I posted this blog back in June of last year but this is still a topic "du jour".
A non profit websiteshould always be in a state of improvement and trying to enhance the user's experience while browsing. The more engaged your readers and members are, the more likely they are to come back in the future.
Here is what you need to do to improve your Landing page:
If you are like me, you watched the recent drama between the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and Planned Parenthood with a mix of horror and morbid curiosity. Think what you may about either organization, itís unfortunate to watch such large, successful organizations tarnished.
This was a great learning opportunity, though, on the dangers of letting your organization get off mission. Without getting mired in the details, I thought it important to highlight some lessons I was reminded of from the kerfuffle and how to avoid them before they happen:
(This is a blog re-post: original source: http://www.newrivercommunications.com/)
Someone just recently asked me about this blog I originally wrote back in March 2011, so here it is:
After receiving several emails last week, I was reminded how more often thant not, email signatures are done poorly.
Many people want their signature to reflect their personality, provide pertinent information and more, but they can easily go overboard.
Others have none, just their first name at the bottom of the email. If you want to call them or go to their website....you'll have to dig.
Why are email signatures important? They may be boring and the last item on your list of things to get right, but they affect the tone of every email you write.
Email signatures contain alternative contact details, pertinent job titles and company names, which help the recipient get in touch when emails are not responded to. Sometimes, they give the recipient an idea of who wrote the email in case it has been a while since they have been in touch.
Here are some tips on how to create an email signature that works.
Start by adding your website link to your signature. In many cases, more than half the traffic a website gets, comes from emails....talking about easily improving your SEO by simply adding your website link!!
An email signature shouldnít double the emailís length, so make it as short as possible (3-4 lines is usually enough). Donít get into your life story here. The purpose of a signature is to let them see who you are and how to get in touch with you.
Make Sure to IncludeÖ
No need to include...10 different ways to get in touch with you. The rule should be, less is more; and then theyíll know which way you prefer to be contacted. Go to 3 or 4 lines, with a maximum of 72 character per line (many email applications have a maximum width of 80 characters, so limit the length to avoid unsightly wrapping). An optional fourth line could be your company address, but use caution if you work from home.
Random quotes are fun for friends, but you risk offending business associates with whom you donít have a personal relationship. Unless you want clients contacting you while youíre watching Lost, donít share your home details far and wide.
Also, donít share your personal contact information with your corporate partners. They certainly wonít be interested in it, and you may not want them to know certain details about you. However, mentioning your corporate Twitter account or alternative means of contact in your signature might be useful, in case your correspondent is not able to get in touch with you by regular email.
Images And Logos
Letís get this out of the way now: your entire signature shouldnít be an image. Sure, it will look exactly how you want, but it is completely impractical. Not only does an image increase the emailís file size, but it will likely be blocked before being opened. And how does someone copy information from an image?
Any images should be used with care and attention. If you do use one, make it small in both dimensions and size, and make it fit in aesthetically with the rest of the signature. 50 x 50 pixels should be plenty big for any logo. If you want to be taken seriously as a business person, do not make it an animated picture, dancing dog or shooting rainbow!
Most email clients store images as attachments or block them by default. So, if you present your signature as an image, your correspondents will have a hard time guessing when youíve sent a genuine attachment.
Donít Be A Fancy Pants or Cutesy
While vCards are a great, convenient way to share contact information, in emails they add bytes and appear as attachments. It is often said that you shouldnít use a vCard for your email signature, because as helpful as it might be the first time you correspond with someone, receiving it every time after that gets annoying. Besides, the average email user wonít know what it is.
If you do want to provide a vCard, just include a link to a remote copy.
Cutesy images or colors, heart shape, etc can be counter productive if the recipient finds it annoying, keep this for your private email account.
What About Confidentiality Clauses?
If your emails include confidential information, you may need to include a non-disclosure agreement to prevent information leaks. However, good practice is never to send sensitive information as plain text in emails because the information could be extracted by third parties or forwarded by recipients to other people. Thus, including a non-disclosure agreement doesnít make much sense if you do not send sensitive information anyway.
Keep in mind, too, that the longer a confidentiality clause is, the more unlikely someone will actually read it. Again, check your stateís privacy laws. Some big companies require a disclosure with every email, but if youíre at a small company or are a freelancer and donít really require it, then donít put it in. The length of such clauses can be annoying, especially in short emails.
If you can, stay away from HTML formatting. Every Web designer knows the pain of HTML newsletters, and while HTML is supported for email signatures, youíll likely have problems with images and divider lines in different email clients. Some nice ASCII formatting may work in some cases.
