How to Increase Online Registration for Your Classes & Activities

Posted on 9/25/18 9:00 AM by Matt Fish

There are plenty of ways your organization can boost the number of people registering for your services, activities or classes online, regardless of what industry you’re working in. Whether we’re talking about someone’s favorite recreation option or even just a free newsletter form, getting curious browsers to become loyal customers or followers takes careful planning and execution.

Discover how you can increase your organization’s online registration numbers:

Women registering for class at gym 

Of course, I’m assuming your organization is already doing the whole online registration thing to begin with. If not, we’ve talked a lot on our blog about the importance of ditching pen-and-paper registration processes and moving your sign-ups to the digital realm, so make sure you check out those articles if you fall into that camp.

The truth is, participants and their families don’t just crave the added convenience of being able to register for anything using their mobile device – it’s now considered a necessity. Because of this, just having an online registration feature functional and (hopefully) offering your clients an easy-to-use experience isn’t enough anymore.

To boost participation, you need to do one thing above all else: remove all barriers that stand in the way of them signing up.

How is this achieved? Check out our list of simple tricks that can help significantly increase your registrations:

 

Table of Contents
1. Showcase the Benefits of Your Services
2. Optimize Your Online Registration Webpage
3. Reduce Registration Form Fields
4. Incentivize Early-Bird Sign-Ups
5. Consider Using Pop-Ups
6. Up Your Social Media Marketing Game
7. Get People to Review Your Services

 


Showcase the Benefits of Your Services
 

In my experience, the one tried-and-true way to get more website visitors to register for one (or several) of your programs or activities is simple: make them care about what they’re signing up for.

If the benefits that your services provide are unclear to your community’s residents or visitors, then how can you reasonably expect them to make the commitment to your organization? They need to know what they’ll be getting for their time and money; otherwise, they’ll bypass your online storefront completely.

If you’re struggling to come up with a succinct selling point for a program, class or event, don’t worry: You’re probably closer than you think. To help streamline the benefit statement writing process, here are some tips:

  • Always describe how your services will make a customer’s life better, not just the services themselves;
  • Use “you” and “we” to refer to the customer-organization relationship;
  • Be clear about what’s offered (and sometimes what’s not); and
  • Get the reader excited right away – the headline or first description sentence should be your best stuff text-wise.

 

RELATED: Why Custom-Built Online Registration Software isn't Worth it

 

Optimize Your Online Registration Webpage

Once you have your program, activity or class selling points down, you need to take a close look at your existing registration landing page and identify any major barriers that are blocking users from signing up through your site.

The first place to start is with your call-to-action (CTA). Usually coming in button form, this is the part of the page that should instantly catch a viewer’s eye and compel them to click through to a registration form by using action-oriented language.

Check out these CTA basics to ensure you’re following best practices:

  • Does my CTA stand out from the rest of the design on the page? In other words, is it immediately noticeable (this applies to button size, color, etc.);
  • Does the action-oriented language logically describe what they’ll be doing? Forget empty platitudes like “Click Here” – instead, try something like “Register Now” or “Register for Your Next Class.”

Your online registration webpage should also avoid any design or content elements that could distract or deter visitors from clicking on the CTA. Basically, if there are visual elements that are cluttering or confusing to the eye, get rid of them. Also, whenever you make changes, make sure you test them for effectiveness. Don’t assume more people are clicking through; look at the data and optimize accordingly.

 

Reduce Registration Form Fields

When your clients hit that CTA button and are redirected to an online registration form, the experience should be a quick and painless one. With that in mind, I’ll share my one golden rule when it comes to sign-up sheets on your website:

Don’t. Overwhelm. People. With. Form. Fields.

I know when I see a form that requests a ton of information, sometimes details that aren’t relevant to the activity or session, I become disenchanted right away. Beyond communication coordinates, like email addresses and/or phone numbers, and information for your payment processor, overstuffing online registration forms will get you more eye rolls than long-term business.

It goes back to the mentality I outlined for assessing your online registration landing page: If anything is confusing in any way or inessential to their participation in an activity or class, you need to think hard about keeping it on the form. A clear, concise sign-up process will reinforce the convenience and ease of access that separates the successful local recreation organizations from those who are struggling to fill up their classes and generate engagement.

