Delegates’ experience of your event starts the minute they find out about it through one of your marketing channels. But the registration process can make or break your attendance figures, since busy prospective participants are likely to be put off by an overly complicated system. Your registration site needs to accommodate this, but it also needs to be visually appealing and easy to navigate, both with the eye and the mouse. Here are a few tips to make sure you get it right first time.
Build a strong brand
If you’re planning an event for a larger organisation you’ll already have a brand to promote. If this is the case then make sure you follow through with all of those style guidelines across the website, including fonts, colour schemes and logos wherever necessary. That recognition is likely to come in handy.
On the other hand, if you have more of a free rein, stick to a few specific complementary colours and follow them through across the whole site. Choose a clear font which is easily legible and stick to it, though you could always have one slightly different style for headings and titles.
Don’t just rely on the information in your marketing materials to get delegates to register. You need at least one, effective landing page containing important information about the event to which other sites and promotional materials can link. That said, it is vital you keep pages free of clutter, so you might consider using more than one page with clear navigation between them.
It acts as another marketing tool, but it also serves as a one-stop shop for delegates looking for event information. This will be a valuable asset right up to the day of the event, since participants are possibly more likely to check the site before they travel than they are before they even book their place, to ensure there are no last-minute hitches.
Landing pages, promotional materials and everything else to do with your event have one thing in common: they must include clearly visible links to your online delegate registration system. It should be larger than the surrounding text and stand out on the page as a bold, block-colour button.
As well as making it simple to register, you need to remove obstacles to delegates posting their activity on social media - make your “share buttons” difficult to miss, and consider giving registrants the opportunity to post to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn at the end of the registration process.
Calls to action
A call to action exists to persuade users of the website to complete a specific action, whether joining a mailing list or registering for an event. However you choose to put together your landing pages this is the one element you cannot afford to miss. Neither can your delegates, so make sure it stands out from the rest of the page, perhaps by playing with colour and contrast.
It needs to give detail so the reader knows what they are being asked to do. This means avoiding generic phrases like “Click here”, but opting for calls to action like “Find out more about [name of event]” or “Register for [name of event]”.
Smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly common at home and at work, so it’s very likely some of your delegates will not be signing up from a desktop or laptop computer. Invest time in getting the site fully optimised for mobile so that attendees have the maximum number of opportunities to sign up. Participants might check an email on their phone and follow a link, but if it doesn’t display properly they will close the page and the email will soon be forgotten.
Monitor what works
The best way to make sure your website is working as well as it should is to use an analytics package. This should tell you they number of users who have visited the site, how many actually registered and the means by which they reached the page among other useful statistics. Together, these should give you an effective picture of how your online event promotion strategy is working as a whole.
An event booking system that integrates into analytics packages would be particularly helpful here, helping you get a sense of where your delegates have come from and how you could build sales funnels in the future. From then, it’s a question of developing and improving your site until it is really working to its full potential.