Event planning has never been more complicated than it is today. From finding the right venue to organizing speakers, attendees and event details, every part of the process can feel like riding through chaos. Even post-event planning is important, as this adds value to the company and helps provide insight into the next event.
Thankfully, there are technological solutions abound that can make all aspects of event planning simple to manage and extremely rewarding. These event planning tools will not only save you precious time, but will help you regain a bit of sanity during the entire event planning process.
Perfect for all parts of your event, electronic surveys allow you to engage your potential attendees directly. By crafting surveys that you send and receive back digitally, you can gather much needed information regarding where an event should be held, how to structure that event, and the type of content potential attendees would find helpful. This will help you plan an event with significant impact.
Electronic surveys are also useful during the event and after the event, as you can keep a finger on the pulse of the event. Used right after an event, digital surveys provide a healthy amount of feedback regarding what worked and what didn’t work. All of that data is valuable in crafting the best event that brings the most value to attendees.
Social media is an essential part of all events now. Like surveys, social media can be used before, during and after an event to generate ideas on direction. However, it can also be used to generate buzz and excitement around your event, as well as to increase the potential attendance. This can go a long way to generate leads during and after the event and pull in new clients, or increase worker efficiency for staff-building events.
Social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook can be utilized to build and maintain interest in your event prior to it starting. Creating a hashtag (#) for your event will also help you catalog how much interest is expressed in your event via social media analytics. Social media automated websites will allow you to instantly monitor the buzz generated around your event. Services such as Oktopost, Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Google Alerts and Twitter’s own Tweetdeck can help you set up RSS (rich site summary) feeds. Any time someone uses your hashtag or mentions your event, you’ll know about it.
Digital Media Content Creation
Regardless of the type of event you’re running, creating and sharing images and videos to promote your event will help generate interest before and after. Prior to the event, things like short, informational videos or infographics can help build buzz. Making the infographics informative, short and powerful will help. It is also best to ensure that the digital media you create has value beyond advertisement for your event. Viewers should find value in the information that is both personal and shareable. There are excellent, free resources available that anyone can use and master. This includes websites like Piktochart for quick and easy infographics, or Storify, which collects social media posts, articles and videos from across the web about your company, event or hashtag allowing you to tell an interesting, buzz-worthy story.
Modern events are all about automation and mobility. Event goers have a desire to be in and out at will, without the hassle of being tied down by long lines. While security measures will always slow things down a bit, prepared IDs will increase the speed with which attendees can get in and out. Personalized IDs with barcodes allow attendees to zip in through entrances and perform immediate check-ins that are fully self-service.
Kiosks can scan attendee badges and provide immediate information for both you and the attendee, helping you gather necessary data on what aspects of your event appear to be drawing the most foot traffic. Barcodes also offer a direct source for gathering valuable attendee data, including what those attendees find most interesting and how long they stayed in each location.
GPS Smartphone Technology
Finding a way to incorporate geographical location and data into your event can go a long way toward bringing your event into the 21st Century. Consider some of the most popular smartphone apps. Most utilize GPS location data in some way to enhance the user experience. There’s no reason why your event can’t do the same thing. Users can check-in to different parts of your event, and can be encouraged to tag their location, while also including your social media tags to continue generating interesting during and after the event.
Personalized Mobile Apps and Microsites
Application creation has never been easier. Getting a simple, easy-to-use event application for your event is a perfect way to get attendees directly involved. This can allow attendees to interact with the different booths and sessions available at your event, and can serve as their personal hub for your event’s details and schedule. You can even include push notifications to the app which allows you to send information directly to attendees’ phones through the app.
Data Analytics Software
All of the technology you’re using for your event has to go somewhere. Data analytics software takes the information you’ve gathered and helps you recognize trends related to that data. This helps you better understand your attendees, their likes, dislikes, what motivates them, and what value you can deliver to them in future events. Never let a good event go analyzed! Every event can result in a wealth of information you may never have been able to collect without the event and the technology you used to plan and host it.
Marketing Automation Tools
Generating leads and just getting the word out about your event can be one of the most time consuming, but necessary steps to event planning. Marketing automation tools can handle customer relationships in a way that saves you both time and energy. These tools will automate the many repetitive tasks associated with marketing, such as gathering emails and sending out marketing emails or making social media posts. These tools will even gather and evaluate workflow tasks to help you market better in the short and long term. Gathering and analyze data at every point of the event planning process will help make the entire process more efficient and valuable.
Event Management Software
An all-encompassing program, event management software is a must-have for any event planner who hopes to stay organized. The days of Excel spreadsheets are long gone. There are far too many particulars involved in event planning that can get easily lost in endless rows and columns. Instead, turning to event management software will provide you with the necessary tools to take full control of before, during and after-event planning. All of the tools mentioned can be often be found in an all-in-one program. A technology to make technology use easier, event management software helps bring together the many technological innovations into a neat, easily usable package.
The importance of event management software lies in the integration of complex moving parts. While individual programs will provide you with a better event planning experience, managing all of them piece by piece can be confusing and eat away your time. The smooth integration of information from different applications makes the event planning process extremely efficient and fun.
Written by: Daniel Johnson