If you’ve been in the nonprofit marketing or fundraising space for a while, you might be looking for new ideas to breathe life into your event marketing campaigns. You may feel as if you’ve done all you can when it comes to email marketing, social media, and direct mail promotions, and you’re looking for something else to give your community event the publicity it requires to be successful.
An event microsite might be the tool you need to promote your opportunity effectively and register more attendees. All types of organizations can turn to event microsites to take a more targeted, unique approach to event marketing and connect supporters with the information they need.
In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits of event microsites for your nonprofit’s digital strategy and how they can give your event marketing an edge. But first, it’s important to understand exactly what we mean when we talk about event microsites.
What is a Nonprofit Event Microsite?
According to Kanopi’s guide to charity microsites, a microsite is a sub-website that functions as an offshoot of an organization’s main website. These sites are typically a single webpage or a small cluster of pages. A microsite can have its own domain name or a subdomain.
An event microsite functions as both a marketing tool and an informational hub for any type of nonprofit event. Depending on what type of event you’re hosting, you can include information like the event logistics, schedule, sponsors, fundraising purpose, and goals.
For instance, if you’re hosting an annual 5K fundraiser, you can include the registration form, race schedule, course map, and sponsor and parking information in your event microsite. You can also include fundraising updates such as a fundraising thermometer that displays progress made toward your goal.
Benefits of Nonprofit Event Microsites
Although it’s true that microsites are a smaller-scale form of digital content, the impact they can have on your marketing efforts is anything but micro.
If you’re still on the fence about whether you want to commit the time and resources to create an event microsite, consider the benefits of doing so. Event microsites can:
- Allow you to brand your event more effectively. Your microsite will still be affiliated with your main nonprofit website but function as its own entity. This allows you to brand your event separately from how you brand your organization. For instance, perhaps you’re running a Giving Day event for your cause. Supporters will know your event is associated with your organization, but it’ll still feel distinct from your other fundraising efforts. Use your event microsite to display your giving day logo, colors, and other unique branding elements to give the initiative a professional, uniform feel.
- Streamline necessary attendee information. An event microsite provides a central hub for everything attendees need to know, from registration information to the schedule to driving directions to the event. Participants can easily find all the details they need without having to parse through your main website. Plus, if your event is a hybrid or fully virtual experience, you can host links to the event livestream on the microsite so participants just have to visit one online location to get involved.
- Be shared easily. Social media widgets not only allow you to easily share your microsite but also allow supporters to do the same. Sharing your event microsite via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms can promote your experience to a broader audience. Plus, your microsite will have a shorter, unique URL compared to your main site, which is much easier to share on digital platforms and will stand out in supporters’ minds.
- Host content after the event concludes. Microsites are often temporary, but some organizations choose to keep them up even after the event concludes as a hub for any photos, videos, or educational content from the event. If your event was livestreamed, you can also leave a recording up on the site for supporters to return to. Having these elements remain separate allows you to keep your main website organized and simplified.
- Foster experimentation and creativity. With an event microsite, you can test out creative or unique digital content that you’re not ready to use on your main website yet. You’ll be able to experiment with video, gifs, live chats, infographics, and interactive content like quizzes. These elements can engage your audience in a new and interesting way.
- Allow you to track event-specific marketing data. You can take a more tailored approach to analyze your marketing data by assessing the analytics of your event microsite. Evaluate user demographics, site activity, and user behavior to determine which elements of the site were most successful. You can use these insights to improve future event marketing efforts. For example, if event microsite users clicked on your microsite’s FAQ section the most, you can promote this element on your social media pages and ensure it’s prominently displayed the next time you market an event.
- Allow you to boost your fundraising. When you include a section on your event microsite for submitting donations, you can boost your fundraising efforts. As supporters review your event microsite, they’ll get an immediate reminder to contribute to your fundraising campaign as well as information on what their donations will go toward.
- Lead to better SEO (search engine optimization) performance. Your event microsite has the potential to boost SEO and search traffic to your core website. When your microsite includes valuable information and backlinks to your main site, you have the potential to drive traffic to your main content. However, it’s not advisable to create tons of microsites solely for SEO purposes. Your site still needs to be well-designed and include truly useful and relevant content. Otherwise, search engines won’t see it as valuable.
Microsites can support your nonprofit event marketing and allow you to explore new opportunities that you might not have been able to on your main website. Plus, microsites are generally easy and affordable to set up. You can even create your microsite with the same CMS used to create your core website.
Tips for Creating Your Event Microsite
To access all the benefits event microsites have to offer, it’s important to keep a few design best practices in mind.
Luckily, the strategies that apply to creating an excellent nonprofit website also apply to designing an event microsite. Both types of websites require a seamless user experience and attractive design.
As you craft your event microsite, ensure that it has:
- A prominent donation button: If you’re hosting a fundraising event, you’ll want to keep your donation form front and center in all event marketing materials. Re:Charity’s web design best practices guide recommends including a large donation button on your site with colors that pop against the rest of the page. You should also use unique and specific language on your button — instead of “Donate,” try active language like “Support Our Cause” or “Join the Fight.”
- Unique content: Your microsite should include different content than your main website. You don’t need to retell every aspect of your organization’s history and fundraising efforts — keep your microsite focused on your event information. This makes the site more useful for event marketing purposes and for your attendees who are looking for event-specific information. Plus, repeated content from your main site can look spammy to search engines.
- Intuitive navigation: Just like your main website, your microsite needs to be easily navigable and designed with user intent in mind. If your site is larger than one page, keep the navigation menu very simple and clear. This allows supporters to access the information they need quickly.
- Accessible content: Your event microsite should be accessible to all users, no matter their ability, location, or device. Be sure to follow accessibility best practices such as including alternative text for images, contrasting colors between the background and foreground, and unique page titles. Additionally, ensure your microsite is mobile-friendly. Test your pages in the mobile view to ensure there aren’t any formatting issues.
- Analytics tools: To assess the effectiveness of your microsite, you’ll need to generate reports on various elements of your site. Integrate your microsite with your CRM to conduct reporting and store insights for future use.
- An optimized URL: Your microsite should have a URL that’s unique to your core nonprofit website. Choose a URL that captures the intention of your event. It might be the event name or a unique slogan or catchphrase associated with your event. This will help your website stand out while also reminding supporters of the purpose of the site.
If your organization has a tech expert or website designer on staff, they can build your microsite in-house with all the specifics you’re hoping to include. However, if your team doesn’t have the expertise or bandwidth to craft a microsite, consider partnering with a nonprofit-specific web design company.
These firms not only specialize in website design best practices but also the unique digital needs of nonprofit organizations. They understand that nonprofits need to pursue online fundraising capabilities and donor-centric outreach. They can work with your organization to design your microsite and provide ongoing support to ensure it remains effective for meeting your goals.
Since digital marketing is a major focus for nonprofits right now, a microsite can provide the online focal point for planning the rest of your event marketing strategy. For the best results, be sure to start promoting your microsite several weeks before your event is scheduled. You’ll give enough time to review the event details, donate, and even share the site on their social media pages. Good luck!