This post is the second in a monthly series about Google Analytics. The first post is located here. As we proceed, I’ll share tips on how you can use this tool to gain more insight into your online marketing. I’ll start off with the basics, but then we’ll get into some advanced techniques.
If you’re not yet familiar with Google Analytics, it’s a free tool from Google that you can add to your site to give you information about how people are coming to your website and how they behave when they get there.
Last month we spent a whole blog post on just one graph on the Google Analytics dashboard, because there’s so much information in that one tool. Read that post first if you haven’t already. This week we’ll dig into the Visitors section.
The visitors overview page doesn’t give you much useful information that’s not on the dashboard, but many of the reports below that contain vital information about who your visitors are and what they need for a good experience on your website.
One of the first pieces of information to look at is the Browser Capabilities section. In the Browsers report, you can see who is coming from what browser and browser version and make sure your website looks good in all of those.
Perhaps your website has display issues in Internet Explorer 6 and you are wondering if you should fix your site or if people have finally migrated off that browser to IE 7 or 8. I’m surprised at how many people look at national overall stats on browser usage instead of looking at their own analytics. Look at the IE6 visitors from your audience in particular by seeing what percentage of visitors use IE & then click on the words Internet Explorer to see the breakdown by browser version. Unfortunately this data is confusing, because the chart of browser versions refers to the percentage of people on that browser who are using that version. In the examples below, there are not 17% of users on IE6, but rather 3.74%. (22% of your visitors are on IE and the IE chart shows 17% on version 6.0, which means 3.74% of your visitors are on IE6)
My rule of thumb is that if fewer than 4% of visitors are on an older browser, then it is ok to not support it. (Do not use the same logic with new browsers, which will likely grow in market share, or with accessibility concerns.)
Another useful item in the Browser Capabilities report is the Screen Resolutions report. Many older websites were created with smaller resolutions in mind, and when it is time for a redesign, the organization wonders if they can expand the width or if that will alienate some users. Unfortunately the screen resolutions report lists individual resolutions, rather than a report of the percentage of screens smaller than x by x. However, you can quickly sum the percentages of resolutions smaller than your considered target and get an idea of the size of the population.
One more useful report in the visitors section is the Mobile report. If you are considering the need for a mobile site, the percentage of users currently visiting via a mobile device can be a useful data point. Some sites are surprised to see 6 - 10% of visitors on mobile devices, even if they don’t have a mobile site. If that’s the case, then there’s no time like the present to start optimizing your site for mobile or creating a mobile version.
Check back on June 21st, when I'll jump into more exciting reports about your visitors in Intro to Google Analytics for Nonprofits #3.
In continuing Lacey Kruger’s and my series on content strategy (If you haven’t yet taken a look at Lacey’s post on content inventories, be sure to check it out. Lots of good stuff there), I wanted to share with you an interesting article, published recently by the Stanford Social Innovation Review, about building a narrative based organization. In The Benefits of Building a Narrative Organization Thaler Pekar outlines the advantages of cultivating a narrative approach throughout your organization.
She makes a number of great observations, two which I’d like to address here. One, every organization, whether they know it or not, has an organizational narrative which is at the core of their mission, values, and brand. It’s important that your organization is cognizant of its “big story,” and tells stories which support it. For a quick primer on making your organizational narrative explicit, see my blog post on message hierarchies. Two, she refers to the ability that stories have to engage an audience. Stories do this by making the situations described more tangible, relatable, and memorable.
Just this week, Outreach International sent out an email appeal incorporating these ideas and other storytelling best practices. Go ahead, read it. I’ll be here when you get back….
Pretty good, right? There’s a lot to like about this appeal, but I want to break down some of the elements pertaining to organizational narrative and audience engagement that I think are particularly effective:
Do you have stories like this that you could tell at your organization? Are you effectively communicating them to your audience?
36% of U.S. mobile consumers now have smartphones, says The Nielsen Company. There is also some nice information in the article about app usage and how it varies by type of phone/operating system (OS).
Combine that with this nugget: by 2014 more people will view web pages using a mobile device than a computer.
