Have you ever tried to purchase or sign up for something online and find yourself in an internet abyss of frustration and unanswered questions? Unfortunately, this is how some event exhibitors and attendees feel when they’re trying to register for a conference or trade show. But, event registration doesn’t have to be that way!
At Expo Logic, we design and host online registration sites for a wide range of event producers in virtually every industry. Over the years, we’ve garnered a few best practices that we share with our clients to help them create useful and user-friendly registration interfaces. If you’re planning to create a new registration site - or would like to revamp an existing one - we recommend you incorporate these expert tips:
MAP IT OUT: Pretend you are the end user and walk through the entire registration process from beginning to end. Start with your "welcome" page or splash page. What needs to be communicated in this area and what decisions does the user need to make? What page should be next? How about after that?
Envision the steps the end user will take as you map out the flow of your site. Plot out these steps on a spreadsheet to help the registration team build the site. Also, we recommend keeping the options simple for the user. Leave no room for confusion. Remember, less IS more. Use the same approach you would with signage at your event. Your goal is to help people take the next steps in the right direction, then the next, and the next, and so on. Until they’ve successfully completed their registration.
BE ORGANIZED: Many producers use the WELCOME, IMPORTANT INFORMATION, OPTIONS, FORM, CONFIRMATION, and NEXT STEPS structure to organize their registration sites. Start with a "welcome" page, followed by an important information page with critical details and deadlines for the event. Next, take customers to a registration "options" page where they’ll select the registration type they identify with. Then, lead registrants to the actual form they’ll complete with their personal information. This will naturally be followed by a confirmation of the registration transaction. Finally, there will be a next steps page allowing registrants to book hotel rooms, sign up for special events, make appointments with exhibitors, or whatever is important for your particular event.
STREAMLINE EVERY STEP: It's important to not overwhelm your customers with information or questions. Figure out what’s most important - for them and for you - and plan your site accordingly. The "welcome" page should be simple and easy to understand. Outline pricing with a grid on your "options" page - making sure to include important deadlines and discounts - to simplify the decision making process for the registrant. Only ask the most vital questions on your form (if you can capture non-essential demographics or other info through a survey or alternate means, then we suggest doing it). Also, it's ideal to customize the confirmation and "next steps" pages according to registration type. For example, a confirmation and follow-up instructions for an attendee should be very different than what you would provide to an exhibitor.
The registration site is an amazing opportunity for you to communicate with registrants, but we don't recommend sharing brand new information in this area. The messaging should be consistent with what is being shared through other marketing materials and promotions. You never want your customers to feel as though it’s too difficult to comprehend the information being shared, or to register for your event.
AVOID COMMON PITFALLS: Beyond becoming too cluttered, registration sites may fail to account for the following:
- Mobile Users- Make sure your site is mobile friendly. Streamlined content and proper design will allow for easier loading, simplified reading, etc.
- Confirmation Assurance- Consumers are used to receiving instantaneous confirmations for transactions. Be sure to confirm transactions both immediately on the registration site with a printable/shareable form, and through other means such as email, text, etc.
- Questions- Customer service is the heartbeat of a company. That being said, it should never be difficult for a registrant to reach out to your support team! We suggest making it clear where your customers can go with questions, and your team should always be responsive with the answers.
- Social Needs- We recommend creating a site which links easily with social media platforms to allow your customers to share their registration details with their contacts.
Registration sites are a functional extension of your relationship with your customers. The site should serve you and your audiences well with well-planned, organized, and streamlined content. Avoid common pitfalls and utilize the best practices and expert advice of experienced companies such as Expo Logic. We are a full registration company equipped and ready to assist you! For more information about our registration services, complete a request for a proposal by clicking the button below.