Today, planners must provide a hard-working website to increase the value of their events and meetings, without adding more complexity to their workload or extra cost to their organization’s bottom line. While the event website functions as the main hub for all marketing activities, it must also serve numerous purposes for many audiences composed of multiple generations; which means all audiences and their various needs must be addressed to create a successful, hard-working event website.
Know Your Audience
Event attendance usually falls into three broad categories:
• Mandatory: invitees must attend the event, although they may have a choice of dates and/or locations (employee training)
• Sponsored: invitees don’t have to attend, but the experience is highly desirable (incentive travel programs, sponsored buyer shows)
• Optional: attendees must choose the event over everything else competing for their time and money (trade shows, conferences)
All event activities must attract and communicate with their desired audience and the attendee make up will determine the optimum marketing strategy for your event website ranging from informational (employee training) to promotional (trade shows).
Facts & Information
While serving as the foundation for most event marketing campaigns; the website should, at a minimum, answer these questions:
• What is the event about? (name, content, and agenda)
• When are the dates and times of the event and related meetings?
• Where is the event’s location and venue?
• Who should attend this event?
• How can one attend? (include invitation and fee requirements)
Whether your website is a single page listing basic information for the event, or a series of sites with multiple tabs and interactive content; be sure the What/When/Where facts are visible on the top of every page.
Web-enabled mobile phones and tablet computers can be a new and engaging way to communicate with attendees before, during and after the event. A mobile solution for your meeting can provide all event information to participants anytime, anywhere. Surveys and attendee feedback can also be gathered quickly and efficiently with a mobile phone solution.
Website Look & Feel
A successful attendee experience can be enhanced with an attractive website that follows these look and feel best practices:
• Consistent – Colors, graphics, fonts, page header and footer should be consistent across every page, and your website should match the look & feel of the event’s host organization. Jumping between one “look & feel” for the organization, another for the event, and a third for the registration process will confuse, annoy, or scare some of your audience.
• Clean – Use a single font with a limited number of sizes and colors for all pages. Avoid the use of moving images, especially on pages that will be viewed often.
• Concise – If a page has one main area, then 100% of the reader’s attention will be focused on that area. Each additional word, form field, section, image, hyperlink, etc. competes for the reader’s focus.
• Edit, re-edit, then edit again – There is no excuse for bad grammar. Review your content multiple times and from all viewpoints.
Choose Your Content Wisely
In addition to basic information, an event website should contain the in¬formation your audience needs to stay more engaged before, during, and after the event. Provide all the information your audience needs to know, including:
• How do I get to the event?
• What are the cheapest travel options?
• Can I confirm, cancel, or modify my registration and travel?
• Who should I meet at the event?
• What will I do, and what do I need to wear?
These proven best practices should provide a good starting point when planning your next meeting or event website.
View Certain’s product page to find out how Certain can ease the workload of the planner by streamlining many processes and deliverables, including the automatic creation of a traditional event website and an interactive Smartphone solution for web-enabled devices.