First – let’s talk about the NOW. Newsletters are back in Tendenci 6!!
Tendenci’s Open Source Integrated Newsletter Generator
A lot of long time clients have resisted upgrading to the responsive-mobile-first-open-source-version of Tendenci 6, or even the responsive designs in Tendenci 5, because of one killer feature in Tendenci 4 (the old Microsoft version) and that was NEWSLETTERS.
We listened. We heard you. It’s back.
The ability to communicate with your membership by study group, by event attendees, to only the board of directors, etc. We heard you loud and clear and the newsletter generator is back in full force in Tendenci 6. To prevent the tragedy of the commons (e.g. another client blacklisting a shared email server) we are requiring clients to use either their own SES or a product like Mailgun.com for the newsletter. This will offload the sending to the third party and each client can manage their own newsletter statistics for the first time.
This also alleviates another area of pain. If one client out of 500 ish purchased an email list and the bounce rate was too high, well, then EVERYBODY got slammed and nobody could even do a “forgot my password” request because another client blacklisted the mail server. It’s just the way the Internet works. Why can’t we all just get along, right?
If you are on Tendenci 6 (not an automatic upgrade from T4 or T5 because we pushed more of the design to the front end … um…. where it belongs and the designers can do their thing. Rock on you artsy folk who make software look awesome. More freedom for you. (just please no comic sans, ok?)
Just one of the many new functional mobile-first capabilities that have been built into open source tendenci since we started the rewrite in 2009. This is functionality we have been able to bring back with the help of the Tendenci community.
After 17 years we know the functionality the people who use the site to register for events need, as well as the needs of the people on the board-of-directors and the person functioning as Executive Director. It just takes a while to rewrite 10 years of code in a completely different technology. And we’re just getting started!
When event organizers plan fundraising events, they meticulously plan out details regarding location, accommodations, logistics, and fundraising goals, but it’s also important to formulate a strategic plan for connecting with your online community.
In my half, (viewable on SlideShare), I discussed basic tips and tricks to help event organizers make their fundraising events successful.
Three things to keep in mind to make sure your event participants come back year after year are:
Personal relationships drive event fundraising success.
Your organization can significantly influence participant behavior.
Think of the event as an engagement tool to lock in a relationship.
One tangible takeaway for the audience was an event planning checklist for your online strategies. I thought it would be helpful to share it with the rest of the internet! Read on for a detailed explanation of each point. You can download a printable PDF from our website.
6-9 Months Before Your Event
According to Mashable, 17.4% of all online traffic is mobile. If your site isn’t mobile optimized, your event could be missing out on a possible avenue of promotion. Additionally, if participants can’t access basic information about parking and registration on their mobile device, they’ll be less likely to participate again next year.
If you have participant teams fundraising for your event, give them tools to make their jobs easier. Did you know that 64% of participants don’t know that they should be raising funds? Creating email templates for team leaders is a great way to make fundraising easier for everyone involved!
Share Last Year’s Highlights
Past events can be an ill-used marketing medium. Don’t be afraid to resurrect last year’s stories to remind people how great this year is going to be.
Share Personal Stories
If your event had beneficiaries, then tell their story. People like to hear about the real people. Show your audience that you’re real and so are the people you’ve affected!
Both Twitter and Facebook use hashtags (#) to aggregate data and content. Establish a hashtag for your event and begin using it to keep track of all your event data and content. That way, you can search for it and event attendees can participate by “hashtagging” posts during your event.
3-5 Months Before Your Event
Organizing your content ahead of time can really free up your time on event day. As speakers, giveaways, or certain events are locked in, pre-write content about them that you can save and share during the event for increased engagement and exposure.
As you continue preparing for your event, continue sharing speaker announcements, past anecdotes, and news. Don’t forget to continue sharing highlights and personal stories. It’s always a good idea to link folks back to your website so they stay engaged with your organization.
1-2 Months Before Your Event
Schedule Your Content
Remember that pre-generated content you’ve been sitting on? Now’s the time to use it. Create a schedule for sharing all those wonderful words online and then put someone in charge of that said sharing.
Designate, volun-tell, or hire someone to be in charge of photography and create a shot list to document the event. Use photos in your promotional materials and on your website to tell your organization’s story!
During Your Event
Just because the event is here doesn’t mean your job is over. Keep using your hashtag and make sure you share announcements and event updates or changes.
Engage, Respond, Act
When people are using your hashtag and talking about your event, you need to be involved. Show that what people are saying is important by responding to what they say. Come up with a plan for how you will respond to social media–both negative and positive feedback need responses!
