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WP_Query Object ( [query] => Array ( [name] => understanding-and-optimizing-the-grassroots-funnel [post_type] => resources [resource-type] => info ) [query_vars] => Array ( [name] => understanding-and-optimizing-the-grassroots-funnel [post_type] => resources [resource-type] => info [error] => [m] => [p] => 0 [post_parent] => [subpost] => [subpost_id] => [attachment] => [attachment_id] => 0 [pagename] => [page_id] => 0 [second] => [minute] => [hour] => [day] => 0 [monthnum] => 0 [year] => 0 [w] => 0 [category_name] => [tag] => [cat] => [tag_id] => [author] => [author_name] => [feed] => [tb] => [paged] => 0 [meta_key] => [meta_value] => [preview] => [s] => [sentence] => [title] => [fields] => [menu_order] => [embed] => [category__in] => Array ( ) [category__not_in] => Array ( ) [category__and] => Array ( ) [post__in] => Array ( ) [post__not_in] => Array ( ) [post_name__in] => Array ( ) [tag__in] => Array ( ) [tag__not_in] => Array ( ) [tag__and] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__in] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__and] => Array ( ) [post_parent__in] => Array ( ) [post_parent__not_in] => Array ( ) [author__in] => Array ( ) [author__not_in] => Array ( ) [ignore_sticky_posts] => [suppress_filters] => [cache_results] => 1 [update_post_term_cache] => 1 [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1 [update_post_meta_cache] => 1 [posts_per_page] => 10 [nopaging] => [comments_per_page] => 50 [no_found_rows] => [order] => DESC ) [tax_query] => [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( ) [relation] => [meta_table] => [meta_id_column] => [primary_table] => [primary_id_column] => [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( ) [clauses:protected] => Array ( ) [has_or_relation:protected] => ) [date_query] => [queried_object] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 5779 [post_author] => 12 [post_date] => 2021-10-14 12:45:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-10-14 12:45:40 [post_content] => Theresa Hebert: So today we're here to talk about understanding and optimizing the grassroots funnel. In my role, as Director of Communications at Quorum over the past four years, I've gotten the chance to talk to a lot of clients and others in the public affairs space about their best practices and writing case studies, and writing blogs, and writing webinars. I've gotten to speak to lots of you, probably on this call about what makes you all successful. And through those experiences, I've put together this presentation about how you can take folks who may not be aware of your organization and turn them into active and frequent advocates. So your role as grassroots professionals with the end goal of impacting policy is to get as many of the right advocates as you can to take action again and again. And what I mean by right advocates is going to be different for everyone. For some organizations, this means advocates who work in a particular industry or live in a particular region. For others it's absolutely anyone in the United States you can get to agree with your stance and take action. In a lot of ways, advocacy is similar to marketing. And in marketing, we have this concept of the funnel. In both cases, we're trying to drive some sort of action. In marketing, it's getting someone to buy something, whether that's a product, a subscription, or a service. In grassroots, it's getting people to sign up for and act in your campaigns. So in both cases, we're presented with a similar challenge. How do we get as many of the right people as possible to participate? We want volume of actions and quality of actions. So what do we do to drive that number higher? We use a funnel. The funnel represents a series of stages that gradually filter down to getting the right customers, or in your case, advocates, to convert on your desired action. We use these stages in marketing. First is awareness—making folks aware of your brand. You get yourself in front of them through a variety of channels, like Google, events, social media, advertising, whatever it takes to reach a wide audience. Then we move into interest. You take the folks who saw your awareness ads and then add to that by making them aware of your basic offerings and why you stand out from the crowd. After that is consideration. You introduced them to how your offerings would solve a pain point and fit into their day, to their job, or whatever it may be. Then there's decision. The step that pushes them over the edge to pick you and take the desired action, marketing being purchasing. Then there's retention. Once someone has decided to buy your product or use your service, how do you keep them as a happy customer? Then finally expansion. Once they bought one product or service, how do we get them to do more, buy more products and more users, whatever it may be? Now at each stage, some folks fall out of the sales process. Sometimes that's because they should, they're the wrong type of customer. But other times when they shouldn't, they fall out because we've done something that should be improved. We've made the process too confusing, too complicated, left out key information, or some other challenge. And so we optimize. We look for ways to improve each stage to make sure that more of the right people get through the funnel. So this is what the advocacy funnel looks like. We take those same stages from marketing but tweak them to what it means for your audience. So in awareness, for this case, you make your target audience aware of your organization and the policy issues that you care about. Again, you're getting in front of them through a variety of channels like Google or social media advertising. Then in interest, you're moving from just name recognition and issue association to positioning. Where does your organization stand on the issues and why should someone align with that position? The third is consideration. We want to get them to take a preliminary action, like sign up for your email list or sign up for a webinar. Then there's decision. This is the one that we're most familiar with, where we push them over the edge to take the action of participating in your campaign. Whether that's writing a letter to their member of Congress, calling their governor, or signing a petition. In this case, retention for grassroots means someone has taken action on their first campaign, and you get them to come back again and again for future campaigns. And then expansion. Once they've taken that first kind of simple actions— writing a letter— how do we get them to do things more advanced, participate in a fly-in or attended an in-person meeting in the district. So when looking at the funnel, the overall metric we care about is conversion rate. For each stage of all the people in this stage, how many people do we pass to the next one? Imagine for the sake of this example, there are a hundred thousand potential advocates out there who could take action on your campaign. At each stage folks drop out— either they didn't agree with your stance, they weren't convinced of the importance of your campaign, or whatever it may be. So with the conversion rates, from the example on the previous slide, we ended up with 500 total advocates as folks narrow down through each stage. Now, if we optimize the conversion rate, we take the conversion from 35% to 40% from consideration to decision. And how would that change our output? If we optimize and improve that just by 5% leaving all else the same, we ended up with 50 additional advocates. That's 50 additional letters to members of Congress, potentially 50 additional members of the house or state legislators who hear from your organization. Now, imagine if you were able to have that kind of optimization in every stage. You'd be able to increase that bottom line number even more. One caveat I do want to give to this is for folks who are at corporations or associations. There are some pros to this. When you're at a corporation or association, you might have an easier time moving people through the funnel because they already have familiarity with your brand. You also are going to have some unique channels where you can talk to them, like in the workplace in person or in the emails that you send through your employee communications. But on the other hand, there might be some cons to being in these organizations. If your advocacy campaigns are limited to just your employees or just your members, you can't add more advocates at the top. And so those conversion rates become even more important because there's a ceiling to how many people can participate. So just want to caveat that for these kinds of organizations, if you do have a limited pool, there's going to be some nuance to each of these stages. How do we optimize? What are the processes and steps that we can take to get more people from the top, through the bottom of the funnel? Let's start with the awareness and interest stages. We have combined these because while the content is different, the channels and the ways you optimize are pretty similar. So at the awareness stage, again, you're trying to build name and issue recognition. Some of the things that you can create to do that, resources that you can share, what is your policy issue? How does your policy issue impact a particular audience? What are five things to know about policy issue that everyone should read? What's going on in current events that impact that policy issue? So again, just introducing people to that topic. And that your organization should be associated with it. As we move into interest, we go a step farther. Why does your organization stand for this issue? How a certain outcome would impact the audience? Why the counter stance is wrong for that issue? So with those types of content, how do we get it in front of our audience? There are a few different channels that we can think about. And the important thing about this is because we're still at these early stages of the funnel, we don't have their contact information yet. So we have to meet them where they are and insert ourselves into their behaviors because they're not yet coming to you looking to participate. So here are some channels you can use. One is advertising— put ads online on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, news sites, Google. Put ads out of home like billboards and bus stops or posters in a coffee shop or old-fashioned print newspapers. Even use social media with a social media presence that you can expose your brand to new audiences. If you use hashtags to get in the feeds of new followers or post engaging content that your existing followers will retweet so that it gets in front of new advocates. You can think about earned media, pitch your story to the press for a profile or present your leadership at your organization as subject matter experts so that you are in the news and being in front of those new advocates Partnerships— find related organizations that align with your issues and get in front of their audiences, their events, or their content. And then finally influencers. If you joined Cicely's session yesterday, she talked about industry influencers, but who are the people that your audience looks up to that may be able to get them engaged in your content? What does conversion look like at these stages? It's brand and issue recall. If someone is presented with your organization's logo, will they have that association with the issues that you care about? An advanced way of measuring this would be through a survey through a market research survey of brand awareness. Now that can be difficult or expensive. So another way that you can know that you're making an impact at these stages is through the performance of your content. So using tools like Google Analytics to know how many clicks you're getting, where those clicks are coming from, can let you know what kind of volume and impact your content is. How do we optimize that content? How do we get more people from those first stages through the funnel? And the way to do it at this stage is personalization. You want to tailor your channels and your messaging to your audiences. First, you can personalize your content to your advocate persona. Let's take education policy for an example. Your ideal advocates may include teachers, parents, and students. While your policies impact each of these groups, the messaging for why they should care about the issue may be different. So create content that's narrowly tailored. Then personalize your channels. Use different channels to distribute content to each unique audience. So students may engage more with influencers on Instagram while teachers read industry journals, parents engage on Facebook. Finally, consider using mediums like video and podcasting. According to Buffer, a social media platform videos on Facebook get 59% more engagement than other types of posts. Then as you get more advanced, you can add even more layers of personalization or narrow to more niche categories. So if we keep with this education policy example, you could take the category of teachers and personalize a step further with unique messaging for STEM teachers versus history and literature teachers. Or you could take the category of other school staff and narrow it to principals just because they're the most engaged in your content. So this is all to say that there is a lot of room for optimization here. And as your team grows and how advanced you are, you can keep getting more and more specific. So there's continuous room for improvement. Now I want to show a quick clip from Rebecca Steele at last year's Wonk Week about how Toyota uses advocate personas to think about their campaigns. Rebecca Steele (via 2020 webinar): I think really by there's no one size fits all approach, but you also have to do what's reasonable, right? Like it's maybe not reasonable to write out separate emails to go to the salespeople and then wants to go to the R & D people depending on the issue. So how we bucketed it based on bandwidth and where we felt that we could get the most like juice for the squeeze, is looking at big pillars of stakeholders. So we have our dealers, Toyota dealers cause they're their own companies. We have a business relationship with them. Then we have our suppliers. So the people who build everything from big head units that go into our car to like the glues and the tubes and the pastes and everything that goes in. And then we have our employees. And so communicating why something's good for Toyota. It's going to, if it's good for Toyota, it's generally good for those three different groups, but it might be good for different reasons. And when you're talking to a supplier, there may be different issues that you want to highlight about how it impacted their supply chain versus what you want to talk about to an employee. Like in an example of tariffs, we had a big advocacy campaign to raise awareness of if there was a proposed tariff on automobiles, how that would hurt the US auto industry, and communicating that across the different pillars in those different advocacy groups is really important. And we wanted to think about how we made sure that fit in with. Theresa Hebert: So that's just a concrete example of how Toyota is taking this approach, that the different segments of your audience are going to respond to your content differently. And so tailoring what you send them and what you share with them and how you share it will help you get more people engaged. So that brings us to the consideration stage. This is where you have a preliminary action that indicates a higher level of interest from the potential advocate. At the consideration stage, your goal is advocate acquisition, capturing their contact information, and adding names to your advocate database. By getting them to take a preliminary action that gives you contact information, you'll be able to communicate with them on a regular cadence to push further down the funnel towards action. There are a few types of content that can achieve this goal. First, a newsletter subscription. You can sell the newsletter itself as content that will be relevant and interesting to them. Talk about what kind of content you share and why they should want to read it. And maybe if there's something exclusive, only readers of the newsletter can access particular events or webinars. You could create some downloadable content, like a report. And by downloading, they become a subscriber to your email list. Or you could host an event or a webinar and then enrolling attendees in your newsletter, whatever way that you use to get someone to fill out a form, then you should be adding them into your email list so that you can continue to communicate with them. Because prior to this stage, you still don't have that contact information, a lot of the channels are going to carry over from the awareness and interest stage into this consideration stage. It's not until after consideration that we'll start getting some more specific channels because we do have their email addresses where we can get in touch with them more directly. So what does conversion look like at the consideration stage? The end goal at this stage is to have as many qualified advocates sign up for your newsletter as possible. A metric you can look at to know how you're doing is the conversion rate of your forms. Again, using tools like Google Analytics and Quorum, of all the people who saw the form on your website, how many actually filled it? So what can we do to improve that rate? How can we improve the number of people who fill out the form once they land on it? There are two key points here. The first is to be conscious of form length. The second is using Facebook or LinkedIn lead ads. So when I say, be conscious of form length, generally shorter is better, but there's some nuance to that. If you don't need a field, think critically about what information you actually are going to use once you collect it. If there is something that you would really like to know, but it's not going to be the end of the world, if you don't have it, you can make that optional. Then consider adding fields if they'll improve the advocate experience. Some examples of fields that you might add might be the top issues that advocate is interested in. Like you see in this YMCA example from a Quorum landing page. Opt into texting. If you think you're going to use grassroots texting later in the process, you want to make sure that you follow all of the regulations on making sure you do that in the right way. You could include job title if that's going to be relevant to which campaign they participate in, or some other type of advocate title, for example, if they are an association member or if they're a consumer in that industry. The second is Facebook and LinkedIn lead ads. So, a lead ad is basically an ad that's on Facebook or LinkedIn or Instagram, where that advocate can fill out the form without ever leaving LinkedIn and Facebook. So it's meeting them where they are rather than forcing them to go to a new website. And there are integrations with their Facebook contact information. So it's really easy to fill out the form. And in Quorum, we actually integrate this process so that you can pipe the information that you get from the lead ad straight into your advocate database. So this reduces friction, so they don't have to jump to a new site and their information is stored in Facebook and can auto-fill that. This brings us to the decision stage. You've gotten their email address. You've talked to them about the issues. Now it's pushing them over the edge, get them to take the desired action, participation in a campaign. So you want them to write a letter, to make a phone call, to post a message on social media, but you need to teach them how to do this and explain to them why they should do this in order to push them over the edge. So really there are two buckets of content we're thinking about here first being the why. Change in policy to any level of government can be daunting, so we need to teach them why the act of making a phone call or sending a letter is going to help move the needle. So some examples of what you could create is a summary of what's happening in Congress now that makes action urgent. Maybe it's examples of past campaigns your team has run to give proof of the concept of advocacy and that you can have an impact on. Maybe it's including profiles of influential legislators so that advocates in their district know that their actions personally are going to have weight because their representative has an above-average influence on a given issue. And then you want to think about content that explains how to take action. Engaging in the policy process as a constituent is confusing. Government websites are confusing and processes can be archaic. Many Americans don't know who represents them in Congress or state legislatures. It's even more likely they've never called or