If you’ve set the date and booked your venue for your event, you’re ready for the next step: setting up event registration. Registration is at the heart of all meetings and events. Not only is it the way your company secures potential revenue, but registration is many times also acts as the first impression attendees will have of your event and thus your company.
Although there is no one formula for building the perfect event registration strategy, there are proven ways to deliver the best registration experience for your attendees and drive traffic to your registration page.
To secure event revenue and build event satisfaction among attendees, discover the four strategies you can implement into your event registration process.
Step 1: Find the Right Registration Tool
Whether you’re new to the market for meeting and event registration software or reevaluating your platform, knowing what to look for in an event registration platform is important. We’ve highlighted the top, key aspects your event registration platforms should have to help you create successful events. Check them out.
The internet is a wonderful thing. With a quick Google search or by browsing popular review sites like G2 and Capterra, you can discover the top-rated event registration systems. These review sites feature real customer reviews and rate the platform by user-friendliness, support, and more. You can even reach out to industry influencers or colleagues at other companies to see what registration platform they use and get their honest feedback.
2. Align Your Goals
Ensuring that your event registration platform aligns with your company goals is essential in finding the best platform for your company. If you have a current registration platform, outline what you like and dislike about the system; likewise, if you don’t have a registration system you can outline what you like and dislike about your current registration planning process. By creating these outlines, you can combine this information with the KPI’s your company wants to improve, like automate registration to save time or have an integrated mobile app, and match this information with a registration system.
Staying on budget is important. So, knowing your budget for a registration platform upfront is important. You can use your budget registrations as a way to filter your search and find a realistic platform for your company. Many event registration platforms offer a range of packages and options at different price points, so you can find something that meets your company’s budget.
Because meetings and events are becoming a more important part of the overall marketing stack, integrations have become an essential feature of an event registration platform. Some important integrations you should look for in your event registration system are CRMs (e.g. Salesforce), marketing automation platforms, payment processors, a mobile event app, travel and expense management, analytic tools, and more. Having integrations with your registration platform will help planners understand and report their event-related data better.
5. Enhancements and Add-ons
Because most event registration technologies are not one-size-fits-all, you should ask potential platforms about different customizable add-ons they offer. For instance, many registration platforms feature a professional services team that can help your brand and build out your registration website. Knowing the enhancements or add-ons of your registration platform before you commit can save you time and frustration in the long run.
One of the top registration features today that most planners look for is a fully customizable registration platform. Having the ability to create on-brand registration pages and templates will create a consistent, on-brand registration experience for your attendees. pages.
7. Data Collection and Reporting
Another key feature to look for in your event registration platform is data collection and easy reporting. Some registration softwares allow you to monitor key benchmarks in addition to tracking the number of registrants in real-time. On some platforms, this data can then be viewed in interactive, visual reports, allowing planners to analyze registration data and easily share the information internally.
8. Customer Service
The last key aspect to look for in your registration technology is customer service. How available are their customer service team? How experienced are they? If this is a platform you have used in the past, what does your team think of the customer service team? What training options and troubleshooting options are available? Are product enhancements being made to the system regularly? The answers to these questions should help you determine if this is the right long-term technology partner for you.
Step 2: Build an Engaging Event Registration Website
So now you know what to look for in an event registration system. But how do you design your registration website? What should you include? Check out the five tips for building your event registration website.
1. Keep it Simple
To get your attendees registered to your event as quickly as possible, ensure your event registration website is simple and clean. A clean design will promote user-friendliness and diminish users’ questions. When designing your website, think about the navigation from an attendee’s perspective. Is the event agenda visible? Is the registration button easily accessible? Keeping your event registration simply can promote registration numbers and leave attendees with a great first impression.
2. Keep it Consistent
Ensuring that your event registration website is consistent with your branding and messaging is also important. You want to make sure your attendees are comfortable with your website, and using your brand’s colors, fonts, messaging, and logo will only help promote comfort.
3. Keep it Short
Like most people, attendees don’t want to answer lengthy forms, or worse, irrelevant questions when registering for your event. Depending on your event registration platform, some allow you to create pre-loadable registration fields for returning attendees to ensure an easier, quicker registration process. To prevent “cart abandonment”, your event registration page should only include forms with the most relevant, essential questions for attendees. Ask yourself why you are asking attendees each question? What will you do with this information?
