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Event marketing | 28 March 2016

Three Proven Ways Organizers Can Improve Event Registration Rates

JJ Bennett

As an event organizer, you have quite a few responsibilities on your plate. From managing what is often a tight budget to making sure the event runs smoothly, the list of duties never seems to end. But of all your responsibilities, it is hard to argue against the most important one being the need to ensure your event is well attended.Without attendees, it is almost impossible to mark your event as a success. Low registration rates impact everything from the satisfaction of event sponsors and speakers to the revenue and positive publicity that can be generated from the event. 

While filling your event and improving event registration rates can be a challenge, it is certainly not impossible. To help you with this process, let’s take a look at some proven steps you can take to improve event registration rates.

1. Tailor Registration To Attendee Type

One of the biggest mistakes that event organizers make with their registration process is that they make it far too difficult for potential attendees to register. Many planners spend hours upon hours writing copy or promoting their event. While these things are certainly important, not everyone will take as much convincing as others.

For this reason, it is a good idea to set up your registration in a way that enables you to cater to each type of potential attendee. Let’s take a look at potential attendee types:

People who already have their mind made up and want to attend. This group generally includes individuals who have attended an event you have organized in the past and already know the value it provides. They will likely not want to be bombarded with pages of copy trying to convince them to make a decision.

Registration Ideas For This Audience: 

Place a call-to-action, with a link, at the top of your landing page that enables this type of attendee to go straight to the registration page.

Use event registration software that enables attendees of past events to auto-complete registration forms.

People who are intrigued but want to know more. This group generally includes referrals and those who are already somewhat familiar with the type of event you are organizing. They usually want to know more information and will need a bit of convincing before making a final decision.

Registration Ideas For This Audience:

Insert information about speakers, attendees, networking opportunities, and other reasons available to event attendees. Utilize effective call-to-actions throughout the event website with links to the registration page.

People who know very little about your event or brand. This group is the one that will require the most convincing in order for them to register for an event. This group generally includes people who have been informed about the event from marketing material or from an event list.

Registration Ideas For This Audience:

Provide detailed information about your event on your landing page. Provide them with several reasons for why the event would benefit them and show them what problems your event can potentially solve.

In order to keep registration pages uncluttered, consider linking to other parts of your event website with more information about specific areas of the event. This allows website visitors to find out more about the things that matter to them while preventing them from having to sift through irrelevant information.

At the end of the day, each person is going to be at a different spot in the decision making process. You can utilize the techniques listed above to cater to each type of potential attendee without alienating any of them. 

2. Partner With Industry Outlets And Influencers

If you want to fill your event, you need to reach a large audience of potentially qualified people. While this statement may seem obvious, the simplicity of it is something that is often overlooked by organizers attempting to market an event.

One of the best ways to reach a qualified audience is to develop a partnership with relevant outlets. Partnerships with high traffic blogs, niche websites, and industry leaders who have a strong following on social media are all options for generating event buzz. In order to do so, however, you have to provide potential partners with something of value in return.

  • Provide partners with tickets that they can use in a giveaway or contest. Keeping the excitement surrounding your event going is one of the most difficult things that an organizer has to do. If you can get industry leaders to run contests in which they promote just how great your event is, this can accomplish the goals of building excitement, filling your event, and developing further intrigue.

  • Give free tickets in exchange for promotion. This is a fairly common practice that allows the industry leader to do what they want with the tickets that you give them. Industry leaders are generally more intrigued by networking opportunities than anything else, so giving them a look at the type of people who they will have the opportunity to meet at your event is essential.

  • Trade promotion for promotion. If potential partners are not interested in promoting your event, and aren’t interested in personally attending for free, consider offering to promote the website or influencer to attendees. This basically works by having them promote your event in exchange for you promoting their blog, website, or name to event attendees.

3. Create Urgency

Another one of the major mistakes that organizers make, especially on their event landing pages, is that they do not create urgency for registering for an event.

Think of your own behaviors. How many times have you gone to an event page or even a landing page for a product or service and been intrigued by it but did not pull the trigger on buying?

You say to yourself that you will think about it. Maybe you bookmark the page and say that you will come back to it. But do you ever actually come back?

Thus is the problem with event landing pages that do not create urgency, potential attendees will have the feeling that they can think about it and just come back to your event website later on. But most of the time, potential attendees forget about your event and don’t return.

But how do you go about creating urgency? Well, one of the best and easiest ways to do so is through your ticket types and registration buttons (also known as call to actions or CTAs). A button that says nothing more than ‘Register Now’ is likely to only be effective with those people that have already made up their mind to attend the event.

As has already been pointed out, other types of potential attendees will need more convincing. Registration buttons like “Claim Your Spot Before We’re Full” or “Register For An Amazing Event” can be more effective than buttons that are less exciting.

Another way to create urgency is to use multiple ticket, especially “early bird” options.

  • Offer a discount if attendees register by a certain date. Create a CTA that says ‘Register By [Insert Date] To Get X% Off’ will fare much better than one that simply says, ‘Register Now. Don’t Wait’

  • Tell potential attendees how many spots you have remaining. If your event has a cap on attendees, you can create urgency by saying something like, ‘Only 20 Spots Remaining. Register Today or Miss Out!’ This is an especially good option for free events.

The Final Word

While there are many other methods event organizers can implement to increase event registration rates, simplifying the registration process so that it speaks to different types of attendees, partnering with outlets to create buzz, and implementing tactics that create a sense of urgency are three key ways successful organizers increase registrations.

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