What You Need in Your Conference Registration Software, Part 3

In our last posting we continued our review of the right technology for your conference registration software. We mentioned that a full conference registration package should have all of these elements (where applicable):

• Online Registration with Conditional Logic
• Flexible Pricing and Discounting
• Membership database links
• Self-Service registration
• Transaction Based Accounting
• Exhibitor Management
• E-Marketing
• Real-time Custom Reports
• Onsite Registration
• Post-conference surveys

We will now look at how e-marketing allows you to take your data and increase your attendances and participation in your conferences.

E-Marketing – Driving People to Register

There is no better way to drive people to register for your conference than email marketing. Are you able to create attractive invitations to your conference that reflect your brand or do they look like a generic e-invitation? Can you put in the images and text you desire? Are you able to position a “Register Now” link that is easy for the reader to click on? Any decent email message creation program should support “rich” HTML formatting including bold, italics, headers, font size and so forth.

It is important that you can reach all prospective attendees with your blasts while not appearing to be “spamming” them. Are you able to upload any list you want into your e-marketing system? Do you have to manually remove duplicates from the lists or does your system automatically checks to make sure someone doesn’t get the same email twice? Are you able to target lists to different groups of people such as registrants of past conferences or your membership directory?

Great e-marketing software should be able to target based on all kinds of rules such as who has not yet registered for a conference, who has attended, etc. It should have the intelligence to not deliver the same message twice to the same email address. There is no quicker way to annoy a potential attendee than by sending the same invite over and over again.

Can you measure the results of your e-marketing campaigns? Can you see who opened your emails, clicked on the links and went on to register? These additional pieces of information are the best way to determine what is working in your campaign and message and what is not.

E-Marketing – Targeted Messages

Just as important as getting people to sign up to your conference is engaging your registrant to participate in your event. If you generate enthusiasm for your conference, your reputation will spread through positive word of mouth. Email is a great way to keep your show top of mind with people and to also reduce no-show rates, which are notoriously high.

To make invitations, reminders and notifications more effective, you should make the message seem more personal and less “spammy.” Using “personalized” mail merge tags is a great way to do this. You should use people’s name or other personal information (such as company and title) whenever you can. First class e-marketing software should give you the ability to add mail merge tags throughout your email so you can deliver the necessary information.

If you are sending confirmations and reminders to people you should be able to include critical information such as what was purchased, an itinerary, statements and so forth. You should be able to send out reminders out at any time, especially leading up to the event, so people know what to expect.

Can you target your messages to attendees based on who they are? Can you send one type of email to regular attendees, another to exhibitors and sponsors, another to speakers and so forth? Being able to easily tailor and deliver your message to specific groups of attendees is a tremendous time saver.

You do not want to lose money and increase costs by using inadequate conference registration system software. Unless your conference registration tool has these and other features, you may be losing out. We will wrap up our review of world class conference registration software with our next post, so stay tuned!