Archives for March 2009

Best Practices for Landing Page Optimization

I recently came back from the Marketing SHERPA conference in Miami, Florida. I would recommend the conference to anyone who wants to train in email fundraising, non profit marketing, landing page optimization, etc.  It’s full of actionable data and healthy networking for email fundraising.

Some of the top take away’s that were presented at the conference include a seminar by Flint McLaughlin, Director of Marketing Experiments on landing page optimization. In his session he conveyed the following:

Top 3 questions to ask yourself when building or improving any landing page are:

  1. Where am I?
  2. What am I supposed to do?
  3. Why should I do it?

Getting clear answers to those questions will help you improve your landing pages, whether you are in non profit fundraising, marketing or a commercial business. In addition, here are four other questions you should ask yourself, in order to construct the most effective landing pages:

  1. Why should my ideal prospect purchase from me rather than any of my competitors?
  2. How can I streamline all the elements in my sales path?
  3. How can I counter any psychological resistance to the sale with extra incentives?
  4. How can I correct any elements which cause concern in my sale path?

McLaughlin’s session also centered are the concept of value contributors (VC) versus value inhibitors (VI). This is a golden-nugget summary of his complete training course on the same topic. The basic goal to optimization of any landing page is to have your value contributors outweigh your value inhibitors.  An example is the photo here.


More specifically, value contributors include factors like your value proposition and your incentives. Value inhibitors include user friction caused by over lengthy or unwieldy forms and fundamental anxiety toward the sale. VCs increase conversions. VIs reduce them.

Since people come to landing pages for various reasons, so your offer should be clearly presented, and your form questions minimized to those only absolutely necessary, while including incentives to outweigh any anxiety someone feels toward the sale. Too many form fields can cause friction (concern that it will take too long to complete), and overly invasive questions can cause tension (Why do they need this data?, What are they going to do with it? Why do they want my annual income?), which leads to abandonment.  Keep your forms streamlined to the core essentials.

Some final thoughts: Site Visitors can often be thinking…

“Is this legit?” Some effective ways to make them feel more confident is by offering helpful information to reassure them…let them know how long you have been established in business, or what credible institutes endorse your company (Better Business Bureau).

“Is it secure?” Be sure to offer a safe and secure purchasing environment for your customers. Your customers want to know that any information they provide you is uncompromised. Mitigate against anxiety by over-compensating in this part of your landing page…subscribe to and include HackerSafe or Verisign logos, etc. to assuage any concerns about safety.

For more in depth training on the subject of optimizing landing pages for non profit fund raising, look for material by Flint McGlaughlin, Director of MECLABS, Director of Enterprise Research at the University of Cambridge, and the Pastor of The Beaches Vineyard Fellowship.

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Are You Employing Web 2.0 Features Into Your Online Fundraising?

Your first question might be, “What the dickens in Web 2.0?” At least that was my first question. Quite simply, the term refers to a way of using the Internet to “build community.” Building community is the process of causing people to feel a sense of ownership in what you do … because they are part of it. The process hopefully will build your email list, increase traffic to your site and convert visitors into engaged participants. This could provide a boost to your online fundraising. Here are some techniques to consider.

Allow visitors to add content to your site. For example, Pathmaker Marketing LLC worked with Gregory Dickow Ministries (and others) to install a couple of Prayer Walls on their website. People can come to the Prayer Wall to submit their prayer requests or praise reports for others to read. They also can read the requests and praises of others and pray for those people as they feel led. The Prayer Wall has become a meeting place for like-minded people to be a part of the ministry along with each other’s lives. 

Integrate social networking into your online mix. For example, you could design a Facebook page to integrate with your site. You can quickly build up your list of friends, which will give you a growing list of potential participants in your cause. Professional networking includes such sites as Linkedin and other sites that appeal to a specific niche (such as authors). Twitter is a social networking site that simply allows you to post updates on what you’re up to in order to keep in touch. Use several of these services to build your participant list and manage your search engine listings.

Start blogging. We’ve worked with clients to install a blogging tool on their websites that is search engine optimized. You create one blog entry of just a few paragraphs that contains the right keywords (that you defined), and the content automatically is posted to the other blogs with those keywords. You’re using what you have in your head to create more than one blog with the effort of only one blog. Blogging is another tool that can boost your ranking in search engines to bring more people to your site for you to convert into assets for your non-profit.

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