10 Ways to Better Manage Your Event
The greatest part of being an event success manager is getting to talk with event makers about their challenges and triumphs. As I’ve worked with event makers over the last three years, I’ve come to find that events are messy on the back end with so many moving parts. From selling tickets to finding the right venue to getting vendors, volunteers, and sponsors, there are so many pieces that need to come together for an event to be great. Not to mention there are many different types of people involved, including attendees, volunteers, sponsors, agencies, vendors, and more.
When it comes to revenue, there never seems to be enough. Event makers often don’t have enough revenue until after ticket sales come through. I’ve worked with events that had to take out high-interest loans just to be able to pay for the event.
At SpinGo, we’ve thought, “There’s got to be a better way.” Planning and managing your event shouldn’t be this chaotic and challenging.
It’s our goal to help you as an event maker to plan better events. So I’m going to discuss ten ways you can better manage your event with our Event Master platform. We created this platform to kill the chaos and to tie all aspects of your event together under one roof. It’s time to throw out those spreadsheets and paper applications. Get ready to simplify your processes so that you can have more time to amplify your event and more time for your life! Let’s get started!
#1 – Design Your Website to Reach Your Goals
You may not realize it, but your website can drastically affect your conversion rate. As you design your website, think of your goal. If you are like most of my event makers, you want the user to buy tickets. Make sure to design your website to help you reach your goals. A user typically spends less than 7 seconds on a webpage before moving on to something else. You have 7 seconds to get your user to buy tickets, sign up to receive emails, become a vendor. Whatever your objective, design your website so that the user is guided directly to that place.
How can you do this? A large “Buy Tickets” button front and center would be ideal for getting your user to purchase tickets, or an automatic form that pops up would be best for collecting email addresses. Look at your website and notice where your gaze lands first. If it’s not in the place where your user can accomplish your goal, then rethink the layout and design of your site and get rid of any distracting content.
As I said before, most of my event makers want the user to go online and purchase tickets. Another way you can design your website to reach your goals is to integrate your ticketing on the site. You can use a large “Buy Ticket” button or an iframe to integrate your ticketing experience in with your website. Iframes are great because the user doesn’t have to leave the page to buy a ticket. Think of your current ticketing experience. Is it easy for your user to buy? The more clicks and pages a user has to go through to buy, the more you’re going to lose on conversions. Create a better purchase experience and improve your conversion rates by choosing a platform and method of integration that makes it easy for your user to buy. Better conversion rates bring in more pre-sale revenue before the event, which is always a win!
#2 – Customize Your Purchase Experience
The problem with most ticketing platforms is the lack of customization and styling available. We’ve found that users are often hesitant of buying from a third party site. To combat this, match your ticketing page as carefully to your website as you can for a seamless transition. You can implement your branding and tell a consistent story across all of your pages to help you to improve your pre-sale conversions. You want to make it so that your ticketing page looks like part of your site. All of the Event Master ticketing pages are customizable with pre-made themes and CSS coding.
You can also customize your purchase experience by selling more than just tickets. Event Master lists all your products on one page, and you can separate them into categories. For example, let’s say your event is selling t-shirts or bandanas. As a user buys their pre-sale admission ticket, they can simply add these additional products into their cart for a swift and secure checkout. Combining products with tickets helps you increase your sales because the user only has to pull out their credit card once. You bring in more revenue to the event and have a better idea of how much product you need to order.
#3 – Earn More Revenue with Pre-sale Tickets and Service Fees
Pre-sale tickets are your friend! I cannot stress this enough. Pre-sale tickets create shorter lines, revenue before the event, and a faster check in process. I highly encourage you to make pre-sales a priority. I know that some event makers shy away from pre-sales because of service fees, but in my experience as someone who works with events on a daily basis and as an attendee myself, modest services fees aren’t much of a deterrent. Attendees have come to expect fees when buying online. The real issue is that with most ticketing platforms the services fees are so standardized. There’s little negotiation. What you see is what you get. Users in this day and age are used to paying service fees online, so why not use them to your advantage?
