Five tips for the ultimate union campaign website

December 13, 2010

Campaign websites are different to most union websites. They have a specific, narrow purpose, which is to immediately inform the visitor to the site about the main issues of the campaign and then spur them to take an action.

The ASU campaign site, Pay Up for Equal Pay (@payupequalpay), while it doesn't do everything perfectly, is a good example of a simple campaign site with a clear call to action.

Complexity comes when you break down what campaign action you want visitors to take – for example, subscribing to the campaign email list, sending a protest email to a targeted employer or politician, donating money, watching a video, etc. The list can be extensive.

The campaign website should be specifically planned, designed and written with its goals in mind. What do you think the most important things are for the website? (Note: some campaign websites may have specific landing pages for specific issues within the overall campaign site, or alternatively, a campaign site should sit within the main union’s website.)

Do you want the visitor to subscribe to your list? Send a protest email? Download a report? Watch a campaign video? Donate money? Whatever it is, your campaign website homepage should be geared to encourage the visitor to take that action. Distractions should be studiously avoided.

I’ve often seen union campaign websites be tempted to add everything to their campaign website – blogs, maps, side bars, Facebook or Twitter feeds, tag clouds and so on. It gets to the point that the main reason for the site – to get visitors to take action – is entirely lost. (A case in point is the UK unions’ False Economy site, which is very, very crowded.)

If you’re running a comprehensive online campaign, you’re probably also doing things like using Google Adwords, Facebook ads, sending emails to your members with a link to the campaign website and linking to your campaign site from your main union website.

If you’re doing all these things, you want to make sure that you get the biggest result from your efforts and expenditure – there’s no point in paying for Google Ads or sending emails to members and then making it confusing or complicated for visitors to take the desired action.

1. Keep it simple

The old “keep it simple, stupid” principle applies to your campaign websites.

2. Have a prominent call to action

Your call to action is the main thing you want a visitor to your page do to. You should make sure that it is as clear as possible.

3. Copywriting is essential

Good copy (the text on your website) is just as important as good design. The writing on your website should be treated with the same care and concern as a major campaign printed flyer or poster – it should be edited, checked and edited again.

4. Design is important too

There is a very useful report by a company called Omniture about effective ways to ensure conversion (that’s Internet marketing speak for getting website visitors to buy your product). In union terms, a conversion is when someone takes the desired call to action – subscribes, donates, joins, etc. Not everyone who visits your campaign site will take the action – so our goal is to get the maximum possible number of visitors to take that action – known as maximising conversations. Online businesses have something called an engagement funnel – which is the pathway that site visitors take from their original location on the web (Facebook, Google search, their email), to your website (which has been optimised, right?), to taking the action, to becoming a lead (or for businesses, a customer).

To save you from downloading the report yourself, here’s the main points:

5. Know your metrics

Let’s be honest. You’ve probably spent a lot of time, and possibly a lot of money, on your campaign website. Your campaign is an important one to your union. It’s essential that you know whether it is time and money well-spent. Luckily, there are heaps of tools to help you measure how well your site is doing and that let you improve it.

Remember, your campaign site is a visitor’s last stop before taking a campaign action

You want to make it as easy, simple and fast as possible for a visitor to do the thing the campaign site was created for. Before creating your campaign site, think about some of these things – and most importantly, think about what the site’s goals are.


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