blogs

Why You Should Let Your Members Register for Events & Conferences Online

Event Management |

Have you noticed that more and more of your members prefer to register for your events online? People now understand the Internet and all it has to offer, and expect organisations to meet their requests on the online as well as offline. Therefore it is becoming more important for membership managers to have the capacity to allow their members to enrol and pay for training and events online.

Online registration provides benefits of increased control and effectiveness, whilst at the same time reducing expenses for the association hosting the event. This blog post explains how membership managers can manage this activity - either themselves, or through the use of membership management software tool, like Silverbear Membership.

Creating and managing profitable events is key to the success of a lot of association and professional membership bodies. With this growing pressure to be successful you also need to keep your expenditure low whilst increasing your efficiency. This means that membership managers are repeatedly walking a very thin line between creating an event that is of value to members and producing an event that is managed on a diminutive budget. This can sometimes trigger issues, as saving money is not always harmonious with the desire to manage and host a high value event.

The benefits of control and effectiveness that technology can bring to the event management process is now becoming apparent to associations. Being able to automate key actions and taking advantage of the Internet should help save time and money and can also create a more efficient event experience for both the association and members. One of the important areas where events and the Internet coming together is that of online event registration.

Manual Event Marketing & Registrations

Historically (and some organisations still do this), the membership event manager would manually select target members from a database, from this selection they would then create and send direct mail invitations (this comes with addition expenses of printing and postage) and then deal with registrations via the phone, fax and post. The tracking and reporting would be minimal through this manual process, whilst incurring other costs via the continuous communication between themselves and the registered member.

Managing the list of registered members would be very time consuming - managed on massive, complex spreadsheets. However, we are now seeing this conventional model of membership enrolment being gradually overtaken by that of an Internet based model.

Online Event Registration

The Internet based model of membership event registration takes advantage of the increase in the use of the Internet all over the world. According to a Radicati Group study from 2012, there are about 2.2 billion email users worldwide. That equates to just over one in every five persons on the earth making use of email. For 2014, Radicati Group projects 2.5 billion email users worldwide. These figures demonstrate that people are now becoming accustomed to making use of email as part of their everyday lives.
 
The use of email and social networking means that people are increasingly living their lives online; simply put, this shows that they would like to be able to undertake essential transactions on line as well - which includes registering to attend events.

The online registration procedure should look something like the following:

  • A web page or website/microsite branded to your corporate specification
  • Sending branded, personalised e-invites to a targeted selection of prospect members via advanced email marketing tool
  • Providing a single click transaction from e-invite to branded event landing page
  • Allowing your members to register on-line through your website
  • Sending automated member booking email confirmations
  • Producing personalised event packs tailored specifically to each individual member
  • Collating and storing relevant information and making registration badges prior to the event

This model benefits the member along with the association’s event manager. For the member, they receive targeted, personalised e-invites, can register and pay online and then experience a complete closed loop by getting event confirmation and updates through email.

For the association’s event manager, they're able to take a step back away from the enrolment process, whilst still remaining in control. Full monitoring and reporting features should be included in the email marketing software that should allow the association’s event manager to see who opened the invite, who clicked on links and more. This will help to improve the quality of the data, the follow ups and the success of forthcoming campaigns.
 
The event manager can also customise the online booking form for every event they host - ensuring that they get the most vital data for that event. This information may be used for other marketing and to create personalised delegate packs on the day. Custom delegate badges, complete with barcodes could also be created at a click of a button.

Category: Events Management