written them before your campaign. So in addition to creating content to explain why they need to participate, create content that lowers the barrier to action for actually doing it. Some examples that we've seen of this from clients is folks have used videos embedded in their action center that walks through where they need to click and what they need to do so that they can see that as a tutorial before they do it. We've had organizations who teach them how to decide what to say in their letter or call or tweet and using infographics to make that information more digestible throughout the process. And what's great about using the Action Center in Quorum is you can actually embed these side by side within your action center so that it's all living in one place. So I got a bit ahead of myself, but the channels where you can share this content or your newsletter. So because they're enrolled in that email, you can share the content of the why and the how in the newsletter itself, then use the CTA button in your email to push them to the campaign. Or you can embed your videos, your podcasts, your blogs, right into your action center so it's all in one window. The conversion rate at this stage is the most straightforward of all. Of the people in your advocate database, how many people took action in your campaign? So that'll give you your conversion rate percentage of that campaign. So this stage, because the conversion rate is the most straightforward. You have this access to the contact information for your advocates. We have a lot of room for optimization here. So these are a few strategies I'm going to take a few minutes to walk through. First, we can segment our audience by issue preference. So like we talked about earlier in the consideration stage, if you collected that information on which of your organization's issues they're most interested in, you can then segment your campaign emails and only send out to the advocates who care about that issue. While on the surface, this seems like it would decrease the number of potential actions because you're sending your campaigns to fewer people, it can actually have a positive effect because you won't overload advocates with information they aren't interested in. And when you do email them, there'll be more likely to take notice. The advocates who didn't pick this as the issue they were interested in probably weren't going to take action anyway, so this strategy will reduce email fatigue amongst your advocates. So you can see here, this is a strategy that the Association of Equipment Manufacturers took by adding a drop-down to their registration form on this advocacy website, they build with Quorum to select which issues that those folks were most interested in learning more about. Then you can be strategic with your email, subject lines, and centers to optimize your email open rates. Now, this is a step above the conversion rate of the campaign, but if you improve how many people open and click your emails, you'll improve the number of people who even get to your campaign landing page. So as you can see from these three scenarios, improving either the open rate or the click rate will help more advocates make it through to your campaign. Some of the ways that you can do this. So one think about who is sending your emails. If your CEO is a really high profile figure, maybe consider using their name and in Quorum, you can do that where you can send " from" a particular name. But you, as the advocacy team, can write the emails, can click, send, can manage the replies. If you're an association, maybe it's having the head of office from the individual member organizations rather than coming from the association will drive more opens. Consider using a free tool, like emailsubjectlinegrader.com to know if your subject lines are going to capture people's attention. This is a tool we use ourselves on the marketing team where you just copy and paste your subject line. They'll tell you how good it is based on length, based on keywords that drive action for your click rates. Consider A/B testing the language you use on buttons or links. You can check out yesterday's Wonk Week session with Beth Long, and Jessica Pugel and how they run AB testing Quorum, then observe trends in your open and click rates to see what's working and iterate on that because a small change in those email and open rates can have a big impact on the number of actions that you end up. Here's an example of how NAMI, the National Alliance of Mental Illness improved their open rates by sending from their CEO and using personalization features from Quorum Outbox. Jessica Hart, the Senior Manager of Field Advocacy shared that she utilized plain text from an actual person. So so people would receive an email from our CEO appealing to them personally. People felt more engaged because we put information specific to their home state. And there were replies to the emails in addition to taking action. Our advocates open emails more frequently when it was directly addressed them like Alicia, please reach out to Senator so and so." By using a tool like Quorum where your email tool is embedded in the same system as your contact database you can really easily pull these details about an advocate into an email and send them in mass. Another step that you can take to improve the number of folks who complete an action in a campaign is to make your messages editable, but make that editing optional. Legislators share that they prefer to receive personal messages from advocates but that can be daunting to force, to put an advocate in the position to look at a blank page and write a letter. So let's hear from the folks at End Rape on Campus how they solved this barrier using quorum for a comment on a regulation campaign. Phoebe Suva (via 2019 video): In the form itself who made a mad-libs style template on the outline so that you can plug in their own information, tell their story in the way they wanted to. And it, I think made it less overwhelming. So if one or two parts of the rule they wanted to talk about that they felt important. I'm going to give them the sentence starters. They really just have to plug in their information B. Ever Hanna (via 2019 video): All regulatory departments look for unique comments that say something that's really substantive, but has a lot of data and information and is different than all the other comments before it. So a problem that we've seen other campaigns fall into is that we post like a draft comment that people can just sign and submit. All of those count. Theresa Hebert: So End Rape on Campus, they added sentence starters and sections into their pre-drafted message and noted where advocates could fill it in so it was less daunting to complete that step. And in the end, they were able to get 6,000 comments on that campaign amongst an audience of advocates who were not used to taking part in this process and it was very new to them. So this was really successful for them. The next thing that you can do to improve conversion at the decision stage is to gamify content consumption. If your grassroots software has gamification like Quorum, you can assign points to taking certain actions. And traditionally folks think about assigning points to actions like writing a letter, but we found that the best teams actually also assigned points to things that better prepare their advocates to take action, like watching videos or taking surveys or reading. So by getting them to engage with your content, they'll be more likely to buy into the need to act in the campaign itself. So when the Association of Equipment Manufacturers used this strategy, 82% of advocates who read or engage with their content ended up taking action in the campaign. And then outbound texting. So this is another way to get advocates' attention the campaign has launched that they should be participating in. And again, this is where you have to think ahead to make sure that you took all the steps during earlier stages to legally be able to send them text messages. But this is a really good strategy for conversion because 98% of text messages get read 95%, get read within five minutes of receiving them. How many of you can think of getting a text on your phone, you don't ignore them. It buzzes, it beeps and you open it 98% of the time. And so advocates, in the same way, this is a great way to get their attention. I'm going to take a question while we're at this stage from the chat. Any tips for grassroots advocacy, with an older membership of advocates? Some of them have a hard time navigating websites and online tools. Definitely. So one thing I'll say. That your action center can be as advanced or as simplistic as you want it to be. And so for that audience, having all of the content on one screen might be daunting and it might be better to make your form front and center with fewer steps in order to improve the adoption of that. So that's where really knowing who your advocate personas are, is going to make a difference. The strategies that you adopted, the way you adopt them is going to vary based on who your target audience is. So that's one way. Another way is that we have seen folks actually set up their campaigns at in-person events. So the Association of Equipment Manufacturers actually set up their campaign as a booth at a conference a few weeks back as their industry has gone back to in-person events. So obviously that's a little bit up in the air as COVID progresses or changes but if there is a setting where you can meet your team in person, and you have your advocates who are gathering in one place, that can be another way to help ease the process for folks who maybe aren't as savvy with texting and gamification in some of those more advanced steps. Apart from email, do you have experience with WhatsApp groups seems like the go-to app for political campaigns in countries like Brazil and India? That's not something I've personally spoken to any clients or folks in the industry about and so I'm not as familiar with the technical steps that would be needed to execute a campaign with WhatsApp. You could certainly be sharing links to your campaign through text and using things like Bitly or other tools that allow you to shorten links might be a good way to be able to quickly text that through WhatsApp. But it is important to, it's great that you know your advocates are in WhatsApp. And so that's the place that you should be looking to make an impact is wherever you can meet them. So the next strategy that I want to talk about for incentivizing optimization or for bringing optimization in the decision stage is with competition. So the clip I'm going to show you is from IHRSA which represents the fitness industry. They use a dashboard in Quorum to stir up some competition among their advocates to drive more action. So this is Jake Landry, the Public Policy Assistant at IHRSA. Jake Landry (via 2021 webinar): We have something that we found really helpful. And it was specific to our industry where we got the idea, but it could be applied to really any industry is that gym owners are naturally competitive people because they're obviously into sports and athleticism and really want to be the best they can possibly be and work on themselves. So we broke down the race for co-sponsors essentially into, at different states and said, okay, New Jersey, can you get more co-sponsors more quickly than Illinois and California? Can you get more cosponsors more quickly than New York? And we were able to really use the dashboard to break it down by grassroots actions sent by state, be ready to put it on a map that was color-coded. And we were able to really show also co-sponsors by states. And that competitiveness really was the hook and got a lot of people. And a lot of people were really excited about getting involved, which is not something we've seen in the past. Theresa Hebert: So the way that they did this is they created this dashboard in Quorum that had all the different stats. They wanted to know what sponsors and co-sponsors had signed on, which states were driving the most action, which states were represented by a sponsor or co-sponsor and they made this dashboard public, so it was a link that they could share with their members to consistently check back on that leaderboard sentiment that they created. The dashboards auto-updating, so when someone new signed as a co-sponsor, someone new took an action that dashboard was a live feed into where they stood on this bill. And so it was a great way for advocates to both compete against their colleagues in the industry and see that their actions were making an impact. So if you check-in and see that there are 10 sponsors on one day and a week later, there are 20 sponsors that can be motivating to continue to take action. And Jake talks about this being you being special to the fitness industry because of that sense of competition. It's a sentiment we've heard from other industries as well, especially association members where you know who your colleagues are in the association, the other organizations. And so that interest in beating your colleagues in this kind of fun competition resonates beyond just the fitness and sports industries. At this stage, we have gotten them to finally take the action we were looking for. But as you all know campaigns are not always time-contained policy. Sometimes policies need campaigns running for a long time as a bill moves slowly. And some of you are in industries that have legislation all the time popping up that you need to react to. So it's not just enough to get someone to take action. So how do we retain them and get them to come back after they took that first action. The metric that we want to look at here is the average number of actions per advocate. So how can we drag that number up so that your advocates don't take just one, but they can take 2, 3, 4, 5 actions over time? And one of the most successful things we've seen here again is gamification, but with tiers and prizes. So this is from Toyota where they created this ninja tier system based on their Toyota branding. And. As you gain more points, you can move up in levels of ninja status. And so if you come and take one action, that's great. You're going to be a first-level wannabe ninja. But once you're a wannabe ninja, you really want to be a master ninja. And so it takes coming back and engaging with new content, engaging with new campaigns in order to move up those levels. And you'll see, each of those levels is associated with prizes and in Toyota sake, not all the prizes are really expensive and flashy it's things like stickers and t-shirts. Other organizations have taken different approaches with raffles, with the opportunity to participate in fly-ins. There are lots of different ways that you can take this to your system and this prize system across different budgets and levels of sophistication, but they found that this was really successful at bringing advocates back again and again. And then finally the expansion stage. You have gotten those advocates who feel like they've built a muscle of taking action on your write-a-letter campaigns, on your call campaigns. Now you want to push them to step it up a notch and take higher-value actions like a fly-in, a site visit, an in-district meeting. So the way that we think about doing that is to build almost a scorecard system to identify which advocates are best suited to these activities. All of these things on the screen, here are things you can find in your advocate database with a system like Quorum based on the steps you've taken in prior stages, looking at things like which advocates have taken the most actions, which advocates have earned the most points if you're using gamification. which have the highest priority job titles if you collected that in your registration forms or which live in districts with your key legislator. If you're an organization where your fly-ins are highly selective you might create a robust scoring system that incorporates these qualities. If you're less strict and you are open to inviting lots of folks to your flying, you might look at these more qualitatively to see who you should send those invitations to, but using a tool like sheets in Quorum will allow you to build out a scorecard and look at these criteria in one. So what's your metric for success? So of the advocates who fit the criteria we just discussed, how many of them actually take the action of signing up for a flying posting, an industry meeting or engaging on your behalf when they're asked? One caveat I do want to highlight overall in this process is the funnel is not always linear. Sometimes you skip steps. This was really prevalent especially during COVID when people's jobs were impacted, when their livelihoods were changed, as a result of the pandemic, they didn't need to be made aware of the issues or be convinced of the importance of policy because more than ever, they were acutely experiencing the impact that government can have on them. And so in that case, we saw campaigns where folks skip straight to consideration and decision. One of the channels we see most successful at helping people skip stages and what can help you expedite the time it takes for someone to become aware of your organization and get to that stage of taking action is referrals. I'm sure some of you who are Quorum users here today became Quorum users because you heard from a friend about their experience. Think about the restaurants you try, the products that you purchase. People are much more likely to do it when they hear from a friend. And that's the same experience that we saw with campaigns, especially during COVID-19, as folks fought for funding and things like the CARES Act. So this example from Independent Sector talks about how they had over 2000 people take action on social media to share with their networks they sent a letter to a member of Congress asking Congress to support nonprofits during the pandemic, we know that. Giving people the opportunity to share their action and social has an amplifier effect. And this was something we saw with a lot of other organizations during COVID. The Airline Pilots Association had all of their pilots tweet out the campaign after they wrote a letter so that their friends and family could participate. It's a common strategy to really quickly expand the number of folks participating in your campaigns. So that's all I have today, but before we move into question and answer for the last couple of minutes, I want to do a quick plug. My email is here. All of the stories that we've covered here today from organizations like Toyota and the Equipment Manufacturers and the YMCA and IHRSA are from opportunities that I've had and my team has had to talk to clients for case studies, for webinars, for blogs on our website. So if participating in any of these things is something you'd be interested in please send me an email and we would love to talk to you, whether it's someone who's using quorum and wants to be featured in a case study, or you want to help build your brand in the industry with a guest blog on our site, we're open to lots of ideas so please shoot me an email. The question we got, what campaign types are the easiest to participate in. We find that write-a-letter campaigns are probably the easiest. While I talked earlier about editable campaigns where advocates can write their own stories, that's certainly not a requirement. And so it's fairly easy for them to put in their information, be matched with their legislators, and click send on that letter. Something that Quorum does that make sense that action amplified without putting additional effort on the advocate is something called combined campaigns where we can match you with your representative, your Senator, your governor, your state representative, and you can send with just one click a letter to all of those people without having to go through the process four times for each particular elected official that you'd like to send it to. And while writing to Congress is still not something that advocates may be used to. Once you teach them to do that, you can then get four or five letters out of that one click, one action. So that's generally the easiest one that we see folks. Do you support grassroots actions for people who aren't in Quorum? So if you're not a Quorum user, you can definitely take action in our client's campaigns. So while you need to be a user to set up a campaign and if you click through the Hubilo platform, you can learn more about the product, you do not need to be a user to take action in those campaigns that our clients set up. So again, through the platform, we have some of our 'clients action centers for issues related to social justice that you can actually click through straight through Hubilo and see them and take action yourself. What are some key performance indicators I should track for the performance of blogs with an eye towards engagement? That's an awesome question. Traffic is obviously if you don't have traffic then the other metrics can be skewed. But beyond that for engagement, there's a couple that we really look at. First is bounce rate. So of people who land on your blog, how many of them click right off away from it? Or do they stay on the page and actually read it? In Google Analytics, you can look these up. Also things like time on site. How much time are they spending on your site? Again, are they scrolling through, are they ingesting your content or are they jumping off? And then pages per visit, are they just reading the one thing that they clicked on, or is your blog leading them to other parts of your site? So those are all statistics that we look at from an analytics perspective to see how folks are engaging. [post_title] => Understanding and Optimizing the Grassroots Funnel with Quorum's Theresa Hebert [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => understanding-and-optimizing-the-grassroots-funnel [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-10-14 12:45:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-10-14 12:45:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.quorum.us/?post_type=resources&p=5779 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [queried_object_id] => 5779 [request] => SELECT wp_posts.