Finding the right event management software can be tricky with so many options available.
Good news though: You don’t need to spend hours looking around Google. We’ve put together this simple guide on how to find the right application for your needs.
Questions to ask yourself first
Before you even start looking at the different options available, you’ll want to ask yourself these questions:
1. What do you want the event management software to do?
It’s 2019, so there’s certainly no shortage of cool event management tools out there.
Having a clear idea of what you want your software to do before you start looking is going to help you narrow down your options.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Ticket sales: Do you want to sell tickets online and see up-to-date sales analytics?
- Project management: Some software offers an end-to-end solution to manage all aspects of your event in one tool.
- Online event registration: Participants can register online, with information being recorded directly in your database.
- Database management: Do you need a CRM system that gives you a detailed view of participants and allows you to interact with them?
- Marketing tools: Create landing pages for online registration and conduct email marketing and social media campaigns.
- Team or staff coordination: Track who is doing what.
- Reporting: Run analytics on things like ticket sale demographics, most effective marketing channels, and expenses.
- Polling: Survey customers to find out what they did and didn’t like about the event, to help you with future planning.
- Budget management: Track all of your funds and monitor expenditure. Get an accurate ROI throughout.
You might want to make a list of your needs and wants: What do you absolutely need the software to do (compulsory features) and what are the nice-to-haves. This will help you prioritise event management software according to your specific needs.
If you are not entirely sure on this yet, don’t worry.
As you start researching different applications, you’ll get an idea of the different features available. Maybe you’ll find some you never even knew existed.
2. How much do you want to spend?
There is no consistent answer when it comes to the “right” price of event management software. It’s a good idea to work out how much you are prepared to pay before you start looking at your options.
Some software tools for event management are subscription-based, while others use a pay-per-registrant model. Prices for these can vary greatly. The more expensive tools generally offer more in terms of features and usability.
If you are just looking for free event management software, there are plenty of tools to keep you busy. These can help you manage things until you are ready to move to a paid model.
Tip: Here’s a detailed look at the different kinds of payment options.
3. How many people will be using the event management software?
If you are an individual or a small-sized company, then it might not make sense to use software that caters to a large business with lots of moving parts.
Similarly, if your software is going to include client registrations or ticketing, it will need to handle the appropriate volume of people.
Tip: Here’s a fantastic guide that goes through the most important questions to ask when choosing the right event management tool.
How to quickly discover event management software
The Internet is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?
For now, forget about doing a Google search.
Head straight to the “Event Management” page on SoftwareAdvice. Here, you’ll find a comprehensive list of dozens of event management software tools. You’re welcome!
For each tool, you can find out the following info without having to click any further:
- A quick snippet about the software
- An idea of its price range (rated in dollar signs)
- The platforms it is compatible with
- What business size it is suitable for (small / medium / large)
- Star rating with a link to reviews
From here, you can do one of two things:
- Read through all the different listings and make a note of any that stand out. (There were 75 listings at the time of writing, so it may take some time to go through them all.)
- Use the handy filters at the top to cut out all the event management software that definitely won’t be suitable for your needs. You can filter by price, rating, size, and industry.
Of course, SoftwareAdvice isn’t the only place to find a searchable list of event management software. Here are a few others you can try:
All of these offer a good way to discover, sort, and filter through relevant software.
How to evaluate event management software
Eventually, you’ll end up with a shortlist of software that fits your basic requirements. But how do you narrow this down further? By looking at:
Event management software can vary greatly in terms of what features it offers. Free event management software will likely have more limited features than something you’ll pay a good chunk of cash for.
You have to keep your “must have” list at hand to objectively gauge what software is the best fit. Do you really need all the bells and whistles that it might be offering?
Even though a piece of software may sound really cool, there is no point paying for things that you really won’t use.
Tip: Check out this guide to help you evaluate what features could be useful.
You wouldn’t book a hotel without reading a few reviews. The same goes for purchasing event management software.
Just because something looks good on paper, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. Find out what experiences other event planners have had.
Ease of use
There is no point investing money in something that is going to be a pain in the you-know-what to use.
You want your event management software to be simple to grasp for everyone in your team. This means your chosen software should be:
- Intuitive to figure out
- Simple to navigate
- Load quickly (e.g. when switching between menus)
- Present data and stats in an easily digestible view
- …and so on
Reading some of the experiences from other users (see “Reputation) will often give you a clear picture of how easy it is to use.
Thankfully, there are many comparison posts out there to make your life easier.
Tip: Check out this great comparison of the top 10 event management tools.
Is there a free trial?
This is a great option, particularly if you are having trouble deciding between a few tools. A trial will typically last only 2–4 weeks, so make sure you get the most out of it.
Tip: Learn more about the key factors to keep an eye on.
Find what you are looking for?
Hopefully, this guide has given you a bit of a helping hand when it comes to looking for the right event management software.
It may take a some trial and error before you find the perfect application. But once you do, running events will become a lot easier and far more enjoyable.