Elizabeth Bloodworth: No demos please! How I chose an event app Event Expert Series

Are you an event planner trying to pick out an event app? I can relate. I’m Elizabeth Bloodworth and I’ve been an event planner for almost six years with a small non-profit. I wanted to move our large student conference from a printed booklet to an event app. But which one? My goal was to choose a powerful app that I was confident would be in my price range, simple for me to set up and easy for everyone to use. There are a lot of event app options out there, so I felt overwhelmed. You might be feeling that way, too. Here’s how I went about my search.

I Googled “best event apps” and narrowed down my pool to some of the more popular and top-rated event apps. The first thing I eliminated was the “free” apps. As it turns out most of the freebies have limited functionality or user caps. A lot of them are really just designed to upsell you to the “premium” paid version. No thanks. With those eliminated, I chose four app providers to explore more deeply: Attendify, DoubleDutch, EventMobi, and Guidebook. Each of their websites provided slick videos and assurances of “effortless” setup and “elegant” design. In fact, their list of features at first glance seemed pretty similar: user bios, schedules, speaker profiles, sponsors, etc. It was clear there were some differences, but it was difficult to tell from the websites what the differences truly were. I needed to dive into the nitty gritty to see what the apps were really like. I had questions. Does it have the features I really need? What is the user experience actually like – is it visually clear or clunky? How does it connect to social media? How “simple” is it to build as an event planner?

But there were two clinchers for me:
How much does it actually cost?
Can I take a test drive?

It turns out getting answers to these questions isn’t as easy as you would think. Most apps require you to sit through a demo. Let’s call this what it really is – an extended sales pitch – and this is your only chance to come close to seeing how the app and its features really work. Ever sit through a timeshare sales pitch? It can be that awesome. And by awesome, I mean painful and time-consuming. As app providers pitched their product and listed all the features, attempted to dazzle me with screen shares and so forth, I just wanted to cut to the chase: How much will your app cost?

As it turns out, we were usually about forty minutes or so deep before I could get a straight answer on pricing. Once we got there, two of the apps were immediately out of the running for me on sheer price point alone. What a waste of time. And guess what? Only one of the four apps didn’t require a demo at all to figure out their pricing. That was Attendify. In fact, they post their prices on their site. How refreshing! With upfront pricing, I knew Attendify was within my budget. So with that question answered, how easy is it to build a custom app?

With Attendify, you can start building your app before you spend a dime and without a demo. A true, free test drive. That’s way better than watching a salesperson show you how “easy” it is to create. Put me in, coach, and let me take a swing at customizing my app. So I got started. Attendify was pretty intuitive, and they have a little chat feature that let me ask my rookie questions to a real live person. Instead of scheduling a demo I kicked back with a glass of wine on a Monday night (with the Bachelor, um, I mean PBS playing in the background) and got my hands dirty actually building an app.

Their platform even allowed me to preview my app right on my browser, so I was able to see exactly how it would look on a device from an attendee’s point of view. The hands-on experience gave me the confidence to know that I would be able to build exactly the app I needed for my event. Something the other apps couldn’t offer. Upfront pricing and the chance to get hands-on experience with app building before buying made the decision to go with Attendify easy. I had the facts I needed to make an informed decision. I was pleased (and my so was my boss!) with the way the app performed at the student conference. As you check out event apps, I advise you not to waste your time on demos and sales pitches. Pick an app with upfront pricing that gives you a chance to see for yourself how it really works, like Attendify. Good luck!

About the Author
Elizabeth Bloodworth is the Events Manager at Christian Union, a faith-based non-profit. When she isn’t working she enjoys dodging traffic on her pink bike, making buttermilk biscuits, and trying to find the world’s best latte. She grew up in the South but calls New York City home.

About Attendify
Attendify is the only event technology company that helps you build deeper relationships at your events. Unlike other event apps, Attendify helps you create your event app quickly and easily, manage and update your app effortlessly, get real-time feedback and analytics, demonstrate success and ROI. In addition, Attendify offers the first and only Social Lead Retrieval system, an automated website builder and deep event analytics that marketers can use to generate more customers and revenue. Create your app now.