Years ago, a web design studio featured a client's event website in their portfolio. Here is a paraphrased portfolio description: "XYZ EVENT now has an exciting, fresh website design to excite a new generation of attendees with less text and more images on the site."
Did you notice the part about less text?
Yes, the website was visually stunning. It also cost the client at least $50,000 in lost online ticket sales. The problem was that the website relied so heavily on visuals and eliminated so much text that the purchase conversion rate dropped significantly.
The issue was brought to the client's attention several months before their event. At the time, the web designer stated that the event website needed more traffic. We attempted to explain that it was a conversion rate problem but nobody on their web design team understood that.
Remember that conversion rate is the percentage of people who go to your event website and make a purchase. Their feedback was, "If there was more traffic, more people would buy." So we went out and drove more website traffic.
A few months later, we were able to double the traffic to the client's website yet the conversion rate was still down. Doubling the traffic was great, but the significantly lower conversion rate meant far fewer people were purchasing event tickets.
The result? The client lost tens of thousands of dollars of revenue which was calculated by looking at their historical conversion and revenue data. When conversion rate was brought up to this highly prestigious web developing studio yet, again, they had no idea what we were talking about.
They questioned where our data was coming from. It came from the same Google Analytics account they set up! They took it personally because so much time was dedicated to creating a visually stunning website. They were so emotionally tied to their design that they couldn't see the bigger picture.
Finally -- or, somewhat, reluctantly -- they decided to update the air show ticket page. The update was the exact opposite of what the portfolio description said. Over 1,000 words were put back into the design-heavy ticket page. We also made some design suggestions to make it visually more straightforward for people to buy tickets.
The lead designer for the project said that the suggestions made to update the ticket page would "disrupt the rhythm of the page". What they failed to realize was that their design was disrupting the rhythm of revenue into our mutual client's bank account.
Thankfully, we were able to get most of the changes in place, the conversion rate went way up and revenue took off like a rocket ship.
Unfortunately, it took over six months to convince the web development studio to make the necessary changes. The opportunity cost was massive. This example also emphasizes the importance of knowing and tracking your marketing math!
- Beware: An Event Website NOT Designed to Make Money!
- Horrid Event Advertising Mistake: Confusing Art with Results
- A Persuasive Design Example for Promoting Your Event
- Watch Your Typography
- Web Usability: The Importance of Balancing Content and Graphic Design