Lots of Fundraisers

We have done some performance improvements for races that have thousands of Fundraisers. The Relay for Life had 2,700 and the page load speed was lagging. We have optimized this now so it is back to sub-second on a fast Internet connection.

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Calendar Results Widget

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 5.10.39 PMWe have added a new Calendar Results Widget option for partners that is the same look and feel as the option available in Partner Websites.

Configuration option is as shown below:

Results Widget Options[1].png

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RunSignUp and Email Marketing (Part Two)

EmailOur first installment of RunSignUp and Email Marketing covered the main features of the RunSignUp email marketing system, including: creating and scheduling emails, setting up automated emails, creating custom email lists, and managing the “from” and “reply-to” settings on your emails. This installment will cover some of the more advanced features, focusing on Tag Replacement and Email Reporting.

Tag Replacement

For those of you who already do some advance email marketing, you can think of tag replacement as easy-to-use mail merges. If you are not familiar with Tag Replacement or mail merges, this might be a little confusing at first, so let’s start out by taking a look at an easy example. An email that isn’t using tag replacement will have an opening like this…

“Dear Runner,”

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to have each runner get an email addressed to him or her specifically, using names like this:

“Dear Ron Synup,”

Instead of feeling like he is just one of the masses, Ron now feels great that the race is addressing him by name. Because of this, he is much more likely to read the content of the email rather than skimming or junking int. Obviously, taking the time to send a personalized email to each race participant isn’t feasible unless you want to spend all of your days emailing each participant…luckily, this is where RunSignUp tag replacement comes in. How? Easy! Instead of putting “Runner” or “Ron Synup” you use replacement tags like this:

“Dear %First_Name% %Last_Name%,”

When RunSignUp then goes to send your email to your selected participants, it will pull the participant’s first name and last name from the registration database and automatically insert them in place of the above tags. This gives all your participants a personalized opening just like the one you gave Ron!

Since RunSignUp already houses the participant’s information from their registration, no additional configuration is needed. If you’ve uploaded a custom list to RunSignUp, you can still use replacement tags for recipients that haven’t yet registered for the race as long as you supply the information for those tags with your custom list.

Being able to address all participants by name is pretty cool, but it’s just scratching the surface of the power of RunSignUp replacement tags. Since RunSignUp is connected to all of the participant’s registration data, you can use tag replacement for all kinds of different information (and we’re continuously expanding tag replacement to give you new options). Here is a quick glimpse of some of the current replacement tags…

tags

The RunSignUp system currently contains over 40 different available replacement tags, and more are being added regularly. So chances are, if there is personalized information you want to send to a participant, there is a replacement tag available for it. If not, you just need to let us know and we’ll work on getting that tag added.

Some of the really cool replacement tags already available include:

%EDIT_REGISTRATION_LINK%: This tag will be replaced with a direct link to the participant’s individual registration. If you’re using any of RunSignUp’s comprehensive participant management options this make it easy for users to just follow the link in their email to view their registration and make changes.

%REGISTRATION_QR_CODE%: Using RunSignUp’s Check-In App or RunSignUp’s bib assignment and check-in system? You can send an email to all participants that will contain an individual QR code, allowing your volunteers to use a QR code scanner to quickly check-in participants and eliminate fat-finger errors.

%RACE_WAIVER_LINK%: What if you are using some of RunSignUp’s Advanced Waiver Options and you have some participants that still need to sign waivers? You can email just the participants that need to sign waivers their individual link, and make it easy for those participants to finish signing their waivers.

The full list of replacement tags can be found on the Email Marketing tab of the Race Dashboard, on the Send Emails page (listed under the Write Your Email section). Just click the orange Show button to make the full list visible and see all of the available replacement tags.

Email Reporting

email

RunSignUp gives you direct access to the statistics around your emails. We automatically track delivery statistics, as well as email open and click rates. This information can help you determine how effective your email marketing campaigns are, and can help you maintain the quality of your custom email lists by informing you of bad email addresses, recipients who have marked your emails as spam, and people who have unsubscribed from your emails. This allows you to avoid sending emails to them in the future, and can drastically improve the quality of your email list.

Subscription Management

We can also help if you have a participant accidentally unsubscribe from one of your emails and want to start receiving them again, or have someone email you to request to be unsubscribed (instead of clicking the unsubscribe button). RunSignUp also provides easy subscription management allowing you to either resubscribe someone to your emails or manually add someone to the unsubscribe list.

Interested in learning how to improve your delivery, open, and click rates? Stay tuned for Part 4 of the Email Marketing series, which will cover best practices for list management and designing email content to prevent your recipient’s email systems from flagging them as spam.

Up Next:

Part 3 of the RunSignUp Email Marketing series is a set of case studies and best practices showcasing ways that current users have made use of the email marketing system to do some really cool stuff….including sending customized coupon codes to returning participants, contacting pat participants who haven’t registered yet, prompting participants to confirm their information, and more!

