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Relaxation Techniques for Event Organisers – How to unwind over the holiday season

Managing race events can really shake up your stress levels. With so much on your plate, finding time to relax often ends up at the bottom of your to-do list. The holiday season is the perfect opportunity to have some guilt-free relaxation time. Better yet, making the effort to mentally and physically relax will help you function better in the New Year.

Here are some relaxation techniques that will help you replenish your energy stores during the coming weeks.


This might sound like a no brainer, but finding time for regular exercise will help counteract the effects of festive over-eating and will keep your energy levels up. Whether you like going for a run, walking the dog, practicing yoga or swimming, getting out and about will help keep your stress levels in check by releasing calming beta-endorphins. Exercising during the holiday season will help your blood circulate more quickly, transporting cortisol (the stress hormone) to your kidneys and flushing it out of your system.

Meditate for 10 minutes

Our days are packed with demands on our time – whether it’s unopened emails, phone calls, social media alerts or sms messages. Taking just ten minutes to switch off all technology – phones, computers, iPods, iPads and TV’s and breathing deeply, can really help us clear our minds. Try this out: Find a quiet calm place, close your eyes and breathe in deeply through your nose and slowly out through your mouth ten times. You can say each number (1-10) aloud as you exhale if it helps you focus. This repetition will help you break away from the train of thought that is causing you anxiety and with practice you’ll find it much easier to mediate and will quickly feel relaxed.

Stretch it out

Activities like yoga and Tai Chi deliver a therapeutic effect on the body and mind by allowing you to focus on your body, breathing properly and engaging your muscles. If you don’t have time for a yoga class, you can take 15 minutes to stretch out to release tension from the body and relax your mind. Start by going somewhere with no distractions and while sitting or lying down, close your eyes and focus on slow deep breathing. Start by stretching different muscle groups for a few seconds and then relax. Repeat a couple of times and remember deep muscle relaxation becomes easier with practice.

What muscles to work on:

  • Face – squint your eyebrows together in a tight frown, then release.
  • Neck – gently tilt your head forwards, pushing your chin down towards your chest, then slowly lift again.
  • Shoulders – pull them up towards your ears, then relax them downwards.
  • Chest – breathe slowly and deeply into your diaphragm, so that you use the whole of your lungs. Then slowly breathe out, allowing your belly to deflate as you exhale.
  • Arms – stretch your arms away from the body, reach, then relax.
  • Legs – push your toes away from the body, then pull them towards the body, then relax.

Get creative

Spending time doing your favourite creative hobby, whether it’s painting, playing an instrument, gardening or knitting; it’s a highly effective relaxation technique. When we do a creative task that we enjoy, we give ourselves something to focus our mental energy on, helping us channel whatever stress, anxiety, pain or tension we’re feeling into this creative pursuit. Keep a journal Keeping a journal is an underrated relaxation technique. Journaling allows us to organise our thoughts, clear our mind and facilitates problem solving. Putting our problems and worries on paper can give us clarity around what’s important when we’re feeling overwhelmed. Simply jotting down all the tasks we need to do and dissecting them is enough to help us release tension. Writing down your goals, hopes, plans and ideas can help you reflect on them and can inspire you to think and find possible solutions.

Start strong

Research has shown time and time again that a healthy breakfast is associated with reduced stress and improved physical and mental health. While you might be indulging later on in the day, make sure you start your day with a healthy breakfast. Having a diet low in B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium and magnesium is stressful to your body. Fight back by eating a nutrient- rich breakfast. Try including fresh orange juice, grape fruit, low-fat yogurt and whole grain bread with peanut butter, to get your fix of vitamin C, B Vitamins and fatty acids that will help decrease the production of stress hormones.

Be strict about sleep

Many race directors work long hours and compromise sleep in the lead up to events. If you’ve been missing out on sleep, your body interprets sleep deprivation as a major stressor. Use the holiday season to catch up on some shut eye. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep. The good news is that if you’ve been lacking in sleep recently, a few nights of good sleep is enough to reset your stress producing hormones and will help you feel more relaxed during the day.


Did you know that you can train yourself to laugh more? Laughter is a great method of relaxing. Make sure you find time to watch a funny movie or play games with friends and family because the immediate physical effects of laughing are incredible. When you laugh you enhance your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulating your heart, lungs and muscles, increasing the endorphins released by your brain. Laughing also stimulates circulation and aids muscle recovery, reducing the physical symptoms of stress. Now where’s that Anchorman DVD?

Chill out to Mozart

If you’re feeling stressed and you need to settle your mood, listening to classical music can help you focus and balance your mood. The melodies in classical music provide a distraction that reduces muscle tension and decreases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. If you’ve got a lot of car journeys or traveling during the holiday season, tune in to Mozart to lower your stress levels. Research shows that this also helps your communication skills, creativity and task performance.

Check in with friends

One of the simplest relaxation techniques is to spend time with friends and family. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, meeting up with friends can provide you with the distraction and perspective you need to steer away from tension and feel relaxed. Talking to loves ones, going for group bike rides and just hanging out boosts the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Make sure you schedule time this holiday to meet up with those who put a smile on your face. You’ll feel more relaxed in no time.

Digital Content Manager at ACTIVE Network

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Small events usually require about 2 months of preparation where-as more complex events will need at least 6 months of planning before the big day. Get your copy of The Event Planning Life Cycle info-graphic and make sure you get your timings right!

No matter how large or small the event, there are several key steps that you will need to climb in order to dress your event for success.


Step 1: Define your event goals and set budgets.

Step 2: Find a location for your event; this will be used to determine your maximum registration number depending on the location capacity. Contact service providers and contractors to obtain quotes.

Step 3: Define your pricing structured based on quotes and cost obtained. Prepare a draft event schedule or agenda.

Step 4: Go paperless and set-up your online registration forms and design your event website.

Step 5: Perform a walk-through of your event; this will ensure that you do not miss anything and identify areas that may need improvement.

Step 6: Once your event details have been determined, send out email invitations to your distribution lists letting them know when you will be open for registrations. Providing early bird offers will entice early sign-ups for your event.

Step 7: Open your online registration and encourage registrants to share and promote your event through their social media channels.

Step 8: Finalise your schedules and event staff.

