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Most organisations want to increase registration numbers at their conferences.  They can invest vast sums of money into event marketing in order to achieve that.  The registration process for meetings should be relatively simple.  However, far too often I have seen complicated workflows that work against that goal. In this article you will find some advice to simplify conference registration and increase your delegate count.

Make it clear

It can be tough getting visitors to your conference website (see our top 10 tips for successful event marketing). But it’s even tougher to get them to commit to parting with their, or their employers, hard earned cash.

When designing your conference website make it obvious how to begin the registration process.  Create clear “call to action” buttons in prominent places at least once on every page of your website.  This is because it’s important to give your visitors as many changes to commit as possible.  Make sure the buttons link to the first page of the registration process in order to avoid “click” fatigue.

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Simplify the process

Many online registration tools now allow social signups. These are tools that automatically import data from social media profiles to pre-populate certain fields. This subsequently makes the registration process quicker.  Additionally, ensure that auto-complete functions, that is, the information that a web browser stores, are compatible with your registration platform.

No-one underestimates the importance of data collection, and subsequent statistical analysis, as part of the registration process.  Such data helps improve the quality of the event, the design of the scientific programme, and is an invaluable source of data for industry.  However, try to avoid asking too many questions with lots of possible answers.  I recommend no more than 5 questions with between 5 and 10 multiple choice answers.

Offer group registration

For quick wins your group registration should be quick and easy because groups really can give a rapid boost to your registration tally.  If you are able to use a group registration template group leaders will appreciate this.  Good modern registration platforms will support this function.  There will still be last minute changes you have to process but at least the bulk will be done.

I recently took a large pharmaceutical group to a congress where each registration had to be done individually.  This was followed by 9 mandatory demographic questions with around 20 answers each.  You can imagine how much time it took to get the 350 delegates registered.

Top tip:  Remember that GDPR regulations mean that you now need consent to send future marketing messages to all delegates so it would be wise to re-consent group attendees directly.

Accept all payment methods

Generally I recommend allowing as many different payment methods as possible.  Remember that some delegates are not able to pay by credit card.  For example many Russian delegates do not own credit cards. Typically many attendees from the NHS have to pay by invoice.  Quite often groups will also want to pay by invoice.

Top tip: As of 13th January 2018 it made made illegal to charge a payment processing surcharge in the UK.

 

In conclusion, when you simplify conference registration improve the chance of delegates committing to attend.  Make your calls to action strong and your data collection easy and you will notice improvements.

By Rob Eveleigh, MD, Brightelm

First published on 28/03/18

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