The most important lesson I’ve learned at Brick Factory is that results matter. What good is a website if it doesn’t help you reach your goals?

We work closely with a ton of nonprofits, and when it comes to their websites, our clients are usually focused on two major goals:

  1. Growing their email list
  2. Increasing online donations

You can track these key metrics through your email marketing platform, CRM, or donation platform, but what if you want to look at this data in relation to how users are interacting with your website? Not so easy if you don’t have the right infrastructure in place.

If you set your site up correctly, there is a wealth of donation and email sign up data to be mined. Understanding how, when, and why your visitors take action (or don’t take action) can help you figure out what’s working, where to switch things up, and how to optimize your site.

With the help of a web developer and some simple tracking codes, you can easily set this up. But first you need to know what to track.  This post is less of a technical “how to” and more of a project roadmap to help to identify what you should be tracking, why, and guide your web team in the right direction:

What to Track: Email Signup Forms

User Flow

  • What: How did the user get to your site?
  • Why: If you know that the majority of your converted visitors came from Facebook or Google, this can help you focus your resources on those channels or tell you that you are missing opportunities on other channels. For example, what if you found that Facebook ads resulted in the highest number of signups? Then you would know to allocate more budget to that platform.

Signup Source

  • What: What page on your website a user signs up from.
  • Why: If your site has a ton of signup forms, understanding where a user signed up can help you determine what pages or calls-to-action convert best.  If you know that having a call-to-action at the top of a page or using first-person language resulted in far more signups, you can use this data to increase the effectiveness of lower performing pages.

Campaign

  • What: In circumstances where you have multiple email signup forms, labeling each subscriber with the campaign details of the form they signup through can be a valuable data point.
  • Why: What if you knew a subset of your email list was extremely interested in tigers or a specific legislative action? Being able to segment your email list by campaign can help you send targeted appeals and better understand the interests of your audience.

Field Values

  • What: Generally, our forms just include an email address field to make the signup process as easy as possible. But for complex forms with multiple fields or steps, you’ll want to track all the information a user fills in during the signup process.
  • Why: By sending these field values into your email marketing system, you can better analyze your audience and send more targeted appeals. If we know a subscriber’s state, we can send them information on local events. If we know their first name, we can personalize each email they receive.

Post Signup Action

  • What: What are your users doing after they submit a signup form?
  • Why: Are they continuing to explore the site? Navigating to the donation page? Visiting your social media channels? Many of our thank you pages encourage our visitors to perform actions like the ones above, so analyzing that behavior can be a great way to track user trends and further retain highly engaged visitors.

What to Track: Your Donation Page

User Flow

  • What: Where were they before they donated?
  • Why: Are 50% of your donors coming from email and only 5% from Twitter? If you know where the majority of your donors came from, you can invest your time and resources in putting out more donation appeals or purchasing ads on those channels.

Donation Source

  • What: What page they’re donating on.
  • Why: If your site has more than one donation page (perhaps for a campaign or just to increase donation rates), understanding where a donor gave is critical for allocating funds, determining the success of a campaign, or even A/B testing donation page designs or content.

Form Abandonment

  • What: When exactly did your prospective donors leave the donation process and not convert? Did they leave the form after a certain field? Did they stop between step 2 and 3?
  • Why: Not everyone gives. Knowing exactly where a user left the process can help us understand why. Perhaps your form includes too many fields? Could removing the non-essentials simplify the process and increase a visitor’s likelihood to give? When redesigning a client’s donation page last year, we cut the number of fields in half and saw the number of completed donations skyrocket.

Field Values

  • What: Tracking the options a user selects in the donation process in relationship to their conversion rate. For example, if you offer 5 preconfigured donation amounts you might track which option each user selects.
  • Why: What options a user selects can help us to understand what type of donors are most likely to give (monthly/single, high or low donation amount, etc). This can help you make decisions like changing the available donation amount buttons, making the monthly donation option easier to select, and so on.

 

Lesson learned: data is your friend. But in the end, it’s what you do with that data that really matters. By tracking the nitty gritty of how visitors interact with your website, your organization can make smarter, data-informed decisions and figure out how to make your website work for you.

About the Author
Josh Einbinder
Josh Einbinder is a Senior Strategist at Brick Factory. He leads our cross-functional team of developers, designers, and content creators through the web design and development process.