1 Week After Your Event
Say Thank You
Use your online mediums, whatever they may be, to say publicly say thank you to all the volunteers, attendees, and various participants. Send personalized thank you notes to the speakers and participants. It’s a nice extra touch and they be flattered. It show that you put in extra time and that you actually care.
Share Your Photos
Sharing photos should be a two-pronged attack.
Use your social outlets to post a few “teasers” of the photos you took
Store the photos on your site and include full album links on your posts
This way, you’ll share relevant content on social media anddrive traffic to your site.
Share Your Content
If you have any photos, blogs, whitepapers, infographics etc. create a schedule for sharing those to continue exposure and keep people talking about what happened at your event.
1-2 Months After Your Event
Analyze, Analyze, Analyze
Use traffic tools to analyze traffic to all of your sites or online portals. You can use these free tools to ensure accurate results:
Gain insightful feedback from your event participants by sending out a survey. For example, if folks complain about the parking at your event, when it comes time to market your next event, fix the parking situation and let participants know that they helped to make the event better!
Use your newly-gleaned analytics to plan ahead for next year by maximizing your strengths and minimizing your areas of weakness.
You can download a formatted checklist of all these steps in PDF format at on our website.
If you lived through the 70s and the 90s, you know that trends are cyclical.
How many times have we seen bell bottoms and big sunglasses make a come back?
Of course this isn’t limited to fashion. A detailed look into your Google Analytics charts will reveal that your organization has cycles, predicable ones you can plan for.
So how do you read this data and equate the data to your organizations live campaigns?
1) First, collect your data. (Everything you do on a recurring basis including dates). Create an aggregated list of anything involving donor/volunteer/member communication including:
2) Find your data store. (Google Analytics is free to install and has a lot of useful data.)
3) Choose your relevant date range. I like to look at two or more time frames. Typically a year’s worth of data, a smaller three month period of activity, and a one month period.
4) Run your analytics for the type period then look for patters in your data!
Types of patterns you are looking for are
b. Sequential Dips
c. Dead Spots
We partnered with one of our clients, a large nonprofit organization, to increase donations an engagement of their audience in nontraditional ways.
To achieve this we turned to the data recorded on their website:
The graphs below are pulled from a report in the Tendenci software (the cms software is free for download on https://www.tendenci.com/ – click on “For Developers”). These same practices can be applied with Google Analytics or whatever your analytics of choice is.
This graph shows site activity grouped by module/plugin (for example any event page that was clicked on during the time period would show up as orange)
This is an engagement graph of activity on a client website.
What we noted:
We see a huge increase in site visits on the 4th-6th
Followed by a huge increase in site visits to photos on the 11th
And then a decrease in site activity after the 12th
So what did we find when we matched up the engagement graph with our dates of activities
Saturday, 6th was a large event
Thursday, 11th a newsletter goes out to members
When we compared to another month with a large event, we found the same graph shape.
The data tells us:
Before the event and day of we had lots of people on the site looking for information and directions
After the event we had a dip in activity but we had a lot of people visiting the photo pages to look for images of the event
The newsletter contained links to the images for the event so we had a huge increase in visits to the photo page.
So what types of actions can an organization take based on this data?
Have upcoming event information on your website loud and clear. People will be looking for it
Make sure to be taking lots of photographs at the event – photos generated a huge amount of traffic to the site
Newsletters or an email post event drive traffic.
Add a call to action on your photo pages. These pages get huge amounts of traffic post event and people are reliving the experience – make sure there is a call to action to donations or volunteering.
Engagement is low post event. Brainstorm ways to reengage audience after the event excitement is over.
The patterns are there, you just have to look for them and connect the pieces of the puzzle.
Association Management is really really complicated. Having written an AMS from scratch starting in 2001, successful associations versus unsuccessful associations have some clearly visible patterns. Consulting with association clients on best practices we look at the “online health” of an association. The goal is “how can the association deliver greater value to our membership next year via the mobile responsive boostrap3 framework behind Tendenci Open Source AMS. This has led us to some insights.
One big difference in associations and NGOs is that “episodic nonprofits” vs “nonprofits that have a drumbeat” of events and activity are quite different.
Some organizations have ongoing focus on events and audience outreach. For these organizations we see consistent dip and upflow patters surrounding events and consistent high levels of traffic.
Episodic Event Nonprofit fundraiser example one:
Note most of the traffic below is informational and prior to the event (it was a Saturday event.) And the day before had more overall traffic. A follow up newsletter with photos also generated more traffic than the day of the event.
