In today’s media rich environment, smart marketers use a mix of communication channels to promote events and engage audiences. But with multiple touch points how do you measure success of just one component – your website? As stated in a recent edition of the UFI Newsletter, “Measurement is one of the challenges we face when determining which marketing tool produces the best return, particularly when a number of them are being used simultaneously.”
The importance of a web presence
According to a study conducted by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) in 2013, the most important source for buyers after a personal recommendation is an event website. With more people searching the web on their smartphones or tablets, it’s imperative to design your event website so it can be accessed on any device - otherwise known as responsive design. This technique allows exhibitors and attendees to find the information they need, whenever and where ever they need it, therefore getting them engaged in the office or on the go.
In addition to letting exhibitors register for your show, your website can help exhibitors achieve their objectives and increase their success at your events by allowing them to connect to attendees, communicate and exchange information. Although eye-catching web design is important, having the right functionality for multiple devices encourage visitors to take action – either by signing up as an exhibitor / sponsor or registering as an attendee when the impulse strikes them. In some cases your event management software provides the tools that allow for registration, online purchases, hotel booking, agenda planning, appointment setting, and more.
According to Johnson Ng, Senior Manager at the Hong Kong Development Council the way we evaluate online marketing has changed. We used to look at page views and site traffic, neither of which helps you measure visitor action. Today, we look at conversions, which tells you what action visitors are taking, and traffic sources or where your visitors find your event information most frequently, indicating where you should concentrate marketing efforts.
In the UFI Newsletter, Ng explains it like this, “When evaluating the effectiveness of marketing tools, several key quantitative aspects are to be considered such as number of reach, response rate in terms of online click-through, both online/offline registration, and show up rate etc. Qualitative measure can also to be taken into account especially in situation when very specific target segments are to be recruited. Marketing tools such as some social media channels allow an organizer to target down to the level of title, department and industry segment.”
As mobile devices become more prevalent, look to service providers to create new engagement tools and mobile applications for both exhibitors and event attendees. This new breed of application will allow deeper engagement, and new opportunities to track success.