There’s a thousand different reasons for building or re-designing an event website. Increasing market share? Check. Improving customer service? Sure thing! World peace? You bet (ok, maybe not world peace, but never say never!). The point is, a great event website is a powerful thing, so it’s never a bad idea to make sure yours is in tip-top shape.
But here’s where so many event organizers and associations get sidelined. When they think about their hopes and dreams for their new site’s future, 9 out of 10 are mostly only thinking about the front-end. What does it look like? What does it say? Is it responsive? Etc. All of that is hugely important, but if you’re not giving at least as much thought to what’s going on behind the scenes, at best, it’s a missed opportunity. At worst, your shiny new site fails to live up to everyone’s expectations.
The Benefits of Having a Good, Tightly Integrated Back-End
(Are you done snickering at that heading? Good, let’s get back to the topic at hand!)
So, what do you have to gain by taking a thoughtful approach to building out the back-end of your event website? How about reduced workloads, minimized errors, consolidated data, a more efficient sales process and reliable analytics? Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about what you need to do to make that a reality.
For an event website, registration functionality is almost always priority numero uno. Which makes sense given that it’s a pretty vital part of an event. In addition to providing a quick and seamless experience for front-end users, good registration software should provide organizers with real-time access to data they need to execute as well as useful analytics for improving and growing the event over time.
Speaking of analytics, a well-integrated, comprehensive analytics platform is an important tool for any organizer to have under their belt and behind the scenes of their website. Knowing what event features visitors are interested in and what content is most likely to convert is the key to success and future growth.
The database(s) in your event management software hold the keys to the kingdom in terms of the information potential attendees, sponsors and exhibitors are looking for when it comes to your site. The full conference agenda and schedule, exhibitor list, speaker bios, etc. It’s all there just waiting for a smart cookie like you to hook it up with your event website. Careful integration allows information updates and changes entered directly into your event management system to show up real-time on your website. No more double data duty, no more outdated web pages!
The days of needing a full-time web developer to help you wrangle code and HTML are dead! Content management systems have made it possible for users with zero technical skills to update and post content like a pro. There are a variety of open-source and proprietary options available at varying levels of complexity and sophistication so finding one that fits your event website like a glass slipper shouldn’t be a problem.
Ask yourself this question: when you’re shopping for new venues, what’s your primary search method? If you’re like nearly 50% of your colleagues, you answered “the internet.” Now where do you think your attendees, sponsors and exhibitors go for information about your event? Bingo.
Your website is a lead generation machine. Make sure you don’t let it go to waste by connecting your organization’s CRM tool with your website back-end. This way, captured leads are automatically entered into the system and immediately available to your sales team.
Knowing that your event website is likely to be the first stop for new and returning exhibitors, make sure you make the booth selection and sales process as easy as possible by integrating with a floorplan tool that allows them to self-select and pay online.
With all those self-service payments rolling in from your interactive floorplans, registration, merchandise sales and the like, it’s a grand idea to set your back-end up to automatically process transactions directly in your accounting software. In one fell swoop, you rid yourself of unnecessary double-data entry and the inevitable errors that occur when things slip through the cracks.
Website Integration Is Where It’s At
Are you picking up on the common theme here? That’s right! Integration is the name of the game if you want a truly great event website. To find out what else you can do to make your back and front-end as awesome as they should be, download our latest whitepaper: How to build a website that works.