Does your upcoming event need a website? Yes!
For any kind of event, large or small, there’s no getting around it: An event website is invaluable. It’s not only about attendees and the information they need. While an event website can definitely improve the attendee experience, it’s also useful for organizers.
The bottom line is, having a dedicated website can improve your event for everyone. It enhances event ROI in subtle ways that don’t necessarily have a visible impact, but which do improve the attendee experience. Since higher attendee satisfaction directly impacts your event goals, it’s safe to say that your event website can have a real impact on ROI.
It’s the Best Way to Organize Event Information
When people decide whether to attend an event, they make their decision according to whatever information is available to them. If they don’t have much information about the event, they may decide it’s not worth the money. Providing your target demographic with that key information is essential. And the most efficient way of getting information out there is on an event website. It means all the key details are in one location and accessible online any time.
It Allows You to Promote Your Event More Effectively
Having a separate event website is particularly important if you’re planning to use internet-based marketing strategies to attract potential attendees. If your event content is located on your company or business website, it makes it more difficult to use SEO techniques to drive traffic. By separating your event from the business site, you can drive traffic to the event site using event-specific content and keywords. That, in turn, ensures you’re getting traffic specifically from your target event demographic.
The website also provides you with an opportunity to capture email addresses from your target audience. This then gives you the chance to send targeted email addresses that build momentum and help drive ticket sales.
It Introduces Your Event Identity
Your event has a unique brand identity, distinct from the identity of its host company or organization. This means it’s not enough to have an event landing page on your business website. Any event, even a small one, should have its own unique brand identity and messaging. You can make it clear that there’s an association between the host and the event, but having a separate website, distinct from the host organization’s online presence, ensures the upcoming event’s identity stands out.
It Saves You Time and Resources
Having a comprehensive event website, with all the relevant information in the same place, also helps you optimize your use of resources. Instead of having to field countless phone calls and faxed requests for information, it all happens through one central location, via email, chat, or another convenient avenue. And since attendees can buy their own tickets online, you don’t have to organize sales staff or outsource sales to a third party.
It Lets You Create a Seamless Pre-Event Experience
In the build-up to an event, attendees have questions. Luckily, if you have an event website, you have all the answers. A well-curated event website can include every scrap of information an attendee is likely to need prior to the event. It can be the place where attendees learn about the event as well as where they buy tickets. It can also serve as the hub of your pre-event marketing campaign, with social media link-backs to event information pages, blogs, and video clips.
When your website can do all of this, it helps you create a seamless experience for your target audience. They can see your posts on social media, for instance, and from there get directed to the website, where they can read an event FAQ or information page. And then when they’re ready to make a purchase, they can click directly through to a registration page. When the path is laid out that clearly, it’s much easier to move people through the process from exposure to purchase. And this level of integration is only possible with an event website.
You Can Provide Updates and Information During the Event
An event website continues to be an essential resource during your event too. Attendees may turn to the website for information on the event schedule, for instance. And if you integrate social media into the site, it can also be a social media hub that helps attendees stay updated. For those who are interested in the event but unable to attend, those real-time updates will keep them engaged, even though they’re not there.
It Builds Connections Even After the Event
Your event can continue working for you event after it’s over, with a few post-event adjustments. Instead of being the place your audience comes to for event information, it can be a place where they can review event content and check out any new event-related content you’re sharing. Plus, it means they’re already familiar with how things work once you start the build-up to next year’s event.
Keeping your event website updated may take a little extra work, but it fulfils important purposes:
- It helps generate interest for the next event.
- It allows you to continue developing attendee relationships.
You Can Build Event ROI After It’s Over
As well as building on attendee relationships in between events, having an event website allows you to continue generating event ROI too. With the essential website elements in place, the site becomes a tool that continues working for your event all year long. For instance:
- Use email addresses captured from the website for future traditional and digital marketing campaigns for events, products, and services.
