The Internet is a world wide web of convenience: we can shop, date, order dinner – all in one place. So it’s no surprise that online race registration software is the go-to option for race management companies. It saves paper, streamlines data for easy organization, is preferred by participants and can save race directors a huge headache. Thank goodness the endurance industry got away from mail-in paper event registration forms!

So, regardless of what race registration software you use now (though we hope you’re using ours!), read on to learn how to make the most of it in six easy steps. Consider this a race directors quick and dirty guide to online race registration.

Easy to Find, Easy to Understand

Provide potential participants with all the information they could possibly need in one place. Have a direct registration link on your website and social media platforms and include an intriguing event description to draw people in and show why your race is a must-run. FAQs on registration, refund/transfer policies, event information and more should be included on the registration site and confirmation email. Don’t forget to add logos to your registration site as well; it’s a simple idea but brand recognition will bring participants back year after year.

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Boost Registration Revenue

Add additional registration options for extra income! Setting multiple price increase tiers, either around a specific date or number of participants, is guaranteed to create a sense of urgency and increase revenue. Plus, this guarantees you cash flow early on in your race planning. You can also try selling previous years’ race shirts or other branded merchandise like water bottles and sweatbands. Another revenue booster is to give athletes the ability to change their registration options for a fee (ie. move from the 5K to 1oK race). Not only will this bring in revenue, it’ll also allow participants who have over- or under-trained to still participate.

Those Who Register Together, Race Together

Even at different paces, people enjoy being able to train together and run the same race. To increase participation, set up social teams during registration. Consider offering discount codes to local track teams, yoga studios and gyms to boost participation too. Also encourage people to refer their friends to your event (and their team) through referral codes that are shareable online.

Optimize Your Organization

Online race registration software makes it easier to collect data for an easy and efficient race day. At registration, gather participants’ t-shirt data and ask questions such as race pace to assist with corral placement. You should also include a required waiver to cover your event for the use of race photos, injury liability, etc. Consider adding a custom fee to cover costs such as state taxes so that you’re not stuck footing the bill in the end. Be sure to look into this as not all online race registration companies offer this capability of adding on this extra tax fee easily.Race_Director_Guide_to_ Online_ Registration2

Keep Communicating

It’s not over once they’re registered! Send out emails if anything changes such as parking or a suggested time to be at the start line. Send out a reminder email a few days prior with last-minute race details including packet pickup and course info. Most race registration softwares allow you to send emails directly from the product, leaving no room for data sharing errors. You’ll also want to include these details in your original confirmation email (something you should also be able to set up in your race management software).

Maintain Your Database

To maximize the registration period, keep online registration open until race day, then use an on-site registration tool the day of the race. (Again, double check that your online race registration service allows you to do this. In most cases, where the race timing and registration are not on the same platform, you’ll need to shut online registration down a few days early in order to share the data with your timing company). You’ll want to use just one online registration provider and import any offline entries right away to keep your participant data all in one spot.

Online race registration software will simplify your planning and bring your race into the 21st century if it’s not already there. For more help with registration and race management in general, contact our team. We’re always here to help!

Need help with more than just your online registration?  Download our guide on how to plan a 5K race here.