Photos are the number one element of most sites. If they are not, it is typically because the client isn’t posting photos as opposed to a lack of appeal for a particular industry in my experience. (So go get a DSLR!)
Some organizations will focus on outlets that will reengage audiences post event but not have consistent PR and outreach. For these organizations we see a u-shaped curve around the event followed by a consistent decreased linear pattern.
Episodic event number two:
Note they did a great job of building up a drumbeat before the event and again the traffic is seeking information. This event also saw almost 50% mobile traffic suggesting that users were accessing schedules and maps of the event the day of the event.
Some organizations focus primarily on event based engagement. For these organizations we will see steady curve upwards leading up to the event, followed by a drop off.
Modules used by many of our non-profits are partially listed in the menu screen grab below. Note that this is a partial list and varies by client.
This legend explains the correlation between the colors which are the same universally for all Tendenci clients. I blurred the numbers but all of the charts are scaled to print. So 1,000,000 events, if that is the max in a given module will be the same height on the reports as 1,000 events on a smaller association or NPOs site. This is just to help explain it.
For more on Tendenci and how it can help your non-profit, visit www.tendenci.com. It is also completely open source so feel free to try the demo at http://demo.tendenci.com and developers can download and extend it at www.tendenci.org .
Coming to Tendenci Websites in 2013: Event Management and Registration Features You’ll Love for Your Festivals, Galas, and Fundraising Events!
2013’s going to be a Big Year, and Tendenci’s working on new updates to your online calendar and event registration module because we want to make sure this is your biggest year yet!
On the 12th Day of Christmas, Tendenci’s Gift to You: Twelve New Updates to the Events Calendar Module!
Here’s 12 new featuresand updates we’re making this year to the Tendenci Events Calendar module to help you manage online registrations for your association programs and fundraising Gala’s.
** We’ve got even more event module updates planned for Tendenci’s 2013 Roadmap, and this list is just to give you a taste of the delicious treats we’ll be adding to Tendenci in 2013!
You’ll Love Creating New Events With These New Features
1) Import and Export Events
We’re super excited about this feature because it will make it faster for you to create multiple events simply by importing all of the text and dates in a spreadsheet, instead of having to create and type in all of this information manually for each event.
2) Default Custom Event Registration Forms
Now you have the choice of using the default event registration form, or our improved custom event registration forms. We listened to your feedback this year and the new custom registration forms now have predefined fields that integrate with the website’s database and user records for reporting and simplify the time it takes you to create and customize a new registration form.
If you want to use a custom registration form now, you already will find a default form with the standard contact information handy to add or remove to your form simply by checking a box. You can also customize which fields on the custom form also display on the event roster. Now you can ask what t-shirt size or special meal requests your guests have without the time involved with creating a brand new form.
3) Schedule Automatic Email Reminders to Attendees
When you create new events, you’ll find a new option that enables you to send email reminders to your attendees that you create and schedule. Tendenci will automatically send the reminder for you, so you don’t have to remember to remind your registrants!
4, 5, & 6) Three New Ways to Promote, Search and Display Your Events
4) More Search Options
We’re adding more searchable field filters to the events module so your members can find the events most relevant to each of them. You’ll be able to search your events by date, event type, membership and user group permissions, and more!
5) New Priority Event Feature
You’ll soon find a new Priority checkbox on your new event forms. When you check this, Tendenci will keep your events on top of your events search list, and add a Star icon to your month view calendar. Now you can highlight your main events each month to help your members decide which events to attend.
Here’s some fun ideas on how you can use the new Priority Event feature:
National Associations can feature a different Chapter’s programs and events each month to increase engagement from your different local chapter members!
Use the Priority events to promote membership engagement and offer prizes for those who attend every featured event this year!
Increase Corporate Sponsorship and Corporate Membership dollars by offering to add your supporting partners’ events to your calendar with the Priority feature setting for higher level packages.
6) Group-based Permission Settings for Displaying Events
This feature will enable you to designate certain events as “belonging” to certain user groups or membership types and allow you to do some really fun things with how events are displayed on your website. For example, one of your study groups could have their monthly study meetup on your event calendar and you’d assign the event to their study group.
Then, you could create a sidebar or box that would only display upcoming events from your event calendar that are assigned to that study group on the study group’s main information page. Members of the study group could visit the study group page and also see upcoming events specific to the group and you only have to add the event once to your calendar to share it in multiple places on your site!
