-stress situations. They can also encourage them to be more creative and showcase their unique problem-solving skills. Read more.

#2 How to Collect Valuable Data from Events

Event tech systems help organisations collect important data around their events (registration forms, surveys, apps). And yet the amount of data these systems generate can be overwhelming: from website traffic and social media engagement to registration and attendance.  From the quality of attendees to feedback and evaluation. From generated revenue to conversion rates and sales leads. So which of these data metrics actually matter to event planners and which data collection tools are seen as the most effective for measuring success? Read more.

Read: eBook – The Event Planner’s Guide to Good Data Management

#3 10 Essential Tips to Reduce Event Risk

Whether you’re organising a conference, roadshow or seminar, one of the most important considerations you need to make is the safety of your event and attendees. The bigger and more complex your event, the greater the risk – simply because where there are more people, the probability of an accident or incident is higher. Regardless of size though, event safety should always be a priority consideration. Have a look at the ten important things you need to be thinking about to reduce risk around your events. Read more.

#4 How GDPR Changes the Rights of Your Attendees

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) first came into effect nearly two years yet many organisers are still looking for clarity when it comes to their attendees’ rights and requirements. It’s important to remember that one of the key things that GDPR wanted to address was that organisations dealing with personal data are doing so in a transparent and secure way – and always in the individual’s best interests.  For example, the regulation gives attendees the right to access all the information an event organisation holds on them – for free. They have the right to understand exactly how their data is being used. And they have the right to be notified of any breach to their data within 72 hours. Read more.

#5 How to Make Sure Your Events Show Up on Google Search

Google today acts as both the main gateway and gatekeeper to the Internet.  In fact, it controls more than seven out of every ten searches. It also stores and ranks the links of websites according to certain criteria – and this is where SEO comes in. But SEO with Google Search has changed so much the last few years, that many marketers aren’t sure what’s outdated, what’s important, what will make a difference and what is simply wasted effort. Have a look at this article to understand how Google ranks pages and what planners need to do to ensure their event websites rank well in search results.  Read more.

#6 How to Create Invites That Draw Crowds to Your Events

Invitations are one of the most important things to get right when planning a successful event. They help set the tone of an event and are often one of the first opportunities to make a good impression with potential attendees. And yet research has found that getting people to open that email, click through and sign up to the event is something most organisers struggle with when it comes to event invitations. So, what are the elements of an invite that compel people to click through and register? And how should you look at when measuring the success of your invitation campaigns? Read more.

#7 8 Quick Ideas for Engaging Attendees After Your Event

For your event to be a success you need to be working on your delegate engagement activity at all stages of the event life cycle.  Most of us, however – whether due to a lack of time or resources – only focus on the engagement activities before and during the event. We miss the all-important phase, when the event has ended. So why is post-event engagement crucial for event planners and what kind of activities are effective in keeping up interest around your events? Read more.

#8 7 Key Steps to Successful Event Sponsorship

Sponsors can make a big difference to your event. They may even be the reason you host an event in the first place.  Yet securing and managing sponsorships is one of the biggest challenges organisers have to face. What kind of sponsors make sense for your event?  What kind of packages can you offer? How many sponsors do you need and how will you manage expectations?  More importantly, how will you ensure your sponsor will be happy with their investment and take part again the next time round? Have a look at the key things you need to think about when considering sponsors for your next event.  Read more.

#9 5 Ways Self-Service Check-In Can Improve Your Events

As an event planner, you’ll know what a logistical nightmare printing and scanning delegate badges can be. And yet getting it right is so important as it can have a huge impact on first impressions when people arrive to your event.  Attendees don’t want to start their journey feeling frustrated, standing around in long registration queues or waiting for someone to help them out. They want to show up, get their badges and start their day as quickly as possible. So what are the most common issues organisers face when managing attendance recording on the day?  And how can a self-service check-in solution help? Read more.

#10 5 Ways Tech Can Reduce Stress for Event Planners

Event planning is not easy. The constant drive to produce engaging events that delight attendees. The pressure to deliver meaningful results. Dealing with last-minute changes and delivering the impossible at a moment’s notice.  All these are issues planners need to deal with every time they create an event.  They can also be an enormous source of stress. Technology, however, can help – with event management systems offering a plethora of tools, options and inspiration to help planners along the way. Have a look at five simple ways event tech can help reduce stress for organisers.  Read more.


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