If you’re wondering what an online event registration form is meant to do beyond collecting registration data, you’re overlooking some seriously strategic setup opportunities! Used wisely, your registration form can be your biggest weapon in driving registrations and putting on a memorable event for everyone involved.

From our experience, there are eight things all online event registration forms should be doing in addition to collecting data:

  1. Make you look good – Your registration form should reflect your image by having consistent branding, flawless formatting, ease-of-use, and, of course, working well in all browsers and devices. Not only does that elevate your event as a whole, it ensures that your audience knows they’re in the right place when they land on the form and are that much more confident in registering.
  2. Convert the people who arrive at the form into paying attendees – Getting people to your form is only the first step. But, usability headaches — like too many required fields, confusing registration options, and incorrect pricing or dates — all contribute to people abandoning the registration form for good. Pay attention to these details as you build the form, and always have someone less familiar with the event test it out.
  3. Ask attendees about themselves – As much as it makes sense, use your event registration form as an opportunity to learn more about your audience. This is the perfect time to ask them questions that’ll help you make their experience more personable. For example, ask for their title and/or interest, if you’re doing smaller roundtable discussions you’ll be able to group people together with common interests.
  4. Make people feel safe and secure – Event registration often requires some sensitive information (an address, payment information, etc.), so this is especially important. Having a professional looking form and consistent branding helps, but you also need to ensure you have a clearly displayed privacy policy and that your form is hosted on a secure server.
  5. Prevent mistakes – Let’s face it: people don’t read instructions, so even if you add text to your form explaining what to do and what not to do, it likely won’t be read. Set your form up in a way that’ll make it impossible for mistakes to happen in the first place. (i.e. Using a dropdown with specific options to select from for certain fields.)

  6. Reduce calls to the event planners – You’re busy! And you don’t need to be answering calls and emails about registration form issues. Always include contact information on your form in case people do need to get a hold of you, but try to anticipate common questions that might come up and make sure they are answered on the form or in a frequently asked question section. Also, always test, test and test your form to make sure it’s perfect before going live — and that includes your confirmation emails as well!
  7. Make people say, “Wow! That was easy!” – Event registration forms with lots of options, categories, and workshops can be made to seem simple with the right planning and layout. Invest some time into planning out your registration form before you start creating it, to eliminate frustrations and problems later on.
  8. Collect data the right way for meaningful reporting – There is more than one way to set up a question for many of the fields you find on typical registration forms. All of the question types may get the data into your database, but you need to consider whether the format of that data will provide you meaningful, consistent, and reliable event reporting.

Starting to wonder if your event registration solution can handle everything? Our free guide, 5 Tough Questions to Help Pick the Perfect Online Registration System, will help you decide if it’s time for a change!