Optimisation is the new cash cow

We all know what web 2.0 is, don’t we? But the more I think about it, the more I think optimisation is the next big thing when it comes to websites. As growth in internet penetration slows, converting the traffic your website is getting into meaningful actions will be where the focus lies.

Unfortunately, all too often online fundraising campaigns don’t have sufficient tracking, let alone optimisation. What do I mean by optimisation? The definition I like to use is this:

“Increasing the conversion rate of a website by improving user experience”

It’s exactly the same as trying to improve the response rate to a direct marketing appeal. It requires a ‘test and improve’ strategy. But is it worth it?

The figures are staggering. According to Jakob Neilson the usability guru, the average e-commerce site could achieve a 79% increase in sales with a usability redesign. Since every charity that takes donations has an element of e-commerce, this becomes an important statistic. Zona Research estimates that $25 billion is lost every year in the US due to poor website usability. It’s scary to think how many donations the average charity is losing due to poor usability.

And that’s not the whole story…..it gets worse! In a recent survey Forrester found that 58% of people did not return to a website where they experienced poor usability issues. I know this is true of my own experience. A few years ago I went to the IKEA website and based on what their website said, I thought I could shop online. When I finally checked out, the site told me I had to go to an IKEA premises to pick up my goods. I was furious! My expectations were not managed and I’ve never been back to the IKEA website.

So poor usability not only means a low conversion rate, but it also means you will lose potential supporters and have to work a lot harder to win them back.

At the National Trust recently we worked out that a small increase in conversion rates of their online membership join process would result in a large increase in conversion and therefore revenue. As they take a large proportion of their membership acquisition online, the figures were potential step-changing. But even smaller charities can ensure that their online marketing budgets are working more effectively. Optimisation should be a major part of any online marketing campaign.

There are lots of tools out there that can help you optimise your organisation’s website, but the first place to start is by developing a clear business case. Do you know what your conversion rate of donations is online? What if this rate increased by just 1%? If you do the numbers, you may find out that optimisation is the new cash cow.

Web 3.0? Just maybe..

Categories: Digital, Top Tips

Resource Type: Blog

Posted by Beccy Murrell

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