Welcome to Deep Dive! If you’re new to this section of the website, this is where we take an in-depth look at emerging technologies shaking up the world of mass-participation events.

Marketing is a big big obstacle to growth for most races these days. Which is why in this third feature for Deep Dive, we look at social registration platform EtchRock who promises to deliver more registrations to your race through the power of social training.

How does it work? What does it cost? Is it for you? Well, we’re about to find out. But first…

Your race’s biggest challenge

You know what it is: getting more people to register for your event. And with the number of events on offer exploding, the task is not getting any easier.

The situation is particularly critical, if one considers the effect registration income has on a race’s sustainability. With a considerable percentage of a race’s budget being made up of fixed costs (cost that don’t vary with the number of participants), most early registrations go towards helping the event break even. It is only after a minimum level of registrations has been secured that additional signups start to deliver a profit.

That is why any solution that helps deliver those incremental high-margin registrations can be a very valuable proposition. Particularly when those precious additional registrations can come naturally through your registration platform.

Enter EtchRock.

What is EtchRock?

EtchRock is a social registration platform and community marketplace (available on the web and through an iOS app with Android coming soon) for creating, sharing, discovering, joining and training for races and fitness challenges. Which is a mouthful…So let’s unpack that a little bit.

  • Create events. Every user on EtchRock can create an event, be it a group run, virtual 5k or 2,000-strong road race.
  • Join events. Every other user on EtchRock can join that event, the same way you would follow a Facebook page. If the event is selling entries, a user can join by purchasing a ticket – just like you would on any registration platform.
  • Train for events. Users who have registered for an event, can share their training runs on the race’s training page, by simply connecting their favourite fitness app.
  • Social. Every training session a user posts on the race’s training page, can also be shared on the user’s Facebook or Twitter profile, complete with #ThatRace hashtags and a link back to the race’s EtchRock registration page.

All of which makes EtchRock a registration platform where each person training for a race helps drive more engagement and more registrations to that race through the power of sharing. And it’s all down to social training.

etchrock mobile app screenshot

A shot from EtchRock’s brilliant mobile app

Training with benefits

Wouldn’t it be nice if people promoted your race for free to their friends on social media from the minute they register for it? With EtchRock that’s exactly what happens every time one of your race participants goes out for a training session.

There are basically two main pages for each race on EtchRock: the info/registration page where users can view details about the race and register for the event, and a linked training page. This is where users participating in the race can post comments and publish their training sessions, straight from their Strava, Garmin, Runkeeper or other favourite fitness app.

EtchRock training page post example

A training post as it would appear on an EtchRock training page timeline

Just as the EtchRock training page can help foster engagement amongst EtchRock users following a particular race or organiser, EtchRock’s social training cards can help take that buzz onto a user’s Facebook or Twitter feed.

EtchRock Facebook Twitter training cards

Twitter and Facebook training cards auto-generated from an EtchRock training session

All training cards posted by users on social media link back to the EtchRock race info/registration page, so anyone of that user’s friends getting curious about their buddy’s new event can link back to the race page to learn all about it. And often register to join them.

So, in essence, a user registering for a race will share training posts about that race, get more people interested and registering for the race and so on. Hence creating a virtuous registrations cycle.

Not bad, eh?

Connected

Besides the social training functionality, EtchRock comes packed with all kinds of additional promotion features, including:

  • Instant notifications to users following your organiser profile whenever you post a new event
  • Push notifications to users following your event through EtchRock’s mobile app
  • Social sharing tools with auto-generated race hashtags and backlinks

Here come the numbers!

Ok, so what does all this buzz add up to?

Quite a lot, as it turns out. According to the latest data from the platform, every training post shared by a participant on social media generates on average 6 clicks back to the EtchRock race page. If you combine that with the average posting frequency and conversion rate, this means that for every month your registrations stay open on EtchRock you’ll be getting 1 more signup for every 5 participants already registered and training on the platform.

So if a race were to receive 500 registrations on a register-only platform, by being on EtchRock it will – on average – look to benefit from another 100 registrations for every month registrations stay open. Now, there’s something to think about.

What does it cost?

The good thing about EtchRock is that, although it offers a lot more than a simple registration platform, the charges for using the service are a lot like what you would expect from a regular registration service.

Basically, in the UK you pay £1 + 1% of the ticket price to EtchRock (plus an additional 1% processing fee) and then the standard transaction fees of 1.4% + 20p to Stripe. For the US, you pay similarly $1 + 1% to EtchRock (with a further 1% processing fee) and then 1.4% + 20c to Stripe. All of which you can elect to pass on to your participants at checkout.

That’s it. All the social training stuff and the sharing buzz come with the service.

Our verdict

When it comes to something like EtchRock, it’s hard to overstate these days the value of getting your registration platform to work in delivering more registrations for your event with little to no additional effort on your part. So for that alone we give EtchRock a definitive thumbs up.

Obviously some organisers will prefer a more vanilla service and may get overwhelmed with the plethora of channels on offer to promote a race on EtchRock. However, if you are one to embrace new creative ways of delivering growth to your start line roster, you may want to take a look at how social training can help provide a boost to your registrations bottom line.

 

If you’d like to know more about EtchRock or would like to arrange a demo, you can contact the team directly here

 

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