5 Web Tools that Make Event Proposal Management Such a Breeze

There is so much going on when you’re managing and planning an event, if you don’t have the right tools, you’ll get left in the dust. It’s a little daunting to think about how it was to plan an event and manage it successfully without the internet or a solid set of software tools. Throw in the effort and work it takes to incorporate a proper event sponsorship strategy and no wonder the stereotype of an event manager is stressed out, overworked, and carrying around a binder full of notes.

There are oodles of tools that allow you to actually manage your event- we’ll cover some of those below, but there’s a massive gap in the sponsorship acquisition efforts of an event management team. Dozens of hours are spent on Powerpoint to try and create an acceptable sponsorship deck, then there’s the nightmare of managing the Excel sheet to track everything. Often, sponsorship campaigns leave event organizers feeling like they are running a marathon.

The digital revolution has really changed all of this. No longer are we chained to our binders and notebooks or even Excel to stay organized. You’ve got things to do and today’s tools will make the individual pieces of it all even easier. These tools will make the entire event easier to manage while allowing you to kill it when you’re pitching sponsorships and sending out event sponsorship proposals:

  1. Wrike Project Management Software

    Wrike is a one-stop team collaboration and project management tool. It has the ability to give your team increased visibility, allows you to turn strategy into action, and enables collaboration. It’s an immense benefit to have a single hub for all the work that organizing an event entails. The user-friendly navigation simplifies things for managers and their teams and the mobile app allows work out “in the field” while an event is taking place.

    Why we love it: the real-time reports and analytics integrations give a central location to track KPIs across teams and ensure you’re hitting all of your goals in an event without having to search for 100 reports in different locations.
  2. CVent

    Cvent is an institution in event management and planning. They’ve been around for years and provide software and services for event managers like venue sourcing, travel, online registration and more. The venue sourcing is limited to hotels, which means that it’s a tool that is more suitable to high budget affairs. The comprehensive features of Cvent are a draw for users, but it can be a bit complex for smaller organizations trying to make a dent in their respective markets.

    Why we love it: it’s a comprehensive tool that’s great for large or high-end events. It’s a bit costly, but for bigger budget productions, it’s a fantastic tool.
  3. SocialTables

    Social Tables is a fantastic tool that simplifies seating arrangements, room layout design, guest check-in, and even event attendance tracking. This is an ideal tool for event managers who are extremely detail-oriented and is perfect for small and mid-size events. The tool gives you the capability to collaborate with caterers, venue providers, and other organizers. It’s perfect for business conferences due to its check-in feature that will aid conference organizers, allowing them to focus on the attendee experience.

    Why we love it: The ease of collaboration and the seating/layout design features are ideal for small to medium-sized events. This makes it ideal for nonprofits or startups looking to grow awareness in networking or fundraising events.
  4. Sponeasy

    While we’re partial to other sponsorship proposal tools, Sponeasy bridges the gap between tracking and event proposal management and generation. Sponeasy got off the ground in 2014 to answer a need in the marketplace. They saw a world of event management devoid of Excel and the hassle of building decks in PowerPoint. The result? A robust proposal management tool that takes you from deck building to a powerful analytics suite allowing you to easily track and analyze results.

    Why we love it: the analytics and reporting effectively solves the issues with spreadsheets that many event management teams run into. It streamlines processes and allows teams to get back to what they should be concentrating on- perfecting the pitch and sealing sponsorships for their event.
  5. Qwilr

    Qwilr allows event managers to cut down on the time they spend building pitch decks and allowing event sponsorship management to become an efficient part of the overall event management process. Quickly create beautiful and intuitive pitch decks and proposals for your event sponsorship strategy. Qwilr gives your team the autonomy to quickly create consistent proposals to send to potential sponsors, allowing you to scale your efforts quickly without losing quality of work.

    Reimagine the pitch deck and create inspiring communications that will improve the conversion rate of your event sponsorship strategy.

    Why we love it: Qwilr gives event management teams simple building blocks that allow them to use their best work while staying on brand. It’s efficient to mix and match, allowing teams to create with ease and consistency. Qwilr also gives teams the ability to improve their upsell efforts with interactive pricing. It streamlines the pitch process by allowing sponsors to quickly sign off on event sponsorship proposals and incorporating inbuilt payments with the integration of Stripe.

In Conclusion

Let’s face it: event management and organization is hard. It takes a village to create a successful event and that village needs the right set of tools in order to be able to scale events by utilizing event sponsorships and making all initiatives churn forward successfully to hit goals. Ultimately, it’s a combination of planning, talent, and the right tools that make not only event management successful, but the generation of additional income that event sponsors bring as well.

If you are able to make your event registration experience solid, you have a solution that works for event registration and check-in, and you have tools that help you expedite the event sponsorship efforts, your team will be able to navigate the road ahead with ease. Get back to planning and pitching event sponsorships and spend less time creating documents, managing proposals, and handling registration hurdles.

Author Bio:

Kristen Bowie is a marketing leader, forging the path with data-driven decisions. When she’s not writing for thought leadership and creating sponsorship proposals at Qwilr, she’s hanging out with her two urban dwarf goats, painting, or is out watching a local band.

How to Use In-Person Tactics to Create Engaging Virtual Events

Over the years there has been concern that virtual events would cannibalize in-person events. However, while the number of virtual events many organizations are hosting on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis has grown, in-person events have not disappeared. There are certain aspects of in-person events that will always function differently when attempted to be done virtually.

One example of this is networking. Yes, there are chat pods and video conferences, but nothing replaces a handshake or a hug. Being able to chat over dinner, discuss common challenges in the industry over drinks, and share personal stories and photos among new friends are just a few ways that place-based events can provide valuable networking. Another is brainstorming. Again, this can be done through chat pods and video chats, but there is something to be said to gathering around a table with people to brainstorm and collaborate on a topic face-to-face. Lastly, themes. Having a conference in Nashville? Make sure to attend the country music performance on opening night. Your next meeting is in Austin? Don’t miss the BBQ dinner! Heading to Louisville? Plan to sample some bourbons at happy hour. Being on location, rather than attending from the comfort of your own home, allows for themes to more easily be woven into events that can keep attendees mingling and meeting long after the sessions have concluded.

