Eventbrite is one of the most comprehensive event registration applications out there today. But having tools at your disposal doesn’t guarantee a successful event: You actually have to understand and use those tools to maximize your success. With a plethora of tools to help you make your next event successful, it's easy to miss some of them when you’re starting out with Eventbrite. Especially if you’re one of those people who’s so excited to play with a new toy that you forget to read the manual, or one of those who thinks they can figure it out without a manual. If you haven’t seen Eventbrite’s help section, you should check it out. It contains very useful and easy-to-read tutorials. Also, the Eventbrite blog offers tips for event planners to help them use Eventbrite, so stop by their blog.
Here's a list of ten most crucial features you should not forget to use when setting up your next event on Eventbrite. Don't forget, this is not complete list — just tip of the iceberg.
1. Collecting Custom Information
There are a lot of different events. Some require passes with names on and some do not. But, whatever ticket type you sell it's a good idea to collect some information from your attendees. It might not be required for your event, but collecting custom information from your attendees can give you an insight to maximize your success. For example, you can ask your attendees how they found out about your event. This small piece of information will help you determine which marketing and promotion methods are actually working so you don’t waste money on those that don't work. Also, some events offer meals for their attendees. If you’re offering plated meals you can create custom questions with a list of meal options for your attendees to choose from. This way, come your event, you'll have precise numbers of meals to serve, which will eliminate headaches and confusion.
When you click on your event name from the My Events page, the Manage tab is the default tab that opens. This is where you can access a custom information screen. The link is located in the left sidebar, Collect Custom Information. This opens the screen where the magic happens — with your help. You can find step-by-step instructions in the help section.
The beauty of Eventbrite is it offers you the capability to attach questions to individual ticket types (you have to create tickets to be able to do this). Add your tickets first, and then you’ll be able to attach questions. For example, if the convention pass requires attendees to select a meal type but you also sell tickets for a fundraiser during this convention, you can select to show the meal question for the convention pass only; simple and beautiful. NOTE: If you’re collecting required information from your attendees, do not forget to mark the “Required” box. Otherwise, they might skip it and cause you headaches.
“Optional Settings” is a misleading name for this section of Custom Information page. It is VERY important. The last option in this section, “Attendee Management,” is turned on by default, which might be OK for some events. But if your event decisions rest on custom information you collect from them, it might be detrimental to your event if they have an option of changing their registration information. Just imagine if you’ve requested 200 plates of salmon dinner from your hotel or caterer, and for some reason a few folks decided to change their choice to steak dinner. It might be impossible to explain to them why steak tastes like salmon, unless they’ve never had steak and salmon before. So be careful with this option, uncheck it if you’re unsure. It won’t hurt anyone if it’s off.
2. Create Invitations
Sending out invitations is available only after you publish your event, so you need to get your event all set up and published to invite people. Usually, the problem is not about creating an invitation; rather, it's about the mailing list. This is especially true if you’re starting out. No worries, Eventbrite can help.
The best way to approach invitations is to create a mailing list first. At the top of your Eventbrite page, you’ll see the My Contacts tab. Click it. It should be no-brainer now, “Create new contact list”. This is where Eventbrite can help you. You can upload contacts from Outlook, Express, .csv and .txt files (if you already have contacts). If you don’t, a good way to start creating a list of contacts is to import them from your email accounts. Currently, Eventbrite will import contacts from Yahoo Mail, Gmail, AOL Mail, and Hotmail. This way you can invite friends, family, coworkers, and other people on your contact list. The last two options available are to create a mailing list from attendees of past events (if you have them) and enter emails manually. If you run an electronic newsletter, this list can be exported from your service provider and imported into Eventbrite.
The good thing about the Eventbrite invitation system is integration with the registration system. Eventbrite tracks your invitations, telling you who registered from the invitation. Plus, if any of them bounce they are removed automatically, saving you time.
When you write your invitation don’t forget to ask recipients to invite their friends and family, share your event on Facebook, and Tweet about it. Also, ask them to blog about it if they own blogs. Just be sincere in your request — you don’t want to appear cocky or desperate.
Lastly, send a test invitation to yourself. That’s there for a reason. Look it over and proofread it one last time inside your email client, just like other people will see it.
3. List Your Event in the Eventbrite Public Directory and on the Internet
This seems like a no-brainer, but each event is different. Eventbrite does offer private, password-protected events. This option might be of no interest to an event planner organizing a private event. However, if your event is public this option is a gold mine. Eventbrite does a good search engine optimization (SEO) job, so it's very imperative to your success to enable this option. If you turn this off (it's checked by default) your event won't be available for search engines to index, hence no one will be able to find it. Public Directory on Eventbrite’s site might not sound like a big deal, but it does offer yet another way for people to find your event.
