5 Great Ways to Improve Your Event Registration Process

Callie Hinman
August 10, 2021

For the average association, virtual and in-person events can account for up to 30% of the organization’s annual revenue. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your online event registration process is streamlined, secure, and supports a positive user experience.

Your goal should be to remove any obstacles between potential event registrants and their successfully completed registration.

Here are five effective ways you can improve your event registration process to encourage higher turnout.

1. Invest in the Design and Content of Your Registration Page

Your event registration page is essentially a digital brochure for your event. It’s what introduces potential attendees to the event and helps them decide whether or not the event is something they want to be part of. In other words, your event registration page can’t be an afterthought.

Each event page should be unique, visually appealing, and showcase important information about the event. It should communicate to members and supporters not just the basic facts like the date, time, and location but also clearly illustrate why it’s worth their time (and money) to attend.

Display the agenda along with details of presentations and educational sessions, including session descriptions, learning objectives, and key takeaways. If your event will have guest speakers, feature their photo, bio, and a link to their website.

You can also include blogs and video recaps from previous years as well as testimonials from attendees of prior events to help inspire FOMO.

2. Optimize and Simplify Your Online Event Registration Form

It might seem like a little thing, but a well-designed registration form can actually eliminate registrants’ barriers to finalizing payment.

Your registration form should have the fewest fields possible and require only the most essential information. (You can always get additional details from registrants later.)

You should try to keep the entire process to a single page, too. The shorter the process, the more likely the registrant will finalize payment. If a multi-step registration is necessary, include a status bar or step number so registrants know how far along they are in the process.

Additionally, the event registration form (and the page on which it lives) should be mobile-friendly. This means designing the page so elements are “thumb-friendly” and formatted for the greatest readability. You should not expect registrants to scroll horizontally to see all of the content when viewing the page on a mobile device.

If you can, you should also give returning event attendees the option to use auto-complete fields that automatically fill in their information from a previous registration.

3. Provide Plenty of Support Resources

Even if you design an event registration page with the most user-friendly form and what you consider to be the most comprehensive description of the event, there will still be questions. A potential attendee should be able to quickly find the answers to their queries in order to encourage them to move forward with registration.

Accordingly, part of a positive event registration experience is proactively answering questions about the event and the signup process.

To keep the event registration page from being too cluttered, you should include a handful of FAQs with a link to a separate page with the complete list. This self-service knowledge center will help potential attendees find information on their own without having to reach out to association staff.

Additionally, you should include a contact number and/or email address on the event registration page so members and supporters know exactly how to get a hold of someone who can help if they need further assistance.

4. Use the Right Event Management System

The right event management system isn’t necessarily the latest and greatest platform; it’s the one that fits your association’s unique needs and budget.

Some organizations need a more complex system with advanced features, while others need a simpler solution. To make sure you’re selecting the right software, start by thinking about the broader aspects of your event schedule.

In a calendar year, how many events does your association usually host? How large is an average event? What is the percentage of in-person vs. virtual events? Do you need to accommodate hybrid events? Will you need to store recorded sessions as part of on-demand programming?

Next, take an objective look at your current event registration process. Identify what is going well and where there are opportunities for improvement.

Outlining the general characteristics of your events as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your process will help you understand which event management system functionalities are must-haves vs. nice-to-haves, and which you simply don’t need.

Pro Tip: Associations of every size will benefit from an event management system that features integrations with the other solutions used to manage operations, including association management systems, learning management systems, and online payment platforms.

5. Make Paying for Registration Easy and Secure

Submitting payment is the last step in the online event registration process, which means it’s also the final hurdle between an attendee and successfully registering.

Rather than redirecting registrants to a third-party site for payment, you can use an online payment solution like AffiniPay to take advantage of integrated payments. With integrated payments, members and supporters don’t have to log in to a separate payment portal; they can complete payment right on the registration page.

Integrated payments allow you to create a secure, branded payment experience and seamlessly incorporate online payment acceptance into your event registration process through your event management solution.

If you are hosting a simple event that does not require a complex registration system, AffiniPay allows you to create unlimited branded, customized payment pages to create a frictionless payment experience for registrants.

The best part about using an online payment solution like AffiniPay is you can utilize hosted fields. Hosted fields look like any other text field on your site and replace fields that collect sensitive payment information, such as credit card numbers. Any data captured by a hosted field is encrypted and sent directly to our secure servers, which reduces your PCI obligations.

Don’t let a clunky registration process hurt event attendance. Take the five steps above and get ready to see registration rates sore.