Driving attendance is the #1 goal of many event organizers. Why not use your registration process to help get those prospective attendees over the finish line. Use these “insider tips” to help you understand what works and what to avoid.
1. Early birds are for the worms – When pressure to drive attendance increases, pricing tier strategies deteriorate. The days of timed rate tiers are over. Just look at your count pattern. Most registrations come in at the web opening date because marketing has created demand and the perception of limited supply drives attendees to act (i.e. hotel of choice, session limits, etc). The second wave comes in just before onsite, so this model does not drive behavior.
2. Discount codes work – Discount codes can focus your marketing efforts and can be easily measured. Common codes are used for event “alumni”, members and other targeted audiences. They can be implemented at any time and provide flexibility for changing market conditions. Helpful tip – Apply the discount code against the base registration fee. This will keep it easy for the attendee to understand what value it provides. Don’t forget to keep the shelf life short in order to drive action!
3. Make it easy to start – If your attendee has hit the “click here to register” button, let them in! Don’t redirect them to another site or inundate them with too many qualifying questions. Clear the way for them to register. Consider using a single sign-on approach or make it easy for them to locate their login information.
4. Most abandoned records occur at the pricing page – You might be surprised to find out just how many of your attendees bail just before the final submit button. This is after spending considerable time making their session and registration selections. The value of a discount code may be enough for that final push, but if not, collect those abandon records and market directly to them. This represents a pool of interested “buyers” who might just need a nudge.
5. Design for the masses –Use the 80/20 rule in your registration site and form design. If you find yourself designing special rules and features for small pockets of your audience, then think twice. Just because technology allows us to support a matrix of business logic that would confuse NASA doesn’t mean you should. Only ask for information that you will use for decision making. It’s about data capture and reporting. Do you really need that 73rd demographic question? Remember, the more complex the process, the more apprehension you introduce to the purchase process. This will be evident in your abandoned record counts.
6. Leverage social media – A growing number of social media tools are reaching the market to assist with referral and viral marketing. Similar to discount codes, these approaches can be easily applied and measured. While the jury may be out on their effectiveness, their low-cost / low-risk nature makes it hard to not at least try. It might just be a matter of time before they become the new norm. So maybe they’re worth trying out now so you’re not behind when they do.
The take away: Empathize with your attendees. When it comes to registration, keep the design clean, use creativity and data to drive marketing, and make it easy for attendees to buy from you.
David Beckett is Experient’s SVP of Registration and Onsite Services. To learn more about him, click here.