Step 9: Ensure that you have all the print collateral that you require for your event.

Step 10: It’s getting close to your event day; sending out email reminders will help minimise no-shows.

Step 11: Remember to send event surveys out to all your attendees on the day of the event. This will help you obtain accurate feedback while the experience is still fresh.

Step 12: The event may be over but your work isn’t! Create and share custom reports with event stakeholders so that you can make data-driven decisions about future events.

You can download your FREE copy of The Event Planning Life Cycle info-graphic so that you complete each step at the optimum time to ensure event success.

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You may not be in danger of being chased by a waddle of cute and cuddly penguins, but Google’s Penguin may be after your event website’s SEO! This penguin is a far more advanced predator, seeking out and eliminating websites that violate Google’s Webmaster guidelines by decreasing their search engine rankings. Google’s Penguin 2.1 is an algorithm that diminishes the value of manipulative links (any links that are intended to influence PageRank), for example:

  • Buying links that pass PageRank
  • Excessive Cross-linking
  • Posting irrelevant links of webpages
  • Posting on and creating bogus directories and link farms
  • Excessive use of keyword rich anchor text links
  • Blog and forum comments that include optimised links

Here are our top 5 tips to help prevent your event site being affected by Penguin 2.1 and avoid a decrease in your event registrations.

1. Make it relevant! Ensure that you post links to your event site or registration page on reputable event directories such as event listings. It’s important that your listing is on a site that’s relevant to your event; for example, if you’re organising a 10k, do not list your site on a directory specifically for medical conferences. It may sound like an extreme example, but in terms of SEO the concept of “any publicity is better than no publicity” is redundant.

2. Monitor your site traffic Use Google Analytics to monitor your event site’s organic traffic. If you see a dramatic decrease, it may be due to a Penguin update! If this is the case you will need to perform an audit of your backlinks (inbound links to your site) to find the culprit links.

3. Audit your backlinks In order to perform your audit you need to compile a list of all your inbound links (backlinks) in Excel. You can download a list of your website’s backlinks from Google’s Webmaster Tools following the process below:

Webmaster Tools Home Page > Select your Website > Search Traffic > Links To Your Site > Who Links The Most > More > Download This Table

Check through your list of links and make sure that there is no spam or foreign links back to your site that you do not recognise. You should also check your backlinks to make sure that there are none with “Not Found” or “Error 404” status as these can also damage your search engine rankings.

Once you have identified the culprit backlinks causing havoc to you event site or registration page’s SEO you should create a text file (.txt) containing all the domain names of the links that you want to disavow. You can upload your list to Google’s Disavow Links Tool Page in order to improve your PageRank in a few simple steps:

Disavow Links Tool Page > Select your Event Site > Click Disavow Links > Upload your .txt File

You should do this as soon as possible as it can take a few weeks for Google to update the information and leaving it to the last minute can have a negative impact on your registrations.

4. Don’t over-use keywords Limit excessive keyword rich anchor text links. Anchor links are used to provide a description of the link’s destination page. Although anchor links that contain specific keywords relating to your event are beneficial, encumbering your links with too many of these keywords can have a negative impact on your SEO.

5. Quantity or Quality? As far as Google is concerned, content is key! Avoid link schemes and cross linking offers. Creating relevant and unique content for your event site is the best way of ensuring SEO success. Make sure you promote your content on social media channels, your blog, and relevant LinkedIn groups for increased exposure. Remember, if you don’t want to be penalised by the penguin police, when it comes to content and links, it’s definitely quality over quantity!

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Digital Content Manager at ACTIVE Network

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Whether it’s your first day at school, first kiss or fist love, you always want your first time to be perfect, and your first event is no different. There may be blunders, heartache and a lot of back and forth, but planning your first event is a huge learning curve that will prepare and pave the way for your future career.

So you’ve obtained your licenses and permits, arranged the venue, organised the catering, and gone through your health and safety plan with a fine toothcomb, but with all the excitement of your upcoming event, there are a few things that can easily be overlooked.

Once you have ticked off everything on your Event Planner’s Checklist, here are some tips to help you build a successful event and boost your attendance.

Switch to online

It’s no longer the 90’s and in order to keep up with the competition you need to offer your attendees easier ways of registering for your events. Paper-based registration can be costly and waste a lot of time, not to mention the hassle that it causes your attendees. It’s simple - to increase your registrations, make it easier to register. Provide your attendees with various options, including mobile optimised online registration forms that they can access from their mobile device no matter where they are.

Am I on your list?

An amazing event website and branded registration form will do wonders for your event, but you need to drive traffic to your forms. Maintaining and growing your marketing contact list is crucial to promoting your event. Sending out email invitations to your lists is a great way of getting the word out about your event and, when executed correctly, can help to boost your attendance. A good online event registration company will provide you with integrated email marketing tools so that you don’t need to outsource designers or have any prior knowledge of HTLM.

Remember it’s not just a numbers game, don’t send out promotional materials and invites to anyone and everyone. Make sure that your marketing efforts are not wasted by performing thorough audience research before compiling your lists.

Tweet to Traffic

Social media is a tool that every event planner should utilise to promote their events. Create a following on Twitter by promoting your event with its own hashtag. Hashtags are really a form of metadata tags which are used to mark messages and enable attendees or groups of people to access specific messages. Don’t get too hashtag-happy - assign one or two for your event. If used correctly your event’s hashtag can appear on the “Trending Topics” of a user’s homepage and increase traffic to your event site. Ensure you promote your event on other social channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn and your blog. Integrating social share buttons with your event site and registration page will also go a long way in increasing engagement and promoting your event.

Cash is not always convenient

Make it safe and easy for attendees to pay to register for your event. Offer various online payment options as well as early-bird registration fees and group entry discounts as incentives. Early-bird discounts are a good way of ensuring that your event sells out at a faster rate, while also reducing the amount of work that your staff need to do in the days leading up to your event.

It’s good to talk – it’s better to listen

Communicating updates and sharing engaging content with your attendees is always a must, but it’s also important to listen to feedback. Taking polls and organising surveys is an excellent way of gaining feedback before, during, and after your event. Your first event is a learning curve and obtaining feedback from your attendees can be used to optimise your future events.

Remember not to forget!

