Aug 18, 2016
Read Time: 3 min
Today’s guest contributor is Dan McCarthy, Event Manager at Ultimate Experience.
It’s very important how you go about the event registration process. While it may seem fairly simple, not having the right approach can put potential attendees off and dissuade them from attending altogether.
To up the registration numbers, you need to make the process a positive one. Otherwise, attendees will be left with a sour taste in their mouth.
Can guests register through their mobile devices? By making the process mobile friendly, attendees can register even when they’re on the move. Be sure the registration page is optimized for a smartphone. This means the page should be simple and straight to the point with no filler information. All clickable icons should also be large and spaced apart enough to enable thumb clicking. Test the mobile site yourself; if you have to strain in any way, then it’s not mobile-optimized.
Also, if it helps, you can create a separate registration page for mobile signups. Just place the link next to the link for regular registrations.
The language you use matters a great deal. It’s enough to sway the decisions of those that are still undecided. The landing page needs to contain a brief but urgent message. An overly simplistic message like “click here to register” has zero urgency. You need to get people thinking that procrastinating can potentially mean missing out.
Here are a few good examples of good call-to-actions that convey urgency:
The CTA can be written next to the register link or even be the anchor text for the link. If the latter, use bold, and blue or red lettering to distinguish it from the rest of the text. Conveying urgency is especially a good way to sell last minute tickets if sales has lagged early on.
People should be able to complete the entire registration in five minutes at the most. With that in mind, don’t bombard attendees with unnecessary questions. It’s understandable that you may want to ask specific questions for metric purposes, but the registration isn’t the time and place for that.
You may, however, include an optional survey that attendees can choose to complete at their own leisure. The survey would appear in the thank you page that appears after a confirmed and successful registration.
As for the registration itself. Keep it to the minimum. This means the essentials like:
Speaking of payment, attendees should be able to enter payment information within the same page instead of being redirected to an unfamiliar payment processing site. In addition, you should also enable payment via PayPal. This enables people to pay by inputting their PayPal address. It’s a huge time saver compared to entering full credit card details.
Some event registration software has a feature that allows you to show to the side the names of confirmed attendees. This is an effective feature to persuade those who are still deciding. When they see the large number of attendees, some of which are familiar names and faces, then they may be more inclined to go through with the registration.
This is a form of indirect peer influence that could kick the attendance number up a notch or two. Also be sure to include social share buttons on the page for registrants to post the event on their social media accounts. It’ll help promote the event without additional effort or overhead on your end.
A good number of attendees will be repeat customers who have attended past events. As such, most of their information are likely already stored in your database. This way, when they register, their information will already be pre-filled, and they can proceed straight to the submit button to receive their confirmation.
Your registration system should at the very least have an auto-recall feature, so that information is automatically filled in the minute they type a letter or number in the box.
Earlier, it was mentioned to keep the registration form as simple and short as possible. Well, there is an exception to this rule. You may elect to ask a supplementation question. This is basically a question that asks the attendee whether he/she requires special accommodations, such as handicap seating or special dietary needs. Of course, you’ll need to include a note saying that such accommodations cannot be guaranteed.
Accommodation questions are effective because they give attendees the sense that you’re going out of the way to accommodate specific needs. This will definitely earn you some brownie points especially from attendees that do actually require special accommodations.
Never underestimate the registration as just a process to get people signed up. The process itself influences attendee perception and may even influence some people enough to sway their decision about attending.
Dan McCarthy is an Event Manager at Ultimate Experience, an event management company based in the UK. Dan has 5 years of event project management under his belt. He has worked on many successful events, and currently he shares his knowledge by writing on the company blog. Follow him on Twitter @DanCarthy2.