Why Races Use RunSignUp Email

email-imageWith such great, well established email vendors like Mailchimp and Constant Contact available, why are more and more races turning to the RunSignUp Email system?

Free

Our email system is free. Constant Contact costs $500 per year for up to 2,500 contacts and MailChimp costs $300+ per year for up to 2,500 contacts. They include some nice features with many pre-made templates, a much better editor than RunSignUp, nice looking reports, and integration to enterprise CRM systems like Salesforce. The question is whether those features are worth it compared with a free system? And for many races (we send over 8 Million emails per month), the answer is no.

lifecycle0220Emails with Your Race Data – Simple

RunSignUp keeps all of your race data together in a single CRM database that is tuned specifically for races. Want to send an email that includes people’s bib numbers on an individual email basis – simple. Want to send email notifications of results when people finish a race – simple. Want to send different emails to last year’s participants depending on if they signed up already – simple. Want to have an email go out automatically after people do not complete a registration – simple. Want to send emails to everyone when there is a price increase – simple.

All those examples are made simple because of a tightly integrated database of participant information that is made for races.

Simple Automated Emails

With a simple click, race directors can turn on common automated emails to announce price increases or to remind people who did not complete their registrations.

Simple Race Specific Analytics

Since one of the most common things race directors send emails for is to get registrations, we now give you a simple way of viewing and tracking the effectiveness of your emails by showing Page Views and # of Registrations.

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 5.33.02 PM.png

Simple Branded Emails

While we do not have a zillion templates like the big email vendors, we do offer a simple way to take your website logo and banner, as well as default SignUp and Donate calls to actions and put them into a nice format – and we make that simple.

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-11-46-22-am.png

And if you have some HTML chops, you can do lots of customization, save it and then reuse it for future emails from the race, the charities and from fundraisers. Yes – you can put the power of our email system into your fundraiser and captain hands.

Simple Sponsor Promotion

There is an option to include sponsor logos and links on each email that is sent – simple. And there is a simple Sponsor Email option that sends out Sponsor Offers to all participants automatically before and after your race.

Simple (and Advanced) Domain Control

We give you great options to get high deliverability rates. By default all emails sent from RunSignUp are from our highly rated domain with advanced things like DKIM that assure receiving email domains do not block it as spam. We offer a very simple “Reply To” option, so when participants hit reply their email goes to the one you set. We also offer a full “White Label” option for more advanced users.

Why We Built Our Own Email System

Simple – we wanted to make life easier for Race Directors. Less time doing email, better results that increase participation in your events and make your participants happy, with analytics that track the information you care about.

Email Analytics for Registrations

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 5.53.28 PMWe have expanded our RunSignUp Analytics Platform to show registrations tied to each email. This will show you in detail how each email you send, and each automated email that is sent (price increases and incomplete registrations for example) performs. This type of analysis will be extended over the coming months to also include transaction $ as well as tracking for other sources like referrals and Facebook Ads. The integrated RunSignUp Analytics combined with the integrated Email system we offer is a powerful combination and begins to show the benefits of a fully integrated marketing platform built specifically for races.

Note: Data only shows for the last month or so since that is how long we have been collecting it. We are of course saving all data now, so next year you will be able to do year over year comparisons.

The example below shows 2 emails sent (the red line) generating 1,952 PageViews and 146 Registrations:

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 5.33.02 PM

The table under the graph shows each individual email and the results of that email. In this example, the first email sent on 9/25 was sent to 5,620 people and has generated 84 registrations. Looking at the graph you can see about 40 registrations happened on 9/25, 37 happened on 9/26 and perhaps another 10-15 came from this email on 9/27. But note a second email was sent on 9/27 and that generated 44 registrations the same day. A lesson from this example is that follow up emails with slightly different messages can be effective (see the two different subject lines with the second email saying “Signup now”.

Let’s look at another example for insights into Automated Emails (emails the system can send out for a race without any intervention). This is a Price Increase Email:

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 5.52.14 PM

In the example above, the race used the Automated Price Increase email. This race had 260 registrations the 3 days before their price increase on 8/31, and 85 of those came from the email – or 33%. While races have always enjoyed the fact RunSignUp gives them automated emails that get automatically segmented by whether a person has signed up or not, the new analytics provides insight into the true value of turning on these features.

Let’s look at another Automated Email – Incomplete Registrations:

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 5.55.31 PM

Over the past 7 days this large race had 57 automated emails sent, which resulted in 138 pageviews and 12 registrations. While that was only 3% of their total registrations during that time period, that 3% (in line with other races we have seen) helps justify the cost of RunSignUp at least :-). And while it could be argued that those people might have come back anyway, the fact is that 138 pageviews is a fair amount of activity based on only 57 emails.

Let’s look at one last example over a 30 day period with multiple emails on a large race:

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 5.57.44 PM

Note in the table, we show 0 recipients for two of the emails because the emails were not sent in the window of time shown in the graph – we are going to change that to show how many were actually sent in the table. The interesting thing is that 921 registrations were generated from an email list of about 13,000 – about 8%. Note also there is a lifecycle to emails – for example the email sent on 9/8 generated views and registrations for the next several days (9/8 was a Friday so some people may not have opened it until Monday).

We hope you enjoy the increasing amount of insights we are bringing to your race with our RunSignUp Analytics engine. We are excited because this is just the beginning as we will be expanding this to show Transaction $, other sources like Facebook and Referrals, and then begin to introduce AI techniques to guide race promotional efforts based on the large data set we are accumulating.