Better Registration Experience for Your Users!
You want your website to be fun for your users and members in addition to your staff, and we’re making big changes across our website to provide better user experiences for your online community members. Here’s some of the ways we’re making registration for events simpler for attendees.
7) Fewer Steps to Register and Pay for an Event
We’re streamlining our registration form so that event registrants can go through as few clicks as possible when purchasing tickets and RSVP’ing for your association events. For most events, your users will be able to add multiple event attendees, select member versus non-member pricing, and view their total all from one registration page.
Adding new registrants is as easy as clicking a button – literally! Just click “Add Another Registrant” and a new section for the registration form will appear below the first registrant. Click to add as many registrants as you need and then submit just once to register and pay for everyone.
8) Your Users Can Find and Manage Their Events for You!
With the new “My Upcoming Events” option, your members and regular event registrants can now search for events they’ve signed up for, update any of their registration information, cancel events, and add the event to their calendar using the Event ICS option from one place.
Bonus for You and Your Staff: this empowers your members to manage their own event registrations, view outstanding balances, and make payments on your website. This means your event manager doesn’t have to handle as many of these admin tasks and she can focus on all of the important tasks!
9) Updated Email Template for Event Registration Confirmations
We’ve made a few small updates to the default system email template that your website sends to registrants and confirms their registration along with their receipt for paid events.
The new email template includes an image and uses more of the formatting from your events’ description fields to give your event confirmation emails a look and feel that more closely matches your website’s Event Page. We’ve also made some updates to the helpful links section of the email to ensure your event registrants can find all the information about your event details as well as manage their outstanding balances and registration information.
10) Your Event Roster Now Tracks Attendance
Your event roster has a new “Attend” checkbox where you can mark who attended an event from the roster on your website. If you don’t have internet and a web browser at your event, then you can also print the roster with the Attend checkbox. After the event, take your printout and update the roster on your website with who attended so you can better track and measure attendance for your events.
This is a huge benefit for large events where you have a team of volunteers handling check-ins. They can all be logged into your website and click to check off the people who they’ve confirmed at the event simultaneously! The next day, you can log into your site and see at a glance who attended and didn’t. You can even view what time they were checked in.
11) Search and Manage Event Registrants Individually
The Event Roster is more intended for you to use to manage all of your event registrants in a batch, and when you need to find a specific registration to cancel or edit – you’ll be seeing some updates here also. We’re adding more information about the registrants to the view, and we’re integrating the event registrant’s contact information and site activity with their user profile on your website.
12) Improved Batch Management for Events
On the 10th Day of Christmas, we shared our updates coming to your site’s Admin Backend. You’ll love the updates we’re making that enable batch filtering, editing, and deleting event types, custom event registration forms, and discount codes from the Admin Backend.
Here’s a preview of a new feature that will let you reassign event types:
You can quickly change all of the events of one type to another type. Most associations experience lots of changes as they grow and we see features like this helping you keep your website fresh and reflecting the latest changes without demanding lots of time from you and your staff.
Sign-Up for Tendenci 2013 Updates
Keep an eye out on the Tendenci Events Calendar because in 2013, we’re adding new training and workshops for our Advanced Tendenci users. We’ll also start posting scheduled maintenance and software updates, speaking events, and major announcements to help keep you in the loop with what we’re doing at Tendenci.
We are constantly exploring new ways to keep you in the loop with what we’re changing here at Tendenci. Let us know how you like to find out what’s going on here at Tendenci!
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM TENDENCI!
We’re celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas with daily previews of the all new Tendenci Features coming to your association website in 2013! Join us each day to “open new gifts” filled with feature updates for your website! Visit our Twelve Days of Christmas Main Page to find new gifts for each day from now until January 5th!
We love to hear your questions and comments about Tendenci, the open source CMS for Association’s – leave a reply below in our comments section or send us your thoughts via email to email@example.com.
We’re Welcoming in the New Year with a Fabulous New Tendenci Theme!
In celebration of both the 8th day of Christmas and the New Year, we’ve got a very special gift for you from all of us at Tendenci – the first Tendenci Community Theme specifically built for Associations.
You’ll be able to find TwentyThirteen available to download beginning in late January, 2013.
SignUp below to be the first to find out when the new theme is available:
We’ll be adding the theme to Tendenci’s Open Source Github Theme folder and you’ll be able to download the theme for free and Tendenci Community hosted sites can request TwentyThirteen for Jumpstart Packages and we’ll personalize the theme to match your association’s Brand.
