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How to Improve Online Registration

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While it may seem like a minor aspect of event planning, event registration can actually have a big impact on the overall experience for attendees. A smooth and easy registration process can lead to satisfied guests, while a complicated one can result in frustration and abandoned ticket sales. To ensure the success of your event, consider using the following strategies to audit and improve your registration process.

Assess The Process

To improve your event registration process, test it out for yourself first. Sign up and fill out your online registration form and see how long it takes and whether or not there are any obvious hiccups that may deter people from completing the process. Think of it as a dry run and fix all the kinks before the big day.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is the registration form clear and concise?
  • Am I asking for information that is already in my system?
  • Are there unnecessary steps?
  • Are the pages slow to load?
photo illustrating the web-based registration process, rsvp and payment via stripe on an event management platform in real time

Check Your Numbers

Examine your traffic sources. How many people visit your event website? How many people click the registration link? And, finally, how many people register? If there is a massive gap between the number of people visiting your event page and the list of registrants, then something is causing people to abandon the process.

Identify Your Weaknesses

You may be able to identify what’s going on by test driving the process and looking at existing metrics, as mentioned above, or you might have to take a deeper dive.

Here are some potential causes for registration abandonment:

Poorly designed registration page:

  • The registration process is confusing and difficult to navigate.
  • The value or benefits of attending the event are not compelling enough.

Complicated registration form:

  • The registration form is overly complex.
  • The checkout timer does not allow for enough time to complete the registration.
  • You require too much information.

Technical issues:

The registration page does not work properly or is slow to load.

Lack of payment options:

There is only a limited range of payment options. Online payment processing isn't offered.

High ticket price:

The event is too expensive.

Limited ticked availability:

The event is partially sold out or there are only limited ticket types available.

Below follow 10 tips to optimize your registration process. Combine them with an email marketing campaign to recover lost registrants and you'll be able to boost your registration numbers in no time.

Tip #1: Keep Everything Simple

No one likes filling out online forms that go on forever. It is important that you keep online event registration as quick and painless as possible. To that end, only ask for the information you need. Don’t ask for a driver’s license number, grandmother’s maiden name, favorite color or some other piece of information that is not necessary for registration.

Yes, registration data is incredibly important for event organizers but with each additional question, you run the risk of irritating people and causing them to abandon the process, and with that, abandon your event.

Typically, this information is more than enough for registration purposes:

  • Full Name
  • Phone Number
  • Mailing Address
  • Organization
  • Job Title

There may be one or two other data points you wish to collect that are specific to your event but try to keep your questions to a minimum.

Tip #2: Ask for Preferences

While it's important to keep things simple, gathering a few key pieces of information about attendee preferences can make a big difference in the overall experience for all attendees.

Ask questions about dietary restrictions, accommodations for impairments, and what specifically attracted them to your event to help shape your planning process and ensure a successful event.

photo showing event attendees picking their onsite meal preferences on the registration page of an event management software, with confirmation emails as follow up

Tip #3: Show Registrants Their Progress

A useful way to keep people engaged with your online registration is to show them their progress through the process. This can be in the form of a completion bar indicating the percentage completed, or by listing page numbers such as "Page 2 of 3." Seeing how much progress registrants have made can provide them with the motivation they need to continue, especially if you have a longer registration form.

Tip #4: Design User-Friendly Registration Forms

When it comes to improving online registration, going digital is only the start. You need to make sure the forms also have a streamlined design.

For starters, make sure your online event registration forms are available on your main event website. Visitors should not be directed to another site to complete the registration process. Any time a registrant is directed away from your website, it can cause confusion and mistrust. Think about it, how many times have you clicked a link that took you to a different page only to wonder if it wasn’t some sort of scam?

Your registration page and registration form should work on all internet browsers. In most instances, the problems that arise will be minimal (typically, spacing is the primary issue), but given that this is one of the initial touch points attendees have with your brand, you will want to make sure everything looks right and functions properly on any device. Use legible fonts and bold the sections of the form that are most significant. Your registration system should be both clean and clear. Don’t forget to include your branding on your registration page, but don’t overwhelm the space with unnecessary clutter. Registrants want to get in and get out fast.

Tip #5: Allow Mobile Registration

In this day and age, mobile-friendly registration features are a must. We’re certain that you know to optimize your website for mobile, but don’t forget to optimize your registration form as well. To do this, you may have to create a separate registration form for people who want to use a mobile device to register. This could mean changing the look slightly in order to maintain spacing and readability.

There are some event registration platforms like Accelevents that use responsive design, meaning all pages are automatically optimized for mobile use. Again, the easier you can make ticket purchasing and registration on your participants, the more likely they are to follow the process through to completion.

photo of mobile attendee management showing a person registering for a virtual event, hybrid event or in-person event on the mobile app of an event marketing and management tool

Tip #6: Enable Group Registration

For some events, it makes sense to enable group registration. Conferences and industry workshops, for example, are likely to see groups of people from the same workplace attend. If you enable one participant to register for the entire group, it can save loads of time and frustration for both event providers and participants.

Tip #7: Offer Multiple Payment Options

Multiple payment options provide the flexibility that attendees like to see. Allowing attendees to purchase their tickets using a credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay, or some other option, will make the process easier. Anything you can do to facilitate easier payment is likely to result in more sales and more satisfied attendees. Remember, attendees are evaluating their experience from their first interaction with your brand. If they are not happy with the purchasing process, this dissatisfaction may carry over into the event and show up in their post-event survey responses.

Tip #8: Tie in Your Event Branding

While it may seem insignificant, event branding can truly be the piece that will make or break your event. Proper branding begins with registration. Providing a registration experience that ties in your branding concept can help to provide a cohesive experience for guests all the way from that first click on your event website.

Add your event or even sponsor’s logos to the registration pages and don’t forget to tie in any design themes like colors, fonts, or graphics. It’s these small details that will really set your event apart and help to create a memorable experience for your guests.

non-profit event page customized from a template displaying a promo message for the best event of the year

Tip #9: Use an Event Ticketing Platform

Using an event ticket platform can help you improve the entire online process, from ticket purchase to registration to event check-in. With Accelevents, for example, you can create a mobile-friendly website (complete with event branding), process ticket sales and registrations, allow for mobile donations if appropriate, and streamline check-in.

Tip #10: Don’t Neglect Your Check-In

You’ve already worked hard to to improve your online registration process, don’t let things fall apart at the next significant touch point. An easy registration process should lead to an easy check-in. With Accelevents, your event staff can scan tickets to check in guests in a matter of seconds, and they can also process any last-minute registrations or ticket sales. That way, everyone stays happy!

Why Optimizing Your Registration Process Is Key

As an event organizer, it is important to show your guests that you value them. One of the easiest ways to do that is to value their time. Improving online registration can reduce frustration, increase completion rates, and create happy attendees who are excited to participate in your event.

For more information on online event registration, ticketing, and choosing the right online event registration software, check out The Ultimate Guide to Online Event Registration and Ticketing.

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