It’s becoming increasingly less useful to promote your events, classes, or conferences using offline methods, such as print or local television ads. In this day in age, even online methods of advertising, such as Google Ads and Facebook Marketing, are becoming less effective. It’s hard to cut through all of the noise when we get constantly bombarded with messaging about new products, services, and 21st-century gimmicks. Sometimes I wish we could go back to a time like when we were young.
Whether you plan events year round, or once a year, promoting your event is essential to it’s success. The advances in social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) alone have changed the structure of event planning and promotion in unimaginable ways over the last decade. In 2016 there were some 195.7 million social network users in the U.S., the equivalent of about three quarters of the country’s population. According to estimates, the number of worldwide social media users reached 1.96 billion and is expected to grow to some 2.5 billion by 2018. On average, global internet users spend around 118 minutes per day surfing social networks.
Wow, we have a lot of updates going out. I was going to split this out into separate posts, but there’s just too much stuff. It would take a month to separate things out. Instead I’ll give you the highlight reel.
Event Espresso 3.1.32
The big new changes with Event Espresso is the database optimization. Some serious database optimization. Admin pages in this version load 200% faster, even with a lot of events or attendees. We’ve also fiddled with the event overview ordering so the stuff you want to see is in front of you, rather than having to page down to it.
There are four new gateways introduced in 3.1.32, including Google Wallet and the Canadian gateway, Moneris.
But the thing you’ll see right away is the UXIP Program.
The main reason for this is that now that we have finished the beta version of Event Espresso Arabica (which, as has been mentioned previously, is the “decaf” — or “lite” — version, with no premium gateways added) and have moved on to Event Espresso 4.1, we need to start gearing our development toward how the plugin will be best used. We have no real idea, for example, how many people are using the eWay gateway, or how many people are using 2Checkout as compared to, say, FirstData. And since there may be gateways that no one is using, we are trying to optimize our development by building the gateways that are being used most first for 4.1. In the future, this will give us information about what features you are using, so we can get an understanding of how you are using Event Espresso which will help us gear our development more toward your needs. Surveys are great, but you only get a limited number of people responding to surveys and that might not be representative of the whole picture. This will securely transmit information to our server that we can aggregate and use to directly guide the future development of the plugin. You can read more about the User eXperience Improvement Program here.
Event Espresso 3.1.33 Pre-release
A new version in the wild means a new pre-release. 3.1.33 will be a smaller release but adds three new gateways, including an Infusionsoft integration and a Quickbooks gateway. Oh, and a cool new function,
espresso_get_event that can be used to get all the information for an event when passed an
espresso_get_event($event_id). This is used by the updated Espresso Social add-on, described below.
Espresso Mailchimp 1.1 Pre-release
This update adds only one thing, but it’s a biggie. The Mailchimp 1.1 add-on adds support for Mailchimp Groups. You may have heard us talk about it on the Espresso Bar hangout with Eric from IvyCat (if not, go check it out). This is a sweet little feature that we thought warranted a major feature version bump and came out of some real-world scenarios and uses of Mailchimp and the Event Espresso Mailchimp Integration add-on. You can thank Eric in the forums or send him some love via the Event Espresso Pros page.
Infusionsoft Integration 1.0 Pre-release
This one was probably largely inspired by Seth’s insomnia. We’ve had requests in the past to integrate some kind of CRM into Event Espresso. Infusionsoft is great because they have an open API that made it really easy to do some really interesting things. If you’re already an Infusionsoft user, you can basically use your Infusionsoft dashboard instead of your Event Espresso dashboard in the WordPress admin. Customer records are created automatically even when the attendee was registered with a manual or offline payment. Payment records are updated automatically and you can use any of the built-in Event Espresso gateways or your Infusionsoft Merchant Account.
Espresso Social Media add-on 1.1.5
Here’s one that I worked on. This update fixes the Facebook like button! However, even more exciting is that it will roll out a feature, when combined with Event Espresso 3.1.33, that will add opengraph tags to the header of your site, allowing better and more specific information to be sent to Facebook with your like. What information, you ask? How about support for event thumbnails? Or descriptions that pull from your event descriptions? This is made possible by the new
espresso_get_event function added to core.
