Five Strategic Ways to Optimize Your Conference Registration
Editor's Note: This is a guest post contribution from eventcore’s CEO, Mark Johnson. Author information is found at the end of the post. To learn more about submitting guest content to the MeetingPlay Blog email Lori.E@meetingplay.com
In the world of corporate events and conferences, your attendees have higher expectations than ever before. Is your event registration platform up to the task?
Your registration site has to be easy to understand, intuitive and flawless…that’s a given. In the highly competitive conference space, it also has to create a compelling emotional connection with your attendees. It has to set the emotional tone for the entire event. Designing for the user experience is a good part technical, and a large part psychological.
The end result? A registration experience that gets your attendees excited about your event and generates positive emotions throughout the registration experience.
“Providing a seamless, self-service and personalized registration solution will enhance the attendees’ experience and build trust with the brand.”
Are you putting enough thought into the user experience on your conference registration site? Let’s look at five strategic conference registration tips that you can use to optimize the experience from the start.
1. Think responsive, and mobile first
According to Adobe’s 2018 Consumer Content Survey, 34% of users will stop engaging if the content doesn’t display well on their device, especially if that device is a smartphone. Miss the mark here, and your potential attendees start off on the wrong foot with your conference.
If you’re using an out-of-the-box SaaS solution for your event site, this can get a little tricky. Not all event templates are set up to be responsive. Avoid this potential UX downer by making sure your event registration platform is built with fully responsive design from the start, and ideally designed for mobile first.
2. Be fully accessible
Anytime you invite people to register for your event, be cognizant of any potential disability or challenges they might have. Of course your registration site should meet all Level A & AA web content accessibility guidelines for people with hearing or vision impairments. Screen readers, photo carousels that don’t auto-move, and closed captioning on videos are some of the details that can raise the bar for all your attendees.
3. Build trust with consistent branding
You’ve put a lot of care into creating a beautiful event site that mirrors your brand and builds excitement for your conference. Attendees are psyched too, and eager to hit the “register now” button. When they do, make sure they are landing on a page with the same branding, the same excitement and the same level of quality.
With some event registration solutions, your registrants might be landing on a registration page without solid branding, and might even have an unrecognizable URL that doesn’t even include the event name. This can cause dissonance, which leads to a lack of trust – it’s a huge problem, especially nowadays as we are all becoming so much more cautious online.
“Within the first few seconds of arriving at a website, visitors will automatically scan for content and design elements that communicate credibility and safety,” writes Josh Ledgard, a landing page expert with Kickofflabs. “If the visitor is not convinced that the site is credible, reliable and safe for any reason, they will bounce from the page within the first few seconds after arriving.”
* Images: AT&T SHAPE developer’s forum; registration solution provided by eventcore
To keep your visitors feeling safe and connected, insist on consistent branding throughout your registration site. Incorporate your event brand elements throughout the entire registration experience, keeping your event personality strong and user trust high. If your registration solution doesn’t offer this kind of fully-branded experience, your users will notice.
4. Create a personalized experience for every guest
Different attendee types, agenda options, specific conference tracks, and a range of hotel choices – these are all realities in the registration flow for today’s highly complex events. Don’t make your attendees sort through all their options and figure out which is appropriate for them. This is directly opposite of the kind of intuitive, easy flow you want your guests to experience.
For example, an exhibitor should not have the option to attend the keynote address unless certain high-profile exhibitors are invited to sit in, in which case you have an entirely new invitation flow to figure out. A VIP, on the other hand, should be presented with clear information on when to arrive and what’s happening when. It’s possible to create logic flows like these in some SaaS event registration software, but it’s also possible to get it very wrong in the process. Making your attendee feel “wrong” from the get-go is not a great way to build fans. Make the experience sublime by skillfully blending your attendee data with content that supports their unique experience of the event.
Customized registration codes create this type of elegant, completely tailored experience for your important guests, and lets you determine what content each attendee sees, what they’ll pay to attend and what’s free, what hotels are available for their user type, and what sessions they are invited to attend. You can also generate one-time or multiple use codes for VIP comps, special discounts and other perks.
The result is an experience that caters to every group in your audience, getting everyone exactly the info they need, and nothing they don’t.
And that feels great.
5. Just make it easy
We’ve all been there; you start to register then the phone rings, or the coffee needs a refill. Or maybe you have some of the info you need to register, but not all. You walk away, you come back, you’ve been logged out, and none of your info has been saved.
You mutter under your breath, and start over. It’s not the end of the world; but it is the end of that easy, connected feeling you want your guests to have. And it lowers the odds of them completing their registration at all, according to Michelle Delgado from The Manifest. Their independent research found that “if someone abandons an online form, they are unlikely to return."
"More than half (67%) of users opt to abandon the [form completion] process entirely if complications arise, compared to only 20% who follow up with the company in some way,” Delgado continues.
Image source: The Manifest
Avoid this potential registration killer by making sure your technology provider can retain the data for each page as it’s submitted, and offers users the option to skip a page and return later. And when they do, make sure your system remembers what they’ve already entered, and where they are in the process.
Your guests will appreciate it, and it has another immediate effect. Your guests will feel confident that their data didn’t just evaporate into cyber air, which bolsters their confidence and builds trust in your event.
6. Speaking of safety …
Has this happened to you? You’re ready to finish registering…or paying…or doing anything online. You’ve got credit card in hand, ready to commit. Then you’re sent to a third-party payment processor…and the process comes to a screeching halt.
Many consumers balk at using third-party payment sites out of concerns for their payment security, data privacy and potential customer service problems, Delgado cautions.
“Security concerns are the top deterrent preventing users from completing online forms, with 29% opting for abandonment,” she notes.
Keep payment processing on your own event site, with a registration solution that eliminates the fear factor associated with unrecognizable URLs or third-party payment processors. Data safety is a non-sexy but absolutely critical issue in our industry. Check with your registration tech provider to be sure their data protection policies are in full compliance with GDPR, and easily viewable and understandable.
Image source: AT&T SHAPE developer’s forum; registration solution provided by eventcore
To fully optimize your conference registration process and platform, you have to think beyond the basics of “does it work” and “is it accurate.” You must give your attendees something beyond what they expect, making them feel welcome, safe and smart.
Keep the user experience top of mind when putting your event tech stack together. If you think your registration experience fails to make a good emotional connection with your attendees, talk to us. Bring us your toughest, most complicated conference registration ideas and challenges and let’s see what we can do together.
eventcore’s CEO Mark Johnson is a strategic, results-oriented executive in the increasingly complex field of event technology. He is passionate about finding those opportunities that can create value and drive strategy. An enthusiastic, engaging and influential leader, Mark uses his 20+ years of industry experience to help companies realize there are no limits on what their events can be.
(Important note about images in this blog post -- at eventcore®, we work with our customer’s existing brand assets and design standards to ensure a seamless experience across the event marketing site and registration platform.)
MeetingPlay is a mobile event app provider who develops intuitive, engaging and information-rich solutions infused with innovative technology, providing experiences that everyone will be talking about.
Contact us today to find out how you can tap into the power of meaningful connections.