One thing that often gets overlooked is the reminder email. Sending an email reminder to your registrants will not only remind them of your event, but it will also help minimise no-shows; the last thing an event planner wants to see is an array of unused badges at the end of an event.

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How did you do it?

One of the top questions people ask event directors is “how did you get here?” There’s really no magic recipe for success in starting out on your own. Everyone’s journey is different, but there are key elements to their success.

If you’ve been sitting at your desk daydreaming about the glamorous life of owning your own events company, it’s time to wake up! Starting up any business can be brutal in this socioeconomic climate and to be successful you have face reality – hard work, long days (and nights), and a whole lot of networking!

It’s not all doom and gloom, once you’ve taken the leap and decided to start, there are a few simple steps that you can follow to make sure that you stand out from your competition.

1. Expertise? What expertise?
Do you have event planning experience? Get experience - This is the first tip that you will come across when you want to start out. Although experience in the event planning industry can be extremely useful, it’s not essential. During your career you will have gained some transferrable skills that you can apply to your event planning career. The most important of these skills are ORGANISATION, TIME MANAGEMENT, CREATIVITY, NEGOTIATION, COMMUNICATION, and INTERPERSONAL SKILLS. STICK TO WHAT YOU KNOW! Remember to utilise your own personal experience when deciding what type of events you are going to specialise in. For example, if your background is corporate, then this is a great place to start, rather that organising sporting events.

2. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!
We’ve all heard it, and although what you know is important, sometimes who you know carries a lot of weight too, and in the world of event planning knowing the right people is a necessity! Social media is a great way of networking. LinkedIn is a superb example, join appropriate groups and participate in discussions. Attending seminars, exhibitions, and trade shows are also great ways of expanding your contacts and network. Tip: Going to a competitor’s event is also a good way of establishing contacts and obtaining supplier information. It can also give you an indication of potential sponsors that you can approach for your event.

3. The plan
Every planner needs a solid business plan. This may be daunting, but you can obtain a business plan template from most banks when you go to enquire about setting up a business account. These templates are extremely useful as they contain all financial modelling templates that you will require to produce your year on year projections. Using the bank templates may also come in handy if you require bank funding for your business. When creating your plan, it’s essential that you do your market research! Knowing your audience and your competition is essential to finding your niche and in deciding how and where to promote your services. You can download an Audience/Persona Template and Competitor Research Template here for FREE.

4. Registering your company
There’s no point coming up with a catchy name for your company if it’s not registered. Make sure that you register your company with the relevant body, for example, if you are in the UK you can simply register your company with Companies House. Remember, simply registering your company does not give you trade mark protection, this needs to be done separately. Get professional advice before registering a company as this will have implications on the type of financial records that you will need to keep for tax purposes.

5. What do you have to offer?
Once you have determined your target market and completed your competitor research, it’s important that you think about what type of services you are going to offer your clients. For example, are you going to offer full event planning services including event registration, venue hire, catering services, event promotion, etc… or are you going to specialise in one or two areas? It’s vital that you think about the costs involved. The administrative costs and time constraints of paper based event registration for example can be a burden on a start-up as can event marketing and promotion which require special expertise. A good way of reducing these costs is to use an online event registration provider. Some providers give you the option of creating and customising your registration forms as well as your event site and emails – saving you time and money! Tip: Take all the above costs into consideration when creating your fee structure, e.g. flat fee, hourly rate, commission based etc…

6. Get your papers in order!
It’s imperative that you know all the legal procedures and complete your paperwork in advance. You don’t want to be in the position where you have to turn down a client because you haven’t allowed enough time to obtain a particular licence or certificate. Make sure you obtain business insurance to cover your employees as well as the public. To find out more about procedures and the event planning process, read our blog post "The Event Planner’s Checklist: For The Event Organisers That Don’t Want To Miss A Thing" and download you FREE copy of The Event Planner’s Checklist.

So you’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s, what next? It’s time to market your services. Sending out brochures and emails to promote your company is a good way to start, however, if you have the budget, why not showcase your services by organising a launch? Sending out email invitations to your prospective clients will enable them to see your company’s marketing machine in action and sample the services that you could provide. Ensure that you create a seamless experience for your attendees by simplifying the event registration process and offering them mobile event applications. You can find more information about Event Registration and Attendee Management here.

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Digital Content Manager at ACTIVE Network

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Tired of receiving sales calls from mobile phone companies and what seems to be an endless pile of leaflets and brochures through your letter box?

No matter what your age, job, or background, we’ve all come across some form of outbound marketing.

Companies and organisations invest a huge amount of resources into generating leads in this way, and it’s really just a numbers game. Unfortunately, this is not the most cost effective way of generating leads or attracting attendees for event organisers.

The “come to us” approach

Lack of resources and investment can substantially hinder the outbound event marketing approach. “A SOLUTION” I hear you cry! “YES, let them come to you!” Another great aspect of inbound lead generation is cutting out the “don’t call us, we’ll call you”. However for inbound campaigns to be successful you need to know your attendee inside-out.

Download your copy of the Inbound Lead Calculator to help you throughout you lead generation cycle.


This isn’t a CV and “qualification” does not require a degree! As you are relying heavily on your prospective attendees coming to you, you must ensure that you are using the correct messaging to address their needs in your marketing materials to entice and drive traffic to your event site or online registration page. It’s pretty simple, if you know what they want, you can sell to them!

Like a bee to nectar

Once you have created a buzz around your event and driven traffic to your event site and registration page, it’s time to CLOSE, turn those MQLs into attendees! Including offers and incentives works extremely well in boosting event registrations.

Unique visitors, MGLs, MQLs, monthly revenue; it’s vital that you produce a monthly forecast of your metrics to ensure that you are meeting your event marketing goals and objectives. You can access and download a FREE Inbound Lead Calculator here to help you for your event.

It’s no marriage proposal – It’s all about the engagement

Engaging your attendees with fresh content that they find useful is a great way of keeping up the momentum or the buzz created through your marketing campaigns. Keep attendees interested in your event and encourage the sharing of event information and content, such as whitepapers, infographics, photographs, and video content, with their social groups and colleagues to help increasing your profile.

