38 Ways to Use Internet to
©1998 Corbin Ball Associates
General Site Construction
- Make sure your site is registered with the
major search engines: Yahoo, AltaVista,
Hotbot, InfoSeek, Excite,
Lycos, and WebCrawler.
See www.gkweb.com for a list and further
information on submitting to more than 200 search engines.
- Craft your site so that it will come near the
top of the list when searching with your prime keywords with the various
search engines. If you’re not in the first couple of screens of results,
you won’t be found. See searchenginewatch.com
for information on how the various search sites rank web sites.
- Craft your site’s title, introductory
paragraph, and metatags (hidden key words). These are important parts of how
search engines (and therefore people) find your site. See the web site
listed in item 2 for details.
- Make your site is fast and easy to navigate
(slow and confusing sites are not read or used).
- Be visual – use photos of past meetings, of
the hotel, or venue to add sizzle and interest.
- Be interactive – give viewers the means to
navigate easily and find the information desired.
Content, Content, Content
The key to a site being book marked is content --
give viewers a reason to go there in the first place and then come back!
Put the conference program and agenda on-line and
make it searchable by topic, speakers, dates, times, key words, etc.
Include statistics of past meetings (charts &
graphs of attendance and demographics, past exhibitor lists). Make them as
visually interesting as possible – use graphs over tables.
Post the pre-registration list on-line – people
may wish to contact others in advance, which can encourage attendance.
Have on-line pre-conference forums, electronic
bulletin boards, and chat rooms. Establish a virtual community around the event.
Create a virtual exhibit section to increase
traffic, promote the exhibit, increase exhibitor visibility, and generate
revenues through sales of links to exhibitors’ web sites.
Update your site frequently with press
announcements and news releases about the event.
Put past keynote addresses and other speakers
on-line (using streaming video and audio software programs that bring sound and
motion pictures to your web site). See www.real.com
for or broadcast.com an example.
E-mail Promotion & Marketing
- Send out "save-the-date" e-mail
announcements well in advance of the meeting.
- Use appropriate forums to advertise your web
site and the meeting when appropriate. (Note: crass commercialism is not
considered proper "netiquette" – so be aware of the rules of the
particular forum before you list.)
- Use your member/customer e-mail lists to
promote the meeting. Directing them to your web site – offering a single
click, one-stop shopping for registration, housings, air, car,
entertainment, site information (see items below).
- Offer freebies (free books, drawings,
registration, etc.) at your site to increase traffic and, while there,
entice viewers to sign the "guest book."
- Utilize these "guest book"
signatures as a mailing list for further promotion.
- Offer a registration discount for those
registering via the web.
- Include an exhibit pass at the site – which
can be printed for a discounted or free exhibit entry (if you charge for
admission to your tradeshow).
- During the meeting, upload pictures of the
event to encourage local walk-ins and to make others wish they were there
for the next time.
- Use reciprocal linking to other complimentary
or related web sites to bring in additional traffic.
Convenience & Usability
- Develop and promote on-line registrations at
your web site.
- Make the on-line registration form
user-friendly, allowing for individual session sign up.
- Utilize an automated e-mail confirmation
system giving immediate feedback that the registration has been received.
- Use a secure server and allow credit card
purchases of on-line registration and products. This increases your site
legitimacy – in fact, many savvy surfers will only use secure sites for
- Give people multiple purchase options (credit
cards on line, snail mail, print form and fax, toll free phone).
- Link your site to on-line housing (adding
- Link your site to your official air carrier
- Link your site to your official car rental
- Link to area and city information sites.
- Link to area sports and event attraction
- Link to area restaurant and club sites.
- Link to area weather information sites
- Use advance e-mail surveys to determine
attendee expectations, interests and desires.
- Use post conference e-mail and on-line surveys
to determine customer satisfaction level, areas that need improvement, new
topics for presentation.
- Have an "ask the presenters" forum,
or "ask the conference chair" forum where prospective attendees
can pose questions in advance.
If you find this article helpful, please let me
know by signing the Guest Book in the Contact
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