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?


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.

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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.


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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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:

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


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

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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.