Top 7 Secrets for Success: Registration Online
By Bill Flagg
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In working with more than 9,000 clients, we've seen some really great ways to enhance event registration. And the best thing is that with the advent of online registration systems, many of these techniques can be automated and streamlined.
The result: a better experience for your registrants.
- Take the time up-front
You might be surprised how simple changes in your registration design can make everything much easier and more efficient for you and for your attendees - which makes everybody happy! Plus, preparation up-front will save you a lot of time and hassle in the end. Online registration systems are event registration tools to help you build your event quickly. But, all too often, building the event takes longer than anticipated because not enough time was spent designing the registration process.
Give yourself a week or more to create a great design for your online registration. That way you can percolate some really good ideas, bounce them off of others, and even get some assistance from your online registration system’s support team. Some support teams will help you scope everything out, brainstorm on ideas, and even help you build your registration pages.
- Maximize registration time
Give yourself plenty of time to register and round up registrants. The more time you have to register people before an event, the more registrants you’ll have. We see so many events where registration starts a couple weeks before the event. By increasing the registration period, people perceive the event as being bigger, more important, and have a sense that it’s even more worthwhile for them.
This also enables you to have tiered pricing, such as early bird specials that motivate people to sign up even earlier. Some online registration systems will automatically turn different pricing tiers on and off based on dates that you set.
- Make Signing Up Easy
Give your prospective attendees as many opportunities as possible to say “yes” to your event. How many times have you come across an event you’ve wanted to attend… only to have to sort through web pages to try to find the small “register here” text link hidden at the bottom of a page. This means lost registrants and revenue. It also means more staff time in directing people to where to go. Display the link prominently on your home page, in the navigation bar, certainly on every page that discusses the event, at the bottom of emails (in the signature), and include the URL on your printed materials.
- Welcome them in
A "welcome" message is such a nice touch that tells people exactly what event they are registering for and make them feel good. It’s a wonderful opportunity to remind your prospects of the value they’ll get out of attending your event. Be specific. Whether it’s a conference, incentive trip, training, or golf tournament, we all need reassurance on why we are investing our time and money. It is also a good place to explain a little bit about the online registration process (especially if there’s a lot to decide on or fill out)
Welcome to the Conference on Happy Golden Retrievers. We are so excited that you will be joining us in Lake Tahoe this August 20th-23rd.
Among the 300 happy goldens, all the cool dog tricks they’ll do, and all the fun we’ll have hanging out with each other, it ought to be dog-gone-fun! In the next four registration pages we will ask you some questions about you and your dog, your preferences for meals, your hotel preferences, and your preferred method of payment."
Please feel free to call or email if you have any questions or problems along the way. We want to make sure you are as happy as your golden."
- Give access to detail
One reason people abandon their registration is because they want to learn more before buying. Having links from the registration pages to more detailed pages (either on the registration form or to your website) is very important. It enables the registrant to open secondary windows, get more information, and then come back to finish their registration. You may want to encourage people to call you while they are registering, so they can get answers right away and finish their registration right then and there.
- Fulfill their desire to buy
Give your registrants the opportunity to buy more than just an event registration. Your registrants are already in the buying mood. They may be itching to get something to help them before, during, or after your event. Do you have books, t-shirts, tapes, white papers, or autographed copies of books from the speakers at your event? Or if you are a charity, this might be a great opportunity to ask for a donation. With an online registration system, you can offer your registrants additional value (with very little additional effort) as they are going through the registration process.
- Thank your registrants
With online registration, the system automatically sends out confirmation emails to the registrant. Use this opportunity to help your registrant feel really good about their decision to attend. Write a confirmation email that sincerely thanks them, gets them even more excited about their decision to attend, and gives them a subtle reminder to tell their friends and colleagues. You may even want to put a special offer in the confirmation that would help their friends get a deal on your event.
I sincerely hope this article makes your conference and event registration even more successful!
Bill Flagg is the President of RegOnline
Putting smiles on the faces of over 9,200 event-planning professionals worldwide because it is the easiest-to-use online event and conference registration system available.
P.S. - If you would like to receive more tips like this via email then go to http://www.RegOnline.com/eTips
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Article Submitted On: December 28, 2005