DARREN EDWARDS – INVISAGE EVENT TECHNOLOGY BLOG

Conference, Exhibition and Business Event Technology: Social Media, Event Apps®, Email Marketing, Cloud Solutions, Hybrid and Virtual Events.

DARREN EDWARDS – INVISAGE EVENT TECHNOLOGY BLOG - Conference, Exhibition and Business Event Technology: Social Media, Event Apps®, Email Marketing, Cloud Solutions, Hybrid and Virtual Events.

Tweetwall Escalates Participation

Nearly all of our clients use # tags at their events in order to engage the audience and promote active participation. For too long event goers have been setting in plenary halls listening to speakers and watching boring PowerPoint slides. Thanks to mobile technology and Event Apps we are not turning attendees into participants.

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Once product that enhances this experience is Tweetwall. Here are just some of the benefits

Raise the Popularity of your Event
People love telling people where they are! By using your hashtag and by taking and sharing pictures, people create a buzz and raise the profile of your tradeshow or conference. New products and experiences are shared virally multiplying your reach exponentially.

Transform Q&A Presentations
Forget about selecting a few people from the audience to ask questions. Inspire all attendees to Tweet questions using the TweetWall. Using the moderation tools, presenters can select engaging questions to answer during the event, and with post event reports, you can follow up with attendees directly.

Engage External Participants
Do you live stream your events over your website or other channels to extend your audience? Well you are not alone! But, how do you invite them in to the conversation? With a web embedded TweetWall, online viewers, are encouraged to join in!

Expand Sponsorship Opportunities
A TweetWall is a great way to incorporate sponsors. Sponsor logos, messages, videos, colors or Tweets can be highlighted generating additional sponsorship activity and funding opportunities.

A very happy Event App user

We think our Event Apps are amazing but it is so much more rewarding to hear that our customers do too…

I just wanted to offer feedback that your app is amazing in transforming my conference experience from scheduling, access to abstract, note taking & emailing, rating sessions. I absolutely loved it. Thanks for producing a fabulous app, it was unbelievable as a first time user. I know many of my friends also really enjoyed the app.

I have attended many large conferences over the last 15 years with concurrent sessions and your app made it seamless from the (soon to be obsolete) paper version. As it was so easy to view all sessions, quick to bookmark with a screen tap & it appeared in my schedule. With out any doubt it enhanced my conference experience. I even knocked back the pocket guide telling the staff “I don’t need it I have the app!”

I have also expressed this to several of the conference organising committee, so I do hope they use you again in the future and spread the word amongst the healthcare industry.

I would say good luck but you have such a great product you won’t need it!

Monique Craven

Email Marketing for Business Events – Part 2

Following on from the Article published in the December edition of MiceTalk.

Email marketing is in my opinion, hands-down, one of the best ways to leverage electronic media in order to grow your event. However, you’ve got to know what to do and how to do it. While GOOD email marketing is alive and kicking, bad email marketing leaves companies rotting by the wayside with loads of unhappy readers and customers.

I would like to share a few tips that I hope will assist you when planning an effective email marketing campaign.

Consider Your Email Subscriber’s Needs
The more you know about subscribers the more relevant you can make your content. Most people have a list of subscribers that contains a first name, a last name, and an email address. It’s easy enough to add a personalization tag that gives you a subscriber’s first name if you are using email marketing software. Most people know that you should do this. A relevant email is based on a subscriber’s needs. This need could be something that is based on value such as a discount or it can be advice. If they’ve shown interest in a product of yours in the past then you can influence their purchasing behaviour by showing them the product that they looked at in the past. Jupiter Research found that showing subscribers a product they considered in leads led to immediate purchases in about 60 percent of respondents and deferred purchases in about 58 percent.

What you do with the information you collect about subscribers is more important when creating relevant content then it is when using it. This same study found that adding personalization tags in the subject lines, for instance the state a subscriber is from, led to only 9 percent of immediate purchases and 8 percent of deferred purchases. Personalization tags are useful when creating relevant content but simply adding them does not necessarily make content more relevant to the subscriber.