 

Incentivize Early Bird Sign-Ups

If you have loyal participants who are keen to register for upcoming sessions or string of classes, you can use a reward system to incentivize early-bird customers or even curious prospects to do the same. In the end, the more of a buzz you can build up around your services before registration even begins, the better off you’ll be.

This incentivization can be executed in one of two ways: providing your customers with a discounted price (because who doesn’t like saving money) or, if they’re not getting a better price, bringing some added value to the table. The latter could come in the form of free merchandise (hoodies, water bottles, etc.), a credit towards the purchase/rental of equipment or some other manifestation of VIP treatment.

Your best clients should always be rewarded for their loyalty to your organization, so don’t be shy about spreading the love in whatever way you see fit. It’s a small investment of time and money that will pay huge dividends down the road.

Registration chart data 

Consider using Pop-Ups

Believe it or not, the process of having to navigate to a separate registration page can be enough of a hassle for web users that they check out before they hit “Confirm.” Today’s internet buyers are looking for the fastest, most efficient way to complete their checkout and, by involving more webpages and additional load time, you’re only making that journey longer than it has to be.

A great way to avoid this is with in-page pop-up boxes that will ensure all the action happens in one location, in a manner of speaking. I’m not talking about annoying advertising-style dialogue boxes either – just have your form appear over the existing landing page content in a pop-up and make signing up for activities, classes or sessions smooth and intuitive. This is also something important to consider for flexibility when viewing your site on a mobile device.

 

RELATED: 3 Reasons You Should Buy an Online Registration Software in 2018

 

Up Your Social Media Marketing Game

You’re probably already running some advertisements on Google, Facebook or Instagram, or at the very least have done so in the past. In addition, you’re hopefully active posting original content across all your social media platforms and engaging with your participants and any commenters. However, if you feel engagement stagnating or declining, it could be time to ramp up the quality, frequency or intensity of your posts.

There are a ton of blog articles and videos out there that can help you find social media hacks for specific platforms and types of posts, so I won’t necessarily go into too much detail on those subjects here. Instead, here are some basics best practice points to keep in mind, no matter what network you’re working with:

  • Make sure your message is always clear and concise. Don’t beat around the bush either – get right to the heart of what you’re trying to say to your audience.
  • Add visual spice to your social media content. Video clips, emoji, memes, GIFs – it’s all on the table.
  • Give readers a clear point to the post. If they’re meant to watch a video, click on a link or even answer a poll question, ensure you’re explicit about what you want to be done.

For more information on how you can make your organization’s social media feed scroll-worthy, check out our exclusive webinar with special guest Maria Fearnall!

Registration online graph 

Get People to Review Your Services

Finally, we’ve got a part of your online business infrastructure that is seldom used to its full effect by owners or managers, and that is the comments section!

Be it on a social network, your website’s Google My Business widget or even under a recent piece of content, like a video or blog article, make sure you’re encouraging participants to leave their reviews and/or testimonials about your services. Just a few words of social proof can go a long way in establishing your organization as trustworthy, caring and vital to your community.

A common objection with using comments as social proof is that negative comments can sink your business’ public persona in a big way. That simply isn’t true.

No one likes hearing from a paying customer and finding out that his or her experience was sub-par in any way, but the impact has more to do with how you or your staff respond to this feedback. Take the time to get in touch with the person who wrote any negative comments and truly understand where they’re coming from. More often than not, they’ll point out improvements that can help your customer experience blossom into something really spectacular.

Once that’s done, take the time to write a well-explained response, one that shows empathy for the customer’s side of things but also justifying why that incident or facet of your organization is the way it is. No one or two-word responses and no aggressive or inappropriate language; keep things professional but know that feedback works both ways.

 

There you have it – a collection of easy-to-implement tips to help your organization boost online registrations and engage more visitors who come to your website from search engine results or links they see on social media. If you’re getting your audience excited about your services, demonstrating the benefits they’ll receive by partaking in activities, classes or sessions and taking the proper steps to get the word out there effectively, there’s no reason why you can’t reverse any declining participation trends and make your recreation options the talk of your community.

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