Among nonprofit organizations, I’ve seen donation-page conversion rates from a low of 0.5 percent (the site had problems) to a high of 17 percent for optimized sites.
For relief organizations collecting donations for the recent Indian Ocean tsunami disaster, that number shot up to 30 percent. While tsunami fundraising was certainly a special case, it shows us the potential for online fundraising.
Imagine a direct marketer that didn’t look at response rates to evaluate the success of a direct-mail campaign. Absurd, right? So isn’t the same true for fundraisers and membership marketers who only look at Web traffic and not online conversions? You get my point. Here are three ways to better understand and improve your site’s online conversions:
1. Mine and analyze your Web-visitor data.
Your Web site can yield the most insightful information on what online visitors are doing on your site — and what they’re not doing. And you don’t have to be an IT professional to understand it.
With a little training from your Web team or online consultant, you can download and analyze a wealth of visitor information that can help you move the dial on online conversions.
If you don’t have access to your Web-visitor data already, ask your Web team for access to your site’s Web-analytics reports. Some of the more popular Web-analytics software providers are WebTrends, Urchin, HitBox and NetTracker. Web-analytics software takes data from your Web server and creates organized, easy-to-read reports on visitor traffic and interaction.
Web-visitor data allows you to identify:
- the top trafficked Web pages
- the least trafficked Web pages
- average time a visitor spends on your site
- number of visitors who come back to your site more than once in a month
- the source of online visitors (if they came from a search engine or via a link from another site)
- visitor interactions (downloads, donations, membership renewals, etc.). Note that your organization might also house your donation or membership data elsewhere — but you can always combine this data with your Web-traffic data for a complete conversion picture.
So, how is this data useful to you? If you’re the membership director, you’d want to look at how many people visited your membership pages and how many of them actually converted to new members (or renewed members).