The Early Bird Gets the Win: A Guide to Early Bird Registrations

Why early bird registrations are so effective and how to set them up.

bird soaring above clouds

As the saying goes, “The early bird gets the worm.” Not only do they get the worm though – they get a good deal too!

There are a number of advantages for both you the organizer and for participant with early bird deals. If you want to increase sales for your upcoming competition, improve attendance, and create buzz for your event, you should consider this great tool.

Table of Contents

Advantages of Early Bird Offers

For Competition Organizers

  • Creates FOMO
  • Gets people to commit
  • Prevents a “no-show” or “limited show” event
  • Gives organizers an idea of what attendance will look like
  • Builds anticipation and buzz for your event
  • Becomes a catalyst for a steady stream of sales

For Attendees

  • Rewarded for committing early
  • Saves money
  • Looked at as an “early adopter”
  • Potential to get other savings like early flight or accommodation deals

Criteria for Creating an Early Bird Offer

Define Your Reward

Early bird discounts are generally between 10-25% off full pricing (or a specified dollar amount off, like $20), whether for a registration fee or a spectator ticket. However, not all early bird specials have to be monetary. Many organizers choose to reward early bird registrants with an exclusive swag item, a discount on a future event or a unique privilege.

Whatever you choose – monetary or otherwise – you must make sure your offer and reward is regarded as valuable and special by your potential customers.

Set Boundaries

Set strict restrictions and limitations on your early bird offers. This includes:

  • Timeline: For competitions, the deadline for early bird registration is typically 10-12 weeks prior to the event itself.
  • Eligibility: Determine who is able to register for your exclusive offer(s). For example, you might want to have a separate early bird offer for out-of-town athletes/spectators that includes accommodation discounts vs. one for local participants.
  • Quantity: Be mindful of how many offers you’re giving and at what rate so you don’t lose money.

If you are considering offering another promotion or discount AFTER the early bird offer, you must make sure that particular discount doesn’t or is greater than that of the early bird. If you do, your athletes and spectators may become angry and will lose trust in you.

How to Setup an Early Bird Registration

Strongest Compete makes it really easy to setup a seamless early bird registration offer. You can choose to use one of two methods:

Method 1: Use a Coupon Code

You can create a coupon that reduces the entry price and distribute it among potential registrants. You can configure:

  • The discount amount or discount percentage,
  • How many times that coupon can be used,
  • The expiration date for the coupon,
  • Which division(s) the coupon applies to.

To create coupons in Strongest Compete:

  1. In the Dashboard, click on Manage on the relevant competition.
  2. In the menu on the left, select Advanced > Coupons.
  3. Click Add Coupon.
  4. This will open the coupon editor. You can enter the details of your coupon, such as:
    • Coupon Code: The code that users will need to enter at checkout to receive the discount.
    • Discount: How much the discount will be, and whether it is a percentage off or a specific amount off.
    • Number Available: How many coupons can be redeemed. Once this limit is hit, users will no longer be able to redeem the coupon.
    • Expiration: The date when the coupon expires. Past this date, users will no longer be able to redeem the coupon.
    • Divisions: You can select what division(s) you want this discount code to be applicable for. You can use division-targeted coupons to promote your competition to particular groups of athletes, for instance, Women Rx.
  1. Click Add button.

Method 2: Manually Adjust the Registration Price

Another way to set up an “early bird” registration is:

  • Initially add a lower price when you create the competition
  • When the Early Bird promo period ends, change the registration fee(s) on the competition management page.

Ideas to Promote Early Bird Registration

Early Bird offers are great incentives to commit and register for your event. However, just creating them isn’t enough; you’ll need to let people know it’s available. Here are some tips for promoting your promotion:

  • Announce your Early Bird offer dates a week before, to build anticipation. Make sure to note quantity restrictions to create scarcity.
  • Promote your offer on social, especially on Stories. Use interactive elements like  a countdown timer and URL to your registration page to really create urgency and engagement.
  • Highlight your early bird offer on your event website.
  • Create an email drip campaign to potential attendees:
    • Email #1 should be sent 10-14 days before your Early Bird offer goes live. Let people know what the offer is, when it’s available and quantity limitations.
    • Email #2 should be sent 3 days before your Early Bird offer goes live as a reminder.
    • Email #3 should be sent the night before.
    • Then you can send a couple of other reminder emails as quantities become limited or time runs out.
  • Make your early birders feel like VIPs. People love the exclusivity of rewards that come with early registration. VIP perks could include prime seating, behind-the-scenes passes, early entry or an athlete meet & greet.
  • Reward repeat attendees. By offering discounts or additional rewards for attending future events, businesses can both build customer loyalty and a reliable revenue pipeline.

Early bird discounts can be incredibly effective for your competition registration and revenue, and Strongest Compete makes it super easy to offer them during your registration process. Will you try it?