Tip: It’s a good idea to track each of your marketing activities so that you know what works best and where to concentrate your marketing efforts. Read my post of “Event Tracking – The Professional’s Game of Tag” for some helpful hints and tips.

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Digital Content Manager at ACTIVE Network
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“Tag, you’re it!”

Although we’re not in the school playground, in the game of event marketing (the professional edition), “tagging” is almost a daily ritual.

UTM tags are identifiers that Google Analytics use to differentiate each of your marketing activities in order to track each campaign separately, and essentially help you identify which activity performs the best.

The aim of the game

ACHIEVING GREATER CONVERSION! Yes, you may have a manicured marketing plan in place, but it’s imperative that you TRACK, MEASURE, and REPORT on your event marketing success so that you can OPTIMISE your activities and increase your conversion rates.

Blonde or brunette?

It’s amazing how a simple thing like colour can evoke different reactions and perceptions. The same rule applies to your event marketing campaigns, whether it’s messaging, image, or a call to action, it’s vital to assess what works the best. A/B testing is one of the ways that you can test two variants, (A and B), to identify alterations made to a web page that can have an effect on your metrics, such as click-through-rates, downloads, or contact requests.

What if I want C?

For those who want it all, bucket testing or multivariate testing enables you to experiment with more than two versions of a web page or email campaign simultaneously. There are many tools that enable you to track your marketing activities in order to optimise them to boost your event conversion and increase your ROI. Remember, optimisation is not a one night affair; it’s a continuous process and as such all results should be recorded using a Report Template.


Technology has changed the way we market our events, paving the way for greater control and accuracy in tracking, measuring and reporting on the success of event marketing activities. From creating UTM tags for your marketing activities, In-Page analytics, multivariate testing, to optimising for greater conversion, the Event Reporting Whitepaper complete with a complimentary Social Media Tracking tool and Report Template will ensure that your marketing activities are on track.

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Digital Content Manager at ACTIVE Network

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Henry Ford famously said "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses", so he gave them the automobile.

Technology has certainly advanced since then, with “mobile” at the forefront. We are just not as patient as we used to be, speed and ease of communication is paramount; so it’s not a surprise that mobile technology has had a vast impact on business and industry throughout the world.

With all the changes in technology, one question comes to mind: Is mobile technology Henry’s faster horse that the events industry didn’t ask for?

From clipboards to tablets

It may not be hands-free but at least the tablet has eliminated the need for hefty ring-binders and clipboards not to mention the improvement in efficiency and increased accuracy of information that paper-less registration has provided. It’s not just the clipboard that’s been trumped in terms of technology, but our good friend, the computer, is left behind where accessing information is concerned. Endurance event organisers and business event planners alike can rejoice at the advances in technology that have provided more sophisticated mobile event management apps and tools that can manage event and attendee data at a click.

From organisers to attendees

Yes, so life has improved for the organisers, but where are the attendees in this equation? Ease of access to event information, self-edits, agendas, speaker bios, schedules…all at attendee’s own convenience is a possibility through the use of handheld mobile devices.

The increased interactivity provided for by mobile technology has been most advantageous for both event organisers and attendees. Attendees with real-time access to information can give their feedback through surveys and polls in addition to broadening their network thanks to applications that can match them to other possible contacts based on shared attributes.

Organiser-attendee-organiser full circle

The transition to mobile has really boosted and extended the reach of events via social media channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn, enabling the creating of communities and encouraging engagement between organisers and their attendees all in a click.


Is it a horse? No, it’s mobile. We may not have asked for it but it is here and it is definitely the way forward. For more information download the whitepaper on 5 Ways Mobile Technology Is Re-Shaping Events.

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I want MORE; doesn’t everyone?

In a generation where technology is the driving force behind businesses and our day-to-day lives, the events industry has undergone a major facelift. Although there are no major adverse side effects to this facelift, attendees have come to expect and demand more from events…more choice, a better experience, more value, and more ways to connect.

Out with the old, in with the new

Ladies and gentlemen, raise your glasses to the 21st Century Event Planning. The simple days of sending out paper invites are no more, and so are many hours spent drowning in a sea of paper registration forms.

Planning an event is now considered more of a journey, bringing people together with sustained community engagement throughout the event cycle. In a market where competition is rife, it’s imperative that event planners utilise technology to their advantage in building brand awareness and communities in order to drive greater conversion for their events.

Time is money

When was the last time that you used a pen and paper to manually fill out a form or hand-write a letter? Emails, text messages, Facebook, and Twitter have taken over. We live in a society where waiting a few days for information by post is just not acceptable, and in a similar respect, attendees expect the same, opting to receive information in real-time via email or enter registration information online at their own convenience.

Although some organisers may be adverse to changes to their registration process, the move from offline to online can save valuable time, resources and money wasted on tedious administrative tasks.

Is anyone listening?

Do consumers still listen to the authoritative voice of the company CEO on brochures and websites anymore? Well, the answer is YES, they still do; however, attendees are becoming less susceptible to company-to-attendee communication as it’s viewed as advertising. In recent years PEER-TO-PEER recommendations have become extremely important in gaining and increasing brand loyalty as opposed to traditional advertising methods, so if you want more attendees, it’s vital that you use social media channels for lead generation and in increasing your conversion.

Achieving greater conversion

Want more tips on how to achieve greater conversion for your events? Download the Guide to Drive Greater Conversion and start to increase your event ROI.

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Digital Content Manager at ACTIVE Network

When it comes to pricing strategy, one size does not fit all! Selecting the correct pricing strategy can have a vast impact on your revenue.

Using our expertise and industry experience working with endurance event organisers, we have come up with the top 5 essential elements of creating event pricing strategies.

Keep your eyes on the prize

Setting targets for your race registrations and revenue is extremely important. If you’ve organised a similar event in the past, you should aim for an average increase of 10% on your registrations. As mentioned previously, all events differ, and as such your pricing strategy should take these differences into account when setting your goals. Read our whitepaper on Event Pricing Strategies to aid with creating your event strategy.

Don’t give them an excuse

Although the World’s not going to end any time soon, it’s vital that you create a sense of urgency when it comes to your event registration. Having limited capacity and offering pricing incentives is a great way of enticing participants to register for your event early on and can eliminate their excuses or reasons not to register right away.