* FROM wp_posts WHERE 1=1 AND wp_posts.post_name = 'understanding-and-optimizing-the-grassroots-funnel' AND wp_posts.post_type = 'resources' ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC [posts] => Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 5779 [post_author] => 12 [post_date] => 2021-10-14 12:45:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-10-14 12:45:40 [post_content] => Theresa Hebert: So today we're here to talk about understanding and optimizing the grassroots funnel. In my role, as Director of Communications at Quorum over the past four years, I've gotten the chance to talk to a lot of clients and others in the public affairs space about their best practices and writing case studies, and writing blogs, and writing webinars. I've gotten to speak to lots of you, probably on this call about what makes you all successful. And through those experiences, I've put together this presentation about how you can take folks who may not be aware of your organization and turn them into active and frequent advocates. So your role as grassroots professionals with the end goal of impacting policy is to get as many of the right advocates as you can to take action again and again. And what I mean by right advocates is going to be different for everyone. For some organizations, this means advocates who work in a particular industry or live in a particular region. For others it's absolutely anyone in the United States you can get to agree with your stance and take action. In a lot of ways, advocacy is similar to marketing. And in marketing, we have this concept of the funnel. In both cases, we're trying to drive some sort of action. In marketing, it's getting someone to buy something, whether that's a product, a subscription, or a service. In grassroots, it's getting people to sign up for and act in your campaigns. So in both cases, we're presented with a similar challenge. How do we get as many of the right people as possible to participate? We want volume of actions and quality of actions. So what do we do to drive that number higher? We use a funnel. The funnel represents a series of stages that gradually filter down to getting the right customers, or in your case, advocates, to convert on your desired action. We use these stages in marketing. First is awareness—making folks aware of your brand. You get yourself in front of them through a variety of channels, like Google, events, social media, advertising, whatever it takes to reach a wide audience. Then we move into interest. You take the folks who saw your awareness ads and then add to that by making them aware of your basic offerings and why you stand out from the crowd. After that is consideration. You introduced them to how your offerings would solve a pain point and fit into their day, to their job, or whatever it may be. Then there's decision. The step that pushes them over the edge to pick you and take the desired action, marketing being purchasing. Then there's retention. Once someone has decided to buy your product or use your service, how do you keep them as a happy customer? Then finally expansion. Once they bought one product or service, how do we get them to do more, buy more products and more users, whatever it may be? Now at each stage, some folks fall out of the sales process. Sometimes that's because they should, they're the wrong type of customer. But other times when they shouldn't, they fall out because we've done something that should be improved. We've made the process too confusing, too complicated, left out key information, or some other challenge. And so we optimize. We look for ways to improve each stage to make sure that more of the right people get through the funnel. So this is what the advocacy funnel looks like. We take those same stages from marketing but tweak them to what it means for your audience. So in awareness, for this case, you make your target audience aware of your organization and the policy issues that you care about. Again, you're getting in front of them through a variety of channels like Google or social media advertising. Then in interest, you're moving from just name recognition and issue association to positioning. Where does your organization stand on the issues and why should someone align with that position? The third is consideration. We want to get them to take a preliminary action, like sign up for your email list or sign up for a webinar. Then there's decision. This is the one that we're most familiar with, where we push them over the edge to take the action of participating in your campaign. Whether that's writing a letter to their member of Congress, calling their governor, or signing a petition. In this case, retention for grassroots means someone has taken action on their first campaign, and you get them to come back again and again for future campaigns. And then expansion. Once they've taken that first kind of simple actions— writing a letter— how do we get them to do things more advanced, participate in a fly-in or attended an in-person meeting in the district. So when looking at the funnel, the overall metric we care about is conversion rate. For each stage of all the people in this stage, how many people do we pass to the next one? Imagine for the sake of this example, there are a hundred thousand potential advocates out there who could take action on your campaign. At each stage folks drop out— either they didn't agree with your stance, they weren't convinced of the importance of your campaign, or whatever it may be. So with the conversion rates, from the example on the previous slide, we ended up with 500 total advocates as folks narrow down through each stage. Now, if we optimize the conversion rate, we take the conversion from 35% to 40% from consideration to decision. And how would that change our output? If we optimize and improve that just by 5% leaving all else the same, we ended up with 50 additional advocates. That's 50 additional letters to members of Congress, potentially 50 additional members of the house or state legislators who hear from your organization. Now, imagine if you were able to have that kind of optimization in every stage. You'd be able to increase that bottom line number even more. One caveat I do want to give to this is for folks who are at corporations or associations. There are some pros to this. When you're at a corporation or association, you might have an easier time moving people through the funnel because they already have familiarity with your brand. You also are going to have some unique channels where you can talk to them, like in the workplace in person or in the emails that you send through your employee communications. But on the other hand, there might be some cons to being in these organizations. If your advocacy campaigns are limited to just your employees or just your members, you can't add more advocates at the top. And so those conversion rates become even more important because there's a ceiling to how many people can participate. So just want to caveat that for these kinds of organizations, if you do have a limited pool, there's going to be some nuance to each of these stages. How do we optimize? What are the processes and steps that we can take to get more people from the top, through the bottom of the funnel? Let's start with the awareness and interest stages. We have combined these because while the content is different, the channels and the ways you optimize are pretty similar. So at the awareness stage, again, you're trying to build name and issue recognition. Some of the things that you can create to do that, resources that you can share, what is your policy issue? How does your policy issue impact a particular audience? What are five things to know about policy issue that everyone should read? What's going on in current events that impact that policy issue? So again, just introducing people to that topic. And that your organization should be associated with it. As we move into interest, we go a step farther. Why does your organization stand for this issue? How a certain outcome would impact the audience? Why the counter stance is wrong for that issue? So with those types of content, how do we get it in front of our audience? There are a few different channels that we can think about. And the important thing about this is because we're still at these early stages of the funnel, we don't have their contact information yet. So we have to meet them where they are and insert ourselves into their behaviors because they're not yet coming to you looking to participate. So here are some channels you can use. One is advertising— put ads online on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, news sites, Google. Put ads out of home like billboards and bus stops or posters in a coffee shop or old-fashioned print newspapers. Even use social media with a social media presence that you can expose your brand to new audiences. If you use hashtags to get in the feeds of new followers or post engaging content that your existing followers will retweet so that it gets in front of new advocates. You can think about earned media, pitch your story to the press for a profile or present your leadership at your organization as subject matter experts so that you are in the news and being in front of those new advocates Partnerships— find related organizations that align with your issues and get in front of their audiences, their events, or their content. And then finally influencers. If you joined Cicely's session yesterday, she talked about industry influencers, but who are the people that your audience looks up to that may be able to get them engaged in your content? What does conversion look like at these stages? It's brand and issue recall. If someone is presented with your organization's logo, will they have that association with the issues that you care about? An advanced way of measuring this would be through a survey through a market research survey of brand awareness. Now that can be difficult or expensive. So another way that you can know that you're making an impact at these stages is through the performance of your content. So using tools like Google Analytics to know how many clicks you're getting, where those clicks are coming from, can let you know what kind of volume and impact your content is. How do we optimize that content? How do we get more people from those first stages through the funnel? And the way to do it at this stage is personalization. You want to tailor your channels and your messaging to your audiences. First, you can personalize your content to your advocate persona. Let's take education policy for an example. Your ideal advocates may include teachers, parents, and students. While your policies impact each of these groups, the messaging for why they should care about the issue may be different. So create content that's narrowly tailored. Then personalize your channels. Use different channels to distribute content to each unique audience. So students may engage more with influencers on Instagram while teachers read industry journals, parents engage on Facebook. Finally, consider using mediums like video and podcasting. According to Buffer, a social media platform videos on Facebook get 59% more engagement than other types of posts. Then as you get more advanced, you can add even more layers of personalization or narrow to more niche categories. So if we keep with this education policy example, you could take the category of teachers and personalize a step further with unique messaging for STEM teachers versus history and literature teachers. Or you could take the category of other school staff and narrow it to principals just because they're the most engaged in your content. So this is all to say that there is a lot of room for optimization here. And as your team grows and how advanced you are, you can keep getting more and more specific. So there's continuous room for improvement. Now I want to show a quick clip from Rebecca Steele at last year's Wonk Week about how Toyota uses advocate personas to think about their campaigns. Rebecca Steele (via 2020 webinar): I think really by there's no one size fits all approach, but you also have to do what's reasonable, right? Like it's maybe not reasonable to write out separate emails to go to the salespeople and then wants to go to the R & D people depending on the issue. So how we bucketed it based on bandwidth and where we felt that we could get the most like juice for the squeeze, is looking at big pillars of stakeholders. So we have our dealers, Toyota dealers cause they're their own companies. We have a business relationship with them. Then we have our suppliers. So the people who build everything from big head units that go into our car to like the glues and the tubes and the pastes and everything that goes in. And then we have our employees. And so communicating why something's good for Toyota. It's going to, if it's good for Toyota, it's generally good for those three different groups, but it might be good for different reasons. And when you're talking to a supplier, there may be different issues that you want to highlight about how it impacted their supply chain versus what you want to talk about to an employee. Like in an example of tariffs, we had a big advocacy campaign to raise awareness of if there was a proposed tariff on automobiles, how that would hurt the US auto industry, and communicating that across the different pillars in those different advocacy groups is really important. And we wanted to think about how we made sure that fit in with. Theresa Hebert: So that's just a concrete example of how Toyota is taking this approach, that the different segments of your audience are going to respond to your content differently. And so tailoring what you send them and what you share with them and how you share it will help you get more people engaged. So that brings us to the consideration stage. This is where you have a preliminary action that indicates a higher level of interest from the potential advocate. At the consideration stage, your goal is advocate acquisition, capturing their contact information, and adding names to your advocate database. By getting them to take a preliminary action that gives you contact information, you'll be able to communicate with them on a regular cadence to push further down the funnel towards action. There are a few types of content that can achieve this goal. First, a newsletter subscription. You can sell the newsletter itself as content that will be relevant and interesting to them. Talk about what kind of content you share and why they should want to read it. And maybe if there's something exclusive, only readers of the newsletter can access particular events or webinars. You could create some downloadable content, like a report. And by downloading, they become a subscriber to your email list. Or you could host an event or a webinar and then enrolling attendees in your newsletter, whatever way that you use to get someone to fill out a form, then you should be adding them into your email list so that you can continue to communicate with them. Because prior to this stage, you still don't have that contact information, a lot of the channels are going to carry over from the awareness and interest stage into this consideration stage. It's not until after consideration that we'll start getting some more specific channels because we do have their email addresses where we can get in touch with them more directly. So what does conversion look like at the consideration stage? The end goal at this stage is to have as many qualified advocates sign up for your newsletter as possible. A metric you can look at to know how you're doing is the conversion rate of your forms. Again, using tools like Google Analytics and Quorum, of all the people who saw the form on your website, how many actually filled it? So what can we do to improve that rate? How can we improve the number of people who fill out the form once they land on it? There are two key points here. The first is to be conscious of form length. The second is using Facebook or LinkedIn lead ads. So when I say, be conscious of form length, generally shorter is better, but there's some nuance to that. If you don't need a field, think critically about what information you actually are going to use once you collect it. If there is something that you would really like to know, but it's not going to be the end of the world, if you don't have it, you can make that optional. Then consider adding fields if they'll improve the advocate experience. Some examples of fields that you might add might be the top issues that advocate is interested in. Like you see in this YMCA example from a Quorum landing page. Opt into texting. If you think you're going to use grassroots texting later in the process, you want to make sure that you follow all of the regulations on making sure you do that in the right way. You could include job title if that's going to be relevant to which campaign they participate in, or some other type of advocate title, for example, if they are an association member or if they're a consumer in that industry. The second is Facebook and LinkedIn lead ads. So, a lead ad is basically an ad that's on Facebook or LinkedIn or Instagram, where that advocate can fill out the form without ever leaving LinkedIn and Facebook. So it's meeting them where they are rather than forcing them to go to a new website. And there are integrations with their Facebook contact information. So it's really easy to fill out the form. And in Quorum, we actually integrate this process so that you can pipe the information that you get from the lead ad straight into your advocate database. So this reduces friction, so they don't have to jump to a new site and their information is stored in Facebook and can auto-fill that. This brings us to the decision stage. You've gotten their email address. You've talked to them about the issues. Now it's pushing them over the edge, get them to take the desired action, participation in a campaign. So you want them to write a letter, to make a phone call, to post a message on social media, but you need to teach them how to do this and explain to them why they should do this in order to push them over the edge. So really there are two buckets of content we're thinking about here first being the why. Change in policy to any level of government can be daunting, so we need to teach them why the act of making a phone call or sending a letter is going to help move the needle. So some examples of what you could create is a summary of what's happening in Congress now that makes action urgent. Maybe it's examples of past campaigns your team has run to give proof of the concept of advocacy and that you can have an impact on. Maybe it's including profiles of influential legislators so that advocates in their district know that their actions personally are going to have weight because their representative has an above-average influence on a given issue. And then you want to think about content that explains how to take action. Engaging in the policy process as a constituent is confusing. Government websites are confusing and processes can be archaic. Many Americans don't know who represents them in Congress or state legislatures. It's even more likely they've never called or written them before your campaign. So in addition to creating content to explain why they need to participate, create content that lowers the barrier to action for actually doing it. Some examples that we've seen of this from clients is folks have used videos embedded in their action center that walks through where they need to click