Virtual Shop Windows – Why Invest In An Event Website?
Will you have a dedicated event website at your next event? Or will your organisation’s main site carry details instead? While it may seem like an unnecessary expense to build an event specific site, there are key advantages to this over adding event pages to your existing website.
Benefits of An Event Website
Your event website is your shop window to your event. Here you can provide comprehensive details of your event without the distraction of other content on your site. You’ll find a list of “must haves” at the bottom of this post.
Ultimately your website acts a funnel to either sell tickets or engage visitors in the run up, during and after your event. You may have several objectives for the site and need to provide content for different visitors; for example to attract influential speakers to your future events, or to generate press interest from industry publications, as well as driving potential delegates to your ticket office. All this is infinitely more achievable with an event website.
Shops Vs Department Stores
The analogy I use when comparing an event page versus an event website is that of having a concession in a department store, or your own shop on the high street. In a department store your concession fights for attention alongside other sources of interest, just as an event page on your company site competes for attention with other content on your site. In a department store you might see something you like and plan to go back once you’ve browsed elsewhere. Often along the way you find other products to look at, and never return to the original concession. On a conventional website it is very easy to become side-tracked and never navigate back to the original page; for the event organiser this can cost a sale, publicity or another form of engagement.
Event Website Branding
Another point to consider is that your event branding may not be consistent with your organisation’s branding. Your company’s branding and website design might be targeted at a wider audience than your event’s, or to a niche audience, and in some cases these different target audiences can clash. An event website can reflect your event branding across the board, without the potential for any mixed messages that bolting an event page onto your site might create.
What Your Event Website Should Include
Finally an event site gives you scope to deliver real value to your audience through a multi-functional platform. It really can become your virtual shop window, promoting your event and converting visitors into attendees. Here are our top “must haves” for your event website:
- Event summary: Naturally your homepage will need to provide a summary of the event, where and when, and explain why visitors to your website should attend.
- Programme / Agenda: Visitors will want to know what they will get out of the event and the running order so include a comprehensive listing with links to more detail and other relevant information.
- Speaker’s bios: Who’s contributing to the event and why would your delegates want to see them?
- Sponsorship opportunities: Make it easy for potential sponsors to find relevant information about any opportunities you have.
- Sponsors info: Once you’ve signed up sponsors you will need to give them an online presence.
- Maps, directions and local information: Ensure that your delegates can find all the practical information they need to get to your event. Add value by including accommodation and other resources to enable attendees to make the most of their visit.
- Press: Provide a dedicated press area with all the information they need to help you promote the event.
- Social media: Integrate your event social media channels into your website so that visitors can follow your profiles, share information and even tweet you a question directly from your website. A blog can encourage engagement and provide further content to promote your event with.
- FAQs: Make it easy for visitors to find any additional information they might need, and provide them with an opportunity to request more details through a contact form or similar.
- Newsletter sign up: Nurture leads by capturing email addresses so you can continue to keep them updated with news about your event and ultimately convert them into ticket sales.
- Ticket office: Last but not least, you want to make sure it’s a straightforward process to buy tickets.
Have we missed anything?! What essential features do you think an event website should have? Share your thoughts below.