This is information about partnering with Saffire Events, a company that provides online marketing software to the fair, festival and rodeo industry. Saffire has offices in Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon.
Saffire Events was founded by Kendra Wright, who has been building websites since 1995, when the internet began.In 2000, she joined forces with Aaron Pederson, Saffire Events’ technical director, and Jeremy Emerson, Saffire Events’ creative director.
Since then, Saffire Events has added almost a dozen people, all to keep up with the ever-rising bar of online expectations.
Besides their work in the event industry, their team does work for large consumer companies in a lot of industries. This gives a breadth of experience that they bring to marketing events online.
Saffire websites are different than other websites because were custom designed for the industry. Saffire works closely with industry organizations, as well as clients, to provide websites that meets the specific needs of a fair. Here are some of the sites designed on the Saffire platform. You can see that Rodeo Austin has its own brand but awesome functionality and interactivity, which leads to increased revenue.
The mission of Saffire Events is to elevate the fair industry by improving the online presence of fairs to help them compete against all the other (non-fair) websites vying for customer attention. Saffire Events is also helping to promote fairs to fairgoers with FairsEverywhere.com, another Saffire site built in partnership with IAFE.ARC
Saffire Events has won lots of web marketing and design awards, from fair associations and beyond.
Five years ago, most of us probably felt like we were spending a ton of time online. But internet usage has more than DOUBLED since then! Even if we’re not personally following this trend, our customers are, and they are the ones we most need to reach in order to grow.
Saffire helps with the organization of our homepage, which is critical to get people intrigued to delve further into our website.Designing a homepage is an art and a science. There has been a lot of research on how people read web pages (or don’t read them, which is more accurate!). A good homepage should have a natural hierarchy, and the information should be in the shape of a capital F, because that follows people's natural eye patterns online. The most important information is across the top, then down the left side with a little bit across the middle, where the featured events reside. Research shows people can't remember more than 5-7 items in a list, so there should not be more than 5-7 links in any one place. Additionally, a homepage should have interactivity to involve the senses, like a music player to HEAR the sounds from an event, a countdown to raise excitement about it and photos to SEE the event. Saffire Homepages are designed in HTML 5, so the site also works in its entirety on iPad.
The next most important thing about our website, after our homepage, is relaying engaging information to entice people to attend our event.Saffire includes an interactive event schedule that makes it easy for fairgoers to find activities to attend. It includes categories to help people quickly find their specific areas of interest. It’s easy to sort and filter by these categories to narrow down the list.We can designate events as “Our Picks,” which will automatically appear at the top of the list. Customers can also “Fan” events, post them by Facebook or Twitter, or email them to friends, getting more people engaged, thus helping us do more marketing at no cost. Customers can also create a custom event schedule and print it out to bring with them.
The interactive event schedule also has an awesome rollover feature, that even has “Buy” buttons for events that sell tickets. The more buy buttons that are on a website, the more chances customers have to click—this increases the customer’s propensity to buy.
After clicking on one of the events on the interactive event schedule, customers are taken to an Event Detail Page, which gives all the detailed information for a specific activity that goes on at our grounds.Our customers will be enticed to attend our events not only by the information presented but also by the interactive options on the pages. For instance, customers can upload their photos to our site (with our approval) by clicking the yellow “Share it” button. This is a great way for us to get photos as well as let our customers feel a connection to our event. They are also able to add events to either their own custom event calendar on our website or to their Outlook calendar. And using the SaffireCommerce, people can log into their accounts, so they can easily make repeat and mobile purchases!
General sponsors can be promoted on our homepage, as well as on a dedicated, categorized Sponsors page. Individual event sponsors can also be promoted on event detail pages, giving another benefit to sponsors of specific events and activities. Logos also link to the sponsor homepages, which is a benefit for our sponsors. You can also do just sponsor listings if you do not want to add a logo for every sponsor.