While these are all true and great aspects of in-person meetings and events, it doesn’t mean that virtual events aren’t important or that they can’t be engaging. While there are plenty of virtual events that offer no engagement at all (which can probably be said for some in-person sessions), that doesn’t mean all events have to be this way! Below we outline some ways to utilize engaging ideas from face-to-face events within your virtual ones.

Customized Interactive Lobby

You did it! You got them to not only register, but attend your event. They’re excited and have arrived a couple of minutes early. Don’t let them get distracted before the event even starts — keep them entertained with some gamification – like trivia questions, games, and attendee location maps. Or, use the time to have rotating slides displaying relevant information such as upcoming events and information about the organizations who have sponsored the virtual event.

Chat Channels

While not the same as a hug or a handshake, having open chat channels during your virtual events still allows remote attendees to interact with one another and give them that sense of engagement and community. We’ve all become so used to using chat in our daily lives – whether text messaging our friends and family, using Slack at work, or even commenting on social media, it’s become second nature for us to chat online and many attendees will dive right in. Kick things off by posing a question in the chat pod at the beginning of the event! Continue to use the chat pod to have targeted discussions and receive relevant feedback.

Ask Questions!

I’m not talking about the audience (yet). YOU, the presenter, should be asking questions. Kick off your virtual event with a poll and intersperse them throughout the event to keep your audience engaged, while also feeding you useful information as you continue on in your presentation. Make sure to display the results on the screen so that an attendee can see how everyone else responded to the poll.

Post-event, it’s important to try and collect feedback — on the presenter, presentation, topic, event overall, and anything else you might like to know! Make sure to have a clear call-to-action when the event is concluding and have a link to click or a survey pop up automatically to increase the likelihood of attendees responding.

Of course, if your virtual event carries any sort of continuing education credit or certificate of attendance with it, it’ll be much simpler to get attendees to participate in a post-event survey or quiz, but still plenty valuable!

Presenter Q&A

Okay, this time I’m talking about letting the audience ask YOU, the presenter, questions. This might seem pretty simple and straightforward, and it should be! However, too often we see presenters waiting until the very end to open up Q&A. Why wait until the end to answer a question that might have been more relevant in the first 10 minutes of the event?

Instead, remind me people throughout the event that they can ask questions at any time, and make sure to pay attention to that Q&A pod!

Breakout Sessions

While we briefly touched on the benefits of breaking off to brainstorm in groups in person, these can be plenty beneficial virtually. By breaking your audience into smaller groups you’ll be making it easier for them to participate and interact with one another. You can even encourage your audience to use webcams for a more personalized experience.

After breaking out, bring your audience back together to compare notes, conclusions, and any other discussion points from the break.

Whiteboards

Perhaps not relevant for every webinar, in specific instances, utilizing a whiteboard during a presentation can be very valuable for attendees – whether you are writing down pieces of information you are presenting or collecting information from the audience. Use a virtual event platform that allows for some sort of whiteboard or notetaking and utilize the functionality just like you would during an in-person presentation.

Giveaways

“Be the first to answer this question correctly and win a prize.” “Look under your seat and see if you have the red envelope that wins the prize!” There are a variety of ways to give away swag and prizes during in-person sessions, but with gift cards and virtual gift-giving the norm these days, giving away prizes during a virtual event is easier than ever. Kick your event off by giving away a prize and then do so again during and at the conclusion of the event. This will surely keep people engaged!
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Whether you try out all, some, or none of these things, you can’t forget that first and foremost you must have great content and a well put-together presentation. No boring slides – spend some time on good visuals to help maintain engagement and attention when you are presenting and not performing one of the engaging tasks listed above. Be concise on slides and elaborate while you present, never spending more than a couple of minutes per slide (unless engaging conversations start to ensue!).

Once your slides are ready to go, practice, practice, practice! Make sure you’re familiar with the virtual event software, are comfortable talking an audience you can’t see and who might not be able to verbally respond, and take your time!

Last but not least, having a professional company to help plan and host your virtual event can be a big help too. From setting up your room layout to familiarizing you with the software, providing professional moderation for introductions and Q&A, and customer technical support for your end users so you don’t have to worry about them while you’re concentrating on your presentation can go a long way to making sure your event is a success!

Author Bio

Jocelyn Fielding

Jocelyn Fielding – Director, Marketing & Sales Operations

Jocelyn is responsible for all marketing activities at Blue Sky eLearn, as well overseeing sales from an operational standpoint. She has over 10 years of experience in sales and marketing, with 7 of those years being spent at Blue Sky, marketing and selling to associations, corporations, and pharmaceutical companies. When Jocelyn isn’t working, she enjoys being outside – whether hiking or heading to the beach. She’s also an avid traveler, has been to six of the seven continents, and is always planning her next trip (or two!).


How Exhibits Can Increase The Sales of Your Business

Being part of a trade show as an exhibitor can turn out to be one of the best decisions you ever made for your brand. There is a lot you can not only share but also learn that will, in turn, lead to an increase in business sales. Renting a tent and some decors for the exhibition cannot be compared to the return on investment you get if you play your cards right with the right strategy. Here’s how exhibitions can increase the sales of your business.

An Exhibition as an Advertising Strategy

Advertising is the most fundamental reason why brands decide to be part of an exhibition. It is a chance to advertise yourself as a company to a group of people that have an interest in what you do. Trade shows are planned for a specific industry. This means that the people who attend them have an interest in the industry, hence the audience you get has already been targeted for you.

Helps Create Brand Awareness

For you to attract clients to your brand, people have to know that you exist. At exhibitions, you will be able to introduce yourself to the public, helping them know about your brand and the services you offer. Your booth should be attractively designed with your company colors. Expocart.com can come in handy in getting the equipment you need for a great exhibition at very affordable prices. Increasing brand awareness will, in the long run, lead to an increase in sales. 

