It is fair to say that a lot goes into making a great event. Whether it’s finding the perfect speaker, creating the perfect agenda, or selecting the perfect space or venue, all the elements have to be just right. This includes promoting your event and the all-important event website to ensure people register. Websites are one of the most powerful marketing tools for events today. They educate, entertain and get people to sign up to your event. Get it wrong and the chances are people are going to go elsewhere.
An event website is an attendees first encounter with an event and acts as the storyteller enticing them to want more. If you get it right then potential delegates will want to experience the story for themselves! The goal of an event website should be to:
- Inform and present as much vital information as possible
- Drive buzz and spread awareness by showcasing the strengths of the content programme, speakers and theme
- Improve and capture ticket sales
- Attract sponsors and new partners
People draw conclusions about sites they visit very quickly, so it’s important to make a solid first impression. There are many points to consider in what constitutes a well-designed event website:
- Think about the customer’s journey on your website: Design your layout with the user experience in mind. Think about how they might flow through the page, where they might click, and how they might navigate content. Remember every event website needs a user experience with the aim of helping visitors answer their own questions. No matter how awesome a website’s design looks, if navigating proves difficult and you can’t answer questions about the event in a few clicks, audiences will move on.
- The visuals: Over the last few years, websites are putting a lot more emphasis on the use of visuals like images, graphics and videos. videos and photos are the best methods to capture the mood and emotion of a conference. Visitors also love to see photos because it gives them something to expect.
- Identity and branding: Branding is crucial for every event. It builds subconscious recognition and helps the event scale to a wider audience. Even the smallest events can grow into something big. Branding connects across the entire site and brings a feeling of liveliness.
- Design with a theme: By designing with a theme you bring consistency to the interface and unique design elements can play a big role, both for aesthetics and marketing purposes. It is important to try to replicate the mood of the conference
- Get to the point: No one really looks at a web page for more than 10 seconds, so focus on your event’s key message. Be clear and concise on the purpose of the event, why attend, who else might attend and the learning points. A strong description will entice visitors to respond to your call to action and register. Nothing is more frustrating than the lack of accessible information.
- Showcase your main selling point: Make sure your landing page has something that grabs the visitor’s attention. You can feature a well-known guest speaker or even testimonials from celebrities or high-profile attendees that came to your last event. If your venue is in an attractive location then use large colourful location shots that get people excited about the experience they’ll have around the event.
- Registration: Make it simple – Let your visitors know exactly how to purchase a ticket with all the options clearly labelled. Don’t forget, the more clicks it takes to close a sale, the more excuses your attendees have to walk away.
- Make it mobile responsive: Most event websites today are mobile responsive and if they’re not, they should be. As well as giving your attendees a consistent user experience regardless of what device they view your site on, a responsive web design also helps with SEO. Google favours mobile-optimised sites and as a result, ranks these sites higher in search results.
- Learn from your past events: Have a look at how visitors previously engaged with your event websites using Google Analytics – it can show you the exact journey visitors took throughout the site, as well as give you some valuable insight on popular pages, conversion rates and the point at which people were abandoning their registrations for your event. It’s also worth testing the navigation of your site by someone who hasn’t been involved in building it to get an objective view on content, functionality and how easy it is to use.
- Call to Action: Don’t forget to add a button on every page to give potential attendees an easy way to register. You can always add an email sign-up as well to build databases of engaged users.