As we wrap up 2022 and move into 2023, many nonprofits are using the calendar change to evaluate and plan their digital efforts for the upcoming year. There is a lot to consider, including how to approach substantial plug-in and integration updates, organic content keyword optimization, and cleaning up outdated or unused information. When you think about how to keep your website competitive and effective, consider some of the trends we've noticed across the top-performing websites in the nonprofit sector along with some tips for how to implement them in your own organization.
One of the common challenges we hear from nonprofit organizations is the need to drive more traffic to their website and capture those visitors by offering points of conversion like forms or newsletter subscriptions. One of the best tools to help with this challenge is landing pages. Landing pages are one-page tools designed to maximize conversion. They give background information about the organization, guide hesitant users with high-value content, and prompt specific action through calls to action.
The goal of a website is to allow your organization and extended community to use tools and information. An optimized, effective nonprofit website guides a new user through individual pages that highlight the history of the organization, the types of programs offered, and the various ways to contribute. These pages serve as an expansive source of quality information, and they provide opportunities to increase visibility in search engines when applying SEO keywords.
However, users may sometimes need to visit multiple pages on a website to understand key aspects of the organization like the mission, how to get involved, and the impact of their potential support. When you try to drive goals like donations or volunteer sign-ups, if the visitor has to dig through multiple pages to find the answers to all their questions, you could lose them. Leveraging landing pages for these kinds of goals helps to ensure that all the necessary information, together with the ability to take action, is accessible and clear on a single web page.
Implementing a landing page strategy rather than using general website pages can help create more engagement with your organization. Start by identifying the core goals of your organization, such as driving more donations, onboarding more volunteers, or raising awareness about programming. For each goal you identify, build a landing page around that single goal. Each landing page should have these features.
- A quick overview of your organization: Assume the visitor has never interacted with your organization before. How can you summarize your impact in one or two sentences to show who you are and what makes you unique?
- Demonstration of outcomes: There are two main ways to show the outcome of the visitor reaching the end goal — the impact if they engage and the impact if they do not engage. Depending on the tone and audience, sticking with the positive outcome of engagement can be more beneficial. For a donation landing page, this might show what their donation provides — for example: $30 feeds a family of four for a day.
- Action-oriented language: The visitor should have a clear understanding of what you want them to do once they land on the page. Incorporating clear, decisive language in your headings and call-to-action buttons can lead the user to their goal or conversion point.
- Conversion opportunities: Landing pages are designed to encourage engagement with your organization and strengthen the relationship between a potential supporter and your cause. In order for this relationship to be nurtured, you must know who the visitor is. Each landing page should have a form where the visitor can enter information like their name and email address, at a minimum. For a donation landing page, this could be an integration with your donation management system or a link to your payment processor.
Another trend we're noticing is less use of stock photography in websites and other digital content and an increase in custom photography. Stock photography services like Shutterstock are a wonderful resource; however, the images won't fully represent the work you do and the people you help.
For organizations that don't have an internal library of owned images, here's a short path to gathering quality photos and migrating them to your website.
- Take an inventory of all the images on your website and note how they're being used. Is there a specific purpose they serve? Is the design built around a certain layout? Are there any gaps where an image may help illustrate the impact of your organization? This will be the seed list for the kind of photographs you need to create on your own.
- Start taking photos! While many of the latest phone models boast impressive cameras, see if you can start to use a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Even without the most high-end gear, you can still get compelling photos by focusing on things like proper lighting, good composition, and purposeful shots. There are a number of free instructional videos on sites like YouTube that can give you enough information to make the most of whatever camera you have in your hands, even with just an iPhone.
- Store the images on a shared drive or media manager with informative names and file tags. Spending time setting up an intuitive and clear storage structure will save you exponentially more time down the line when you are trying to find that one really great shot from last year's event. When you have something that matches the requirements of your existing site's stock photography, switch it out! Over time you'll start to see your site reflect the true spirit of your organization through the real-world people and places you help.
With the increased affordability of tools like HubSpot and Constant Contact, nonprofits are able to take advantage of the time-saving benefits of marketing automation. By developing an inbound marketing strategy that guides users along different stages of their journey to getting involved, you can spend your digital marketing time more efficiently. Automation not only allows you to reuse and improve materials over time but also promotes a more individualized experience for your users. Let's break down some examples to get you started.
Many nonprofits use an email service provider to send out periodic newsletters that highlight the work they've done and alert their most interested users to what is on the horizon. If a user registers for the newsletter on the website in between your quarterly mailings, it's possible that you'll miss out on the initial enthusiasm that prompted them to engage with you. By automatically sending them a welcome email, you can showcase the most important information for new subscribers, provide a peek at the content they missed in previous newsletters, and offer even more ways for them to engage with your organization.
Sometimes visitors to your site will get halfway through a user journey and get stuck in the middle. By using a tool like HubSpot, you can see if people are opening but not clicking your emails, abandoning forms before completion, or visiting program information pages without reaching out. You can set up automated processes that give these users the information and guidance they need to move forward. This allows you to remain active on an individual level with just a little front-loaded effort. E-commerce sites use this automation when you abandon your cart to great success. With a few tweaks for your particular organization's supporters, this is a great way to increase engagement results.
Use automation to improve event follow-up processes. By setting up all of your email communications (registration, pre-event, day of, post-event) ahead of time, you can continue the engagement with attendees with maximum efficiency. Most of the logistical work will be done in advance, and you can focus on a quick last review before you send, with tiny improvements to ensure that your message strengthens relationships. This can save you hours of labor while strengthening the connection you are building with your community of supporters.
Make the Most of 2023 Website Trends
We hope these trends will help spark ideas for how you can increase the effectiveness of your digital marketing in 2023. If you're interested in implementing HubSpot for its automation and landing page capabilities or taking a look at your website and SEO with an audit, reach out today!
- Get a free Website Wellness Report seminar from TechSoup Courses.
- Check out the webinar What Makes a Great Nonprofit Website?
- Learn Quick and Easy Website Maintenance with five monthly tasks.
Top photo: Shutterstock