Setting up your online acquisition funnel

Funnel is a bit advanced for what we are going to be doing today. What we mean is “how do we convert traffic to supporters?”

The earliest Web sites were little more than brochures. After all, when you don’t yet know what to do with a new medium, you replicate what worked in the old medium, like generals who continually fit the last war. There was the information and then there was a contact us link. Unsurprisingly, early Web sites were not conversion machines. That and they still used frames and the blink tag.

You, however, are more sophisticated than that. You know that someone that you know and have as a constituent of some type with permission to communicate is far more valuable than someone who simply comes to the Web site once.

Speaking of, did you know you can sign up for this Web site’s email list? Right here, in fact! You’ll get a weekly summary of these posts.

Anyway, you need to be able to get constituents through your Web site. And, since it’s still free-direct-marketing-program week, you need to do it without cost. So what ways can you get emails?

  • Specifically, you want to tell the prospective signee what is in it for them to sign up for emails. If you can link to a good sample email so they can see for themselves, so much the better.
  • Downloadable materials. Whether its program materials or factsheets, you probably have things on your Web site for people to download and print. You can gate these products by asking for a person’s information at this point. (You can also put in a “no thanks; take me to the material” link in there if folks are worried about cutting off access to information)
  • Petitions, pledges, and the like make people feel involved and given them an excuse to get their friends involved in the mission as well. Moreover, while these are an acquisition technique, they are something that makes your new constituent already feel a part of your organization.

There is a common question as to how much information you ask for on these forms, to which I would ask “How much do you need?” Know that generally every additional form field decreases the likelihood that someone will fill out the form. So, thinking of a petition, you logically need first name, last name, email, and state (so that it can go to the right representatives). If you are doing an email action alert to state legislatures or Congress, you may need a full address to make sure you are getting it to the right legislator(s). It’s rare that you would need more than that initially.

Before you turn on traffic to these forms, be sure to have some sort of tracking system set up to measure what percent of people are converting on your firm. If you want free, Google Analytics can be set up. Ideally, you’d also be able to do A/B testing, but the best tools for this involve money, so that’s a different week.

So now you are ready to have traffic come to your site. That will be tomorrow’s post.

Setting up your online acquisition funnel

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