Michael Reynolds in General on Monday, November 7, 2011
So you've got a great event set up - maybe it's a seminar, webinar, conference, or networking event. You've got your agenda set, your speakers, and all the others details. Now it's time to get people to come.
There are many ways to promote your event. Having a great permission-based email database will give you an audience to invite, and social media can also be a great channel for promotion. But there is one piece of the puzzle that I often see forgotten, even by large organizations.
Do you have a well-optimized event landing page?
A landing page is a key component in marketing your event. I see lots of organizations that miss this part of the equation. They send out emails with a PDF attached, or announce the event at meetings, but they don't give their audiences a call to action that drives them to the next step. When someone gets an email with a PDF attached announcing the event, they have a few options: add it to a calendar, delete the email, file it away for later processing, ignore it, RSVP by calling or emailing, and/or forwarding it to someone else. None of these things are very difficult, but when placed in the context of a busy inbox full of other competing email, delete often becomes the path of least resistance.
Even worse is the verbal announcement. I can't remember the last time I actually attended an event that was only verbally announced to me. It's just not worth the effort of researching the event information and adding it to my calendar based on bits and pieces that I hear at a meeting.
However, there is one action that people can take that is easier than all of the other options: a click.
Every call to action within an announcement should be a click that leads to an event landing page on your website. An event landing page gives your constituents all the necessary information to make a fast decision about attending, and also gives them the option to quickly register online on the spot. This removes friction. Most of us are faced with decision fatigue every day and anything that removed friction from a decision will help your constituents make a commitment.
If you are using a good Content Management System (CMS), building an event landing page should be very easy. Your CMS should allow you to set up all the necessary elements for your landing page.
Some elements of a well-optimized landing page include:
Location information with map link. This should be obvious but I often see event pages that just give a generic venue name like "The City Center Building" or something. Don't make people look up addresses or guess. Include the venue name, complete address, and a link to a Google Map to make it easy to get directions on the spot.
Online registration. Assuming you are requesting an RSVP or a registration (which most professional events do), capturing online registration is a must. Your landing page needs to make registration quick, easy, and painless. If payment is required for the event, your constituents should be able to pay online with a credit card.
Social sharing widgets. One advantage of an event landing page is the fact that it serves as a centralized "hub" on the web that others can share and drive traffic to. By placing re-tweet buttons, Facebook Like buttons, and other share buttons on the landing page, you make it easy for others to share the event with their networks. This is a good thing, as it can increase exposure and registrations.
Well-written event description. A good landing page includes clear, articulate information about the event. Clear start times and end times, speaker bios and details, and narrative about the content will all help your constituents make a more rapid decision about attending the event.
Short event URL. Every email or post you send out should drive people to your landing page with a single click. If you plan to announce the event verbally or place the URL on print material, the URL should be short, such as "www.domain.com/summit" or something similar. A short, easy to remember event URL will make it easier to market verbally and in print because it makes it easier for people to type it in to get more information.
Once you have a strong event landing page built, you can use that as your centralized location that all of your promotional efforts point to. To see some examples of SpinWeb's landing pages, feel free to visit our events section and click on the title of any event.
Hopefully this helps offer some insight into how to create an optimized event landing page. If you have any comments or tips of your own, please feel free to post them below.