Past System Tips
Use the following ePly system tips to manage your online registration more effectively.
Tips for what to include on your confirmation emails
Confirmation emails are sent to your event registrants after they have completed registration.
Consider including the following information in your confirmation email:
- Name of the event, time, date and location.
- Name, phone number and email address of a contact person the participant can call if they have questions.
- Link to an online map, hotel websites or restaurants listings.
- Suggested areas to park and costs, and any transit routes to the event (an online map would be useful here too).
- Itinerary of the event.
- What to bring.
- What not to bring.
- Links to sponsors websites.
- Mention of the speakers or other specific details.
- Mention age restrictions if necessary.
- Other important details such as “Wear comfortable shoes as we will be walking between areas” or “Bring a coat as the reception is outside”.
- Encourage people to mention the event to other people.
- Use a good subject line that will get noticed and not trigger SPAM filters (see below).
- Use lots of whitespace so that the email is easy to read.
- Separate out the key information so it’s easy to find.
Confirmation Email Template
- Dear [First Name],Thank you for registering for the [event name here].
Website link [map, hotel info, etc]:
The event starts at 8:30 and we will load the bus in front of the [meeting location].
There will be some walking involved, so please ensure that you have the appropriate type of footwear. Also please refrain from using flash photography from inside the bus, as it can be distracting for some of our clients.
If you have any questions, please contact [event contact person] via phone [phone number] or email [email address].
Thank you and see you at the event.
[Event Contact Person]
The “Subject Line”
When drafting a confirmation email, you will want to pay attention to the subject line.
- Avoid words such as “free”, “please read”, or “special promotion” to avoid triggering a registrants’ SPAM filter.
- Refer to the event name in the subject line, i.e.; “ABC AGM 2008 Registration Confirmation.”
If you do not want to use your own name, you can always use the name of the event:
- A sender name like “ABC AGM” is much more effective than an actual email address.
- By using a recognizable sender name, your registrants can immediately see who the email is from.
How to Use Limits
Part of the reason our clients love online registration is the ability to automate much of the process, so they can focus on planning their events.
Limits are just that, an automated tool that sets limits to ensure a session, a dinner or maybe an off-site event does not go over capacity. As you can imagine, automating this will take a load off of your plate.
We also find limits useful for increasing the ‘buzz’ factor for your event. If you have people trying to register for a session and it’s full, they may be more inclined to register earlier the next time you have an event.
For now, you will need ePly to do the initial set-up your limits for you (soon available as a self-serve feature). This can be done on the question or response level. As well, the sold-out message can be customized. For example, if the limit is on a Gala Dinner, the sold out message may read “Sorry, the Gala Dinner is now full“.
In addition to customized messages, you may also display the number of spots still remaining for that event. This is a great way to fill a popular event.
What if the capacity changes, and you need to adjust these limits once they are set? Easy! Login to your account and click the link in the menu titled ‘Limits’. All of the set limits will display themselves in a table. To adjust a limit, click ‘edit’ next to the desired limit:
…then adjust the amount and click update. The registration form will immediately reflect the limit change.
Working With Custom Reports – Column Options
When you are creating and/or working with a custom report, there are two column options that you may have wondered about, visible and downloadable.
The visible check box determines if the column shows up on the screen when viewing a report and the downloadable check box determines if the column is included in a download.
Although these are self-explanatory and seem simple, they are also powerful options. Here are a couple of ways that you can use them:
Suppose that you want a list of registrants sorted by their registered date, but you didn’t want the date field to display on the report. To do this, simply add the registration date field to the report (this is required so the function has something to sort) and then uncheck the visible box.
Now the data will be sorted by registration date, even though you don’t see the date column in the report.
Normally, if you needed to create a report that displayed members who have registered for your event, you would first create the report, then add a filter to show only members and probably name it something like ‘Member List’.
Since it’s clear what the report includes, there is no need to have the member column showing in the report as the data will be the same for each person and this would only add clutter to the report.
Un-checking the visible box for the member column will still allow the filter, but not show the data on the screen.
The downloadable option works in a similar way to the visible option, except in this case it determines if the data will show up in the spreadsheet when you download it.
In some cases you may not need to see the data on the screen, but need it in a download so you can see how a report has been sorted or filtered. In other cases you may not need to see it in either place, but now you have an option!
How to Hyperlink a Report Column
Last month we showed you how you can format your columns in your custom reports, in order for your data to appear in your report exactly as you need it displayed.
