Introduction

The meeting and event industry is constantly changing as improvements in technology make it easier for planners to engage with attendees. But what hasn’t changed is the importance of keeping your attendees engaged throughout your event lifecycle to increase ROI.

Registration is at the heart of meetings and events. It’s is how event professionals secure attendees and thus how you secure potential revenue. In addition, registration acts as the first impression your attendees will have about your meeting or event and may impact their event satisfaction. As a result, you need to ensure your event registration process is as efficient and user-friendly as possible.

Within this guide, will teach you how to create a successful event registration strategy in 2020 and deliver the best registration experience for your attendees. From the registration process to receiving attendee feedback after the event, these event essentials can help any planner succeed and secure potential revenue for years to come.


How to Improve Your Event Registration Process

Creating an event registration strategy for your attendees is one of the most important parts of the event lifecycle. By registering for your event, attendees are clearly interested in what your event will offer them. Making the process as simple as possible will ensure that they complete the registration and attendees will head into the event with a positive impression. Not only does a clear and easy registration process increase the number of people who complete it, it also creates a level of trust between attendees and the event organizers.

 

Keep it Simple

Once someone decides they want to attend your event; they want the registration process to be as quick and efficient as possible. Think about it from the attendees perspective, meaning that if you or a member of your team finds the process a bit more difficult than expected, odds are your attendees will feel the same way.

Keep the number of pages and forms to click through to a minimum. Think about what information is truly essential for you during the registration process and what can be collected later.

Event registration attendee information form

Make your registration fields pre-loadable for returning attendees. Once they type in their email address, all their basic information will automatically be filled in.

Only provide questions that are relevant to them. Customizing questions by attendee type (speaker, sponsor, basic attendee, etc.) will streamline the process by only showing questions that matter to them.

Pay Attention to Details

Test and retest payment functions for your event, especially if you are accepting multiple currencies. Nothing causes more anxiety than when an attendee sees an error message after putting in their payment information.

Features such as confirmation emails and the clear display of refund and private policy information help build a level of trust between the organizers and attendees that will carry through the rest of the event process.

Make Support & Changes Convenient

No matter how straightforward you think your registration process is, there are bound to be questions from attendees.

Provide contact information for support in an easily accessible area. Go even further by having a help chat window or include a link to FAQs on your event website.

Quickly and easily answering attendee questions can make the difference between having a committed attendee or one that finds an excuse not to register.

Consider linking your registration to your email marketing and send an email to someone who started a registration but didn’t finish it. If they left the process, give them a reason to come back with a follow up email that highlights a popular keynote speaker or exciting networking opportunities.

When allowing attendees to edit their registration information, make sure they can’t change details that have been solidified on your end, i.e. rooming information already sent to a hotel.

Include Hotel & Travel booking Options

A simple way to make travel management easy is to include hotel booking options right in the registration form.

Businesswoman sitting on an airplane working on her laptop

Things like room rates and room types should be presented in a clear and concise manner. For attendees who are not ready to make accommodation decisions while they’re registering, allow them to go back in to add or edit hotel needs at a later date.

Go beyond typical options like hotel room block discounts and coupon codes to include selections such as room sharing. This can help make your event more affordable, as well as greatly reduce your housing budget.

Consider integrating your event registration software with a global distribution system (GDS). This will automate transactions between travel service providers and travel agencies, making it easier to offer your attendees the best travel accommodations and make all of your data seamlessly connect.


Creating a User-Friendly Website Registration

As the common first touch point with potential and returning attendees, your event website needs to be the central location for all event information. No longer is your event website the single form of online marketing – you have social media, videos, blogs, sponsors, media websites and more that are linking back to your event. That means that your website needs to be the hub that connects them all! There are a few key things that you want your website to be: clear, informative and exciting.

 

Showcase Important Information

When a potential attendee visits your website, they’re looking to find out more about your event. Include the information that will answer attendee questions in regard to your message, benefits, event info, registration and more.

Questions to Consider:

  • Who does this event benefit?
  • Why should they attend?
  • Where is it being held?
  • When is it?
  • How can they register?

