New Office!

RunSignUp Office on Mill StWe have a new office (300 Mill St., Suite 200, Moorestown, NJ 08057)!  Well, actually it is in a 150 year old lumber yard/hardware store building.  We are on the second floor.  You can rest assured we are not living lavishly on your processing fees :-)

We are in the process of decorating our office with pictures from customer’s races. We are uploading photos and getting them made into Canvas Prints.  Here is a sampling of what we are putting up.  If you have a photo from your race (very high resolution!), send it along so we can get our walls covered with glorious running photos!

Flags

MercedesBenz

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big House Jordan
mike-hike-5k

critz-tybee-run-fest1

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Faster Mobile Response Times

RunSignUp SpeedWe have implemented a new set of compression technology to reduce the size of pages sent to the browser. This is especially important for mobile browsers since the connect speed is slow and anything we can do to reduce the size of downloaded pages is a win.

For example, some of the file size reductions have been:

  • 35 KiloBytes (KB) to 7 KB
  • 19 KB to 4.5 KB
  • 88 KB to 16 KB

This improves the average response times for mobile users by about 10%.

For the very technical people in the audience, we are using gzip to compress static files like CSS and Javascript files. The cool trick we pulled off is that we had to do some work to get Amazon CloudFront to support this in a scalable manner.  CloudFront is the content distribution network that we use and places files as close to the user as possible. With over 20 locations int he US, this also means fast response time.

We continue to work hard to make the user experience as fast and efficient as possible, and are proud to rank in the top 10% of all sites monitored by New Relic.

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More Finisher Certificate Templates

We created some new alternatives for the Finisher’s Certificate. Remember that you can upload your own template as well!

Finisher Certificates

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Facebook Ads for Races

Facebook Ad OptionsIf you have not experimented with Facebook Ads for your race, you are probably missing an opportunity to expand your race. As you can see on the right, Facebook is offering a variety of options for advertising, which can be confusing. Facebook is also making moves that limit the reach of normal posts to as low as 1% (meaning as few as 100 people would see a post from a page with 10,000 Likes).

Last week we reviewed Facebook Offers for Races as a very effective way to encourage people to sign up for your race. With Facebook offers, you create a limited time coupon in RunSignUp and then put that coupon in a Facebook Offer. This appears in the Facebook Feed of people who “Like” your page and their friends. The results were impressive for our 1,200 person race with 38 registrations over a day and a half.

Facebook Race AdWith Facebook Ads, you can target an audience (for example Facebook users who have been classified as having an interest in running who also live in the 10 zipcodes around your race) beyond the network of people who “Like” your Facebook race page. Ads look something like the experimental one we did on the right. The downside is that there is not a strong “call to action” like the Facebook Offer (although we did opt for the “Sign Up” option).

RunSignUp allows you to tightly integrate and track your Facebook ads and their conversion. The screen shot below shows the results of our Facebook Ad experiment on our 1,200 person race. Note the 3 conversions were reported because of the integration with RunSignUp (we include a Facebook “tracking pixel” on the confirmation page so Facebook knows that someone actually registered and paid).

Facebook Ad ROI SummaryIn this example, we ran the ad for 4 days and spent $10 per day for a total of $40. 6,800 people saw the ad and we got 3 registrations.  We had 106 clicks on the ad to the race webpage, and we increased our Page Likes by 13.

Facebook Ad TypeHow to Set up a Facebook Ad for your Race
Here are the steps to take for setting up your ad, although you can get some excellent instructions on the Facebook Ads page as well.

First, go to Create an Ad and you will see the screen on the right. Since we are looking to get people to our race website (not just to our Facebook Page), we select the option for “Website Conversions” and then the specific type of “Registrations”.