Open for business

Deciding when to open your online race registration shouldn’t be an afterthought. Depending on the type and size of your event, choosing the correct time to open your online registration could be vital to boosting your attendance figures and increasing your ROI. The Event Pricing Strategies whitepaper will help you determine when to open your event registration, whilst our ROI Calculator tool will help you put metrics and value to your financial outlay or investment.

The price is right

It’s not a game show, eliminate guesswork and don’t leave your pricing structure to chance. Like events, participants differ in opinion when it comes to fees and as such it’s virtually impossible to come up with a “right price”. A successful pricing strategy takes these differences into account and provides different pricing options to cater for those who are extremely price sensitive and the participants who don’t complain. Get help setting your price points with the Event Pricing Strategies whitepaper.

Take a break

Offering price breaks and their frequency will really depend on the type of event that you are organising and the targets and goals that you set out at the start. Some events may change prices on a monthly basis whereas others may only offer two or three changes throughout the registration period.


Download the Event Pricing Strategies whitepaper and ROI Calculator to create a pricing strategy that will increase your attendance have a positive impact on your revenue.

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Digital Content Manager at ACTIVE Network

21st Century Marketing

Developing social media presence is not an overnight affair! Simply setting up a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account isn’t going to boost your conversion rates. Like any lasting relationship, the key to social media success is building trust, which takes time.

When done correctly, social media can enhance your online presence and promote your organisation by increasing audience engagement with your content through “sharing” – the 21st Century “word of mouth”. The Event Planner’s Guide to Social Media will help utilise your social media channels to create a buzz around your event, engage with your audience, increase event attendance, and gain valuable feedback after your event.

Don't be aggressive

Using aggressive marketing tactics to boost your conversions on social media channels can have negative results on your online presence. Social media relies heavily on content and quality interactions with your audience. Create content that your audience will find interesting and useful, something that they would want to share with others. Remember social media is not designed to be a one-way communication medium, so encourage discussions and comments to increase audience engagement. The Event Planner’s Guide to Social Media will provide you with best practices and tips on promoting your event via various social media channels.

Promote open relationships

Unlike traditional marketing and advertising mediums, social media is one where sharing other people’s content is an acceptable, if not necessary, way of growing your community of followers. Commenting on other people’s blog posts will encourage others to engage with your posts and also help improve your online profile. Twitter is also another medium that encourages the sharing or re-Tweeting content, (if relevant to your audience).

Avoid un-likes and ignores

It’s all about content. Keep it fresh, interesting, and relevant. Although it’s important to be consistent with your blog entries and posts, it’s equally as important to ensure that your content is useful and relevant to your audience. Don’t feel under pressure to create content just for the sake of having something to post as followers will not want their social media feeds encumbered with irrelevant or repetitive information.


Social media is the way forward. Innovate, inspire and share - download your copy of The Event Planner’s Guide to Social Media to help boost your online presence and event attendance.

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Digital Content Manager at ACTIVE Network

With all the various things that an event organiser has to do, it’s easy to overlook small things that could end up having a large impact on the success of an event.

Searching the internet for tips and to-do lists for event organisers produces an array of materials; however, trawling through all the various documents for relevant information and best practices can be time consuming, encumbering and oftentimes prove fruitless.

The Event Planner’s Checklist and Whitepaper provides a best practice guide and comprehensive checklist for pre-event, event day, and post-event activities.


Choose your event location, invite your attendees, book your service providers, and complete your event…if only it was that simple!

Event planning has come a long way from the 80s. Health and safety, local government requirements, permits, risk assessments, policies and procedures, are all a part of the pre-event planning process. In addition to fulfilling various local authority/government requirements, one must also take great care in selecting the event date and venue, as this could be paramount to the event’s success.

Consider things like transport, parking, and road closures when selecting your location and ask your local tourist office or council about other events that are planned around the same date that could cause a conflict with your event thus reducing your attendance.

Selecting sub-contractors, service providers and speakers is straight forward, but remember to secure their services in advance and provide deposits if needed to avoid disappointment. If hiring caterers, ensure that they have the appropriate licences and insurance. It’s a good idea to have an event agenda or production schedule prior to your event so that all you team and volunteers are aware of the running order of the event and key individuals that are responsible for each aspect of the event day.

Whether you’re an event planning expert with a wealth of experience, or a novice starting to organise your first event, The Event Planner’s Checklist will guide you through all the various tasks that need to be undertaken before commencing your event marketing and registration process.

Remember, the right marketing will ensure that you get the word out about your event, attract the right audience, and increase your conversion. Make sure that your event site content is current and that you’re utilising social media channels to cross-promote your event.

Event Day

Your event day has finally arrived and it’s all about COMMUNICATION! To ensure that your event runs smoothly, make sure that you brief all your staff and volunteers so that everyone knows what is happening and what to expect from the event.

Encourage staff and participants to create a social media buzz around your event by tweeting and sharing content on social media channels. Not only will this enhance the participant experience, but it will also increase your profile and presence.


Just because your event is over it doesn’t mean that your marketing efforts should cease. Post blogs, pictures, and video content from your event and rally up your attendees to share content in order to maintain the buzz around your event.

Another aspect that is often overlooked after an event is the post-event survey. Gain feedback from your attendees in order to gage the success of your event and future areas for improvement. Remember to share data with your event sponsors and key stakeholders in order for them to put metrics on their financial involvement or expenditure.


Simplify even the most complex event planning journey by taking things one step at a time. We have used our expertise to create a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help make sure that your event runs smoothly. Ensure that your event is a success and that it ticks all the boxes with the Event Planner’s Checklist.

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The A-Star Event Guide: A Must Have For Serious Event Organisers
Digital Content Manager at ACTIVE Network

A lot has changed since the 90’s; the economic climate, technology, and society, to name a few. As a result of these changes, event planning has undergone a radical transformation. In order to account for these changes, we have compiled a guide intended to help serious event organisers take their event from the 90’s to the 2000’s with a few simple but effective techniques.

From 90’s to the 2000’s

Event Planning for the 21st Century – when did it become so complicated?

The nineties was a good decade, a simple decade; you may have been drowning in a sea of event registration forms, but the event cycle was simple! Nowadays you need a team of marketing experts just to manage your twitter feed! The fact is, attendees now demand more from events, they want more choices, a better event experience, more value for money, and more ways to connect.