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How to Optimize Your Battery on Race Day: When Using RaceJoy’s GPS Tracking

RaceJoy does a lot to optimize your phone’s battery when using its advanced GPS tracking feature. Our testing has shown that you can expect an average of eight (8) hours of battery life for endurance events when using the RaceJoy’s tracking feature based on average cell conditions and phone battery condition. With newer phones, like Apple 6 Plus and Android phones, our testing has shown RaceJoy’s GPS tracking being used for 18+ hours without a battery backup.

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Each phone, cell provider and the cell conditions of the area play a factor. Your cell provider may not have the same strength of service at the race site as you do at home, and this will deplete your battery at a faster pace. However, there are things you can do to get the most from your battery on race day.

Battery Optimizers

1. Fully charge your phone’s battery prior to the race start

This is an obvious one, but needs to be reminded! Tip: Use car chargers or portable battery charging devices right up to the race start. Wait to turn the tracking on until about 10 minutes before the race starts.

2. Do NOT use Wi-Fi

Most people will connect to Wi-Fi to save on data and to overcome their provider’s limited service for a given area. This is fine when you are stationary, but it doesn’t work well with GPS tracking across race courses. Using Wi-Fi can cause your tracking to turn off as you move away from the Wi-Fi area. Plus, your battery will drain more as you move along the course and your phone attempts to make new Wi-Fi connections. GPS tracking and Wi-Fi technologies don’t mix well right now– so, please make sure you are using your cell provider with RaceJoy’s GPS tracking.

3. Consider a new phone, or a replacement battery

Clearly, this wouldn’t just be for RaceJoy, but it is something we recommend when people are experiencing difficulties with battery life in general. We consistently see that older phones have less battery life than newer phones. The constant recharges over multiple years will deteriorate the battery. In addition, the new phones and software are designed to make more optimal use of the phone’s battery. So, if you are one of those out there with a tiny phone from prehistoric times (as in 3-4 years ago), consider getting a newer phone.

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4. Turn phone off in poor cell zones

Some race courses have poor to no cell service due to the geographic terrain. Your phone will continue trying to get a connection in poor cell areas and this will drain your battery at a much faster rate. We suggest you temporarily turn your phone off in known trouble areas. When races let us know of poor cell zones on the course, RaceJoy will show a red poor cell zone graphic overlay on the map image.

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Ogden Marathon course – runners waited to turn tracking on at Mile 5.

5. Use a portable battery charger

These can be purchased online and are ideal for both participants and spectators. They are lightweight and a good option for those who expect to be out on the course for a longer period of time or who wish to keep other apps running during the event. We’ve tested many different portable battery chargers and prefer the Anker Mini.

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6. Avoid or limit phone camera and video taking when using Live Tracking  

Participants and spectators should avoid using the device’s camera and, especially, video functions. These significantly utilize the device’s battery and should be avoided unless you have a battery backup plan.

7. Turn off other tracking apps.

Some tracking apps have come a long way with optimizing your phone’s battery. However, if you are using a training app that you know drains your battery, it will drain your phone battery that much faster on race day. We suggest you either use RaceJoy or your preferred tracking app.

8. Turn off non-essential applications.

RaceJoy works well with other mobile apps. However, many applications continually pull on your phone’s resources behind the scenes and should be temporarily shut down to prolong your phone’s battery life.

  • Examples: Facebook, Twitter, Email and games. Playing music does not appear to have any significant impact on the phone’s battery during our testing.
  • Apple users: double click your home button and swipe to close applications.
  • Android users: select the Menu button, then Applications, and Running to select those you wish to close.

Battery Drainers

  1. Poor Cell Provider Coverage – Each cell data provider’s coverage is different for a given region and race – some provide strong coverage while others have weaker coverage. We see this change from race to race (AT&T is stronger than Verizon or vice versa). If you are at a race and your cell provider’s service is weak as shown with the number of bars on the top of your screen, then this is going to drain your battery at a much faster rate as the phone re-attempts to make connections. There really isn’t anything you can do to get around this other than be aware and maybe turn off your phone or tracking temporarily if you see the battery is depleting fast.

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2. Poor weather conditions – When there are significantly poor weather conditions this can affect GPS technology and will cause your phone to attempt to make connections with GPS satellites – further depleting your battery. Though, for most weather conditions, this isn’t an issue as GPS technology has improved over the years.

3. Viewing the screen – The more you view your screen, the more your battery will get used. Participants don’t have this issue as much as spectators tracking runners/cyclists. We suggest supporting family and friends have a backup battery plan if they are going to be at the race site.

4. Shorter Distances Drain Faster – RaceJoy is programmed to provide highly accurate positioning for shorter distance events, such as 10Ks and 5Ks. For these events, frequent location updates are transmitted, which will drain the battery at a faster rate.

What’s Using Your Battery?

