Non-Profit Web Relevance: Day 1

I’m sure that a lot of you out there are old brick and mortar .com enthusiasts and are pining for the ‘good  ‘ol days’ of the internet experience.  What ever happened to the days of the simple .com website experience?  If you build it, they will come – and all that.  Those days are long gone my friend and I think you know that too.  Now it seems like your potential consumers expect to interact with you in totally new and different ways.  And to make matters worse, it seems like there is a technology du jour that you have to not only understand but stay on top of.

Well, in today’s blog I intend to walk you through the high level effort necessary to figure out who your customers are and how they want to interact with you.

Step #1 – Know Your Demographics

audienceHow many of you know, off the top of your head how many visitors your site gets in a given day?  What about their average visit duration?  And how about what your hot paths are through your site?  If you know these things off the top of your head you are doing well. If, on the off chance, you don’t know these details then it sounds like you need a good log analyzer implemented for your non-profit website pronto.  Then, once its installed an operational study it… genuflect its direction daily… and memorize the contents immediately.  Without a basic understanding of your site’s visitor habits there is no way you are going to move into the new digital age successfully.

If you are already in the hole with the above questions do not fret.  Google Analytics is here to save the day for you.  Google Analytics is a free tool that will revolutionize the way you see your site.  Its easy to install and is infinitely customizable.  There was a day (not to long ago) when web analytics meant  30 to 50k in WebTrends licensing.  This just isn’t so anymore.  And even the big dogs within the Christian non-profit community are leaving the costly web analytic options towards the more robust Google Analytics offerings.  So, go get you some Google Analytics and report back after you’ve successfully set it up and after you’ve memorized said data re: your influential interweb site.

Now for the extra credit questions,  what about your site visitor’s more intimate demographics?  Do you know your visitor’s average age?     Or better yet, what is your site’s male/female ratio?  Their average education level?  How technically savvy are they?  “FOUL!” – I hear you crying.  And with these questions we’ve moved from the remedial to the Doctorate Level questions.  But this isn’t just bonus point material, it is in these details that you will move into the land of the relevant.  So how does when dial in your constituents to this level of detail?

Step #2 – Get Technographic

audience2 Have you heard of the term – technographic?  No, its not a new type of dance music style or a television standard.  Basically “technographic” is an analysis tool that allows you to identify and profile the characteristics and behaviors of your constituents through the process of market segmentation.  So, a technographic survey will allow you to get a handle on your constituents and what they are all about. Forrester has this AMAZING tool that details out general technographic survey information that will give you the beginnings of a feel as to what your constituents are all about.  Have a go with it and I will discuss it in more detail below:

So, if you’ve kicked the tires you will quickly see that the tool breaks out your constituents into the following segments:  1. Inactives 2. Spectators  3. Joiners  4.  Collectors  5.  Critics  and 6.  Creators.  These segments correlate with how your constituents will interact with you from within the Web2.0 sphere.  Knowing your constituencies propensity to engage will tell you significant detail about where you need to be going to engage with them.  For example, if your non-profit company is based in Korea – then dude – you’ve got to get moving in the social scene because you are way late.  But if you are based out of Australia or certain countries in Europe – it may be ok that you haven’t taken the leap in this space yet.  So play with this tool and get a feel for what your hypothetical constituency might look like.

Step #3 – Get Personal

audience3And while this tool is a good overview to the general technographics it isn’t going to be a mirror of your constituency obviously.  So how does one move from a generic understanding to a very specific and detailed view? Here’s a tip – what if you were to just ask them? Sure, you could engage Forrester or Gartner to ask them for you – but I’m betting you don’t have that kind of cash lying around or under the cushions of your sofa. So, just ask them.

Any data you get is better than no data. Obviously you’d like to move from the realm of the anecdotal to scientifically rigorous. But right now I’m thinking you don’t know anything about your on-line constituency… or even worse, you THINK you know but you really don’t. So, setup a list of technological questions you would like to know and send it out to a sampling of your constituency. Obviously ask basic demographic information and then dial in on their computer and web usage. Ask them their preferred communication methods (email, facebook, twitter, etc) ask them their average per day internet usage. You are getting the drift. And then, ask them again in a 6 months or a year. Its going to change – but where and how much is anyone’s guess.

Next time we will talk about how to utilize this information once you have it. Good luck gathering your data! Please don’t hesitate to let me know where I’m missing it!!