Add widgets with information to register, location, date, keynote topics and social media icons. This can be a staple on every layer of your event website, so that no matter where they are there is always the option to register or continue the conversation within your event community.

Make it Appealing

Aventri's Website Builder template selection

Showcasing logos of notable attendees and sponsors on your homepage could be the right move to entice someone to register if there is a company present that they want to connect with. Go into detail with your agenda by showcasing the different tracks, descriptions, takeaways and direct links to the speaker bios. Have one page with all the different sessions and tracks in a list with a short bio and give attendees the option to read more by opening up a shadow box on the same page.

Questions to Consider:

  • Why would someone want to attend your event over all others?
  • Booking meetings or events 30-90 days out

Add extra features to generate positive emotions before the event, such as video interviews with your keynote speakers. If this is an annual event, post a video from last year's event or testimonials of attendees who were attending.


Driving Traffic to Your Registration Page

No matter if you created your own event website, or it lives on a page on your site, or you’ve utilized an event management software to create a registration site, chances are, you are looking to drive traffic to your event website. It’s not sufficient to simply have an event website if it’s not widely accessible to your potential attendees!

Whether you’re looking to drive organic traffic or direct traffic, there are many ways you can increase traffic to your registration site.

Identifying Your Brand Strategy

From designing logos and selecting colors, to brainstorming mottos and key phrases, every detail listed will help set the tone for your event. No matter what type of event or meeting you are creating a branding motif for, it needs to be professional, high-quality and unique to your event’s intended look and feel.

Be consistent across your entire marketing strategy

When implementing your branding, consistency is the number one factor when wanting to look professional and appealing to attendees. Your event website, registration pages, social media profiles and emails should be consistent, whether it’s a new event, or you’re updating branding for an annual event, build trust and positive expectations for your attendees. From researching your event, to typing in their payment information, you don’t want to have attendees (especially new ones) second guess your credibility because something seems off or outdated about your event’s representation online.

an example of an event website product page on laptop screen

Create and reuse templates with your branding

One of the easiest ways to keep up with consistency is to create templates with your branding, so that no matter who on your team needs to add a new webpage to your website or create a promotional email, your branding is already formatted to your preferences.

Along with increasing consistency, by creating templates you’re also saving staff valuable time and money, as any important or urgent information that needs to be posted online or sent out via email can be completed in minutes.

Engage Attendees with Email Messaging

Even though communicating with attendees can be done through a variety of channels (social media, phone, text, etc.), email is still a event professionals  go to throughout the entire event lifecycle. Whether it’s used to promote registration, send important event updates or even just to say “thank you for attending” post-event, sending exceptional event emails is crucial to maintaining attendee engagement.

Keep the Design Simple

When you design event emails, keep it simple and clean. Attendees won’t know what to look at first if an email has an overload of graphics and information.

Consistency is important with design. Include your event’s logo, colors and other design elements to tie everything together. Make important actions, like registering, utilizing a discount or even following social media accounts, easy and clear by including buttons and widgets.

event professional checking their emails on a mobile phone

Include Content that is Short & Personalized

Think about what information is crucial for your attendee to know in that moment and link to the website for additional info.

If you’re planning an event that’s annual, and you have a list of former attendees who’ve opted in, send them special “VIP” or “early bird” opportunities to access your event registration website. If you have some attendees who’ve already signed up, consider offering them referral links to the event registration site for their friends, or link to the Facebook event in your confirmation email. Incorporate CTAs into your emails as well to make your event registration accessible and available with nothing more than the click of a button.

Don’t forget to include a captivating subject line. Along with looking to see who the sender is, attendees will also look at the subject line before even opening the email. Make the subject line a phrase or sentence that will make attendees want to open your email.

Maintain a Proper Timeline

When it comes to scheduling emails, finding the right balance throughout your event timeline is critical.

Consider scheduling emails on a consistent weekly or biweekly basis. You want to send enough emails to keep attendees up to date, but also not so many that you’re bombarding them with your messaging. You can always increase messaging the closer you get to the event. Use an email scheduling calendar that can be created through your marketing automation or email software to stay on track.