4. Keep it Mobile
Integrating a mobile event app into your event registration website is essential. With an increasing 3 billion smartphone users in the world, mobile event apps are a convenient way to engage attendees and get them to register for your event. Attendees can register for your event via your event website or by downloading your event app. By encouraging attendees to register for your event on your mobile event app you secure the opportunity for you to customize attendee’s registration paths and personalize communications with them before, during, and after your event. You can also integrate a chatbot into your mobile event app so attendees can get all their questions answered regarding your event with the convenience of mobile.
5. Keep it Social
Social media is an easy way to promote your event registration website and connect your registration site to a wider audience. Planners can simply include their social media widgets on their registration sites and promote their registration page across their social channels. To engage your audience, you can create an event hashtag and encourage people to use the hashtag to talk about all things related to your event.
Recommended Resources: For more ideas on how to create buzz or to reevaluate your social media efforts, check out our our social media trends guide.
Step 3: Market Your Event Registration Website
Marketing your event registration website, as most planners know, is easier said than done. That’s why we’ve outlined the three tools all planners should consider using when marketing their site.
1. Email Marketing
Did you know most people receive over one hundred emails per day? Did you know that only 30 percent of those emails are opened? Email marketing is still one of the top ways to market and drive traffic to your event registration website. In fact, if done well, email has one of the highest ROI, when compared to other marketing channels, at 4,440% or $44 earned for every $1 spent. Check out the five tips on how to enhance your email marketing strategy.
1. Add the Human Touch
To help people feel more connected to your company and more inclined to sign up for your event, don’t use a no-reply sender email address. Instead, distinguish your emails from others in your attendees’ inboxes by using a real email address from someone on the events team. Having an email come from “Anna” instead of “no-reply” will show people that you care enough to send a meaningful communication to them.
Do you use a marketing automation tool to send your event emails? Make sure you still personalize these emails by utilizing the personalization features. You can insert small personalization details like someone’s name, which research shows leads to increased opens and click rates. You can even take the personalization a step further by creating segmented email lists based on buyer personas that featured relevant, targeted messaging. By combining different forms of personalization in email marketing, consumers will not only be more likely to open your email, but also will be more likely to be interested in registering for your event.
3. Create Buzz
How much information is too much information? Make sure your event promotional emails are not jam-packed with information about all the details of your event. Why would potential event participants register or attend an event if they already know everything that’s going to happen? Your event emails should contain teaser information that grabs your audience’s interest and leaves them wanting more, enough so that they will register for your event.
4. Use photos and videos
Photos and videos are not only regarded as two of the most effective digital marketing tools today, but are also an easy way to break up your emails and make them visually appealing. Make sure the photos and videos you use are not random. Use photos and videos as an opportunity to help communicate important information about your event. You can show off highlights from last year’s show, tease speakers, venue features, and so much more. By simply adding photos and videos to your emails, research has shown that you will increase your event or meetings page registration by 80 percent!
5. Send relevant content
Although sending relevant content to your email lists may sound intuitive, it is very important. Because people receive so many emails per day, it is crucial that your email not only stands out, but also showcases relevant event information. For instance, where is the venue? How much are tickets? Are there special discounts being offered? What is on the agenda? Answers to these questions or instructions, call-to-actions, and links to the information on your event website will keep your attendees happy and drive event registration.
2. Social Media
Did you know that event planners listed social media in 2018 as the most effective marketing tool? Why? With 3.196 billion people on social media, the channels not only allow you to expand your event’s reach, but also allow you to market to your target audience. Platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are ideal channels to market your event.
Snapchat Tools to Market Your Event:
· Especially if your target event audience is younger, Snapchat is a great tool to drive event registration. You can entice your Snapchat followers with “Snapchat only” offers and content, like a sneak preview of the speaker line-up, venue information, featured products, etc.
· Snapchat also provides planners the opportunity to give views a behind-the-scenes look at event preparation. This will help create buzz, excitement, and drive people to register for your event.
Instagram Tools to Market Your Event:
· Instagram is not only a great platform to build your event’s narrative via posts to your company’s page, but it is also an ideal platform to drive attendees to your registration page. You can create a Linktree, a free optimization tool that allows you to share multiple aexternal links with your audience in your Instagram bio. You can link to your registration page, your event’s agenda, the speaker lineup, and other event information.