Education Marketing

In some cases, people might have already interacted with your brand in one way or another. However, they may not be fully aware of the best way to benefit from the services you offer. Educational marketing is a type of marketing where you improve your sales by teaching people how to use the products you provide or showing them why they need your services. 

During exhibitions, you have an easy one-on-one time with a prospect to educate them about your brand. Once they learn how to use your products, they might convert into regulars and also evangelize your brand to their friends.

Building Business Connections and Customer Engagements

Exhibitions give your potential clients and customers a chance to meet the people behind the brand. This is an excellent place to engage your customers and get feedback on the products and services you offer. Some may go to the extent of showing you how the brand has benefitted their lives, showing you which services you need to focus on and which ones to do away with. In such settings, you will also be able to build networks within industries that may help you enhance your products. 

A Chance to Learn the Industry’s Trends

During exhibitions, you too can take a walk around other booths to see what your competitors and companions are up to. You might get an idea in the process that will transform your brand, helping you increase your sales. 

You can learn more from being on the field than sitting in an office. As much as the internet has a lot of information, when you can personally interact with the market, you will observe the trends more clearly. Some things never become real until you see them physically.

Launching and Testing Products in Exhibitions

Exhibitions are the right places to launch a product to the market. This is because educational marketing, as seen above, is quite practical. There are a number of ways to test a product and doing so in exhibitions is one of them. With feedback, you have first-hand information about your customers’ views hence giving you room for improvement. This will, in turn, lead to better products and therefore better sales. It is not useful for any brand to be blind in their sectors.

As much as you might have done your market research before launching your product, each product is unique, and consumers whose feedback is considered feel known by the company, building a good brand and consumer relationship.

Conclusion

There is a lot you can gain from being part of an exhibition, and the above pointers are just a few. Some connections you create in shows turn out to be the one contact you needed to grow your business. Other times, you learn something about your brand that you would have otherwise overlooked, which would have caused you great losses. The advantages are tremendous, and if you have not considered exhibiting at a trade show, the above points should make you rethink that decision.

Author Bio

Emily Porter is the Content Outreach Manager at Expocart, the UK’s
largest provider of products for exhibitions and events. Expocart works to make exhibiting easier, more affordable, and hassle-free.

7 Quick and Easy Tips for When Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Needs a Boost

Hosting peer-to-peer campaigns and events is a great way to extend your fundraising reach. But, what do you do when your peer-to-peer (p2p) fundraising results need a boost?  

Here are seven quick and easy tips for improving your peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns and events:

1. Make your website easier to use.

Go to the homepage of your website, pretend that you have never been to the website before, and step through the online process for your peer-to-peer campaign or event. Ask yourself the following questions, and work with your website manager to tweak the online process and make the website easier for donors and participants to use:

  • Is it clear what I should do if I want to learn more, register, or donate?
  • How many clicks does it take to sign up or donate?
  • How many questions am I asked during the registration or donation process (and do we really need to ask all of them)?
  • If I’m donating, is it easy to find the person I want to donate on behalf of?
  • If I’m registering as a fundraiser, how easy it is for me to sign up and then actually start fundraising?

2. Revisit your message.

You need an impactful story to get your supporters excited about helping you raise funds, and also for them to share with friends and family. Take a look at your story and communications for your campaign or event, and make sure they answer these questions:

  • What makes our organization unique?
  • What impact are we having on our mission?
  • What problem does this particular peer-to-peer fundraising campaign solve?
  • How do we want people to feel about our campaign (emotionally touched, inspired, outraged)?

3. Get the word out more clearly.

Many of your supporters will be happy to participate and help you raise funds — you just need to ask! Make sure that in every form of communication, your call-to-action is clear. And remember, asking someone to register and asking someone to fundraise are two DIFFERENT asks. If someone hasn’t registered yet, your messaging should be about asking them to register (not “register and then fundraise”). Once someone is a registered participant, then you can target them with fundraising communications.

4. Leverage your participants.

The supporters who register to fundraise for your organization can be your biggest cheerleaders. Ask your top performers how else they may want to help, and see if they can use their story to recruit other participants. You’ll likely get more fundraisers onboard and deepen your relationship with your participants.

5. Tie money to something real.

Associate the donation levels for your campaign or event with what the funds will provide for your organization. Letting supporters know that their donation will help feed a family of four or send a child to school for a year is more impactful than simply asking for a specified amount of money.

6. Reach out directly.

Pick up the phone and call your fundraisers. Ask them how things are going, and thank them for their work. Or, write a personalized note/email to thank fundraisers for their support. Also consider adding texts to the mix — they’re a great way to send a virtual high-five to fundraisers as they reach milestones.

7. Get creative.

There’s almost no limit to the number of ways you can use the peer-to-peer fundraising model to raise funds and engage with supporters. Check out what other nonprofits are doing to get ideas and inspiration on creative approaches to peer-to-peer fundraising.

When your peer-to-peer fundraising needs a boost, you don’t necessarily need to overhaul it. A few quick and simple changes today can go a long way to taking your program to new heights!

Author bio

Daniella Dowiak is the Account Manager at Cathexis Partners. Daniella has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than ten years. With a deep understanding of nonprofits’ limited resources, she is passionate about helping organizations get the most out of their technology.

How to Increase Conversions with a Visually Creative Email Marketing Campaign

With more brands seeing the importance of email marketing in their overall business strategy, it’s no wonder that your target market’s inbox is already brimming with emails that are left unread, with links that are left unclicked.

How do you stand out from the noise? Aside from boosting your efficiency with email marketing software, you need to make your emails visually compelling and entertaining. Vision aces all the other senses when it comes to memory retention.

A picture will boost the recall ability of information by 65%. That means content with images gets 650% more engagement than just plain text. This stat must not be surprising because humans are naturally visual beings. Just think about it — we learned to identify pictures before we could even read or speak.