But wait, there’s more
What else got some love? I’ll tell you:
- JSON API 2.0
- The Event Espresso JSON API is officially available to download. If you didn’t sign up for the pre-release channel when we first added the API, you can get it now with your regular downloads. The latest update fixes some minor bugs as well as speeding up some of the queries.
- WP User Integration 126.96.36.199 HOTFIX
- A minor update that adds a security fix to the My Events shortcode.
- Roles & Permissions Basic 1.5.4 and Pro 2.0.6
- These have been available for a month on the pre-release channel and add some minor fixes.
- Espresso Ticketing 2.0.10
- This update fixes some minor issues as well as addresses the Venue Address 2 line that was not displaying on the ticket by default. It also takes care of some issues with the iPhone app as well as fixes some untranslatable strings.
- Attendee Reassignment Add-on 1.0 Pre-release
- The plugin formerly known as the Attendee Mover Tool, this add-on allows you to migrate attendees from one event to another. Pretty cool, huh? This is something we’ve been asked about for a long time. Seth made a video where you can see the plugin in action.
- Price Modifier Add-on 0.0.3 Pre-release
- An early version of this plugin, it adds the ability to attach a price to a question. Why would you need this? How about adding a question like “Do you want dinner?” to your event, and if the answer is yes, it adds $15 for a meal. This is a pre-release, so we’re anxious to hear your thoughts about how this plugin can be improved in the pre-release forums.
- Espresso Calendar 2.0.5 and 2.0.6 Pre-release
What about that Arabica thing?
Don’t worry, we’re still busy working on the next generation version of Event Espresso. Development has moved on from the decaf version (4.0) to the regular version which will make it’s first appearance as 4.1 and include a migration script to get you moved over from the legacy (3.1.x) versions of Event Espresso.
Questions? Comments? Let us know what you think in the forums or the comments below.
By Garth Koyle
Networking with other like-minded people and organizations can make a significant impact on your success as an event manager, website programmer, or designer. If you haven’t already discovered that, then you will soon! We know it’s important, so we’ve created several ways to help you engage with other members of the Event Espresso community:
- Community Chat Room
- Support Forums
- Are we missing anything that would help you connect with the Event Espresso community?
Here are some of the key benefits and reasons to network with other Event Espresso users:
1. Building New and Strengthening Existing Relationships
Building a relationship is about more than just connecting to someone else’s online profile. You might have 500+ friends on Facebook or the same number of connections on Linkedin, but do you connect with those people on a daily basis about how to grow your business? Quit “liking” or “poking” old friends; connect with the people and organizations who are working on the same projects and have the same goals as you do. That’s a real business relationship.
2. Discovering New Ideas
Do you want to know how Event Espresso users can process 80,000 registrations in a single month or $35,000 in 48 hours? You’re not going to find that by watching your news feed on Facebook. You’ll learn more important ways on how make your events more successful by engaging with the Event Espresso community than any other source. Do you want your friends to “like” you, or do you want your customers to like you (for example, by attending your events)?
3. Building Your Reputation
You might have a thousand points of expertise on your Linkedin profile and your resume might be three pages long, but those aren’t any good to the wrong audience. You’re using Event Espresso and your business is similar to hundreds of other businesses. The Event Espresso community will value your experience and skills the most. Join the discussion and build your own brand today.
4. Finding New Opportunities
Event Espresso probably has more features than your local coffee shop has flavors. But imagine how many combinations you can create with all the coffee flavors or Event Espresso features? Building Event Espresso as a plugin for WordPress also allows you to use a variety of other plugins and themes, but which ones do other people use? There is a wealth of information available among the thousands of Event Espresso users, we just need to ask the right questions and encourage each other to share the right answers. What questions do you have and what insight can you give? What would you like to learn more about?
5. Access to New Information and Learning
Organizing, managing and promoting events is an ever-changing job and there might be a thousand different ways to do something. But if you had the chance to ask someone else who has been there, would you take the opportunity? You might be surprised at what other people know and how it can expand your knowledge. We also can’t read your mind about what you want to know, so the only way for anyone to help you is to ask.
