So what's the down-low on paper vs. online registration forms?

It's 2009 and I hate to be the one to tell you this, but it's time to hand over that stack of papers and surrender to the way of the future - technology. Paper is totally out and anything and everything online is totally in, including online registration forms.

Here's what you need to know to join the cool kids again:

1. Online registration forms can help you reduce cost by as much as 45%. 

Managing your registration process online eliminates printing and postage costs, as well as allows staff to maximize their productivity.  Register, modify, cancel and refund attendees with the click of button - no tedious paperwork or data entry needed. Even allow attendees to modify their registrations themselves.  Securely collect payments online, so you don't have to track down payments by check.  Clone previous event registration forms for easy reuse.

2. Web-based registration forms are eco-friendly.
Go green and save a few trees.  With online registration forms, there is no need to print hundreds of copies of a registration form.  Collect the registration information you regard to be critical and even upload important event documents such as brochures, event agendas, exhibitor lists, session descriptions and parking information to be downloaded by attendees upon completion of the registration process. 

3. Tracking and reporting on the registration process is easier and more efficient online.
Keeping track of event registrations when some come via fax, some are received by mail and some occur on-site can be an overwhelming task.  Online event registration forms can be accessed anytime and anywhere by any computer connected to the internet.  Over 70 standard presentation-ready reports are available in real-time including participant lists, payment balance due, wait lists and more.  An unlimited number of custom reports can also be created. 

4. Online registration forms will increase registration numbers by 21%.
It is no secret that in today's world we all feel stretched for time.  Filling out a paper registration form, completing a credit card authorization form, sending a fax or worse, going to the post office, is just a pain.  Invitees may have every intention of registering for the event, but before they know it, the deadline has passed or it is simply more effort than it is worth.  Online registration forms allow invitees to quickly and conveniently register from their computers.  Pre-populate key information such as name, title, and company for repeat registrants.

5. Web-based registration forms allow for maximum form customization.
There is only so much information that can fit onto a 8x11 sheet of paper.  However, dynamic, multi-track, multi-session registration forms can be built online.  The registration forms can even be customized to match the look and feel of your organization's branding with the usage of an HTML editor. 

I know it is hard to teach an old dog a new trick but if you are still using paper registration forms, I strongly encourage you to try managing your registration process online. The value goes well beyond the five benefits I have presented in this blog post. To learn more about conducting your registration online, sign up for a best practices webinar focusing on online event registration.

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