Here are tips for visually creative email marketing campaigns that will help you increase conversion:

1. Create your own infographics

Original visuals, like infographics, outperform other forms of visuals like videos, charts, and stock photography. Infographics are also the most shareable form of content.  It’s better to create your own than grabbing images from photo sharing websites.

With that, try to use more people in your imagery, rather than backgrounds or technology, since the eye is immediately drawn to faces rather than objects. And also, don’t be afraid to use your own images instead of using cliché and overused stock photos.

2. Limit the number of visual elements

The images should not distract the readers from your intended message. To do this, you need to limit the number of images and use visuals that match the content of the email. There is no hard rule on how many images to place but there should be a practical ratio between text and pictures.

The number and resolution of photos should not drag down the loading time. Email load time is crucial, and thus should not be sacrificed because users can choose to exit (or worse, delete) your email in just a few seconds because of slow loading time.

3. Use videos for product reviews

Four times more users prefer to watch a product review than to read it. If you want to include product reviews on your emails, it’s best to turn it into a video. The video will make the review more trustworthy and reliable because it has the human element.

Extra tip! Use a short but useful video that you can link to a longer one on your YouTube channel or website.

4. Add humor

Using cute and witty visuals is a great way to incorporate a bit of fun in your email. Just remember that it must still be aligned with the content and of course, with your brand. Its main goal should still be to amplify your message.

Extra tip! try to avoid subjects like religion, race, and politics, especially if they are not related to your brand.

5. Build your own visual library

Most marketers struggle with consistently producing visuals. As a solution to this, you need to include the images, infographics, and videos on your content calendar. It would be great if you could plan ahead for a year’s use so that you can produce high-quality visuals regularly.

6. Automate visual content

Save time by using different online platforms to make templates for your infographics and automate them so you don’t need to start from scratch every time. There are also ready-made templates for you which you can tweak a bit to suit your message and style.

7. Use Clear and Large CTA’s

If the client has clicked on your CTA without reading your message, you probably chose the right visual. The CTA has to be highly noticeable and obviously clickable. You don’t need to think of creative designs when it comes to your buttons because users might not think that it’s a CTA.

Extra tip! Make the CTA’s mobile responsive

8. Don’t use an image background

As much as visuals are appealing, they will lose the appeal if you use them as the background for your email text. Not only does this practice reduce the clarity of your text, but it will also slow down your loading time. Only use block colors that are in contrast to the text.

9. Use animations

Embed GIF’s to your email to make your message more vibrant. These moving elements are entertaining, but make sure, again, that they’re still aligned with your message. Do not add anything just for the sake of having a visual element. Every part of your email should lead to a higher click-through rate.

Conclusion

Visuals add life to your emails and can increase conversions if used properly. Remember the tips above when you create your next newsletter. Using visuals is also easier with an email marketing software that allows you to create your own campaigns, or tweak existing templates.

Author Bio

Kimberly Maceda is a Content Writer for ActiveTrail. ActiveTrail is a leading provider of professional-grade email marketing and automation software for growing businesses. She writes for some top online marketing sites and blogging advice on email marketing and marketing automation.

5 Essential Steps for Planning Your Fundraising Event

Planning a large-scale event can be daunting, especially for the inexperienced.

But fundraising events are extremely important for a nonprofit’s success. Besides serving as a major source of revenue, fundraising events give you an opportunity to engage directly with your donors and form long-lasting relationships.

Events are a great way to maintain member engagement, which is crucial to ensuring your cause receives gifts well into the future. Here are the five most important steps to planning a great event:

  1. Outline your goals.
  2. Build a team.
  3. Look for sponsors.
  4. Create an agenda and reserve a space.
  5. Advertise your event.

While you’re still in the planning stage, take a look at these 5 essential steps to make sure your event goes off without a hitch.

Bonus! Once you’ve staged the perfect event, make sure to check out this Member Engagement Guide from Doubleknot for more tips on how to keep your members engaged even when you don’t have an active campaign or upcoming fundraising event.

1. Outline your goals.

Before you can start planning, you should probably know what you are planning.

It may seem silly, but many inexperienced event planners have suffered due to a lack of clearly defined goals for their event. If all you know about your event is that you want it to be a magical night under the stars, consider sitting down and making a short list of simple, actionable goals.

The specific details will depend on what type of event you are planning, but using a few of these essential examples will make a good foundation:

  • Budget. You may think of a budget as more of a restriction than a goal, but staying under budget is one of the most important signs of a successful event (especially for your donors). After all, what’s the point of a fundraiser if you spend everything you earned on the event itself? Compare your ideal event against a realistic budget to arrive at the perfect solution.
  • Size. Do you want your event to be small and intimate or large and boisterous? Having a set size in mind will come in handy later when picking a venue and making catering decisions. Of course, always plan for more people than you actually expect—the last thing you want is to run out of food or space!
  • Objective. What do you want to get out of your event? You may have a specific fundraising goal, or maybe you’re hoping to welcome new members to your organization’s membership program. This should be one of the first decisions you make, as it will influence many of your event planning decisions going forward.

Whatever your goals, laying them out is the first step to planning a great event. You have to know what you want to achieve before you can plan how you’ll achieve it!

2. Build a team.

The perfect event needs the perfect team to handle any issues that come up while planning or during the event itself.

This is especially true for mid- to large-sized events.

Once you’ve made a list of goals for the event, you should be able to delegate responsibilities to a few trusted helpers who can handle the minutiae while you take care of the big stuff. After all, you still have to take care of the day-to-day operations of your nonprofit!

Your team can serve as an extra set of eyes when you are stuck on a decision or an extra set of hands when the many small (but important) tasks are mounting. You’ll also need them to help handle the key day-of logistics like donations, parking, and emergency preparedness once the big day rolls around.