Facebook ConversionsNext, Facebook will offer you a way to track the conversions. This screen contains the critical information that you will enter into RunSignUp to track the conversions. In RunSignUp, you will go to the Conversion page to set this up as shown below:

 

RunSignUp Conversion Code Setup
 

 

 

The key parameters are the fb_param.pixel_id, the fb_param.value, and the fb_param.currency.  Don’t let the computer code scare you – all you need to do is cut and paste a couple of numbers from Facebook into RunSignUp (the red circles in the diagram above). Once you click Save in RunSignUp, anyone registering in RunSignUp who originated from the Facebook Ad will result in a “conversion” being recorded in Facebook.

Creating your Facebook Race AdOnce you have set this up, you will verify the tracking code. Then you will be presented with a page to set up your Facebook Ad. We created two versions, and the second one got much better traction due to the colors and larger photo.

Make sure you select the “Sign Up” call to action (it really fits in well with the RunSignUp name!).

Target RunnersTarget Runners
The next thing you will do is select a target market. In addition to selecting a town or multiple tows around where your race is, you can select interests. There are a couple of potentials that you will find in the options. For example you will see Marathons and Running.  To get to Running, follow the drop downs shown in the example on the right.

Select PaymentPricing
Now you can select the bidding and pricing method. Facebook is not as specific as Google Adwords in their pricing and bidding tools, so it is a bit of a leap of faith. We think bidding for conversions is probably the best, but you should experiment by creating an ad campaign, running it for a few days and Automated Biddingthen change some of the settings to see what works best for your race.

Your ad is now all set to go!

Summary
Facebook is certainly one of the ways to grow your race, although it is only one piece. Facebook is the referring source for about 11% of all registrations that occur on RunSignUp. Natural sharing by runners who sign up for your race will certainly drive some traffic, but Facebook Advertising can be a nice boost and is worth experimenting with at least!

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SSL Security Issues Fixed

heartbleedIf you are a major geek, you know that the Heartbleed Bug was recently found and started to be exploited.  I am happy to report that we have implemented the fix as shown in this test.

Please let website owners that you use know about this.  The test can determine if their systems are vulnerable or not.

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Account Rep 1 Opening

Help WantedWe are looking to hire an Account Rep 1 for our office in Moorestown, NJ.

This person will review the hundreds of new races that are created on our website each month and look for ways the race directors can improve their races. They will also contact races to help with renewals. In addition, this person will work with the more senior account reps to collaborate on introducing RunSignUp to more races, timers, clubs and stores.

We are looking for someone who fits our culture.  Our guiding principles are to have equal parts of Work, Learn, Fun, and Team.  We believe that customers, employees and owners all share equally in the responsibility and success of the company.  This is covered in more detail in our Company Strategy video link below.  Please review our material to make sure this is the right type of place for you, such as:

Some of the key attributes we are looking for (we will look for the best mix):

  • Strong communications skills, both written and verbal
  • Ability to listen to what customers need and provide solutions based on that
  • Based in Philadelphia or South Jersey
  • Deep running roots and enthusiasm for the sport
  • High energy, hands-on
  • Gets stuff done rather than just talk about stuff
  • Attention to detail and ability to complete tasks in a high volume environment
  • Excellent writing and communication skills
  • Thirst for learning
  • Team player

The base salary is $40-50K plus bonus depending on experience.  In addition, the company has a profit sharing plan that all employees participate in.  Health insurance is company paid, plus a $2,000 HSA contribution by the company.  The company also has a Simple IRA and pays up to 3% of an employees salary as a matching contribution.

If you think you can help our customers, please send a resume to bob.bickel at runsignup.com.

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New Editor

We have upgraded the editing that you can do on RunSignUp when you put up your own Custom Sections.

Editor

One of the nicest things is that when you paste text in from Word or a PDF document, it strips off all the extra characters that Word embeds.

FormattingIt also does proper font and color matching with the rest of the page. This makes your race look much more professional.  Note the drop down shown at the right for this formatting.  Just highlight an area of text and it will format properly.

Note that we do not allow you to put code onto the page for security reasons. We do allow you to embed videos from a variety of sources like YouTube and Vimeo.

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