Creating a compelling event website is the key to successful event marketing. Just before setting up your next event website, have a look at our top 7 tips to ensure your website effectively increases attendance, builds excitement and provides all the information visitors need to successfully register.
Tip #1: Plan the layout and design
Effective websites consider the layout and design of each page. Images should be relevant and of high quality, links should be highlighted when necessary and menus should suggest a natural flow to your pages and registration process.
Tip #2: Content
Visitors to your event website are looking for more information. Have guest speakers give a preview of their seminar, encourage exhibitors share information about themselves, have complelling marketing content or promotional information listed, share details of previous events, and give them more than enough information to entice them to register.
Tip #3: Use social media
We all use social media to share information with our friends and professional networks. Encourage visitors to visit or "Follow" you on more informal forums such as Facebook or Twitter and encourage discussions and feedback. Make it easier for visitors to share your great content by "Sharing" content pages or registration confirmations in emails or by sharing direct links through social networks. And finally, build event buzz and engagement with a live Twitter feed on your event homepage. Social media is not only a great, easily integrated marketing tool, it will also encourage ongoing conversations you can monitor while planning all follow up events.
Tip #4: Monitor with analytics
Most event managers understand the importance of website analytics, but are daunted by all of the figures and stats they have access to. Most importantly, track conversions - those visitors who visit your site and successfully register. But, also take notice of where visitors are coming from, keywords they may have used in search engines, which pages and links are clicked most often (and less), bounce rate, and exit pages. Analysing this information can suggest areas of improvement and areas of success.
Tip #5: Have a clear, concise registration process
Offering online event registration via the event website is key because it allows event managers to measure if they will have the right amount of space, food, seats, materials and support staff at the event. Without a solid online registration solution and the capability to track all information collected, planners risk overbooking a venue or underselling the space already purchased. A quality event registration process should clearly guide registrants - providing an event agenda, summarising travel information, secure payment processing and even follow up confirmation email communication.
Tip #6: Increase traffic with Search Engine Optimisation
Similar to analytics, search engine optimisation (SEO) can be daunting. But, when developing a website, you should have control of important SEO metrics. Optimising and specifying metrics such as web page addresses, specific keywords, description and titles are imperative to ranking higher in search engines and ensures your website reaches your target audience. It is free, so well worth your time from the beginning.
Tip #7: Make it easy for visitors to get in touch
Nothing is worse than having an informative, highly entertaining website with no way for visitors to get in touch! Either at the bottom of each page or on a dedicated "Contact Us" page, have your contact details visible. Potential attendees, sponsors and exhibitors don't want to spend time searching for your contact information - it may be quicker to head to a competitor's event website.
Everyone should now be well into their 2011 event planning groove -we've already started assisting users with really inspiring and engaging events here at Eventsforce, and are looking forward to a great year ahead.
But, before we look ahead, we wanted to reflect on what a great year 2010 was:
- We surpassed 1 million total system registrations with almost 300,000 in 2010 alone for more than 4,500 events.
- We released our incredibly popular Meeting Manager module which allows attendees to schedule their own meetings before and during events. We also enhanced our Awards, Abstracts and Flight Booking modules.
- And, we proudly welcomed hundreds of new users to our family from clients such as Transport for London, Google, Global Investment Summits, Enterprise Ireland, Fitwise Management and many many more.
"How is 2011 going to be a great year?" you ask. Along with everyone else, we've set some New Year's resolutions for ourselves:
People are at the heart of events. This year, our overall goal is to focus on people. Not only event industry professionals, and constantly driving to make their lives better and easier, but also our internal team members. We've started a monthly book club to keep us all up to date on the latest event practices and personal development. We'll be sure to share our selection with you each month and if you have any suggestions to add to our list, let us know!
We're also looking to grow our team of dedicated professional as we grow. So, look out for a new job opening section on eventsforce.com coming soon!
With the help of event experts, clients, event industry associations and even some of our own team members, we'd like to provide event organisers with more insightful content to help do your job better and more efficiently. Rather than keep all this information for ourselves, we'll share our insight and advice in this blog, regular online articles posted on eventsforce.com, conversations on social media and even at industry seminars. Let us know what kind of content you'd like us to post and we'll keep it coming!
And, we want to continue to innovate our software and services. We're planning some really great modules for release throughout the year (some to be released very soon!), we're streamlining our user support structure and are even about to launch new, more cost effective training options. Watch this space!
We're excited about our plans for 2011. What are some of your goals for the upcoming year?