Non-event software for event planners offers a beautiful world of productivity, marketing, and design fun. And while all-in-one software suites have their attraction, sometimes, a small tool with a narrow focus is exactly what you need to get the job done.
When it comes to event planning software, event professionals need convenience. But where we all occasionally go wrong is in assuming that means everything in one place, under one log-in. And I say that ain’t so.
Having been in the tech space for over a decade, I know the limitations of over-stuffed software. Each added feature adds exponential complexity. And in a rush to build ever more features, the product team often fails to truly invest in making each tool a joy to use (something we’re trying to do ourselves here). Just think of the non-event software in your life. The most delightful products do a few things exceptionally well – allowing for better design, customer experiences, and outputs. I hate to pick on Cvent, and no one can deny that’s it’s incredibly powerful software, but you wouldn’t call using it a joyful experience.
So I thought it would be fun to look at non-event software, and apps, that are useful to event planners and event pros in general. These tools generally have a narrow focus, or do one thing really, really well. So well, in fact, that it’s worth adding them to your already software-cluttered life. Because they’ll spark joy.
Why I’m Not Talking About Event Management Software or Project Management Software
I’m not going to dive into project management software like Asana, Monday, Trello or AirTable, nor event planning software like ThymeBase. Like event planning software, project management tools are necessarily complex to reflect the needs of managing complex tasks. Planning an event is difficult, and yes, the focus of event planning software is narrow. I’ve written about event software plenty.
And outside of these organization-centric tools, there is a fun, colorful mix of solutions to problems that take up time. We’ll also discuss products that might make something look easy, where before you’d assumed it was difficult (like video editing). Let’s go look at smart non-event software built by bright people, but not created for event planners specifically.
The Types of Non-Event Software For Event Planners
To stay organized, and to help you decide which non-event software is worth actually exploring, I tried to bucket things. Because you might be a design expert but struggle with marketing, so I categorized the various tools into the following:
- Marketing Software
- Design Software
- Image and Video Editing Software
- Productivity Software
And if you find you’re perfectly productive, but you really don’t know how to edit videos well, feel free to jump to that section. Regardless, I recommend looking through the entire list one day – there really is some fun stuff here.
And while I usually talk to and about event planners – after all, ThymeBase is event planning software – I’ll use the term event profs interchangeably. The tools I’m sharing will work for everyone who has an event industry business.
Marketing Software For Event Professionals
Marketing your event business should be a large chunk of your workday, but way too many busy event profs struggle to carve out the time. When there are events, it’s all hands on deck. Marketing is relegated to the rare moments of free time. And free time is more elusive than a politician’s tax returns.
Let’s look at marketing tools that will save you time or up your game so drastically, you’ll actually have fun.
Running paid ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram is a freakin’ headache, right? And yet when it comes to the event industry, that’s where so many clients go to seek inspiration and vendors. If you’re going to do any paid ads (other than listing sites), then FB and Insta are where your potential customers are at.
Wading through the confusing, messy gauntlet of Facebook’s ad interface is pure masochism, and that’s why I recommend AdEspresso. It makes creating and managing ad campaigns quite pleasant. And best of all, their prices are small business-friendly. Plus, they have fantastic education resources, so even if you’re a digital ad novice, they’ve got the guides for you.
Buffer’s website way over-complicates what they actually do. They’re simply good at publishing content across multiple social media platforms without all the schlep of doing it site by site. In their own words, with Buffer, you can plan and publish your content for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, all from one simple dashboard.
So much of your work is visual, and with Buffer, you can load in 30 day’s worth of images, and let Buffer post it all for you over the month. I mean, turning a month’s worth of social media chores into a couple of hours is gold.
I love both WooRank and SEMRush, so I’m including them both together. In fact, I use both of them. But what is it they do? I’m glad you asked.
They do Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This means that they help you ensure your website is working well, but from the perspective of Google’s search algorithm. Both tools will uncover weird hidden errors on your site that might negatively impact your search results. They also track your ongoing performance when it comes to keywords you need to rank for. And they do a lot more on top of that too. And they both offer fantastic tips on how to improve your marketing to rank higher.