and what they need to do so that they can see that as a tutorial before they do it. We've had organizations who teach them how to decide what to say in their letter or call or tweet and using infographics to make that information more digestible throughout the process. And what's great about using the Action Center in Quorum is you can actually embed these side by side within your action center so that it's all living in one place. So I got a bit ahead of myself, but the channels where you can share this content or your newsletter. So because they're enrolled in that email, you can share the content of the why and the how in the newsletter itself, then use the CTA button in your email to push them to the campaign. Or you can embed your videos, your podcasts, your blogs, right into your action center so it's all in one window. The conversion rate at this stage is the most straightforward of all. Of the people in your advocate database, how many people took action in your campaign? So that'll give you your conversion rate percentage of that campaign. So this stage, because the conversion rate is the most straightforward. You have this access to the contact information for your advocates. We have a lot of room for optimization here. So these are a few strategies I'm going to take a few minutes to walk through. First, we can segment our audience by issue preference. So like we talked about earlier in the consideration stage, if you collected that information on which of your organization's issues they're most interested in, you can then segment your campaign emails and only send out to the advocates who care about that issue. While on the surface, this seems like it would decrease the number of potential actions because you're sending your campaigns to fewer people, it can actually have a positive effect because you won't overload advocates with information they aren't interested in. And when you do email them, there'll be more likely to take notice. The advocates who didn't pick this as the issue they were interested in probably weren't going to take action anyway, so this strategy will reduce email fatigue amongst your advocates. So you can see here, this is a strategy that the Association of Equipment Manufacturers took by adding a drop-down to their registration form on this advocacy website, they build with Quorum to select which issues that those folks were most interested in learning more about. Then you can be strategic with your email, subject lines, and centers to optimize your email open rates. Now, this is a step above the conversion rate of the campaign, but if you improve how many people open and click your emails, you'll improve the number of people who even get to your campaign landing page. So as you can see from these three scenarios, improving either the open rate or the click rate will help more advocates make it through to your campaign. Some of the ways that you can do this. So one think about who is sending your emails. If your CEO is a really high profile figure, maybe consider using their name and in Quorum, you can do that where you can send " from" a particular name. But you, as the advocacy team, can write the emails, can click, send, can manage the replies. If you're an association, maybe it's having the head of office from the individual member organizations rather than coming from the association will drive more opens. Consider using a free tool, like emailsubjectlinegrader.com to know if your subject lines are going to capture people's attention. This is a tool we use ourselves on the marketing team where you just copy and paste your subject line. They'll tell you how good it is based on length, based on keywords that drive action for your click rates. Consider A/B testing the language you use on buttons or links. You can check out yesterday's Wonk Week session with Beth Long, and Jessica Pugel and how they run AB testing Quorum, then observe trends in your open and click rates to see what's working and iterate on that because a small change in those email and open rates can have a big impact on the number of actions that you end up. Here's an example of how NAMI, the National Alliance of Mental Illness improved their open rates by sending from their CEO and using personalization features from Quorum Outbox. Jessica Hart, the Senior Manager of Field Advocacy shared that she utilized plain text from an actual person. So so people would receive an email from our CEO appealing to them personally. People felt more engaged because we put information specific to their home state. And there were replies to the emails in addition to taking action. Our advocates open emails more frequently when it was directly addressed them like Alicia, please reach out to Senator so and so." By using a tool like Quorum where your email tool is embedded in the same system as your contact database you can really easily pull these details about an advocate into an email and send them in mass. Another step that you can take to improve the number of folks who complete an action in a campaign is to make your messages editable, but make that editing optional. Legislators share that they prefer to receive personal messages from advocates but that can be daunting to force, to put an advocate in the position to look at a blank page and write a letter. So let's hear from the folks at End Rape on Campus how they solved this barrier using quorum for a comment on a regulation campaign. Phoebe Suva (via 2019 video): In the form itself who made a mad-libs style template on the outline so that you can plug in their own information, tell their story in the way they wanted to. And it, I think made it less overwhelming. So if one or two parts of the rule they wanted to talk about that they felt important. I'm going to give them the sentence starters. They really just have to plug in their information B. Ever Hanna (via 2019 video): All regulatory departments look for unique comments that say something that's really substantive, but has a lot of data and information and is different than all the other comments before it. So a problem that we've seen other campaigns fall into is that we post like a draft comment that people can just sign and submit. All of those count. Theresa Hebert: So End Rape on Campus, they added sentence starters and sections into their pre-drafted message and noted where advocates could fill it in so it was less daunting to complete that step. And in the end, they were able to get 6,000 comments on that campaign amongst an audience of advocates who were not used to taking part in this process and it was very new to them. So this was really successful for them. The next thing that you can do to improve conversion at the decision stage is to gamify content consumption. If your grassroots software has gamification like Quorum, you can assign points to taking certain actions. And traditionally folks think about assigning points to actions like writing a letter, but we found that the best teams actually also assigned points to things that better prepare their advocates to take action, like watching videos or taking surveys or reading. So by getting them to engage with your content, they'll be more likely to buy into the need to act in the campaign itself. So when the Association of Equipment Manufacturers used this strategy, 82% of advocates who read or engage with their content ended up taking action in the campaign. And then outbound texting. So this is another way to get advocates' attention the campaign has launched that they should be participating in. And again, this is where you have to think ahead to make sure that you took all the steps during earlier stages to legally be able to send them text messages. But this is a really good strategy for conversion because 98% of text messages get read 95%, get read within five minutes of receiving them. How many of you can think of getting a text on your phone, you don't ignore them. It buzzes, it beeps and you open it 98% of the time. And so advocates, in the same way, this is a great way to get their attention. I'm going to take a question while we're at this stage from the chat. Any tips for grassroots advocacy, with an older membership of advocates? Some of them have a hard time navigating websites and online tools. Definitely. So one thing I'll say. That your action center can be as advanced or as simplistic as you want it to be. And so for that audience, having all of the content on one screen might be daunting and it might be better to make your form front and center with fewer steps in order to improve the adoption of that. So that's where really knowing who your advocate personas are, is going to make a difference. The strategies that you adopted, the way you adopt them is going to vary based on who your target audience is. So that's one way. Another way is that we have seen folks actually set up their campaigns at in-person events. So the Association of Equipment Manufacturers actually set up their campaign as a booth at a conference a few weeks back as their industry has gone back to in-person events. So obviously that's a little bit up in the air as COVID progresses or changes but if there is a setting where you can meet your team in person, and you have your advocates who are gathering in one place, that can be another way to help ease the process for folks who maybe aren't as savvy with texting and gamification in some of those more advanced steps. Apart from email, do you have experience with WhatsApp groups seems like the go-to app for political campaigns in countries like Brazil and India? That's not something I've personally spoken to any clients or folks in the industry about and so I'm not as familiar with the technical steps that would be needed to execute a campaign with WhatsApp. You could certainly be sharing links to your campaign through text and using things like Bitly or other tools that allow you to shorten links might be a good way to be able to quickly text that through WhatsApp. But it is important to, it's great that you know your advocates are in WhatsApp. And so that's the place that you should be looking to make an impact is wherever you can meet them. So the next strategy that I want to talk about for incentivizing optimization or for bringing optimization in the decision stage is with competition. So the clip I'm going to show you is from IHRSA which represents the fitness industry. They use a dashboard in Quorum to stir up some competition among their advocates to drive more action. So this is Jake Landry, the Public Policy Assistant at IHRSA. Jake Landry (via 2021 webinar): We have something that we found really helpful. And it was specific to our industry where we got the idea, but it could be applied to really any industry is that gym owners are naturally competitive people because they're obviously into sports and athleticism and really want to be the best they can possibly be and work on themselves. So we broke down the race for co-sponsors essentially into, at different states and said, okay, New Jersey, can you get more co-sponsors more quickly than Illinois and California? Can you get more cosponsors more quickly than New York? And we were able to really use the dashboard to break it down by grassroots actions sent by state, be ready to put it on a map that was color-coded. And we were able to really show also co-sponsors by states. And that competitiveness really was the hook and got a lot of people. And a lot of people were really excited about getting involved, which is not something we've seen in the past. Theresa Hebert: So the way that they did this is they created this dashboard in Quorum that had all the different stats. They wanted to know what sponsors and co-sponsors had signed on, which states were driving the most action, which states were represented by a sponsor or co-sponsor and they made this dashboard public, so it was a link that they could share with their members to consistently check back on that leaderboard sentiment that they created. The dashboards auto-updating, so when someone new signed as a co-sponsor, someone new took an action that dashboard was a live feed into where they stood on this bill. And so it was a great way for advocates to both compete against their colleagues in the industry and see that their actions were making an impact. So if you check-in and see that there are 10 sponsors on one day and a week later, there are 20 sponsors that can be motivating to continue to take action. And Jake talks about this being you being special to the fitness industry because of that sense of competition. It's a sentiment we've heard from other industries as well, especially association members where you know who your colleagues are in the association, the other organizations. And so that interest in beating your colleagues in this kind of fun competition resonates beyond just the fitness and sports industries. At this stage, we have gotten them to finally take the action we were looking for. But as you all know campaigns are not always time-contained policy. Sometimes policies need campaigns running for a long time as a bill moves slowly. And some of you are in industries that have legislation all the time popping up that you need to react to. So it's not just enough to get someone to take action. So how do we retain them and get them to come back after they took that first action. The metric that we want to look at here is the average number of actions per advocate. So how can we drag that number up so that your advocates don't take just one, but they can take 2, 3, 4, 5 actions over time? And one of the most successful things we've seen here again is gamification, but with tiers and prizes. So this is from Toyota where they created this ninja tier system based on their Toyota branding. And. As you gain more points, you can move up in levels of ninja status. And so if you come and take one action, that's great. You're going to be a first-level wannabe ninja. But once you're a wannabe ninja, you really want to be a master ninja. And so it takes coming back and engaging with new content, engaging with new campaigns in order to move up those levels. And you'll see, each of those levels is associated with prizes and in Toyota sake, not all the prizes are really expensive and flashy it's things like stickers and t-shirts. Other organizations have taken different approaches with raffles, with the opportunity to participate in fly-ins. There are lots of different ways that you can take this to your system and this prize system across different budgets and levels of sophistication, but they found that this was really successful at bringing advocates back again and again. And then finally the expansion stage. You have gotten those advocates who feel like they've built a muscle of taking action on your write-a-letter campaigns, on your call campaigns. Now you want to push them to step it up a notch and take higher-value actions like a fly-in, a site visit, an in-district meeting. So the way that we think about doing that is to build almost a scorecard system to identify which advocates are best suited to these activities. All of these things on the screen, here are things you can find in your advocate database with a system like Quorum based on the steps you've taken in prior stages, looking at things like which advocates have taken the most actions, which advocates have earned the most points if you're using gamification. which have the highest priority job titles if you collected that in your registration forms or which live in districts with your key legislator. If you're an organization where your fly-ins are highly selective you might create a robust scoring system that incorporates these qualities. If you're less strict and you are open to inviting lots of folks to your flying, you might look at these more qualitatively to see who you should send those invitations to, but using a tool like sheets in Quorum will allow you to build out a scorecard and look at these criteria in one. So what's your metric for success? So of the advocates who fit the criteria we just discussed, how many of them actually take the action of signing up for a flying posting, an industry meeting or engaging on your behalf when they're asked? One caveat I do want to highlight overall in this process is the funnel is not always linear. Sometimes you skip steps. This was really prevalent especially during COVID when people's jobs were impacted, when their livelihoods were changed, as a result of the pandemic, they didn't need to be made aware of the issues or be convinced of the importance of policy because more than ever, they were acutely experiencing the impact that government can have on them. And so in that case, we saw campaigns where folks skip straight to consideration and decision. One of the channels we see most successful at helping people skip stages and what can help you expedite the time it takes for someone to become aware of your organization and get to that stage of taking action is referrals. I'm sure some of you who are Quorum users here today became Quorum users because you heard from a friend about their experience. Think about the restaurants you try, the products that you purchase. People are much more likely to do it when they hear from a friend. And that's the same experience that we saw with campaigns, especially during COVID-19, as folks fought for funding and things like the CARES Act. So this example from Independent Sector talks about how they had over 2000 people take action on social media to share with their networks they sent a letter to a member of Congress asking Congress to support nonprofits during the pandemic, we know that. Giving people the opportunity to share their action and social has an amplifier effect. And this was something we saw with a lot of other organizations during COVID. The Airline Pilots Association had all of their pilots tweet out the campaign after they wrote a letter so that their friends and family could participate. It's a common strategy to really quickly expand the number of folks participating in your campaigns. So that's all I have today, but before we move into question and answer for the last couple of minutes, I want to do a quick plug. My email is here. All of the stories that we've covered here today from organizations like Toyota and the Equipment Manufacturers and the YMCA and IHRSA are from opportunities that I've had and my team has had to talk to clients for case studies, for webinars, for blogs on our website. So if participating in any of these things is something you'd be interested in please send me an email and we would love to talk to you, whether it's someone who's using quorum and wants to be featured in a case study, or you want to help build your brand in the industry with a guest blog on our site, we're open to lots of ideas so please shoot me an email. The question we got, what campaign types are the easiest to participate in. We find that write-a-letter campaigns are probably the easiest. While I talked earlier about editable campaigns where advocates can write their own stories, that's certainly not a requirement. And so it's fairly easy for them to put in their information, be matched with their legislators, and click send on that letter. Something that Quorum does that make sense that action amplified without putting additional effort on the advocate is something called combined campaigns where we can match you with your representative, your Senator, your governor, your state representative, and you can send with just one click a letter to all of those people without having to go through the process four times for each particular elected official that you'd like to send it to. And while writing to Congress is still not something that advocates may be used to. Once you teach them to do that, you can then get four or five letters out of that one click, one action. So that's generally the easiest one that we see folks. Do you support grassroots actions for people who aren't in Quorum? So if you're not a Quorum user, you can definitely take action in our client's campaigns. So while you need to be a user to set up a campaign and if you click through the Hubilo platform, you can learn more about the product, you do not need to be a user to take action in those campaigns that our clients set up. So again, through the platform, we have some of our 'clients action centers for issues related to social justice that you can actually click through straight through Hubilo and see them and take action yourself. What are some key performance indicators I should track for the performance of blogs with an eye towards engagement? That's an awesome question. Traffic is obviously if you don't have traffic then the other metrics can be skewed. But beyond that for engagement, there's a couple that we really look at. First is bounce rate. So of people who land on your blog, how many of them click right off away from it? Or do they stay on the page and actually read it? In