Registrants do not Always Equal Attendees

Hi This is Brent Palmer, I run marketing for Cloud Conventions. Today we will be running through one of the top mistakes to avoid when running virtual events. We will focus on engaging your audience so that a registrant becomes an attendee. 

When someone registers for your event that does not necessarily mean that they will actually attend. This may seem counterintuitive to many, I mean if someone went through the effort of registering, they will certainly attend. Wrong, weirdly enough we have seen time and time again, that is just not true, even where attendees actually paid to be there. 

Poor attendance can be for a variety of reason, events that fail to stay in touch with their registrants for example, events that don’t generate excitement, or events that open registration too early may see big numbers in their reg list, that end up not translating into attendance.

I have worked many events and have definitely seen some with thousands of individuals registered, but a disappointing turn out. Now there are certainly situations where attendees can’t be there due to unforeseen circumstances, but mostly it is a lack of communication or other major factor that we will cover, that influences whether or not attendees actively participate. 

From my experience as a marketing professional here are the mistakes I see events making in not being able to translate registrants into attendees.

Mistake #1:  Not connecting before the event.

You may take registrations well in advance of opening the event platform. If registrants are not reminded that you are out there and why they registered to begin with, they won’t attend. You have to communicate frequently to stay top of mind to turn registrants into attendees. Encourage them to block off their calendars and take pre-show actions like allowing them to network or connectwith other attendees or exhibitors, preview show sessions or offer early registration and give them the session schedule, offer scavenger hunts to earn points,  provide access to some on demand content and get them excited for content that will be live once the show starts.

Mistake #2: Not showcasing the fun factor

If you just communicate about the event, the sessions and the speakers, you’ll hide a potential “wow” factor that would make registrants want to login and join the fun. Similar to mistake 1, connect with them and then offer some of the exciting things that will be available.

Mistake #3: Disengaging the “lost causes”.

Just because people haven’t logged in yet, doesn’t mean they won’t.  People do things at the last minute so you must send out emails throughout the live event to remind registrants of what’s coming up next as the event progresses to give them reasons to join. Things like a daily itinerary, whats happening, or even highlight exhibitors can help keep them coming back. One of the huge benefits of a virtual show is that once it ends, content can stay live for as long as you want. Thus you can continue to engage long after the show ended. 

Mistake #4: Not highlighting key speakers & sessions

You may have many speakers and sessions in the agenda, but don’t fail to highlight the ones that are important and memorable.  Once the registrant logs in and becomes an attendee, they have the time to get the full scope of what you are offering, but the recognizable names and topics will be the draw.

Mistake #5Not pointing out what they might miss

Events must show attendees what they will miss by not coming.  Is this their only shot at viewing the educational content and will on-demand content be more expensive after the event? Highlight the benefits of registering and attending the live virtual conference in all of your attendee outreach.

Mistake #6: Not reminding people how to login

Event platforms require a login and password and if the individual registered well in advance, they have likely forgotten how to find you and open the door.  Events that don’t send out reminders and ways for people to retrieve their login will have low participation. Also, encourage them to log in, and be sure to let them know they have to log in in order to engage other attendees, exhibitors, access awesome content and more.


The bottom line is that you have to stay top of mindshare before and as your event progresses to ensure that the individuals you worked so hard to attract into your registration engine will log in when your virtual event goes live.

Months before the event start you should begin to build hype and open registration. At least two weeks before the event, you should turn up your communication to registrants and highlight high profile sessions, speakers and exhibitors to remind them about what is coming up.  In your event design, you should have built in some “wow” factors and fun elements that you can promote to this audience as well.  Make sure to mention the things that they can only experience by coming to the event.

And then let’s focus on the fact that many people wait until the last minute to either register or login.  That means that you still have the potential for someone to attend even if they didn’t login on the first day, so accelerate your communication during the live portion of the event.  And all platforms require a login, so if they set their login and password weeks ago, there is a likelihood they’ve already forgotten it so give them a quick refresher on how to retrieve it.

One of the key performance indicators in event success is the ratio of registrants to attendees and you can tip that ratio in your favor if you communicate often, highlight what is special about the event and remind people how to attend.

Have an upcoming event? Explore Cloud Conventions to see how we can help.