I find WooRank a lot more user friendly, but SEMRush has a great free plan that allows you to get over the learning curve. Seriously, I love both of them, and I’d heartily recommend you give both of them a shot and choose the one that fits your personality more.
While many event professionals get new business through listings sites and word-of-mouth referrals, Google will remain a huge source of business. But you need to make sure Google gets your business.
The best way to tell Google who you are, and thus show up in the right search results, is to sign up for a Google My Business account. It’s free, easy, a little fun, and quite impactful.
It’s also a way to manage how your brand appears in search engine results. With your Google My Business account, you’re feeding Google the exact information you want them to know: business information, reviews, and images. And you can post to your GMB profile, kinda like a blog, too.
You’ll control how information about your business is shown on Google. And as an extra tip, Google Reviews are critical, so try and solicit some from your customers.
I quite like Moz’s tools overall, and I use Moz alongside WooRank and SEMRush to keep an eye on ThymeBase’s search engine ranking. Still, they also offer a pretty cool tool for “local” businesses called Moz Local. Basically, if your company is location-based, as in you’re an event professional who works in the Chicago area or a makeup artist in the Finger Lakes district, you want help with local listings.
Moz Local ensures all local directories have the most up-to-date data. They also monitor reviews for you and a whole lot more.
I’ve analyzed Google search results for event planners and found that many event profs do indeed use pay-per-click marketing. However, not all of them do it well. So let’s discuss a neat service that helps minimize wasteful, fraudulent clicks. So let’s say you’ve decided to run Google Ads. While I don’t think that your competitors will be so underhanded as to deliberately click on your ads to waste your budget, you can still be careful.
ClickCease prevents bots and bad actors from wasting your daily ad budget. And when every click could be a customer, you want to ensure that you maximize your ad budget. And at $15 a month, it’s super reasonable, even for low-budget campaigns.
Design Software For Event Professionals
Okay, so I was going to include Canva, but what’s the point? You already know about them, right? And I won’t talk about the Adobe Suite either. Nope, I’m going to look at design tools that are, perhaps, a little less widely known in the event planner community. Now, these tools won’t replace your existing design software, but I offer ’em for your perusal and interest.
Below is non-event software in the design space that event professionals will find fun, useful or just, plain interesting.
I used to work at Yala (so there’s some inherent bias here), but it’s a cute app that does a few things that event profs will find useful. For starters, Yala spins up social media-ready graphics and videos in seconds. I made this in about a minute flat.
But they’re also soon to release some innovative stop-motion video tools. You’ll be able to take a few pictures during your pre-event prep and turn it into a lovely stop-motion video that will look awesome on Instagram. Here’s a sneak peek:
Invision is a techie’s prototyping tool, but I’m including them here because I just love their mood boards. I find their mood boards to be super easy to structure.
You can create clear sections, drag and drop many images at once, and drag to re-order. But my favorite part of Invision’s mood boards is the sizing. You can easily resize pictures, which allows you to create “centerpieces” around which you can include smaller satellite images. I use this to highlight my favorite photograph and use smaller images to enhance and reinforce the visual point. Best of all, when you change the size of an image, the positioning adjusts automatically, and cleverly.
Okay, I said I wasn’t going to talk about Adobe products, but Spark is cute. It’s an excellent little product when it comes to social media graphics, but where it shines is on mobile.
I love how I can create some pretty excellent social media posts on my phone. I think it’s worth playing around with, and it’s way more straightforward than most Adobe tools. It’s very limited in functionality, but that’s actually why I like it.
Image and Video Editing Software for Event Professionals
Like with the design tools section, I’m not going to get into the obvious non-event software options like Photoshop or Premiere. They’re fantastic tools, and I use them when I must, but most of the time, I gravitate to simpler tools. My goal, in much of my work, is speed, rather than fine-grain control. Even so, some of the below products are powerfully customizable.
