No matter what business you’re in, getting applicants to pay on time is a never ending problem. Finding a solution unfortunately doesn’t mean eliminating this problem, but it does mean using tools (ahem, a conference registration system) to help eliminate as much of the problem as possible. What does this mean? It means finding a software that will help integrate and automate payments and increase effective communication with attendees, vendors, and speakers in order to get paid on time!
1. Integrate payments by making paying a part of the process.
If your conference registration system doesn’t offer integrated payments, find a new one. Seriously. Research shows that sending an applicant away from your website to pay equates to 27% of applicants abandoning the process all together. Some conference planners shy away from integrating payments because they think that the processing fees are too high or it isn’t worth it, but losing business is more expensive than paying a processing fee. There are great ways to lower your processing costs too, which you can read more about here.
And while we’re at it, don’t just allow online payments – include payment plans, automatic billing and other great automation features that will help streamline payments and make it easy for applicants to pay their balance in full before your conference starts.
2. Enable applicants to pay in installments.
I mentioned this briefly above, but is’ really a clutch way to get applicants paying on time and getting paid faster overall. And by payment plans, I don’t mean agreeing to a payment plan but requiring that the applicant go in before each due date and paying – I mean payment plans that are set up by you, chosen by the applicant and then charged automatically on the payment due dates.
Payment plans are a great option for conferences, since they can sometimes be expensive. Especially if you have companies registering multiple employees, paying for everyone up front isn’t always ideal. By offering payment plans, you give the incentive to get that first payment IMMEDIATELY since the fact that they only owe a small amount while they are registering takes away the anxiety or reluctance to complete registration. Automated payment plans ensure you get paid on subsequent due dates, and also offer a great user experience for applicants since they don’t have to remember to pay at the next due date – they just put in their information once and that’s it! Automated communication will ensure they get an invoice each time a payment is processed on their payment plan schedule.
Besides all that, payment plans can help boost your payment rate by 35%!
3. Automated Invoicing
Whenever an applicant makes a payment, sending a quality invoice is key. One of our clients, Noam Masorti Youth saw a huge difference when they started using an online registration software to manage their invoicing and email communications. For them, it used to take 2-3 months to receive deposits and other payments. In that time, some people would drop out and they missed opportunities to fill the spots of those who took too long to pay. Now, it takes 2-3 weeks to completely close their programs.With automated invoicing, payments came in faster and they filled their programs faster and got paid sooner!Setting up a good invoicing system within your conference registration system will ensure you get paid faster.
I’ve already penned some posts about how to craft payment request and confirmation emails, and getting those right will improve your ability to get a response from applicants, and get them paying. Here’s another example of a payment request email you can send to conference applicants to get the ball rolling on payments.
Example of a GREAT payment request email from an applicant.
Subject: We’re waiting for your FINAL PAYMENT for Conference Name
We are thrilled that you will be joining us on Feb 3rd for the Conference name!
I wanted to personally update you regarding your outstanding balance of $2,400.
The deadline for full payment is: January 14, 2014.
Please go into the online conference registration system at www.yourwebsite.com/register and make a payment before the payment deadline. Once you login the system will take you right to your payment page. If you have a card on file, paying will be as easy as clicking the “Approve” button.
The email you used in order to register is: email@example.com
If you do not remember your password please use the “Forgot Password” option on the login page. The system will send you an email with instructions on how to reset your password.
I wanted to update you on your current order so you can make sure you are not missing anything. If you would like to add a product, you can do so through your online account dashboard.
|Conference Application Deposit–>Conference Application Deposit||$100||Paid|
|Conference Fee–> Conference Fee||$2,000||Not Paid|
This is your payment history:
|44768||Check||Tue, Nov 6th 2012||$100||Approved|
Your current balance is: $2,400
If you have any questions or just want to chat, feel free to answer this email 🙂
We are looking forward to an exciting conference this year!
Your amazing conference team!
(111) 111-1111 ex. 222
Helpful, well crafted emails paired with a great automated set up sending reminders at the right times will cut down your active work in tracking late payers down and improve your bottom line.
4. Offer a discount for full or immediate payment.
This isn’t always applicable depending on the cost to attend your conference, but it’s worth mentioning. Even a small discount, like $10 or $25 off a deposit or a freebie session or meal, goes a long way to incentivize paying on time.
5. Collect Payments Online Anytime!
Online payments win in any battle against manual payments (sending checks in the mail, credit cards over the phone, etc). Manual payments is super inefficient and honestly, a real waste of your time. Accepting online payments, directly through your registration system, saves you time and money in the long run. And it means you are essentially open for business 24/7.
I even wrote yet another blog post on the topic if you want to read more about online payment systems and why you need to get on that train!
Conclusion: Finding a Great Conference Registration System
In order to get paid faster, on time and online you MUST have a great conference registration system that makes this easy. That means automating payments, offering payment plans, automatic billing, automated email invoicing and reminders and integrating payments directly into your registration process. Managing your conference registration is a huge time killer. Keeping up with who has paid, who hasn’t, who has a payment due, etc is A LOT of work. That works costs you money (paying the salary of the registration coordinator). Why not save money but spending as little as $49 per month to manage your registration even better!
The time you save managing registration is better spent on making your conference the best it can be!