With Event Master, you can add additional service fees to your products and instead of those extra fees going to your ticketing company, you get to keep them. Our services fees are lower than most other ticketing platforms, this way you can add the difference back on as an additional fee. Your attendees pay that fee and you get to pocket the difference. See my full webinar for an in-depth example. Event Master also allows you to use your own merchant account. This way, you get paid for any revenue that comes through the system right away. I worked with an event who used to only take cash at the door. They switched their focus to push pre-sale tickets and they added an additional service fee to each ticket sold. Because of this, they no longer had to take out a high-interest loan in order to pay for the event.
#4 – Create a Better Vendor Experience
Whenever I ask my event makers about how they handle vendors, the answer is almost always the same. The typical process for managing a vendor is usually long and tedious. First, the vendor picks up or prints out the application then fills it out. After it’s filled out, it has to be scanned, fax, mailed or physically returned to the office. The event maker approves or denies the vendor, tries to contact the vendor, and chases the vendor down for payment. After the vendor is approved, the event maker has to make sure the vendor has all the proper permits, needs to coordinate any additional set up (power, internet, etc. ), and has to assign the vendor to a booth space at the venue. On the day of the event, the vendors have to be checked in, and all their additional needs (power, internet, etc.) have to be taken care of. This is much too long of a process and too much information to keep track of on spreadsheets. I had one event maker say that she used as many as five spreadsheets for just the vendor portion of her event. That’s way too many spreadsheets! With Event Master, you can consolidate this process into just a few easy steps.
Event Master allows you to create an online application with any specific questions you’d like to ask to screen your vendor. This application takes two minutes to fill out and is then sent to you where you can approve or deny it with the click of a button. They can then go and buy their booth space online. There’s no more chasing the vendor down for payment or crossing your fingers to make sure that their check clears. It takes all the stress off of you.
Once a vendor has purchased, you can then communicate with them through the system. This way you don’t need to jump from screen to screen to figure out what is going on with them. You can also create custom checklist items for each vendor. You’ll know who has gotten their permits to you, who you are still waiting on, and who needs additional items like power chords or internet. You can also assign the vendor to a space on your venue map. I’ve talked to a lot of vendors who love this feature because it allows them to know exactly where they will be placed before the event. With a lot of events, your vendors show up blindly. They will arrive and wait for your vendor coordinator to tell them where to go. By assigning your vendors on your venue map, it gives them clarity to where they are supposed to be set up and creates a better experience for both your vendors and your vendor coordinator.
#5 – Make Your Schedules Accessible
One of the most common complaints I get from attendees is there isn’t often a clear schedule for an event. I know that if I am on the fence about going to an event, I’ll go online and look at the event schedule to help me decide. If you do not have your event schedule clearly posted on your site, I’ll assume that there isn’t much going on. This will factor into whether or not I go to the event. Be sure to make your schedule accessible to your audience online before the day of your event. You can create schedule items within Event Master with images, descriptions, videos, and guest profiles. This way, everyone including your attendees, volunteers, special guests, and performers all know what to expect at the event.
I went to a state fair once where there was quite a bit going on, but there wasn’t a clear schedule of events that I could see. I had to walk all over the venue to try to figure out what was going on. I know that some events will have a paper schedule at their event, but what happens if one of those schedule items gets changed. Are you going to reprint all of those schedules? Paper schedules can work as long as no last minute changes occur, but to be honest, whenever I get a paper schedule I always lose it or I try to give it to someone else because I don’t want to carry it around. Instead of distributing a paper schedule or having your attendees walk aimlessly around the event, you can use Event Master to put your schedule on your attendee app. This way, all your attendees have the schedule at their fingertips. Your attendees will know when, where, and what is going on at your event. You’ll also be able to send them notifications when schedule items get changed.
#6 – Organize Your Volunteers
Volunteers are a whole other leg of an event, but they are a significant leg! The volunteers you choose can make or break your event. The better volunteers you have, the better your attendee experience is going to be. So, how do you manage volunteers? If you’re like most of my event makers, you use spreadsheets or additional third party programs. With Event Master, you can bring your volunteer management under the same roof. The volunteer manager allows you to create, view, and assign shifts for your event. You can also send emails or texts to your volunteers from the system. When a volunteer is approved, they can see their shifts as well as any training materials that you have uploaded. This way, your volunteers will all be on the same page with things like your code of conduct, dress codes, etc.
