Myth #3: If we build it, they will come

This too is FALSE

But wouldn’t it be nice! 

As we shift into a new landscape of digital engagement we need to understand the habits of our audience. COVID-19 has given us a heavy nudge to the realization that the web is a powerful tool. But simply building a static website will not transform your engagement with donors or help you find new donors. 

I’m going to use a very old illustration – taken from pre-digital days: the billboard. 

Imagine a field of billboards. Hundreds of thousands of billboards crowded together in one acre. An ocean of billboards. Each one is clever, engaging and market-savvy. You chose to put your billboard right in the middle of the field. Day by day billboards filled the gaps around you. 

What are the chances that your billboard would be read? 

That’s why billboards are strategically placed in high traffic areas, with lots of space between them. There is little purpose in building a field of billboards. No one will read them. 

But, for some reason, we are willing to do that with websites. 

First of all, you need a website. That is critical. If I can’t authenticate you by your website, I will move on. 

Secondly, it needs to be mobile. While desktops and laptops still have significant users, people are doing more and more with their phones. 

Here’s some facts. In a population of 37.9 million Canada has:

  • 37.14 million mobile connections
  • 32.3 million people actively using the internet
  • 94.7% of us have a mobile phone 
  • Only 4.9% do not own a smartphone
  • 79.4% own a laptop or desktop
  • 52.4% own a tablet
  • 24.9% own a streaming device
  • 22.2% own a smartwatch
  • 4.2% own a virtual reality Device
  • We spend 6 hours 26 minutes on the internet everyday and 3 hours and 23 minutes watching TV

Digital growth isn’t really happening—that’s because it’s almost at 100%!

One of the most disturbing realities we run into is organizations do not use the analytics built right into their site to understand the usage. The second is, organizations don’t know what they want their site to do, therefore the analysis is meaningless (albeit interesting). 

Here are some tips: 

  1. Set up and USE an analytics program. Google is pretty much ubiquitous in the web world and provides detailed data. Setting it up to track transaction flow gives insight as to how people travel through your site and how many end up making a transaction (completing a form, signing up for a newsletter, making a donation). 
  2. Visit your own website. Missing links, glitches in the user interface, complex navigation all disrupt the experience. Make sure your site is up to date and active. Make sure the pages load quickly, users resist waiting. 
  3. Make your site a graphic experience. This means photos, videos, infographics… and much more. Your website is a space to create an interactive experience people will remember. Too often we settle for listing things or posting PDFs.
  4. Simplify the navigation. Site design today has moved to a scrolling body of information. That makes sense, especially when we know many users are going to your site on their small screens. Make sure users can easily travel through your site, using a simple pathway. 
  5. Think digital, interactive and engaging. While PDFs are great for many things, re-create that content as web-based. It’s frustrating to run into a PDF while researching an organization on a smartphone. 

Finally, and here’s the clincher, it’s up to you to get people to your site. There are so many ways to do this: 

  • Email links
  • Social media
  • Through printed material
  • Online advertising
  • Banner ads

This is the power of marketing! Use it to engage your audience.

P.S. When they get to your site, make sure they find an engaging site. Stats show that most people drop off within 6 seconds of landing on a site. You can see how long people stay on your by reviewing your analytics.

If you'd like a myth debunked let us know. Or talk to us here...we'd love to know what you think!

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