We are really excited about our roadmap for 2016. We will have our 6th birthday in January, and have done a good job of getting the basics of registration right (see our 2015 Year in Review for some details). We are now at the point of being able to bring some really innovative features to our customers – race directors, race series, timers, running clubs, and running stores.
We generally think of our 2016 tasks as being in three buckets that everyone cares about:
- Race Promotion
- Race Day
With our strong database of core registration data that has been expanded with an Open API, Results and core Promotional capabilities, customers are increasingly looking to us to provide them better solutions in growing their race and offering their runners a fantastic race day experience.
We have a great set of features today with Free Websites, integrated database email marketing, coupons, referral sharing and tracking, incomplete registration tracking, Facebook App (that is awesome on Mobile!), Social sharing, Ad tracking, Location Heat Maps, and a number of ROI tools. In 2016 we expect to release the following projects:
- Photos! We will be developing an open platform for photos for race websites. We anticipate integrations with leading platforms like MarathonFoto, Gameface and new innovators like Pic2Go. The platform will also support connections to photo libraries on Flickr, Google and Instagram. In addition, we will be providing a mechanism to upload photos to be stored on RunSignUp. We will be providing multiple display options as well as pricing options ranging from free, to pre-buying access, watermarking with sponsor logos, etc. We will also allow for tying photos to results in various ways, which will allow for interesting promotional capabilities. This will be a free service.
- Automated Emails. This will allow race directors to click a box and enable various automated emails. For example, send an email to incomplete registrations 2 days after they are still not signed up (eventually with an optional, automated coupon!). Or automatically send emails 1 day before a price increase – and since it is integrated with our database someone who already signed up will get an email complementing them on being smart and encouraging them to share with friends, and people that did not sign up yet will get a reminder to do so before the deadline. There are also pre-race automated emails you will be able to turn on to help with race logistics in addition to promotional purposes.
- Group Discount Automation. You will be able to set a discount of say $5 on all teams over 10. And the first 9 will get a $5 refund when the 10th person signs up. We will also provide a mechanism to keep track of special non-monetary incentives. For example, all members of any team over 10 will get a free pair of socks – this data will be available to print on bib labels or seen in the Check-in App.
- Referral Sharing, Tracking and Incentives. We will extend the current Referral system to allow for Refunds and non-monetary incentives to people who generate different numbers of referrals. So if someone gets 10 of their friends to sign up, then they might get $2 refund for each – or if they hit 20 they might get a free race hoodie.
- Promotion Management Tool. This tool will let you plan your yearly promotions – seeing on a chart when you have price increases, and when you had marketing events like price increases, Facebook Ads, Email blasts and correlate that with registration volume. This will be integrated with other integrated marketing tools like coupons, email marketing, and price increases for easier visualization with minimal effort. It will also provide year-year comparisons.
- RunSignUp Ad Tracking ID. This is a very powerful capability that will allow races to track ads much more closely and develop much better ROI reports. It will be integrated with the RunSignUp database, so conversions will have much better demographic information and follow-on revenue generated like additional races people who came to your site from an ad sign up for, or additional referrals they bring or additional team members they bring. Ad campaigns will also be able to be tracked as part of the overall Promotion Management Tool.
- Email Tracking. As above, this is all integrated with our database so demographic information, repeat customers, etc. will be able to be tracked and reported on and show in the new marketing dashboard.
- Aging, Cost of Customer Acquisition and Lifetime Value of a Customer Reports. This is the way most repeating businesses measure themselves today, and we plan to make this easy to understand.
- Potential Facebook Ad API integration. We need to study this to determine if it is practical, but we would like to make it easier to not only track your Facebook ads, but potentially direct them from RunSignUp and use race fees to pay for the ads. For example, we know when a price increase will happen, and could potentially automatically buy a Facebook ad on the race’s behalf to appear the two days before the price increase and use the race fees and ROI measurements to automatically adjust the ad spend.
