3 Simple Ways Software Can Boost Event Registration and Attendance

Events November 07, 2016

Tatiana Morand

By Tatiana Morand

Here's the story of an event manager who was able to sell out his annual conference in record time by implementing three simple software solutions.

Recently I met David (not his real name), the event manager of a cycling club.

Five years ago he had no problem filling his monthly rides or 300-person annual conference, but his club had experienced a slow decline in registrations and attendance over the years.

David was baffled because he hadn’t changed how he ran the events.

But that was exactly the problem.

The process he was using to advertise and register people for his events was no longer working in today’s world. Things have changed. In fact, his process, which used to work, was now  pushing people away from registering.

Here is the process someone had to go through to register for David’s events:

  1. Open and read an email invitation to the event and click a link to the event page on the club’s website
  2. Download the registration form from the event page
  3. Print off the form
  4. Fill out the form
  5. Write a check to the club
  6. Mail back the form and the check
Years ago this was a pretty standard process for many membership organizations, but it has a few major problems in it now because of some recent changes in how people behave and their expectations. I’ll show you what those problems are and how David was able to implement three simple solutions using membership management software, which helped him sell out his next event in record time — all 300 spots — leading to an attendance record.

Read More: Event Management Software: 42 First-Rate Tools for Any Organization


1) Update and Simplify Your Event Registration Process

One of the biggest changes in how people behave is that most people prefer to register for events online now, because the process is quick and simple.

When people went to David’s event page, they expected to pay online. Since David wasn’t offering online registration, many people simply didn’t bother to complete all the manual steps to register.

On top of this, the only way to register for one of David’s events was by check. Unfortunately check usage peaked in the 90’s and has been on a downward trend ever since. Nowadays people prefer to pay by credit card online, and David wasn’t offering this either.

Luckily membership management software exists to help event managers like David. He was able to use this software to solve both problems at once by creating a simple event page where people could register and pay online using their credit card or PayPal.

Doing this made a huge difference in David’s registrations, but there were two other software solutions that were critical to helping David sell out his annual conference and maximize attendance.

Attachments banner events

2) Stand Out From The Competition with Personalization

Another change that hurt David’s events is how easy it has become for someone to start a membership organization. Think of Meetup, where over 600,000 events are created every month.

And literally anyone can create a Facebook Event and start inviting people right away (here’s the hilarious story of one facebook event, Crying and Eating Bread by Yourself on the Floor that had over 34,000 people RSVP).

Because it’s so easy to start a group, most membership organizations are facing increased competition. David’s club is a perfect example. Five years ago David’s organization was the only cycling club in the city. Today, there are half a dozen other cycling organizations in his area, all trying to get local cyclists out to their events..

The problem for David is that his event process didn’t help him stand out from the competition. That’s because he was sending the same standard invitation to everyone, and in a competitive environment, standard emails don’t work well. Author Jonathan Fields said it best, “The moment you speak to the world, you speak to no one.” Over the years, fewer and fewer people were opening David’s emails, which led to fewer people registering for his events.

So, David needed a way to increase the number of people opening his emails. To do that, David turned to a simple, proven tactic — personalize each email.

One study found that personalized emails get opened 29% higher than non-personalized emails.

After David added his members’ names to the subject line and the body copy of his emails, his email open rates immediately increased by 34%.

Because more people opened his emails, more people registered for his events. By sending three personalized event invitation emails (and taking them to his online registration) he was able to fully sell out his annual conference.

As you can imagine, to personalize each email for 300 members would be too time consuming for David to do on his own. This is where he turned to membership management software. Because his membership management software connected with his contact database, David was able to automatically personalize all his emails with each member’s name.

Now that David’s registration was maxed out, there was still one thing left to do: maximize attendance.


3) Guarantee Maximum Attendance with Automated Reminders

The last change that hurt David’s events is that the technologies we all use these days — social media, mobile devices, the Internet — have cause people to become more distracted and forgetful. In fact, one study found that 1 in 4 people now forget an important appointment.

Unfortunately for David, his process, which involved sending one invite with no follow-up for people that registered, didn’t work well for a membership that has become more forgetful.

To solve this problem, David used a simple solution: send reminders.

He began sending out personalized reminder emails to registrants, and once he did that, his event attendance immediately jumped.

To send out all these reminders, quickly and efficiently, David also turned to membership management software. The software allowed him to write up three personalized event reminder emails and schedule them to be sent automatically to all registrants before the event. This step was crucial to boosting attendance and many people even thanked him for the reminders.

Integromat event registration banner

Membership Management Software Makes Event Management a Breeze

David learned that in this technological, limited-attention-span world, the way you organize your event can make all the difference between between empty chairs and a sold out house. And as David discovered, using membership management software was crucial to selling out his annual conference and maximizing attendance. With it, it allowed him to:
  • Offer online registration and payments
  • Send personalized event invitation emails
  • Send event reminder emails to every registrant
Plus, as soon as someone registered for an event, all their information was automatically updated in his contact database.

At WildApricot we hear hundreds of stories like David’s, because we are the number one membership management software on the market. Over 20,848 organizations use us every single day to manage their membership organizations and rid their life of administrative work.

If you're looking for more information on how to use membership management software to fill up your events, sign up for our upcoming free webinar covering this topic.

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Additional Resources:

The Membership Growth Report:

Benchmarks & Insights for Growing Revenue and Constituents

Get the report now!

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