Google Analytics, you can look these up. Also things like time on site. How much time are they spending on your site? Again, are they scrolling through, are they ingesting your content or are they jumping off? And then pages per visit, are they just reading the one thing that they clicked on, or is your blog leading them to other parts of your site? So those are all statistics that we look at from an analytics perspective to see how folks are engaging. [post_title] => Understanding and Optimizing the Grassroots Funnel with Quorum's Theresa Hebert [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => understanding-and-optimizing-the-grassroots-funnel [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-10-14 12:45:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-10-14 12:45:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.quorum.us/?post_type=resources&p=5779 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 1 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 5779 [post_author] => 12 [post_date] => 2021-10-14 12:45:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-10-14 12:45:40 [post_content] => Theresa Hebert: So today we're here to talk about understanding and optimizing the grassroots funnel. In my role, as Director of Communications at Quorum over the past four years, I've gotten the chance to talk to a lot of clients and others in the public affairs space about their best practices and writing case studies, and writing blogs, and writing webinars. I've gotten to speak to lots of you, probably on this call about what makes you all successful. And through those experiences, I've put together this presentation about how you can take folks who may not be aware of your organization and turn them into active and frequent advocates. So your role as grassroots professionals with the end goal of impacting policy is to get as many of the right advocates as you can to take action again and again. And what I mean by right advocates is going to be different for everyone. For some organizations, this means advocates who work in a particular industry or live in a particular region. For others it's absolutely anyone in the United States you can get to agree with your stance and take action. In a lot of ways, advocacy is similar to marketing. And in marketing, we have this concept of the funnel. In both cases, we're trying to drive some sort of action. In marketing, it's getting someone to buy something, whether that's a product, a subscription, or a service. In grassroots, it's getting people to sign up for and act in your campaigns. So in both cases, we're presented with a similar challenge. How do we get as many of the right people as possible to participate? We want volume of actions and quality of actions. So what do we do to drive that number higher? We use a funnel. The funnel represents a series of stages that gradually filter down to getting the right customers, or in your case, advocates, to convert on your desired action. We use these stages in marketing. First is awareness—making folks aware of your brand. You get yourself in front of them through a variety of channels, like Google, events, social media, advertising, whatever it takes to reach a wide audience. Then we move into interest. You take the folks who saw your awareness ads and then add to that by making them aware of your basic offerings and why you stand out from the crowd. After that is consideration. You introduced them to how your offerings would solve a pain point and fit into their day, to their job, or whatever it may be. Then there's decision. The step that pushes them over the edge to pick you and take the desired action, marketing being purchasing. Then there's retention. Once someone has decided to buy your product or use your service, how do you keep them as a happy customer? Then finally expansion. Once they bought one product or service, how do we get them to do more, buy more products and more users, whatever it may be? Now at each stage, some folks fall out of the sales process. Sometimes that's because they should, they're the wrong type of customer. But other times when they shouldn't, they fall out because we've done something that should be improved. We've made the process too confusing, too complicated, left out key information, or some other challenge. And so we optimize. We look for ways to improve each stage to make sure that more of the right people get through the funnel. So this is what the advocacy funnel looks like. We take those same stages from marketing but tweak them to what it means for your audience. So in awareness, for this case, you make your target audience aware of your organization and the policy issues that you care about. Again, you're getting in front of them through a variety of channels like Google or social media advertising. Then in interest, you're moving from just name recognition and issue association to positioning. Where does your organization stand on the issues and why should someone align with that position? The third is consideration. We want to get them to take a preliminary action, like sign up for your email list or sign up for a webinar. Then there's decision. This is the one that we're most familiar with, where we push them over the edge to take the action of participating in your campaign. Whether that's writing a letter to their member of Congress, calling their governor, or signing a petition. In this case, retention for grassroots means someone has taken action on their first campaign, and you get them to come back again and again for future campaigns. And then expansion. Once they've taken that first kind of simple actions— writing a letter— how do we get them to do things more advanced, participate in a fly-in or attended an in-person meeting in the district. So when looking at the funnel, the overall metric we care about is conversion rate. For each stage of all the people in this stage, how many people do we pass to the next one? Imagine for the sake of this example, there are a hundred thousand potential advocates out there who could take action on your campaign. At each stage folks drop out— either they didn't agree with your stance, they weren't convinced of the importance of your campaign, or whatever it may be. So with the conversion rates, from the example on the previous slide, we ended up with 500 total advocates as folks narrow down through each stage. Now, if we optimize the conversion rate, we take the conversion from 35% to 40% from consideration to decision. And how would that change our output? If we optimize and improve that just by 5% leaving all else the same, we ended up with 50 additional advocates. That's 50 additional letters to members of Congress, potentially 50 additional members of the house or state legislators who hear from your organization. Now, imagine if you were able to have that kind of optimization in every stage. You'd be able to increase that bottom line number even more. One caveat I do want to give to this is for folks who are at corporations or associations. There are some pros to this. When you're at a corporation or association, you might have an easier time moving people through the funnel because they already have familiarity with your brand. You also are going to have some unique channels where you can talk to them, like in the workplace in person or in the emails that you send through your employee communications. But on the other hand, there might be some cons to being in these organizations. If your advocacy campaigns are limited to just your employees or just your members, you can't add more advocates at the top. And so those conversion rates become even more important because there's a ceiling to how many people can participate. So just want to caveat that for these kinds of organizations, if you do have a limited pool, there's going to be some nuance to each of these stages. How do we optimize? What are the processes and steps that we can take to get more people from the top, through the bottom of the funnel? Let's start with the awareness and interest stages. We have combined these because while the content is different, the channels and the ways you optimize are pretty similar. So at the awareness stage, again, you're trying to build name and issue recognition. Some of the things that you can create to do that, resources that you can share, what is your policy issue? How does your policy issue impact a particular audience? What are five things to know about policy issue that everyone should read? What's going on in current events that impact that policy issue? So again, just introducing people to that topic. And that your organization should be associated with it. As we move into interest, we go a step farther. Why does your organization stand for this issue? How a certain outcome would impact the audience? Why the counter stance is wrong for that issue? So with those types of content, how do we get it in front of our audience? There are a few different channels that we can think about. And the important thing about this is because we're still at these early stages of the funnel, we don't have their contact information yet. So we have to meet them where they are and insert ourselves into their behaviors because they're not yet coming to you looking to participate. So here are some channels you can use. One is advertising— put ads online on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, news sites, Google. Put ads out of home like billboards and bus stops or posters in a coffee shop or old-fashioned print newspapers. Even use social media with a social media presence that you can expose your brand to new audiences. If you use hashtags to get in the feeds of new followers or post engaging content that your existing followers will retweet so that it gets in front of new advocates. You can think about earned media, pitch your story to the press for a profile or present your leadership at your organization as subject matter experts so that you are in the news and being in front of those new advocates Partnerships— find related organizations that align with your issues and get in front of their audiences, their events, or their content. And then finally influencers. If you joined Cicely's session yesterday, she talked about industry influencers, but who are the people that your audience looks up to that may be able to get them engaged in your content? What does conversion look like at these stages? It's brand and issue recall. If someone is presented with your organization's logo, will they have that association with the issues that you care about? An advanced way of measuring this would be through a survey through a market research survey of brand awareness. Now that can be difficult or expensive. So another way that you can know that you're making an impact at these stages is through the performance of your content. So using tools like Google Analytics to know how many clicks you're getting, where those clicks are coming from, can let you know what kind of volume and impact your content is. How do we optimize that content? How do we get more people from those first stages through the funnel? And the way to do it at this stage is personalization. You want to tailor your channels and your messaging to your audiences. First, you can personalize your content to your advocate persona. Let's take education policy for an example. Your ideal advocates may include teachers, parents, and students. While your policies impact each of these groups, the messaging for why they should care about the issue may be different. So create content that's narrowly tailored. Then personalize your channels. Use different channels to distribute content to each unique audience. So students may engage more with influencers on Instagram while teachers read industry journals, parents engage on Facebook. Finally, consider using mediums like video and podcasting. According to Buffer, a social media platform videos on Facebook get 59% more engagement than other types of posts. Then as you get more advanced, you can add even more layers of personalization or narrow to more niche categories. So if we keep with this education policy example, you could take the category of teachers and personalize a step further with unique messaging for STEM teachers versus history and literature teachers. Or you could take the category of other school staff and narrow it to principals just because they're the most engaged in your content. So this is all to say that there is a lot of room for optimization here. And as your team grows and how advanced you are, you can keep getting more and more specific. So there's continuous room for improvement. Now I want to show a quick clip from Rebecca Steele at last year's Wonk Week about how Toyota uses advocate personas to think about their campaigns. Rebecca Steele (via 2020 webinar): I think really by there's no one size fits all approach, but you also have to do what's reasonable, right? Like it's maybe not reasonable to write out separate emails to go to the salespeople and then wants to go to the R & D people depending on the issue. So how we bucketed it based on bandwidth and where we felt that we could get the most like juice for the squeeze, is looking at big pillars of stakeholders. So we have our dealers, Toyota dealers cause they're their own companies. We have a business relationship with them. Then we have our suppliers. So the people who build everything from big head units that go into our car to like the glues and the tubes and the pastes and everything that goes in. And then we have our employees. And so communicating why something's good for Toyota. It's going to, if it's good for Toyota, it's generally good for those three different groups, but it might be good for different reasons. And when you're talking to a supplier, there may be different issues that you want to highlight about how it impacted their supply chain versus what you want to talk about to an employee. Like in an example of tariffs, we had a big advocacy campaign to raise awareness of if there was a proposed tariff on automobiles, how that would hurt the US auto industry, and communicating that across the different pillars in those different advocacy groups is really important. And we wanted to think about how we made sure that fit in with. Theresa Hebert: So that's just a concrete example of how Toyota is taking this approach, that the different segments of your audience are going to respond to your content differently. And so tailoring what you send them and what you share with them and how you share it will help you get more people engaged. So that brings us to the consideration stage. This is where you have a preliminary action that indicates a higher level of interest from the potential advocate. At the consideration stage, your goal is advocate acquisition, capturing their contact information, and adding names to your advocate database. By getting them to take a preliminary action that gives you contact information, you'll be able to communicate with them on a regular cadence to push further down the funnel towards action. There are a few types of content that can achieve this goal. First, a newsletter subscription. You can sell the newsletter itself as content that will be relevant and interesting to them. Talk about what kind of content you share and why they should want to read it. And maybe if there's something exclusive, only readers of the newsletter can access particular events or webinars. You could create some downloadable content, like a report. And by downloading, they become a subscriber to your email list. Or you could host an event or a webinar and then enrolling attendees in your newsletter, whatever way that you use to get someone to fill out a form, then you should be adding them into your email list so that you can continue to communicate with them. Because prior to this stage, you still don't have that contact information, a lot of the channels are going to carry over from the awareness and interest stage into this consideration stage. It's not until after consideration that we'll start getting some more specific channels because we do have their email addresses where we can get in touch with them more directly. So what does conversion look like at the consideration stage? The end goal at this stage is to have as many qualified advocates sign up for your newsletter as possible. A metric you can look at to know how you're doing is the conversion rate of your forms. Again, using tools like Google Analytics and Quorum, of all the people who saw the form on your website, how many actually filled it? So what can we do to improve that rate? How can we improve the number of people who fill out the form once they land on it? There are two key points here. The first is to be conscious of form length. The second is using Facebook or LinkedIn lead ads. So when I say, be conscious of form length, generally shorter is better, but there's some nuance to that. If you don't need a field, think critically about what information you actually are going to use once you collect it. If there is something that you would really like to know, but it's not going to be the end of the world, if you don't have it, you can make that optional. Then consider adding fields if they'll improve the advocate experience. Some examples of fields that you might add might be the top issues that advocate is interested in. Like you see in this YMCA example from a Quorum landing page. Opt into texting. If you think you're going to use grassroots texting later in the process, you want to make sure that you follow all of the regulations on making sure you do that in the right way. You could include job title if that's going to be relevant to which campaign they participate in, or some other type of advocate title, for example, if they are an association member or if they're a consumer in that industry. The second is Facebook and LinkedIn lead ads. So, a lead ad is basically an ad that's on Facebook or LinkedIn or Instagram, where that advocate can fill out the form without ever leaving LinkedIn and Facebook. So it's meeting them where they are rather than forcing them to go to a new website. And there are integrations with their Facebook contact information. So it's really easy to fill out the form. And in Quorum, we actually integrate this process so that you can pipe the information that you get from the lead ad straight into your advocate database. So this reduces friction, so they don't have to jump to a new site and their information is stored in Facebook and can auto-fill that. This brings us to the decision stage. You've gotten their email address. You've talked to them about the issues. Now it's pushing them over the edge, get them to take the desired action, participation in a campaign. So you want them to write a letter, to make a phone call, to post a message on social media, but you need to teach them how to do this and explain to them why they should do this in order to push them over the edge. So really there are two buckets of content we're thinking about here first being the why. Change in policy to any level of government can be daunting, so we need to teach them why the act of making a phone call or sending a letter is going to help move the needle. So some examples of what you could create is a summary of what's happening in Congress now that makes action urgent. Maybe it's examples of past campaigns your team has run to give proof of the concept of advocacy and that you can have an impact on. Maybe it's including profiles of influential legislators so that advocates in their district know that their actions personally are going to have weight because their representative has an above-average influence on a given issue. And then you want to think about content that explains how to take action. Engaging in the policy process as a constituent is confusing. Government websites are confusing and processes can be archaic. Many Americans don't know who represents them in Congress or state legislatures. It's even more likely they've never called or written them before your campaign. So in addition to creating content to explain why they need to participate, create content that lowers the barrier to action for actually doing it. Some examples that we've seen of this from clients is folks have used videos embedded in their action center that walks through where they need to click and what they need to do so that they can see that as a tutorial before they do it. We've had organizations who teach them how to decide what to say in their letter or call or tweet and using infographics to make that information more digestible throughout the process. And what's great about using the Action Center in Quorum is you can actually embed these side by side within your action center so that it's all living in one place. So I got a bit ahead of myself, but the channels where you can share this content or your newsletter. So because they're enrolled in that email, you can