Event teams are busier than ever. Thanks to the pandemic they are now trying to do more with less. More events (with hybrid and virtual in the mix) but with less headcount as a result of industry-wide redundancies. In response, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the demand for automation software. However, with so many options and integrations, it can be confusing.
In this article, we’ll outline four strategies to leverage the latest automation tools. But first, let’s explore what automation is and why you should use it in your events business.
Let tech alleviate your workload
Automations for event profs include using an online booking system to manage registrations or integrating your reg platform with an email marketing suite that automatically sends out timely email reminders and updates to your attendees.
There are a number of reasons why you should consider using automation in your events business.
- It frees up your time so that you can focus on critical business objectives
- It can improve the efficiency of your operations
- It can reduce costs by eliminating the need for manual labour
- It can improve the quality of your event data
The different types of automation tools available and how they can help you
There are a number of automation tools available, and each has its own benefits. We’ll start with the four essential ones that can save time and money at your next event:
- Registration software: why are you starting from scratch year after year? Thinking beyond pre-pop registration, look at pretty much any marketing software such as Hubspot or Mailchimp as just two examples where users can sign up via Google or their social media profile to register for access to a very powerful suite of software tools. Ensure your event software is integrated with such platforms and when an attendee returns to register your event, you're saving them 15 minutes with every registration! It’s so simple, but often so overlooked.
- Content automation: with email platforms like Hubspot or Mailchimp, of course you can automate the sending of confirmation and reminder emails to your attendees at key times in your events’ marketing campaign but think instead about your attendees’ interests. Don't use spreadsheets to map categories to content: using marketing automation workflows. You can send the right content to the right audience at the right time.
- Matchmaking: drop those spreadsheets, you don't have the time. Using event tech such as Grip's AI-powered matchmaking technology will deliver highly relevant recommendations to your attendees. This saves you hundreds of hours. The AI learns with every click, interaction and ‘like’, it will then continue to learn and deliver more relevant results for your attendees, helping drive up that desired net promoter score.
- Sales processes: give your sales team more time to concentrate on what matters to them… more sales! You can automate the entire process from who they need to call and at what time, through to confirming contracts, invoicing and then account management follow up. Enable your sales teams to maximise their selling process when you integrate software such as Pipedrive to Docusign and then onto your accounting software for invoicing.
How to choose the right automation tools for your business
When looking for automation tools, it is important to consider the specific needs of yourself or your business. Here are some strategies to use when choosing the right tools:
- What tasks can be automated? Not everything needs to be, especially if it involves more time setting up vs the delivery output.
- What are the benefits of automation? Will it save you time, save you money or help deliver marketing results?
- What are the costs of automation? We've all heard that "integration is included" phrase from our event suppliers only to be hit with an inflated invoice later on. Get details, find out exactly what's included when talking to your event partner.
- How will automation improve efficiency? This is the key question, if it doesn't make your event business more efficient, save you time, money or improve results, then it's not worth doing.
- How will automation improve the quality of data? This is a critical element to consider, especially in the world of GDPR. If you're going to be using automation tools to manage data, then you need to be sure that the data is accurate, up-to-date and being used in a compliant way.
Implementing automation into your workflow
Once you have chosen the right automation tools for your business, it is important to implement them into your workflow in a way that will be most effective. Here are some tips:
- Start small: don't try to automate everything at once. Choose one task or process that can be easily automated and start there.
- Test and measure: before you roll out any automation, test it first to see how it works. Once it is live, measure the results to see if it is having the desired effect.
- Be prepared to change: as with all new technology, there may be some teething problems so be prepared to make changes along the way to ensure that the automation is working as intended.
- Get buy-in from all stakeholders: if you are going to be automating tasks that are traditionally done by someone else, it’s important to get their or the organisation’s buy-in. Explain how the automation will work and how it will benefit them. You don't want your already depleted team worrying about their future at your company.
Automation is a powerful tool that can help increase efficiency in your event business. By following these tips, you can ensure the right tools meet your business requirements.
Tips for getting the most out of your event tech partnership when it comes to automation
When it comes to automation, getting the most out of your event tech partnership is key.
If you aren't technically savvy, don't be afraid to talk to your event tech partner. Identify which tasks can be automated and work together to implement these tools into your workflow. With technology at any level, there can often be hiccups in the development or build process that you just can't predict so ensure you have an open dialogue with your partner to avoid awkward conversations six months down the project path.
A great measurement of the success of your automation plan is to set SMART goals with your partner. We should be doing this across all aspects of the business, where measurable outcomes you set at the start of the project are far more convincing to your chief financial officer than anecdotal evidence. It's the same for your technical, marketing or sales teams too. Ensure you share regular updates with your teams as you tick off key milestones on your automation journey so they don't assume you're just busily tapping away at your keyboard in the backroom and not really sure of what magic you're creating for them.
Automation can be a powerful tool to increase efficiency in your event business. By following these tips, you can ensure you choose the right tools and get the most out of your event tech partnership. If you're not technically savvy, don't be afraid to talk to your event tech partner and identify which tasks can be automated, then work together to implement these tools into your workflow.