With face-to-face events unable to go ahead for the foreseeable future, organisations are increasingly turning to digital platforms to deliver new experiences for their audience. This means that with more and more online events popping up, it is essential that your website stands out and has the correct functionality to deliver your core objectives.

During our latest Jane Craigie Marketing (JCM) “Coffee and Bread” Zoom session, we were joined by guest speaker David Hill, founder of the ‘Greatest Online Agricultural Show’, who shared his experience delivering an online platform that welcomed over 50,000 visitors. If you haven’t visited the site, click HERE.

To help you review or build your own site, our team at JCM have put together some top tips and included some of the feedback from David.

STICK TO YOUR GUNS:
Don’t lose track of your ideas or let them run away from your vision was a strong message from David. By creating a plan at the beginning of your project, that highlights what you want the event to look like, what you want it to achieve and what the purpose of it is after the “event”. This helps explain your idea to others and shows why you wanted it to look and run in a certain way.

WORK TOGETHER:
Working with others is far more effective than taking on everything by yourself, so don’t be scared to collaborate with other people and organisations.

REUSE:
Once you have set up a website platform, consider reusing it. For example, hosting another similar event or show on the same platform will save you money, time and will allow you to get the most out of the platform you have built.

BE CURRENT:
Adapt to what is currently trending, such as embracing live content. You don’t have to run a full live event but combining some live elements with an online virtual system could work and help keep your audience engaged.
TOP TIP: live content can gain more engagement that static content, and a high hit rate of users at one time will help your analytics (website rating).

EMBRACE ZOOM:
The Online Agricultural Show offered a zoom option, which allowed the public to join a zoom call and chat to different trade stands. This proved to be very popular with people dropping into zoom calls all day, so it is an option worth considering. By offering this tool, some social creativity could be offered on the day.

If you would like to hear more about David’s experience of creating the ‘Greatest Online Agricultural Show, click the audio link below:
https://youtu.be/D4um0mzNweU
If you are looking to build a website and want help increasing audience engagement, below are some of JCM & Co’s top tips to help you along the way!

5 SECOND RULE:
Within 5 seconds of a visitor landing on your website, they should be able to find what they are looking for. This also applies to live events. To ensure your message stands out instantly on your home page, make sure that you clearly understand the message you are trying to put across. Then it will be easier to portray it to your users.

3 CLICK RULE:
The 3 click rule applies to how long before a user will get bored of a website and leave it. If after three clicks the user can’t find the content or information they are looking for, they will lose interest and likely leave the site entirely.

NAVIGATION IS KEY:
One of the most important aspects to remember when creating a website is to use simple navigation. Use a navigation bar along the top of your website page, that includes a maximum of 6 navigation tabs. This will avoid the user getting confused or lost on your page. If you want to direct your user to other elements such as a contact page, use sub navigations, which can be as long as you want and act as a good tool to offer more detailed sections on your site.

LENGHTY HOMPAGES CAN WORK:
Don’t be wary of designing a long home page. By having a longer home page that includes 4 or 5 sections allows you to cover different elements in greater detail that users can scroll through. However, it is important to keep in mind that according to Google, 80% of internet users as of April 2020, are viewing websites on mobile phones or tablet devices. Therefore long scroll on a mobile device can be time consuming to view, so it is vital to gauge what exact information is required on your home page.

If you are organising a live event, consider putting a link to the event on your website’s home page. If a user is looking to join the event, they can source the link quicker and are more likely to return to your website in the future as they have found the information they were looking for promptly.

EMBRACE WHITE SPACE:
It is a common theme that everyone wants to fill white space when it comes to designing but having white space can increase viewers’ attention span by 20%. For example, instead of placing a name or title inside a colour box, why not leave white space around it to create a crisp look. Areas of cleanness are proven to draw attention. Striking a good balance between creating an attractive website but not over doing it with design heavy aspects can effectively help engage with your target audience.

EMBED SOCIAL CHANNELS:

Embedded social media channels on a website gets more engagement compared to linking social media pages via icons. Users prefer to be able to see embedded tweets and Facebook live streams that are taking place.

REFRESH & REVIEW:
The two R’s are key to running a successful website. A website is only as good as the data and how current it is. Refresh and review sites fortnightly, by simply posting a fresh blog post every fortnight, for example. This ensure new content is going on the page and that you are remaining active and consistently engaging with your audience.

WEBSITE HITS:
It is important to keep in mind that hits to websites are primarily referral , nearly 90% of website views can now be generated from links that are shared on other channels or via other websites. Very few users visit a website direct, therefore it is beneficial to share your website link on social media channels and with other pages to help build engagement.

GOOGLE ANALYTICS – A KEY TOOL IN YOUR KIT:
Google Analytics weekly is extremely useful for seeing what website platform pages are performing the best, by who and for how long. By being able to see what pages are most successful, you can adapt and share more content on the pages that are working well in order to boost engagement. You should be reviewing your analytics for a few minutes every week. Below is a link to help you get started with google analytics:
https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/provision/#/provision

JCMandCo’s Coffee and Cake zoom calls were introduced twelve weeks ago to offer a chance for our clients and their friends to come together, share ideas, develop skills and learn about different opportunities that could help ensure communications of marketing channels remain strong during the lockdown period, whilst still being sensitive to the challenges that the pandemic delivered.
After the success of the past twelve weeks, we have decided to continue these sessions for our clients on a fortnightly basis, with each one still ending with a favourite baking recipe.

If you are a client of JCM and have not been receiving the emails to join our calls, please get in touch with Rebecca@janecraigie.com.

You can read more about The Greatest Online Agricultural Show on one of our most recent blogs below:

Close to 50,000 show area visitors attend Greatest Online Ag Show