6. Gaining Advice From Other Experts, Find a Mentor
At Event Espresso we ask a lot of questions each day. We ask each person of the team questions about technical issues or how we can better serve our customers; we ask customers each day about how they use Event Espresso and how we can improve our events plugin; and we ask third-party developers and mentors how to deal with the challenges of growing a small business. But no matter who we ask for help, we always get the best answers from people who have walked down that path before. Our mission is to help you grow your business, and as you grow you’ll be faced with many different challenges. You should have a team in your corner who can look at the problem from outside the fight and give you advice on what your next steps could be.
7. Sharing Your Expert Advice, Mentoring Others
One of the most challenging and rewarding things you can do is help someone else be more successful. It takes a lot of courage to give your opinion that might not be accepted, but if you have real-life experience then no one else can refute your knowledge. Your simple opinion is also helpful for others who are uncertain about what path they should take. In nearly every case your participation and encouragement can help other people be more successful.
8. Finding New Products and Services
How did you learn about Event Espresso? You might have had to search for an online event registration plugin for WordPress, or you might have been one of the lucky ones and had a friend recommend it to you and saved you from all the searching costs. Either way, by connecting with other Event Espresso users you will have access to other event organizers who know how to solve your same problem. For example, what website hosting company should you use with Event Espresso or trust?; what merchant account do people like best and is most affordable?; what is a good WordPress theme, etc? Event Espresso will be your best resource for answers to these and many other questions.
9. Generate New Business Opportunities
When was the last time your old high school friend on Facebook was able to help you earn business from a new client? Is your Linkedin profile among the top 10% most-viewed profiles? We know that neither of those relationships or statistics are as productive in generating new business than networking with like-minded businesses and potential customers.
10. Recruit New Members of Your Team
It really is hard to find good help these days. We’re creating new ways for you to find help from other Event Espresso users, programmers, designers, marketers, etc. who can help you make your events more successful. Need to hire someone? We have a Job Board where you can post free (and paid) job listings, and we try to tweet out all the job postings to our extended network for you. We also know that the best place to find good help to manage your online event registration is by building relationships with other people who are doing the same.
11. Have Fun
Event Espresso was started after Garth and Seth worked together for three years. They’ve enjoyed working together, and their work has become their hobby. Some of their best friends are now people they work with. They enjoy networking with customers, programmers, business managers, etc. Hopefully you get to do what you enjoy – we enjoy having you part of the Event Espresso community.
Again, at Event Espresso we know that if you meaningfully engage with on other like-minded people and businesses to achieve your goals, you can learn who to trust and how to do things better. Participate with us in the community today via:
What can you bring to the Event Espresso community and what can we all help you with?
Now includes Facebook and Twitter share buttons.
Among several minor bug fixes etc, we have included a simple social media plugin/addon that can be used to display Twitter and Facebook buttons in your Event Espresso templates. If you have relocated your template files to your uploads folder, you will need to make these changes to your template files.
I have also provided templates for the payment and return to payment pages.
The calendar has also been updated to include weekly and daily agenda views and a settings page to manage the calendar options.
Here is a list of recent changes between the last four versions.
Added simple buttons for Twitter and Facebook. Templates have been updated to include these changes.
Added payment and return to payment templates.
Added required text to form fields.
Added a new function to Get a single start or end time:
* function event_espresso_get_time($event_id, $format = ‘start_time’)
* @params $event_id (required)
* @params $time (optional, start_time (default) | end_time)
Changed the plugin to use the built in jQuery library, instead of the Google jQuery API.
Adjusted the questions display query to order by group order. This will work if the users do use the group_order field. Otherwise the questions will get mixed up.
Added the search and replace values to the invoice email
Moved the system questions and question groups function into the database install scipt. Hopefully this will fix the problem with the system questions and groups not getting installed.
Applied some formatting to the category name in the category listing.
Removed the wpautop function from the category editor.
Added the end_date of an event to the event_list.php.
Fixed the following issues
1) Edited questions always defaulting to ‘required’.
2) Deleting of questions and groups via checkbox.