Default Answers to Custom Questions

We have added the capability to set a default answer to your custom questions. This will appear in registration with all of our different formats of questions.

For example, the setup for the Select menu looks like this:

Default Answer

And the runner will see it in the registration path as:

Default Answer

Here is an example of the setup for a free form:

Default Answer to Custom Questions

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Twitter Ads

twitter-adsTwitter now has ads that any Twitter user can use now, much like Facebook. (They are also in the process of rolling out coupons as well). We have not seen many races use this, but would be interested to hear feedback.

Twitter Ad SetupIn your Twitter account, simply go to https://ads.twitter.com.  The forms are pretty self explanatory. The above diagram shows a completed ad – just type a message and upload an image (minimum 800 pixels wide).

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 8.48.54 AMYou are able to specify a geography to target your ad – although it does not do a radius well today so you have to type in zipcodes. It does allow you to specify keywords that will match certain streams and search criteria. And finally, it allows you to specify users with certain interests – of course it shows “running and Jogging” as an option.

It was surprising to see the high cost of this ad – estimated at $3.00! I set a max bid of $1.00, not really knowing what to expect.

When the ad ran, the results were better than expected:

Twitter Ad ROI for Races

As you can see, the average cost per click with $0.29. Not too bad, although from the RunSignUp Google Analytics none of those converted into an actual registration.

And let us know your feedback on this new channel.

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Loyalty Program for Priority Registrants

Got LoyaltyThis year we have had several very large sell out races open registration to prior year participants in various ways. One used a password that was sent to last year’s participants that was the only way  to register for the first week.  Another used our Clubs system to upload all of last year’s participants into the “Club” and then opened the race on Saturday to only those participants. RunSignUp automatically checked to make sure the names, email, date of birth matched as appropriate and let them register. This has proven to be a very popular feature.

Loyalty Program SetupWe have just released a major improvement to this called the Loyalty Program. The basic idea is that you can upload a list and then set your events to be open only to those participants.

In the setup page on the right, you will note that multiple lists can be added – for example one for the Half Marathon and one for the Full Marathon. You can then set a date when  registration opens to the public. Below that, you set which list is picked for each event.  Finally, you can name this anything you want so your runners see a message that means something for your race.  Perhaps “2014 Participants” or “Multi-Year Participants”, or “VIP Entries”. Here is what the runner sees:

Priority Registration

When registering, we’ll automatically match participants on either:

  1. Add Preferred ParticipantsFirst name and E-mail address match — This reduces issues with maiden names.
  2. First name, last name, and date of birth match

Each member of the list you upload or type must have one of those two search criteria data to work.

We made this update for a large sell out race that will be opening later this winter, and it looks like several other large races will be using it as well. Thanks for the feedback to help make RunSignUp even simpler!

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Running Club Membership Systems – Leveraging the Cloud

RunSignUp ClubsWe are seeing more and more Running Clubs making the move to RunSignUp Clubs. We noticed an article in The New York Times this morning about how The Cloud is impacting organizations. It can be easily applied to Running Clubs:

Ed Lazowska, who holds a chair in computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. “One critical advantage of the cloud is that sharing becomes dramatically easier.”

This central concept of having a single, shared view of a Running Club is such a huge improvement over the old methods of the membership coordinator volunteer keeping a spreadsheet of all the membership information.  Spreadsheets have lots of issues like data consistency, different people having different versions, the “master” being available only to one person at a time, etc.

One of the issues clubs always seem to face when starting off with RunSignup Clubs is importing their old spreadsheet data.  This is when many of the issues with spreadsheets are really discovered. For example, importing that date fields for membership start and end will often have different formats and be inconsistent.

To prevent further inconsistencies, we strongly suggest making the move and getting rid of that old spreadsheet. Some clubs have tried to keep the old spreadsheet in sync with the system – trying to update the spreadsheet when they get their daily membership update emails from the system. This just continues to cycle of data inconsistency and potential confusion.

The Cloud is bringing lots of new methods that improve many aspects of our daily lives. Take advantage of the Cloud for your Running Club.

