The A-Star Event Guide will provide you with some top tips for creating outstanding events.

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1 The A-Star Event Guide will provide you with some top tips for creating outstanding events. From planning your event to promoting it, managing registrations and measuring your event success, this guide will help you get your event up and running in no time.

2 Page 2 of 22 As a first step in creating a successful event, it is important to recognise the way events have evolved over the past decade. The journey around an event used to be simple. You invited members to an event, you delivered the event, and you followed up to see what your attendees thought of it. It was a simple model built around a few very productive days. But events have evolved to become more than just a once-off annual thing. Events bring people together so they can achieve amazing things. The Attendee Journey has become an extended interaction between attendees and the organisations and brands behind events. It now extends long before the event takes place, and with the right execution, continues for a long time after, offering opportunities for extended audience engagement and maximising event ROI.

3 Page 3 of 22 The key to delivering better event experiences and generating better results lies in understanding and monetising the attendee journey. The fact is, attendees now demand more from events, they want more choices, a better event experience, more value and more ways to connect. In order to deliver better, more measurable results, event organisers need to stop thinking of a live event as the destination and start thinking of it as a journey, bringing people together with sustained community engagement throughout the extended event cycle. The right event marketing will ensure you get the word out about your event and get the right audience and numbers to attend. marketing is a great start but your marketing efforts should not stop there. Event marketing has come a long way beyond simply inviting people and getting them to register. Your event marketing should build a buzz around your event, get your registrants engaged and talking about it long before it takes place and maintain that momentum after it finishes. But how do you create a marketing campaign that does all that with limited resources and budget?

4 Page 4 of 22 With the right event management tools and a dash of innovation, you can work wonders for your event marketing. Here, we ll walk you through some top tips on how to successfully market your event throughout the attendee journey and derive the most value. Your event website is your biggest promotional tool. It is where your audience will be directed from all of your other communication channels, and it s the place your event audience is likely to spend the most amount of time interacting with your brand in advance of your event. With this in mind, it s important to impress your audience with a sleek professional looking website that is easy to use and navigate. It s important to maintain consistency across your event promotions and marketing to build brand awareness throughout the event journey. Ensure event information and content are kept up to date at all times on your website. Consider posting the event schedule, session highlights, sponsors, and contact information. Another popular addition to your event website is a directory of event registrants, which allows other attendees to see who is attending and begin networking in advance of the event.

5 Page 5 of 22 is a fantastic online marketing tool that is both cost effective and measurable. When marketing is done right, it is a particularly powerful tool for driving event attendance, boosting brand awareness, and creating on-going engagement with your event audience. Before your campaign, take a look at your marketing list and see how you can maximise its potential. Developing a clean marketing list - one that you can effectively segment by demographics and use for personalisation is ideal. If you re pulling your list from an old excel doc, it may take a little more work to clean up, but with the right tool, you can manage, update and maintain your list within the system on an on-going basis. Good marketing is professional in appearance and deployment. Be careful not to spam your lists or contacts are likely to unsubscribe. On that note, it is also important to always include the option to unsubscribe from your list for legal reasons. Any good marketing system should include this as standard.

6 Page 6 of 22 invitations are a great first step in getting the word out about your event, but your marketing efforts should not stop there. By promoting your event through a variety of other marketing channels you can significantly increase your marketing reach. Use social media channels to create a buzz around your event and harness the power of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to expand your reach and empower your attendees to promote your event with social sharing. Create a #hashtag for your event It is a good idea to create a designated hashtag for your event. Hashtags are simply a word preceded by a # sign and can be used to unify tweets from multiple people on the same subject. (For example, #SXSW is the hashtag for the popular South by Southwest event.). It is important to promote this hashtag before, during and after the event and encourage people to use it. You can add it to your event page, marketing materials, blog content and other social channels and track its use and popularity in Twitter throughout the event cycle.

7 Page 7 of 22 Post your event to Facebook Create a Facebook page for your event and be sure to encourage your event audience to like or join the event. You can do this through your other marketing channels, by posting a link to your Facebook page on your website and also including it in any communications you send out. Tweet your Event Post event information and updates to Twitter regularly in the lead up to, during, and after your event to drive engagement throughout the event cycle. Remember, on Twitter you have up to 140 characters to create your post. Use these to highlight the key points: event name, dates, link to register, and if there is room, a personalised message to further promote your event. Get your event listed in directories for added reach Consider getting your event listed in dedicated event directories. You can often benefit from free listings on sites such as Upcoming or Eventful.com. Generate a QR code for instant mobile access to your event site This option creates an image that includes a QR code which can be used throughout your event and in your event marketing materials. When scanned on a mobile device, the QR code opens the browser and navigates to the registration page associated with your event allowing easy, direct access.

