7 Event planning tools every event manager should use

Event planning is a stressful business. In fact, on CareerCast’s annual list of most stressful jobs, event coordinator lands just after police officer, airline pilot, and firefighter. Especially in 2020, when so many event planners had to pivot most of their in-person events to virtual ones due to the pandemic, working in events is never boring.

Getting an event out the door—or on the screen—requires serious multitasking and an expert level of organization. Which is why there are so many apps on the market today—tools that can help you with just about every aspect of event organization, execution, and follow up.

Too many, in fact.

You want to spend your time focusing on doing great work, not on work about work related to managing cumbersome tools or keeping track of information. The goal is to figure out which problems you’re trying to solve for, and use the right tools (and only those tools) to make it happen.

Here are the seven tools you can rely on to simplify event management and become more productive.

[Read: How to plan and manage events in Asana]

Customer relationship management tools (CRM)

There’s no more important tool than a CRM (customer relationship management tool) for any business that cares about customers—which is every business that hosts events. A CRM helps you organize attendee information and maintain strong relationships before and after the event.

Collecting attendee information easily and cleanly is very important. Once you have attendee, prospect, or customer information stored in your CRM, you can track and manage each person’s journey over time—hopefully all the way to “closed-won.” Tracking their journey is key for showing the ROI of each event you host and the impact your team has on revenue.

Here are two great options:

  • Salesforce: Salesforce is a powerful CRM that also integrates with a ton of other tools. It will help you seamlessly create, follow up on, and nurture leads before and after your event.
  • Hubspot: Although not the tech giant that Salesforce is, Hubspot has a strong CRM, tons of integrations, and the Hubspot Academy. Plus, they have a free version if you want to kick the tires before committing or have budget constraints.

Managing attendee registration

There are two sides to this coin: the attendee’s side and your side, as the event manager.

For attendees, to get the biggest number of registrants, you need to have a smooth and seamless registration process for the user. On your side, you need a software with a back end that lets you manage registration without stress or surprises and organizes all of the valuable data you’ve collected in a usable and meaningful way.

The tool you choose should go beyond simple transactions and help you manage your event end to end. It should also supply you with valuable data and reporting that you can use to make strategic decisions at the right times. Here are two tools we recommend:

  • Eventbrite: With Eventbrite, you’ll get detailed insight about the people attending your event with access to visual analytics, charts, and reports. Plus the Eventbrite Organizer app helps you track ticket sales on your phone in real time, facilitate mobile event check-in, and stay up to date with live attendance tracking.
  • Bevy: Bevy is a tool that enables you to host community events, either in person or virtually. It is an all-in-one platform that helps you plan, promote, and execute all types of events. It also has analytics to give you a full picture and integrates with other tools you use.

Engaging with attendees via email

73% of event professionals said email was a top marketing strategy to improve in 2019, according to a new Eventbrite survey. To get (and stay) in touch with potential attendees, there’s no better channel.

At the same time, 52% of event professionals said they think it will be more difficult to drive sales via email in 2019. That’s why an email marketing platform is critical to track your efforts and improve your sales.

These are two strong options for engaging with attendees via email:

  • Marketo: Marketo is a dominant player in the email marketing world. Marketo’s bread and butter is the ability to track behaviors and push campaigns to certain people. If you’re running an event for prospects who you want to follow up with, nurture, and then pass onto sales, Marketo is great.
  • Iterable: Iterable is a great email marketing tool for reaching out to tons of people who are already users of your product. If you are having a customer event, Iterable might be the tool for you.

Event project planning, from beginning to end

When events run smoothly, your attendees simply get to enjoy them, whether they are in a ballroom at a convention center or sitting on their couch watching a webinar. But for that to happen, event planners need to have ironed out all of the strategy to stay on top of every detail and deadline.

That’s where a work management platform, like Asana, comes in.

From the first brainstorming session, to assigning tasks to stakeholders and tracking milestones, a work management platform allows you to keep track of every detail in one place. With different ways of visualizing your work, you can switch from list to calendar to Timeline easily, making sure not only your to-dos, but your timing line up.

Use Asana to create a project for each event you manage and populate it with every step in your workback schedule. Then, share the project (and its workflows, roles, and deadlines) with anyone within your organization who touches the event, so they know who’s doing what by when, and can monitor progress as you plan.

Whether you’re in a big organization or a team of one, you can either use Asana’s customizable event planning template to track to-dos and progress specific to event workflows. Or, you can create your own event planning template so you can kick off events more quickly.

Plan your next event using Asana

Event planning tools are just the start

When you handpick event planning tools that integrate well together, you get more than your money’s worth from each. The less you have to worry about your tools and tech stack, the more time you have to concentrate on pulling off an incredible event.

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