The Event Registration Form: The Gateway to Your Event

Written by
Published on
October 28, 2019

Many event planners consider their event registration form just a formality, but it’s actually a critical component of your event planning. The registration form is the first gateway your guests pass through in their event journey. It’s the first time they take a deliberate step to attend.

So instead of requiring your guests to use some archaic method (like printing and mailing a form) or slapping together whatever default template your event management software provides, it’s important to think critically about your event registration form and how you can use it to run a smoother event.

Basically, your event registration form has two purposes:

1. Convert as many website users into event guests as possible. A modern, well-designed form that eliminates friction will encourage more people to sign up for your event.

2. Provide you with the critical information you need to throw the event. You probably need more than just a headcount to plan a great event. Your registration form can collect numerous data points and store it all in an easy-to-access location.

In this article, we’ll talk about where to place your event registration form, offer some best practices to build it well, and explain what should happen after the form.

Event Registration Page

Your event registration form should sit on your event landing page. This page should contain all of the pertinent information your guests need to decide if they will attend your event. The registration form should be the page’s only call to action.

What else goes on this page? Start with a compelling headline that explains the primary benefit of attending your event. The remainder of the page's copy should flesh out those benefits and tell your brand story.

This page is also a great place to include testimonials, social proof (number of guests so far, number of guests last year, etc.), and a video that shows off your event space. Feel free to include photos, as well.

Event Registration Form Best Practices

Your event registration form should be designed in a way that keeps users moving towards the submit button. It should be simple, intuitive, easy to understand, and - as they say in the world of conversion optimization - frictionless. Here are some best practices to increase your conversion rate and give your guests a positive experience.

1.  Make it Mobile Friendly

It's no secret that many people use mobile devices to access the internet these days. In fact, many people use their mobile device exclusively. So it's important to create an event registration form that works well on any device of any size. Make sure your management software allows you to create responsive forms.

2.  Start with the Easy Questions

Generally speaking, it's usually best to start your form with some easy questions that your user can answer quickly. This creates momentum in progress, making it harder for the user to abandon the form later. Start by asking their name, email address, physical address, anything else you need that they can answer off the top of their head. Leave the difficult questions until the end, when it's too late to back out.

3.  Do Not Ask Redundant Questions

Redundant questions can be infuriating, especially on long-form. Your users don't want to input the same information multiple times. Read your form several times to make sure you don't repeat yourself.

4.  Use Clear and Concise Language

Your event registration form is not the right place to be witty or clever, even if those qualities describe your brand. Registration forms are supposed to be utilitarian. Use language that anyone would understand for your field labels, placeholder text, and instructions. Choose simple words rather than complex ones.

5.  Give Them a Sense of Progress

If your form is long, you can put your users at ease by giving them a sense of progress that shows how far they’ve come and how far they have left to go. If you split your form into multiple pages, you could add a page number to each (e.g. “3 of 5”). Or you could display a progress bar that gives them a visual cue, like this form.

Event Registration Form

6.  Keep the Form as Short as Possible

Your goal is to collect the critical information from your guests and get them to click “submit.” That’s it. The event registration form is not the place to ask about their music preferences, company title, favorite speakers, or Twitter handles. You can ask for non-critical information in a post-registration survey (or pre-event survey).

That said, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. You might need to know their meal choice or whether they will attend the evening networking cocktail meetup. It’s smart to put these questions on your event registration form because it forces them to answer. Don’t rely on your post-registration survey because your guests could ignore it.

7.  Don’t Ask for Unnecessary Information

These days, people are leery when they are asked to provide too much personal information, so avoid asking questions unless you absolutely have to. For instance, if you don’t plan to call their phone, don’t ask for their phone number.

8.  Remove the “Reset” Button

In the early days of the internet, it was common to include a “reset” or “clear” button on a form to wipe out the inputs. These are relics of an old era, but sometimes pop up on longer forms. Your users will find nothing more frustrating than completing a form only hit the wrong button and accidentally clear their work.

9.  End with a Clear Call to Action

Your event registration form should end with a clear call-to-action. This button should be simple, intuitive, and brightly colored so your guests won't miss it. Button text should complete the phrase “I want to…” You might use “register now,” “sign up,” or “get my ticket.”

Event Registration Form

10.  Test Your Form Before Publishing

Before you make your form available to your website visitors, it's critical that you test it a few times to make sure it works. Go through the entire event registration process. Check that the form submits properly, you receive the proper notification emails, and you are directed to the correct page. It also helps to have a friend (someone who isn’t familiar with your event) try the form to find errors you may have overlooked.

Beyond the Form

Besides saving your guests’ responses in a database, what happens once your guests click submit? If you don’t give your guests some direction or information after registering, they’ll feel lost and disconnected from the event.

Your form's submit button should also redirect your guests to a page that thanks them for signing up and explains the next steps. You might ask them to fill out a pre-event survey, show them where to get deals on travel or hotel accommodations, or offer ways to learn more about the event speakers and exhibitors.

Most importantly, your thank-you page should lay out what comes next. Where do your guests pick up their tickets? Where do they enter the event space? Are there any special parking rules? Do they need to dress a certain way? Is there anything they need to bring to the event? Think of everything your guests need to know before the event so they can have a good time during it.

Going Forward

Now that you understand where to place your event registration form, how to design it well, and what should happen after your guests submit the form, you are on your way to creating a positive event experience that delights your guests from their first interaction. Give your registration page the thought and care it deserves to fill your event.

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