Depending on the size of your event, you may simply recruit your two best employees, or, if you are preparing a large event, you may need a team of 10 people or more. In either case, make sure that you clearly define each team member’s role so that nothing falls by the wayside. You should also set up an efficient means of communication for the team so that everybody stays on the same page.

To avoid any logistical hiccups, find a software solution that will allow your team to handle registration, ticketing, donations, and sales with ease. A system that integrates these features with your nonprofit’s membership management will ensure that you keep track of all this important information. Check out this list of Eventbrite alternatives from Double the Donation for some options.

3. Look for sponsors.

Most nonprofits require sponsors to help host great events without dipping too much into their gift revenue.

There are lots of costs involved with organizing a fundraiser, and you may not see some of them coming. Getting a local business to hop on board as a sponsor is a great way to offset the cost, get some free advertising, engage with your community, and cultivate some potentially long-lasting relationships.

But how can you find the right businesses to sponsor your event? Here are a few ideas:

  • Take advantage of your network. If there are any businesses you’ve worked with in the past, or if you know anyone with ties to local businesses, ask if they have any interest in sponsoring your event. It doesn’t have to be too formal at this point—you’re just asking, and they won’t sponsor your event unless they really want to.
  • Look around. Find out what businesses have sponsored similar events in the past, and explain to them how your cause aligns with their values. Make sure to detail how crucial their help would be to supporting your mission.
  • Think about media sponsorships. A media sponsorship can really kill two birds with one stone by helping you fund your event and get the word out to the public. Think about local publications, radio, and television. Even if they only offer free advertisement, that’s money saved for the rest of your event!

Once you’ve identified a few candidates, all you have to do is send them a letter outlining a few options for different levels of sponsorship and explaining the potential opportunities and benefits for their business.

Once again, you will hopefully be able to sustain this relationship and work together on a future event or project. So after the event, make sure to thank them for their help and tell them specifically how their sponsorship led to a successful fundraiser.

4. Create an agenda and reserve a space.

Now that you’ve secured some sponsorships, you can start planning the details of your event.

The first step is to create an agenda or itinerary outlining the event’s essential details—date, time, attire, parking, and all the other important facts that your guests need to know. This will be helpful for both you and your guests, letting you keep the event running smoothly and while serving as a reference for them.

If you don’t know where to start, try thinking about the kind of mood that you want to set for your event. Do you want a serious space to talk frankly about your cause, or would you prefer a lighthearted affair with an air of celebration? Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box—consider making your event more unique by planning an aquarium or museum event that will really get guests excited.

But it’s not just about features and decorations. Location is also extremely important for racking up those RSVPs. Make sure to consider parking, mass transit, and valet service as well. You should also be sure to choose a location whose staff is accommodating and willing to work with you to make your event special.

The research and booking process can take time, so make sure to start well in advance. This is another area where a good software solution can make a difficult task relatively painless.

5. Advertise your event.

Everything’s set up and now all you need are the guests.

You’ve put so much into planning, so you should use every resource available to make sure you get the attendance you want for your event.

We already talked about the possibility of a media sponsorship, but chances are you will need some additional advertisement to make sure your message is heard. There are lots of possible avenues, but you should make sure to hit these essentials:

  • Social media. Most people use their social media accounts to respond to invites and manage their event calendars. Make sure to include social media in your event’s marketing strategy so people can respond in a way that is convenient for them.
  • Email lists. As a nonprofit, you likely already have an email marketing strategy devoted to general donations and fundraising campaigns. Make sure to invite your most valued donors while conveying that their attendance will be greatly appreciated. Write an invitation email that is unique so your donors know a special event is coming up.
  • Word of mouth. When the RSVPs start rolling in, ask a few of your most loyal supporters to invite their own friends and family. Look for donors who might be connected with wealthy prospects and see if you can bring in a few new supporters.

You want your event to have the right mix of top donors, devoted members, and interested newcomers who may apply for membership. By advertising in diverse ways, you can make sure to reach all your target demographics.

For a growing nonprofit, fundraising events can make all the difference.

But don’t stress! As long as you get started well in advance and go through each of the steps above, your event will come together and you will be ready to get some valuable face time with your valued donors.

Author Bio

Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Connect with Adam via email or on LinkedIn.

How to Generate Profit from Your Email Newsletter

“Out with the old, in with the new.”

I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before as something that means replacing something old and clunky, like a ‘90s-era personal computer, with something new and shiny, like a sleek MacBook Pro.

But new doesn’t always mean better. Case in point: Email.

Email was one of the first forms of online communication – it existed way before blogs, social media, and other tools that are used by today’s marketers. But for many businesses, email marketing is still the most effective method of growing a brand that sticks.

According to HubSpot Research, email newsletters rank 2nd as the format most preferred by global audiences when receiving content from brands they like. It even outranked social media posts and blog articles by a pretty significant margin.

And if you think this only goes for B2B businesses, think again. Even teenagers who probably don’t miss a day without social media content, consider email a “fact of everyday life”.

But while they’re a great way to build your brand and nurture your relationship with your target audience, email newsletters are often underrated as a profit-generating tool.

Even though the ROI of email marketing may not be as clear-cut like other marketing platforms, the statistics above should be enough reason why you should consider optimizing your newsletters to maximize revenue.

Here are a few examples on how you can generate profit from your email newsletter:

Indirectly

There’s a reason so many marketers don’t even attempt to sell anything in their newsletters. Unlike social media, email is personal space. Sending newsletters to the wrong person at the wrong time may lead to the wrong conclusion and the loss of a potential customer.

Here’s the thing: you don’t necessarily sell anything when giving value in your newsletter, but you’re already making money indirectly from the results of your email marketing campaign. For instance, there’s no direct and immediate profit from each person who opens the email (you’re not sure whether they’ll be a customer or not).

But Paul Jarvis emphasizes that in order for you to make money from your mailing list, you need to have people that click on your links, and the way to do that is by building TRUST and providing value on a regular basis.

Once you build this trust with your target audience, then you will have earned their “permission” to offer them products and services that they might like. It will feel natural, not spammy.