Making Email Content Relevant
A subscriber opens an email expecting something of value to them. This could be in the form of a discount, product information, updates, or some other need. How well you deliver on your subscriber’s expectations plays a large role in whether keep them as a subscriber and also how loyal they remain to your brand. When you fail to deliver your subscribers unsubscribe and consequentially your brand suffers. Still worse, it makes you look disingenuous and they may not only unsubscribe but also report you as spam which could get you in trouble with your ISP.

Email marketing is effective when subscribers receive targeted mailings from companies they care about. They subscribe because they are hoping to receive content that reflects things that they are interested in. As long as you keep sending content that they find interesting you’ll keep them as subscribers. Knowing who your subscribers are and when to send them mailings is necessary in order to send them content that is relevant. Relative content also increases brand loyalty. Email Marketing is all about building relationships with customers. The way you do that is by giving them what they are looking for.

The Forgotten Art of Email Testing
Because Subject Lines are such an important indicator of whether or not a mailing is likely to be open split testing a campaign to see which type of subject line gets a better response is strongly encouraged. Find two or more of your strongest subject lines and see which one of them gets the best results. If you are using email marketing software there is even a winner feature that will determine which of your subjects are generating the best response and send the email out to the rest of the subscribers using the most effective subject line. You may also want to see how the subject line appears in various email clients or even on an iPhone or a Blackberry to make sure it displays properly.

Measure the results

Check out your opens, clicks and unsubscribes
Measure and compare results over subsequent campaigns. Test different subject lines and calls to action between campaigns. Work with your client to learn what works and doesn’t work for their particular subscribers.

Tweak the template and newsletter copy based on the results
Collate your findings and make real changes to your email design or newsletter content. If one particular topic is by far the most popular in the link activity report, considering leading your newsletter with that topic for each email.

Email Marketing for Business Events – Part 1

I was speaking with a client recently in relation to effective marketing tools that can be utilised in order to promote business events. I suggested that they utilize email marketing as a tool for sponsorship procurement, delegate boosting and participant communication. I was not really that surprised to see their eyes roll backwards as they delivered the comment ‘I’m not going to spam people for my event’.

Email marketing is in my opinion, hands-down, one of the best ways to leverage electronic media in order to grow your event. However, you’ve got to know what to do and how to do it. While GOOD email marketing is alive and kicking, bad email marketing leaves companies rotting by the wayside with loads of unhappy readers and customers.

I would like to share a few tips that I hope will assist you when planning an effective email marketing campaign.

How to Write Email Subject Lines
The subject line of your email is the hook that draws your subscriber to open your email. The subject line as well as the from line are the single most important factors when it comes to whether or not a subscriber reports you as spam. 7 in 10 email recipients judge the From and Subject lines when determining whether they want to mark you as spam. For something so important, many people do not pay enough attention to the subject line. Certainly not enough attention to split test it to see which subject lines will give them the best response. Often times the subject line is written thoughtlessly and without testing before the email is sent.

How Long Should Your Subject Line Be?
The general consensus is that short and sweet works best. Most email clients can display 50 characters or less. According to Return Path subject lines with 49 or fewer characters had open rates 12.5 percent higher than those with 50 or more characters. Click-through rates for subject lines with 49 or fewer characters were 75 percent higher than those with 50 or more characters. More and more people are checking their email using smart phones and the like so as few as 20 characters may be more effective in order for proper display.

Email Marketing – The Importance of the From Address
The from address is vital for email marketing to succeed as a form of communication. Most people will not open an email unless they recognize the from address. The need for sender authentication arose because email forgeries attempted to trick mail recipients by using a from address that came from a trusted source. Most people think of the From Address as just an email address for subscribers to respond back to. If that is the only consideration you make then you should read on further. The From Address can be something completely different than the Reply to address that you configure in your email marketing software.

