A successful website will showcase individual events to their fullest potential, drive visitors to make a booking and leave a lasting impression of the venue on the whole. Arts & Entertainment venues come in all shapes and sizes but the elements which make them succeed online remain largely the same. Here, we’ve narrowed down the 11 key factors we feel are the most important.
1. What’s on search
An effective search facility is vital to any website in this sector. This will give the visitor the ability to quickly narrow down results by event type and using a multitude of date parameters such as specific day, predefined date range or user-defined date range.
2. Event Detail Pages
These pages play the most important role in forming the visitor’s decision to purchase. The design should be both captivating and informative, grabbing the visitor’s attention and encouraging them to keep learning. Compelling imagery can spark the visitor’s interest from the moment they arrive. Vital information such as date, time and accessibility should also be kept prominent. A clear call to action will allow an event page to secure more conversions. Informing visitors when availability is limited can instil a “fear of missing out” and boost these final conversions further.
3. Booking Process
The booking process should be intuitive, informative and streamlined. Once the visitor has made the decision to purchase, the website must work had to maintain this momentum and walk them through the booking process in as few steps as possible. Simple measures such as keeping the visitor’s booking information (number of tickets, dates chosen) in view throughout the booking process can go a long way, mitigating uncertainty, the risk of stalling and cart abandonment. This process is called Checkout Optimisation.
““80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers.” So why not focus the bulk of your efforts on that 20%”
4. Mobile Experience
With priority now shifting from desktops website in favour of mobile sites, it’s no surprise that mobile-first design has become a trend. With this movement appearing to be set to continue, it makes sense to use a mobile-first approach in design and content structure.
Regular engagement through social campaigns and email marketing is a good way to retain customers and strengthen brand loyalty. Campaigns can be used to remind customers of upcoming shows, or offer suggestions they may enjoy.
6. Promotions & Offers
80% of your business is likely to come from just 20% of your customers – a pattern known as a “Pareto Principle”. This is a good reason to focus the majority of your promotional efforts on this 20%. Reach out to these high prospect consumers personally and offer them exclusive incentives. Address them by name when contacting them on social media, email, or text and use these channels to entice them to sign up to your mailing list.
To encourage extra ticket sales and generate suspense in the build-up to your event, consider adding an event countdown clock to your website.
Providing an experience which is tailored to an attendee’s own interests and preferences can allow a venue to engage more successfully with an audience of individuals. Personalisation can be applied to all aspects of the event experience from ticket sale through to take-home gift. Beyond the event experience it creates the opportunity to recapture the audience by suggesting events based on their previous ticket purchases and searches. You can collect user data from your own website by using cookies, but be sure to get your user’s consent.
8. Showcasing Location
Arts and Entertainment venues typically have a large catchment area, meaning their audience will often travel from far afield to attend an event. Showcasing the surrounding area can be highly influential in generating interest amongst an audience on the edge of this catchment. Providing a tourist guide highlighting local restaurants and points of interest will be valuable to these customers. Using your site to showcase the city or town will not only provide useful information but also improve your visibility online. It also creates the opportunity for collaboration which other businesses in the nearby area, which in return can generate awareness of your venue in their own promotions.
The position of a website or event page on the most popular search engines can make or break an event. That’s why effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in the run-up to the event is such an important consideration for the organiser. Using keywords to show search engines that your event is relevant, however, is only half the SEO battle. The other half is to convince Google that your site is a more valuable resource for potential website traffic than other sites ranking for the same or similar keywords.
The best way to do this is with authentic, valuable content. Google can sniff out a page that suffers from “keyword stuffing,” – when page content is overloaded with keywords meant to manipulate Google’s ranking.
10. Become a Google featured event
Google featured events appear at the top of search results in a callout box, making it much easier for searchers to discover events. Before clicking on a search result, event-goers can now quickly see your event’s name, date, location and most importantly - a link to your ticketing page.
11. Continuous Improvement
If you wish to remain competitive, you must continue to evolve and adapt. Feedback is one of the most important parts of continuous website improvement.
Certain aspects of this list may have a bigger impact on your audience than others. But when you put them all together you'll have a more complete website - optimised to draw the most out of people at every stage of the buying process.