The focus of a fair, rodeo or festival doesn’t stay the same for long. When the lights go out on Monday night, they are busy preparing for Tuesday. And once the 2011 season wraps, they are planning for 2012.
Your customers are the same way. Their interest switches back and forth daily, and your website needs to reflect up-to-the-minute information.
We’ve talked before about how hard it can be to get in touch with your webmaster for a quick content change. And while those in the web industry can appreciate your frustration, your customers simply can’t.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We live in an age of instant gratification. When your customers want something, they want it 5 minutes ago. (Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but you get the point.)
You need to keep your site fresh and up-to-date by changing features and updating event information on the fly. We recommend a friendly admin site which allows you to efficiently manage your website content, without needing a web developer to do it for you.
Can you imagine holding the power to your website in your hands? Sounds like a dream come true.
We’ve discussed the importance of Do-It-Yourself before, so let this post serve as a reminder that you can control your website.
Do a little research to find the tools that work for you. Your website can reach its full potential, and it’s time to get started.
Through my research of fairs, festivals and rodeos, I have been impressed with the large following of each event I’ve examined. People are passionate about their local events!
But whether it is time or location, sometimes things just get in the way of actually attending your favorite event.
A great option is to invite site visitors to experience the event via your website with live streaming.
Streaming your nightly events will engage customers and give them an authentic taste of your event, whether or not they are able to see it in person.
This is really a win-win situation for you. Not only will you expand your audience, but Jimmy’s grandma in Montana can see him show his steer at a rodeo in Alabama.
And everybody likes a happy grandma!
Word of mouth is a powerful tool. People aren’t afraid to share their opinions, both good and bad, on social media.
Your customers are one of your best marketing tools, so making it easy for them to share event information is essential.
Give them the option to share events on top social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as the ability to forward custom messages to friends via email.
Don’t believe me? Check out these statistics.
Twitter boasts 175 million users who send an estimated 75 million tweets per day. They predict their average growth to be 370,000 new users every day.
According to Facebook, their average user creates 90 pieces of content per month and has an average of 130 friends.
They estimate all of their users combined spend over 700 billion minutes on Facebook every month.
Social media is the easiest way to connect and interact with your audience and is not hard to integrate into your site with simple sharing services like Add This.
Over the weekend, I was doing some online shopping at a site I’d never made a purchase from before. I added several items to my cart, but the checkout process became so complex I simply decided the cute dress wasn’t worth the hassle.
So please, don’t give your customers an excuse to not complete their purchase.
Ticket sales are the bread and butter of your event revenue, so make purchasing tickets easy.
If you sell tickets directly, a fully-integrated shopping cart ensures customers never leave your site, so they aren’t sent to unfamiliar websites with pages that don’t match your identity.
It shouldn’t matter if users are buying tickets directly from you or from a vendor’s website, the shopping process needs to be streamlined, friendly and intuitive. Think about your own online shopping preferences.
For example, you may think the more information you gather the better, but the truth is sometimes people just want to make a purchase. Plain and simple.
If I find myself wanting to buy something else from you, that’s when I’m ready to give you more information. Giving the option to checkout as a guest will go a long way with many first time visitors.
So consider this another reminder that a user’s online experience is just as important as their experience at your event.
Today’s post is going to be short and sweet, because I need to practice what I’m about to preach.
Writing for the web is different. Our online attention span is much shorter. And we find it easier to digest information presented in segments.
So get to the point. And keep it simple.
You need to provide valuable information that will entice customers to keep looking around your website because the information you are providing is easy to find and understand.
Don’t make your customers dig for the details: present them with essential event information up front in a clean, enticing format.
And PLEASE make sure that date, time and location of an event is in a prominent location.
See, you read the whole post today didn’t you? Simple, clean content is key.
(It’s even okay if you just read the bold words. I made them bold on purpose.
So don’t underestimate the power of formatting either!)
Yesterday, we discussed the importance of having visitors find your site. So now that you have them there, what is going to make them stick around?
You’ve heard it time and again, but let me remind you: you have 7 seconds to make a first impression.
And the first thing that grabs the attention of a visitor is the design. If a visitor isn’t intrigued in the first few seconds, the quality of your content won’t matter because they won’t stick around long enough to read it.
Think about it. When you look at a website that is out of date, how does that make you feel about the organization?
To me, it feels like they are behind the curve and may be a little “old fashioned” so that may not be an event I want to attend. If their website isn’t professional, do you think their organization or event will be?
I know that may sound harsh, but coming from a twenty-something who forms most of my opinions based on a company’s online presence, its the truth.
And make sure your fair, rodeo or festival website design shows your visitors the personality of your event. The design options for entertaining and unique events like yours are endless, so let your imagination run wild.
You know your event is worth it, so now is your chance to show everyone else!
Over the next several days, we will be sharing tips with our readers how to maximize the value of your event website.
To be the first to get the scoop, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Trust us, you aren’t going to want to miss this!
It’s a Good Time to Have a Great Time at the Fair! And we couldn’t agree more.
We recently launched a new Saffire Website for YMBL and the South Texas State Fair. Take a look!
This project presented some new challenges to our team and we were happy to provide YMBL with everything they were looking for in a webssite.
Because the focus of the website changes so drastically between fair season and the rest of the year, we created two very different designs for the site. We wanted customers to know the focus immediately once arriving on the site so they could find what they were looking for quickly. You’ll want to check out their site again in a few weeks to see the year-round design.
We incorporated our ecommerce platform into their site so they could sell tickets online for the first time. They can now accept payment online for tickets, vendors, sponsors and YMBL memberships.
This was our first time to create a “Member’s Only” section for one of our event websites. The Member’s Only section allows YMBL members to update their profiles, pay for memberships and see upcoming community events as well as member specific events.
Now, you’ll just have to trust us on how good the Member’s Only section looks, because we can’t show you. After all, it is Member’s Only!
We also helped The South Texas State Fair expand their reach with social media and already has over 100 Facebook fans!
Chris Colletti and his team at YMBL were a pleasure to work with and we can’t wait to hear about their successful event this year.
Our team has been busy at SXSW Interactive the last few days and we can’t WAIT to share with you all the new stuff we’ve learned.
Still not sure what SXSW is exactly? Check out this fun video from CNN.
Wow. We’ve been building big websites for a long time. And for about a decade, we’ve been telling people that not only would we never build a website without tools to manage it themselves, but we feel that web developers who do are borderline unethical.
I know, “them’s fighting words.” But think about it. There is great technology out there to manage website content. So why would a web developer not allow a client to make changes themselves? We think it’s because they want to charge for changes, thus keeping their revenue stream flowing.
Again, having worked on big websites for so long, we rarely think about the fact that many smaller websites don’t have the choice but to depend on their web developer to make changes. Yesterday, I talked to someone who could get instant changes from their web developer (So rare!).
But today, the fair manager I talked to isn’t so lucky.
He had gone through nightmare experiences with web developers; promises were made and broken. Even simple changes could go 7-10 days without being made. All from a guy down the street.
When I explained the features of Saffire, he didn’t mince words. He said that lots of fairs and rodeos can’t afford web agencies, so they try to get it done locally. And they’re frustrated. He said people need what we offer. They know they need it. But they don’t know how to get it. So I see our job as to help them by showing them!
Saffire creates event ecommerce websites that people can manage on their own, and it’s simple. One of our favorite things to do is to show it to people. They literally can’t believe how easy and even fun it is to see changes they make on their password-protected admin site appear on their customer site… instantly!
So if you want to see Saffire in action, just give us a call at 512-480-8566. We’ll be happy to kick the tires with you and show you just how fun DIY can be.