- Any surveys you host on the site, either before or after the event, can be aggregated and analyzed to help refine your marketing campaigns.
- Use website analysis tools to track your site traffic, including its source. Then use that data to find new audiences and locations to concentrate your marketing efforts.
- Deliver targeted PPC or social media advertising to website visitors using retargeting strategies.
In addition, attendee retention can be a way of helping prove ROI, which can in turn help you attract new sponsors and partners for future events. In terms of the event website, attendee retention measures how well-trafficked the site is in the weeks and months after the event. If you can show high retention, this is another way of proving the value of your event and content in creating an engaged audience.
The 12 Essential Website Elements
1. An Engaging Landing Page
When people find your event website, what do you want them to see? The landing page might the reader’s first encounter with the event brand, so it must be both visually interesting and informative. And it has to make the reader want more information, and entice them into clicking through to the rest of the website.
The landing page should have the most important event information, including:
- Where and when the event is being held
- Theme and purpose
- Schedule and speaker highlights
- Call to action
- Link to purchase
- Link to event website
2. Essential Event Details
In journalism, the essential questions are when, where, what, why, and who. Those questions need to be answered prominently on an event website because they’re the details people most want to know. This includes not just time, date, location, and venue, but also the main theme and purpose of your event.
Even when you don’t yet have the details of your event schedule finalized, but it’s important to publish any preliminary information you have. If people show up at the website and see there’s no information about what they can expect to see at the event, they may lose interest.
4. Speaker Line-Up
Speakers lend their celebrity and credibility to your event, especially if they’re important figures in the industry. Include speaker bios as well as their session times.
5. Email Signup/Registration
You can ask people to register their interest without selling them a ticket. Separating these processes means you can capture email addresses from people even if they haven’t yet committed to attending.
6. Ticket Purchase
Many people who peruse the website and decide they want to attend your event will also want to purchase a ticket right away. Make it easy for them to do so by including a purchase link that takes them from the website directly to a purchase page. If the ability to buy isn’t clearly highlighted, or the purchase process is unduly complicated, you risk losing sales.
On the purchase page, make sure to include these essential details:
- Ticket packages and prices. If you’re offering group rates or perks packages, highlight these to make sure people can get the ticket options that suit their needs best.
- Refund policy. People feel more comfortable making purchases, especially impulsive purchases, when they know they can get a refund if necessary.
7. Sponsorship Page
If your event has sponsors, a page on the website can be dedicated to them as part of the sponsorship package. In addition, include sponsor logos on the website’s home page and landing page, to provide them with plenty of exposure.
8. Engaging Visuals
Interesting visuals, including photos and video, make an event website more engaging and can provide information too. For an annual event, video content from previous years builds momentum for the event to come and sets expectations for new attendees. For first-time events, video clips from sponsors, speakers, and others involved in the event can help fill in the gaps.
9. Social Media Integration
Adding social media feeds to your event website provides a steady stream of updates that make the site look lively and engaging. Plus, they offer social proof, in that they show visitors that people are interested in and talking about your event.
10. News and Updates
A dedicated page for news and updates does two important things:
- Provides relevant, up-to-date information
- Helps build momentum and interest in the lead-up to the event
After your event is over, this same page can be used to share event highlights, video clips, and other information of interest to attendees.
11. Event FAQ
Most people with questions will be covering similar ground, so having a FAQ section is a good way to provide succinct answers. It’s also useful to provide extra information without clogging up the main event pages.
12. Contact Page
For people who aren’t covered by the FAQ, include an easy-to-find contact form where people can send requests for information.
An Event Website Is Better for Your Bottom Line
Whether it’s a B2B or B2C event, or an in-house corporate event, a dedicated website is one of those elements you can’t do without, and it should absolutely be part of your event planning. An informative, well-designed website helps you develop your event brand, enhances the attendee experience, and streamlines event management for organizers too. The quality of your event website can affect your event ROI, making it an essential tool for success.