Healthcare providers often have a comprehensive calendar of events they host and sponsor to support patients, the local community and medical professionals. However, raising awareness of these events and having a consistent digital experience that aligns with the rest of the digital footprint can be challenging to achieve. Many event tools offer limited customizations that allow full alignment with existing digital experience as well as limited services that make it difficult to achieve an end to end event experience with one tool. Navigating the events tool industry is complex and requires significant research.
I’ll be creating a series of posts that will guide you through navigating this space with my learnings to date.
In this first post, I will be examining the benefits of having a centralized place on your organization’s flagship healthcare website to create awareness and promote events via digital methods, understand the importance of having a holistic end to end events digital experience that aligns with the rest of your digital footprint, as well as, provide an overview of the events tool market. The second post will identify the top players to consider for creating a holistic digital experience and key criteria to use for an events tool assessment to help you find the right vendor for the events digital experience. The third and final post will offer guidance on possible features to include in the new design your events digital experience and how to personalize for users.
Let’s start with what the events digital experience is. When we consider creating awareness and promoting events on a healthcare website it involves a number of different elements. There is typically an event listing of all events with a way to search and filter through these, and event actions such as signing up for a specific events, if you have a registration fee associated with events then at you will need a secure online payment method, add to calendar, forward to a friend and social share options at a minimum.
It doesn’t end there, they are the typical needs for the audience of your flagship website, but there is also website administration – event authoring and publishing – needs as well as event marketing. This is the entire end-to-end events digital experience to consider when creating awareness for your organization’s events and for promotion of these to increase event attendance.
So, what are the benefits of having a centralized place on your organization’s flagship healthcare website to create awareness and digital experiences for your healthcare events?
- Offers simplicity for your target audience with just one area on your website to navigate to, to find events. This creates an optimal user experience to easily locate events and remember where to return during a later website visit creating loyalty.
- Ability to showcase how comprehensive your organization’s events calendar is. Having events from across clinical areas, support groups, community, research, education, medical professionals, spiritual care, etc. will help create awareness of how much your organization offers.
- Opportunity to promote events not only in the various departments that I listed in the previous bullet but also in a centralized location where you reach a wider target audience. Any events that have broad appeal are likely to have increased event registration through promoting in an additional place.
Why is it important to have a holistic end-to-end events experience, that aligns with the rest of your digital footprint?
With various elements involved in an events digital experience, discrete tools being used for various elements such as listing events, registration of events and event marketing, it can quickly create an inconsistent user experience when discrete tools are being used. It can vary in the extent of branding for your organization, ease of use, overall design can change and much more. The target audience may also go from your organization’s flagship website to another website, often the event tool vendor, to register which can create confusion and even frustration depending on the experience.
The above often happens when events needs have evolved over time and the tool of choice being used no longer meets the wider needs and in an attempt to save time, an additional event tool is leveraged to meet the added new requirements. What all this creates is an experience for the end user that is far from seamless. If events are a priority for your healthcare organization, it’s important to consider creating a seamless end-to-end experience that offers consistency for the rest of your organization’s flagship website experience.
Events Tool Market Analysis
There are a number of ways to create a holistic events digital experience that aligns with your organization’s website experience. These are the main deployment options available across the events tool market:
- Use of a white label domain site that is highly customizable with a website builder and branding package that can mirror the experience on your organization’s flagship website
- Leverage embedded widgets on your organization’s flagship website so users do not have to leave the website
- Highly customizable web pages on the event tool vendors website that can mirror the experience as closely as possible to your organization’s flagship website
- Use an API data feed to create a customized consistent experience on your flagship website
It’s important to move forward with a solution that works best for your organization as each requires varying levels of effort and development time to create a holistic, fully aligned events digital experience. If the method of deployment option is not paramount and your organization is flexible, consider making a decision based on the services needed to meet your organization’s events needs. From this, an obvious deployment method may seem more obvious to proceed with.
There are a number of services offered by vendors in the events tools market that you may want to consider. You may not need all of these services and not all services are typically offered by any one vendor – but we will dig more into that in post two. Here are some of the popular services offered:
- Events calendar publishing
- Event registration and management
- Secure event payment via payment gateway integrations or as payment processor
- Event promotion
- Email campaigns and event marketing
- Integrations with CRM and Marketing software
- Agenda and speaker management
- Sessions registration management
- Onsite check-in
- Events mobile app
- White label domain site
- Data API
Depending on the number of services you need and which deployment method is more favorable for your organization, the costs associated with this will vary. There are a number of different options available as some event tool vendors offer a limited number of services for free, up until a specific number of events or registrants. Typically pricing in the market is based on one of the below:
- One-off base cost and additional cost per paid attendee or even both paid attendee and any registrations for free events
- Monthly subscriptions and additional cost per paid attendee
Ensure you are clear on what annual budgets you are working towards as well as volumes involved for the number of events your organization hosts, the number of paid registrants and the number of registrants for free events as these will impact final pricing as you speak to vendors.
The next post will identify the top players in the events tools market to consider for creating a holistic events digital experience and include key criteria to use for an events tool assessment to help you find the right vendor. In the meantime should you have any questions on any of the above, I would love to hear from you in the comments below.