When you think about an event calendar, it’s a good bet you think of a 30-day grid calendar like the paper ones we used to hang on walls. The information contained in these calendars is rudimentary at best, as there’s not room to get into extensive detail when you have multiple events listed. Today’s interactive event calendars are more than just static 30-day grids, however. They’re powerful marketing tools that can drive traffic, attendance and awareness for your events.
Did you know:
- Interactive event calendars are better than any email marketing campaign at bringing traffic to your website;
- They’re cheaper and more effective at driving quality traffic than an investment in Google AdWords; and
- The right event calendar will astronomically increase in-person attendance at an event?
Those are quite lofty claims. Let’s take a closer look how event calendars can help drive your marketing efforts.
30-Day’s the Wrong Way
You may be wondering what’s wrong with this standard calendar. After all, it has all of the month’s events displayed in a nice 30-day format. And, sure, while this would make a great desk calendar, we live in a digital age: static calendars no longer cut it.
We could debate whether this grid looks outdated from a design and information presentation information. But one thing is undeniably true: this design negatively impacts your site traffic, doesn’t fully utilize your event content to its fullest extent and doesn’t optimize for attendance.
One is the Loneliest Number
Let’s say the above calendar is hosted at the URL http://mybestwebsite.com/events. Based on this information and the calendar you just saw, what does Google know about this calendar?
Just one thing.
One event? One website? No, we’re not even talking about something that comprehensive. Just one webpage. If you’re using a static 30-day calendar like the one shown above, that’s it. At any one time, that single calendar page is all Google knows about your events.
Here’s a graphic to illustrate this concept:
When Google crawls webpages and indexes them in its search engine, it learns about only one extra property of yours: the calendar homepage, which is pointing back to your website. All of your event efforts are represented by just a single link in Google. Just one link, tasked with ranking on the results page, driving traffic back to your website and interesting prospective attendees in, well, attending your events. That’s a lot of pressure to put on one link!
Here’s the catch: we don’t think it’s the best way to market your event…and neither does Google.
Interactive Event Calendars are a Website’s Best Friend
So, how is an interactive calendar like Localist different?
Let’s take a look at how Google sees an interactive calendar:
For every event hosted on a Localist calendar, there are individual pages created for event photos, details, location and attending users. In addition, users can navigate to a calendar homepage, pages that map out individual days and even group profile pages. That’s a large number of pages, each with their own role to play in driving traffic to your site, obtaining high search engine rankings and interesting attendees in your events.
In search engine terms, what does this translate to?
|Average Localist calendar pages indexed by Google||308,000|
|Average “other” calendar pages indexed by Google||200|
308,000 is clearly a larger number, but what does this mean for your organization and events?
It means exactly the results an event marketer wants to see: more website traffic, higher event turnout and up to an 8x lift over email marketing. This is why when a new customer signs on with Localist, they typically see up to a 3000% increase in calendar website traffic. In fact, the events section usually ends up being the most trafficked part of the entire website!
Increased Site Traffic Means Increased Event Attendance & Brand Awareness
While we get excited about website traffic, it’s important to note that interactive calendars have true tangible benefits for the end goal: your event.
If you’re hosting an event, one of your key goals may be to boost event attendance. There are a number of ways you can reliably boost event attendance, but you may be surprised to hear that an interactive event calendar is actually one of them. Calendars lend themselves to increased event attendance because of informational individual landing pages, increased site traffic to event pages, social sharing capabilities and so much more.
As discussed above, the myriad individual calendar landing pages for everything from events and groups to places and channels lend themselves to not only a higher number of pages being indexed by Google and other search engines, but to subsequent increased attendance for your event, since it’s more shareable, understandable and discoverable for your audience.
Easy social sharing, integrated directly into an interactive event calendar, also makes it easier for attendees and prospective attendees to share an event with their network, thus reducing barriers and increasing the pool of attendees. It’s factors like these that lead to a 70% increase in event attendance for Localist customers. That’s a measurable difference, offline and on.
It’s not just audience quantity that is impacted, however. In addition, the quality of participants increases with the launch of an event calendar. Because of the optimized nature of event pages on an interactive calendar, attendees who find your event are much more apt to have been looking for something of that type. Put another way: rather than unengaged attendees, you’ll get an audience who is invested and cares about who you are and what event you’re putting on – and that could mean a big pay off for recurring and future events, as well.
Moreover, the search engine rankings and seamless branding options enabled by interactive calendars increase brand awareness in a way that a static 30-day calendar simply cannot. From a custom domain name on a domain you control, to full access to your calendar’s HTML and CSS, an interactive event calendar enables you to fully customize and tweak your calendar to fit your brand specifications. Your calendar is yours to control and adjust as you see fit. And when it comes to keeping your events in line with your brand identity, that’s an invaluable option.
Sure, You Have Other Options, But…
You have a couple of different options to help your event pages rank in search engines. However, these alternatives may not be the best move for your business:
Buying Online Ads
You can spend thousands of dollars a month on online advertising campaigns, and there’s a good bet you’ll see it generate traffic to your site. However, the quality of that traffic is usually extremely low, often resulting in very high bounce rates, or low time on site. Each of these are factors that Google takes into account when determining where your site will rank in search results. Put another way, poorly managed ad campaigns could actually be working against you, wrecking your visibility in search and making it difficult for both prospective and current customers to find you.
When you use an interactive event calendar to facilitate website traffic, you’re getting visitors who are already engaged (they clicked on content they were interested in, not just an advertisement), resulting in a much lower bounce rate, and much higher time on site. This is a win-win for both your site visitors and your Google search rankings…and that, in turn, is a win for your whole business. More visitors to your site means more eyes on your event; more eyes on your event generally means more attendees who’ll be there when the fun starts.
Even better, an interactive event calendar works as an all-in-one marketing tool. It’s taking content you’ve already created and using it in better ways, instead of forcing you to come up with new creative ad messaging. You’ve already put in the work of defining your event and sharing the details – why not let that messaging work for you via the one-stop shop of an interactive event calendar?
Engaging in Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing typically generates a 1% click-through, made even more difficult by the fact that you need to capture the person’s email address before you can ever reach out to them.
Anyone who’s tried email marketing for their events knows the most difficult part is getting the visitor to recognize and accept your brand first. You can’t send email campaigns to folks who have never heard of you, or to those have been to your site, but haven’t filled opted in to your communications. The best recipient of an email campaign is one who’s aware of your brand, or at least your offerings, and might be interested to know more.
Event marketing calendars can serve as a great way to boost awareness about your brand, your events and your entire website, without requiring the visitor to know about your organization itself. They could search for things like: “events near me,” “constitution hall events” or “kid-friendly events” and find your organization – all because your multiple events pages were optimized for location, venue and audience.
That’s the power of event content combined with an interactive event marketing calendar. If you’re wondering whether an event calendar might be right for your organization’s events, consider this: would you like to drive higher attendance rates? Increase site traffic? Boost brand awareness? An interactive event calendar is one excellent way to do just that.