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Small Businesses to Use Mobile for Event Marketing in 2013

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Among small businesses and nonprofits planning events in 2013, more than 8 in 10 (81%) say they plan to increase their use of mobile technology to market their events, according to Constant Contact's EventSpot survey.

So far, most small businesses haven't invested in mobile technology for event marketing. Only 16% of those surveyed say they distribute event-related content to registrants' mobile devices.

Among those 16%, most distribute content such as event schedules (75%), session descriptions (41%), speaker bios (19%), and presentation slide decks (16%).

Below, additional findings from the study titled "Going mobile: How small organizations are using, and planning to use, mobile for their events" by Constant Contact.

Smartphones and Events: Now and in the Near Term


On average, only 15% of small businesses say they frequently or always use a smartphone for event planning.

However, 87% say they are somewhat or extremely interested to use smartphone technology for event planning, and over the next six months, more small businesses plan to do so:

  • 6% of small businesses now offer a mobile check-in app via smartphone and 22% plan to offer one in the next six months.
  • 16% send save-the-date notifications via mobile device and 23% plan to do in the next six months.
  • 5% provide event schedules via a mobile app and 25% plan to do in the next six months.
  • 29% offer mobile registration and collect payments via smartphne and 49% plan to offer the service over the next six months.
  • 24% engage with attendees via smartphone by posting event insights, learnings, or comments to social networks and 17% plan to engage this way over the next six months.

Tablets

Similarly, only 12% of small businesses say they frequently or always use a tablet for event planning (79% are interested to start), and greater numbers plan to do so over the next six months:

  • 3% now offer a mobile check-in app via tablet and 14% plan to in the next six months.
  • 6% send save-the-date notifications via tablet and 15% plan to do in the next six months.
  • 3% provide events schedules via a mobile app and 17% plan to do so in the next six months.
  • 18% offer mobile registration and collect payments and 32% plan to offer the service over the next six months.
  • 10% engage with attendees via tablets by posting event insights, learnings, or comments to social networks and 16% plan to engage this way over the next six months.

Despite the enthusiasm for mobile technology, there's clearly a gap in skills: 90% of small businesses say they would like to learn more about using mobile technology specifically for their events.

Social Media

Slightly higher numbers of small businesses are using social media to promote events and engage attendees:

  • 23% promote events using a hashtag and an additional 26% plan to do over the next six months.
  • 27% use Pinterest with 18% having created a specific board for attendees to post on.

"Mobile tools will no doubt assume a much bigger role in event planning for small businesses and nonprofits but considerable training needs to occur before we'll see widespread adoption," said Chris Litster, vice president and general manager of EventSpot from Constant Contact. "Mobile technology offers the distinct advantages of reach, convenience, and affordability but until small businesses have the proper training, many won't be able to leverage mobile tools to maximum advantage."

About the data: Findings are based on a survey of 299 small business (B2B and B2C) and nonprofits using Constant Contact's event management product, fielded in September 2012.


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