Email Marketing – It’s All about the Content – and not too much of it.
The content of the email should guide the subject that you give it. For that reason you might want to wait to do your subject line last. The subject line may appear to be an ideal play to let your creative juices flow. After all, you want to grab your subscriber’s attention don’t you? When it comes to subject lines it’s better to be simple and honest rather than catchy and misleading. There’s nothing wrong with a subject line that looks like this: [Your Company] Monthly Newsletter. On the other hand think of the spam you’ve gotten recently. They’re dramatic and give the subscriber a false sense of expectation: YOU’LL NEVER FIND A DEAL LIKE THIS ONE. Your subject line creates an expectation for your subscriber about what content they should expect to receive when they open up your email. Subscribers are leery of anything that closely resembles spam and telling them they’ll never receive a deal like this one not only sets up a false sense of expectation but is likely illegal.

Your subject line matches the content of your mailing. The more direct your subject line is the more likely your subscriber is to open your mailing. You can be direct and still write an engaging subject line that gets your subscriber’s attention. You just have to let the substance inside your mailing be your guide. Ask yourself what’s in it for your subscriber? If you do not have anything interesting to offer your subscriber by opening your mailing then you shouldn’t be sending it to them. It’s better to hold off on mailing to them until you can offer them something that would interest them. That way you do not lose them as a subscriber.

What you do not want to do with your subject line is make it sound too much like a sales pitch. Every possible cliché for trying to grab someone’s attention has already been exploited by spammers. People prefer authenticity over spin. If you make your subject line sound too much like a sales pitch or come off as being too needy they will assume you are being misleading. We talked about some of the things you want to avoid with subject lines when we discussed effective email marketing writing. Avoid using $ signs, all caps, excessive punctuation, exclamation points, % off, reminder, free, and help. Stay away from anything that resembles anything in your spam box.

Even though you want to get your subscriber’s attention it’s better to be a little boring than too pushy. If the subject line even resembles something your subscriber has seen in spam then this will turn them off and they will never open your mailing. Worse they will report you as spam and this will jeopardize your ability to even deliver your mailings in the future. Be simple, direct, and modest in your approach. If the substance in your newsletter makes it worth opening then the subject line should write itself.

iBeacon for Events, floor analytics, indoor location and more…

What is iBeacon?
iBeacon is Apple’s implementation of Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) wireless technology to create a different way of providing location-based information and services to iPhones and other iOS devices. iBeacon arrived in iOS7, which means it works with iPhone 4s or later, iPad (third generation and onwards) iPad mini and iPod touch (fifth generation or later). While iBeacon is Apples product this also works with many of the android devices as well with support growing on the android platform. Currently the same BLE technology is also compatible with Android 4.3. and above.

How does it work?
The beacons themselves are small, cheap Bluetooth transmitters. Apps installed on your iPhone listen out for the signal transmitted by these beacons and respond accordingly when the phone comes into range.
For example, if you pass a beacon in an exhibition booth, the exhibitor’s app (assuming you have it installed) could display a product or service offer alert for you. The exhibitor’s app could also provide information about the organisation and their products, using your distance from beacons placed near the exhibit to determine your position.

What real world iBeacon examples are there?
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Jay Tokosch, CEO of Core-Apps to discuss the use of iBeacon technology integrated with their mobile event apps; FollowMe and EventLink. Here is what was said…

Edwards: A lot has been made recently about your CES® Mobile app and it’s use of the iBeacon technology. Can you tell me a little more

Tokosch: We are so excited about being the first to successfully deploy the technology and to do it at one of the largest trade shows in the world is just incredible! While we started doing all types of gamification over 2 years ago, this technology has enhanced our gamification offering beyond anything available in the industry.

Edwards: Did you also provide the iBeacons?

Tokosch: Our partner, Radius Networks, supplied the iBeacon’s and a connection to their network, we developed the mobile app portion to make the CES scavenger hunt work. It was great to see so much press on this feature.

Edwards: Was this the first time you have used iBeacon technoloyg?

Tokosch: Using the iBeacon technology at CES was not our first foray into this type of technology. In October of 2013 we deployed a similar technology with our partner Birdzi. At AEM’s ICUEE event (a 500,000 plus square foot event) we tracked floor traffic, exhibitor booth traffic, and attendee trends on the show floor. Also, we used the live traffic data to provide indoor location services to the mobile app. At IAEE Expo Expo in December 2013 we again deployed the technology and showed the floor traffic real-time with a big screen in our booth. Visitors to our booth loved the chance to play with these analytics in real-time – especially the heat maps!!

