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Festivals Toolkit: Marketing: Websites

A website works in three ways:
  1. It is a selling tool for you to communicate with your potential and existing customers about your product/organisation. It will also provide useful information about what your customers are looking for, as it can be used to capture and register customer information, interact, communicate and track and evaluate. The users of the site can be fully tracked, as when you visit a website the server tracks who you are, which site you have come from, what you have searched for, what time of the day you visited and tracks every mouse click and move – where you hover and so on. Ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for this information. This will help you to understand your customer behaviour.
  2. The customer will use the website to tell them about your festival, and will assume that everything they want to know is on the site.  Make sure that every aspect of your festival is represented on the site (what you do, how it's organised, when and where it is, etc.).  Research shows that customers will assume that if it's not on the website, it doesn't exist.
  3. A website should be used in an interactive way to build relationships with your customers. For example, they could be encouraged to log-in or to build a customer profile, get offers built from past browsing and purchasing history, and have the opportunity to sign-up for a choice of specific mailing lists.  Encourage interaction through as audio/video downloads, reviews, discussion forums, news feeds (RSS), blogs by directors or artists and access to archives.

Finally, your website should also provide information on the local and regional attractions that may complement your festival/event. For both local and non-local audiences additional information about activities concurrent with yours may give ‘added value’ to the area. It may also encourage non-local visitors in particular to think about incorporating attendance at your event with visits to other attractions, perhaps therefore converting a one-day visit into a long weekend.

Derbyshire has a large number of attractions both man-made and natural and it is in the interests of festivals to exploit these and highlight the additional benefits that visitors can enjoy, so look at doing reciprocal links with other organisations.

Website design
Advice on how to design/improve your website is available in abundance through the Internet. The critical factors to consider are shown below and much of it is common sense.

  • Presentation  Attractive appearance & design, unity throughout, clear text.
  • Content  Valuable & relevant information.
  • Usability   User-friendly, intuitive. Easy to use, read, or navigate through. Downloads quickly.
  • Interactivity Invites visitor participation, feedback & communication,
  • Findability   Highly visible to or easily found by your target audience through search engines, links pages, and other means.

A simple way of improving your website is to surf the net and find sites that reflect good examples of the factors noted above and see how you can incorporate such ideas into your own. Key things to focus on are legibility (people with poor eyesight may not be able to cope with overlays, animations and small print size) and interactivity; try to create reasons for people to return to your site on a regular basis. Information must be up to date and relevant but competitions, quizzes, photographs from events may help to keep people coming back to your site.

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