Why People Sign Up At The Last Minute (And How To Fix It)

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We’ve all been there: staff members anxiously scramble to get people to register for their event. Months of planning comes down to a five-day advertising blitz. The office quickly looks like a telemarketing firm, convincing people to sign up by the deadline.

If people don’t register, the event is a bust.

That scenario is too common among churches. Whether it’s summer camp, VBS, or a women’s breakfast, we assume people only sign up at the last minute. So we take a passive approach from the beginning.

But passive marketing quickly descends into stressful anxiety when we discover few people sign up. We hoped for hundreds, but after three weeks of promotion, we have seven.

“Oh, we are just a last minute church,” a staff member will say. “No need to promote until right before the deadline. That’s just how it is here.”

But does it have to be that way?


If businesses operated this way, they would close. In fact, companies who win do these two things to get people to buy their product or service. And these two elements are crucial for people to respond:

1. Give a clear, simple, strong call to action.
We often make the next step complicated or confusing. Instead of just saying “sign up here,” we mix it in with a long description of the event and every single detail moms could ever want to know. Or we bury the registration form so deep on the website the NSA can’t even find it.

Yes, we need details. Yes, you need to provide thorough information (especially when it involves children and students).

2. Layout a simple plan for next steps.
What people need is a clear next step. They lead busy lives, hearing anywhere from 3000-5000 commercial messages per day. They don’t have the time or the mental energy to connect the dots about how to register for your next event.

Let’s say you’re pushing registrations for your student camp this summer. Your plan could be “1. Fill out the form 2. Pay the deposit 3. Experience a life-changing week.”

Companies that win tell people exactly what to do. That’s why Amazon has the “Buy with 1 Click” option. Don’t make it hard for people to join in. Fight for clarity, and people will respond.





Wes is one of our regular contributors. He helps people gain clarity in their leadership and communication. Wes served in churches for almost a decade and grew up in the home of a worship pastor. Now he’s a Forbes Contributor and StoryBrand Certified Copywriter. He’s also a coffee and apple fritter aficionado. Wes lives with his wife, two sons, and overly protective dog in Atlanta, GA.

Read all posts by Wes.