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How can I use Custom Objects to track events and contacts who attend events?

Frank Hagan

I run events. How can I use Custom Objects to track events and the contacts who attend the events? I need to allow contacts to register for the events and then follow up with reminder emails.

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You can certainly use Custom Objects to keep track of different Events and their Attendees. First, if you do not have Custom Objects enabled in your account, contact Support by clicking the question mark "Help" menu icon in the top right of your account and chatting or submitting a ticket. Just tell them you want "Custom Objects enabled!"

Once that is done, there is more than one way to set this kind of function up, and the complexity may vary depending on your needs! Here is a general outline of the build:

  1. Create a Custom Object for “Events” by navigating to Administration > Custom Objects > New Object.

  2. Name the Object, create the fields that you would like to use (I recommend making the Event Date a date type field instead of text). It is not necessary to make any of the fields unique or required, unless you want to make “Event Name” unique to prevent accidentally creating two Object Records for one Event. You can navigate back to the Event Object’s settings later if you wish to create more fields.

  3. Set up the relationship by clicking on “New Relationship.” The relationship will be a one-to-many relationship with the Events Object as Parent and Contacts as child. Here is a screenshot: http://screencast.com/t/Uqpt4WJW The values in the “What should we call this relationship in the other Object’s record?” boxes will be the relational field names. Later you’ll update the relational field in the Contact Record that represents the Event in order to create the Relationship (essentially turning the Contact into an Attendee of that Event). Save the relationship and click next to complete the last step in the Object creation process, which is setting up the label for the Object Records. I’d recommend adding the Event Name and Event Location merge fields to this setting.

  4. Navigate to the Events collection via the menu and create your first Event Record: http://screencast.com/t/3h9qX5RWn

  5. Create a Message under Events > Messages. In the Send Email To field of within the Message, add the value that represents the email address for the related Attendees by selecting it from the dropdown: http://screencast.com/t/ecnuCDNKfd (This is another area of the account where your relational label from step 3 comes into play.) Create as many Messages as you need for reminders and Event detail delivery.

  6. Create a Date Sequence under Events > Sequences. Add Email Steps and pull in the Messages created in step 5. Use relative date step settings to fire the Steps relative to the Event Date: http://screencast.com/t/UvDA2QMUTSU After you have saved the Sequence, open up the Event Object Record for the Event you created in step 4 and add the Event to the Date Sequence via the Sequences and Tags section.

  7. Navigate to Contacts > Forms to create an Event Registration Form. Add any fields you need to collect the desired information from the Attendees. Open up the Form’s settings area and add a new Rule. The Action of the Rule will be “change the value of a field.” In the “select field” dropdown, select the Relational Field that represents the Event and select the Event Record created in step 4 as the value: http://screencast.com/t/AHhMWGTVtSd Add any additional Contact Tags or Rules to the Form if you would like to, then save the Form.

  8. When Contacts opt in via the Form, they will be added as Attendees of the Event and will populate in the mini-collection within that Event’s Object Record: http://screencast.com/t/Kt8vqZyp You can perform Actions via this mini-collection if you’d like to send an email to the Attendees in addition to the emails that are on the Date Sequence, for example. Because you set the Date Sequence emails to “Send Email To” the attendees, the Messages will be sent to these Attendees automatically because you added their “Parent Event” to the Sequence.

Now, for a more advanced setup that allows Contacts to be Attendees for more than one Event, without severing the relationship they have to the original Event they attended, follow the instructions below for each additional Event:

  1. Navigate to Administration > Custom Objects > Events > Manage Relationships.

  2. Add a new Relationship > One to many with Contacts. Event is Parent.

  3. Add the labels for the relational fields and save: http://screencast.com/t/CmycqJZpUp1

  4. Create a second Event Record to represent the additional Event.

  5. Follow the instructions above to set up a Sequence, Form, and/or any additional components that you need. Be sure to select the appropriate Send Email To option and relational field values: http://screencast.com/t/vAHAQxAM

  6. Once you have generated Attendees for your Event, anyone who is an Attendee of both Events will have two related Parent Events: http://screencast.com/t/QVWXT4nk

  7. The Attendees will be in the mini-collection for the second Event just as they were with the first: http://screencast.com/t/QxB7nONNty4v

Frank Hagan
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Great help. How would this work for paid events? We would create an object which is 'xyz date of ABC type of event' and then have a product which is 'ABC type of event' .... would the payment integrate on the event registration form you mentioned above??

Francesca Moi 0 votes
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Hi Frank. Love this and think it will solve my question but .... I can't find "Custom Objects". I know that sounds really silly but it just isn't in my admin list. 

Any advice?

Francine

Francine Bishop 0 votes
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Hi Francine - I should have mentioned it in the response ... ask Support to turn on Custom Objects for you! You can chat in or use the link to submit a support ticket in the help ("question mark") menu at the top right of your account!

Frank Hagan 0 votes
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Thanks Frank. I found somewhere that I needed to request the feature. But I've now found I have to upgrade to Pro also to get custom objects :(

Back to the drawing board. 

Francine Bishop 0 votes
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