Best Practices in Event Registration
Build it and they will come. Your budget is set. Your speakers are confirmed. Your venue is selected, and your transportation is lined up. You are officially ready to open registration. The registration process is no time to put your event planning on hold. It is an integral time in the planning stages. It requires constant analytics, marketing, and follow-up in order to ensure budgeted goals are met and hopefully exceeded! Here are a few best practices in event registration to help you along the way.
Create an Online Presence
Offering online registration should go without saying, but we’ll say it here anyway. Creating a landing page on your website allowing attendees to register online is the first step in opening registration. If you host a large annual conference, consider creating a separate website for the event. The website and/or landing page should consist of a registration form and online payment. It should also outline all your event details, including frequently asked questions, timeline, speakers, sponsorship details, and event contact information.
Using an integrated online registration service will allow your attendees to pay online and use promo codes if needed without leaving your website. Association management software programs or separate event management software programs can handle this service.
Utilize Social Media
Make it easy for your attendees to share your event. Create custom share links such as “click to tweet” or “share on Facebook” so that your attendees can organically spread the news about your event. Although your event is likely linked to a calendar on your website, adding it as an “Event” on Facebook will make it visible to a wider audience. From Facebook, you can link back to your online registration page.
Additionally, all online marketing pieces, including the event landing page, should include social sharing widgets – Facebook like and share buttons. Requiring speakers and sponsors to share your event on their social media channels will also increase your reach. When done correctly and consistently, social media can be your most cost-efficient marketing tool.
Follow-Up, Follow-Up, Follow-Up
Did we mention you should follow-up? Keeping in touch with your registrants will make your event go smoothly. Your online registration system should include automated confirmation and reminder emails. But, don’t just “set it and forget it.” The more complicated your event is, the more touch points you will need between sign-up and event day. Don’t assume your registrants will check your website regularly for updates. If timelines change, send registrants an email notification. Make sure they have the latest agenda, contact information, transportation information, maps, etc. If your event has a mobile app, be sure registrants download it and know how to use it. Many paperless events depend on mobile technology to communicate with attendees through the life of an event.
Create Seamless Transition from Online to Onsite
The day of your event has arrived! It’s time to close the loop from registration to check-in. Make the process seamless. Be prepared with a user-friendly (or staff-run) process for check-in and name badge retrieval. Many online registration program are integrated with badge printing and attendee check-in modules. Using tablets or touch-screen monitors are ideal for printing badges on demand. If you pre-print name badges, always take a computer and printer as back-up for last minute changes, walk-ins, etc.