Promotional codes are great when you want to offer discounts or special access to a select group of people registering for your events.

Sure, different prices can be listed directly on your online registration forms but those fees are visible to everyone and you may not want certain people to see special pricing you’ve set up or try to select something they’re not eligible for. Using a promotional code allows you to solve this problem.

Here are just a few ideas for getting the most out of promotional codes:

  • Customize different codes for groups. Maybe members can save $10 on the price of an event. Or perhaps VIPs or speakers can attend the event for free. With a promotional code, you can create various registration options.
  • Track ticket sales. Want to know how attendees heard about your event? Provide a unique promotional code in invitations, newspapers, magazines, radio, blog, website or other marketing materials. This code-specific registration allows tracking of registration from different sources. Then you’ll know the most effective promotional vehicle and can use that information to successfully promote your next event.
  • Create a sense of urgency for registering. “Hurry up and buy” can boost sales or attendance. Offering a promotional code that expires after a certain date can motivate early registrations.
  • Giveaways to the first registrants. Use a promotional code to offer items like free t-shirts or books to the first select group that registers. This creates an incentive for registering early without discounting the event itself. Or if the event is free, this is an alternative option for incentives.
  • Get more “likes” on Facebook or more email contacts. Events can also boost your social media efforts. For example, offer a promotional code on your Facebook Page when someone “likes” your page. This is an opportunity to get more followers on Facebook—as well as additional event registrants. Or consider offering a promotional code when someone signs up for your email newsletter. Just add the promotional code to your welcome email for a limited time and you don’t have to do any extra work.
  • Grant early access or incentives to frequent attendees. To encourage repeat attendance at events, offer an early sign-up bonus for upcoming meetings. This encourages repeat attendance at events year after year.

And don’t forget these additional tips for smart use of promotional codes:

  • Don’t make codes too complicated. Promotional codes need to be easily remembered by users. Creating unique codes for every media source makes it easier to track registration. If the same code is applied over and over again, it’s harder to track what sources your registrants are coming from.
  • Keep track of registrants. If you’re sending invitations only, remember to track the number of people the code is sent to, and the number of people applying it. This makes it easier to manage the success of your promotional code.

Have any other ideas to share for the use of promotional codes? Let us know in the comments below.

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