Does your nonprofit organization have large events like an annual gala or fun run? Do you make an effort to plan for these events throughout the year to make sure they’re aligned with your overall nonprofit strategy? If so, then an event-focused microsite would be perfect for you.
A microsite provides the space you need to make your event the star! If you already have and maintain your own website, you can easily create a microsite using the same website builder you already use. Or even use this opportunity to try out a new one.
Now that you’re ready to consider the possibilities, let’s take a deeper look at what exactly a microsite is.
Microsites: An Overview
A microsite is an independent website, built on a new domain or subdomain, that has a specific focus. In this case, we’re going to look at microsites built specifically for nonprofit events.
Despite the name, a microsite isn’t necessarily small. It is different from a landing page because it is a full website with as many pages as you need, all organized to help supporters learn about your event. Unlike your main nonprofit website, a microsite can be temporary, permanent, or only active during certain times of the year.
So should you build a microsite instead of just including the event information on your website? These microsite benefits may help you decide:
- A microsite is tightly focused on the event so people aren’t distracted by other campaigns.
- Putting event details on a microsite allows you to track metrics separately so you can see specific information for the event. This includes details like how many people are coming to the site, how they are finding it, the overall conversion rate, and more.
- A microsite can be linked to specially branded social media channels, making your event even easier to promote.
- You won’t have to split your site traffic or clutter your homepage by promoting your event and campaigns on the same site.
- A microsite can help boost SEO. Since it is a separate website, cross-linking between the microsite and your main website can help raise your rank for both sites. Additionally, since the microsite will have a tight, clear focus, it is also likely that it will have a low bounce rate. This is also a big SEO booster.
Basically, if you have ever considered needing a separate section of your website for the event, or you know the information will take up several pages on your nonprofit website, it is a good idea to create a microsite. It will be a benefit to your organization in the long run.
Tip #1: Narrow the microsite’s focus.
If you are the person in your organization responsible for planning, promoting, and the follow-up for your event, this tip might just make your day. You get to create an entire website for and about your event. This means you don’t have to choose which details to promote and what to leave out to save space.
The only rule is that all of the information on your microsite should be about the event.
Resist the temptation to make a new version of your nonprofit website by including information about all of your campaigns and initiatives. Instead, keep the information narrowly focused on the event itself. Some ideas of content to include are:
- Purpose of the event—Who or what is it benefitting?
- Date and time information
- Location, directions, parking information, and other instructions for arriving
- Items or experiences you’ll be auctioning off at the event
- Dress code suggestions, including weather variations if applicable
- Reservation details, including cost, special booking deals (group or early registration)
- Tasks to be completed before the event (like signing a waiver or gathering pledges)
You could also include an about page that ties the event to your nonprofit organization. Make sure this focuses on the event and history, though, don’t just copy the About information from the main website.
In fact, you need to make sure all of the information on your microsite is unique. It is bad for SEO (and not fun for supporters) if you just replicate the event information from the main nonprofit website.
Tip #2: Brand the site to your nonprofit.
Your nonprofit event microsite should have similar branding to your main nonprofit website. This creates a professional and cohesive feel and also increases the trust of your supporters. It also boosts brand recognition for your cause and your organization overall.
Many nonprofits do this by using the same branding elements, but switching up the colors for the event microsite. Others will create a whole new logo and layout, but use the same color palette as the main nonprofit website. However you choose to do it, the point is to make sure that the nonprofit event microsite can easily be recognized as an extension of your organization.
Tip #3: Use eye-catching calls-to-action.
As you develop your event microsite plan, remember to include calls-to-action (CTAs). Ideally, each page of the microsite should include a clear CTA that guides visitors to the action or information that comes next. For example, you should include a link to the donation page on the about page so that people can easily donate after reading about how important the event is.
CTAs should be eye-catching, evocative, and relevant to the information on the page. Your goal is to be helpful, so think of it like cause and effect: You’ve read this, now apply the information by doing this!
Here are a few ideas to help you get started with your CTA strategy:
- Offer incentives for early registration. (E.g. “Register for our walk-a-thon before October 24th to receive 10% off!”)
- Encourage visitors to share the event through email and social media, and include buttons to make this easy for them.
- Encourage visitors to donate or make a pledge in advance.
A microsite can be a game changer for your nonprofit event. Through careful branding, focused content, and clear calls to action you can really capture the attention of your supporters and get them excited about being involved in your event. They are easy to create with a website builder or with the help of a nonprofit website design company like Cornershop Creative. And since the microsite means you aren’t competing with other campaigns for attention, your event can finally receive the recognition it deserves!