share the content of the why and the how in the newsletter itself, then use the CTA button in your email to push them to the campaign. Or you can embed your videos, your podcasts, your blogs, right into your action center so it's all in one window. The conversion rate at this stage is the most straightforward of all. Of the people in your advocate database, how many people took action in your campaign? So that'll give you your conversion rate percentage of that campaign. So this stage, because the conversion rate is the most straightforward. You have this access to the contact information for your advocates. We have a lot of room for optimization here. So these are a few strategies I'm going to take a few minutes to walk through. First, we can segment our audience by issue preference. So like we talked about earlier in the consideration stage, if you collected that information on which of your organization's issues they're most interested in, you can then segment your campaign emails and only send out to the advocates who care about that issue. While on the surface, this seems like it would decrease the number of potential actions because you're sending your campaigns to fewer people, it can actually have a positive effect because you won't overload advocates with information they aren't interested in. And when you do email them, there'll be more likely to take notice. The advocates who didn't pick this as the issue they were interested in probably weren't going to take action anyway, so this strategy will reduce email fatigue amongst your advocates. So you can see here, this is a strategy that the Association of Equipment Manufacturers took by adding a drop-down to their registration form on this advocacy website, they build with Quorum to select which issues that those folks were most interested in learning more about. Then you can be strategic with your email, subject lines, and centers to optimize your email open rates. Now, this is a step above the conversion rate of the campaign, but if you improve how many people open and click your emails, you'll improve the number of people who even get to your campaign landing page. So as you can see from these three scenarios, improving either the open rate or the click rate will help more advocates make it through to your campaign. Some of the ways that you can do this. So one think about who is sending your emails. If your CEO is a really high profile figure, maybe consider using their name and in Quorum, you can do that where you can send " from" a particular name. But you, as the advocacy team, can write the emails, can click, send, can manage the replies. If you're an association, maybe it's having the head of office from the individual member organizations rather than coming from the association will drive more opens. Consider using a free tool, like emailsubjectlinegrader.com to know if your subject lines are going to capture people's attention. This is a tool we use ourselves on the marketing team where you just copy and paste your subject line. They'll tell you how good it is based on length, based on keywords that drive action for your click rates. Consider A/B testing the language you use on buttons or links. You can check out yesterday's Wonk Week session with Beth Long, and Jessica Pugel and how they run AB testing Quorum, then observe trends in your open and click rates to see what's working and iterate on that because a small change in those email and open rates can have a big impact on the number of actions that you end up. Here's an example of how NAMI, the National Alliance of Mental Illness improved their open rates by sending from their CEO and using personalization features from Quorum Outbox. Jessica Hart, the Senior Manager of Field Advocacy shared that she utilized plain text from an actual person. So so people would receive an email from our CEO appealing to them personally. People felt more engaged because we put information specific to their home state. And there were replies to the emails in addition to taking action. Our advocates open emails more frequently when it was directly addressed them like Alicia, please reach out to Senator so and so." By using a tool like Quorum where your email tool is embedded in the same system as your contact database you can really easily pull these details about an advocate into an email and send them in mass. Another step that you can take to improve the number of folks who complete an action in a campaign is to make your messages editable, but make that editing optional. Legislators share that they prefer to receive personal messages from advocates but that can be daunting to force, to put an advocate in the position to look at a blank page and write a letter. So let's hear from the folks at End Rape on Campus how they solved this barrier using quorum for a comment on a regulation campaign. Phoebe Suva (via 2019 video): In the form itself who made a mad-libs style template on the outline so that you can plug in their own information, tell their story in the way they wanted to. And it, I think made it less overwhelming. So if one or two parts of the rule they wanted to talk about that they felt important. I'm going to give them the sentence starters. They really just have to plug in their information B. Ever Hanna (via 2019 video): All regulatory departments look for unique comments that say something that's really substantive, but has a lot of data and information and is different than all the other comments before it. So a problem that we've seen other campaigns fall into is that we post like a draft comment that people can just sign and submit. All of those count. Theresa Hebert: So End Rape on Campus, they added sentence starters and sections into their pre-drafted message and noted where advocates could fill it in so it was less daunting to complete that step. And in the end, they were able to get 6,000 comments on that campaign amongst an audience of advocates who were not used to taking part in this process and it was very new to them. So this was really successful for them. The next thing that you can do to improve conversion at the decision stage is to gamify content consumption. If your grassroots software has gamification like Quorum, you can assign points to taking certain actions. And traditionally folks think about assigning points to actions like writing a letter, but we found that the best teams actually also assigned points to things that better prepare their advocates to take action, like watching videos or taking surveys or reading. So by getting them to engage with your content, they'll be more likely to buy into the need to act in the campaign itself. So when the Association of Equipment Manufacturers used this strategy, 82% of advocates who read or engage with their content ended up taking action in the campaign. And then outbound texting. So this is another way to get advocates' attention the campaign has launched that they should be participating in. And again, this is where you have to think ahead to make sure that you took all the steps during earlier stages to legally be able to send them text messages. But this is a really good strategy for conversion because 98% of text messages get read 95%, get read within five minutes of receiving them. How many of you can think of getting a text on your phone, you don't ignore them. It buzzes, it beeps and you open it 98% of the time. And so advocates, in the same way, this is a great way to get their attention. I'm going to take a question while we're at this stage from the chat. Any tips for grassroots advocacy, with an older membership of advocates? Some of them have a hard time navigating websites and online tools. Definitely. So one thing I'll say. That your action center can be as advanced or as simplistic as you want it to be. And so for that audience, having all of the content on one screen might be daunting and it might be better to make your form front and center with fewer steps in order to improve the adoption of that. So that's where really knowing who your advocate personas are, is going to make a difference. The strategies that you adopted, the way you adopt them is going to vary based on who your target audience is. So that's one way. Another way is that we have seen folks actually set up their campaigns at in-person events. So the Association of Equipment Manufacturers actually set up their campaign as a booth at a conference a few weeks back as their industry has gone back to in-person events. So obviously that's a little bit up in the air as COVID progresses or changes but if there is a setting where you can meet your team in person, and you have your advocates who are gathering in one place, that can be another way to help ease the process for folks who maybe aren't as savvy with texting and gamification in some of those more advanced steps. Apart from email, do you have experience with WhatsApp groups seems like the go-to app for political campaigns in countries like Brazil and India? That's not something I've personally spoken to any clients or folks in the industry about and so I'm not as familiar with the technical steps that would be needed to execute a campaign with WhatsApp. You could certainly be sharing links to your campaign through text and using things like Bitly or other tools that allow you to shorten links might be a good way to be able to quickly text that through WhatsApp. But it is important to, it's great that you know your advocates are in WhatsApp. And so that's the place that you should be looking to make an impact is wherever you can meet them. So the next strategy that I want to talk about for incentivizing optimization or for bringing optimization in the decision stage is with competition. So the clip I'm going to show you is from IHRSA which represents the fitness industry. They use a dashboard in Quorum to stir up some competition among their advocates to drive more action. So this is Jake Landry, the Public Policy Assistant at IHRSA. Jake Landry (via 2021 webinar): We have something that we found really helpful. And it was specific to our industry where we got the idea, but it could be applied to really any industry is that gym owners are naturally competitive people because they're obviously into sports and athleticism and really want to be the best they can possibly be and work on themselves. So we broke down the race for co-sponsors essentially into, at different states and said, okay, New Jersey, can you get more co-sponsors more quickly than Illinois and California? Can you get more cosponsors more quickly than New York? And we were able to really use the dashboard to break it down by grassroots actions sent by state, be ready to put it on a map that was color-coded. And we were able to really show also co-sponsors by states. And that competitiveness really was the hook and got a lot of people. And a lot of people were really excited about getting involved, which is not something we've seen in the past. Theresa Hebert: So the way that they did this is they created this dashboard in Quorum that had all the different stats. They wanted to know what sponsors and co-sponsors had signed on, which states were driving the most action, which states were represented by a sponsor or co-sponsor and they made this dashboard public, so it was a link that they could share with their members to consistently check back on that leaderboard sentiment that they created. The dashboards auto-updating, so when someone new signed as a co-sponsor, someone new took an action that dashboard was a live feed into where they stood on this bill. And so it was a great way for advocates to both compete against their colleagues in the industry and see that their actions were making an impact. So if you check-in and see that there are 10 sponsors on one day and a week later, there are 20 sponsors that can be motivating to continue to take action. And Jake talks about this being you being special to the fitness industry because of that sense of competition. It's a sentiment we've heard from other industries as well, especially association members where you know who your colleagues are in the association, the other organizations. And so that interest in beating your colleagues in this kind of fun competition resonates beyond just the fitness and sports industries. At this stage, we have gotten them to finally take the action we were looking for. But as you all know campaigns are not always time-contained policy. Sometimes policies need campaigns running for a long time as a bill moves slowly. And some of you are in industries that have legislation all the time popping up that you need to react to. So it's not just enough to get someone to take action. So how do we retain them and get them to come back after they took that first action. The metric that we want to look at here is the average number of actions per advocate. So how can we drag that number up so that your advocates don't take just one, but they can take 2, 3, 4, 5 actions over time? And one of the most successful things we've seen here again is gamification, but with tiers and prizes. So this is from Toyota where they created this ninja tier system based on their Toyota branding. And. As you gain more points, you can move up in levels of ninja status. And so if you come and take one action, that's great. You're going to be a first-level wannabe ninja. But once you're a wannabe ninja, you really want to be a master ninja. And so it takes coming back and engaging with new content, engaging with new campaigns in order to move up those levels. And you'll see, each of those levels is associated with prizes and in Toyota sake, not all the prizes are really expensive and flashy it's things like stickers and t-shirts. Other organizations have taken different approaches with raffles, with the opportunity to participate in fly-ins. There are lots of different ways that you can take this to your system and this prize system across different budgets and levels of sophistication, but they found that this was really successful at bringing advocates back again and again. And then finally the expansion stage. You have gotten those advocates who feel like they've built a muscle of taking action on your write-a-letter campaigns, on your call campaigns. Now you want to push them to step it up a notch and take higher-value actions like a fly-in, a site visit, an in-district meeting. So the way that we think about doing that is to build almost a scorecard system to identify which advocates are best suited to these activities. All of these things on the screen, here are things you can find in your advocate database with a system like Quorum based on the steps you've taken in prior stages, looking at things like which advocates have taken the most actions, which advocates have earned the most points if you're using gamification. which have the highest priority job titles if you collected that in your registration forms or which live in districts with your key legislator. If you're an organization where your fly-ins are highly selective you might create a robust scoring system that incorporates these qualities. If you're less strict and you are open to inviting lots of folks to your flying, you might look at these more qualitatively to see who you should send those invitations to, but using a tool like sheets in Quorum will allow you to build out a scorecard and look at these criteria in one. So what's your metric for success? So of the advocates who fit the criteria we just discussed, how many of them actually take the action of signing up for a flying posting, an industry meeting or engaging on your behalf when they're asked? One caveat I do want to highlight overall in this process is the funnel is not always linear. Sometimes you skip steps. This was really prevalent especially during COVID when people's jobs were impacted, when their livelihoods were changed, as a result of the pandemic, they didn't need to be made aware of the issues or be convinced of the importance of policy because more than ever, they were acutely experiencing the impact that government can have on them. And so in that case, we saw campaigns where folks skip straight to consideration and decision. One of the channels we see most successful at helping people skip stages and what can help you expedite the time it takes for someone to become aware of your organization and get to that stage of taking action is referrals. I'm sure some of you who are Quorum users here today became Quorum users because you heard from a friend about their experience. Think about the restaurants you try, the products that you purchase. People are much more likely to do it when they hear from a friend. And that's the same experience that we saw with campaigns, especially during COVID-19, as folks fought for funding and things like the CARES Act. So this example from Independent Sector talks about how they had over 2000 people take action on social media to share with their networks they sent a letter to a member of Congress asking Congress to support nonprofits during the pandemic, we know that. Giving people the opportunity to share their action and social has an amplifier effect. And this was something we saw with a lot of other organizations during COVID. The Airline Pilots Association had all of their pilots tweet out the campaign after they wrote a letter so that their friends and family could participate. It's a common strategy to really quickly expand the number of folks participating in your campaigns. So that's all I have today, but before we move into question and answer for the last couple of minutes, I want to do a quick plug. My email is here. All of the stories that we've covered here today from organizations like Toyota and the Equipment Manufacturers and the YMCA and IHRSA are from opportunities that I've had and my team has had to talk to clients for case studies, for webinars, for blogs on our website. So if participating in any of these things is something you'd be interested in please send me an email and we would love to talk to you, whether it's someone who's using quorum and wants to be featured in a case study, or you want to help build your brand in the industry with a guest blog on our site, we're open to lots of ideas so please shoot me an email. The question we got, what campaign types are the easiest to participate in. We find that write-a-letter campaigns are probably the easiest. While I talked earlier about editable campaigns where advocates can write their own stories, that's certainly not a requirement. And so it's fairly easy for them to put in their information, be matched with their legislators, and click send on that letter. Something that Quorum does that make sense that action amplified without putting additional effort on the advocate is something called combined campaigns where we can match you with your representative, your Senator, your governor, your state representative, and you can send with just one click a letter to all of those people without having to go through the process four times for each particular elected official that you'd like to send it to. And while writing to Congress is still not something that advocates may be used to. Once you teach them to do that, you can then get four or five letters out of that one click, one action. So that's generally the easiest one that we see folks. Do you support grassroots actions for people who aren't in Quorum? So if you're not a Quorum user, you can definitely take action in our client's campaigns. So while you need to be a user to set up a campaign and if you click through the Hubilo platform, you can learn more about the product, you do not need to be a user to take action in those campaigns that our clients set up. So again, through the platform, we have some of our 'clients action centers for issues related to social justice that you can actually click through straight through Hubilo and see them and take action yourself. What are some key performance indicators I should track for the performance of blogs with an eye towards engagement? That's an awesome question. Traffic is obviously if you don't have traffic then the other metrics can be skewed. But beyond that for engagement, there's a couple that we really look at. First is bounce rate. So of people who land on your blog, how many of them click right off away from it? Or do they stay on the page and actually read it? In Google Analytics, you can look these up. Also things like time on site. How much time are they spending on your site? Again, are they scrolling through, are they ingesting your content or are they jumping off? And then pages per visit, are they just reading the one thing that they clicked on, or is your blog leading them to other parts of your site? So those are all statistics that we look at from an analytics perspective to see how folks are engaging. 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Understanding and Optimizing the Grassroots Funnel with Quorum’s Theresa Hebert