Encourage your employees to link to the event registration in the signatures of their emails. Chances are, they’re interacting with people via email on a regular basis in the same industry who would be interested in registering for your event.

Step up Your Social Media Game

Social media allows event professionals to reach their audience on a more personal level via platforms they regularly use and love. Make sure you’re properly utilizing all of your social media channels and cater your content appropriately keeping your hashtags consistent across all channels. 

Female holding her phone using social media apps

Have a thorough social media plan

A proper social media implementation takes a lot more planning than one would think. Meet at the beginning of your event planning cycle to discuss a strategy of who, what and when. Think of ways to use social media pre-event to drive registration, during the event to engage onsite and post-event to get attendee feedback. Update/ create unique hashtags (and double check that your hashtag isn’t already in use!) and decide on any themes or goals to carry throughout your plan.

Use social media as a customer service/feedback tool

While social media is extremely effective at being an informational tool to post updates, announcements and the like, don’t forget about its role as a customer service and feedback tool. Have someone monitor your direct messages, comments or other channels to address any questions or concerns. Whether it’s sharing the Wifi password or nipping a disgruntled attendee in the bud, they’ll appreciate a prompt and friendly response, as will others witnessing the exchange.

Explore the World Outside the Standard Platforms

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are staples, but consider using other mediums as well. It can be overwhelming as there are countless choices seemingly popping up every year, but before you jump on board, take a look at your audience first. What type of people attend your event and what platforms are they already using? For example, if your attendees are young and tech-savvy then Instagram and Snapchat with a branded geofilter are great options. If your event is more business-focused, having a strong LinkedIn presence is perfect.

Which social media platform is right for your event? 

Which Social Media Platform is Right for Your Event

Increase Visibility & Boost Attendance with SEO

As your event approaches you really need to be aware of how you can reach your audience and get as much visibility in SERPs (Search Engine Ranking Page). Take the time to thoroughly evaluate which keywords you need to drive traffic to your event registration site and create content that resonates with your audience. The more relevant your content is to your event, the more interest your attendees will have, both pre- and post-registration.

Google Search Performance

Driving traffic to your registration website via organic search is less invasive than digital ads as well as more appealing if done correctly. Consider investing in guest posts or advertorials on sites that feature event industry news. The more places the link to your event registration website lives, the greater the traffic!

Refresh/Recycle Old Content

Don’t be afraid to go back and update old content as well. By updating your old content, you can give it a second life and transform it into content that will continue to drive massive search engine traffic. If you can dig up old posts that are relevant to your current and upcoming event, use that as another means of event promotion.

Recommended Resource: Are you struggling market your events more efficiently? Our free eBook Future of Event Marketing 2nd Edition will discuss the big shifts happening online and offline and help you navigate through the overarching trends in our industry today.

Use Paid Advertising to Supplement Organic Efforts 

When it comes to SEO everyone wants quick results, but the truth is that it can take weeks for you to see the impact from your SEO strategy. Paid search on the other hand can provide more immediate results making them the ideal supplement to organic search efforts.

Increase Your Reach Using Paid Ads

Aventris paid ad on Google

PPC ads appear at the top of organic results in the search engine results page when users search for relevant keywords and phrases. These ads help boost the visibility of your registration website and can be helpful in connecting you with a wider audience online.


The Onsite Registration Experience

What’s important at this stage of your event is to make a good first impression for attendees and stakeholders. And since onsite registration and check-in is one of the first things your attendees experience on day one, you want it to go as smoothly and quickly as possible. By creating an efficient process, you will help set a positive, professional tone for the rest of your event.

Tips to keep in mind when creating an outstanding onsite experience for your attendees are: 

  • Offer self-service check-in/ registration
  • Print badges onsite
  • Keep track of data to make sure your attendees’ needs are being met year after year 

Recommended Resource: When it comes to events, an attendee’s first impression is often made with the technology they interact with; how and where it’s used, how seamless it is and how it drives convenience as well as engagement. Our free eBook Optimizing the Attendee Journey was developed to help event planners around the world make better, more strategic decisions when it comes to onsite technology.