We’re Pleased to Introduce TwentyThirteen
TwentyThirteen includes all of the features your association website needs right from the beginning to start accepting donations, building your contacts list, and manage member programs and events plus so much more!
TwentyThirteen HomePage Features
Associations and nonprofits have a unique set of requirements for websites that corporations don’t face. Here’s some of the different ways that we’ve tailored TwentyThirteen for Associations so that you can have a professional looking website and easy online community management tools that work.
Above the Fold
The section above the fold on a website is typically referred to as the area on your web browser that you see when you first load a website page, before you scroll down. On average, about 80% of website visitors will click through to an inside page before they scroll down the homepage. This means your most important content should be top and center of your homepage.
Here’s what’s front and center on TwentyThirteen’s homepage:
Your Association’s Logo and Tagline – Your website needs to communicate to your visitors who you are and what you do immediately and that’s why your Association’s logo and tagline are prominently featured in the Header of every page, including your homepage template.
Large Rotating Banner – Visually share your association’s stories to increase engagement with site visitors with TwentyThirteen’s large homepage banner. Update your featured homepage content automatically with the stories module’s start and expiration options and your association’s latest news. Learn more about Tendenci’s stories module.
Call to Action and Social Media Buttons – We’ve added call to action buttons to donate and join your association as well as social media profile buttons that you can quickly personalize to your own account links. Your website will be able to immediately start building your online community through donations, members, and new social media fans.
Flexible and Customizable Main Navigation Menu – TwentyThirteen’s main navigation comes “pre-loaded” with the top modules used by association websites including membership information, job board, donations form, contact form and more.
Below the Fold
Here’s What’s Below the Fold:
Featured Content Boxes that are fast to update with information about your association or nonprofit including your staff, volunteers, programs and job openings, and practically anything you need to share on your website.
Homepage Sidebar that dynamically pull in content from other modules on your site: upcoming events, the latest news, and Sponsor spotlights and features them in your homepage and internal page sidebar templates.
Secondary Image Slider displays additional rotating content on your homepage below the fold.
Inside Peek at the TwentyThirteen Events Calendar
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM TENDENCI!
We’re celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas with daily previews of the all new Tendenci Features coming to your association website in 2013! Join us each day to “open new gifts” filled with feature updates for your website! Visit our Twelve Days of Christmas Main Page to find new gifts for each day from now until January 5th! We love to hear your questions and comments about Tendenci, the open source CMS for Association’s – leave a reply below in our comments section or send us your thoughts via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In part one of this 2-part series, I talked about the problems with many nonprofit websites that are driving potential donors away. In the second post, I’m going to give you 5 changes you can make to your website to increase your online donor conversions.
5 Minor Changes You Can Do Today
1) Strengthen your Call to Action
The last thing you want is for a visitor to come to your website looking for a way to get involved and not being able to find the information. Your site needs a clear call to action that asks visitors to become members, donate, or register for an event.
Make it as simple as possible for your visitors to convert into supporters on your website. Identify the actions your site visitors take on most often and least often. Then, log out of your site and go through each of those actions from a visitor’s perspective.
As you go through the sign-up process, ask yourself, “How easy is it and how long does it take you to complete a transaction?”, to help you figure out how you could make the process better
Test both the most and least popular actions and then compare the experiences. Sometimes, this activity reveals ways that some actions are complicated and time consuming for visitors and that’s driving potential donors away.
3) Move Your Email Newsletter Sign-up Above the Fold
“Above the Fold” is a term for the portion of a web page that you have to scroll down to view. Think of “the fold” as ending about where you might fold down your laptop screen.
According to another study by Jakob Nielsen, content below the fold is only viewed by about 20% of your total site’s visitors. This means that any content you place below the fold is only going to be seen by 1/5th of your visitors. Important items you want to have above the fold include: your email newsletter sign-up form, a clear call to action, a strong headline and links to find out more about your organization.
4) Give Donors What They Want
Donors want to know more about your nonprofit before they donate. They also prefer to go online to research information about your organization themselves before making a decision to support your mission
Donors want information that communicates what your organization does, how you spend donations and who you have helped.
If you also have memberships, then you want to also consider that new members want to know about member benefits, costs, and find out about programs and events you have for your members.
Learn more about creating engaging content for your website in the presentation Writing for the Web by Katrina Esco, Account Executive on Schipul’s Creative Services team.
5) Use Digital Media to Create Compelling Stories
You know you should use storytelling to share your NonProfit’s Mission and Vision to attract new donors. Crafting great stories can be a challenge. Take photos and videos from your events, of your volunteers and staff, and of the people you’ve helped.