We can use Saffire’s built-in ecommerce engine, or any other ticketing agent… or a combination of both!
Saffire gives us a password-protected website to manage all our event content, making it easy to completely control our own website without ever waiting on Saffire or anyone else to do it.
We can edit the features on our homepage and even pre-schedule them to appear on certain dates ahead of time!
We can create custom event category names and reorder them anytime.
In fact, we can add any new page to our website, dragging and dropping text and photos, as well as spots for links, PDFs, sponsors, items for sale, forms and more… on every page. It is easy enough that anyone comfortable using Microsoft Word can update our website.
Saffire makes it easy to keep track of the people most important to our event, including sponsors, vendors and volunteers. With Saffire, there are no more paper registration forms or PDF forms that we have to keep in a binder or type into a spreadsheet. With Saffire, we can easily create unlimited online forms that come via email after customers complete them online, and we can also easily import them into a spreadsheet or a database without ever doing any data entry.
Mobile is becoming incredibly important, as smartphones proliferate our world. People are spending almost 3 hours a day on their phones, and mom-aged women (the ones that control the pocketbooks) are the most active group!So even if we aren’t thinking about our mobile site, our customers are already looking for us on mobile. We should provide them with a good experience!By 2014, more people will access our website via mobile devices than desktop computers!
Mobile websites are included in every Saffire installation.
Mobile Content Management is also included with Saffire—update information about your events from your event grounds during your event!
There are so many reasons Saffire is a great choice for us, but two of the most important are increased dollars and efficiency. They bring so much experience from the fair industry, and they are helping so many fairs to be successful.We can use Saffire to upgrade our event’s virtual front door, the first impression for so many of our customers.
Rodeo Austin has been a great partner to develop Saffire into what it is today (and what it will become!).
This quote epitomizes why Saffire exists… To help elevate the fair industry by improving its most important front door, the one so many people will see regardless of whether they ever come to our event (but hopefully they will!) – our website. And they do it in such a way that makes our lives easier, because we’re empowered to manage it (and enjoy doing it!) without any outside help.
PARTNERING WITH SAFFIRE EVENTS
LEADERSHIP Kendra Aaron Jeremy Wright Pederson Emerson President Technical Creative Director DirectorExperience: Experience: Experience:Began building A classically-websites in 1995 Leads a team of trained artist withfor Fortune 1000 highly skilled 14 years ofcompany programmers online designStarted her own experience Finds the perfectcompany in 1998 Oversees the technology for the process ofHelps eventshave a great job bringing youronline presence. A different breed of brand to life online techie – speaks In touch with English! client needs and
THE TEAMChris Lugar Cassie Daniel BunnSenior Roberts SoftwareSoftware Manager, EngineerEngineer Sales & PartnershipJessica Chris Howard JonathanBybee- Front End HopeDziedzic Developer SoftwareSenior AccountManager EngineerAdam Dispenza RebekahQA Specialist Hardage Marketing Manager
INTERNET WINS POPULARITY CONTEST The amount of time people spend overall on the Internet has increased 121% over the past five years. In 2010, for the first time ever, Internet usage surpassed television usage. Are we following this trend? Do we think our customers are?Source: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com
RODEO HOUSTON STATISTICS“How did you hear about the event?”Newspaper – 2%Rodeo Advertising – 4%Radio – 9%TV – 10%Website – 46%
WHY SWITCH TO SAFFIREIncreased revenue – when people click, theyengage, and when they engage, they buy.Stretched marketing dollars – Socialnetworking integrated throughout makes iteasy for customers to tell all their friendsabout our fair (those friends tell more friends,etc.).Increased efficiency – We manage our owncontent and online registration forms withoutdata entry
NEWEST SAFFIRE FEATURESSaffire Events surveys customerstwice a year to gather ideas for newfeatures• New homepage layouts• Even better interactive event schedule• Even better page preview and editing functionality• Built-in image cropping tool