Thursday, October 29, 2015

Effectiveness of 'Your-Call-To-Action'

 -- Effectiveness of 'Your-Call-To-Action' -- 
 * Written by Wayne Elsey - author of the book, "The Rise and Fail of Charities In the 21st Century: How The Nonprofit World Is Changing And What You Can Do To Be Ready" available on Amazon.

Recently I have been sketching out and writing my next book about effective marketing for nonprofit and social enterprise organizations. One of the elements that I think is important, but is oftentimes missed is the "call to action" (CTA). It's common best practice to have call to action buttons on your website and to engage your supporters to take some, well, action.

Once you have your website all set up and designed, it's important to remember that the work is not done. You need to see how your pages are performing. You want to know how your CTA buttons and links are working. When people visit your site, are they subscribing to your newsletter? Are they making a donation? Are they contacting you? If they're not, you have a problem and you need to tweak what you're doing because you're not engaging visitors enough to have them want to get actively involved with your nonprofit or social enterprise.

As I have been taking a look at nonprofit websites and social media pages, such as Facebook, one glaring issue I have found is CTA buttons and links essentially being lost. I am a big believer in the less is more approach on design. There seems to be a tendency to have that "Donate Now", "Join Us", or "Volunteer" surrounded by a lot of text with minimal pictures or contrast. What happens in this scenario is that the button is glossed over or lost to the eye. It doesn't stand out.

If, however, a button is clear, colorful, not surrounded and lost in the design, it is easy for someone taking a look at your site to find and click it. That's what you want.

Did you know that the most visited page of a website is the "About Us" page? As you do your analysis you will probably see that it's also true for your organization. But, there will be other pages that will outperform. When you are developing or enhancing your website, you want to make sure you have a call to action button or link on every page of your site. Again, you're looking for individuals to become actively engaged with you and convert themselves from just someone passing by to being involved. In order to increase your chances of this occurring, you need to provide them with the opportunity, on every page, to take some form of action.

Some organizations have multiple CTA's on a single page. This is actually okay, so long as you don't over do it, the buttons align to the messaging of the overall page and you have the CTA you want as your priority to stand out from the rest. So, for instance, if you have a "Donate Now" button on your page, but also a "Download Now" or a "Register Now" button, you want to differentiate the color of your donation button. You want that button to be more prominent and stand out above your other CTA's.

There was a time when websites were updated every once in a while. Those days are over. You need to be monitoring performance and see what works and what doesn't work. There's too much noise out on the Internet competing with your organization. Every other nonprofit wants your donors, and they're figuring out ways to continually engage and have supporters coming back often to their websites. So, updating your pictures, your blog and look are important. You need not update the entire site often, but you should get in the habit of changing pictures and content regularly. With that, A/B test your CTA buttons. How are they performing on each page? How are they performing on the top of the page as opposed to the middle? How are they performing using one color or text versus another? Use what is working best for your CTAs and improve the under performers.

Finally, one of the most important things you need to remember is that you always have to think about your audience. What information and calls to action would they like to see and share? In the work I do, I am always reminding my team about "people first". For nonprofits, you want to think about what your donors and activists want to see, read and share and need. You want to be in their shoes when you are creating CTAs that will prompt them to get involved and participate. Only with this in mind can you create effective calls to action that will actually convert visitors.

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