This article was first published in the Event Tech Buyers Guide 2016, for more articles like this download the guide here

It should come as no surprise that as an event organizer myself, the topic of increasing conversions (percent of visitors on your website that register for your event) has always been of tremendous interest to me. I’ve tried everything from spending a ton of money on marketing campaigns to voodoo magic. Believe it or not, I found that it’s the little things that had the most effect. Here’s 5 simple tricks you can try, without spending a dime!

  1. Generate your website content to convert effectively

Start with your website content. It shouldn’t feel like a Paulo Coelho book (no disrespect to him – he has some great books which I love). Each piece of content should have only one purpose and that’s to sell your event. Follow the basic rules of web content:

  • Start with your conclusion
  • Use headings
  • Be brief – never use long sentences and many paragraphs
  • Use bullets and numbers
  • Include summaries/overviews
  • Bold and highlight important information
  • Respect privacy and copyrights

An event website should inspire trust. It’s a good idea to include your top speakers on your homepage, previous participants, real testimonials from real people, celebrity endorsements, press mentions, pictures from the previous event, etc.

Keep your website up-to-date. Never leave outdated information on it – this sends the wrong signal to potential participants. Pay special attention to prices and offers. Always keep your visitors in the loop by embedding a twitter/facebook feed or running an active blog.

DO NOTs: Whatever you do, do not distract your visitors with banners selling something else, newsletter subscriptions or autoplaying videos. You need people to register for the event and everything on the website that doesn’t serve this purpose should be left out.

  1. Be smart with your pricing and promotional offers

First you need to work on your pricing strategy. Start off with the average price at which you would like to sell your tickets and build all ticket categories, special offers, and discounts around that price.

Example: Let’s say your average price is 200 EUR – you should price the different ticket categories from 150 to 400 EUR. This will also give you flexibility to include additional discounts and special offers as part of your sales process.

Follow these 4 tactics to stimulate sales:

  • Always offer at least 3 ticket categories (for example Early Bird, Standard and VIP).
  • Always offer at least 1 time/quantity restricted category (Super Early Bird, Early Bird, Standard).
  • Use Special offers and make them clearly visible to everyone. These can be 3 for 2, a discount for orders over 1000 EUR, group discounts for over 4 people etc. Special offers can be combined with specific ticket categories to make them more attractive.
  • Code discounts are a great way to offer discounts not available to the public. They should be limited in time/quantity too. If they are available always people will not feel the urge to use them.

DO NOTs: It is extremely important that you never offer a lower price than you did before for the same event. Although this is fine in some businesses (like the airline and hospitality businesses), it is a terrible idea in the events industry. People that have bought a ticket 3 months before the event will be really angry if they find out they can buy a cheaper ticket 1 week before the event. This is why “last minute” offers are not popular when selling tickets.

  1. Unleash the full potential of the Call-to-action

Time to add a Call-to-action (CTA). The CTA is a marketing technique aiming to provoke an immediate response (in this case a registration) and can be a very strong driver of sales, if done right. Some people seem to think that adding a button is enough to cover this part – it’s not. An effective Call-to-action (CTA) is a combination of no less than 4 key elements.

Benefit: You may have the best value proposition with the perfect speaker, agenda, venue etc, but if you really want to maximize registrations, you should offer a special price. As we mentioned already, these could be an Early Bird offer, a 3 for 2 sale, or a 10% discount to the members of an association.

Urgency: You should create a feeling of urgency by time-limiting or setting a quantity limit to your offer. It can expire at the end of the week or may have only 15 tickets available. This provokes an impulsive decision in your website visitors.

Risk-reduction: This is a key element that very few event organizers ever consider. So if you do it, you will stand out. You could offer a money back guarantee and/or a full cancellation refund. If your events are good you should not fear to do this.

Call to action: Obviously, the final element of a truly effective CTA is the CTA itself. This will make visitors click and go to your registration page, where they will be met by the other 3 key elements of your sales process. The call to action should always be an imperative verb such as “Register Now”, “Buy Tickets”, “Reserve seats” etc.

  1. Create a registration process that your customers will love

Many people drop out during registration. The registration form is the place, where you can lose all impulse buyers, so it is essential that you do not underestimate the importance of your registration form. Make sure to choose the right event registration software.

  • The registration process should be as fast, easy, and simple as possible. Add descriptions to all fields that may be unclear.
  • Make it short. Don’t ask for information you do not essentially need.
  • Don’t ask for an account registration. Although the difference in the process may only be an additional password field, users are more likely to complete registration forms that don’t require creating any new accounts.
  • Language, currency and payment method localization can boost registration by up to 300% depending on the market and the event. Always adapt your language, currency, and payment methods to the market and your target audience.
  • Keep the registration experience on your website whenever possible and don’t redirect your visitors to other sites or services. A consistent and seamless registration process helps maintain and actually improve your brand identity.
  1. Make it easy to register from all devices

Today about 80% of Internet users access the web from their mobile phones and by 2017 that number is expected to reach over 90%. Pretty much everybody! While a lot of these people are also desktop users, their behavior tends to differ depending on the device they’re using. Recent studies reveal a few fun facts:

  • People normally use their desktops for work, browsing, satisfying curiosity about stuff, playing games, watching youtube, etc.
  • People accessing the web from a mobile device have more purpose and usually want to get something done.
  • 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour.

If someone tries to register from a smartphone and can’t press the “Buy Tickets” button at the top of the event page, they will likely get annoyed and give up. Maybe they’ll try again later on their desktop, or maybe they’ll forget about it. In any case you don’t want to annoy potential buyers. Make it easy for all these people to register for your event regardless of the device they’re on.

The bottom line

Remember that your website is the face of your event and is your first chance to make a good impression. The second is your event’s registration form. Make sure both are set up right and convert effectively. Convenience sells. Good value sells. I guarantee that if you follow the 5 steps, you will sell more tickets online than ever before.