Inspiring more event registrations at every phase

By: Elly Driscoll

What you need to know

  • Event communications require strategic planning alongside other event design elements.
  • Creative messaging must connect to every phase of the attendee journey.
  • Event registration data delivers insights into how to refresh online event marketing


Event attendee using the event registration website on a laptop computer

✅ Sought-after keynote? Booked.

✅ Interactive breakouts? Designed for optimal engagement.

✅ Panelists offering diverse perspectives? Prepped.

✅ Evening entertainment? Unforgettable.

❌ Registration rates? Need serious improvement.

Event designers know that there’s no better feeling than planning a conference that exceeds expectations. But delivering a flawless program to a half-empty room? That stings. It’s not just a blow to the ego, either. Producing an event that doesn’t reach its intended audience puts the future of the event at risk, no matter how spectacularly all the other pieces came together.

Sluggish event registrations have serious consequences.

  • Reduced profit margins
  • Lowered energy in the room
  • Lost opportunities to connect with industry peers

Low turnout also impacts other important performance measures. But if there’s one thing to remember, it’s that securing a sellout crowd is within your control.

Reaching attendance goals requires an event communication strategy that’s planned with the same level of intention as the rest of the conference, trade show or meeting. Online event marketing should follow a phased approach that tracks to the attendee journey.

The most valuable audiences have many brands competing for their attention, so strive to get a head start. Here are the communications strategies and tactics you need to employ to boost event registration before, during and after your event.

Pre-event communications strategies

Build an event storyline

The best event branding goes deeper than designing a logo, and choosing a tagline and color scheme. Effective event marketing ties to the event’s overall value proposition and tells a story that helps audiences understand the when, why and where. Think of an event you didn’t want to miss. As a prospective attendee, you probably felt a great deal of FOMO at the thought of missing it, because event planners used a motivational hook to get you excited.

Related: Create a cross-media event marketing plan that helps your target audience understand why they should register.

Brainstorm beyond creating a seamless look and feel. Envision moments and stories that will make your event memorable. Ask: What insights, connections and affinities do we want attendees to walk away with?

Weave the answers to that question into pre-event registration materials to show how this experience is about much more than sitting in breakout sessions all day. This will help your audience not only recognize your event elements but also imagine themselves as participants.

Optimize the event registration website

Your event website is often the “front door” that prospective attendees use to peek into your event. If it’s not intuitive and engaging, expect a quick exit. Beyond providing basic information, consider it as a content hub that highlights expert voices and builds community. To encourage registrations, prioritize UX principles that make it visually appealing and easy to navigate.

Example: Have one clear spot for attendees to review the agenda, prices and FAQs (frequently asked questions), including details about the dress code, hotel accommodations, transportation and more.

An optimized event website enables you to gather zero-party data that can help personalize the experience for registrants and effectively target similar high-value attendees.

Take a mixed-media marketing approach

Targeted event promotion is paramount to getting the right people through the door. Use a mix of paid and organic advertising tactics, tracking what works best for converting interest into registrations:

  • Place an ad or publish a sponsored content piece in an industry magazine or website.
  • Use Google Ads for targeted PPC (pay-per-click) advertising.
  • Partner with recognized experts who have influential ties to your target audience.
  • Try retargeting to convert website visitors (or your partners’ websites) into registrants on your event website.

Most importantly, co-promote the event with key speakers, vendors and sponsors. These stakeholders are invested in the event’s success and already have a following and distribution list that aligns with your target audience. Make sure they have the right tools and information to share event information across their channels. They’re especially helpful in driving early-bird registrations. Make it easy for them to amplify your message on social media.

LinkedIn is the “it” platform to reach a targeted professional audience. According to Social Shepherd, Millennials make up 60% of LinkedIn’s users (as of February 2024). In addition, Gen Z makes ups 20% of users, aged between 18 and 24.

LinkedIn is much more than a recruiting and hiring site. For event planners and influencers, it’s the go-to spot for sharing thought leadership and promoting learning opportunities with peers and followers.

Example: Have key individuals promote event registration with a message as simple as, “I’m attending X event.” It’s common practice to share a templated image with the event name, often times with a headshot dropped in. But don’t forget to share the registration link!

Keep the promotional momentum going by sharing Q&As with key event speakers, host podcast appearances and use an event hashtag to encourage user-generated content.