I use Snagit by Techsmith about fifty times a day to resize images, crop, annotate, and edit. It’s my go-to for screen grabs as well as photographs. Where it really shines is in the resizing. When event planners send me images for this blog, they’re often high-resolution and many megabytes in file size. I pop them into Snagit, and in two clicks, I’ve resized the image with no loss in quality.
There are plenty of browser-based image tools, but I find desktop applications much faster, which is why I stick with Snagit.
Again, I’m breaking my own rule around avoiding Adobe products, but Premiere Rush is worth mentioning. I think it’s a cool video editing tool and perfect for stitching together your event videos. It’ll be way too basic for any videographer. Still, if you’re a different event professional and want to spin up a quick video reel, then it’ll work fine.
But let’s discuss Camtasia. Camtasia is built by Techsmith, the same folks by built Snagit. I use Camtasia for all of ThymeBase’s videos, both recording screens or editing external footage. I love Adobe Premiere, but nine times out of ten, I use Camtasia. Their functionality hits that sweet spot between easy-to-figure out and powerful. When it comes to effects like zooms or video animations, the presets are a massive time-saver.
Here’s a video I put together in Camtasia.
ImageOptim is yet another photo tool I use daily. But with these folks, it’s not about editing images, it’s about file size. And for me, it’s all about search engine optimization. Large photos, the kind that event professionals use, are often slow to load on mobile phones. And that impacts your search engine rankings negatively. So I simply drop any images into ImageOptim, and it makes the file smaller. But here’s the really cool part…
It doesn’t compress the image, and so the quality remains high. Instead, it strips out a whole bunch of what ImageOptim calls invisible junk: private EXIF metadata from digital cameras, embedded thumbnails, comments, and unnecessary color profiles.
Many event professionals are doing podcasts these days. And in my opinion, Descript is the best damn option for editing your vlog or podcast. How it works is just so cool. It transcribes your words. You edit your words, just like you would in a word processor. Descript then makes the edits in the video and audio automatically. If you delete a sentence, Descript trims that from your video. Seriously, just go play around with it, and you’ll see how much fun it is.
I’m including their video ad here because it’s just so much fun!
Productivity Software For Event Professionals
I couldn’t possibly end this article without getting into productivity non-event software for event planners (whatever that might mean). Really, I use some pretty cool tools daily that I want to share with you. These products make my workflow smoother in little ways that add up. It’s a broad range of software that I’ve lumped under the Productivity heading.
Well, I probably don’t need to introduce you to Grammarly, their ads are ubiquitous. I initially signed up because I write as a hobby, but I didn’t realize how useful it would be professionally until I saw how often I need it in my emails. And since event professionals write a lot of emails, I can say it will be life-changing.
For event professionals who are parents, Parent Scheduler is an excellent app to help manage your kids’ schedules. While your crazy work schedule might pull you from venue to venue, Parent Scheduler will help make sure your kids aren’t left at school waiting for someone to pick them up. I’ve interviewed Tamar, the founder of PS, and you can read about managing kids’ schedules as an event professional here.
Front is an email product that helps keep teams organized in the inbox. So if you have multiple people managing the company’s communication, and if you find that sometimes emails get dropped, double-answered, or missed entirely, the Front will be a lifesaver. They help with email overload – a problem every event professional knows intimately.
Divvy by Mizage is a window management tool. I use it to help manage, size, and resize my various windows on my desktop while I work. So if you ever get frustrated positioning windows as you work across multiple applications, give them a shot. The keyboard shortcuts have been a gamechanger for me.
Product hunt isn’t actually a product. And indeed not a productivity tool either. In fact, it’ll probably wreck your productivity when you first explore their website. But if you’d ever like to discover brand new, super fun products, especially in the productivity space, there’s no better website in the world.
Let’s Get To Work
I reckon that’s enough non-event software for event planners, at least for one article. So let’s get to work. And let me know what your favorite tools are.