Here are some ways you can make money from your email newsletter indirectly:

Promote your own brand

Receiving a sales email from a company without a solid brand doesn’t compel you to do anything. Imagine meeting a random stranger on the road who asks you to buy his homemade meals, which may be tasty, but do you really wanna take your chance?

That’s why using your email newsletter as a way to build awareness of your brand should be one of your priorities. It’s a long-term strategy that allows you to capitalize your brand later on.

Promoting your brand doesn’t have to mean promoting one of your products (which would make you money directly). Instead you can tell your brand’s story, or give potential customers a taste of what they can expect from you.

Who would you rather buy your meals from, the random stranger or Snap Kitchen? Source

Increase website traffic

If you’re just starting to build your brand, one of the best ways you can provide value to your audience is to create content that they will find useful, something that they can reference in the future and even share with their friends.

For example, a business that manufactures eco-friendly consumer products can create a resource post or “ultimate guide” for switching to a zero-waste lifestyle, then promote it through their email newsletter.

Here’s another example by survey software Typeform:

Source

Retarget customers

It might be the case that your customers are almost ready to make a purchase, but they decided to hold off. You can capitalize on this by customizing your newsletter to include a link to their abandoned cart which they can order right away.

This can be an indirect way to make money because: they can either click on the link and place the order, or they can scroll down to view the rest of your newsletter, which contains your content (value).

In this example, shopping app Dote uses a bit of wordplay
to “guilt” the reader into buying their shirt. Source

To make retargeting a part of an effective strategy, you’ll need to invest in a powerful email marketing software that allows you to set triggers, i.e., when a customer abandons a cart, and then send a personalized email to increase your chances of netting a sale.

Directly

Once you’ve established a connection and gained the trust of your readers, you’re ready to shift gears and apply more direct tactics to generating profit. Or what social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk calls the “right hook”–which is content that aims to sell.

Of course, you can only do this after giving a lot of “jab, jab, jab”, which is Gary’s metaphor for value that engages your audience. When you think you’ve already landed a few “jabs”, here are some ways you can use your email newsletter to directly generate profit:

Sell ad placements

When you have already cultivated a large volume of email subscribers you can start selling ad placements on your email newsletter.

Be cautious, though, as the success of this tactic relies heavily on the format of the ad. If it’s placed in your newsletter in a way that distracts* the user experience, then it makes your emails less effective as a means of engaging your audience.

One way to make ad placements more effective is to only pick brands that are relevant to your own. This way your emails stay on topic, and makes for more natural reading.

Offer a paid subscription

If you’re knowledgeable in your niche, you can capitalize on your expertise by offering paid subscriptions for your premium content.

This is an effective method if you’re already churning out free content that your audiences have come to associate with quality. You have a track record for producing great content, thus making your readers more likely to pay for even better stuff.

Death to Stock Photo promotes their paid membership
through a simple GIF and text call-to-action. Source

Include sponsored content

The Internet is a huge place, and there’s a good chance another business has a target market that overlaps with yours. In those cases, offering to include sponsored content is a great way to earn some dough, while also bringing added value to your audience. Win-win!

Of course, just like with ad placements, you have to make sure that the content you’re adding will be of interest to your audience. The more it blends naturally to your newsletter, the more likely it is that your readers will find it interesting.

Morning Brew, a newsletter that condenses the latest global news for investors into fun-sized bites, regularly includes sponsored content in their emails.

In the example below you’ll see that it’s clearly labelled as such, but it feels like a natural part of the newsletter as it is written with the same humor and personality as the rest of the email.

Example of a sponsored content from Morning Brew. Source

Promote affiliate links

If you have an active email list but don’t have your own product to promote (yet), you can still earn a few bucks by promoting affiliate products and services–just make sure to keep it relevant to your brand or niche for the sake of your target audience.

Conclusion

Email might be old, but it’s clear that newsletters continue to be a consistent choice for businesses who want to generate profit for their businesses.

Keep in mind that each of these tactics have different effectiveness rates depending on your niche, so try implementing 1-3 methods at first to see what works for your brand.

Author Bio

Kimberly Maceda is a Content Writer for ActiveTrail. ActiveTrail is a leading provider of professional-grade email marketing and automation software for growing businesses. She writes for some top online marketing sites and blogging advice on email marketing and marketing automation.

12 Practical Ways to Double Your Event Attendance

Planning an event is no easy task; even a well-planned event may fail to attract enough of an audience. Imagine an event where every logistical detail is perfect, but the event-space is half empty and your speaker is echoing around an unenthusiastic group of people. That’s the last thing you want to see as an event manager.

You don’t want an event with unsold tickets and empty chairs. A perfect venue with great guest speakers might not be enough to skyrocket your ticket sales.

In this article, we’re going to present some practical tips to boost your event attendance. You should:

  1. Choose a well-known and convenient location
  2. Pick the right event date
  3. Simplify the event ticketing process
  4. Offer early-bird incentives
  5. Create an event schedule
  6. Encourage committed attendees to promote your event
  7. Remind registered attendees to join your event
  8. Use great photos and visuals to promote your event
  9. Encourage interaction with your event on social media
  10. Do street marketing to promote your event
  11. Create different ticket tiers for your event attendees
  12. Follow up and thank your attendees after the event 

Planning events can be really difficult. But, with these tips on hand your team is sure to pull it off.

Let’s dive into our first event planning strategy!

1. Choose a well-known and convenient location

The event venue should be easily accessible via public transportation. If it’s too far away or too expensive, you’ll lose attendees.

Here are three things to ensure while selecting an event venue:

  • It has all the necessary facilities and capacity to accommodate the attendees. The place shouldn’t be too costly, or it’ll drive up the ticket price.
  • The location is distinctive and easy to recognize. Try to choose a place which is well-known in the locality.
  • It’s a convenient place for the majority of your potential ticket-buyers. They shouldn’t find it hard to reach your event.

2. Pick the right event date

Attendance rate varies depending on the time and date of your event.