Build community by populating the event’s mobile app

A well-designed conference app incorporates so much more than a paperless agenda. Populate it with must-know information for registered attendees, connect them with each other even prior to the event. In short: An app is for finding information and building relationships.

Use what you hear from eager attendees inside the app to develop public posts that pique interest and convince others that your event is a can’t-miss. Addressing audience-specific concerns helps build trust.

Expert content isn’t everything, though. Research indicates that networking and making industry connections are top reasons people attend events.

Just remember: Apps are typically gated, accessible only by registered attendees, and launch a few weeks out from the event.

In-activation communications strategies

Once the doors open, your focus shifts from securing attendees to ensuring repeat registrations. What’s the best way to do that? Make the people who committed feel like they are part of something special and those who didn’t register feel like they’re missing out on something big.

Include a coupon code for next year’s event

Welcome attendees with a little surprise! Once you’re done checking them in, send them a thank-you email that includes a discount code for next year’s event. The automated message, personalized with their name, lets attendees know you value their presence.

Example: Include a thank-you email message of, “Register for the 2025 event today and save X%!”

Transform the registration table

After check-in, flip the registration area into a selfie station that includes the event hashtag and logo. Encourage them to snap a picture with colleagues and fellow attendees. The bonus? Repostable content you can add to the event’s own feed. The kind of content you need to create FOMO.

Related: Consolidating vendors elevated this organization’s event gifting game and led to 100% client satisfaction over 7,000+ total redemptions.

Capture moments of engagement

Professional on-site photography and videography are a must, as is re-posting organic user-generated content. Photo booths are fun, but be sure to mix in candid shots, too. Showcase the action on stage—and audience response. Consider livestreaming key components that offer a taste of the content for free to generate interest in gated content that you make available post-event.

Create a sense of belonging

Incorporating event traditions builds anticipation, creates emotional impact and generates brand loyalty. Attendees want to be part of something bigger than themselves.

Example: Have a big reveal of next year’s destination and theme as part of a compelling closing ceremony. Include food, giveaways and a reminder about early bird rates.

Traditions can also be about customer service, consistency and all-around event quality. Sessions that start on time. Organizers who respond promptly. Presenters who show genuine care for the audience. These hallmarks of good hospitality are essential to building great word-of-mouth.

Use data creatively to personalize the event experience: download our white paper

Post-event communication strategies

Immediately after a great event is the best time to earn repeat attendees—when their memories are fresh and they’re energized by what they’ve just learned. However, annual budget allocations are a common barrier that keeps even the most enthusiastic attendees from committing in advance.

Address budget concerns for decision-makers

Help interested attendees appeal to their decision-makers with a post-event email that includes "convince your boss" messaging. Attendees can use it to justify the budget required to attend the event. Time-bound tiered pricing structures like an “alumni” rate, group discounts, and an option to pay a deposit now and balance later, are all effective tactics to encourage repeat registrations and create urgency.

Drip content to develop a continuous event “life cycle”

Extend the lifecycle of your event by transitioning from registration-specific communications to sharing event albums, pull-quotes, speaker updates, etc. This keeps your event top-of-mind throughout the year. Pepper in opportunities to deepen engagement, like exclusive webinars and virtual fireside chats with panelists to add value all year long.

Listen and learn with post-event surveys

Survey data is a crucial tool to ensure your event's long-term health and productivity. Successful events evolve based on feedback. Incentivize survey participation by making the event photo library accessible only after completing the post-event survey.

Use survey results to measure event success and inform changes. Be sure to promote attendee-informed changes by highlighting “you asked for it, we listened” updates in future communications as next year’s event approaches.

Want more tips on attracting attendees in the pre-event phase? Explore these advanced registration tactics to incentivize early bird registrations.

use data to creatively personalize the event experience: download now
Elly Driscoll
Elly Driscoll

A Washington state native, Elly’s proximity to tech conferences drew her into the events industry. She’s planned and managed events of all sizes, from small meetings to annual conferences with 5,000+ attendees. Elly brings that front-line expertise and leadership to her role as Event Solutions Advisor. And her expertise doesn’t stop there. She’s a pro at creating the right team structure, recommending registration technology and onboarding new clients. Thankfully, she still has energy to plan family trips to Italy with her husband and two daughters.