So you’ve got an awesome event that’s going to revolutionize the race world as we know it. Mazel tov! I love gamechangers (case in point: I was the first in line to buy Justin Timberlake’s OG solo album…#totalgamechanger).
But I have a newsflash for you: No matter how ridiculously awesome your race is, no one’s going to actually participate in your race unless you have a great race website. Your race website is basically your face to the race world, and if you don’t make a good first impression, you can kiss those race registrations buh-bye.
But what makes a race website great? How can you be sure that your “race face” is zit-free and gets the most popular athletes in school to go with you to the dance (i.e., sign up for your race)?
Here are the elements of a great race website:
Look, I hate to be blunt, but let’s be real: if I type in your URL and feel like an artistically challenged grade schooler just threw up all over my screen, I think it’s safe to say that you DON’T have a great race website.
The first thing that your athletes are going to notice about your race website is the design. And if you want a great race website, you better believe it best be designed WELL.
We’ve already talked about how good design can revolutionize your race, so I’m sure by now you have an awesome graphic and/or web designer on the sidelines chomping at the bit to craft you a beautifully designed website that will leave your athletes starry eyed. But even the best designers are going to need some guidance, so you’ll want to have at least a general idea of what you want your design to look like.
Use the right colors (and, while you’re at it, learn a bit about color psychology to use color to your advantage and basically enchant your athletes to do exactly what you want them to do, wizard style), make sure your design is consistent with your overall branding and for the love of all things sacred (like Kind bars) PLEASE don’t feel the need to clutter your design with every picture, graphic or (please god no) animated GIF that you can get your hands on.
Another gotta-have as far as great websites go are clear Call To Actions (or CTAs if you want to be a cool kid and shorten it). Look, the best marketers in the world will agree with me when I say that the best approach to marketing is to assume that your audience is comprised of people who aren’t the brightest bulb in the box or the sharpest knife in the set and may or may not be a few french fries short of a Happy Meal.
In other words, while I’m sure your race only attracts the smartest and most elite athletes, you need market to them like they were dumb. And that means telling them EXACTLY what to do.
Make sure your CTAs are visible, clear and easy to understand. Want them to head to your online race registration page? Slap a big red button right where they’ll see it. Want them to opt in to your email list? Have a registration form pop up once they’ve been on your site for a minute or two. Want them to join you in a pre-race dance off? By all means, make sure you tell them exactly when, where and how you want them to shake their groove thangs.
If you want to make your athletes take action, you need to make your Call To Actions impossible to miss.
Easy Race Registration
We’ve touched on this before, but a must must MUST if you want to wow people with your site is to make it easy to navigate. If it’s too time-consuming, confusing or flat-out irritating for me to find out where to register for your race, I am a) going to think your website sucks (harsh, but true) and b) absolutely NOT register for your race (also harsh, but also true).
Make your race registration website as simple and easy as possible. Make your critical event information (parking, start line, shuttles, etc) really, really easy to find. Don’t demand a ton of useless information on your registration form (like extra phone numbers, work history or mother’s first cousin’s aunt’s maiden name). The more hoops we have to jump through to register, the more likely we are to give up.
So do yourself a favor and keep it simple, k?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. In 2016, content is KING, and if you’re not focused on developing awesome content to engage your athletes, you’re just doing it wrong. Gone are the days when your logo and a race registration form were enough to drive registration numbers. Athletes are looking for information and for value, and they’re looking for it in the form of content. The better the content on your website, the more you tiptoe towards “great website” territory.
Post a training plan for your athletes to get them ready to roll for race day. Write blog posts introducing your team and their role in putting on a killer event. Do a video series that gives people a look into the life of a race director (epic car karaoke and stress-induced breakdowns included).
If you want to have great content (and as such, have a great website), think outside of the box and figure out a content strategy that feels true to your brand and gets your athletes STOKED to be a part of your race community.
If your race website is rocking these four essential elements, you’re well on your way to being inducted into the Great Race Website Hall of Fame (ok, so there’s not actually a Hall of Fame, but if there was you would TOTALLY be in it).