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Custom Results API – Notifications

We are expanding the Custom Results API to include a mechanism for providing notifications. The concept is that a list of participants can be uploaded to RunSignUp a week or two before a race and participants and their friends and families can then sign up for notifications. When race day comes, the timer will be able to post results via this API and their software to RunSignUp and we will take care of sending out all of the notifications. This fits with our expanding role of results capabilities and the ability for non-RunSignUp races to use our Results services.

This API can be used by technology partners who have scoring or timing systems that want to take advantage of RunSignUp Results capabilities and features like TXT and EMail notifications. The Custom Results API is an alternative to the Native API so there is more control over the look and feel of results, as well as the database structure.

The expanded API can be seen here – https://test.runsignup.com/API/race/:race_id/custom-results/POST. The new notification capability then allows the timer to upload a list of participants to RunSignUp and enable notifications. In particular:

The column_notification_placeholders array is optional. It maps a column to a placeholder in result notifications. If a segment has notification placeholders, a finish notification will be sent the first time a registration ID is seen. The registration IDs are specified through the row_registration_ids array. The registration ID for a row should not change after it is initially set.

RunSignUp will continue to keep our platform of web services open to make it easy for our technology partners to integrate and use our services to provide better solutions to the running marketplace.

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Giveaway Syncing with The Race Director Software

The Race Director is software many timers use for scoring and timing races. One of the challenges is syncing information from RunSignUp to The Race Director where there are incompatible fields and data. Timers will usually keep very short codes for Giveaways rather than the long descriptions that RunSignUp allows.

The Race Director sync utility can do this translation for you. The Race Director just came out with additional tools for syncing.  Here is a description from Roger Bradshaw, the creator of The Race Director:

For all online registration interfaces, you can use the descriptive t-shirt size coming from the registration system as a backwards look-up into this cross reference to come up with the correct RD code.  Before this change, you would have had to update this cross reference with every choice you had at RSU before you began doing imports.

rd1 

Now, when you use this setting in the import.  The import process will actually build the cross reference data in RD by assigning a temporary code to each size.

rd2

At the end of any import where a new t-shirt size is encountered you’ll get -

rd3

Followed by the cross reference screen where you will see the temporary codes. 

rd4 

After you change the temporary codes, the cross referencing is set. 

 

You’ll only get a prompt in future download if there are new RSU Giveaway choices used.

 

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RunSignUp Expands San Diego Office

Frank

Frank Brown

Brian Graham

Brian Graham

We are very happy to welcome Frank Brown and Brian Graham to the RunSignUp team. They will be located in our San Diego office, and serve our customers on the west coast, as well as select large races and race series.  

“With the rapid growth of RunSignUp, we want to make sure we are maintaining the highest levels of service and customer satisfaction,” said Bob Bickel, founder of RunSignUp.  “We are so fortunate to have Frank and Brian join us.  They are industry professionals with a proven track record of helping customers.  They also have great experience in working with large races and race series, which are areas where we continue to expand.”

“We have seen the rapid rise of RunSignUp in the endurance market, and were attracted to help RunSignUp customers take advantage of the rapid innovation the company keeps rolling out,” said Frank Brown.  

Brian Graham added, “Frank and I have worked well together in the past.  This is a great opportunity to continue our collaboration while helping races and timers use the solutions that RunSignUp is producing.  We also love the focus of the company on this market we are passionate about.”

About RunSignUp

RunSignUp is the leading innovator of online tools for Races and Running Clubs. Services include RunSignUp for race registration, RunSignUp Go for Race Day, RunSignUp Clubs to enable membership management. Over 4,000 race directors, timers, and running club officers use these services today, including leading organizations like the Boilermaker Road Race, Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon, Inc., Fifth Third River Bank Run, The Graffiti Run, The Glo Run, Leone Timing, and many more. Services are free except for processing fees when conducting monetary transactions like race registration or club membership renewals. RunSignUp is founded by runners for runners, using technical capabilities to bring the power of cloud computing to benefit the running community. For more information, visit www.runsignup.com.

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