Event Websites in Our Changing World of Technology, Social Media & Accommodating the Traveling Athlete - by Nicole Blomgren of Fifty States Half Marathon Club
Attract theTraveling Athletes to Your Event
As new Marathons, Half Marathons,
Triathlons and many other events continue to pop up all over like
aspreading fire, the importance of knowing your audience is key. As
Founder and President of Fifty States HALF Marathon Club and being a key contributor to the endurance event industry and Half Marathon race calendars
on the web, I myself couldn't be more frustrated with an event website
when I land on the web page and can't even find the city and state on
the homepage of the event (ironically similar to online newspaper
sites). Sometimes even the date of the event, or the year of the event,
is missing from the homepage and you have to dig for it buried in other
organizers and Race Directors creating a website sometimes seem to
create their website catering to believing that most participants are
local and already know where the race is. The growing popularity of the
traveling athlete, desire to travel to various states or countries to
participate in events, makes information on the event website valuable
to attain market share to the traveling athlete.
TIPS FOR RACE DIRECTORS AND EVENT ORGANIZERS TO CREATE INFORMATIVE TOP NOTCH EVENT WEBSITES
CHECKLIST FOR THE "MUST HAVES" ON HOMEPAGE
City& State (You'd be surprised how many event sites do not have
this. Very frustrating for non-local participants and maintaining
national race calendar sites).
Date of event (believe it or not there are a lot of sites that do not
have this on their home page and participants have to dig for it).
3) The DAY of the event is also very helpful (ie: Saturday or Sunday).
4) ALL Race distances (Marathon, half marathon,
5k, etc) listed on "homepage", not buried in other links to figure out
if there are various other distances in addition to the main event
5) A CLEAR and CONCISE website link to "EXACT LOCATION" with FULL ADDRESS.
participants that are not local have to do a lot of extra work to find
the location because event organizers do not put the address of the
event location anywhere in the website. Participants like to use online
maps or utilize GPS in their car or rental car when traveling, to locate
the event, so I can't emphasize enough how important a "full address"
is of the event location.
And finally, having a "race date" planned well in advance, ideally one
year ahead. Many traveling athletes plan their race calendar one year in
advance. The sooner you have the date published on your website, the
sooner it is updated on sites like Halfmarathonsearch.com
,and the sooner athletes can add that race to their race calendar for
their travel plans. We start looking for new race dates a year in
advance when updating our race calendar website.
NICE TO HAVES
In addition to the "must haves," social media
and various websites definitely follow as "nice to haves" on an event
website. Connecting with the running community, triathlon community, and
other athletic event communities on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Blogs,Running Clubs or Goal Achieving Clubs like Fifty States HALF Marathon Club
,etc. (where participants can read about feedback about the course,
connect with others about their experience of the event in past years,
and join thecommunity of others who will be participating in the
upcoming event and share the excitement of the anticipation), and
partnering with Race Calendar sites (advertising
your event where the community looks for the best race to attend), can
all go a long way in increasing participants and giving visibility to
INEXPENSIVE OPTIONS TO HAVING A WEB PRESENCE OR WEBSITE FOR YOUR EVENT
smaller local community events who do not keep an all year round web
page for the specific event, like some of theYMCA's, YWCA's I've
noticed, or events just starting out, this ALL can be accomplished at NO
COST or very little cost. Race Organizers can create a one page Blog in
Google Blogger to appear almost exactly like a website (kind of like
our official blog http://halfmarathonclub.blogspot.com
but "without the ongoing content added", and leave this posted with all
the above mentioned "must have" checklist" posted on the BLOG. This is
FREE, and at least gives your event its own identity and a place forthe
public to look for the details of the event. You can then share your
bloglink via Facebook or twitter, and with race calendar sites. This can
be a valuable tool to at least avoid your participants having to click
on an expired Active event listing from previous years, with no event
site to go to for future details. Another very inexpensive means for an
ongoing event site is Yahoo business. It is inexpensive and you can
create your own website within an hour with their easy to use templates,
walking you through step by step how to set up your website, allowing
your event to have its own domain you choose.
summary, the number of events popping up will continue to grow and the
market will remain competitive. Even though the trends show there is no
shortage of participants in the ever-growing events such as marathons, half marathons,
or triathlons, it is still important to be aware of the "user
experience" you are providing your participants, startingf rom the very
first step of when that individual visits your website and decides if it
is an event they would like to add to their calendar for the year.
© copyright 2012 Nicole Blomgren & Fifty States Half Marathon Club LLC