Like it or not email is still the most important and most used application on the Internet. More than 122 million emails are sent every hour (yep, that is hour, not day). With the growth of mobile devices, people are checking their email constantly. Email acts as the hub of many people’s digital life. Furthermore, for many people, email is their to-do list and acts as the place where the most important communications, reminders and information is set. In spite of what you constantly hear, email is not going away anytime soon and therefore you should utilize it to remind applicants about your event that is upcoming or their schedule.
When sending out reminders to applicants about your event, you need to do it right! In this post I am going to outline what a good reminder email looks like for your applicants, volunteers, attendees or registrants. More than 4,000 organizations schedule events, volunteer opportunities and interviews through Regpack. Most of them send out reminders through Regpack as well. All this activity generates data that allows us to understand which emails work and which do not work to effectively remind applicants. That is what this post is all about: giving you in the ins and outs what what scheduling email reminders work and which do not work.
Let’s start with the basics: people forget things. That’s just the way it is. If they didn’t we would not need calendars and other reminder methods. So once you are scheduling something with your applicants, you need to make sure to send them an email outlining the dates and times of the event, interview or volunteer opportunity they committed to. In addition, you need to remind them about the event just enough time before to make sure they did not reschedule. Timing is key!
Finally, you need to make sure that if there are any scheduling changes on your side (maybe the time changed a little or the location has moved), you communicate this information effectively and correctly to the applicants. All this can get pretty exhausting, but more troubling, it can be time consuming if you do not automate it! Consider all you could accomplish if instead of following up with people, your software did this for you! A great registration and scheduling software allows automatic communication with your applicants, so you can easily remind applicants and get back to planning your event, and not worrying about the logistics!
A good scheduling, communication and registration tool should allow:
- Your users to signup.
- Allow to select certain events or activities.
- Make sure there are no time conflicts in their selections.
- Automatically send them a confirmation email that outlines all their selections.
- Keep them in the loop about any changes.
- Remind them about the event at the right time, so if they forgot they can still change things around in order to make it to the event.
Now when I say “event” it is not necessarily a conference, seminar or anything else we think of as an “event”. It can be a class, a volunteering opportunity, a seminar and obviously an actual event. Many Regpack clients, for instance, use our scheduler email functions to track trainings, volunteer shifts, camp selections, interviews and anything else with a specified daily time. Once users choose a schedule or make a specific schedule choice, emails can be automatically triggered to update the user repeatedly, or just a single time on a specified date. The email can also be personalized with the applicants name, the events they signed up for, their login information, etc.
Let’s have a look at what needs to happen and when it needs to happen regarding email communication and scheduling. The process would look something like this:
- A user finds out about you and your offering.
- They sign up and give some basic information.
- View a calendar that allows them to select the events / sign up options or anything else you are offering.
- Optimally, the presented options will only show them the events that are correct for them by implementing conditional logic and event based triggering.
- The user can filter and find what is best for them and then select the events they want.
- The system checks for any time conflicts and implements any additional logic needed.
- The user gets a confirmation email with a list of their selections.
- If there is any payment required, they can issue a payment.
- Finally, before each event happens they get a reminder email enough time in advance. (See an example below!)
Everything makes perfect sense, right? Unfortunately most systems do not offer this flow. Focusing on steps 7-9, let’s start with the obvious: you should be able to setup a reminder email yourself. It makes no sense to work hard to make the process correct for your organization and then allow some sort of generic email to go out to the applicants that doesn’t say exactly what you want. If you do not have the option to actually build the email yourself with your event registration software, you might want to rethink the system you are using or maybe ask them if they can build the email with the suggestions below.
Below you’ll see an example of a great scheduling confirmation email. We’ll talk about why it’s great after!
Hi Nina ,
Thanks for signing up to the event sessions at the “Greatest Event on Earth”. Below are the dates and times of your 2 sessions.
When: Sat, Feb 27th 2016 | 08:00 AM – 12:00 PM (4 hours)
Where: Old Stone House, 1000 Main St, Main Town CO
When: Sat, Feb 27th 2016 | 12:30 PM – 04:30 PM (4 hours)
Where: Old Stone House, 1000 Main St, Main Town CO
Your support are very much appreciated. If you are unable to attend the sessions that you have signed up for, please remove yourself as soon as possible so that waitlisted attendees will be able to attend. Please do this by going to the following page. You will need to login with your email and password. Note that the email you used to register is: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you forgot your password simply click the “forgot password” link. Enter the email above and the system will send you a link to create a new one.
If you have any question please feel free to answer this email and I will get back to you ASAP.
Greatest Event on Earth
1000 Main St, Main Town CO
456-789-1234 ext. 1
Why is this scheduling email effective?
The goal of these types of emails include:
- Immediately notify someone of their updated schedule for specific activities and events after they complete online registration.
- To remind a person who has already signed up that their activity is coming up soon.
- Provide more details or information to the person who has registered for this activity.
Given the wide range of uses for this email, a system that allows you to trigger this email to be sent under several different conditions is helpful! It serves to confirm registration for a certain activity. It also reminds the registrant of the upcoming schedule at specified times you can select.
The email contains important details, dates and times.
The main reason this email is so effective is it contains specific and personalized information. Not only does it confirm registration for specific events, it lists the names of the event, date, time, address and shows the exact time commitment. These details are important because it will lower your support calls and emails asking for this information.
Remember how this email is used: the applicant sees this and either copy this information into a personal calendar event so they have the time right and can access the address on the day they need it, or do the same by printing the email so they have all the information they need.
Make it easy for your applicants! Instead of just confirming their attendance at a training session or for a volunteer slot, make sure the confirmation includes where they go and what time so they aren’t reaching out to you with these questions. This is why being able to create, edit and publish your own email text is important!
The email contains your contact information!
This is huge, because often times as mentioned above, people print their email and take it with them on the date they are scheduled and might need to get in touch. This makes it easy to locate a phone number and other important contact information so they can get in touch easily.
It’s also just good email practice in general to include your complete contact information. See more about writing effective emails in this awesome eBook.
It’s part of your overall effective communication goals.
Writing an effective email is an important part of your customer service. Having open lines of communication and making sure that everyone is on the same page is important to your business running smoothly. This, however, can be time consuming if you don’t have a way to automate the process.
One of Regpack’s clients, Peggy Watson at the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies said about scheduling emails:
“It’s easy! It just takes the need to send scheduling reminders off my plate, the email is already created and it’s going to go out when I want it to go out.”
Conclusion: Why you need a quality software to effectively remind applicants!
When someone signs up to attend something, having an email automatically go out to them confirming the action and giving all the information they need helps streamline the entire registration process. A system that sends reminders, as well as updates when changes occur, helps avoid miscommunication errors and unsatisfied applicants.
Make sure your registration system meets the criteria outlined above. This will allow you to schedule emails without hassle, and get back to the more important work of planning your events and programs, and spend less time on admin!
Managing effectively means you can accomplish your goals and get the help you need easily, for you and your volunteers, students or attendees.