Fire a friendly employee

Imagine your organization’s website as a real person — an employee — talking to your visitors. The moment they enter your building, perhaps with the intention of giving you money, the employee says:

“Welcome! Can I show you around? There are so many things you can do here — or you can go away. Have you thought about leaving to go hang out with your friends?! That’s an option, too! You don’t have to come in and give us money if you don’t want to. We have some amazing ads at some local coffee shops and bars where you can also hang out and talk with your friends.”

Today, you’re going to fire that employee.

Are you promoting your social media channels on your membership sales page?

Get rid of them.

Those links and icons are all escape hatches for your visitor. Each one is an invitation to a world that you don’t control — a world where there is no button they can click to transfer money from their bank account to support your organization’s mission.

I know — that may sound crazy. Your organization loves measuring social media “engagement.” And I'm not saying that social media isn't something you should invest in.

But the job of your membership page is to convert people from visitors to members — not to lead prospective members to Facebook or YouTube where they can get lost in “related content” they might “enjoy.”

Social media engagement is a secondary goal. Converting members is what puts money in your organization’s bank account.

If you have links or social media icons directing visitors away from your member page, remove them. In fact, head over to your home page right now — do you have social media icons “above the fold” — that is, near the navigation or immediately visible when the page loads? Remove those, too.

I can’t overstate this, but I’ll try:

Money does not change hands on your Twitter or Pinterest accounts — that happens on your website. Don’t distract your visitors.

Again, it's not that social media isn't a valid outreach tool. But social media accounts should be driving people to your website, not the other way around.

If you want to get more followers, invite people to follow your social media accounts on the confirmation page or confirmation email afterthey have completed a transaction — not only because social media is a distraction for visitors who are converting to members but also because it’s after they convert that they’re more likely to follow you on social media.

After someone becomes a member, they’re keen to take advantage of their membership benefits, like free tickets to special events. You can tailor the post-conversion call to follow your organization on social media to their FOMO: “Get the most out of your membership: Follow us on x, y, and z.”

For some of you, this task will be easy. Call up your marketing director or content crew and ask them to move those social media icons down to the footer of your website. For others, it will be difficult because you'll need to persuade others within your organization to question the assumption that acquiring followers and likes is just as important as any other activity on your website.

Either way, go over to your organization’s website and walk through the steps to become a member. Make a list of similar distractions that litter your visitor’s path. Are you promoting blog posts or events on your membership page? Does a full-screen pop-up inviting people to join your newsletter cover the membership page after a few seconds?

These are all obstacles for your prospective member.

The goal today is to start removing those obstacles and distractions that divert visitors from the revenue-generating task of becoming a member.

Were you able to get this done? Was it more difficult than you expected? Hit reply and let me know.

Thanks for reading,