Hosting an event can be an effective marketing tactic for any business. They take considerable time and effort to carry out, but get it right and you could soon see a strong return on your investment.
The power of an event – especially a highly tailored in-person one – lies in the opportunity it provides to get face-to-face with a target audience. Despite all the advances that have been made in technology, there’s still nothing more effective than that. As at the end of the day, people do business with people.
For businesses across all industries and sectors, they offer a way to showcase your knowledge, position yourself as an expert and generate a source of positive content. Importantly, they can help you move leads along the sales path and closer to making a purchase.
The overall aim of any B2B marketing event must always be to give a good impression of the business and what it may be like to work with you. Every element will say something about you, so you need to ensure it runs smoothly and professionally from start to finish.
That means from the moment you start publicizing it, to the registration process, your communication, the event content and how it is delivered, and how you then go on to manage all contacts afterwards.
And that’s where specialist software comes in. It can support you with the organization and running of an event.
But just like events can come in all shapes and sizes, so too does the software. So, should you be using it and how do you choose the best solution for you?
The benefits of using event management software
It can make your life easier
The main benefit of using such solutions is that they can help you maximize registrations, while minimizing the resources that may otherwise have been needed. Once you’ve set up an event on your chosen software, then you should just be able to press go and let it get on with things – leaving you to concentrate on promoting the event. If you’re running multiple events, or a regularly occurring event, then this can be particularly useful.
Saves time needed for manual processing
Good solutions will help you automate most processes. They will offer features like registration tracking, payment processing and also tools that can aid audience engagement. You’ll be able to grab a quick snapshot of what’s happening, who’s registered, who’s paid, who went on to attend and more. Plus, you’ll have an easy way to track how much money an event is bringing into the business.
It will save time for your communication sequences too. With just a few clicks you should be able to send out tailored emails, including “thank you for attending” messages to those that made it and “sorry we missed you” to those who didn’t.
Aids professionalism and the overall experience
A further benefit is that it can make the management of the process feel that much more professional. The whole experience should run more smoothly. Nothing should be missed, which you can easily risk with a manual system. The payment of any monies can also be managed more easily and you’ll have the ability to manage multiple events easily.
Can help increase engagement
Engagement is at the heart of all marketing. It needs to start long before an event takes place and be supported and encouraged during and after. Good event management software will provide tools to aid participant communication at all stages. It will also give you the ability to see and analyze the global picture of your overall engagement levels.
Supports targeted activity
Marketing is at its strongest and most effective when it is highly targeted and tailored to an individual. (The key principal of account based marketing). You can use specialist solutions to tailor your event and all associated marketing activity. For example, by creating unique guest lists and email lists, and sending out targeted emails to those different attendees using certain parameters.
A holistic approach
Overall, event management software can act as a hub, holding together all elements of the event’s process. It can help keep everything connected, from the agenda, to speakers, any sponsors and the attendees.
Cons to be aware of
Lack of design options
One of the most common criticisms raised about event management software is that the easy to use interface often comes at the expense of customization. Design choices can be very basic and limited. Some are also not as intuitive as users would like. The easiest way to check this out is to see if you can have a free trial or comprehensive demo. Look at the options you have and examples, as well as comparing the wider features and tools available through different software.
The price can also vary greatly, with the most sophisticated and popular systems generally coming at the highest cost. It’s therefore important to define exactly what you need and are looking to get out of any software, before you make a decision. Just because a Google search suggests one solution is great, doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the best fit for you and your business.
With any software you choose, you will always be reliant on the quality and responsiveness of the customer service that is provided alongside. You need to feel confident that any downtime will be minimized and that you can get help if you need it. Using new software will often mean a steep learning curve, so see what is offered to help you through that process and beyond.
What else do you need to consider?
- Can the software be integrated with your existing systems? – think what it needs to work with (your CRM) and what information may need to be shared
- Can it scale up with the needs of the business? – if you start doing more events, for more people and with more supporting emails and marketing activity, can it scale up with you
- Is it going to be easy for your target audience to use? – think about your buyer personas and how tech savvy (or not) they may be, if they find it difficult to use they simply won’t
- What are people saying about it? – one of the best ways to check out new software is to read some of the recent comments and questions that customers have shared in help forums. This will give you a great insight into what customers really think and what any current issues may be
- Is the company responsive? – look at how the company responds online, to comments and across its social channels. If there is an issue, bug or an improvement is suggested, does the company act on it and handle it well?
7 of the top solutions
There are loads of options out there and new ones emerging all the time. As a starting point, here is a list of some of the top tools currently on the market:
Splash automates in-person marketing so that teams can work more efficiently, engage more of the right people and connect events to business results. It integrates with leading CRMs and marketing automation platforms, automatically syncing registrant and attendee data to reveal which events are most successful at attracting quality leads, influencing opportunities and generating revenue.
One of the leading platforms around today. Eventbrite is cost-effective event management software that helps businesses organize and sell tickets to events online. Plus, if your event is free, so is Eventbrite.
This all-in-one events software that helps organizers create successful events by empowering them to build amazing websites, sell tickets, grow communities, go mobile and maximize event experiences. The Bizzabo Platform includes all the tools event organizers need to manage their event from start to finish. The platform’s main features include: ticketing and registration, event website builder, event app, contacts management, networking tools, polls and surveys, and event analytics.
EventPro Software is designed for event professionals. For over 25 years, it has been helping organizations take their events up to a whole new level of efficiency. It a single system where the venue booking, event management and catering management components are all seamlessly integrated, so they can easily stand alone or be used all-in-one and anything in between.
A leader in event management, online event registration, venue sourcing, and mobile event app technology that is used in over 100 countries worldwide. It offers a complete, comprehensive solution to guide users and help them save time and costs throughout the entire lifecycle of their events, all while delivering memorable experiences for attendees.
A global end-to-end event management software solution used by over 20,000 event organizers. This cloud-based platform delivers innovative solutions to streamline the event process and increase ROI.
Claims to be the market leader for business events. XING understands the requirements of trade fairs, conventions and seminars from the ground up and can support you before, during and after your event. It offers a comprehensive services range from event planning through to implementation, so you can create a customized event management solution that meets your individual requirements. You only pay fees, when there are real registrations for your event.
Remember, your first step should be to define exactly what you need the software to be able to do. Think what you plan to use it for, on what scale and with what supporting marketing – both immediately and in the future. Also, think about the budget you want to spend.
Your second step should then be to shortlist and test the options which are the best fit for your wish list. A simple, easy to use interface with attractive but basic template designs may be the perfect solution for you. See what it’s like to use it in practice and read up on what customers are saying about it. You should then be a great position to move forward.