When it comes to making a good impression and building event attendee anticipation, creating an intriguing event microsite is essential. One of the reasons you will need a microsite outside of your usual brand domain is so that your event’s unique message won’t be obscured by other activities on your website.
The ultimate goal of a microsite is to convert your leads by guiding their actions toward registering for and participating in your event. Other benefits of an event microsite include:
- Increased awareness
- Unique event branding
- Focused messaging
- Easy setup and maintenance
- Faster navigation
- Improved search appearance (SEO)
A microsite can be used to promote your event or as the platform for hosting your virtual or hybrid event. Depending on your event goals, your site can be designed as a single web page or multiple pages with various interactive features. Whichever approach you choose, certain features make an event microsite successful. We will consider them as follows:
- Compelling Design and Branding
- Informative, Focused Event Messages
- Optimized Campaign Landing Page
- SEO Compliance
- Capacity for Virtual Events
- FAQ Page
- Social Media Connections
Continue reading to learn more!
1. Successful Event Microsites: Compelling Design and Branding
Grab the attention of your target audience by creating compelling designs that appeal to them and convey the core message of your event. Your microsite should be well-designed with attractive layouts and features that stir their interest in your event.
Strategically Use Images, Videos, and Visuals
Strategically use images, videos, and visuals on your microsite to communicate your message. Make a video highlighting your past events and use it in your content. Engaging videos captivate your audience and show them what they can look forward to when they attend your event. If you’re hosting a new event, you can use images, graphics, and visuals to illustrate what kind of event the audience can expect.
The goals of effective branding is visual attraction, brand identification, and communication. When you get your event branding and design right, you can reach new prospects and generate leads for your event.
2. Successful Event Microsites: Informational, Conveys Event Message
When target audiences visit your event microsite, they should not be in doubt as to what your event is about or what they stand to gain by attending. This is why you should provide all the information they need to convince and guide them. Below is some important information that should be included on your event microsite.
Event Description – This content explains the “why” and “what” of your event. It should entice the reader and quickly convince a skeptic to want to stay on the page to learn more.
Key Offerings – Outline your key event offerings, including what lessons attendees will learn and how their attendance will benefit their lives or business.
Speakers – Establish credibility for your event by featuring your event speakers, including their pictures, names, and titles. Ideally, this should be on the homepage of your microsite.
Sponsors – Feature the logos of your event partners to help boost your event’s credibility and increase your sponsors’ exposure. When attendees see the organizations who are supporting your event, they will have a greater understanding of your event’s values and position in the industry.
Expert or Attendee Testimonial – If you’ve held this event in the past, feature a few quotes or short testimonials from past speakers or participants.
Event Agenda – Place the event schedule on your microsite. This can be a dedicated page on the site, but a menu item should clearly link to the schedule page. For events hosted on the microsite, attendees should also be able to set up their own agenda from the schedule.
Event updates – Use your microsite for pre-event and post-event activities, and for sharing useful information about future or recurring events on the website.
3. Successful Event Microsites: Optimized for Campaign Landing Page
If you are using your microsite for event promotion purposes, it should be used as a landing page. Therefore, it should have clear calls-to-action that lead prospects to register, purchase tickets, view or download content, or take any other action that is required on the site. The site should also support analytics and track specific actions taken by site visitors/users.
4. Successful Event Microsites: SEO Compliant
Implement an SEO strategy on your microsite to attract organic traffic from search engines. This can be achieved by targeting primary and secondary keywords that are related to popular searches in your event niche. Use those keywords strategically in the microsite’s URLs, headers, images, videos, and written content.
5. Successful Event Microsites: Capacity to Host Virtual Events
Depending on your event needs, the capacity to host a virtual event may not be a mandatory feature for your microsite. However, unanticipated circumstances may make in-person gathering impossible, and you might need to pivot to virtual events at the last minute. Therefore, whether it’s an original plan or a contingency, your microsite should have the capacity to evolve into an event platform. In such a situation, some of the required additions include the following:
User Profiles – Creation or activation of user-profiles will be required to allow attendee participation on the platform. Ensure that your site has the ability to integrate with registration data, so that attendees can have their profile pages and use this page to create their own event experience.
Interactive Features – Features like Q&A, live chats, video calling, video conferencing, polling, and gamification provide the opportunity for interaction, conversation, and networking. Leverage these features to create new relationships between your attendees and your organization as well as between the attendees themselves.
Features for Sponsorship and Exhibition – Create opportunities for sponsors to meet and showcase their services or products to attendees via video conferencing, one-one video calling, or other means of interaction. These opportunities can facilitate connections similar to what happens at in-person exhibition booths.
Mobile Version – Another important addition to your event microsite is a mobile version that can be accessed using a mobile event app. This is a great addition for hybrid events so that your online audience can connect to the in-person experience via the app.
Some of the features might go live only when the event is close and registration has been concluded.
6. Successful Event Microsites: Includes an FAQ Page
Attendees may have different questions to ask about the event itself or accessing virtual event activities. Do your best to anticipate their questions and provide suitable answers ahead of time.
Create a comprehensive guide on how they can use the features on your site. In general, a best practice is to assume that the site users are brand new to virtual events and your platform, so go out of your way to create detailed guides to help new users understand your processes.
Use Support Agents
Apart from the FAQ page, attendees may want to chat or talk directly with a representative to seek further clarification. Therefore, there should be support agents on standby to answer calls or chats, to guide participants, and resolve issues.
7. Social Media Connections
Adding social media buttons and embedded social feeds directly on your microsite can help to boost awareness for your event. Attendees should be able to Tweet or share an experience directly from your event to their social platforms. Include Twitter feeds, Facebook and Instagram share buttons, and automatic share options which can share a section of your public content on social media.
Building a successful microsite will require testing and iterations. When starting out, create different designs and layouts then ask your team or people within your circle to vote on the best option. Bear in mind that you are not designing for your team but for your target audience. Therefore, every feature on your event microsite must be geared towards creating a remarkable event experience for your attendees.
Jordan Schwartz is president and co-founder of Pathable, an event app and website platform for conferences and tradeshows. He left academic psychology for the lure of software building and spent 10 years at Microsoft leading the development of consumer-facing software. Frustrated with the conferences he attended there, he left Microsoft in 2007 with the goal of delivering more value and better networking opportunities through a next-generation conference app. Jordan moonlights as a digital nomad, returning often to his hometown of Seattle to tend his bee hives.