Understanding and Optimizing the Grassroots Funnel with Quorum’s Theresa Hebert

Theresa Hebert: So today we’re here to talk about understanding and optimizing the grassroots funnel. In my role, as Director of Communications at Quorum over the past four years, I’ve gotten the chance to talk to a lot of clients

and others in the public affairs space about their best practices and writing case studies, and writing blogs, and writing webinars. I’ve gotten to speak to lots of you, probably on this call about what makes you all successful. And through those experiences, I’ve put together this presentation about how you can take folks who may not be aware of your organization and turn them into active and frequent advocates.

So your role as grassroots professionals with the end goal of impacting policy is to get as many of the right advocates as you can to take action again and again. And what I mean by right advocates is going to be different for everyone. For some organizations, this means advocates who work in a particular industry or live in a particular region. For others

it’s absolutely anyone in the United States you can get to agree with your stance and take action.

In a lot of ways, advocacy is similar to marketing. And in marketing, we have this concept of the funnel. In both cases, we’re trying to drive some sort of action. In marketing, it’s getting someone to buy something, whether that’s a product, a subscription, or a service. In grassroots, it’s getting people to sign up for and act in your campaigns.

So in both cases, we’re presented with a similar challenge. How do we get as many of the right people as possible to participate? We want volume of actions and quality of actions. So what do we do to drive that number higher? We use a funnel. The funnel represents a series of stages that gradually filter down to getting the right customers, or in your case, advocates, to convert on your desired action.

We use these stages in marketing. First is awareness—making folks aware of your brand. You get yourself in front of them through a variety of channels, like Google, events, social media, advertising, whatever it takes to reach a wide audience. Then we move into interest. You take the folks who saw your awareness ads and then add to that by making them aware of your basic offerings and why you stand out from the crowd. After that is consideration. You introduced them to how your offerings would solve a pain point and fit into their day, to their job, or whatever it may be. Then there’s decision. The step that pushes them over the edge to pick you and take the desired action, marketing being purchasing.

Then there’s retention. Once someone has decided to buy your product or use your service, how do you keep them as a happy customer? Then finally expansion. Once they bought one product or service, how do we get them to do more, buy more products and more users, whatever it may be? Now at each stage, some folks fall out of the sales process. Sometimes that’s because they should, they’re the wrong type of customer.

But other times when they shouldn’t, they fall out because we’ve done something that should be improved. We’ve made the process too confusing, too complicated, left out key information, or some other challenge. And so we optimize. We look for ways to improve each stage to make sure that more of the right people get through the funnel.

So this is what the advocacy funnel looks like. We take those same stages from marketing but tweak them to what it means for your audience. So in awareness, for this case, you make your target audience aware of your organization and the policy issues that you care about. Again, you’re getting in front of them through a variety of channels like Google or social media advertising.

Then in interest, you’re moving from just name recognition and issue association to positioning. Where does your organization stand on the issues and why should someone align with that position?

The third is consideration. We want to get them to take a preliminary action, like sign up for your email list or sign up for a webinar. Then there’s decision. This is the one that we’re most familiar with, where we push them over the edge to take the action of participating in your campaign.

Whether that’s writing a letter to their member of Congress, calling their governor, or signing a petition. In this case, retention for grassroots means someone has taken action on their first campaign, and you get them to come back again and again for future campaigns. And then expansion. Once they’ve taken that first kind of simple actions— writing a letter— how do we get them to do things more advanced, participate in a fly-in or attended an in-person meeting in the district.

So when looking at the funnel, the overall metric we care about is conversion rate. For each stage of all the people in this stage, how many people do we pass to the next one? Imagine for the sake of this example, there are a hundred thousand potential advocates out there who could take action on your campaign.

At each stage folks drop out— either they didn’t agree with your stance, they weren’t convinced of the importance of your campaign, or whatever it may be. So with the conversion rates, from the example on the previous slide, we ended up with 500 total advocates as folks narrow down through each stage. Now, if we optimize the conversion rate, we take the conversion from 35% to 40% from consideration to decision.

And how would that change our output? If we optimize and improve that just by 5% leaving all else the same, we ended up with 50 additional advocates. That’s 50 additional letters to members of Congress, potentially 50 additional members of the house or state legislators who hear from your organization.

Now, imagine if you were able to have that kind of optimization in every stage. You’d be able to increase that bottom line number even more.

One caveat I do want to give to this is for folks who are at corporations or associations. There are some pros to this. When you’re at a corporation or association, you might have an easier time moving people through the funnel because they already have familiarity with your brand. You also are going to have some unique channels where you can talk to them, like in the workplace in person or in the emails that you send through your employee communications.

But on the other hand, there might be some cons to being in these organizations. If your advocacy campaigns are limited to just your employees or just your members, you can’t add more advocates at the top. And so those conversion rates become even more important because there’s a ceiling to how many people can participate. So just want to caveat that for these kinds of organizations, if you do have a limited pool, there’s going to be some nuance to each of these stages.

How do we optimize? What are the processes and steps that we can take to get more people from the top, through the bottom of the funnel?

Let’s start with the awareness and interest stages. We have combined these because while the content is different, the channels and the ways you optimize are pretty similar.

So at the awareness stage, again, you’re trying to build name and issue recognition. Some of the things that you can create to do that, resources that you can share, what is your policy issue? How does your policy issue impact a particular audience? What are five things to know about policy issue that everyone should read?

What’s going on in current events that impact that policy issue? So again, just introducing people to that topic. And that your organization should be associated with it.

As we move into interest, we go a step farther. Why does your organization stand for this issue? How a certain outcome would impact the audience? Why the counter stance is wrong for that issue?

So with those types of content, how do we get it in front of our audience? There are a few different channels that we can think about. And the important thing about this is because we’re still at these early stages of the funnel, we don’t have their contact information yet. So we have to meet them where they are and insert ourselves into their behaviors because they’re not yet coming to you looking to participate.

So here are some channels you can use. One is advertising— put ads online on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, news sites, Google. Put ads out of home like billboards and bus stops or posters in a coffee shop or old-fashioned print newspapers. Even use social media with a social media presence that you can expose your brand to new audiences. If you use hashtags to get in the feeds of new followers or post engaging content that your existing followers will retweet so that it gets in front of new advocates. You can think about earned media, pitch your story to the press for a profile or present your leadership at your organization as subject matter experts so that you are in the news and being in front of those new advocates

Partnerships— find related organizations that align with your issues and get in front of their audiences, their events, or their content. And then finally influencers. If you joined Cicely’s session yesterday, she talked about industry influencers, but who are the people that your audience looks up to that may be able to get them engaged in your content?