Remember that having this option turned on doesn’t mean you’re done with SEO. It only opens the door for the search engines to come in through. It's still your job to ensure there’s plenty of content for them to munch on.
4. Classify Your Event
This is related to the previous point, and is located right below it. Eventbrite gives you the capability to classify your event twice. It's important to select appropriate categories for your event. Also, below the categories you can specify keywords to describe your event. These 3 items are part of Eventbrite’s SEO tools given to you to be more successful. These are used to identify your event when someone does a search either on the Eventbrite website or via the search engines.
If you’re not sure what keywords to use to describe your event or want more, it's a good idea to do some research to see what keywords related to your event are popular on search engines. There’s a free Keyword Tool by WordStream that is the “fastest, most accurate, most comprehensive online SEO keyword suggestion tool available. We aggregate over 1 billion unique keywords, representing over a trillion search queries, and hundreds of millions of related terms from diverse keyword sources. This huge database enables us to supply thousands of long-tail keyword suggestions — far more than even subscription-based tools— and it's always completely free.”
They also offer paid services if you’re really into search engine optimization and marketing. Their services are designed to help you generate more traffic through PPC and SEO, which is a great way to expose your event to public. It'll provide great return on investment. If not, you can always use the free keyword tool to generate keywords for your event.
5. Header and Footer
This might not be a big deal but it does add a little bit more to your event page. Even if you have a convention website and send people to register to Eventbrite, it won’t hurt having something in your header and footer. Search engines can send traffic directly to the Eventbrite page, plus traffic from the Public Directory will be sent to the Eventbrite page as well. Sure, you can include all the information in the body of the page, but why not make it look more appealing?
Instead of adding a logo to your event, create an appealing banner with some basic information and your event or business logo. This will look much better than uploading a logo, plus it won’t create a lot of empty space like logo does when it’s a big image. The header shows up all the way at the top of the page. The maximum width of the event page is approximately 950px. They do align everything to the left, so if your banner is longer than 950px it will extend past the event page on the right. To add an image banner you just need to upload it somewhere, where you can get a source link. In the header textbox enter a simple code like this:
<img src="http://www.sample.com/image.jpg" border="0" alt="Sample" />
A border tag set to 0 will not create ugly border around your image that some browsers create. Alt tag is for those who can’t see image, plus this is another SEO trick.
If you want your banner to link to your homepage, you'll need to add link tags around your image, like so:
<a href="www.sample.com" target="_blank" title="Sample Convention"><img src="http://www.sample.com/image.jpg" border ="0" alt="Sample Convention 2010" /></a>
The target tag tells the browser how to open this link — this link is set to open in new window. That way they don’t have to reload the event page to register after checking out your website. The title tag is similar to alt tag, but what it does is provides a description of the link when you hover your cursor over a link.
If you don’t know what to add to your banner, just include a quick recap of basic information: Name, slogan, dates, location, and logo. When someone visits this page they'll get a quick brief of what, when, and where.
Here’s a tip: Sell ad space on your banner. If you have sponsors, list them on your banner. If you have exhibitors, ask them to purchase a spot on your banner, but don’t overcharge. You can also sell advertisement space on your event website and page; here's how you can sell image ads.
If you don’t know how to create a banner or would like a professional to design one for you, check out Odesk. Here you can submit a job and let professionals apply for it and tell you how much they’re willing to receive to complete this job. Plus, their profile will offer their resume and past work. It’s a good source for labor. Best part: Odesk tracks their work hours; or you can request flat rate bids.
As for your footer, it's up to you what to include at the bottom. This is good for events that use the Eventbrite page as their primary website. You can include things like your event policies (cancellation, refund, etc.), some sort of links, list your sponsors, and sell space for ads. You can always have a designer create you a banner with past event photos, so you can include it at the bottom for visitors to check out how fun your event is. The possibilities are endless, whatever you think your event will benefit from.
6. Track Your Event with Google Analytics
They're offering you a way to track visitors to your event page, why not use it? Google Analytics is free and very easy to use. It offers you a great way to track how people find your event, what sites refer visitors to your event page, where in the world visitors are located, and even what keywords are used to find your event. This is an absolute gold mine. This will help your marketing and promotion a lot — all for free.
7. Multi-User Access
Events are never planned by one individual, at least they shouldn’t be. Having a team simplifies the process. You can delegate different tasks to different people, so they get done quicker. Plus, no one person will feel overwhelmed with work.
