How Technology Can Simplify and Automate Your Small Events

Those of us in the event marketing world can’t help but be fascinated by the large, big-budget events that surround us. They are exciting and inspiring, and can help us build compelling ideas for our own events. Still, smaller events also offer tremendous opportunities that big events can’t provide.

Results from a 2015 survey by The UPS Store and Inc. shows that 42 percent of small business owners spend marketing dollars on events. The value that smaller events offer is undeniable. For example, many small events are focused on specific audiences and their needs. That means that your target audience is concentrated. You don’t have to sift through the crowd. Your cost-per-lead is lower because the expenditures are lower, and more importantly, because of that highly condensed attendee base. Plus, it’s much easier to develop actual face-to-face moments with each attendee, building that brand personality and customer/prospect relationship that helps generate sales.

One big difference between businesses hosting small events vs. big events is that instead of a full-time event marketer, one person with many additional responsibilities might be doing all of the planning. Without the help of technology, that person can become submerged in manual processes, and opportunities can be lost. It is critical for event managers to have a solution to help manage these small events. One element that can help with this automation is the incorporation of an onsite check-in and badging solution. An automated self-check-in and badging solution is a key technology component that can save a lot of time and produce important automated reporting about your event.

Truth be told, we were challenged with some of the same issues here at Alliance Tech for our own small events that we have produced in years past. We tried to manage everything on Excel spreadsheets, and I know that is not unusual. I can tell you from experience that it is cumbersome. Our own check-in and badging process involved collecting responses and noting them in Excel. Then we had to do a mail merge from the spreadsheet – and that was just to print badges! Then we needed to mark the spreadsheet to make sure the attendee was checked in. Check-in – the first impression your attendees have at an event – was time-consuming and arduous for everyone involved. Our pains here, sparked ideas to offer a self-service check-in and badging solution.

We all know that anyone planning events needs to go beyond convenient badging and check-in to accurately quantify the success of an event. Data from session attendance tracking, session surveys, and overall conference surveys is critical.

Many businesses might not have the budget for the type of technology used for larger events, and many of the capabilities provided are not needed for most small events. There are lower-cost solutions out there for those who manage small and recurring events with 350 or fewer attendees. For example, Alliance Tech’s eventBreeze app is an all-in-one solution for event managers looking to simplify and automate on-site event activities, providing a cloud-based app that streamlines badging, check-in, session tracking, and also provides optional conference and session surveys.

Six Questions to Ask When Selecting a Solution for On-Site Logistics

When selecting an automated solution for smaller events, consider these questions before making a decision:

  1. Is it provided as an app? It’s much easier to use your iPad or iPhone to connect to your attendee list.
  2. Can it integrate with registration tools, such as Cvent, Eventbrite, Eloqua and Marketo?
  3. Does it provide a simple user experience for check-in and badging attendees?
  4. Is the check-in process fast and efficient? For example, perhaps an email can be sent to all who register, providing a QR code to bring for self-check-in. When your guests arrive, you can provide one or more registration stations and after scanning the QR code, they are quickly assimilating into the event experience.

  5. Can you view real time reports? For example, is there a way that you can see that X% of those registered have checked in?

  6. Are there any features available to help you obtain valuable feedback from session surveys and conference surveys for better measurement after your event?

If the solution you are considering provides you with a resounding “yes” to all six criteria listed above, then you are well on your way to easy, efficient check-in and badging, session tracking, surveys, and reporting on your smaller events.