Creating a registration form can be a delicate endeavor. Ask for too much information and risk turning the registrant off. Ask for too little and you can print on a single name tag the extent of your customer intel. And, don’t ask the right questions and you end up serving Salisbury steak to your vegetarian guests.
In the world of e-commerce, right-sized forms are crucial. Dropping one data field meant $12 million in additional business for Expedia, and Best Buy realized $300 million in additional online sales by eliminating a registration form that duplicated much of the site’s checkout form.
Your programs and events require a slightly different level of detail, but your challenge is similar: ask questions that give you the most useful information without turning your registration form into a five-minute survey. This is entirely doable, though it can depend upon the sophistication of your event and your registration software.
Some events, by their nature, require a lengthy registration. Think of a conference with multiple, overlapping breakout sessions, or a golf outing with morning and afternoon flights, multiple lunch choices and an optional shirt offered in several sizes. With either of these, the form is going to extend well past “name,” “organization,” “telephone number,” “e-mail address,” and “method of payment.”
Better registration systems account for and minimize such multi-level questions with conditional logic, whereby a certain answer to a question (e.g., a “Yes” to “Will you have lunch?”) triggers a second question (e.g., the luncheon menu choices).
When you devise your registration forms, first list what information you must ascertain (e.g., contact info, payment) and then think about what you would like to collect.
For instance, you might need to know if any of your participants have accessibility issues, if they intend to order any materials tied to the event, if they’ve completed a requisite course (software like ABC Signup can automatically determine this) or if they are an employee of company X (and if so, what is their identification or certification number). On the flip side, do you really still need a fax number, or an office, cell and home phone number? Only the absolutely necessary queries should be labeled as mandatory (usually marked by an asterisk with related footnote).
Once you’ve included these essential questions, consider a question or two that will ultimately add value to your event. For example, if you want to gather information for marketing purposes, ask registrants how they heard about the event. If your goal is tighten your event’s focus, include a question asking what participants hope to get out of the function. If you want to learn more about the individual personas that make up your customer base, you might want to include questions such as have you ever attended one of our events before, or how long since you last attended one of our events.
Registration software with adequate reporting tools allows you to quickly assess the responses to such questions, giving you relevant data from which to base future marketing efforts, redesign event content, segment your customer list, and more.
The registration form might seem a bit like a blank canvas, but with some thought it can become a useful tool to gather more than contact information. Just remember to keep it as simple as possible.
If you would like to pick our brains about registration forms – or just want to know more about ABC Signup and registration software – please contact us by phone (866.791.8268 ext.0) or e-mail. If you would like to post your thoughts on this article or better yet, share registration questions you find useful, please use the Comments section below.