For example let’s look at the homepage for Camp For All, a camp program for kids with a variety of different health problems:
The Camp has a photo of a kid swimming on their homepage and just look at how happy this kid is. This photo shows new visitors that Camp For All is making a difference in children’s lives and that’s far more powerful than if Camp For All had used text to say the same thing.
Tomorrow (Tuesday), the Schipul team will be rolling out a new update for the event registration process that will give you more flexibility over how event registration works for your members.
Please note: This change only effects sites running on Tendenci 5 – the newest version of Tendenci
The major changes are:
1) People can register multiple registrants with different price on the same invoice.
2) Event editors can specify whether or not guests info is required. Under the Registration section of the event add/edit pages, there is a checkbox Require Guests Info, check it if you’d like guests’ info (name, email, etc) to be showing on the roster report.
3) Site administrators (super users) can control how people can register for their events by changing the setting “Anonymous Event Registration” http://yoursitedomain.com/settings/module/events/#id_anonymousregistration. There are 3 options for this setting: open, validated and strict. The default value for existing sites is validated.
a) Open – Allows people registering for events to choose any price for themselves and their guests.
b) Validated – Allows people to see all prices when registering, requires a valid site user email address for each price to check that they qualify. They do not have to be logged in, and they can register guests using the guests’ email addresses.
c) Strict – Allows people to see all prices when registering, requires the user to log-in, a valid site user email address for each price to check that they qualify. They can register guests using the guests’ email addresses.
IMPORTANT!If you are a site administrator (super user), please check and update this setting to best meet your business requirements later this week. We will be following up directly with current clients who we know use memberships and calendar events for help with which setting is right with you.
4) Members can enter their member IDs for the member-only price. If you don’t want the Member ID field to show up on the registration form, you can turn it off by changing the setting “Event Registration Requires member ID for member pricing” http://yoursitedomain.com/settings/module/events/#id_requiresmemberid.
5) Admins (super users) can override with different price for different registrants when registering multiple people.
6) Discount code can be applied (if applicable) to each individual registrant instead of one registrant for each registration.
7) Sortable feature is added to the roster report to allow site administrators (super users) to sort registrants by last name, first name and company.
8) On the Roster report, you can now check people in electronically at events by clicking a check box under the column Attend.
As summer approaches, my inbox is filling up with event invitations to different organizations I participate in. This time of year is really busy for event marketers as you try and boost participation before your members head out to the beach for summer vacations.
It is tough for me to decide what to say YES! and RSVP to and what to respond with my regrets to and I’m sure for most event planners, you want to know how to get your core volunteers, sponsors and supporters to say Yes! to your event instead of other events filling up email inboxes.
So, I thought I would share 10 things you can do that will increase the chances that people will click to register for your event instead of one of the other hundred events going on in your community. Then, in honor of our upcoming Google+ for Business webinar and Google+ for Nonprofits Houston NetSquared June Meet-up, there’s +1 more tip to boost your event ticket sales.
10 +1 Tips to Increase RSVPs
1) Send Shorter Invitations
More and more people are reading their emails via their mobile phones. Keep your initial email invitation short and sweet with the basic event details: when, where, what and most importantly include why this event is important to your registrants and how much it will cost.
2) Link to the Event Summary
Instead of sending all the details of your event in the invitation, just include a link to your Tendenci Event page where people can go to click and learn more. Use Campaign Monitor’s reporting tools to track who clicks for more details and measure against your registrations to follow-up on those who read more and don’t register.
3) Include an Obvious Call to Action
In this case, you want intended guests to register for your event so include an obvious clickable button that someone could click from a mobile touchscreen and go to register and pay for your event.
Here is a great article from Smashing Magazine on how to design better Call to Action buttons that you can add to your email invitations.
4) Show Your Sponsors They’re Loved
Include your sponsors logos and a link to their site in your event emails. Then, use the link tracking reporting tools included with Campaign Monitor to measure and generate reports to your sponsors that show them who and how many event attendees are clicking from your email to visit their website. This demonstrates the value of supporting your organization and you can use this data to increase future sponsorship dollars.
5) Segment and Personalize Your Invitations
Segment your subscriber lists to send personalized email invitations and event announcements and post-event summaries.
Customizing event emails increases the chance that the recipient will open and register for your event.
