Thinking mobile first for registrations

Within the events industry, we’re very protective of registrations forms which are often encyclopaedic in length.

It’s funny that as we moved into the digital age, and our registrations forms stopped having to fit on the back of a brochure, we suddenly had carte blanche to ask people everything we’d ever wanted to know about them. Ever. And the best thing was that we wouldn’t let them finish their registration until they had; we were holding potential visitors to ransom for their data.

This greatly pleased everyone; potential sponsors, sales and marketing teams, auditors, and anyone else who loves the comfort of tons of data and stats. Oh, everyone of course apart from the visitor themselves who would probably prefer to chew their own arm off than be faced with multiple tick boxes within an 8-step registration process. But on a desktop you could half-heartedly argue that the experience wasn’t really that bad.

So with an experience that wasn’t that bad we fumbled on through the naughties.

Then mobile happened, and kept happening. And now we’re faced with a conundrum: Is getting this registration form data more important to us than getting more registrations?

I’m of the persuasion that the registration is our number one priority (if you’re interested, our second priority is then conversion to onsite visitor ). If our audience wants to register by mobile (and they increasingly do), then our current unwieldy registration forms need to be rendered obsolete. It’s worth noting that there is no escape from this, it is inevitable.

In light of which, let’s strip our mobile registration forms right back to basics. I’m a huge advocate of name and email address (and payment if appropriate – PayPal perhaps?) alone. Or even social media registration with Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. What could be simpler to do on your phone while you’re on the go?

To see into the future often you have to look no further than what the start-ups are doing and trust me, these guys don’t have an 8-step registration process. Some of them don’t even have their own websites.

If we’re serious about wanting people to register for our events, why on earth are we making it so hard? The world is changing, we need to change with it.