If you’re looking for a tool to strategically engage your members throughout your upcoming event, you’re in luck because you likely already have it in your toolkit: your website.
Your association’s website serves as an all-in-one marketing, registration, and engagement hub that can help you boost attendee numbers and provide important information once your event kicks off. Plus, sharing compelling website content makes it easy to stay connected with attendees long after your event concludes.
Let’s explore how you can use your website before, during, and after your event to drive high engagement levels and create a lasting impression on your attendees.
Before the Event
Your website is a key piece of your association’s event marketing plan. Here’s how you can wield your website into a powerful marketing tool in advance of your event:
Develop an event landing page
Create a dedicated landing page on your website that covers everything prospective attendees need to know about your event. Specifically, you’ll want to cover:
- The date and time of your event
- The purpose of your event
- Your event schedule
- Event location
- Expected attire
- Registration fee, if applicable
You’ll also want to spotlight the perks of attending your event to pique your members’ interests; for instance, you might bring attention to benefits like networking opportunities or notable speakers who will be in attendance.
For example, the National Association of Biology Teachers created an engaging landing page in advance of their upcoming 2023 conference. Here, they describe logistical details like the date and location, purpose of the event, and registration information.
They also summarize why members should go, writing: “Join other leaders in biology and life science education for presentations from renowned speakers, interactive workshops, and the special NABT events that you can't get anywhere else.” This kind of emotionally compelling language shows the unique value in attending their conference, helping to drive more registrations.
To entice prospective attendees even further, the National Association of Biology Teachers lists out special perks like special events and speakers.
On top of including logistical details, make your event landing page visually appealing to keep members engaged. Follow these best practices to enhance your event landing page design:
- Infuse your branding: To build trust with your audience and demonstrate that this event is being hosted by your organization, add your branded elements to your landing page. This includes your fonts, color scheme, messaging, and tone. You’ll also want to feature your logo prominently, such as in the top right or left corner, to catch your user’s eye.
- Use engaging visuals: Show pictures from the last event your association hosted or include a video of an association staff member explaining why attending this event is an absolute must. Visuals help to break up the text on your page and grab your readers’ attention. Plus, you can help prospective attendees visualize what attending your event will be like.
- Prioritize accessibility: Everyone who lands on this page should be able to readily access every element, from your text content to your visuals. Offer text alternatives so individuals with visual impairments can engage with your non-text content and use color contrast between your foreground and background so your text is easy to read.
Taking a look at the National Association of Biology Teachers’ event landing page again, you can see that they’ve incorporated their brand colors of green and blue, used an engaging design of a bridge and lobster related to Baltimore to grab users’ attention, and incorporated ample white space to create a clean and professional look.
Once you launch your event landing page, share it widely with your members through email, social media, and direct mail with a QR code. This will help to get the word out about your event and encourage members to sign up.
Create inspiring blog content
Not all members will be regularly checking your website for new landing pages, but they might consistently read your blog, especially if you mention new posts in your email newsletter. A blog post about your event can help to boost awareness and spark members’ interests.
For example, you can generate blog content about how your event will help members progress in their professional careers, provide a sneak peek of an engaging workshop, or ask members who attended this event in the past to author a post about their experience and why others should come.
Offer a seamless registration experience
Rather than directing prospective attendees to an external website to sign up, centralize the entire registration process by embedding a registration form in your event landing page. This way, members can register as soon as they feel inspired by your content.
Make sure to limit the number of prompts on your registration form so members can register for your event in just a few moments and have a positive user experience. For example, only require members to fill out their name, contact information, and billing information if they’ll need to pay for a ticket. Other prompts, like asking people how they found out about this event, can be made optional.
During the Event
Your event has officially kicked off! To keep your members engaged and dialed into everything that’s happening, leverage your website to provide key event information. For instance, you might:
- Share your program agenda on your website so members know what to expect each hour or day of your event.
- Offer a directory of members in attendance or the contact information for your speakers so attendees can easily get connected with one another and network.
- Create a discussion forum so members can jump into thoughtful discussions on your website between workshops and programs.
While attendees will have access to this information on your virtual event platform, it helps for members to know that there is a more familiar source of information available to them, too.
To make this information exclusive to your attendees on your website, consider using a membership website builder that enables you to create a private intranet. Here, attendees can readily access a dashboard with information about your event. Let registered participants know in advance of your event how to log in to these private pages and stay looped into your event updates at all times.
After the Event
Congratulations, you’ve wrapped up another amazing event! But, your hard work isn’t finished just yet. Post-event follow-up is a critical part of keeping participants engaged and eager to stay connected to your association, and a strong digital strategy can help. Use your website in the following key ways after your event:
- Collect event feedback from members. It’s recommended to share a survey on your virtual event platform immediately after your event ends, but if members haven’t completed it, a survey can be triggered for them on your website after they log in. Ask attendees questions like “How would you rate your engagement on a scale from 1-10?” and “How could our events be improved in the future?” This will give you invaluable insight into how you can better tailor your events to meet your members’ interests. Plus, this shows attendees that you value their opinions and are committed to creating memorable event experiences.
- Share blog content with event highlights to allow attendees to relive the moment and pique prospective members’ interests. This is a great way to market the value of your association and encourage people to sign up for future events. Plus, you can keep your blog fresh—without any extra effort—by repurposing content from your event such as photos and videos.
- Post event archives like recordings from your workshops or transcripts from speakers’ presentations in your exclusive member resources. By doing so, attendees can revisit event insights. And, members who weren’t able to attend will have the chance to learn something new and derive value from your organization.
You might also share a message on your event landing page that thanks members for attending and summarizes the key takeaways from your event. Make sure to also send personalized email communications that show appreciation so you can form strong connections with your attendees.
From pre-event planning to post-event follow-up, your website can take your event strategy to the next level. Remember to keep your audience’s interests and expectations in mind as you roll out content so you can encourage them to register, follow your event updates, and stay connected to your organization long after the event.