8 Page 8 of 22 Did you know that a smooth registration process can dramatically impact your attendees? A smooth, comfortable registration process can change the way they look at your organisation. It can decrease complications and complaints at your events. It can even lead to higher attendance and lower no-show rates. Over the past several years, we ve invested hundreds of hours into studying how attendees flow through the registration process. We ve identified what they like and what confuses them and have come up with some simple, yet little-known techniques that will revolutionise your registration process and impress your attendees. Event organisers often worry that hightech registration options will alienate a portion of their target audience. Yet you ll be surprised how quickly even your most traditional users will adapt to online registration. In fact, many event organisers have found that removing paper registration altogether has led to higher attendance, happier attendees and fewer complications at events.

9 Page 9 of 22 Event attendance in groups is the preferred option for many attendees and organisations, so it is important to offer group registration if possible. This makes your life a lot easier and will undoubtedly lead to more satisfied group leaders and attendees. Two things you can do to encourage group registrations are to: 1. Provide discounts for people who register as part of a group and 2. Make group registration as easy as possible by handling it within your standard registration process. Miscommunications and a lack of real time updates are pretty much guaranteed to negatively impact your attendees. Yet many event organisers still rely on manual processes to manage things like meal preferences and nearly every other attendee preference. Use event registration software to set up a way for your attendees to choose their own preferences and make selfservice changes to those preferences before the event.

10 Page 10 of 22 Event registrants can become frustrated by the length of time it takes to fill out a registration form. Many registrants are previous customers of the organisation holding the event, meaning that most of their personal information will have been captured by the organisation before. Using auto-recall, event organisers can set up registration to pre-populate personal and business information for their registrants wherever possible. Not only does this practice dramatically reduce time spent in the registration process, but it also decreases the number of people who abandon the process and reduces errors in your reporting. This simple feature can improve the attendee experience while making sure you always have accurate contact information for follow-ups and promotions. There is a way to identify no-shows before your events yet it s one of the leastused features in event registration. It s called click-to-confirm reminders, and it allows event organisers to send a series of triggered reminders leading up to an event, asking attendees to confirm that they will be attending the event. In addition to identifying potential no-shows, the extra action taken by your attendees reminds them about the event and reaffirms their commitment to attend.

11 Page 11 of 22 Usability studies show that attendees struggle with long registration forms, particularly when those forms contain information that isn t relevant to the attendee. Conditional logic in the registration process can avoid that pitfall. Conditional logic tailors questions in the registration form to dynamically display based on information previously entered. So, for example, if I have a golf networking event, I may ask an attendee if they would like to attend. If that attendee answers no, they will not be required to fill out information on tee times, t-shirt sizes or transportation. On the other hand, if that attendee chooses yes he will automatically see the appropriate questions. Very complicated events are using conditional logic to dramatically streamline the registration process, but even small events can use this technology to greatly reduce registration headaches for attendees while reducing workload for event organisers.

12 Page 12 of 22 The smartphone and most recently, the tablet, has become an essential tool in the hands of the event attendee. It is predicted that 10 billion mobile internet devices will be in use worldwide by 2016! (2). Based on these stats, it makes perfect sense that organisations would invest in developing the most effective ways to connect with mobile users on their chosen devices. For event organisers that are looking for more attendees, increased return on investment as well as return on engagement; mobile offers the maximum in terms of audience reach, targeting and real-time communication. RegOnline provides a FREE mobile event application, so you can get your event mobile-ready right away at no additional cost. Source: 1. Pew Research Center, The Future of Apps and Web, March 2012.

13 Page 13 of 22 When developing your event website and registration pages, ensure they are designed with mobile users in mind so the content is optimised for viewing and is accessible on mobile devices. This will enhance social media integrations, increase attendee engagement and streamline the event registration process for attendees. Post mobile accessible maps and event schedules so your attendees can access all of the information they need when they need it to ensure they get the most from the event experience.

14 Page 14 of 22 Set up social media event pages and encourage attendees to share photos, links and other social information about their experience. This enables event attendees to become more than just attendees or spectators but content creators that continuously interact through social networking channels. Create a listing for your event with services such as Facebook and FourSquare. Event attendees can then check-in when they arrive at the event and help you promote the event through their social networks. Make all event materials available for attendees to view or download on their mobile device. This is not only a greener option for your event, but also saves attendees the hassle of carrying around large volumes of paper in the form of brochures, schedules and maps.