Give your attendees more than they expect and simplify your event planning journey with ACTIVE Network’s A-Star Event Guide.

The Evolution of Event Planning

There are many articles on the impact of technology on the evolution of event planning. The key to 21st century event planning is to stop thinking of a live event as the destination, and start thinking of it as a journey. No matter what the event, the aim of the journey remains the same: to bring people together with sustained community engagement throughout the event cycle.

It’s All about Engagement

Engaging the right audience is paramount to the success of any event, and technology has given the event organiser ample tools to attract the right audience. Long gone are the days of sending out paper surveys after an event; Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have taken over! Social media monitoring or social listening is the new way of engaging with your participants before an event in addition to obtaining post-event feedback. Don’t get left behind, download your copy of the A-Star Event Guide and harness the power of social media to engage with the right audience for your event.

There are many ways to track and monitor discussions about your events. Setting up Google Alerts for specific event names works well in tracking online comments and mentions. Online tools such as Hootsuite and TweetDeck also allow you to track specific hashtags or keywords associated with your event, making user engagement easier and less encumbering for the event planner.

The Mobile Revolution

The PC may not be redundant, but the past decade has given consumers a variety of options when it comes to accessing information; and mobile is the way forward! The smartphone and tablet have become essential tools for the event attendee. For event organisers that are looking for more attendees, increased return on investment, as well as return on engagement; mobile offers the maximum in terms of audience reach, targeting, and real-time communication. Get your event mobile ready in 9 simple steps with ACTIVE Network’s A-Star Event Guide.

21st Century Event Success

Organising your event registration and marketing for maximum effect is no walk in the park. There are so many aspects one must consider when executing each stage of the event planning journey that it’s easy to overlook a few things that could have a dramatic effect on the success of the event. Searching the web for articles and how-to guides to provide expert advice can be a tiresome affair. ACTIVE Network’s A-Star Event Guide combines all the tips and best practice techniques for the modern event planner to bring their event into the 21st Century. Providing a comprehensive step by step guide in increasing audience engagement and boosting event participation, it’s definitely the 2013 must have guide for event planners!

In Conclusion

The A-Star Event Guide will provide you with some top tips for creating outstanding events. From planning your event to promoting it, managing registrations and measuring your event success, it will help you get your event up and running in no time.

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Get your event emails opened


4 Simple Ways to Increase Your Event Email Open Rate

People no longer read emails. They scan them. They also scan their inboxes and quickly filter through the emails that peak their interest and delete the ones that don’t. When it comes to promoting your event through email you have about a 3-5 second window in which to capture your registrant’s attention and get them to actually open your email. How your email appears in a recipient’s inbox can significantly affect your open rate so start with a good email template and try to get in the habit of optimising these 4 parts of your event emails to maximise your open rate.

1. Spend time on your subject line

64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line. (Source: Chadwick Martin Bailey) so it is important to spend some time on this critical part of your event email. The two main jobs of your subject line are to accurately depict the contents of the email message and to entice your event audience to open it. With this is mind, your subject line should clearly and concisely communicate why someone would want to open your message.

According to MarketingSherpa’s 2010 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, the top three types of subject lines that compel people to open emails contain a discount offer, a free product offer or a familiar brand name so when appropriate, include a discount or promotional offer for your event and the name of your event in the subject line of your emails. You may also be able to increase opens with a subject line that includes interesting stats, topical news, useful tips or a targeted question. Creating a sense of urgency or using automatic personalisation in your subject line can also increase opens, but only when used appropriately and sparingly.

Example: Jill, register for BigEvent today to get your 10% discount (personalisation, event name, discount offer & urgency)

2. Make your email ‘From line’ recognisable

Whether you use a person’s name or your event name in the ‘from line’ of your email, the most important thing is that it is recognisable. Include your company, brand or event name if that is what will resonate with your audience, or send your emails from prominent individuals or spokespeople associated with your brand or event. Either way, try to use the same ‘from line’ for every event email you send to create consistency and generate recognition. Keep the ‘from line’ under 22 characters so it's easy to read across various email clients and devices. And never use a “do not reply” address as it discourages conversation.

From: ‘Jill Smith’ (associate a person’s name with your event communications)
From ‘Big Event News’ (Include the event name in all event communications)

3. Include a hook in your email preview pane:

If you send business-to-consumer (B2C) emails, about 53% of your subscribers first see your emails in a preview pane. If you send business-to-business (B2B), the number is even higher (around 80%) [ Source: Aweber Communications]. The preview pane for many email clients lets users see part of their emails before they decide whether or not to open them. To entice previewers to open your emails, fill the top left of your message with content that hooks your reader’s attention. This will also optimise your email for viewing on a mobile device. Your preview hook could include an event offer or discount, an interesting teaser, or a compelling call to action that readers can access directly from the preview pane. Your event audience is

far more likely to open emails from senders they know and trust so be sure to also include your logo, company or event name in the preview space. Avoid having too many large images or headers in the preview as these will appear as blank space if the user has images turned off, or if they take too long to load, readers will move on.

CTA example in preview: Click here to get 20% off your BigEvent registration today. (offers a discount, includes event name & creates a sense of urgency)

4. Optimise the Email Snippet.

One part of an email that is often overlooked is the snippet of the mailing. The snippet is displayed right after the subject line. It is pulled from the first part of your email and can be seen by Gmail, Outlook, iphone and ipad users before they actually open the email. If your email has a pre-header, a header or an image/logo at the top of the mailing this is what will show up as the snippet. Take advantage of this part of your email and ensure the text in this area builds on the content of your subject line to further entice your recipients to open the email. If the first part of your email is your company or event logo, ensure you include relevant alt tag text. The screen size of the recipients device will affect how much of the snippet they actually see so ensure you front load it with keywords if you can.

Try optimising your ‘subject line’, ‘from line’, ‘preview content’ and ‘snippet’ in your next event email and see how it impacts the open rate. Let us know by commenting below.

To help you improve the performance of your event emails even more, get the latest free professionally designed email template from the ACTIVE Network here.

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Social Media for Sports and Endurance Event Organisers Report: A Missed Opportunity?

