Get Set Up With Online Registration In Less Time Than You Think
I’m writing this for people who like the idea of online registration but imagine it’s a time consuming ordeal to get set up. If you are using a professional full service online registration provider you can be fully set up by investing as little as an hour of your time for basic seminars, meetings, conferences or online ticket sales forms.
A breakdown of the steps to online registration:
Research (10 mins)
If you’re new to online event registration you’ll want to spend a few minutes checking out the different options available. A quick read of our Event Planner’s Guide to Online Event Registration will help you decide on your best approach.
If you want to make it easy on yourself, we recommend going with a full service online registration company. They will:
- Do all of the set up for you, thoroughly test it and have it ready on time.
- Make recommendations for laying out your form in a way that will get more people to register.
- Produce a form that looks more professional and is easier to use than those created by templates or self service systems.
- Help you get familiar with the back end systems so you can access and manage your registration data.
- Advise on the best practises to help you get more registrations for your event and therefore add to the success of your event.
- Free up your time (along with your staff’s) and alleviate frustration for those organising and attending the event.
- Consult with you on the best way to handle credit card transactions.
Get a quote (10 mins)
Call in and speak with a salesperson: To get an accurate estimate you’ll need to know the specifics, i.e., what information you want to collect from participants, the options they have to chose from, how many registrations you expect and the fee for attending your event, etc.
- If you have a registration form from a previous event (as an example) the sales person can likely answer most of these questions by looking at it.
Address credit card processing – if applicable (5 – 10 mins)
- Online credit card processing requires an online merchant account. If you don’t have one set up most online registration suppliers can offer you the use of theirs. If you decide to open your own merchant account allow additional time – in the US a couple of days and in Canada a week or more.
Evaluate quote (10 mins)
- If the company is professional your sales person should have answered all of your questions and provided good recommendations for your situation.
Sign contract (10 mins)
- Reputable companies will ask you to sign a contract – or at the very least agree to their terms and conditions.
- This is a good thing, because a contract will help protect you and the supplier. Take a bit of time to read it through and make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions. Pay particular attention to any extra fees or charges.
Submit event details (5 – 20 mins)
- Once the formalities are complete, the online registration company will need to collect your details. The time it takes will depend on whether or not you have all of your event details prepared in advance.
Review (5 – 30 mins)
- This is your chance to suggest changes and give approval.
Add a link to your website (5 mins)
… and that’s it
You should allow a couple of days for your provider to get a basic registration form online as they’ll need to build your form, get your feedback, make changes and approve the use of merchant accounts, etc. For more complex forms allow extra time.
Once set up, it can be a simple matter of emailing or phoning to communicate new event details for future events.
There are a couple of factors that could slow this process down, such as:
- If you’re working with a committee in making decisions.
- If you have to chase up sales people to get information – and you might want to ask yourself why you’re having to do this, even before you’ve handed over your money?
- If you don’t have all of your event details together before starting the set up.
- If you are opening an online merchant and gateway account for credit card processing for the first time (see above).
The approximations above are based on using a full service online registration provider. If you opt for self serve systems, the time it will take you to get set up depends on how quickly you can learn their system (to build and test the form), how complex your requirements are and how quickly you will adjust your ideas to work within the system’s limitations.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments about this article.