In praise of microsites for union campaigns

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Microsites and landing pages should be a significant part of your online campaign toolkit.

Critical to the success of any online campaign is the “conversion rate” — which is simply the percentage of people who visit your website from whatever source (pay-per-click ads, email, search engines, etc) and take a measurable action. The action is typically one that you’ve worked out that assists your campaign — such as signing a petition, registering for an event, joining your mailing list, becoming a union member, donating, etc.

Too often, I see unions (and other progressive organisations) do a poor job of converting the traffic they get into action. And action is the whole point of having a website for your union, right?

A big part of this problem is that most of the “action” elements of campaigns sit on the “corporate” website (i.e. the main union website). This presents issues, as far as conversion is concerned.

The key problem is that your standard union website typically includes elements that distract and confuse visitors from your primary call to action. These distractions include the standard navigation bar (filled with “About”, “Contact”, “Join”, and links to other campaigns or parts of your website), side bars, footers and so on. Each of these elements reduces the power and urgency of your form’s call to action.

Custom microsites or landing pages are web pages that your union can use to exclusively capture people and encourage them to take action. Their sole purpose is to “convert” people from a passive visitor into someone taking action in support of your union’s campaign.

In many cases, your union won’t need a full website for its campaigns — a microsite will do. A microsite can be comprised of just a few web pages and as few as one.

To get an idea of a great campaign landing page, check out this blog post.

A microsite can also include other elements necessary to assist with the conversion. For example, a “thank you” page for people who do convert, or pages that focus on different elements of the campaign.

Microsites vary in design, but common attributes include the following:

  • action-oriented language that drives the visitor to complete the action
  • focus on the benefit for the visitor (rather than the benefit for the union) to encourage response
  • a response form that is clearly visible, with clear, intuitive instructions
  • peripheral pages that offer the visitor the option to learn more about the campaign, or the union, without “escaping” the microsite
  • a complete absence of links to anywhere on the union’s website

This last point is very important — your campaign microsite should be entirely absent of any element that distracts from that campaign’s action.


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