7 ways technology streamlines events for planners and attendees

There’s no denying it: Events are among the top ways to engage customers and prospects. In their annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report, Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs rank in-person events as the most effective B2B marketing tactic for the fifth consecutive year.

With events being such an important strategy, it’s surprising that many organizations still manage them with a disjointed combination of spreadsheets, email, databases and survey tools rather than implementing more advanced event management technology. Event management tech streamlines event processes and allows planners to manage everything in one place, among other benefits, and there are many ways to put it to effective use.

Easier Registration

Moving the entire registration process online makes things easier on registrants and event teams by taking the stress out of setting up, collecting and managing event registrations. Digital registration forms are easy to customize with only information that you really need. This allows you to account for the information about invitees that you already have and keep the form as short as possible.

You can also make your registration form downloadable from your website so registrants don’t have to leave your site. If your event isn’t free, you can add payment processing to the form. By lowering the barriers to registration, the likelihood that invitees will respond and attend goes way up.

Speedy Check-In

First impressions are important, and no one likes to wait in long lines. Event management online software speeds up the check-in process by replacing your spreadsheet or printed attendee list with an app on the registration laptops or tablets that can check in guests with a quick click or tap. Check-in data also syncs with your database to ensure that you know who showed up.

MassChallenge, the world’s largest startup accelerator, has an annual award ceremony that attracts more than 1,500 attendees. By using Attend’s check-in app for the event, MassChallenge “minimized lines, reduced confusion,” which “improved attendees’ overall experience at the event by making check-in quick, easy and enjoyable,” says Cory Bolotsky, MassChallenge’s director of operations.

Attendee Alerts

You typically know who you want to connect with at events, but it’s easy to lose your targets in the crowd. Tracking software tells you when an important attendee checks in, setting the stage to greet the most important attendees at the door. Hannah Vigneron, client services associate with CBRE New England, uses VIP text alerts for client events. “We care so much about our clients that we put in extra time to find a system that allows us to know the moment they walk in the door,” she says.

Conversation Tracking

The most valuable aspect of an in-person event is connecting with prospects and customers in person. Does your organization have a process for recording conversations at events? Some write notes on notepads or the backs of business cards, others use note-taking apps.

While those methods are fine for note-taking, how often do those notes actually get added to a database? Tech that puts event management online allows you to add notes on any attendee and sync them to your CRM with the rest of your event data, making post-event follow-up exponentially more effective.

Measure Attendee Satisfaction

With check-in data already recorded, you can send out post-event surveys as soon as the event is over. Gathering feedback after your event is a critical part of event strategy, and sending out surveys quickly gives you a better picture of how attendees received your event while it’s still fresh in their minds. Such immediate feedback gives excellent insight on ways to improve future events.

Sync Event Data

All that data you’ve collected is useless if you can’t connect it to your database. Horror stories abound from organizations that still use printed spreadsheets to record event attendance and require staff to manually enter data. Manual processes not only waste time and resources, but leave the door open for inaccuracies. Event management tech makes it quick and easy to sync accurate event data with your database—and services such as Attend even sync with Salesforce and other third-party software.

Track Success

Another valuable aspect of event management software is that it allows you to measure your event success by reliably keeping track of hard data and calculate your ROI. Without accurate registration and attendance numbers, onsite conversations and survey responses, it’s impossible to fully understand what parts of your event strategy are and aren’t working.

Event management online software puts all this data at your fingertips, ready to be synthesized into insights that can be used to plan future events with greater logistical and financial efficiency. Moving to an event strategy where decisions are based on solid data allows you to better engage your attendees and prove the true value of every event.

Garrett Huddy is the content marketing manager at Attend, an event management online platform based in Boston. Garrett writes e-books, articles and blog posts on event best practices. For more, visit the Attend blog at blog.attend.com.