You can check to see how much each app is pulling on your battery by looking at your phone’s settings area (For both Android and Apple devices, you can find this under Settings > Battery).

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Share any of your battery saving tips by sending them to rockstar@racejoy.com. For more information about RaceJoy, please visit www.racejoy.com.

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Add-Ons Transfer with Bib Option

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 7.03.25 PMWe added a new setting in the Bib Exchange settings under Participants>>Participant Management>>Bib Exchange. Under the gift transfer section, there is now the option for “When Transferring, transfer add-ons from previous registrant.” This option defaults to OFF. 

Please note- the add-ons only transfer over to the new registrant with GIFT transfers and they are automatically mapped over on the new person’s registration. The TRANSFER FOR REFUND option works the same as it has in the past. With Transfer for refunds, the new person pays and registers for their event and once it’s complete, the original registrant receives a refund of their registration fee and any add-ons. 

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Help Wanted – 10X Developer

Help WantedThe more we develop, the more interesting projects we find! We are looking for another 10X developer to join our team and help create our next generation platform for the endurance industry.

The ideal candidate will be someone who loves to code and produce software that is used by millions of people who are running races and those people who help organize, time (and soon photograph) tens of thousands of events, in addition to helping running clubs and running stores. You will be working alongside some other very talented developers. We are not looking for someone who wants to be a Development Manager, or an Architect who does not code.

This position can best be described as an Application Developer. The initial focus on the applications will be to provide Marketing and Promotion capabilities to our customers. We are planning to develop a Marketing Dashboard which will allow race directors to track various events (price increases, emails, Facebook Ads, etc.) over a timeline and correlate those events with registrations. We also want to build a referral tracking system that is tightly integrated with our platform. Also part of the project is to provide direct advertising capabilities that our customers could control within their race dashboard. For example, they could allocate $X (automatically held out of the race fees if they want) to spend on Facebook Ads the 2 days before a race price increase and we would place and automatically manage the ad by auto-changing the spend based on ROAS (so we would also be tracking conversions, etc.). In effect we would become an automated marketing agency with marketing management capabilities. We also would develop powerful tools for race directors and race management companies to control this themselves. In addition to this large project, we continue to provide incremental improvements to the core platform and discover new projects.

Our software technology platform is made up of the following:

  • AWS and many of their services like SQS, SES, SNS, and more recently Lambda.
  • Core platform is PHP, memcached, MySQL and Linux.
  • We have several mobile apps using Ionic and Angular.

We are a very fast moving team, where we give broad responsibility to a developer to get projects done by breaking them into small tasks with frequent releases. We also dedicate 20% of our time to making small incremental improvements that might only take an hour or two to complete that we receive from customers. Last year we made over 2,000 deployments – so we are strong supporters of Continuous Deployment.

We also highly value technology and understand it is the very core of what we offer our customers. We believe having a few of the very best developers is much better than having huge teams.

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 About 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):

  • Exceptional software development skills
  • Ability to code and deliver your own projects in such a way they work with the entire system and other development projects (we do not have large teams working on each project – we break things into small projects)
  • Ability to code the entire project – from database to application logic to user interface
  • Ability to listen to what customers need and provide solutions based on their needs
  • Running/endurance sports roots and enthusiasm for active lifestyle
  • High energy, hands-on, ability to complete full lifecycle development
  • Gets stuff done rather than just talk about stuff
  • Attention to detail and ability to complete tasks in a high volume environment
  • Thirst for learning
  • Team player who acts with personal integrity and treats others with respect

The very competitive salary is depending on experience and current compensation.  In addition, the company has a generous profit sharing plan that funds bonuses for all of our employees.  Health insurance is company paid and includes a $2,000 HSA contribution by the company.  The company also has a Simple IRA and matches up to 3% of an employee’s salary as a matching contribution.

If you think you can help and want to join our dynamic, fun, growing company please send a resume to bob.bickel at runsignup.com.

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More Replacements Tags for Emails

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 4.08.50 PMWe have added a number of new Replacement Tags to the Email Marketing system:

QR Code – %REGISTRATION_ID_QRCODE%

Waiver Status – %WAIVER_STATUS%

Packet Pickup Description – %PACKET_PICKUP_DESCRIPTION%
Packet Pickup Location – 
%RACE_LOCATION_DESCRIPTION%
Packet Pickup Date – %PACKET_PICKUP_DATE%
Packet Pickup Time – %PACKET_PICKUP_TIME%
Race Start Time – %RACE_START_TIME% : Will be replaced with the start time of the earliest event of the day.
Race Day Packet Pickup – %PACKET_PICKUP_TIME_RACE_DAY% : Will be replaced with the race day packet pickup times as set on the race location page.

 

Note that you can set the Packet Pickup information in Race -> Race Page -> Race Location:

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Check out this cool example one of our customers is now able to send as a standard format across all of their races:Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 4.49.51 PM.png

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