This month we will give you some quick steps on making specific items in a report hyperlink to more detailed information.
In this example we will use a very simple report that will contain First Name, Last Name and Email Address. Although this report may fit our needs for a specific application, we may need to hyperlink to more detailed data, and here’s how it’s done:
|1. Let’s take an existing report and click ‘edit report’ then ‘add new column’|
2. Give your column a caption name. In this instance we will use First Name, and match up first name with the primary field:
3. In the column options we then want to make sure we choose ‘registration details’ in the Hyperlink Type. This will ensure the first name of our registrant links to their full registration details (we also have the ability to link to the payment details):
4. Once complete, here’s how the report should appear:
- Registration Details – creates a link to the Main Registration page or the registrant
- Payment Details – creates a link to the Payment Summary page for the registrant
- Email – creates a hyperlink that will open up your default mail program, populating the email address with the hyperlinked field
How To Format A Column With Pricing
Below we gave you the steps to creating your own custom reports in the ePly system, but it doesn’t stop there! There are many features to customize reports such as filtering, sorting, and formatting your columns. For this tip we’ll begin showing you how you can format your columns in your custom reports in order for your data to appear in your report exactly as you need it displayed.
Here is a common formatting feature for columns with pricing:
|You want to make this column|
|…look like this:|
Here’s how to format it:
- Click on the name of the custom report you want to format.
- When viewing the report, click Edit this Report.
- Select the column that includes pricing that you want to format.
- In the Column Options menu on the right, next to Column Format, change the selection from ‘Text’ to ‘Currency’ in the drop down menu.
How To Create Custom Reports
Creating your own custom reports in the ePly system is easier than you might think. The benefit is that instead of downloading the entire database into excel and sorting through information you don’t need, custom reports pull exactly the information you need. Custom reports are updated automatically each time someone registers, or when registrant data is edited.
You always have the option of calling ePly to set up the reports you need, but if you want to try it on your own here are the steps to get you started:
- Log into the ePly system.
- Click on “Reports” next to your event name.
- Click on “Report Manager”.
- Click “Create a New Report”.
- Give your report a name and description (i.e.: What does this report show?)
- Click “Create”. You will see the name of the report you created appear in the report list at the top of your screen.
- Click “Add New Column”.
- Type the name you want to call the first column in “Column Caption” (this will appear that the top of the column in the report).
- Under “Primary Fields”, select which data from your database that you want pulled into this column. For instance, if your column caption is Last Name, choose “Last Name” from the primary fields drop down list.
- When you want to create a second column, click “Save & New”. View the report as you create it by clicking on the report name at the top of your screen to make sure it’s looking right.
- On the right side of the screen when you are adding columns you will see some advanced options. We will cover these items in future tips, but feel free to experiment with the options now, you can’t break anything here.
- When you’re done adding columns, click “Back to Report Details”.
- Use the “Report Sort By” function to sort your data by any of the columns you’ve created. For instance, if you want to sort your report alphabetically by last name, choose “Last Name” from the drop down list, click “Ascending” (to sort from A-Z), and then click “Add Sort By”.
How To Edit Your Confirmation Emails
Editing your confirmation email is easier than you might think. You can always call us to make changes, but if you want to try it yourself, here are the steps:
- Log into the ePly system.
- From the event list, click “Setup” across from the event containing the email you want to edit.
- Click on “Notifications”.
- In the list at the top, click on the email you want to change.
- Make changes to the text.
- Click “Update Email” at the bottom of screen.
If you see an item in square brackets [ ], this is called a merge field. To use the merge fields, scroll to the bottom on the page for a list of fields that you can use. Simply copy and paste the field name including the [ ] and insert it into the body of the email where you need the text to appear.
Test Confirmation Emails
It’s always a good idea to send yourself a test email just to make sure everything is perfect. At the bottom of the page, enter your email address into the “Send Test Email To:” box, and click the button to send it to yourself.
If you are using merge fields in your email or want to see how the Registrant’s detailed selections look in the email, you will need to do the test in a different way. For events that aren’t already live you can simply submit a demo registration.
If your event is live, you can test the merge fields by following these steps:
- From the “Registrations” screen, click on any registrant’s name. Scroll to the bottom of the page.
- Choose the email you want to test.
- Enter your email address into the “Enter the email address to send to:” box.
- Click “Re-send email” to send yourself a test using the information for the registration you clicked into. If you enter your email address here, then an email will not be sent to the registrant.