Eventbrite offers you multi-user access. You can create different accounts with different permissions. Your accountant might not need an ability to change event information; all he/she needs is access to invoices and pay them. Someone responsible for customer service might need access to attendee information. You shouldn’t give full access to everyone; ask yourself, do they really need it?
You can access this feature by going to the Account tab at the top. It's on the left-hand side, Multi-User Access. Once you add an email, you'll be presented with options. Keep in mind, all events (draft, published, completed) will be listed there. You can select specific events and then decide what access users will get. Be wary of the last option. Not many people will want to receive dozens of messages or more per day when attendees register, so don’t send them any emails if they don’t really need it. For example, your webmaster/designer won't need any emails sent to him/her but will need access to the event page.
8. Event Affiliate Program
Many events on Eventbrite use the affiliate program successfully. This allows attendees and other users to become an affiliate of your event and generate traffic for your event. Each time someone registers through an affiliate link, that affiliate earns revenue. The revenue is set up by you when you create your affiliate program. One thing to keep in mind: Eventbrite only tracks clicks and registrations. Eventbrite doesn't offer affiliate payment system, that’s on you. When it’s time to pay your affiliates what they’ve earned, it's up to you to make the payment.
One way is to use checks, but that takes time and people might not want to wait for it. An easier way is to use PayPal. Of course, you and an affiliate need PayPal accounts to begin with. They're easy to set up and absolutely free. They only charge a small fee for transactions. Don’t forget to spell out your pay out method and policy so they know when to expect to be paid.
If you don’t want to spend money on your affiliate program, there’s another way of handling this. Why not give out free tickets per certain amount of sales? For example, tell your affiliates that they will receive free tickets for every 10 registrations they refer. Eventbrite will track sales and tell you how many registrations were referred by individual affiliates. For example, if your tickets are $200 where $150 covers expenses and $50 is profit you can give out free ticket for every 10 registrations. This means that one affiliate will provide $500 in profits. After you give him free ticket worth $150 (expenses) you came out at the end with $350 in profits. This way you don’t have to deal with pay outs, but make sure you clearly state that they will not receive monetary compensation.
The event affiliate program can be accessed from your event’s page. You can find it under “Sell” at the bottom of the sidebar, “Create Affiliate Program”. Use “Additional Notes” section to specify your affiliate program and payment policy. Make sure you make your affiliate program public so anyone can join and promote your event.
Having an affiliate program offers incentive to other people to promote your event. This is a good way to promote your event on blogs, forums, and other social networks.
9. Publish Your Event to Facebook.
It should be one of your standard practices to post events on Facebook. Facebook offers great possibilities to event planners to promote events. Eventbrite helps you list your event on Facebook when you publish it; the link is located in the sidebar with the Facebook icon next to it. Once your event is live on Facebook, start inviting your friends and ask them to invite their friends. Don’t forget to place a link on your website or event page to your Facebook page so attendees can RSVP and invite their friends. A good practice would be to add a Facebook link to your invitations as well as order confirmation emails that attendees receive when they register. They’ve already registered to your event, so they are more likely to share it with their friends if they haven’t used Evenbrite’s Facebook share feature after their registration. There’s a great blog post available on Eventbrite blog about Facebook promotion.
10. News and Updates
The last essential must-do on Eventbrite is to use the “Add News and Updates” feature. Yes, you can and should send out email updates to your attendees, but those emails are not visible to your visitors and search engines. Once you finish composing your masterpiece to send out to your attendees, you can simply copy and paste it as an update to appear on your event page. It’s a good way to keep visitors updated, plus they can subscribe to your RSS feed to know what’s going on with your event. Adding more content to your page gives yet another snack for search engines to munch on and direct relevant traffic to you.
A good practice would be to set up a regular update for your attendees (e.g., weekly). Even if you don’t have anything new to report, just take a quick minute to remind your attendees some things about your event, travel, and promotion. For example, you can remind your attendees to book hotel rooms if they haven’t, ensure their passport is not expired and other travel documents are ready, ask them to share your event on Facebook or Twitter, and remind them to purchase books for signing if any of your speakers are published authors.
Just because this list includes 10 tools offered by Eventbrite doesn't mean you need to stop here. Eventbrite offers much more. Explore it, understand it, and use it.
Create a promotion page on your event website and list widgets offered by Eventbrite on that page with code, so other people can embed those widgets on their websites and blogs.
Share your tips and experience with Eventbrite in the comments section. Got anything good?