The Huffington Post produced an enormous amount of junky but well-trafficked content, most of which never appeared on the site’s front page. Peretti called it the “mullet strategy”—business in front, party in the back—a metaphor that grated on some of his colleagues. …
It turns out Peretti’s vaunted algorithm revealed an obvious truth: People like upbeat, even childlike content. That’s why BuzzFeed practices its own version of the Huffington Post’s mullet strategy—though now the party is all up front.
What’s holding back your online fundraising? It may be your donation pages.
Elements of the design and copy on your page can combine to create “friction”—a psychological resistance to continuing the donation process.
A donation process with too many steps or unnecessary questions adds friction. So does a process that confuses your donors, like a page with two different and equally-weighted calls-to-action.
I spoke earlier this month on this topic to the Association of Fundraising Professionals annual conference in San Diego. The presentation I gave with Tim Kachuriak and Dan Gillett, below, explains what friction is and offers tips on how to avoid it.
We’ve all been taught that the bake sale with five percent overhead is morally superior to the professional fundraising enterprise with 40 percent overhead, but we’re missing the most important piece of information, which is, what is the actual size of these pies? Who cares if the bake sale only has five percent overhead if it’s tiny? What if the bake sale only netted 71 dollars for charity because it made no investment in its scale and the professional fundraising enterprise netted 71 million dollars because it did? Now which pie would we prefer, and which pie do we think people who are hungry would prefer?
I was at least in a position now to crack thousands of passwords in mere minutes. I could get everything from common passwords (iloveyou1, iloveyou13, iloveyou19, iloveyou81) to odd passwords (hahapoop3) to long passwords (rangefinder12) to passwords incorporating mixed case characters, numbers, and symbols (Jordan2!). Had I been the one who “liberated” this particular set of hashes, I would have been well-placed to wreak havoc on thousands of accounts—more than enough for some real mischief.
So if you use one password for everything, and it’s compromised on just one site through an attack like Anderson demonstrated, every online account you have could be compromised. Scary.
Focus your copy on what your customers need. Nathan Berry walks us through his landing page copywriting process and reminds us that our copy should speak to our visitors’ needs and address a pain they have. His suggestion: “First write out the pains, then write out the reversal of those pains (dreams).”
No unsupervised thinking on checkout pages. Graham Charleton explains why you should “enclose the checkout process” and limit the distractions that may keep your users from completing a transaction. That means cutting off the navigation links and other ways your customers can abandon the checkout. This is a great example of eliminating friction.
Small changes can have big effects. In a recent test, swapping out a single word on a signup button had a huge effect, David Kirkpatrick explains. The original button said “begin your free 30-day trial.” Amazingly, “changing ‘your’ to ‘my’ resulted in a 90% lift in sign-ups.
It has become almost a mantra among fundraisers: integrating your online and offline fundraising yields higher returns.
In my experience at Heritage, coördinating our direct mail and e-mail appeals brings in more money from both the online and the offline channels. This tracks with what Convio has found in its nonprofit benchmark reports (link in PDF).
But the Obama campaign, famous for testing every element of its work, did very little to integrate its online and offline efforts. That’s according to Steve Diagneault, who reports that “they hardly integrated with snail mail”:
The online program was mostly a separate entity from the direct mail stream. They used some of the same basic branding and content, but, by and large the channels were optimized to raise the most revenue possible, and that meant not integrating the details.
Does this mean the campaign didn’t even try to integrate its direct mail and online channels? Or that they tested it and found integration not to be worth the trouble?
If you have any insights, please let me know in the comments.
Even small changes in response times can have significant effects. Google found that moving from a 10-result page loading in 0.4 seconds to a 30-result page loading in 0.9 seconds decreased traffic and ad revenues by 20%. When the home page of Google Maps was reduced from 100KB to 70-80KB, traffic went up 10% in the first week, and an additional 25% in the following three weeks. Tests at Amazon revealed similar results: every 100 ms increase in load time of Amazon.com decreased sales by 1%.