#7 – Screen Your Volunteers
It is so important to screen your volunteers. Screening your volunteers allows you to get the best quality of volunteer. I remember once when I was checking into an event, I asked the volunteer working there if a particular band had begun playing yet. The volunteer wrinkled her face at me and said “How should I know?”. In my head, I was thinking “Well, why shouldn’t you know? You are working this event arent you?”, but it actually wasn’t the fact that she didn’t know that really bothered me. It was the fact that she had responded so rudely to me, a paying attendee. I was in a bad mood the moment I walked in the gate because of the way the volunteer had rudely responded. After all these years, I don’t remember what band was playing when I got there, but I do remember how that volunteer had made me feel. For this reason, it is extremely important to screen your volunteers.
You can do this with Event Master by building a custom application. This application allows you to add in custom questions like “Can you stand for long hours?” or “Can you lift more than 25 pounds?”. You can also ask more job application type questions like “Tell us about a time that you practiced excellent customer service”. This is going to allow you to get the best volunteers available.
#8 – Delegate With Confidence
As we all know, events have a lot of moving parts. You may have certain people that cover certain parts of the event like the volunteers or vendors. If you don’t, I encourage you to re-evaluate your event and see if there are parts of it that you can delegate to other members of your organization. This will help you to focus on amplifying your event. Delegation can be scary. You may be worried that things won’t get done or that members of your organization may be dishonest. We’ve thought about this at SpinGo and how we could make delegation easier for you as an event maker.
With Event Master, you can give users certain access to the back end of the system. This allows you to see what others are working on without micromanaging. One of our event makers even found out that someone in his organization was giving away hundreds of dollars worth of stuff to his friends and family. He would’ve never known had he not had clarity for the rest of his event. You are only human! You shouldn’t have to handle all the aspects of your event, but you should be able to have clarity on them
#9 – Improve Your Check-In Experience
My least favorite thing about any event is standing in line. I despise it. This is the reason I always try to buy a pre-sale ticket online. Normally, the presale check-in process is quicker than the at-door purchase process. However, some of the events I’ve attended had terrible check-in experiences. Our check-in app ties to Event Master to check in one or multiple tickets in a flash. This app can be downloaded on any IOS device and can also be used to sell tickets at the door as well.
Some of the expos and larger events I’ve worked with have badges that need to be printed out and given to attendees when their tickets are scanned. Event Master can print badges on the spot for a quick and easy check in. I worked with an event once that decided to print all their badges out the night before and organize them alphabetically. This seemed like a good idea in theory, but sifting through 5,000 badges is actually very time-consuming, even in alphabetical order. We ended up shifting to printing the badges when the attendee checked in. This was a much faster process that only took two volunteers instead of four. This helped to improve the check-in experience for both the attendees and volunteers. The printers are also thermal, so they never run out of ink! You can also improve your check-in experience by practicing appropriate line control. By this, I mean clearly labeling which lines are which and having volunteers out front directing attendees. I don’t know about you, but if I find out I’ve been standing in the wrong line for awhile, it makes me very annoyed. Put yourself in the attendees’ shoes and make sure you check in experience is the best it can be!
#10 – Amplify Your Attendee Experience
We love our attendees. We know that events would not happen without them.
Remember that state fair I was telling you about? It was a fun event, but I felt a little disconnected from the event because I didn’t know what was going on. They didn’t have a clear schedule, I didn’t know what vendors were there, or if any special spontaneous activities were being put on by sponsors. I’ve experienced the same disconnect at a lot of events I’ve attended. I felt like the whole experience could’ve been better if I had been more connected to the event. You need to connect your attendees to your event in every way possible to keep them coming back year after year. You can tie all aspects of your event into your custom attendee app. It puts event info into the hands of your attendees. From the app, your participants can view schedules, vendors, maps, guest profiles, and connect with social pages. You can also send them news items and push notifications to inform them of any changes, special deals, or messages from sponsors. This is going to make the attendee feel much more connected to your event and will create a better overall event experience.
There you have it, 10 ways to better manage your event. I know that as you apply these things to your events, you’ll be able to get rid of some of the stresses you face as an event maker. You’ll be able to amplify your event and keep the attendees coming back for more!
To listen to the entire webinar, click here.