As we discussed in the stop doing giant wads of text post, it’s a good idea to break up your text with images. But too often online images stop at the first level of work for you: they show the problem or make the donor feel better or the like, but don’t do anything else.
We’re going to put pictures to work for us to do second and third level duty. Here’s how.
Follow the eyes. We discussed this a bit in what we can learn from political campaigns. It’s one of my top 200 blog posts so far, so I’d recommend a read, but the TL;DR version is that we follow where people’s eyes are looking or where they are pointing. Since having a homepage image of people pointing to your donate button is a little on the noise, having your image subject looking at the donate button can do this work for you. Here’s a heat map sample from that earlier post:
Engage the multichannel donor. It is well into 2016, which means not only am I no longer writing 2015 on my checks; I’m no longer writing checks. Another implication of it being 2016 is that people are going to go to your Website to see what you are doing before donating.
So it’s to your advantage to tie the solution you telling on your site and in your offline communications together with the use of images. If your mail piece tells the story of the impact of your mission on a child, it’s great to have a further picture of that child on your homepage with a link to the story and the ability to donate. While you should have a personalized URL in your piece, a person may not be sitting down at their computer (laptop, phone, tablet, watch, etc.) with that mail piece in hand.
Insert key messaging. And only key messaging. Take a look at charity.water’s homepage monthly giving ask. Very few words — just the essentials.
Embed your ask in the picture. You’ll note in the heat map above that even before we look at eyes, we seek out faces.
If the image is where people are going to be looking on your site anyway, where better to begin your ask? If that ask is an email sign-up, you can probably do all of that in the same picture (as you only need first name, last name, email address, and maybe state or zip code. What? You are asking for more information on your email sign-up? Have you tried asking for less and seeing what the difference is? You can always ask for more in the welcome series.)
If that ask is an online donation, you might as well as for some of the starting information in the picture. Most often, you can get someone to pre-select their donation amount in the initial image.
One of the cardinal rules for donation forms for a number of years has been to minimize the number of clicks necessary to complete the form. Recent tests that I’ve seen may indicate this is no longer the case. I hypothesize a few reasons for this:
- We humans have a poor understanding of sunk costs. A multistage donation form, then, gets people to take the first few steps quickly and then asks for more, getting the person to think “well, I’ve come this far.”
- Multistage donation forms can often render better in mobile devices with smaller screens (and worse keyboards).
- E-commerce has taught us how to use multistage forms. Think of the arrows at the top of your Amazon order page telling you what step you are on and how much further you have to go. The fact that you can probably picture an Amazon order page shows how common this has become. (I’m not judging – I’m surprised it’s not burned onto my retinae).
Anyway, getting the person to give you the amount first asks as a commitment device and pre-checks the “sunk cost” box. And you are saving a step: rather than clicking on donate, then putting in the amount, they are able to combine these.