Event Espresso is by far one of the best event management plugins I have seen in WordPress incorporating an array of features to organize your events effectively on the web. The plugin allows the web admin to set up events on the website. Website visitors can then register to these events and make online payments for the same. While this is the core feature of the plugin, the features only just begin here. There are a host of additional functionalities that make the process of managing events simple and effective for the website admin.
However, having said that, I have observed that the one functionality that has found much demand, however has not been incorporated in the plugin is SMS integration. This functionality will enable the website admin to send an SMS to customers confirming registration to an event after the payment has been made. SMS integration in event espresso will be a valuable addition to the plugin owing to the mobile nature of todays world. Additionally, the SMS sent can be used as a means of verification for entry into the event thus saving clerical work on customers end as well as the event organizer’s.
How does the SMS Integration in Event Espresso Work?
1. Sign Up with a Cloud Communication Service
- The foremost task to integrate the SMS functionality in event espresso is to sign up with a cloud communication service that allows users to send text messages using web service APIs. Example of such services are twilio, exotel or clockwork
- Once you have signed up for the service you will be provided with a unique account id and token.
- This account id and token along with the mobile number registered with the service is incorporated into the functionality to start using the service on your website.
2. Enable Option to Send SMS
- The admin can enable from the admin dashboard the option to send a confirmatory SMS to the customer. This message will be sent to the customer once the customer has successfully registered for an event.
3. Set the Question Id of Phone Number Field
- The admin will also have to set the question Id of the phone number field in order to map the registration of an event correctly with a customer. This question Id will be used while sending an SMS to the customer.
4. Send Event Specific SMS
- Specific email templates can be set for every event. The user can be provided with an option in the admin dashboard to define the template for a particular event.
- Such a template would provide clarity to the customer as well as the event organizers about the event for which the message was sent.
Variations for SMS Integration in Event Espresso
While the features provided above serve the basic requirement of sending a confirmation SMS to customers, the solution can be improved with the following features.
1. Send Status Specific SMS
- Similar to event specific messages, the website admin can be equipped to send status specific messages.
- So depending on the status of the event registration transaction the customer will be furnished with an appropriate message. The template for the message can be provided in the admin dashboard.
- So, transaction statuses such as ‘Cancelled’, ‘Processed’, ‘Pending’ will have a customized message template of their own.
2. Send Test SMS
- One more feature that can added to the solution is to enable the admin to send a test SMS.
- This feature can be used to test event specific message templates or status specific message templates without the need to create dummy registrations for events.
3. Send Feedback SMS
- Following an event the event organizer can send a follow up message to the customer.
- This SMS will be mainly aimed at building customer relationship. Also, customer’s feedback on the event can be taken by providing a link in the SMS using which the customer can provide feedback.
4. Send Notification SMS
- The primary purpose of notification messages will be to notify the customer about latest updates on various events.
- The customer can be sent a notification SMS in case of event cancellation or to inform him about upcoming events in and around a particular location.
5. Send Reminder SMS
- As the name suggests, this message will be sent to a customer who has registered for a particular event.
- The main intention of the message would be to remind the customer of the upcoming event that he has registered for. The admin can define the time at which the message should be sent. However, the important thing here to note is that the set time should be before the commencement of the event.
6. Send Group SMS
- If an option has been provided to register for an event in groups then you can incrporate this into your Event Espresso SMS integration solution too.
- Like I explained above to set up the Event Espresso SMS integration solution you will have to set the question id of the mobile number field in the meta box provided in the dashboard.
- So, to send messages to all participants of a the Event Espresso SMS integration will have to be customized by adding that many meta boxes in the dashboard. These meta boxes will then have to be mapped with all the mobile number fields in the front end.
Thus, Integration of SMS in Event Espresso will thus prove beneficial for event organizers as well as for customers registering for the events.
A similar solution around the same concept can be implemented for WooCommerce too. Here the message will be sent to user once a purchase has been made successfully. The various scenarios such as product specific SMS, transaction status specific SMS are features which can be provided here too.