Your website is the 24/7 face of your brand and will most likely be the first impression many potential clients get of your business. And since first impressions are paramount for the success of an event planning business, you shouldn’t settle for anything less than a stellar website. Your site should be a source of information, education, and entertainment as you display the best of your talents and everything that your event planning business has to offer. Of course, this needs to be done in an aesthetically pleasing manner and with the highest level of user experience possible.
What makes a website stellar? Let’s take a look at features that consumers have come to expect and a few that can make you stand out from the competition.
The landing page of your website should focus on your key message. A site visitor should be able to quickly scan and understand what your brand is all about, what services you offer, and how they can contact you with minimal effort. People are not going to read thick blocks of text so stick with bullet points, lists, and lots of images. The more quickly and easily visitors can find information, the greater the user experience.
Showcase Your Best Work
Feature your biggest and best events on your landing page. Whether it was an event with a well-known speaker, one with high-profile attendees, or was held at an unbelievable venue, display large, colorful images to get site visitors excited about your capabilities to put together a high-quality event. If you’ve done some crazy children’s birthday parties and can’t stand working with clowns…don't feature those events prominently on your site. Showcase the work you want to do and help people see, right away, the experiences you can create for them.
Images Outperform Text
Throughout your website, feature high-quality, professional photographs to show venues you’ve worked with and different types of events you’ve staged. Use images of both exterior and interior environments, food setups, and people having an amazing time. Avoid stagnate shots of a speaker standing behind a podium or a bored looking audience sitting at a conference. Illustrations and other professionally designed graphics are other options if you want to depict a type of event you’ve not yet had the opportunity to host.
Videos are Even Better Than Pictures
Promote your services with video content to give people the opportunity to learn more about what you do and how you can put together an amazing event for them. Show behind the scenes clips to help visitors to your website get a feel for your personality and that of your organization. Know that many people watch videos without sound so don’t count on a peppy dance tune to add to the viewing ambiance. Testimonials from previous clients, tours of venues, and interviews are other excellent uses for video!
Fonts Are Not the Place to Get Fancy
Your website should, obviously, follow any and all branding guidelines. That being said, choose fonts that are easy to read and that look fabulous online and in print. While it may seem a simple thing, your choice of fonts and other styling choices say a lot about the personality of your brand (and you). Do you host only amusing and whimsical events? Only educational and motivational events? Or are you open to all sorts of opportunities? Think carefully about the personality you want to project and make sure your website font choices are in line with that thinking. (It’s also a good idea to stick with font types that are supported by all browsers and devices – think “sans-serif” fonts.)
Color Me Crazy
Color theory is an incredibly complex subject. We’re talking about more than the basic concept of using dark-colored text on a light background or vice versa. The color of call to action buttons, text, backgrounds, and more influence consumer decisions. That being said, no one particular color is best for everything, you have to experiment until you find combinations that produce excellent results. Since you have to start somewhere, work with contrasting colors to ensure content is visible against the backgrounds and then use some A/B testing to compare options. Most marketing consultants like those at SDM have the skills and experience to help you!
The path to move from one web page to the next should be clear and easy to navigate. While drop-down menus are fine for desktop, the hamburger menu layouts can be cumbersome for mobile users. Instead, use top bar menus to make sure visitors can quickly and smoothly move between pages regardless of the device they are using. Utilize Google Analytics to understand how your previous visitors have engaged with your website. This will show you which paths visitors use to navigate through your site and will also provide valuable information regarding conversion rates, page popularity and more. Ask someone outside of your organization (friend or family) to test the navigation of your site to gain an objective view on the functionality you’ve set up.
Mobile Friendly & Device Responsive
It is important to provide visitors a consistent user experience regardless of what type of device they are using. Google ranks higher in search results mobile-friendly sites and penalizes those sites that are not responsive. To maintain the benefits of all the valuable SEO work you’ve put into your site and to ensure top-notch user experience, ensure that your site is mobile friendly and device responsive.
A responsive website changes based on the needs of the device being used to view a site. Unnecessary images that might interfere or compete with more important information are hidden to make the most of the site’s smaller display. On a responsive website, the navigation is condensed, images are optimized, and the site’s functioning depends on mobile operating systems.
A mobile-friendly website is designed so that it works exactly the same way across all devices. Nothing changes or is hidden from the computer version to the mobile version. No Flash animation is used, navigation is simplified, images are scaled for the size of the device, and the site does not rely on mobile operating systems to properly function.
Contact Made Simple
Provide your contact information on every page of your website and offer multiple channels for contact – site form, email address, social networks, phone number, etc. And then be sure to respond to communications professionally and in a timely manner. Don’t offer communication channels that you are unwilling to regularly check! Keep forms as simple and clean as possible. Only request the information you need to start a conversation. Save the details for later, once you’ve established a working relationship with the client.
Potential clients will feel more at ease if you offer multiple payment options. Third-party gateways like PayPal and ApplePay add another level of comfort and security in the mind of consumers. Clearly post payment expectations so visitors understand if you require 50% payment up front or the sort of timeline you are used to working with for collecting your fees. While you may feel your website is too early in the professional relationship to discuss such a topic, many consumers prefer to have those understandings before they even begin a conversation about working with you to host an event.
Offer Some Idea of Pricing
Obviously, no two events will be priced exactly the same as details will vary from one to the next. That being said, it is helpful to offer price ranges to let people know ballpark figures for different venues you work with, common event options, and your service fees.
Clear Call to Action
The best strategy for increasing the conversion rate for your website is to provide a clear and concise call to action. Your button should have a bright, dedicated color and feature large, bold font. Post a call to action button on every page of your website and use direct and persuasive language in the text. “Book Your Event Now” or “Let’s Start Planning” will clarify exactly what the visitor needs to do next.
About Us Page
Don’t neglect this page of your website as it helps potential clients make connections with you, your staff, and your brand. Consumers like to understand the bigger picture of an organization, what makes it tick, and a bit of history of how you came to be. Share what makes you different from your competition and include a “Meet the Staff” section that highlights the expertise and experience of you and your staff.
Integrate your social media accounts into your website. Offer social network widgets with the other information in your header or footer. Use your social media posts to direct traffic to your website. On the platforms where you can post a direct link, do so, and on others, like Instagram, include a vanity URL that is easy to type into an address bar in a web browser. Depending on the social post, you can direct users to your homepage or specific landing pages if you are looking to build business for a particular type of event.
Provide examples of event schedules to help potential clients understand how their event might be coordinated. Display different options of a wedding, bar mitzvah, or other events to help people start thinking about how to direct their conversation with you. Present the mock-up schedules clearly with just enough information to get the idea across without being verbose and overwhelming.
If you tend to work with a specific line-up of venues, feature information about them on your website. Include a Google Map of where the venue is located, general information about different options available within the venue, and a simple map of the grounds and buildings. These resources will help people understand possible challenges for parking, lodging, and so on as they investigate their choices for event venues.
The ultimate goal of your website is two-fold. First, brand awareness and recognition. Second, you want to book clients’ events. If your website is cumbersome to navigate, contains too much information, or fails to create an aura of excitement people will probably go elsewhere to book their event. If your website is sleek, informative, device responsive with amazing navigational features, and showcases the best of YOUR best, visitors won’t be able to ignore that “Let’s Get Started” call to action.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing have experience with all aspects of event production. From graphic design for banners, displays, and giveaways to website and other digital needs, we’ve got you covered. Let the SDM team help you take your event planning business to the next level. Contact us today!