37 Must-Have Strategies to Better Engage Website Visitors, Part 4
[Editor's note: This is part 3 of a four-part series on the session "37 Must-Have Strategies to Better Engage Your Website Visitors" at the Bridge Conference. Click here for part 1, here for part 2 and here for part 3.]
At the 7th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference last week in National Harbor, Md., three fundraising technology professionals shared some website best practices in their session “37 Must-Have Strategies to Better Engage Your Website Visitor.” Here are the final 11 strategies from presenters Sue Anne Reed, account manager, online fundraising at The Engage Group; Allyson Kapin, founding partner of the RAD Campaign; and Rob Manix, director of marketing technology at Defenders of Wildlife.
27. Give website visitors ways to connect with you via social media
"In my opinion, simple is better," Reed said. "If you as an organization are focusing on Facebook and Twitter, include those. You don't have to include every button of every social website out there."
Even if you have, say, a Flickr account but don't post content to it regularly, don't include it. Find ways to make your social media match your branding, Reed said, because it "gives people more opportunities to keep in touch with the organization."
She provided examples such as Sesame Street, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital and the National Wildlife Federation.
28. Make content easy to share
"People want the ability to share content," Reed said. "Know where your audience is and only include those share buttons [i.e., Like, Tweet, etc.]."
She also said that if your audience is women-friendly, focus on Pinterest.
29. Incorporate social proof when possible
If you have a good number of followers and your content gets shared regularly, show that in the share tools. People like to feel like they're part of something bigger than themselves. Showing that this piece of content was shared 72 times on Facebook and tweeted 16 times helps build that community. Organizations like Operation Smile and Heifer International do a good job of this, Reed said.
30. Create custom landing pages for special campaigns
This is a standard best practice, creating a custom landing page for a special campaign. For instance, St. Jude's Partner in Hope campaign.
"If you're having a special gala, fundraiser or doing something unique, create a landing page for that so people know what it is and what you want to them to do," Reed said.
31. Remove navigation options to make landing pages easier to navigate
The main purpose of a landing page is to get visitors to either sign up or donate. It's all about getting the visitor to act on that call to action. That's why it makes sense to reduce the number of navigation options, which in turn reduces the amount of content on the landing page, increasing the likelihood of conversions, Reed said.
Kapin added that during year-end fundraising campaigns, removing the top navigation bar is critical in closing the deal.
32. Have a clear goal for each landing page and remove any clutter
Going hand in hand with No. 31, make sure there is a clear goal, the call to action, and remove any clutter to increase conversions. Reed provided the example of the Livestrong Foundation, which had a landing page that says "Make a Donation" and then provides amounts.
33. Use Google website tools to test your website
What should be tested? According to Manix, among other things, you should look at and test:
- Loading page times
- Link checking
- Inbound traffic
- External links
- AdWords integration
- How people come to your site
34. Know where your visitors are going on the site and optimize navigation
This is where analytics come into play. Track what drives people where, and then optimize your site to get them to the places you want them to go and take the actions you want them to take.
35. View search results to explore how people find your site
You want to know where your traffic is coming from so you can understand more about your audience and optimize the tools people use to find you.
36. Test-drive your donation page
Kapin shared this tip from Jocelyn Harmon, VP of sales and marketing at Network for Good: You should give a friend $10 to make a donation on your website and ask him or her to try and break your donation page. If he or she does, chances are someone else visiting your site could encounter the same problem. Also, get your friend's feedback on the user experience.
"You can learn so much from just asking a friend to do this," Kapin said.
37. A/B test the donation landing page to find the best conversion
Simple things such as color can make a big difference, just like in direct mail, so it's important to test. For example, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund changed its submit button to "Support Haiti" and saw a 15 percent increase in donations raised per page view, Kapin said, and making the donation form a single column increased donations as well.
"A/B testing is really important for donation pages to raise money," she said. "Raising another million dollars off an A/B test is significant."