Of course, if youíre really keen to use HTML, keep it simple:
It may seem obvious to organizations that currently provide a street address, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and other contact information on their website, that if you want to make it easy for people to do business with you, you have to give them multiple ways to reach you or ask for more information.
Surprisingly, a great number of websites we see, still make it difficult for their visitors and customers to find contact information on their sites or provide just one option.
Here are few tips to help you with this:
Remember, it's all about making it easy for people to take action!
On September 7th, 1982, Ogilvy sent the following internal memo to all agency employees, titled "How to Write":
"The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well. Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches.Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well.
Here are 10 hints to help you with web content writing :
When designing non profit website or a small business website, there are key user behaviors that should be taken into account. But in order to take them into account, it helps to know them.
Below are 10 of the more interesting and less well-known user behaviors that regularly occur in user testing:
Designing a is hard enough as it is, taking into account your surprisingly erratic users makes it that much harder.
Fortunately taking unexpected user behavior into account throughout the design process is a large part of the battle, it's a significant step on the way to a good user experience.
You have probably seen them on posters, business cards and just about everywhere lately. Like most new ways to promote a business or an event, there is often a tendency to rush and take advantage of what it may have to offer. But just like any marketing tool, you should base your desicion on how to use a QR code, on factual data.
Who is most likely to scan a QR code?
According to a study conducted by Brandspark International, the 18-34 year-olds (85%) are the most likely to scan a QR Code, and it that same group, men will represent 75% of the scans. So basically, young men, between 18-34 are most likely to scan a QR Code. Does this sounds like your demographic? If yes, get moving now and add QR codes to all your marketing & promotional materials. If not, you might to consider spending your money some place else.
54% of smartphone owners like the idea of coupons (aka instant discount) according to a study conducted by the "2012 American Shopper Study". A QR code is a great way to satisfy this need. However, female smartphone owners are more likely to take advantage of that compared to their male counterpart.
Have you succesfully used QR codes to promote your business or event? please share how...
If you are charged with organizing or promoting a conference on your non profit website or company website, use any or all of the ideas below to generate interest, drive registration and keep the momentum past the conference:
A report from analyst firm Forrester is predicting that by 2014 companies will spend over $1.2 billion on email marketing in the US alone - an 11% compound annual growth rate.
Yet it also predicts that much of this spend will be wasted as messages are targeted inappropriately or not at all.
1. Just be Relevant.
Ensure that your customers or members are receiving information that most resonates with them. Most people are tired of generic advertising messages. Provide value, make it worth my while to read your email....be relevant!
2. Manage Email Frequency Carefully.
Over-mailing your email subscribers can turn even the most engaged recipient off. Always test to determine the right frequency for your brand. Early Mondays might be a great recipe to end up in the Trash as people will be deleting all the junk from the weekend. Try different times and check on which day & time provides the most CTR (Click through rate)
3. Test Your Offers.
Test the water by sending a new email offer to a random subset of your recipients to determine response and relevance. Assess the offer response, adjust as necessary and then share it with the remainder of your subscriber-base.
4. Use Graphics Wisely.
Images should complement your message content, not detract from it. Make sure your use of graphics supports everything from your brand through your call-to-action effectively. Remember that a large image can push content below the fold, while excessive images can slow message loading. One small image to enhance the message is usually a good rule. Remember also that many people will be reading your email on their mobile device, test to make sure it will look great both on a computer and a mobile device.
5. Embrace Personalisation Within the Email Template.
Always look to make your messages more relevant by adding personalized, dynamic content. If you don't know where to begin, you can start with basic mail merge fields like "first name" and move toward personalised content based on past purchases, subscriptions and other unique data to build a deeper relationship with the customer.
6. Develop a Flexible Response Strategy.
Many companies are guilty of delivering large volumes of highly relevant content quickly and then failing to deal with the responses effectively. Anticipate demand and plan accordingly. Good rule of thumb is to be able to respond within 2 hours or at least within the same day. Responding tomorrow or within the next couple of days is very 1990's, people's expectation is NOW!
7. Postcards & Flyers should be mailed, not emailed.
Most email readers will now prevent any images from displaying unless the recipient click on the "Display images" link. Don't count on it, most people will delete it without even taking a look at it. Email marketing is to send few relevant words with one or a couple of images that will invite you to click to view more on the website.
Remember to test, test & test. The numbers never lie.