84% of sports and endurance event organisers don’t measure the return on investment of their social media campaigns. That’s just one of the key findings in the new Social Media Report for Sport & Endurance Event Organisers published by Active Network today.

Social media. These days it’s part of the fabric of our everyday lives. It’s also massively popular with sporting celebrities and mass media audiences. Who hasn’t used Twitter and Facebook to follow highlights from the Olympics to the Tour de France to Euro 2012?

So you’d expect sports and endurance events to be enthusiastic users of social media to promote their events and drive participation. True? Well yes, but only up to a point. The new Social Media Report for Sport & Endurance Event Organisers published by Active Network today shows that sports and endurance event organisers are increasingly using social media heavy-hitters such as Facebook and Twitter to promote their events.

But beyond these two channels, it’s a mixed story. Critically, 84% of the organisations surveyed don’t measure the return on their social media investment. In addition, many are missing out on the opportunities offered by complementary activities such as SEO optimisation and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.

The good news is that many of the tools and software required to meet these goals are inexpensive or free. In addition, they are increasingly user friendly, so that digital marketers can quickly establish the value of their social media investment without needing to acquire specialist skills and training.

Take the next steps
The report also includes best practices for organisations running sporting events of all sizes. As well as describing how to create an engaging Facebook page and raise event awareness using Twitter, we’ve also outlined the best way to make the most of new channels such as Pinterest and suggested inexpensive and free monitoring and measurement tools.

To get the full picture, and discover the opportunities to increase engagement and participation, download Social Media Report for Sport & Endurance Events Organisers today.

*Source: Ofcom, The Communications Market Report: United Kingdom, July 2012

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Fundraising Tips for Events
Online fundraising is quickly overtaking direct mail as the preferred method of collecting donations for charity events and non-profit organisations. As the younger "wired" generation grows up, we can safely assume that they will prefer to donate online almost exclusively. Are you doing enough to offer your donors and fundraisers the latest in online giving tools?

Here are some of the benefits to online fundraising:

  • Immediacy - The donor can learn about the cause and is enabled to make a contribution immediately while the thought is fresh in their mind.
  • Administrative Efficiency - The non-profit organization receives the funds immediately along with donor contact information.
  • Instant Gratification for the Donor - An acknowledgement is instantly sent to the donor by way of automatic confirmation email.
  • Analytics - The key to successful fundraising is knowing who your donors are and what interests them. Collecting donations online allow you to observe their behavior in navigation of your website, track what they are reading prior to making the donation and what type of call-to-action resonates the most with them. Using this information to parse your contact lists will enable you to optimise your fundraising campaign by tailoring your message and call-to-action to different types of donors.

Here are some tips if you are just getting started with an online fundraising campaign:

  • Consider All Marketing Channels - Reference your online giving option in newsletters, brochures, your website, signage and radio/TV advertisements.
  • Leverage Social Media - Sites like Facebook are cheap and effective ways to cultivate a word-of-mouth marketing campaign and grow your fan base.
  • Your Website - Include your mission statement, goals, objectives and what work your organisation has accomplished to further your cause. Explain how you will use the funds you raise and include photos and testimonials from your fundraisers, donors and beneficiaries.
  • Provide lots of ways to Donate...but focus on pushing the online channel. Collecting as many donations online as possible will automate your workload and minimise volunteer staff time and resources needed. Make your 'Donate Online' button large and above the fold (top half of the page). You have the attention of your audience and they are looking for a way to contribute as quickly as possible - don't make them hunt for a way to give.
  • Reward Your Donors - Offer a gift or incentive in return for a donation. Consider something as simple as a subscription to your organisation's monthly newsletter or an invitation to a gala dinner for those who donate over a certain amount.
  • Find a Robust Online Giving Platform - Choose an online donation service that allows your fundraisers to build a personalised fundraising web page. Enabling your fundraisers to build a personalised space online where they can add photos, their own personal story and blog about their experiences raising money for the cause will really get them excited to share with all their friends and family.
  • Encourage Your Fundraisers - Offer prizes to fundraisers who collect the most donations. Many online donation services offer a way to track the total amount each fundraiser has gathered on their personal page from friends and family.

Make it fun and get creative! With all of the relatively cheap (many times, free) online tools and marketing opportunities available nowadays, any organization can optimize their fundraising campaign.

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10 Ways to Grow Event Attendance
Build Your Email List – Your number 1 marketing priority should be maintaining and growing your email contact list. Email marketing is a highly effective and low-cost way of getting the word out about your event. Make it easy for your website visitors to subscribe to your email newsletter. On event day, make sure you provide a paper newsletter subscribe list when you are checking everyone in. Make sure when you design your email newsletters that you include a very clear call-to-action for the recipient to “Share this Email with a Friend”.

Use Social Media – Build a Facebook page for your event and include references to it on your website and all marketing materials. Offer incentives for those who become a fan of your Facebook page. For example, offer a deal where those who are on your list of Facebook fans will receive a special commemorative t-shirt when they check in on event day. Your Facebook fans have their own circle of online friends who will notice their association with your event and naturally want to learn more.

Provide Recruitment Incentives – Offer registrants a gift if they can convince their friends to participate. Group discounts are also a great way to recruit people who may be on the fence about attending. A common group discount would be a family deal where 4 people can attend for the price of 3.

Offer Discount Coupons – With a down economy, if your potential attendees are on a tight budget, they may be thinking about waiting until next year to attend. Help them out and offer promotional coupons for a registration discount.

Early-bird Registration Fee – Offer discounts for those who register early. Collecting more attendee data early in the registration process will also help reduce the amount of work for your staff in the last days prior to the event.

Offer Online Event Registration – Registering for your event online can be as easy as just a few clicks saving your attendees a stamp or trip in the car down to the event office to submit their paper entry. Participant data and payment are collected instantly and a confirmation email is automatically sent out saving your staff time and resources.

Send one Last Email Prior to the Close of Online Registration – Make sure to identify those email list subscribers that have not yet registered and send them one last reminder about 1 week prior to the event.

Build Partnerships With Other Event Organisers and Clubs – Seek out other organisations that cater to the same types of people that would be interested in your event. If you’re planning a cycling event, do some research online to find all of the cycling clubs in the area. You may be able to work out an arrangement where the club manager will promote your event to his members if you in turn promote his club to your event participants.