Here are some tips to help you find the perfect date:

  • Decide whether you want to arrange the event on a weekday or weekend. Weekend events may cost less due to low venue charges.
  • Afternoons or evenings on the weekend are perfect for weddings or family events, but business events on the weekend are likely to have low attendance.
  • Avoid holidays. People usually have specific plans for those days, and they are unlikely to attend your event.
  • Also, avoid major cultural or sports events. You should check for possible conflicting events before fixing the date.
  • For outdoor events, like concerts, you should choose alternate days in advance. The crowd won’t be pleased if you cancel the event and refund everyone due to bad weather. Having a preset alternate day will help you quickly reschedule your event.

3. Simplify the event ticketing process

An online event ticketing system will boost your number of attendees by a significant degree. There are many online event management platforms that you can try. Choose one that meets your needs.

A good online ticketing system must have the following features –

  • Support for multiple payment methods.
  • Option for setting up different ticket categories, types, and seat plan.
  • A simple registration process that doesn’t ask for too much information from the ticket buyers.

4. Offer early-bird incentives

Early-bird discount is a very common method to increase event attendance. The general strategy is to reduce the ticket price for certain days in the beginning. This encourages people to buy tickets early and gives your event momentum.

Here are some strategies that you can use to customize your early-bird offers:

  • Extend your early-bird registration deadline at the last moment. Many interested people will gladly accept the second chance.
  • Apart from discounts, you can offer early-buyers other incentives. Give away food coupons, gifts, or special offers from your event sponsors. These will bring more people to your event.
  • Use your social media and other marketing channels to promote the early-bird offer. Encourage your first customers to extend the offer to their family and friends.

5. Create an event schedule

Your event must have a detailed plan with fixed agendas. Let people know about the event schedule early. This will help your potential attendees make informed decisions about your event, and your tickets will get sold to the right audience.

Here are some tips on creating a perfect event schedule:

  • Discuss with your guest speakers or performers before setting the time distribution for each event segment. Failing to run the event according to the plan will discourage your attendees.
  • Include the event schedule in all your event related communications.
  • A boring schedule may reduce your event attendance. For day-long events or family events, include some extracurricular activities.

6. Encourage committed attendees to promote your event

Encourage ticket buyers and participants to bring more people to the event. It’s easy for them to influence their peers.

Your speakers or performers can also promote the event among their fans. This type of promotion creates a vibrant community and keeps up the buzz for your event.

  • Offer discounts for group-ticket sales. This will encourage people to book for their family members and friends.
  • Email event updates to committed attendees via email. Request them to connect with your event profile on social media.
  • Offer incentives for referrals. For example, anyone who refers three of their friends to buy tickets may get a free drink coupon.

7. Remind registered attendees to join your event

People are busy and forgetful. It’s crucial to remind your registered attendees of the event date and schedule.

These reminders will help you confirm their attendance. After all, selling tickets is not the only target of any event organizers. You want to see a fully-packed venue.

Here are some ways to remind your registered attendees of your event:

  • After someone buys an event ticket online, send them a calendar invite in the confirmation email. Then they can add the event to their calendar with a single click.
  • Send them a reminder email at least three days prior to the event.
  • Call or SMS them one day before the event.

8. Use great photos and visuals to promote your event

Whether you’re using them on your website, your social media profiles, or on an event registration page, use professional photography. The graphic design choices you make set the tone for your event, so by opting for high-quality photos your team can establish that your events are worth attending.

The same is true for videos. If your team wants to produce video marketing materials for your event, be sure to leave room in your budget to hire a professional videographer.

9. Encourage interaction with your event on social media

There’s a social media strategy called the 4-1-1 rule. If you make a promotional post in social media, you should re-share one relevant post. Then post four related posts from other people or brands.

Depending on the nature of your event, you may not follow this exact sharing ratio. But it’s still important to share relevant, useful and exciting content on your social media accounts in general.

The bottom line is that your social media output shouldn’t just be limited to event updates. If you really want to make the most of this platform, vary the content you publish to ensure that when you do share important event updates, that your followers will actually see them.

10. Do street marketing to promote your event

Street marketing is an effective way to sell more tickets. It may seem a bit outdated, but it will help you get more attendees to your event.

  • Prepare well-designed flyers with your event schedule. Post these in local coffee shops, malls, and other public places near the event. The more local people know about your event, the more likely they will show up for it.
  • Hire a few agents who will directly share your event flyers to the people on the street. Target the places where there is a high density of potential attendees.

11. Create different ticket tiers for your event attendees

Set different prices for different ticket categories. A flat rate may be easier to manage, but it’s not the best way to sell more tickets. There should be at least two or three different categories – such as Premium, General, and Economy.

  • Note that you must offer a VIP experience for premium ticket holders. Make sure that tickets are worth the higher price. Many buyers will opt for the premium category if you provide enough incentives.
  • Low price tickets will attract people who weren’t that much interested in joining your event. These could be a half-day ticket or provide restricted access to the program.

12. Follow up and thank your attendees after the event

Don’t forget about your event attendees and participants once your event is over. By following up with your event attendees, you’ll show them that you value your relationship and want to see it grow. This way, you leave the door open for future engagement and event attendance.

Here are some tips on post-event responsibilities:

  • Send thank you emails to everyone involved with the event. Personalize the emails sent to your guests.
  • Follow-up with any pending issue or customer complains. It’s your responsibility to resolve these even after the event is over.
  • Reward your volunteers. Though they were working for free, they deserve your gratitude.
  • Share a followup survey. Ask key questions of your event attendees so you can figure out how to convert them into donors.

We hope you’ll find the above tactics helpful for increasing your event attendance. As events vary a lot in nature, you should customize these tips to meet your particular needs. If you don’t have the budget to try all these ideas at once, pick a few. Measure your results and find out what works the best for you.

