Seriously. The event website is more important than ever in this digital age. But the context has changed, both in terms of technology and communication. If you are not concerned with marketing efficiency, no-shows at events or getting more business you can skip this post.
#1: Your website is surrounded
Yesterday, the website was pretty much the single digital point of interaction with your audience. You had to put every aspect of your event in it: location, sessions, speakers, partners, and news. In particular, news is very difficult to handle: very time consuming and you also need the right template/functionality to disseminate it to your website. Then what about the reach you gain from that – SEO (search engine optimization)? Yes certainly, only if it’s properly executed though.
Nowadays, your website is just a piece of the puzzle. Twitter, blog, YouTube, partners, LinkedIn etc.: these tools/channels weren’t there 10 years ago and they completely changed the landscape of how to shape and disseminate content. The website is now somehow more static in terms of live info: news goes to the surroundings, with the benefits of accelerating your reach into communities that are already part of this ecosphere.
It’s not about wondering if you should be using social media or not. The picture is bigger. Social media for a fact is a part of your ecosphere.
#2: Your website is everywhere
I bet you have one of those devices that have little icons and a battery life status on the top corner. You certainly use them to call your contacts, but I’m pretty sure you once clicked on an email, or just went crazy and start searching… the WEB!! You fool. Guess what? The number of mobile connections to a website is growing exponentially and is about to exceed “classic” connections. Currently 30% of website reach is made from mobile devices.
You have to provide your user with a comprehensive website and a good user experience. To achieve that, the modern world offers 2 solutions; a responsive design, or an adaptive design. What’s the difference?
A responsive design is an HTML page with a single code that looks at the size of the screen. If it detects a large screen, you have the classic experience, if you have a small (tablet) or very small (phone) screen, you have a mobile (simpler) view of the content. But it’s the same content, the arrangement is just different.
Adaptive is when your classic website has a code that detects if the connection comes from a mobile device. If yes, the user is transferred to another page, mobile friendly: in this mobile page, you can design completely different content and a new look and feel. If you want, it can be completely “independent” from your website. But it’s two templates that you need to maintain (compared to only one page for responsive), but it offers more flexibility. If mobile is important to your audience, it is a better chance to design a great UI (user interface), for a better UX (user experience) with adaptive technology.
LEFT: single page-responsive event website RIGHT : new generation CMS Froala
Two other trends (and they pair with the need of mobile responsiveness) are a single page event website and live CMS. Single page websites are trendy. They are responsive and often very visual. The downside is they are not fit if you have a lot of content as you will have to scroll forever. This will not make your day easier if you have functionality or a need to structure lots of sections.
There’s also a new generation of CMS (content management systems – the Word like tools helping you create pages without HTML knowledge). With Froala for example, the administrator can change the page without needing to go to the back end. You edit the live page, bringing WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) to reality.
#3: Your website is the final door to access the event
Don’t leave the door open, but make sure you give the keys to the right people and that they won’t lose them or decide not to come. Your website (and its ecosphere – see #1) plays a huge role. Your website is the final stage of conversion. Make sure you have CTAs (call to action – those links or buttons that lead to your registration form) on every single page: each page of your website can be a landing page from a google search for example.
And CTA doesn’t mean 1 button; there can be multiple CTAs leading to the same form, but with different verbiage, place in the page, and shape (image, text, and buttons). Some people will see one and not the other.
#1: Use blogs, partners and social media to spread the word and keep your audience informed. You maximize your reach, thus your marketing effort.
#2: Remember a lot of people are looking at websites throughout a mobile device. At least be responsive, if not adaptive.
#3: Your website is here to facilitate conversions. Do the basic well (date, access, program) but have multiple CTAs, on every page.
It’s not complex. It pays back … I swear.
Written by Nicola Rossetti