Host a Post-Event Festival – Considering how competitive the events industry has become, event organisers are doing everything they can to make their event stand out above the rest. One way of doing this is to host a party or festival after your event and offer additional activities beyond the main event. Activities could include a concert, prize draw, games for kids, booth space for your sponsors to hand out free samples or food tasting from local restaurants. Allowing your attendees to bring friends and family to the party is a great way to recruit new participants for the following year’s event.

Make it a Fundraising Event – Your event is sure to provide your attendees with an unforgettable experience but why not also send them home with a feeling that that have done something for the greater good? Choose a local charity and donate a portion of event proceeds to the cause. If you want participants to be more hands-on, organise a fundraising competition and ask that they solicit their friends and family for donations. Those who are asked to make a contribution may also decide that they want to participate in the event.

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Growing Your Event During a Recession
Slashed marketing budgets and a public that is saving their money for uncertain times could mean lower attendance rates for the events industry in 2009. We’ve talked with some of the industry’s top event organisers to see how they are beating the economic crunch. Across the board, the feedback we received shows that everyone is trying to accomplish one thing in particular: Increase attendance while lowering costs. This can be a real challenge but here are some low cost marketing ideas many are using that could also help you grow your event in a down economy.

Email Advertising
Minimise the amount of print advertising you are doing. Paper, ink and labor involved can be very expensive and oftentimes, it is very difficult to gage the success of a print advertising campaign. With a limited budget, you need to be able to show a return on every cent you spend on marketing. Email marketing costs nothing in materials and you have access to reporting that will instantly show your return on investment.

Social Media
The best advertising for an event is word of mouth. Social Media is a very low cost and effective way to create word of mouth on the internet. Make a presence for yourself in places like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs or forums where the audience would be interested in an event like yours.

If you have an official event website, you need to focus on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The goal is to get your website at the top of the search returns for keyword searches such as “Marathons in Singapore” or “Singapore Marathon”. With some small adjustments to your website, you can vastly improve your Google rankings. Just imagine all of the people out there searching for what you offer – they just don’t know about you yet!

Offer Online Event Registration
Collecting participant data online with an event management system will streamline your staff’s workload and open up more time that you can devote to all of the above.

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Keeping Them Engaged Until Event Day
Efficiently collecting event participant data is only half the battle. Fully utilise your event management software and keep your registrants engaged all the way up to the day of the event with customised follow-up emails.

The key to hosting a great event is to keep your participant’s excitement level rising steadily from date of registration to the day they show up to your event. If event registration opens 3, 4, or 5 months prior to the event date, expect that some registrants may get preoccupied at the office or with daily life and lose that feeling of exhilaration they experienced when signing up for the event. Keeping in contact with your participants on a regular basis will build anticipation and ensure they show up to the event ready to have a great time.

The great thing about using a fully automated event management system is that you can schedule your follow-up emails to be sent out automatically on the date you choose with the custom content you want to deliver. Some ideas for follow-up email content could be:
  • Inviting the registrant to visit your event website for more event information.
  • Announcements of new event merchandise for sale with a link to your online registration form for purchase.
  • Training tips
  • Testimonials from last year’s event participants
  • Results or video from last year’s event
  • Reminders of where and when to pick up your race packet
  • A final email including last minute updates to the event schedule and weather forecast.
These are only a few examples of email content that has worked well for event organisers we partner with. Our best advice would be to get creative!

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Planning Your First Event

Having worked with a number of event organisers over the years, we’ve found that there are some things that can be easily overlooked when you are in the beginning phases of planning your first event. Giving special consideration to these 4 things from the start will ensure that your event goes smoothly:

Special Events Permits
Whether or not you are required to apply for a special events permit will depend on your community, town, or city law. If in doubt, we would suggest contacting your city council or local government so that they can inform you of any special requirements for holding an event in the area.

Safety Issues
Keep in mind that one of the biggest draws for your event will not only be the fun activities offered but also the level of organisation and focus on the well being of the event attendees. Is your event location in a safe area? Will children be safe if they stray away? Are you located near a street with heavy traffic? Can people who are not registered for your event mingle with your attendees? Addressing these and other safety issues will not only ensure your attendee’s security but also enable you to market your event as a safe occasion to be shared by all.

More often than not, events will include some sort of food or refreshments for attendees. Two things you should consider are: Where will the food come from and how will I get an accurate count of how much food I will need?

To address the first issue, you will need to decide if you will hire a catering company or purchase and serve the food yourself. The advantages to hiring a company are obviously that they will handle everything from purchasing the food, to cooking the food, to serving the food, and cleaning up after the event. The downside is the cost of course. If you have a good group of event volunteers, you may want to consider taking on the job yourself. The cost saved may be well worth the effort.

The second issue of deciding how much food to buy can be the most difficult one. To get the most accurate count of food items needed for the event, make sure you include a section on your event registration form to collect the attendee’s food preference.

Collecting Payment and Data
The greatest challenge to hosting an event is finding a way to efficiently collect attendee payment and data. Ideally, you want to devise a procedure that is time efficient for your event staff and quick and easy for the attendee.

In the past, event registration was offered exclusively on paper registration forms and probably went something like this: The attendee would fill out the paper form and mail it off to the event by post including a check. Once received by the event, a staff member would have to manually transfer the attendee’s personal information into a spreadsheet and make a trip to the bank to make a deposit. After a week or two of waiting, the attendee would get a letter back confirming his entry into the event. The main concern here is the length of time it takes your staff to process one entry and the time the attendee has to wait before receiving a confirmation. The result can be an overworked event staff and an attendee uncertain if his payment has been received.

The growing trend in today’s events industry is the use of online registration software. You will want to find a software that offers complete automation of all the tasks normally required in hosting an event. Ideally your event management software should offer online credit card processing, easily customisable online registration forms, a secure database to house your attendee data, various data reporting options accessible from any internet connection, automatic confirmation emails sent to the attendee after making online payment, and an email marketing system that will enable you to keep in contact with your attendees and reach out to the them following year to invite them to your event. If you find a software that is right for your event, the resulting reduction of workload will allow your staff focus less on the mundane tasks and spend more time working on what is important – tending to your attendees!

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