Many event organizers see websites as simply bulletin boards: develop a simple design, and post the relevant information so people can find the “who, what, when, where, why and how” for your event. However, websites can be much more than a platform for basic, one way communication. In fact, by bringing your event website into the 21st century, you can make planning the event easier and improve the experience of both exhibitors and attendees alike. Here are just a few ways to beef up your website and turn it into a useful planning tool:
1. Update the design – If you’re going to update your site, you need to start with the basics. Look at some of your competitors’ websites and ask yourself honestly: how does yours compare? If it’s been more than a few years since your site has been updated and it doesn’t look up to par, then it may be time for a new design. If you don’t have the cash flow to invest in a total redesign, ask your designer if there are minor changes or tweaks that can update the look and feel of your site.
2. Optimize it – Search engine optimization can benefit organizations of any size. Even low-level optimization of your site can make a big difference in how many people find you, and in how many click through from search engine results pages.
3. Integrate it – If you’re using backend software to plan and market your event, then tying your website into that software can make your job much easier. Updates to the schedule, room bookings, speakers, customer contact information, and more can be stored in a single location and pushed online immediately so your site is always up to date with minimal work on your part.
4. Add online registration – Eliminate time spent entering data by integrating your event and customer relationship management system with online registration. Information entered by users is immediately added to the system so you don’t have to worry about duplicate entries or overbooking rooms, and you can spend your time focusing on your bottom line.
5. Leverage social media – Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter offer free plugins that let your website visitors interact with your site on a much deeper level. For example: A website forum is fine, but if you really want people to engage, then offer the option of commenting with Facebook on various articles or pages. This eliminates the need to create (and remember) a new username and password, and it makes visitors more likely to get involved. You can also add real-time streams from your social media accounts on your website.
These are just a few ways to make your event website work harder to engage your audience. Consult with design and Internet marketing experts to get more ideas for leveraging this platform.
Justin Ungerboeck is the Product Marketing Manager at Ungerboeck Software International. Ungerboeck develops quality software for the events industry including event management software, theater software, room booking software and more.