· Use Instagram ads to reach a wider, target audience to advertise your event. Planners can choose from three options for ads: a single photo, a 30 second or less video, or a multiple photo post, known as a carousel. All Instagram ads also feature a “learn more” button which can be connected to your registration site or Instagram page.
Facebook Tools to Market Your Event:
· Create a Facebook event page for your specific event and invite all your followers to join. You can post promotional information, videos, survey’s, and more, and share this page across your other social channels and link it to your event registration website.
· Facebook Live is another great tool to use to promote your event and registration page. You can stream live promotional, teaser event content to your follower and interact directly with your audience.
Twitter Tools to Market Your Event:
· Twitter is a great platform to engage directly with your audience and build buzz around your event. Your tweets should contain your event hashtag, relevant event content that includes pictures or videos from past events, announcements, or answers to attendees’ questions.
· Twitter also allows you to create promoted tweets to a targeted audience. You can choose a goal (followers, engagements, leads, etc.), a target audience (gender, language, demographics, or location), and create a tweet with engaging text and a picture.
Click here for some more tips on how to use social media to market your event registration website.
3. Paid Advertising
If you want to ensure the right people see your event advertisement and register for your event, paid advertising is critical. You can include event advertisements on your company website and social channels through paid social media ads. Though paid social media ads can drive your targeted audience to register for your event, you must use paid advertising along with the other methods listed above for optimal event promotion.
Step 4: Enhance the Onsite Registration Experience
Nailing onsite check-in at meetings, conferences, trade shows, and networking events is a must for event planners, since attendees make snap judgments that will last for months about the people they meet within the first few seconds. But how do you build an onsite registration check-in system that will impress attendees? Check out the three ways planners can optimize their attendee’s first impressions.
Kiosks at Airports or Train Stations
· To minimize registration lines at your event, set up check-in kiosks at transportation hubs, like airports and train stations, that you know your attendees will be using.
· Having kiosks at these locations will not only register attendees but can also be configured to notify an attendee’s hotel that they have arrived in the city and are heading to the hotel, so corresponding room arrangements can be made. These kiosks can also alert shuttle services and inform drivers that their next client has arrived and is going to be shortly ready for pick-up. All of this will help make for a smoother registration process.
Kiosks at Event Hotels
· Self-check-in kiosks can also be set up at attendees’ hotels. These kiosks can be used to not only register or check-in attendees for the event but can also be used to print a visitor event badge to further minimize lines at the event.
Kiosks at Parking Garages
· At your event venue, another way to utilize kiosks to minimize registration lines and ensure a good first impression with attendees is to provide kiosks in parking lots or garages. To entice attendees to register at these kiosks can honor parking if they register for your event at these kiosks.
· With self-service registration kiosks, attendees can enter or verify their preloaded information from pre-registration. After they are registered, attendees can print their event badges in less than 10 seconds. You can set these kiosks up near registration desks so if attendees do have questions, staff members are nearby to help.
· Although these kiosks will save your attendees time (since the average check-in time is 30 seconds at a self-serve kiosk) and save planners money by decreasing staffing costs, make sure you don’t eliminate registration staff completely. The best practice is usually one knowledgeable staff member per every three or four kiosk stations.
2. Mobile Event App
Attendees can utilize your mobile event app to register and check into your event. In fact, if you’re using a fully integrated event management software mobile event app, the check-in portion will be pre-loaded with attendees’ information, so they won’t have to re-enter their information during check-in.
Using a mobile event app during your onsite event registration also allows planners to stay in constant communication with attendees, which has been proven to be key in hosting a successful event and keeping attendees happy. Planners can use their mobile event app to keep attendees updated about registration changes, schedule changes, and more.
3. Onsite Badge Printing
Save time and money by printing attendee badges and other credentials onsite. Instead of waiting in long lines and sifting through hundreds or thousands of pre-printed badges, printing onsite allows you to quickly assign badges to attendees, make last-minute changes, and accommodate walk-ins. To combat ticket fraud or make VIPs feel special, you can include a profile picture, which is obtained from the registration site, of the attendee on the badge.
With many tactics, technologies, and customizable systems, implementing a successful registration strategy has never been easier. Just remember that your registration process needs to be as efficient and user-friendly as possible to ensure your attendees’ event satisfaction. Although all events are unique, these four strategies can help improve your event registration process.