Shopping for online calendar software? You’ll have to consider a solution that meets the needs of the entire organization and its various departments. It’s enough to cause your brain to overheat. We’re here to stop that from happening and to take this one department at a time. We recently published “Why Localist Matters,” which will take you through how Localist benefits every department, and we’re going to cover each department on our blog.
Today, let’s talk about how your marketing and web communications department can help you identify the value an online calendar can provide. We’ll recap what we covered in “Why Localist Matters,” but you can ask the following questions no matter what software solution you’re considering.
We see marketing and an online calendar as a likely pair. After all, marketing and web communications is the department tasked with spreading the word about your organization and its events. You need a calendar that’s up to the important task of communicating your organization’s happenings, while maintaining your online image and messaging.
But, how to judge the contenders? Start by asking the following questions:
1. Is the online calendar cloud-hosted?
Many organizations are transitioning to hosting information online. Cloud technology translates into less time worrying about IT maintenance and more time freed up to focus on creating compelling content and engaging with users. With a cloud-hosted online calendar you can rely on outsourced maintenance, quick upgrades, backed up data (called “redundancy”) and consistent uptime. Cloud services will finally allow your calendar to keep up with your marketing needs. Read more about the benefits of cloud computing in our post here.
2. How will the online calendar integrate with our established brand?
As a marketer, you’ve worked hard to develop and establish an online brand for your organization. Why should you have to give up that look and feel when you choose an online calendar provider? We’re sure you know the answer to this one: you shouldn’t. And you won’t have to change anything if you choose a white label solution. You’ll be able to maintain your brand while gaining the technology and support of an online calendar provider. Does your organization use specific lingo when it comes to events? Be sure to ask how the online calendar allows for custom fields in event forms.
3. How easy is the online calendar to manage?
Don’t stand for any answer other than “ridiculously easy.” As part of the marketing and web communications department, you are likely tasked with constantly updating and monitoring online buzz about your organization. When it comes to using an online calendar, your main focus should be content, online conversations, and increasing awareness of events. Confusing user interfaces and time-consuming uploads have no place in your work day.
Look for an online calendar that allows you to enter content easily, supports bulk uploading and venue assignments, and makes updating recurring events a one-step task. By the way, if the calendar requires extensive admin training, move along, and fast. Calendars should be intuitive and easy.
4. How does the online calendar integrate with social media?
Yes, this question requires the “how” in front; social media is a must for marketing and web communications departments as well as online calendars. You’re asking this question to find out exactly how the online calendar integrates with social media to allow for a seamless and easy experience for users who want to share, tweet and check in. Partnering social media and your online calendar will increase event attendance and the number of people who see what events your organization has to offer.
This brings us to the last question you should ask…
5. How can the online calendar help promote our events and organization?
An online calendar isn’t a static and unchanging wall calendar, so it goes without saying that it shouldn’t act like one. Instead, your online calendar should include features that enhance your ability to promote your events and organization. This will make your marketing and web communications job easier and more effective. What’s not to like? Look for capabilities like search engine optimization and web analytics to drive users to the calendar and gain insight into how they got there.
In addition to monitoring and thinking about web traffic, you should look for event promotion tools that will help spread the word about your great events. Features such as the ability to use a trending algorithm or manually select popular events will increase attendance at important events. Newsletters become an easy to create marketing tool when your calendar can integrate with your mail server and pull content from popular upcoming events. Automated emails both save time and drive traffic. For more on this, here’s a blog post with tips about driving traffic to your online calendar.
To find out more about what your marketing department should consider in an online calendar solution and how Localist meets these needs, download Why Localist Matters. You’ll also learn about the value Localist provides each department in your organization.