The smartphone revolution is already here. Does your organization have a strategy?
What about mobile websites versus apps? Should you invest your time and money in building a mobile version of your site, or developing an app? There are advantages to both, some drawbacks, and specific factors to consider.
Here are some advantages of mobile websites. First, they will load regardless of which OS the phone is running on, whereas some apps aren't compatible with older versions of the OS. And second, you don't have to count on users to upgrade their apps to see your new content. Once you update your mobile website content, you can be confident that's what people are seeing.
Perhaps most compelling is the pervasive nature of the web and web browsers - a web browser comes built into a smartphone. The user doesn't have to go to an app store, search for your app, and download it.
These are some good examples of nonprofit mobile sites. Obviously, best viewed using a mobile device!
NetSquared has a useful presentation available that speaks more about the mobile landscape and what it means for nonprofits. Check it out as you develop your strategy.
Okay, let's move on to discussing apps. The advantages of apps are: they are good at helping the user focus on one thing that you want to highlight, and lend themselves well to location-based services like self-guided tours, for example. They are also generally faster at lookup functions - depending on the speed of the internet connection, looking something up via 3G or wireless could take longer.
But consider this: when developing an app, iPhone and Android operating systems have the majority of market share, so in order to reach as wide an audience as possible, you'll really be developing two apps, one for each OS. There's also Blackberry, Palm, Windows Mobile, and Symbian. Market share is changing with every quarter - while 22% of mobile phone users have a Blackberry right now, recent acquisitions of smartphones are dominated by Android, and more people intend to buy either iPhone or Android for their next phone purchase. Check out this Nielsen blog post for a full rundown.
Here's a smattering of apps for you to check out:
Convio even has an iPhone app for our Summit! (Right now the 2010 version is available, and the 2011 version is coming soon. This app was really convenient for me at the 2010 Summit, especially the schedule feature, because I don't like carrying around a large program book and inevitably leave it in my hotel room anyway.
So it's not really about mobile websites VERSUS apps. Rather, you should definitely have a mobile version of your website. You should consider investing in an app if there is a specific use case it will work well for. And if you can only invest in one right now, let it be a mobile website. If you need help getting started, Convio offers a mobile website starter package (PDF) so give us a jingle!
Your balloon arch is drooping. The last of the volunteers is packing boxes of left-over t-shirts into a minivan. The police are picking up the traffic cones that identified your route. As it all slowly disappears, you realize… it’s over! I’m done! I survived another [[Race/Ride/Walk/insert event name here]]. I can hibernate for 6 months before I really have to think about this again!
Well… not so much. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I’m here to remind you to think about the last thing anyone wants to think about after their event is over… what happens next.
I know, I know – you’re exhausted and you deserve an entire week to sleep it off. So take a rest and come back refreshed, because post-event is the prime time to capitalize on all the excitement and press you’ve been generating over the past few months. I won’t lie; it will be tough – with your event over, you’ve lost your deadline, your press, and your Team Captains… now it’s up to you to tell people why they should continue to support your mission. It’s up to you to provide opportunities for engagement for all the people who just told you that they are open to supporting you, whether directly or indirectly.
I don’t just mean sending a big “thank you” e-mail either; I mean real engagement opportunities. Here are a few ideas on how to continue to engage your participants and donors after the event:
Surveys are a great way to learn what people enjoyed about your event, and where you have room to improve. They are also a great way to get more information about your “market,” or the type of person that participates, and what motivates them. Along with your thank you e-mail, send a link for participants to provide their feedback and USE IT – incorporate participant feedback into your plan for next year’s event. Give your survey responders an opportunity to tell you what what else about your mission or organization they are interested in (i.e. volunteering, advocating, becoming a board member, etc.) and use this information to cater your communications to their preferences.
Sustaining Donor Conversion Series
Your event participants have told you point blank that they want to support you. They are willing to spend time and money to support you, and in many cases, they are willing to ask their friends and family to spend time and money to support you. That’s amore! Create an e-mail conversion series to educate your participants about your ongoing programs and how they can support you throughout the year by making a sustaining donation.
