Association meeting professionals are always on the lookout for ways to more effectively communicate the value of their annual conference. The goal is to create the impression that it is a terrible thing if you miss out on so much value by simply not attending.
Obviously, the value has to come from the overall experience you design for your attendees–from the content, to the quality of speakers and presenters, to the social and networking opportunities you provide.
But ultimately, how do you make that message stand out – have legs of its own? I present the case for creating a microsite for your next conference.
Often called a mini site, the Content Marketing Institute Playbook defines a microsite as a website that “concentrates on a narrow topic or issue, featuring rich content developed by the sponsoring brand itself. Correctly executed, the microsite creates a gathering place that positions the brand as a contributing member of the community.”
Unlike an association website with multiple sections covering a large variety of information and calls to action, a conference microsite is created for a specific purpose for a defined amount of time. They are models of efficiency – they do their job and then they’re done.
When done right, a conference microsite can help generate tremendous buzz about your event that a static banner ad or targeted email campaign can’t do alone. A well-executed microsite will work wonders for your brand.
A conference microsite may be a dynamic single page or multiple interactive sections. However, its real power is derived from its tight focus. The key feature of a microsite is that it is event specific and doesn’t hold the broader objectives of your association’s website.
To get the best results from a microsite, remember these tips:
- Have a clear idea who you are targeting – the messaging must reflect that
- Content must be about the member or attendee, not the association
- Content must be rich, creative and regularly updated – meaning a static web page that is not regularly updated will return little value to you or your members
Some benefits that a microsite can bring to your association’s conference include:
- Branding: A microsite allows you to create a unique brand for your event that is different from your association’s brand.
- Clearer Message: It’s easier to focus your message or value proposition for your event when it is separated from the unrelated content on your association’s website. Visitors see exactly what you want them to see without having to do any searching.
- Easier to Setup: A microsite can be set up quickly, making them ideal for events with a short lifetime like your annual conference. However, they should not be a last minute initiative – it is important to plan ahead.
- Attention Getter: People who typically visit your look your home page may only quickly scan for new content and then leave before digging deeper. A microsite gives you more opportunities to grab them with information and design that drives the appeal of your event.
- Event Launches: Many associations will use their conference to launch or promote a new program, service, or initiative. A microsite is a great medium for these new promotions, and it can help provide them with a distinct identity.
- Targeted Mail Integration: You can leverage your email campaigns by integrating a microsite. A conference microsite provides a landing spot for campaigns where you track performance, giving you valuable insight into the effectiveness of your overall promotional efforts for your conference.
- Enhanced Search Engine Optimization: A unique URL for your conference using relevant keywords, coupled with a site that is highly focused around your event will perform better in the search engines.
These are just some of the things to consider about adding a microsite as part of your annual conference marketing and registration efforts. Your event may seem small compared to others, but a well-done microsite can help capture your members’ attention, helping to ultimately deliver huge results for your association.