Customize “From” Address on EMail Marketing

You can now set your own reply email address for EMail Marketing. This is set in the Email Marketing Setup:

unnamed

When you set this, your emails will look like this to participants:

unnamed-1

For advanced users, we still recommend full white labeling. This option is similar to what most email marketing offerings do, but can impact deliverability rates some. This is due to the fact that the email is may not be verified against your website/email domain. For example, when an email is sent from RunSignUp, there are DKIM records that identify it. There is not the same capability in simple white labeling, only in full white labeling.

Sponsor Offers and Sponsor Promotion

We have completed our free Sponsor Management roll out with Sponsor Offers and Promotion. Sponsor offers provide a way for sponsors to create activation mechanisms beyond a simple logo. This is highlighted on the Sponsor page of the race website:

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 8.35.59 PM.png

And allows a sponsor to customize their own unique offer with logo, custom image and text:

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 8.36.13 PM.png

EMail Offers

In addition to appearing on the website (or widgets on a race’s own website), offers can be automatically sent to participants before and/or after the race. This gives participants something extra and provides your sponsors a way to engage with them. Here is an example email:

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 8.29.29 PM.png

Offer Creation

Sponsors can create their own offers, or the race director can via an offer creation/edit page accessed from the Manage Sponsors page:

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 8.30.08 PM.png

Then the offer is created with a few simple fields and an image upload. Note we automatically resize the image to the screen width as seen above in the email and sponsor page examples.

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 8.30.20 PM.png

Email Sponsor Offers

We have added a new Automated Email for Sponsors. This makes it simple to send an email to all participants automatically before and/or after the race. By default, we create an email for you that includes all of the sponsor offers and sponsors (even if they do not have an offer) that will go out 3 days before your race. You can create additional automatic emails before and/or after the race (but try not to be too pushy). This is done in the automated email section:

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 8.24.56 PM

The default email is based on your email template. We have added a new email tag for sponsors and their offers: %RACE_SPONSORS_AND_OFFERS%:

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 8.26.22 PM.png

We have added two new email tags that you can also use for your own ad hoc emails or create your own scheduled emails:

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 8.27.16 PM.png

Summary

This final piece completes the most advanced sponsor management, promotion and activation platform available for races – and it is all free.  Invite sponsors, keep track of their status in terms of commitments, invoice them and manage payments, provide a robust variety of visibility options including race websites, emails, offers, photo watermarks, TXT results, RaceJoy banner ads, RaceJoy Progress Alerts, and RaceJoy Sponsor Spots. Give Sponsor access to managing their own content, as well as report on their visibility with Sponsor Analytics.

EMail Templates with Race Headers

IMG_2641We have expanded the options for email marketing templates to include race headers and buttons. The example on the right shows the new template capability using Full Header as delivered to an iPhone email, which includes the SignUp and Donate Action buttons that take a recipient directly to those pages if they click.

The full options can be found in your race dashboard under Email Marketing -> Email Settings:

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 11.41.43 AM

Here is an example that picks up all the race color themes as well as a border turned on:

unnamed-2

The option to include just the race header looks includes the race name and date text we automatically add just like the race webpage:

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 11.48.07 AM.png

Note that sometimes the editor on certain browsers may not show alignment well, but will look good on most email clients. For example, the Scott Coffee race template email looks strange on certain browser widths. Change the % scale of the browser window and it will look fine, or send a test email to see that it works well. This is due to a limitation in the editor we use.

How To Use Images and HTML Templates in RunSignUp Emails

RunSignUp’s email system allows users to enter their own HTML into their emails. This allows users to copy and paste any pre-existing formatted email into the RunSignUp email system. It also allows users to show images in their emails, as long as those images are hosted on the web. In order to use these options, you’ll need to click on the “Source Code” button in the Email Editor as shown below…

photo1

This will open a window in which you can view the email HTML and insert your own HTML…

photo2

Which will then be reflected in the email editor after closing the window…

photo3

How To Add Images

In order to add an image to the email, you will need to know where the image is located on the web. This can usually be found by right-clicking the image on the web, and choosing the option to open the image in a new tab, as shown below…

photo4

Once the image has been opened in a New Tab, you can copy the URL of this page, which will allow you to use it in your emails…

photo5

Once you have the URL of the image you wish to insert into the email, you’ll create an <img> tag in the HTML editor of the email system pointing to the image’s location on the web, by setting the “src” value shown to the image’s location.

photo6

This will then grab the image from the web, and insert it into your emails, allowing you to use images from around the web in your RunSignUp emails.

photo7

How To Use Existing HTML Email Templates

If you already have an email template that you wish to use in the RunSignUp email system, you can copy the HTML of that email using a very similar process. First copy, the HTML of the email template you wish to use, and then copy it into the HTML editor, as shown below…

photo8

Adding the Email Template HTML as shown then generates the formatted email, which can be edited or updated as needed within the email editor…

photo9

If you are copying an HTML template from an external system, please make sure to remove any unsubscribe links, or other content that references that external system before sending. RunSignUp will automatically add Unsubscribe links to all emails, but leaving references to the other system in your email will cause confusion.

RunSignUp will soon be releasing new base email template options, allowing for easy insertion of a race’s banner or logo and will also include default formatting. Users will still be able to start with a blank template if they wish, and will continue to be able to use these options to use custom templates and images.