Navigating Digital Nonprofit Marketing, Part 2: Optimizing User Experience
Part 1 recap:
- Marketing is just as applicable to .orgs as it is to .coms, and a nonprofit can and should approach marketing the same way as (if not better than) a for-profit.
- We are currently living in an attention economy. The digital world is inundated with products, brands, and people seeking attention. To attract eyes to your organization, you must be more interesting than your prospect’s current subject of attention.
- Defining personas (different user groups) who visit your site is one of the first steps in creating a top-down, funnel approach to marketing.
- Before you begin extensive outreach, you must ensure that your website offers your users an optimal experience.
“Marketing, all right, I get it,” you exclaim. “But our resources and time are limited. We need to concentrate on our mission. What are we supposed to do?”
The First Step: Define Your Goals and Objectives
Do you want to increase visits to your site? Attract more social media followers? Increase leads, revenue, donations, members by 20 percent?
Whatever your goals and objectives are, make sure they are quantifiable so you can track trends and progress, gauge the results of your strategies, and pivot when necessary.
The Second Step: Track Your Progress
If you haven’t done so already, I recommend setting up Google Analytics for your website to get started tracking site visitors, page views, impressions, etc. You can also sign up for Google Trends, which uses real-time search data to help you gauge consumer search behaviors over time. Sign up for Google Alerts or Social Mention to track when your business is mentioned online.
The Third Step: Optimize User Experience
Focus on your website’s user experience (UX). Assuming you have already built a website, focusing on UX should require little cost but will pay big dividends.
UX refers to how easily navigable and understandable your site is, how fast, and how easily a visitor can engage in whatever action is offered.
I cannot stress enough how important UX is to optimizing your marketing funnel. If marketing’s purpose is to attract attention to and build demand for what you’ve created, then you want to attract, educate, and convert your users as fluidly as possible.
Qualaroo recommends focusing primarily on two aspects of UX:
- “Reducing friction in the form of wasted clicks, excess pages, false starts, going to the wrong page, slow page loads, and other friction points that cause users to give up.”
- “Reducing cognitive overhead—another version of friction—that puts doubt and indecision into the mind of the user, causing them to waver over whether to convert.”
Golden Rule No. 1: Eliminate Distractions
According to Unbounce, attention ratio is “The ratio of links on a landing page to the number of campaign conversion goals.”
In other words, attention ratio is the proportion of things a visitor can do on a given page divided by the number of things you want him or her to do. Ideally, you want a user to be able to take only one action per landing page. The golden rule of your website/landing page should be: Keep users focused on the main conversion point by eliminating or not including other distractions.
You don’t want people to just visit your page. You want them to act once they are there. So, make it as easy and compelling as possible for them by including these elements found in a landing page that CONVERTS:
C = Clear Call to Action
O = Offer
N = Narrow Focus
V = VIA: Very Important Attributes
E = Effective Headline
R = Resolution-Savvy Layout
T = Tidy Visuals
S = Social Proof
—Beth Morgan, Kissmetrics
Pretend you are a first-time visitor to your site. What do you see? Does the point of each page come across readily? Is each page easily navigable? Can you convert on each with ease?
Keep these five landing page elements in mind when optimizing your user experience:
- Strong Headline: The first words on a page should draw the visitor into the rest of it.
- Powerful Main Image: This image should lure the visitor even deeper into your page, highlighting your value proposition and your call to action.
- Body/Very Important Attributes/Proof Points: This content provides more insight into the headline and explains the benefit the user receives by converting. The user doesn’t want to read a novel, so keeping it very narrow, streamlined, and guided will help increase conversion.
- Web Form/Call to Action (CTA): A form should collect data to nurture your users down the funnel. A CTA should push the user toward immediate conversion. You should use both buttons and text links if possible for CTAs, and have at least two (of the same) CTAs on the page if the page is scrollable.
- Testimonials/Social Proof: Statements by previous users or partners that validate your nonprofit and all the work you do will encourage visitors to convert.
Golden Rule No. 2: Always Be Testing!
After you have built a solid landing page, A/B test it. An A/B test compares two versions of a web page and monitors which one performs better. Platforms such as Visual Website Optimizer and Optimizely are cost-effective ways to run these tests using algorithms to find approximate statistical significance.
For your A/B test, change one (and just one) of the elements listed above. Don’t worry—you can test another element in a future test. In fact, constantly testing and updating your site are the keys to increased conversion and the best way to avoid static results.
As you evaluate your A/B test results, start to map out the flow of users from outside your sphere of influence to the first conversion point. Different traffic sources sometimes lend themselves to different levels of understanding and engagement. Think about how a user typically gets to your site:
- Organic Search—user clicks into your site via an online search engine
- Social Media—user clicks into your site via social media post
- Blog/News Article—user clicks into your site via mention in a blog post or article
- AD/Display Ad—user clicks into your site via a paid online ad
Come back in a few weeks, when we will dive into marketing outreach (attraction), the beginning stages of search engine optimization (SEO), and creating welcome nurture tracks/onboarding emails to educate your new visitors and move them down your funnels.