Author Bio

Creating events and distributing tickets has never been easier than with EventBookings’ innovative ticketing platform. This system acts as a virtual ticket booth, where users can visit your custom-made event page, find out about your event and pay for tickets with a few simple clicks of the mouse.

2018 Email Marketing Predictions

Last year was an epic one in the email marketing world, and the success may be attributed to an increased focus on best practices. According to Econsultancy, 80% of marketing professionals rated basic segmentation as their highest priority while 73% of marketers planned to optimize emails for mobile devices (a 9% increase from 2016). Furthermore, regular list cleansing, data personalization, and dynamic email content were all strategies email marketers planned to employ in their email marketing campaigns in 2017.

With 72% of consumers saying email is their first choice for communication with brands, and email marketing continuing to top the charts as the best driver for ROI in the digital marketing world, it’s vital to continue to prioritize best practices all while considering email marketing predictions from top marketers for 2018.

Here are 6 predictions from Campaign Monitor’s interviews with top email marketers for 2018 to help you stay on top of your game.

1. A new marketing funnel emerges

Any marketing professional is familiar with the concept of the marketing and sales funnel. The idea of a lead entering the top of the funnel and customers emerging out of the bottom of the funnel is not new.

However, Samantha Anderl at Campaign Monitor explains the the traditional sales and marketing funnel is now dead. With new digital marketing channels and tactics, customers can now enter into the marketing and sales funnel at different stages, in different phases, and be nurtured in different ways.

This new marketing funnel requires creating multi-channel, multi-path, and multi-touch customer experiences at any phase of the marketing and/or customer life cycle. Marketers need a more holistic approach to reaching customers—-an approach where they focus on the complete journey with the end goal of maximizing the lifetime customer value and fostering customer loyalty.

With regards to email marketing, Anderl says, the biggest upcoming challenge will to be deliver personalized, relevant, multi-channel journeys.

2. Email automation will become turbocharged

Chad S. White from Litmus predicts an increase in email marketers investing more time in creating more relevant messages, rather than focusing on sending mass messages.

Furthermore, he anticipates email marketers will look at automation in a new light. Rather than a “set it and forget it” mentality, marketers will treat email automation with a “review and improve” strategy. This means we will see more marketers investing in A/B testing to maximize efficiency.

This year, marketers will continue to focus on reaching customers through automation, but with a renewed dedication to increasing relevance.

3. Personalization focuses on “what is next” not “what was”

Everyone has been jumping on the personalization bandwagon, and Alex Williams from Trendline Interactive explains why this will continue to be a huge trend in 2018.

Williams says personalization in past years has largely focused on past events including user purchases, subscriber personas, and life stage events.

With increases in machine learning and data-science, Williams suggests personalization will start shifting towards “what is next” instead of what happened in the past. As technology improves, marketers will be able to more effectively personalize content to mass audiences.

4. Marketers will own the multi-channel experience

Like Samantha Anderl from Campaign Monitor, Philip Storey from Enchant has big expectations for marketers to own the entire customer lifecycle. He says in past years marketers have focused on customer acquisition and loyalty, but haven’t paid as much attention to other areas of the life cycle.

In 2018, things will be different, especially with advances in technology. Marketers this year will be able to focus on, and deliver value for, each customer touchpoint throughout the entire lifecycle.

This focus on the customer lifecycle will touch every channel of marketing including email, social, paid, direct, and onsite personalisation, Storey explains.

5. Predictive marketing metrics will improve

Kath Pay from Holistic Email Marketing has big hopes for improvements in predictive marketing metrics. She explains marketers are currently very campaign-oriented in their approach to metrics. They measure the success of individual campaigns rather than individual lifetime customer value.

As machine learning and artificial intelligence improve, she predicts a shift from campaign metrics to predictive CLV (customer lifetime value) that measures current types of actionable insights. These metrics will keep marketers more well informed and help them make winning, data-driven marketing decisions.

This shift, Pay predicts, will give marketers better insights and, therefore, provide customers will a better overall experience.

6. Smarter tools for marketing automation

This year, Jordie van Rijn, founder at emailvendorselection.com, expects to see the line between email marketing, marketing automation, and CRM to blur. Why? He predicts automation companies will improve and expand their features to advance marketing automation.

For example, he expects a rise in visual workflow builders, improved email provider tools with more user-friendly automation features, and tools to make automation easier, more productive, and highly targeted.

Van Rijn suggests these tools will provide higher value, but come at a more affordable price point. He expects to see some innovation from new acquisitions, but most will come with current companies offering improved tools.

Wrap Up

As technology, AI, and machine learning improve, so does email marketing strategy. When looking at the predictions from these 6 marketers as a whole, it’s clear they expect better tools to help with multi-channel marketing. These tools will help marketers focus on catering to customers throughout each touchpoint, nurture customers through the entire customer lifecycle, and provide highly relevant and automated customer experiences.

If you haven’t already, now is the time to vamp up your tools and processes for 2018. Otherwise, you’ll be left in the dark.

Author Bio

Andrea Robbins is a Content Marketing Manager at Campaign Monitor. She loves spending time outdoors and a good cup of coffee. Keep up with her on Twitter @andirobz

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Get to know our article authors!

Jake Fabbri

Jake Fabbri is the Vice President of Marketing at Fonteva with over 18 years of experience working in marketing management. He has experience with lead generation, content marketing, marketing automation, and events.

Cesar Devoto

Cesar Devoto is a Senior Sales Executive at Fonteva. Cesar has 13 years of event management software experience. Prior to working in software sales, he was a real estate and securities regulation attorney for 10 years. He has been cited saying the move to software sales was the best decision he has ever made… other than proposing to his wife.

Kevin Caiazza

Kevin Caiazza is a Senior Sales Executive with over 22 years of experience in the hospitality, meetings and events industry with 10 of those years focused exclusively on software solutions. He is responsible for leading partnership efforts with new prospects, deeply understanding their business needs, and sharing how Fonteva Events can help. When he is not working, his other passion is spending time with his 3 growing children Caleb, Samantha and Alexa!

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