You have made the decision to start collecting your registration data online, but what’s next? How can you turn this into something beyond simple data collection and make the data work for you and your event? With just a few simple guidelines you can make sure that your registration gives you everything you want and more.
 
Getting started the number one thing I can recommend is that you ask only relevant questions that you need and will use. Collecting data just to say you collected data is a missed opportunity. Cultivate your questions towards your audience and you will be surprised at how much more informative your results are. Remember that when people are registering for your event they are giving you their time to answer these questions. By asking too many questions or filler questions people tend to tick off any answer to get past your questionnaire, thus turning your data into inaccurate and skewed information. Keeping your questions to the most important and informational for your event will ensure that your data is more accurate and better received from your attendees.
 
When working on your survey for the registration site try and incorporate questions that are interactive and engaging. By having your questions allow for follow up prior, during and after the event you can make sure the dialogue is open between you and your attendees. Open dialogue is one of the key pieces to getting, keeping and growing your audience and the survey page is a great place to get this started. You can then use the feedback from these questions to target individual registrant groups for specific mails and/or informational communications.
 
Utilize your data. Make it work for you and let your attendees know you are using it by incorporating it into your content and communications. Registrants like to know that their information (which is equivalent to their time) is being valued and utilized. The big bonus on this is that they will not only be more eager to fill out additional information in the future, but potentially giving you more detailed information the next time. The more information you have the better you can make sure your attendees get the most out of their event experience.
 
Monitor your data! Oh the stories I could tell you about people never looking at the information collected on the registration site until the week of the event. By ignoring the information you have collected you are wasting a valuable resource. When I say monitor your data I am not just talking about summary reports, but that ‘other’ column too. The people that take the time to give you information you weren’t expecting can sometimes be the most valuable part. Sure graphs are nice, but actual information that you can use is 100 times better. Keeping up with what you have collected can truly drive your entire planning process.
 
The 3-10 minutes when you have your attendees registering for your event is when you have their complete attention. By taking a bit more time and thought on the registration website you can use this opportunity to obtain priceless information on what your attendees want, expect and need. By incorporating these small things into your site, both you and your attendees will enjoy the results!

Shannon

Shannon Anderson has been an active member in the event industry for over 15 years trying out every job she could from banquet server to Director of Events. Taking on challenges from the screens at the Sundance Film Festival, the exotic locations of destination weddings and the slightly scary convention centers in Cartagena, Columbia, she has been there, done that and made small children and clients happy.

Currently she can be found traveling the globe, providing an educational experience about her job in creative production and spreading her wisdom to anyone within earshot. As a person who spends equal time on two different continents she chronicles her explorations on her daily lifestyle blog for sanity and admiration.
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