Runners are demanding a more social experience with immediate access to results. Race Directors need to handle the volume of last minute registrations better and more efficiently. And Timers need ways to improve their efficiency and value they can bring to their races. We have a number of fun enhancements planned for 2016:
- RaceJoy Ready. We are making it very simple for any race using RunSignUp to add RaceJoy GPS Tracking and Social sharing and cheers to the race experience with new automated Buy-Out options. You will be able to add 25/50 cents (depending on length of race) to the processing fee so that your race has unlimited use of RaceJoy. There is also a flat buy-out fee that can be paid by taking $X out of each race fee paid. There is also a new Wizard that includes a Map Builder/Importer so races can manage their maps themselves.
- Results App/Kiosk. We have a new architecture we will be rolling out that allows us to deploy native Apple, Android apps simultaneously with a Web version which will work on Chromebooks and Netbooks. These new apps will also be able to work in semi-connected mode. Meaning if the Internet is not available they will save the data from the last update. In the case of results, this means if the Internet is clogged up at a race, the app keeps retrying in the background and will update the data when it is available. In the mean time, participants can do fast searches.
- Check-In App. We will be doing a refresh of our Check-In app to work on this new architecture so that it will work well as a native app on iPhones, iPads and Android devices.
- Registration Kiosk App. We will be building a fully functional, card-swiping registration kiosk app that will work across devices. This will also work in semi-connected mode where it will be able to take cards even if it is not connected. Those transactions will complete whenever it gets an Internet connection. There will be an option to export non-synced data to a local USB for importing into a local scoring software like The Race Director or RunScore.
- RD Go – Next Generation. This is the really huge project that will see initial functionality released before the end of 2016, but will take us a couple of years overall. The idea is to take the functionality available in The Race Director (RD) and make this available as a Mobile/Cloud service. Instead of a local PC, you will have local tablets or phones that perform the basics of RD and the Cloud providing that single database that syncs everything and provides full functionality. We will be trying to make this work well for existing RD and RunScore customers so they both have a smooth future path to migrate slowly over to the new architecture. Roger Bradshaw is looking forward to this project because he gets to correct all the mistakes he made the first time around 🙂
One of the things we hear quite often is that we put out so much functionality, it is hard to keep up with. Over the past couple of years we have invested pretty heavily in things like the Race Director/Timer Symposium, Case Studies, How To’s, Blogs, supporting local Race Director get togethers, and of course our 7 day a week support. We intend to make significant improvements:
- 2016 Race Director Timer Symposium. This year we will be having two simultaneous tracks – one where other race directors, timers and running stores will be sharing their experiences, and one with RunSignUp doing Tutorials of our system. As usual, we will be capturing the videos as reusable content.
- How To Updates. We are right now working to completely update every How To so it shows the new User Interfaces we have introduced since many of them first came out.
- FAQ on Race Websites. We are developing a “dynamic” FAQ that will automatically appear on Race Websites. This will contain the most common questions races (and we) get from runners trying to sign up or understand how to make changes. It will be dynamic and include information that you have set up – for example bib exchange is allowed until a certain date and costs $X, or your exact Refund policy statement.
- FAQ for Race Directors. In addition to the Help button, we will have a FAQ on the Race Director Dashboard as well.
- Online Course & Certifications. We will be packing our content (How To, Case Studies and Videos) into an online course that will be free for people to take. Race Directors can focus in on whatever topics are of interest to them – for example Dynamic Bib Assignment – and see how other races and running stores are doing this in the Case Studies and see how to set things up in the How To. Each section will have questions and upon successful completion you will be able to keep track of your progress. When you reach certain levels, you might even get special gifts from RunSignUp!
In addition to the above, we will be doing countless micro-updates to help bring solutions to their challenges. We will continue to learn and adapt this above list as we move thru the year and get more feedback from customers. If you have comments and suggestions on this list, please feel free to leave a comment or email us at email@example.com or direct specific suggestions to bob.bickel at runsignup.com.