Every institution is unique, but there are some things many have in common. One of those common problems is getting more prospects and students to your admissions and important campus events.
Washington University at St. Louis’s (WashU) Olin Business School took their event management success to another level with Blackthorn Events. We’ve broken down how they achieve record-breaking registrations, manage a unified CRM system across their departments, and maximize the return on their marketing budget. Ready for the play-by-play?
Salesforce is used by most departments within Olin, including
Events System Components
Events are crucial for Olin. They can be very large with noteworthy speakers, designed to strengthen ties between Olin and their constituents, or they can be focused events like Graduate Admissions Recruiting Events, Info Sessions, Coffee Chats, or Application Tips.
With so many departments, they needed an app that was flexible enough to work for several different sizes and types of events, and is easy to use. Blackthorn Events is built within the Salesforce platform, saving wasted time from manual work, long data transfers, and frustrating integration processes.
They were most attracted to:
Ensuring a consistent look-and-feel was a priority for Olin. Using Blackthorn Events, they could specify parameters that applied to all events regardless of their department, such as brand colors, font, Favicon URL, and more. Since their departments tend to host similar events repeatedly, they start with a “deep clone” of an existing event. Deep cloning is a Blackthorn Events feature that includes cloning the event child records, such as ticket types.
Once the event is created, the event manager updates the event details, image(s), and custom forms. The event is then linked to a campaign for marketing purposes. They always ask custom questions during registration and love the many options Blackthorn Events offers, including dependent questions. Once the event is ready to be promoted, it’s submitted for approval.
Now that the event is created and approved (yay!), it’s time to promote it. Olin uses Salesforce Marketing Cloud to send email invitations to their target audience, which has been added to the related campaign. If the target audience includes contacts that aren’t in Salesforce, they utilize “staging tables” to upload the contacts. The uploaded records are checked against existing leads/contacts and duplicates from the upload are removed. Related records are created as they’ve specified. For events, at the very least, they would include the contact and the related campaign. In addition to sending invitations, Olin promotes via paid and earned social media, advertising, newsletters, and publish on the master events calendar on their website.
There are several ways that Olin maximizes the time and money spent on events:
On the day of the event, attendance is captured in real-time and updated in Salesforce as registrants log in (virtual events) or check-in (in-person events) using their personalized AttendeeLink or QR code. Olin has found the AttendeeLink feature to be particularly helpful since people often try to mask their personal information. Attendee records are automatically set to “Attended,” which is critical for sending the appropriate post-event survey or follow-up email. Olin also creates custom engagement records for attendees. This, combined with other areas of engagement throughout the school, helps them understand the level of engagement from their constituents as well as the companies they work for.
The event process is completed by tracking results and metrics, then following-up as appropriate. At Olin, they track a few areas related to events:
Track: # of events, # of registrants, # of attendees, % of attended/registered, # of new contacts
Track: Efficiencies related to creating a registration page, tracking attendance, overall self-sufficiency
Track: Effectiveness of promotions, lead generation, lead conversion
Track: Open rates, clickthrough rates, and saturation
There you have it! Your roadmap for event management success from one of your peers who’s knocked it out of the park. Have questions? Contact us and we’ll be happy to help. Want to talk about what Blackthorn Events can do for your particular institution? Still, contact us and we’ll be happy to help! You can also visit our One-Click Installer for everything you need to get up and running with just one-click (it’s seriously that simple), or visit the AppExchange for more information.