Here are some different suggestions you can use for segmenting your subscriber lists:
Segment Guests who attended from those who didn’t attend the event
Segment by the role each person has in participating for the event: Staff, Volunteers, Attendee, Sponsor, Board Member
Segment by the event type that each guest attends more often
Remember that you can include one person in multiple list segments if they fall into multiple categories
Check guests in at the events and then send separate post-event updates based on those who made it versus those who didn’t make it to the event. Keep track of who has registered leading up to the event and boost last minute registrations by sending those who still haven’t RSVP’d an email with a special discount code.
7) Make Paying Really Easy
Once a recipient has decided to click through your email to register – make sure they can easily pay for and register for the event. Integrate your Tendenci website with one of our online merchant payment gateways to accept credit cards. Use a shorter registration form for them to register and pay that takes the basic details. Then send more information in follow-up emails about your event along with the registration confirmation.
8) Ask Invitees to Bring Their Friends
Make sure you include social sharing links and a “Forward to a Friend” call to action button to make it easy for your guests to share the event invitation with their friends, family and colleagues. Tendenci’s event registration form includes options for people to register guests – let people know when they register in your email invitation to encourage them to bring a friend.
9) Take Photos and Video of Your Events
We can’t say this often enough – take photos and record video at your events and share them on your website to show people what your organization’s events are like. Link to past event wrap-ups with digital media embedded in your email invitations to boost registrations. Send event attendees the photos and videos from events afterwards to increase engagement and build your relationships with your guests so they’ll keep coming back to future events.
10) Optimize Your Event for Search
Add keywords related to your event page on your website and your event will show up to new people who may not know about your event or be on your email or member lists. Here’s an easy 3-step way to figure out the best keywords for search engine optimization:
Think of what your event attendees might use to search for an event like yours
Then add your keyword phrases to your Tendenci Event on the Edit Meta Page to drive organic traffic to your event registration
+1 Drive Registration from Social Media Networks
Add social share buttons on your event page and share the event on your organization’s social networks. Tweet, post on Facebook, and +1 on your Google Plus Page with calls to action to register for the event.
Don’t forget to share it on your own personal networks and encourage your staff and volunteers to share the event details on their social media sites.
And don’t forget to RSVP for our upcoming Google+ events and other web marketing and website training events on the Tendenci Events Calendar.
Talk to Us!
Do you have any great tips on boosting event registrations? Share your comments and questions below or shoot us an email and tell us how you are using email, social media, and your website for event marketing.
According to a recent survey by Constant Contact, 77% of event marketers from small businesses and nonprofit organizations use social media as a complement to their event marketing. The survey cited the top 2 reasons for using social media in conjunction with events were to attract new attendees and to reach past attendees with the overall goal being to increase awareness and attendance at events.
At the May Houston NetSquared meet-up, Wesley Faulkner shared ideas and actionable takeaways for integrating social media with your event marketing strategy. If you are like most nonprofits or small to mid-sized organizations, you may just want to keep reading how to increase awareness and registrations at your upcoming events…
The Big Secret
Wesley saved his Big Secret for event marketing success for the end of the evening’s meeting last Tuesday – so I won’t make you wait any longer to learn it in case you missed the meet-up:
“No event is ever really a failure unless you think it was.”
Take a moment, and let that idea fully sink in… if you are anything like me, this can be a difficult concept to grasp if one of your daily tasks involved managing events for your organization. As event marketers, we all want to say our event sold out, our attendees had the best time ever and we exceeded our Fundraising goal from sponsors and donors.
Let’s call it a Perfect Event when an event accomplishes all 3 of these objectives:
Amazing Attendee Experience
Exceeded Fundraising Goals
Perfect Events are extremely rare for nonprofit organizations. When you are a nonprofit planning an event with little to no budget, a small staff, and limited resources – chances are you are more worried about whether anyone will even show up than if you manage to pull off a Perfect Event.
What if No One Shows Up?
Hopefully, none of you have had to ask that question before an event – and I’m guessing there are more of you reading this that have had than anyone would guess. Generally, events work out and Perfect Events are rare but successful events are not rare when you put a little effort and planning into the details.
Wesley gave great advice for those events when “no one shows up” – I put that in quotes because I don’t think most of us have had a true zero attendance for an event. If you’ve had an experience like that – leave a comment and share why you think it happened so we can learn from it. Wesley’s advice for those events with few attendees was to remain flexible and use the lower than expected attendance numbers as an opportunity to give those attendees the best experience ever.
“Not all events are a success; that’s the one thing you can’t control.”
