Encouraging Guests to Sign-up for Your Event: 4 Tips

February 3, 2022

Whether they’re hosted in-person, virtually, or in a hybrid format, events need guests to succeed. Not only will an abundance of guests fill your nonprofit’s event with life during the event itself, but each guest is also a potential lead for increased support down the line. A well-run event can be an opportunity to boost a long-term supporters’ engagement and secure the interest of prospective supporters still browsing your offerings. 

Attracting guests requires a dedicated promotional campaign, and there are strategies your nonprofit can use to assist your marketing team’s efforts. You can get your team ready to encourage guests to sign with the proper training program and the right practices for making your events easier to register for and more enticing in general. 

To help inspire your team’s registration efforts, here are four tips for attracting more guests:

  1. Streamline your registration process. 
  2. Send personalized invitations. 
  3. Offer incentives for repeat guests. 
  4. Create a dedicated event page. 

Remember that one of the best things you can do for your nonprofit’s team to help them attract more guests is to train them. As you research best practices to adopt, also consider what skills you want your team to master and how you can go about teaching those skills. This might include attending courses for nonprofit professionals, reaching out to a professional consultant, or even sharing online resources like this one. Let’s get started. 

1. Streamline your registration process. 

After interacting with your marketing efforts, visiting your website, and learning about your events’ specifics, your prospective guests will move onto your registration process. A streamlined, efficient process can earn your event more attendees, while a lengthy, unoptimized one can drive away potential guests. 

You can improve your registration process with the following strategies: 

  • Keep every step on one website. Being navigated from website to website can make your guests suspicious even if your entire registration process is secure. You can reassure your guests by keeping your entire registration process on one website with embedded forms. 
  • Ask only necessary questions. Your attendees only have so much time in their day, and a lengthy registration form can result in it getting pushed off for later and eventually forgotten. Keep the questions limited to what you need to know for your event, and store the answers in your event management software so your planning team can get the information they need as it comes in. 
  • Ensure your form is accessible. All of your attendees should be able to access your registration forms. Ensure your forms meet standard accessibility practices, such as having text directions for each information field to allow screen readers and assistive technology to navigate the page easily. 

While events that accept walk-ins should prepare a printed registration form, most nonprofits should primarily focus on their online registration process. Regpack’s article on online registration software cites that 90% of applicants prefer using an online registration form, and that reliable registration software can increase form completion rates by 25%. 

2. Send personalized invitations. 

Your guests likely receive messages from several digital marketing campaigns, including your nonprofit’s. You can stand out from the competition in their email inbox by personalizing your event invitations. There are two key strategies for tailoring your messages to each donor:

  • Personalization. Personalized messages include specific, personal details about their recipient. For a nonprofit, this might include their name, engagement history, and previous donations. 
  • Segmentation. Segmentation divides your supporters into groups based on shared characteristics. For example, for your event invitations, you might segment your supporters based on whether or not they attended your last event. Then, you would create two unique message templates, one that references your last event for your previous attendees and another that discusses your events more broadly for would-be first-time attendees. 

By combining these two strategies, you can create truly unique messages that appeal to each of your supporters’ individual interests. Plus, sending out invitations with a personal touch will make your supporters feel like they’re being addressed on a more personal level than they would if they only saw marketing messages addressed to a general audience. 

3. Offer incentives for repeat guests. 

When planning your event marketing campaign, consider your guest retention rate. As a nonprofit professional, you likely already understand the importance of donor retention in maintaining a reliable support base. Guest retention has similar effects on your events, and a high guest retention rate can ensure you always have a stable number of attendees. 

You can improve your guest retention rate and increase your overall attendance by offering incentives for repeat guests. These offerings can vary from event to event but many nonprofits find success with the following strategies:

  • Discounted event tickets. Encourage your guests to keep their attendance streak strong by offering a discount on their tickets. Ensure that your registration software’s payment processor is equipped to handle multiple types of discounts to account for these deals. 
  • Free add-ons. Show your supporters your nonprofit sees and appreciate their reliable event attendance by offering a few free perks. These add-ons can range from a reserved table at your gala to first choice of workshop registrations for a conference. You can even offer add-ons related to other activities at your nonprofit to draw their attention to more ways they can participate. For example, a nonprofit launching a new course series may offer guests a discount on their first registration as thanks for signing up for an event.
  • New activities. While some guests may look forward to the same activities year after year, many of your repeat guests will likely be interested in what new opportunities your event has to offer. Consider changing up your events by hosting different activities, inviting different speakers, or changing the usual venue. 

Make note of which guests use your incentives and how successful they were in improving your retention rate. As you host more events and experiment with incentives, you might discover that some opportunities are more effective than others for different kinds of guests. For example, guests who have only attended one event may not be as excited for a new activity as those who have been attending for years. 

4. Create a dedicated event page.

Events often have a lot of information that needs to be conveyed to prospective guests. Your website will likely be your event’s main promotional tool and host your event registration form, and you can ensure guests can find everything they’re looking for easily by creating a dedicated event page. 

While your event page will be unique to your nonprofit and your event, most organizations can benefit from including the following core elements:

  • Detailed information about your event. This should include whatever your guests need to know prior to attending. Along with basic explanations of what the event is, you can consider including a calendar marking the event’s date and time, the event’s schedule, or a list of what activities guests can expect to enjoy at the event. 
  • Your registration form. Your registration form should be easily accessible on your event page. Consider adding a CTA button for it or embedding it straight into the page to create a cohesive registration experience. 
  • Key brand elements. Your dedicated event page might be temporary, but it should still look like the rest of your website. Getting Attention’s guide to nonprofit branding explains just how important consistent branding is for online, shareable pages: “The internet allows us to share content with friends and family in an instant—if your nonprofit’s brand is able to ride this wave, there’s no telling what your organization can accomplish.”

Fortunately, you don’t need to be a web design expert to create a page dedicated to your event on your website. Many event registration software solutions will come equipped with the functions you need, saving you the time and energy of adding more complex features to your page.

Event marketing is an investment, and your registration process should only encourage guests to sign-up more. Avoid unintentionally turning guests away by optimizing your registration forms and outreach efforts. Consider how the best practices described in this article will apply to your specific organization and start researching the event and registration software that can give your event marketing that final push.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post: