Updated: Apr 2
Event planners know how important it is to build a compelling event website that drives conversions as well as providing information. But the fact that it looks great from your computer does not necessarily mean it will work on every device. As more and more people turn to their mobile devices for an ever-wider range of uses, delegates are expecting the same convenience when they hear about your event. From receiving an email or finding a link, attendees should be able to manage the entire booking process from their smartphone or tablet. To provide this, you need to make sure your site is well optimised for mobile.
The future is mobile
In many ways the future of the internet, and therefore online marketing, lies in the mobile market. It’s growing rapidly and shows no signs of slowing down - last summer, research from Gartner found that smartphone sales had outstripped purchases of traditional handsets internationally for the first time ever. Some 225 million smartphones were sold in the April-June quarter of 2013 alone, representing a 46.5 per cent increase from the same period in 2012.
Tablets are displaying even greater potential - a Netbiscuits People’s Web Report published last year found the market had grown by 65 per cent over the course of 12 months. More than nine out of ten said they used their devices to search, while 83 per cent used them for social networking and more than three-quarters said they used them to shop and make purchases.
As more and more users check their emails, access web pages and send information via mobile channels, it is easy to see why you need to accommodate mobile access to your site. But significantly, the quality of the user experience makes a huge impact on conversion rates - Netbiscuits also found that 76 per cent of respondents would simply abandon a brand’s website if it is not as mobile-friendly as it should be.
When mobile users open a web page, they are seeking the same basic requirements as the standard web user. They want a well-formatted site which is easy to navigate, and provides all the information they need without overloading them. The main differences are that the screens are much smaller than those on laptops and desktops, and users interact via a touch screen rather than the traditional mouse.
Because a finger obviously covers more of the screen than a small and pointed cursor, sites optimised for touch screen use will need to use larger fonts and buttons. In addition, although the font is adjustable any move from the user to enlarge the text will result in more scrolling around the page. Ensure you’re getting the maximum amount of relevant information into the smallest amount of text, so it can then be displayed at a reasonable size on the mobile device.
Make sure the link to your delegate registration system is clearly visible at all times, too: you may even be able to adapt your site so that for mobile users, it always appears at the top of every page. The system itself should be capable of handling mobile users and laid out according to the same principles: minimal amounts of easily legible text with a form that can be easily navigated via touch screen.
Get the technology right
Though some mobile users using their 3G signal often have a slightly slower connection than those on WiFi, neither expects to have to wait longer than a desktop user to access a website. The Netbiscuits study found that for four out of ten users, speed is the most important factor in accessing the web via mobile. Slow transitions between pages will make users more likely to abandon your site, especially if they are on the move, so it’s important to make sure your site loads as quickly as possible. If you’re having problems with this, contact your internet service provider or hosting site.
Depending on the nature of your site there are plenty of ways to optimise it for mobile use. If it’s based on Wordpress there may be a plug-in available for little or no charge; if it’s standards-based and uses CSS for presentation, you may be able to create an alternative specifically for tablets and smartphones. Consult with whoever runs your website to determine what will look and work best.
Whether they find out about your event via email, social media or another online channel, it is likely your delegates will discover it on a mobile device. Just as with PC and laptop users, you need to ensure that the entire process from accessing the site to processing payments happens as quickly and simply as possible - which means getting your optimisation right first time.