Your event website is an information hub for past, present, and future attendees. With that in mind, all your marketing activities should lead to your site. The goal of your event website is to convert site visitors into attendees. Certain key functionalities will ensure that people use it, engage with it, and ultimately buy into your event.
How is your site set up?
Is it part of your association’s website, or does it have its own web address? Visibility is critical; if people must search to find the event site, it will fail.
In some situations, it’s possible to build on your existing association site’s structure. However, most international events have a dedicated site with a separate domain name. If you’re creating a whole new brand, this can warrant a standalone event site, with links back to the “mothership” association site.
Of course, if your event is a recurring one, you’ll want to choose a domain name that’s reusable. This means keeping the year out of the domain name so it doesn’t stale-date. A permanent event site means you can build on past event edition’s credibility.
Personalize your visitors’ experience
Look at it from a participant’s point of view: the site should tell them what the event will cover and what they’ll learn from it. If your event is a large one with multiple levels of content, make sure the topics are clearly labeled so participants can sort through the most relevant ones. Visitors should be able to quickly filter out topics that don’t apply to them, and build their own personalized event schedules.
Is it clear what action you want your visitors to take?
To convince visitors to register, you need to be sure registration information is present, visible, and obvious on each page of the event site. This creates a natural transition: readers see what the event is about, and they’re ready to take action. Having a “Register Here” button available on each page lets you take advantage of that moment.
Make it easy, and keep it personal
Avoid sending site visitors to an impersonal “info@xxx” email address for help registering. Instead, give them contact information for a real person who can answer their questions.
Turn your attendees into event ambassadors
Engaged participants will promote your event and become its ambassadors: include social sharing buttons on every page. And don’t forget to put your Twitter feed on your event site! This brings the social media conversation to the site, keeping it engaging and dynamic.
Networking is a key reason people attend events.
Knowing who they’ll meet onsite can help site visitors decide to register, so include a list of people who’ve confirmed that they’ll be attending. Of course, you must ask registrants before you share their names. Respect registrants’ privacy: share names and company affiliations, but not contact information.
Include a list of exhibitors
A list of exhibiting companies should be easily found on your site. This allows attendees to see what kinds of services or products will be available, and can help them decide to set up a booth themselves.