15 Page 15 of 22 Quick response (QR) codes are two dimensional bar codes, readable by dedicated QR readers and smartphones. Users can quickly scan QR codes to download event information by scanning contact information. QR codes can save attendees valuable time and offer excellent data tracking capabilities for event planners. Get valuable feedback and information from attendees, and track trends by posting mobile surveys and polls before during and after the event.

16 Page 16 of 22 Many mobile technology providers can now integrate with other apps for your event which is a great way to continue to engage your audience and provide them with useful tools to support a positive event experience. Send attendees a message of thanks after the event that links them to a video of highlights or a library of all of the content in podcast, video or other format. By providing continued access to valuable event content you can pave the way for continued engagement long after your event takes place. Mobile event technology offers attendees the convenience and the freedom to connect with events and the brand behind the event wherever and whenever it suits them. By making it easier to connect with an event, attendees are more likely to engage with it, simply because they can. Using mobile technology, the whole event experience is streamlined and extended, saving attendees precious time.

17 Page 17 of 22 But after the flurry and excitement of an event, the post-event survey can often be overlooked and becomes an afterthought. Survey questions are thrown together quickly and in many cases, the data collected isn t as good as expected and sometimes is never even used.

18 Page 18 of 22 To avoid this, it is recommended that you plan your post-event survey in advance, and have it all set up and ready to send automatically once the event has concluded. Before you dive into your survey creation it s important to spend some time thinking about the information you want to get from it and how you re going to do that. In this section we ll provide some top tips and guidelines on designing and deploying event surveys for success. Before creating your survey, make a list of the key things you want to learn from it. Decide what data will validate whether or not you have achieved your goals and consider who will be using this data and how they will be using it. This could be you and your event management team, it could be your client if you re an independent planner or agency, and it will almost certainly be the senior leaders of the organisation behind the event who will want to put metrics and value to the money invested.

19 Page 19 of 22 Create surveys that are quick and easy to complete Offer surveys in an easy to use electronic format that is also accessible through smartphones and tablets. Ensure the design and interface is appealing. When it comes to survey questions, focus on quality, not quantity. You can include unlimited questions in your survey but ensure you focus on the quality of the questions and the responses you re looking for rather than asking too many. When it comes to survey questions try to provide multiple-choice or yes/no answers as much as possible and keep open ended responses to a minimum. These types of questions require less of the respondent s time and the data collected is easier to analyse, compare and report on. Make responses anonymous Another way to boost survey responses is by making your survey anonymous for respondents. This is likely to result in more responses and ensure the attendee feedback you gather is honest and accurate. Offer an incentive It is always a nice idea to offer survey respondents something in return for their time and feedback. Entry into a draw or competition is one option, or you could offer a free download of a whitepaper or e-book that is of interest to your audience.

20 Page 20 of 22 The questions you ask are very much dependent on the type of event you re running, but there are a few key areas worth reviewing for most typical events. Measure your marketing efforts Ask how attendees heard about your event, whether it was through an invitation, social media, a referral, word of mouth, etc. This information can be useful to determine where your event audience is engaging and communicating and what channels you need to focus on for future promotions. Determine logistical successes or failures Find out if the attendees liked or disliked any aspect of the event venue including location, parking, access, transport and facilities. If it is decided to have another event at the same venue in the future, the event planner will be aware of issues previously addressed by your attendees and arrangements can be adjusted accordingly. Offer an opportunity to give feedback Provide one verbose text area in your survey where your attendees may voice their opinions, and give suggestions to improve future events. Here you can find out more details about your attendee s experience, whether good or bad. You could consider asking your respondent to provide contact information here such as their name, address, or telephone number so that you can follow-up with them directly if the response is negative. Or you could consider asking them for permission to use a positive response in this section as a testimonial in your marketing materials.

21 Page 21 of 22 Once you ve created your survey it s important to test it for usability, flow, typos and punctuation. Ask colleagues to complete it and have them critique it for clarity, engagement, ease of use, as well as basics like spelling and grammar. Ensure that they are thinking through the survey to get an accurate sense of timing. If it takes longer to complete your survey than anticipated or if anyone is even slightly confused by a question or answer, review, update and test again before hitting the activate button to make your survey live.

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