Donor list aside, a campaign’s email list is arguably its most valuable asset.
Email is still the best way for campaigns to reach supporters, organize, and raise money online. For most campaigns, subscribers who’ve actively opted-in are the best performing segments of the list. That means their universe of active supporters on emails is, quite literally, gold!
But many campaigns neglect making signing up for their email list easy for perhaps their most motivated supporters: website visitors. While private-sector marketers have learned and regularly exchange best practices on making websites conversion-optimized, far too many campaign sites are stuck in the past.
What is conversion optimization?
Put simply, conversion optimization for websites is using conversion rate optimization (CRO) to increase the percentage of visitors who perform your desired action once they land on your page. For most campaigns, the desired action is generally getting a donation or acquiring an email address to later ask for a donation.
A well-placed acquisition form can be key to supercharging your conversion rate.
At A+G, we spend a lot of time thinking about and studying the data on where to place acquisition forms to maximize our conversion rates for our clients. We consistently find that signup forms placed on specific parts of websites outperform other areas and lead to more signups. Sometimes only a few key optimizations or adding a simple form in the right place can exponentially improve conversion rates!
So what are some of the highest-converting places to put a signup form on your campaign’s site?
1. The homepage
This should be an obvious one. Putting a prominent, above-the-fold signup form on your campaign’s homepage will be one of your key sources of leads. People searching for candidates largely fall into one of two buckets: supporters looking for ways to support your candidate and potential supporters looking for information.
Placing a sign-up form on your site’s homepage is a no-brainer. According to Nielsen Norman, almost 60% of your audience’s time will be spent above the fold so put it above the fold near an equally prominent donation prompt. That way, even supporters who aren’t quite ready to make a donation are captured.
The form should be easy, simple to fill out, and not include too many fields. For example, on Congressman Bill Pascrell’s campaign site, the form is just three fields. On other sites, we’ve stripped the form down further to contain only a field for email.
2. The Store
Merch stores are in. But while lots of campaigns have them, they’re not maximizing their value by capturing leads. Why not include a prominent sign-up on your store homepage or collection pages?
It might seem counterintuitive to have a secondary call to action. After all, aren’t they there to buy a product? And while not every visitor to your merch store is going to buy something or make a donation, their visit is a perfect opportunity to capture them and funnel them into your email program. That’s the logic behind virtually every major brand prompting potential customers to join their email list – campaigns should capture those leads as well.
Even better: incentivize signups by offering subscribers a small discount like on Saks’ site.
3. Bio, Blog, Endorsement, and Issues Pages
Subpages on your website might not seem important, but check your analytics: many visitors land on these pages. If you want your site to be conversion-optimized, you need to make it easy for them to sign up too.
That means when building out your site, making sure that every page template includes a clear location for a call to action (CTA). Maybe it means adding a prompt at the end of your blog or asking supporters to add their name as an endorser at the end of your endorsements page.
Or just simply asking for folks to sign on if they agree with your position on an issue as Elizabeth Warren’s site does on each of her plans.
4. The footer
This means that even on pages where you don’t have a separate CTA, visitors have a chance to opt-in to your list on every page.
Ed Markey’s campaign does a great job of keeping a consistent footer with prominent opt-in on every page of their site while showing clear division from page content.
This might seem obvious, or even annoying. Who doesn’t hate having to click an “x” to make a pop-up go away before accessing the content you came from? But do a little Googling and you’ll find dozens of studies showing that popups are a remarkably high-converting real estate to put your signup form on.
Our experience matches the studies. We’ve repeatedly seen clients experience high conversion rates (for both donation and email signups) from their pop-ups and sliders. ActBlue users won’t have to worry about this but when adding a pop-up, be sure to exclude extremely high-value pages like your donation page. After all, you don’t want to distract supporters from completing the most important call to action.
On the microsite we built for Tim Ryan’s Senate campaign, a popup appears prompting an immediate donation through ActBlue or a very stripped-down email signup prompt.
These five spots might not work on every site but incorporating some or more of them will make it that much easier for your supporters to join your list. If you run an effective email program, that means they’ll be far more likely to support you down the line.
At A+G, we’ve always said that as experts in digital politics we should learn from our colleagues in other silos. While private-sector marketers have put a premium on turning websites into conversion-optimized, lead-generation machines political sites have lagged behind. Campaigns can learn from our friends in the private sector and benefit from CROing their websites as well.
Ensure you’re acquiring as many supporters as possible from your next site by implementing some of these suggestions.