If you throw a party and only 4 people show up, take photos, create an atmosphere online and more importantly, offline for those 4 people. You have far more resources per person to give them a great time than you would if 100 people were there so make use of it to give those people the best event experience ever.
Social media gives you the chance to show how awesome your event was, regardless of how many people were there by providing you so many different channels and ways to send your stories: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Use social media and this advice to implement Wesley’s Big Secret so that none of your events will ever be failures.
Now that I’ve shared Wesley’s big secret from Houston Netsquared, let’s talk about the real guts of his presentation and how you can increase your event marketing to get closer to having more Perfect Events by using social media.
Different Strategies for Different Types of Events
Wesley recommends identifying which category your event falls into to first determine the best social media marketing strategy to use from three event types:
Social Media Based Events
Each of these different event types will have different end goals for determining if they are a success. You’ll also typically find the events have very different implementation strategies, budgets, and audience sizes.
Wesley also shares the four types of people you want involved, ideally in both the planning and attending of an event. Those are:
Traditional events include events that have been around for a while and are usually an annual fundraising activity. Wesley shared ways he’s helped traditional events integrate social media into their events to make it easy and build awareness of the organization’s cause in addition to helping attract new participants.
Wesley states that “Events give people the opportunity to experience the struggle that you are going through to get to the finish line.” Find ways your attendees can share their accomplishments at each milestone during the event to enhance your social media marketing and event marketing campaigns.
Wesley uses the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure as an example of how to include social media with the teams during the race itself to give the team opportunities to share their experience on social media channels. His team was taking photos at each mile marker and sharing with their online communities as they went through the race.
Another option you can try is to create Foursquare locations at each mile marker. Then encourage your attendees to “Check-In” on Foursquare. Then, use Wesley’s suggestion to offer messages at each mile with words of encouragement or a funny message on Foursquare so when they check-in, they receive a boost.
Nonprofit organizations use these special events to raise money and the key is to get your donors personally involved when you plan your next event. Think of ways to give people an experience and then, add the social media element by thinking of ways to make that experience share-able online.
Social Media Based Events
Social Media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have inspired fundraising and cause awareness events for nonprofits like Twestivals and Foursquare Day. These events are very different in that they typically aren’t planned in advance by a nonprofit organization. Instead, people who are active in their local communities and on social media sites online come together and organize the event.
Nonprofit event organizers should try and see the perspective that the people participating in social media based events are using their money as a “ballot” they give by attending events they’ve learned about on their social networks.
Unlike traditional events where you are trying to make your event share-able online, social media based events begin online and the key to success is to take the online excitement and buzz offline and in a format where people will come out and “vote” for your cause. This requires your organization to first be online and simple to communicate with. Wesley suggests you regularly look at who is following you on twitter and Facebook that are truly passionate about your cause and engaging online with you. Reach out to these “Superhero Volunteers” online and ask them to help organize and promote your next social media based event.
These events are harder to describe because they take on so many forms. In fact the branding and purpose can differ dramatically depending on who you ask at the event. Large conferences like SXSW and Love Austin Week span multiple days and locations, and managing these requires an ability to reach a point and then just let them run. Some of these events will take on multiple themes and some events, like Movember, will span multiple cities and countries.
To make the best use of social media to promote multifaceted events, Wesley says “Go Nuts!” and find ways to get everyone involved and having fun online and offline. The best way to get people involved is to find ways to personalize the experience each attendee has at the event. For example, one event Wesley helped organize hired an artist who did charicatures of attendees for their t-shirts.
Here are a few more ideas that can help you personalize your event:
Personalize cupcakes, cookies, and other sweets for each participant
Come up with a signature cocktail for the event
Create a website just for your event
Offer customizable swag bags that your attendees can select items for before the event
Include Online Participants by sharing their tweets and offering event videos and photos on your website
Rent a photo booth or hire a photographer and send attendees home with a photograph in a frame highlighting your event
Succeeding in the Social Economy
I want to conclude my wrap-up with Wesley’s words of wisdom to keep in mind when you are venturing out into social media.
The social economy doesn’t use the same exchange that we do at a merchant level… Give before you ask and be mindful of your social withdrawals.
You have to sometimes have a team member or partner who helps you get to the next step – Don’t feel like you have to go it alone and you’ll go further when you combine resources. This is particularly true when you are combining social media channels to promote your event.
Be like-able and make it easy for people to find you and talk to you!
I want to thank Wesley for a great presentation that gave tons of helpful ways to make your events more successful with social media marketing. You can find Wesley’s slides from his presentation here – Social Media and Events: An Evolution.