Offer Self-Service Check-In/Registration

Setup self-service kiosks near the registration desks where attendees can verify their own information and print their own materials.

Male business professional using a self-service kiosk to check in at an event

If you allow last minute attendees to go through the entire registration process on the kiosks as well, make sure they can accept all proper payment methods.

To help the self-service process go even quicker, preload registrant data from previous events to further benefit your loyal attendees.

Print Attendee Badges Onsite

If you want to save time and money, print attendee badges and other credentials onsite instead of prior to the event. Your attendees will not have to wait while your staff flips through hundreds (or even thousands) of pre printed badges, and any last-minute changes or edits can be completed in-person.

Track Data

Think of the valuable data you can track during the check-in/registration process. For example, it could be the number of attendees who used self-service kiosks over those who checked in in person, the number of day-of/ last minute registrants or the highest number of registrations at a certain time. These numbers can help you decide the ratio of staff to self-service kiosks or to have a larger check-in space next year, but above it all it can help guarantee that your attendees are having the best onsite experience that you can provide.

Event Intelligence Goals & Analytics Tool

Add a Human Touch

Have a dedicated staff member to welcome attendee. This person can make sure that people waiting to check-in have the proper information readily available or that their phone brightness is high enough to ensure their mobile barcode scans. Not to mention, it's nice to add a little human touch to those who choose the self-service route. 


Important KPIs That Impact Event ROI

Data is crucial to analyzing your successes and recognizing your failures at each event you organize. All in all, it’s the stuff that helps you create a better event experience for your attendees, as well as increase your event ROI. But if you’re collecting all this data, you need to make sure you’re reading it in the right way and often enough to get the most out of it.

Pyramid diagram with ROI at the top to symbolize the importance of data and event ROI

You could be using the best reporting software, but if you’re not taking the time to customize your data experience to your own unique needs and goals, then it could end up hurting your organization in the long run. Work smarter, not harder when it comes to analyzing your event data!

Consider these registration KPIs to successfully tackle getting measurable results from your event and to understand event ROI better.

Registration Timeline

From early-birds to last-minute registers, understanding the registration times can tell event professionals a lot about the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.

Having this information at your disposals allows professionals to make data-driven decisions based on insights from their event and help them evaluate success and recognize areas of improvement during the registration cycle.

Promotional Codes & Discounts

Tracking what promotional or discount codes work and don’t work enables event professionals to better align their pricing and marketing structure. Moreover, they gain a deeper understanding of attendee thoughts, behaviors and intent.

EventProfs can not only see what discounts were the most popular, but they can determine how long and at what point of the registration cycle to incentivize potential attendees to register for their event.

Onsite Walk-Ins

By tracking walk-in data year over year, you can account for the unexpected number of attendees and be prepared by having additional meals and supplies ready.

long line of attendees waiting to register for an event

Collecting and analyzing this data allows organizers to determine how many "extras" to budget for. If your expectations for walk-ins in the past have been too high you will now be better prepared for the unexpected, which can save you money and provide a better event experience.

PC vs Mobile

It's no secret that attendees are becoming more tech-savvy and are accessing the internet on mobile devices more-so than ever before. Understanding where your visitors are coming from is helpful when want to capture their attention when they land on your website. 

If you track how your audience prefers to register for your event, you can deliver a more personalized experience by running online ad campaigns on the devices they used to access your site.

Bottom line, you could be using the best reporting software, but if you’re not taking the time to customize your data experience to your own unique needs and goals, then it could end up hurting your organization in the long run. Work smarter, not harder when it comes to analyzing your event data!


Conclusion

While there are many consistencies throughout the planning process, it’s important to remember that event registration is the foundation of any successful event. By collecting and analyzing registration data you’re able deliver a perfect registration experience that fully aligns with your brand and resonate with your attendees, exhibitors and sponsors.

Aventri Platform

At Aventri our event registration platform is the most secure, easy-to-use, highly customizable and feature-packed platform powering meetings and events of all sizes. Learn more how Aventri can help deliver a perfect registration experience and increase the number of attendees at your events!

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