A Guide to Discounts for Your Event

Money talks. Offering a discount to your event can be a significant motivator to get curious onlookers over the hump and turn them into participants. But it’s important to be strategic about your discounts and ensure you don’t undersell the value you provide.

The three main tenets:

  • Keep it simple. Don’t make people do complex math to determine the best date, time, and registration configuration to get your best rate.
  • Communicate clearly. Discounts only work if people know about them! Include the details of any public option on your website, on social media, and in emails.
  • Make it urgent. Every discount needs a deadline to prompt action.


Popular Discounting Options

Coupon Codes

Perfect For: Your Classic Email Blast Promotion

Coupon codes that provide a discount at checkout are the best-known example of a discount. In fact, they’re so widely used that in 2019, eight percent of all registrations included a coupon code discount.

There are a few more advanced options for heavy users of coupons, but the basics of Coupon Code Setup include:

  1. Defining your code (I.E. Sponsor25Off or ValentinesDay).
  2. Determining whether your discount is a dollar amount (I.E., $5 off) or a percent of the total (I.E. 20% off).
  3. Selecting whether the coupon code is applied to an overall transaction, per registrant, or per registrant, per event. In other words, does every registrant in a transaction get the $5 off from above, or is it simply $5 off the transaction?
  4. Setting eligibility dates. Make sure your Labor Day special expires after Labor Day!
  5. Defining what can be discounted. For many races, a coupon code can only be applied to a race registration – but there are instances when an event with a robust swag program wants to discount swag items. You can also limit your coupon to registrations for only some events.
  6. Setting coupon restrictions. In other words, are there a limited number of transactions or registrations that can use this coupon? This is useful for a variety of situations, including sponsor entries where your sponsor may be eligible for 5 free registrations (but no more).

If you want to learn more about some of the more advanced coupon features and reporting, check out the how-to’s below. One advanced feature we’ll call out, though: if you want all (or several of) your races to have the same discount for a specific occasion, you can share your coupon code across multiple races.


Membership Discounts

Perfect For: Cross-Promotion Between a Club and a Race (or events that are sanctioned by a governing body).

There are two types of Membership Discounts you can offer. The first, found under Financial >> Pricing >> Club Membership Discounts, can be used to offer special pricing to registrants who are members of a club on RunSignup. This is ideal when a local running club and a race are either operated by the same entity, or want to cross-promote each other.

The best part of this feature? It not only offers an automatic discount to members of the club, it also allows you to suggest joining the club if a registrant is not a member. Grow your race by encouraging club participation and grow your club by suggesting non-members join.

View the Add a Club Membership Discount How-To.

The second type of membership discount, found under Financial >> Pricing >> Memberships, can be used to validate memberships in one of a few governing bodies. These include USA Track and Field, USA Triathlon, US Ski and Snowboard Association, USA Cycling, and AARP.

For more information about this type of membership, view the Set Up Memberships How-To.


Age-Based Pricing

Perfect For: Family-Friendly Events Without a Kids-Only Option

Committed to a family-friendly event? Age-based pricing may be for you. A few caveats:

  • If you expect all or most kids to participate in a dedicated Kids Event, you don’t need age-based pricing. You just need to set up a Kids Event in the wizard (you can limit the ages that can register for it), and set the pricing for the event accordingly.
  • Do not use both Age-Based pricing and Group/Team pricing. Age-Based pricing will overwrite your Group/Team pricing.

If you have a significant number of kids who may want to participate in your main event (such as for a family-focused, walker-friendly Turkey Trot), age-based pricing can help ensure the whole family can participate.

View the Age-Based Pricing How-To


Vouchers

Perfect For: Making Good on Your 2020 Promises

Vouchers are our newest, coolest discount option. Vouchers were created to give races that cancelled in 2020 a flexible way to credit participants. Vouchers are used more like money than standard coupon codes, and can be used for only one race or for multiple races, depending on your needs.

View the How To for Adding Vouchers, or dive straight into the crash course below.


And MORE Discount Options

While the options above are our most widely applicable discount options, there are others that you can look into for more niche solutions. Just keep in mind the cardinal rules: keep your discounting strategy simple, and don’t over-discount.

  • Group/Team Pricing to set up special pricing for the social or competitive teams in your event.
  • Multi-Person Pricing to discount groups who register on the same transaction, such as families. In most cases, either Age-Based Pricing or Group/Team Pricing will better accomplish your goals.
  • Multi-Race Bundles to offer a discount when a participant registers for more than one race in a single transaction. Perfect for a race series!
  • Reserved Entries to ensure entry even if a race has closed or reached its cap – with or without a discount.
  • Affiliate Discounts to offer a discount to participants who register through a specific link – for example, one shared by your local gym or by your presenting sponsor.
  • Credit Card Discounts. This one is really niche, but ideal for races that are sponsored by a specific bank.
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