How To Generate Virtual Event Registrations

International Freelancers Day is “the biggest ever (FREE) online conference exclusively for solo professionals.”  Want to know how to effectively generate virtual event registrations? Follow this event’s lead.  They make it easy for you to sign up.  And once you do, they provide you with compelling value well before you attend the live event.

Prominently feature of a short video on the event home page

You can’t visit the home page for this event without noticing the prominent video.  It’s short and effectively markets the event (e.g. why should I attend?).  You’ll notice that the home page is not heavy on text that describes this event – instead, the messaging and background is contained within the video.  A well-produced video can describe and promote your event better than any paragraph of text can do.

Make registration easy

Registering for a virtual event typically requires the user to complete a registration page with 10-15 questions (or more!).  Ever wonder why registration counts are down? Could be the complexity of the registration process itself.  With International Freelancers Day, I simply enter my email address.

The event used a “double opt-in”, which means that I received an email, which prompted me to click on a link to confirm my registration.  This is a good protective measure, as a single opt-in would allow anyone to register any other user (email address) for the event, without that user’s knowledge.

In addition to this model, I expect to see virtual events adopt “social registration”, allowing users to register via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. That would also make virtual event registration very easy.

PROVIDE VALUE on your confirmation or welcome page

All too often, a virtual event’s registration confirmation says “thank you” and “see you at the live event.”  That’s it?  Instead, build a page that provides value to the registrant.  These days, attendance rates at virtual events (e.g. free virtual conferences or virtual trade shows) are 50% or lower.  That means that half or your registrants (or more!) never attend.

Your challenge, then, is to demonstrate value to the user as soon as they register.  Consider the confirmation/welcome page a big opportunity.  International Freelancers Day does a great job:

Pre-Event Training Videos

What a great idea – provide content to the registrants, in the form of videos from experts.  Registrants are provided access to 6 training videos.  The first 3 videos had these titles:

  1. A Simple System for Landing More of the Work You Quote
  2. How to Pick the Right Target Niche
  3. Ask Better Questions

Videos #4 through #6 are not yet available, but if you’ve registered for the event, you’ll receive an email when they become available.  Another great tactic – a steady, pre-event flow of content, which keeps you coming back.  That, in turn, keeps the event “top of mind” with registrants.

If users enjoy these videos, they’ll gain confidence in the value of the live conference, which means they’ll be more likely to attend live.  Finally, each video was hosted on a unique URL and allowed comments to be posted.

Video #1 had 17 comments, which means that registrants are viewing the videos – and, they’re already starting a dialog with the event host (and each other) prior to the live event!

Allow registrants to promote the event on your behalf

This event’s welcome page also included the following:

  1. A link to the International Freelancers Day Facebook Page
  2. A “tweet button”, allowing you to share the event with your followers on Twitter – and, a mention of the event’s hash tag (#IFD10)
  3. A snippet of HTML code, so that you can “add the International Freelancers Day badge to your website or blog”
  4. The Twitter ID’s of the event’s co-founders

Conclusion

I’m not a freelancer and yet this event registration process has me sold!  Generating registrations and attendees to your virtual event is a two-tiered process.

You first need to generate registrations.  Then, you need to get those registrants “through the door” (to attend live).  Use effective tactics, like those employed by International Freelancers Day, and you can excel at both.

dshiao@inxpo.com'

Dennis Shiao

Dennis Shiao is director of product marketing at INXPO. Prior to INXPO, Dennis served as Director of Product Management, Webcasts at TechTarget, where he worked with B-to-B technology advertisers on virtual trade shows. Prior to TechTarget, Dennis spent several years in Information Technology management, with responsibility for large scale web and server infrastructure.