RunSignUp and Email Marketing (Part One)

EmailWelcome to the first installment in a series on RunSignUp and Email Marketing. This series will be broken into four posts:

  1. (This Post): Basic RunSignUp email marketing features and capabilities
  2. More of the advanced features available in the RunSignUp email marketing system
  3. Examples of really cool ways race directors are using the email system to increase participation
  4. Best practices for making sure your emails reach their recipients and suggestions on how to increase your open and click through rates.

The RunSignUp Email Marketing system is divided into two primary features. These are manually created and scheduled emails, and the automated email system. Manually created emails are setup by the Race Director and can be scheduled to go out at any time in the future. This allows Race Directors to easily create an email and set a specific time for that email to be delivered. The automated email system allows the Race Directors to create rules around when emails should be sent. With the automated email system, the Race Director can send out emails at regular intervals or at a specific date and time, without needing to manually create each email.

Lets take a closer look at each system…


Manually Created Emails (Email Marketing -> Send Emails)


On the top left-hand side of the page you will have the option to select common recipient lists.  These include the ability to send to all participants, send to participants in specific events, and also the ability to send to only users who have signed their waivers. New common recipient lists will continue to be added, allowing Race Directors to easily contact specific participants. The really cool thing to note about these lists is that unlike using an external email marketing system, the lists are dynamic. This means that if you schedule an email to go to all participants a week in advance, all registrants who sign up between when the email is created and when it is sent will still receive the email, so you don’t have to update the lists.

Next to the Common Recipient List are the race’s Custom Lists. These custom lists allow for Race Directors to upload their own list of recipients, or to create a custom list they use frequently so they don’t always have to re-select the common recipients options. Both manually created and automated email systems can make use of the custom lists, so we will recap how to create lists at the end of this post.

Once the recipients of the list have been selected you’re ready to create your email. You must set an email name (for your purposes only, runners will not see it) an email subject, and some content in the email itself. You can also list additional recipients in case you want to receive the email yourself but you’re not on a list, set a date / time to send the email, and even upload an attachment. If you do not select a specific date / time to send the email the system will default to sending the email within 5 minutes of confirmation.

Automated Emails (Email Marketing -> Automated Emails)

Currently there are two types of automated emails, incomplete registration emails and RaceJoy emails (If you are unfamiliar with RaceJoy or are curious about how it can help improve your event check out this post, which shows how RaceJoy can significantly improve the experience for both runners and spectators alike). There will be several additional types of automated emails in the coming months including price increase emails, confirming of runner registration information, and some others. Regardless of the type of automated email though, they all provide similar functionality, and are configured in the same manner.


The Automated emails are configured such that all you need to do is enable the emails and hit save, and RunSignUp will load default emails and sending times. Based on the configuration above, an email would be sent to any registrants who started a registration but did not finish it three days after the incomplete registration at 10am. If you wanted to send additional emails to the user you can add an additional interval to send more emails. This allows you to do really cool things like have one follow-up email after a day or two encouraging the user to come back and finish registration, and a second one that includes an incentive like a coupon code. In addition to the interval options you can also set a specific calendar date to email everyone who has an incomplete registration, which can be used as a final reminder to all incomplete registrations to come back and finish.

Once you have determined which emails you want to send and when you can click on the “View / Customize Email” link. This will allow you to customize this specific email. Including editing the email subject, adding an attachment, and customizing the content of the emails. Each interval or calendar can be customized separately, so if you want to send different emails for each sending rule it’s easy!


Custom Lists (Email Marketing -> Manage Lists)

Custom lists allow you to create more advanced versions of RunSignUp participant lists, or to upload your own contact list. This allows you to make very specific email groups that are not available on the common recipient lists. For example custom lists allow you to send to only team captains, specific types of teams, and even only participants who haven’t signed their waivers.


Additionally the CSV upload allows you to take your own participant list and upload it to the RunSignUp system, so you can schedule emails and use all of the RunSignUp email features when contacting your race’s participants.


Email Settings (Email Marketing -> Manage Email Settings)

When sending all of these emails you will want to be able to control who the email is from, who the recipients should respond to, and if you want to include your race logo or sponsor logos automatically. You can configure these options on your race’s dashboard so that you don’t have to set these options every time you create a new email as shown below.


The next instalment of RunSignUp and Email Marketing will cover the more advanced features of the RunSignUp emails. This will include using tag replacement to personalize emails for each recipient, how to use the “source code” option when writing the email to customize your formatting and display, and an overview of the email marketing reports in RunSignUp, what the reports mean, and how to make the best use of them. Stay Tuned!

Part Two of the Email Marketing Series

Part Three of the Email Marketing Series

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