Growing Their Base – Seeing Results
The American Farm Bureau Federation (fb.org) came to us years ago with a challenge not unlike that of many organizations. While they had an advocacy platform in place, they were seeing steady or even diminishing results when it came to participation. Staff would spend time crafting an on point message only to see the open rate of the email hover below normal with click-thrus and interaction even lower.
In short, AFBF needed a new direction. A way to educate and engage users so that when a call-to-action went out, stakeholders were ready – and in some cases had already taken action because they knew about it ahead of time.
Success came in the form of a new microsite, a site separate from their every day that focused efforts on building AFBF as the trustworthy thought leader in the arena. Leveraging external content alongside internal whitepapers, fact sheets, commentary and more, AFBF opened avenues not only into their current membership, but also into a larger public that was outside their typical user base. The idea was simple, provide a source of information, commentary and actionable items that give folks a clear next step – and do so in a visually-engaging, easy to navigate way.
The AFBF’s goals (they may look familiar):
- Drive Stakeholder Education
- Foster Engagement
- Build Trust in the “brand” while establishing the group as the thought leader
- In the end, drive results
How did we realize success?
- Intelligently-Filtered Fully-Licensed Dynamic Content
Everyday the site is populated with content culled and filtered from ~4500 sources across the country. We’re not talking about including an RSS feed from Google or elsewhere that links you back to the original, we’re talking the full-text of news stories from sources such as the Washington Post, New York Times as well as in-depth Capitol Hill coverage from CQ Roll Call.
- Quality Internal Content
Imagine leveraging your organization’s whitepapers, responses, infographics and more along side the latest Roll Call story on your issue. That’s exactly what the Farm Bureau is doing daily on their site. By including their own content alongside trusted authoritative content from across the web, they’re building trust and thought leadership as they respond and address issues on a daily basis
- Telling a Story
No longer is it acceptable to put up a 10 page PDF and hope that users get through it. (Why did folks think it was ever acceptable?) Through a clear, simple and easily approachable design, the Farm Bureau has made their issues approachable, easily digestible to both farmers and ranchers and the general public alike.
- Clear Next Steps
One thing you’ll always notice on the FBACT Insider is the lack of an end point. Whether it be a call to action or the quick availability of a whitepaper, the user always has a next step. This is key, always provide that user with an option for a next step. You’ll be surprised at how many take it.
In short, the AFBF has seen an increase in leaps-and-bounds in users, time on site and pages per visit. The proof is in the pudding as users come back time and again to read and study the latest on the issues. We’ve taken the superficial user and provided a path for them to become engaged, and more often than not, that user has gone above and beyond our ask.