Edwards: Why is iBeacon such a big deal?

Tokosch: I am proud to say that innovating new technology and being a thought leader has always been one of our strengths. The technology shown and discussed in the cases I have noted are real and available today – but we have so much more we plan to do with this technology. I can’t elaborate at this time but I will say ‘watch this space’.

There are a host of new and emerging technologies that has been or could be deployed at events in order to enhance the experience of all stakeholders. iBeacon is one that can provide great benefits to all involved in your next event and is certainly a tool that should be watched closely as mobile event app integration increases.

What’s on everyone’s mind lately?? App security!!

Recently, the event industry has taken notice concerning security within mobile apps based on an article concerning the RSA mobile app by Quick Mobile “Security researchers from IOActive have decided to take a look at the app to see just how secure it is. In a short amount of time, they identified a total of six flaws.”[1] The article notes two issues that are really concerning:

“The most severe of them can be exploited for man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks. An attacker could inject a phishing page into the login sequence to trick users into handing over their credentials.”1 And, “The information in the app is retrieved from an SQLite database file that’s downloaded to the smartphone. This file contains the information of every user who has signed up for the RSA Conference 2014 app, including full name, company and title.”[1]

Yes, these are very concerning breaches. This has prompted our customers and potential customers to ask the question “How secure is our app and what does Core-apps do to prevent something like this from happening to us”? I am glad this has awoken the event industry. We have been preaching protection of customers’ data and user privacy since the beginning! Not that long ago, the state of California sued Delta airlines for not publishing a privacy policy inside their app because of the information they were collecting:

http://www.infolawgroup.com/2012/12/articles/privacy-law/california-attorney-general-sues-delta-air-lines-for-failing-to-have-a-mobile-app-privacy-policy/

The suit was later dismissed but it started a very important dialog about user data. We all need to be concerned about what information is being collected and how it is being used inside of the mobile apps we use daily.

First, let me say that NO ONE’s mobile app is ever going to be completely 100% secure! If the FBI, CIA, Bitcoin banks (recently), credit card companies, Target, and other highly secure websites/domains can be hacked, no matter what we do we will not stop them completely. If a hacker wants to break in, they will have ample time to do so and they will figure out how to breach a mobile app. There is a fine line here because if we make the app too secure, it creates a barrier to entry and usage. The added complexity can also significantly increase app support requests when users can’t get access into the app. This can cause low download numbers, lack of usage, drop in sponsorships, and the wonderful experience you were expecting to get out of your mobile app – goes away!

At Core-apps, our team makes it their job to educate our clients about mobile app security. We work on ways to make sure sensitive information is not accessible in the app or if it is really sensitive we keep it out of the app but still provide access in other ways. We also teach customers about having a privacy policy that notes what information is collected to help protect us and our clients. DIY app vendors don’t provide that type of service and there is no one there to protect customers from uploading information that can be compromised. We developed features that require users to opt-in and ways to protect user and customer data. We use encryption techniques to secure data so that attackers can’t trick users with man-in-the-middle attacks into handing over their information. For obvious reasons I will not go into detail regarding these techniques but as our President, Jesse Snipper noted, “every effort is made to keep customer data secure when that is requested but as with all security, it makes access harder — most clients opt away from security and instead choose to limit what they put in the app to publicly available information.”

My Father always told me to make sure I locked up my bike at night when I was done riding it. He used to say it was not to keep the thief from stealing it but so they would go the next rack where the bike was not locked because it was a lot easier to steal that one than the one that is locked!

For more information regarding how to secure your app with and without multiple levels of security, contact your Core-apps sales rep or email us info@core-apps.com


“You can not do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow!” Anonymous

Jay Tokosch
Core-apps, LLC.
CEO

[1] http://news.softpedia.com/news/Experts-Find-Vulnerabilities-in-RSA-Conference-2014-Android-Application-429766.shtml

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