Volunteer & Advocacy Recruitment
I know that, unless you’re a one-person shop, you have different people on your staff that communicate with donors, advocates, and volunteers. I know that you probably maintain different lists or groups, maybe even different spreadsheets or databases where these different types of contacts “live.” I know that. But your constituents don’t. Not only do they not know that different people manage these different departments, they probably don’t care. They expect you to know that they participated in your event, that they donated, that they volunteered their time, and that they called their local or state government representative on your behalf. Share your participants with your co-workers, and work together to create a unified communication plan for communication and recruitment. After all, participants beget volunteers beget advocates beget donors… and so on. (See this post to learn more).
Segment - All Year Long
Your participants, and especially your team captains, are special. They did a lot of work for you throughout your event, and they deserve special treatment. Throughout the year, consider whether event participants and/or captains should receive a different version of your appeals or newsletters. Show your appreciation all year long.
Another great way to keep participants engaged is to provide them with the tools to create their own fundraiser. Segment your top fundraisers and team captains and ask if they’d like to organize a grassroots event. Provide them with everything they need to set up a fundraising web page and throw a house party, bake sale, haunted house, poker night, or any kind of event they choose to benefit your organization.
Welcome your Peer Donors
Finally, the toughest nut to crack – peer donors. I’m talking about all of the people who gave money to your participants because the participant asked them to. These folks may or may not be familiar with your organization; now is the time to educate them and convert them into direct supporters of your mission. Develop an integrated marketing campaign – include an automated welcome series, follow up with direct mail (see tips from Douglas Broward from earlier this week), and even give them a phone call if you have the resources. This is your chance to make an impression – make it a good one!
These are only a few ways to reach out to your supporters and leverage the excitement and energy of your recent event. Now it’s your turn - How do you engage your participants and donors once your event is over? We’d love to hear from you!
Continuing with our series on effective content, today I’ll show you how to assess, or audit your content. So, perhaps you know your content could be improved, but how do you know where to start?? Dimitri had a great post a few weeks ago on how to develop a message hierarchy which will be a great tool to use for your content assessment. The other thing you’ll need is your content inventory.
Note: Don’t skimp on the content inventory. Yes, it’s tedious and time consuming, but it is absolutely crucial to see what content you have out there to be able to assess it and make it successful. Try making it an on-going project, spending an hour here and an hour there and don’t forget to keep it updated once you have your initial snapshot.
Once you have your message hierarchy and your content inventory, it’s time to dig into that inventory to truly evaluate what’s there. Like the initial creation of the inventory, the assessment should also be an ongoing process. Kristina Halvorson refers to this part of the process as the “qualitative audit” in her book Content Strategy for the Web. You can even check out her chapter on Audits for free.
The qualitative audit is a way to assess your content across several variables. Kristina provides a great list in her book, which I’ve adapted a bit here:
As I’ve helped clients with their content assessment, I’ve added columns for each of these variables to the content inventory and created a scale to rate each aspect of the content. I’ve found it helpful to color code my ratings to call attention to the sections that need the most work. The scale is really up to you, but I’ve tried to keep it simple in the past with 1 (red) being “critical”, 2 (yellow) being “needs work” and 3 (green) being “good as-is”.
Once you have your assessment complete, you essentially have a checklist for content that needs to be updated, consolidated or removed. From there, get the Owners of each section/page involved to help make the necessary updates. Share your Message Hierarchy with them and other relevant documentation on the tone and style your website should use. It’s also helpful to create a reasonable timeline for completing the edits to keep folks on track, but encourage your authors to edit pages on a rolling basis to keep the process manageable.
Now, I realize many organizations don’t have several content authors to divvy up the work and other organizations might have SO much content that the task still looks completely overwhelming. If you’re in that boat, I’d suggest checking out your Google Analytics data and prioritizing your updates based on the popularity of the content. Your most visited pages (perhaps your top 50?) can be evaluated first, followed by pages that get fewer visits. Small steps are important steps here so start where you can. Remember though, Content is King, so be sure to start somewhere.
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