Event registration may seem like an insignificant part of your planning but it can set the tone for your entire event. Remember, attendee satisfaction often hinges on the little things.
A complicated registration process is likely to result in frustrated guests at best and at worst, incomplete registrations and abandoned ticket sales. The last thing you want is for your guests’ first experience with your event to be negative and it doesn’t only apply to physical events, but also with virtual events too. If joining an online session is too complicated, they just might leave even if they’re interested.
Here are some tips to help you improve online registration and make things easier for you, your event management team, and your guests!
1) Assess the Process
Before you can figure out how to improve online registration, you need to know what does and does not work in the current process.
Be your own guinea pig! A great place to start is by registering yourself. By filling out your online registration form, you can see how long it takes and whether or not there are any obvious hiccups that may deter people from completing the process.
If you’re having a virtual conference, register as a guest to test everything including video streaming, chat functionality, meeting rooms and vendor booths. It will be like a dry run, so fix all the kinks before the big day.
Is the registration form too long? Are the pages slow to load? Are there unnecessary steps? The only way to know for sure is to try it yourself.
2) Check the 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 page or registration and the list of registered attendees, then something is causing people to abandon the process.
You may be able to identify what it is by going through the process, as mentioned above, or you might have to take a deeper dive. For example, your potential guests could have a bad experience due to the checkout page timing out too quickly.
If you find this to be the root of your problem, you can make the appropriate tweaks like extending the checkout timer, adding exit intent to your registration page, or sending out cart abandonment emails.
3) Keep it 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
- 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.
4) Ask for Preferences
While you want to keep things simple, it is important for you to gather information that will improve the experience of all attendees. One or two questions pertaining to attendee preferences can do just that.
These types of questions can include dietary restrictions or any accommodations that may be required to address various impairments like visual or hearing deficits.
This is also a place where you can ask questions about which sessions are most attractive or what specifically made them choose to participate in your event.
Gathering this information will help you shape your planning process to design an experience that better suits the preferences and needs of your guests and attendees.
5) Show Progress
One of the best ways to keep people engaged with your online registration is by showing them their progress.
Whether you have a completion bar that indicates the percentage completed or you list page numbers like “Page 2 of 3,” letting people know approximately how much is left can give them that final push of motivation to continue.
This tip is especially helpful for longer registration forms. If your event requires you to collect more information than the standard details, showing individuals their progress through the online forms can be useful.
6) Streamline Design
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?
Make sure that your registration page and registration form works 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 touchpoints attendees have with your brand, you will want to make sure everything looks right and functions properly.
Use legible fonts and bold the sections of the form that are most significant. Your registration form should be both clean and clear.
Do not forget to include your branding on your registration. But, do not overwhelm the space with unnecessary clutter. Registrants want to get in and get out.
7) Allow Mobile Registration
In this day and age, being mobile-friendly is a must.
We’re certain that you know to optimize your website for mobile but do not 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 mobile. This could mean changing the look slightly in order to maintain spacing and readability.
There are some software tools and 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.
8) 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 management and participants.
9) Allow 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.
10) Tie in Your Event Branding
While it may seem insignificant, your event’s branding can truly be the piece that will make or break your event and that 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 is these small details that will really set your event apart and help to create a memorable experience for your guests.
11) 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.
You’ve already worked hard to to improve your online registration process, don’t let things fall apart at one of these other significant touchpoints. 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. Everyone stays happy!
Why make things harder on yourself than they need to be?
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 provider, check out The Ultimate Guide to Online Event Registration and Ticketing.