Over the last little while, I have observed a number of organizations – political parties, advocacy organizations, non-profits – using social media and online advertising to communicate their message to potential supporters. That’s a generally a positive thing, but what I see too often is that the initial effort doesn’t really lead anywhere once the organization gets someone’s attention.
If you are going to spend the time and money to get visitors to your website, video, Facebook page or any other online asset, it is important that you provide ample opportunity for them to become more deeply involved. In many cases, that isn’t happening. I wanted to provide a few scenarios that I have seen repeatedly to help illustrate. The organizations will remain anonymous to keep the focus on the tactics.
Dumping Visitors On The Front Page
In a recent election, I saw a particular candidate take over the front page of a local newspaper’s website with splashy ads that covered the entire background and all of the available ad boxes. This “takeover” is a common marketing practice and it gets attention for a sustained length of time. But when I clicked on the ad, it went right to the home page. To me, that’s a missed opportunity.
When someone is interested enough to click on your ad, you want to make it easy as possible for them to get whatever information they are looking for and make it ridiculously easy for them to get more involved with your organization by taking additional actions (volunteer, donation, email sign up, etc). By creating a generalized ad that dumps someone on the homepage, there is no way to narrow down what that person is interested in or concerned about. Further, by putting them on the homepage, the potential supporter now needs to find their own way to the content and potential actions. That’s a lot of work.
Instead, you should be creating specific ads that go to specific pages on your site. That way, you can run multiple ads with multiple messages and determine what works. It also provides the opportunity to create a specific call to action that isn’t lost amongst the rest of the information you typically find on a website’s homepage. Don’t make potential supporters work to become more involved.
Petitions That Go Nowhere
In an effort to grow their email lists, a number of organizations have taken to creating issue-based petitions where they encourage like-minded supporters to “Sign here to tell XXXXXX that this policy stinks”. Not a bad way to snag email addresses, but what happens after that? I have gone through a number of “Stand with us” petitions, dutifully signed my name and then what? Nothing.
Different people sign petitions like these for different reasons. But this initial effort is an opportunity to deepen their involvement. Of course you can send them emails, and many organizations do. But often it is just a subscription to the general mailing list. What about focusing on the issue that person first signed up about? That issue should be the front and centre on communications with that individual going forward.
But what else can you get them to do? Can you ask them to like you on Facebook? What about attending an event? You can take that initial interest and start moving them up the advocacy ladder, becoming more involved on each step. This person is a “hot lead” for your organization. Don’t waste that initial burst of engagement only to get their email. Engage them and create a deeper connection with your organization or campaign.
Sign Up, But No Follow Up
Much like the petition sign up, I see multiple opportunities for organizations to increase engagement, but don’t really pursue that interest. I have completed email sign up forms, petitions and even donations where there is no follow up during or after that transaction. When someone provides information, it is a great chance to hit them up immediately to do more. If they donate money, why not have them like you on Facebook? If they sign up for your email list, ask them to follow you on Twitter.
Many of these actions – especially those that are email based – can be created via a specific autoresponder. Once the individual confirms their email address, you can them send of an autoresponder (even days afterwards) asking them to take additional actions. It take very little effort to set up and increases the value of your initial sign up efforts.
When someone makes contact with your campaign, it is a golden opportunity where you have their attention. Don’t waste it by being passive – you need to make it easy for them to find what they are looking for while finding other opportunities to increase their activity.