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Three easy ways to turn anonymous website visitors into engaged subscribers

Whether it’s website content, online forms or digital services, if you aren’t converting browsers into engaged audiences members, you are missing out. In our previous blog post, “Build your audience first: 7 ways to grow your reach for greater impact,” we outlined seven easy and efficient ideas for making the most of your digital communication channels and expanding your organization’s reach. Let’s take a closer look at the first idea—optimizing government websites and portals—and break it down further.

iStock_000055537110_LargeYou’ve seen the numbers. You know that your agency’s website is getting hundreds or even thousands of unique visitors every day, and yet the number of people returning, watching your videos, taking your online courses or leveraging your best resources may not be as high as you’d like – so what gives? Many government organizations are investing more time and resources into creating dynamic, engaging websites, which is a good first step toward attracting new audiences. But it’s important to remember that building a great website is only that: a step. In order to leverage your website’s power to its full potential and convert those anonymous visitors into an engaged audience whom you can create an ongoing relationship with, you have to go a bit further. The best way to do this is by repeatedly offering those visitors with opportunities to sign up for updates based on their interests.

Luckily, there are a few extremely effective methods you can start implementing right now, and we can help!

1: Get their attention

An email address is valuable, so more and more organizations at all levels are leveraging light window overlays to capture browsers with an attention-grabbing prompt. You can see a few examples here. This tactic isn’t new, it’s been driving numbers for the private sector for years and is quickly gaining popularity among the public sector. Speaking of numbers, here’s an impressive one: according to a 2012 GovDelivery client study, government organizations that used a light window overlay on their websites saw between 250% and 500% growth in the number of subscribers to their digital communications. Simple, unobtrusive overlays that display to first-time visitors only are easy to create, customizable, and drive dramatic results.

2: Increase subscription visibility

 Email subscription boxes are another great tool for increasing sign-ups, but it’s essential that they’re placed in the right position on your website. First, make sure they stand out! If boxes are merged into the site design, social media resources area or search bar, visitors can easily over look them. Second, don’t bury boxes at the bottom of the site, place them “above the fold” so visitors can see them right away without having to scroll. Third, utilize the high-interest real estate on your site, like areas where you get the most click activity.

3: Include sign-up opportunities on contact forms

 Contact forms are one of the most visited but often overlooked pages on government websites. When users are already engaged with contact forms or other submission materials on your website, it’s a perfect opportunity to harness that engagement and turn it into subscriptions. Simply including a checkbox offering the ability to opt-in to interest-based updates on your contact forms is a great way to build your base.

Want to know more ways to grow your reach? Check out last week’s post, “Build your audience first: 7 ways to grow your reach for greater impact,” and stay tuned as we delve deeper into each strategy!