What does conversion look like at these stages? It’s brand and issue recall. If someone is presented with your organization’s logo, will they have that association with the issues that you care about? An advanced way of measuring this would be through a survey through a market research survey of brand awareness.

Now that can be difficult or expensive. So another way that you can know that you’re making an impact at these stages is through the performance of your content. So using tools like Google Analytics to know how many clicks you’re getting, where those clicks are coming from, can let you know what kind of volume and impact your content is.

How do we optimize that content? How do we get more people from those first stages through the funnel? And the way to do it at this stage is personalization. You want to tailor your channels and your messaging to your audiences. First, you can personalize your content to your advocate persona.

Let’s take education policy for an example. Your ideal advocates may include teachers, parents, and students. While your policies impact each of these groups, the messaging for why they should care about the issue may be different. So create content that’s narrowly tailored. Then personalize your channels. Use different channels to distribute content to each unique audience.

So students may engage more with influencers on Instagram while teachers read industry journals, parents engage on Facebook. Finally, consider using mediums like video and podcasting. According to Buffer, a social media platform videos on Facebook get 59% more engagement than other types of posts.

Then as you get more advanced, you can add even more layers of personalization or narrow to more niche categories. So if we keep with this education policy example, you could take the category of teachers and personalize a step further with unique messaging for STEM teachers versus history and literature teachers.

Or you could take the category of other school staff and narrow it to principals just because they’re the most engaged in your content. So this is all to say that there is a lot of room for optimization here. And as your team grows and how advanced you are, you can keep getting more and more specific.

So there’s continuous room for improvement.

Now I want to show a quick clip from Rebecca Steele at last year’s Wonk Week about how Toyota uses advocate personas to think about their campaigns.

Rebecca Steele (via 2020 webinar): I think really by there’s no one size fits all approach, but you also have to do what’s reasonable, right? Like it’s maybe not reasonable to write out separate emails to go to the salespeople and then wants to go to the R & D people depending on the issue. So how we bucketed it based on bandwidth and where we felt that we could get the most like juice for the squeeze, is looking at big pillars of stakeholders. So we have our dealers, Toyota dealers cause they’re their own companies. We have a business relationship with them. Then we have our suppliers. So the people who build everything from big head units that go into our car to like the glues and the tubes and the pastes and everything that goes in. And then we have our employees. And so communicating why something’s good for Toyota. It’s going to, if it’s good for Toyota, it’s generally good for those three different groups, but it might be good for different reasons. And when you’re talking to a supplier, there may be different issues that you want to highlight about how it impacted their supply chain versus what you want to talk about to an employee.

Like in an example of tariffs, we had a big advocacy campaign to raise awareness of if there was a proposed tariff on automobiles, how that would hurt the US auto industry, and communicating that across the different pillars in those different advocacy groups is really important. And we wanted to think about how we made sure that fit in with.

Theresa Hebert: So that’s just a concrete example of how Toyota is taking this approach, that the different segments of your audience are going to respond to your content differently. And so tailoring what you send them and what you share with them and how you share it will help you get more people engaged.

So that brings us to the consideration stage. This is where you have a preliminary action that indicates a higher level of interest from the potential advocate. At the consideration stage, your goal is advocate acquisition, capturing their contact information, and adding names to your advocate database.

By getting them to take a preliminary action that gives you contact information, you’ll be able to communicate with them on a regular cadence to push further down the funnel towards action. There are a few types of content that can achieve this goal. First, a newsletter subscription. You can sell the newsletter itself as content that will be relevant and interesting to them. Talk about what kind of content you share and why they should want to read it. And maybe if there’s something exclusive, only readers of the newsletter can access particular events or webinars. You could create some downloadable content, like a report. And by downloading, they become a subscriber to your email list. Or you could host an event or a webinar and then enrolling attendees in your newsletter, whatever way that you use to get someone to fill out a form, then you should be adding them into your email list so that you can continue to communicate with them.

Because prior to this stage, you still don’t have that contact information, a lot of the channels are going to carry over from the awareness and interest stage into this consideration stage. It’s not until after consideration that we’ll start getting some more specific channels because we do have their email addresses where we can get in touch with them more directly.

So what does conversion look like at the consideration stage? The end goal at this stage is to have as many qualified advocates sign up for your newsletter as possible. A metric you can look at to know how you’re doing is the conversion rate of your forms. Again, using tools like Google Analytics and Quorum, of all the people who saw the form on your website, how many actually filled it?

So what can we do to improve that rate? How can we improve the number of people who fill out the form once they land on it? There are two key points here. The first is to be conscious of form length. The second is using Facebook or LinkedIn lead ads.

So when I say, be conscious of form length, generally shorter is better, but there’s some nuance to that. If you don’t need a field, think critically about what information you actually are going to use once you collect it. If there is something that you would really like to know, but it’s not going to be the end of the world, if you don’t have it, you can make that optional. Then consider adding fields if they’ll improve the advocate experience. Some examples of fields that you might add might be the top issues that advocate is interested in.

Like you see in this YMCA example from a Quorum landing page. Opt into texting. If you think you’re going to use grassroots texting later in the process, you want to make sure that you follow all of the regulations on making sure you do that in the right way. You could include job title if that’s going to be relevant to which campaign they participate in, or some other type of advocate title, for example, if they are an association member or if they’re a consumer in that industry.

The second is Facebook and LinkedIn lead ads. So, a lead ad is basically an ad that’s on Facebook or LinkedIn or Instagram, where that advocate can fill out the form without ever leaving LinkedIn and Facebook. So it’s meeting them where they are rather than forcing them to go to a new website.

And there are integrations with their Facebook contact information. So it’s really easy to fill out the form. And in Quorum, we actually integrate this process so that you can pipe the information that you get from the lead ad straight into your advocate database. So this reduces friction, so they don’t have to jump to a new site and their information is stored in Facebook and can auto-fill that.

This brings us to the decision stage. You’ve gotten their email address. You’ve talked to them about the issues. Now it’s pushing them over the edge, get them to take the desired action, participation in a campaign. So you want them to write a letter, to make a phone call, to post a message on social media, but you need to teach them how to do this and explain to them why they should do this in order to push them over the edge.

So really there are two buckets of content we’re thinking about here first being the why. Change in policy to any level of government can be daunting, so we need to teach them why the act of making a phone call or sending a letter is going to help move the needle. So some examples of what you could create is a summary of what’s happening in Congress now that makes action urgent. Maybe it’s examples of past campaigns your team has run to give proof of the concept of advocacy and that you can have an impact on. Maybe it’s including profiles of influential legislators so that advocates in their district know that their actions personally are going to have weight because their representative has an above-average influence on a given issue.

And then you want to think about content that explains how to take action. Engaging in the policy process as a constituent is confusing. Government websites are confusing and processes can be archaic. Many Americans don’t know who represents them in Congress or state legislatures. It’s even more likely they’ve never called or written them before your campaign.

So in addition to creating content to explain why they need to participate, create content that lowers the barrier to action for actually doing it. Some examples that we’ve seen of this from clients is folks have used videos embedded in their action center that walks through where they need to click and what they need to do so that they can see that as a tutorial before they do it.

We’ve had organizations who teach them how to decide what to say in their letter or call or tweet and using infographics to make that information more digestible throughout the process. And what’s great about using the Action Center in Quorum is you can actually embed these side by side within your action center so that it’s all living in one place.

So I got a bit ahead of myself, but the channels where you can share this content or your newsletter. So because they’re enrolled in that email, you can share the content of the why and the how in the newsletter itself, then use the CTA button in your email to push them to the campaign. Or you can embed your videos, your podcasts, your blogs, right into your action center so it’s all in one window.

The conversion rate at this stage is the most straightforward of all. Of the people in your advocate database, how many people took action in your campaign? So that’ll give you your conversion rate percentage of that campaign. So this stage, because the conversion rate is the most straightforward. You have this access to the contact information for your advocates.

We have a lot of room for optimization here. So these are a few strategies I’m going to take a few minutes to walk through. First, we can segment our audience by issue preference. So like we talked about earlier in the consideration stage, if you collected that information on which of your organization’s issues they’re most interested in, you can then segment your campaign emails and only send out to the advocates who care about that issue.

While on the surface, this seems like it would decrease the number of potential actions because you’re sending your campaigns to fewer people, it can actually have a positive effect because you won’t overload advocates with information they aren’t interested in. And when you do email them, there’ll be more likely to take notice. The advocates who didn’t pick this as the issue they were interested in probably weren’t going to take action anyway, so this strategy will reduce email fatigue amongst your advocates. So you can see here, this is a strategy that the Association of Equipment Manufacturers took by adding a drop-down to their registration form on this advocacy website, they build with Quorum to select which issues that those folks were most interested in learning more about. Then you can be strategic with your email, subject lines, and centers to optimize your email open rates. Now, this is a step above the conversion rate of the campaign, but if you improve how many people open and click your emails, you’ll improve the number of people who even get to your campaign landing page.

So as you can see from these three scenarios, improving either the open rate or the click rate will help more advocates make it through to your campaign. Some of the ways that you can do this. So one think about who is sending your emails. If your CEO is a really high profile figure, maybe consider using their name and in Quorum, you can do that where you can send ” from” a particular name. But you, as the advocacy team, can write the emails, can click, send, can manage the replies. If you’re an association, maybe it’s having the head of office from the individual member organizations rather than coming from the association will drive more opens. Consider using a free tool, like emailsubjectlinegrader.com to know if your subject lines are going to capture people’s attention.

This is a tool we use ourselves on the marketing team where you just copy and paste your subject line. They’ll tell you how good it is based on length, based on keywords that drive action for your click rates. Consider A/B testing the language you use on buttons or links. You can check out yesterday’s Wonk Week session with Beth Long, and Jessica Pugel and how they run AB testing Quorum, then observe trends in your open and click rates to see what’s working and iterate on that because a small change in those email and open rates can have a big impact on the number of actions that you end up.

Here’s an example of how NAMI, the National Alliance of Mental Illness improved their open rates by sending from their CEO and using personalization features from Quorum Outbox. Jessica Hart, the Senior Manager of Field Advocacy shared that she utilized plain text from an actual person. So so people would receive an email from our CEO appealing to them personally. People felt more engaged because we put information specific to their home state. And there were replies to the emails in addition to taking action. Our advocates open emails more frequently when it was directly addressed them like Alicia, please reach out to Senator so and so.”

By using a tool like Quorum where your email tool is embedded in the same system as your contact database you can really easily pull these details about an advocate into an email and send them in mass.

Another step that you can take to improve the number of folks who complete an action in a campaign is to make your messages editable, but make that editing optional. Legislators share that they prefer to receive personal messages from advocates but that can be daunting to force, to put an advocate in the position to look at a blank page and write a letter. So let’s hear from the folks at End Rape on Campus how they solved this barrier using quorum for a comment on a regulation campaign.

Phoebe Suva (via 2019 video): In the form itself who made a mad-libs style template on the outline so that you can plug in their own information, tell their story in the way they wanted to. And it, I think made it less overwhelming. So if one or two parts of the rule they wanted to talk about that they felt important. I’m going to give them the sentence starters.

They really just have to plug in their information

B. Ever Hanna (via 2019 video): All regulatory departments look for unique comments that say something that’s really substantive, but has a lot of data and information and is different than all the other comments before it. So a problem that we’ve seen other campaigns fall into is that we post like a draft comment that people can just sign and submit. All of those count.

Theresa Hebert: So End Rape on Campus, they added sentence starters and sections into their pre-drafted message and noted where advocates could fill it in so it was less daunting to complete that step. And in the end, they were able to get 6,000 comments on that campaign amongst an audience of advocates who were not used to taking part in this process and it was very new to them. So this was really successful for them.

The next thing that you can do to improve conversion at the decision stage is to gamify content consumption. If your grassroots software has gamification like Quorum, you can assign points to taking certain actions. And traditionally folks think about assigning points to actions like writing a letter, but we found that the best teams actually also assigned points to things that better prepare their advocates to take action, like watching videos or taking surveys or reading.

So by getting them to engage with your content, they’ll be more likely to buy into the need to act in the campaign itself. So when the Association of Equipment Manufacturers used this strategy, 82% of advocates who read or engage with their content ended up taking action in the campaign.

And then outbound texting. So this is another way to get advocates’ attention the campaign has launched that they should be participating in. And again, this is where you have to think ahead to make sure that you took all the steps during earlier stages to legally be able to send them text messages.

But this is a really good strategy for conversion because 98% of text messages get read 95%, get read within five minutes of receiving them. How many of you can think of getting a text on your phone, you don’t ignore them. It buzzes, it beeps and you open it 98% of the time. And so advocates, in the same way, this is a great way to get their attention.

I’m going to take a question while we’re at this stage from the chat. Any tips for grassroots advocacy, with an older membership of advocates? Some of them have a hard time navigating websites and online tools. Definitely. So one thing I’ll say. That your action center can be as advanced or as simplistic as you want it to be.

And so for that audience, having all of the content on one screen might be daunting and it might be better to make your form front and center with fewer steps in order to improve the adoption of that. So that’s where really knowing who your advocate personas are, is going to make a difference. The strategies that you adopted, the way you adopt them is going to vary based on who your target audience is.

So that’s one way. Another way is that we have seen folks actually set up their campaigns at in-person events. So the Association of Equipment Manufacturers actually set up their campaign as a booth at a conference a few weeks back as their industry has gone back to in-person events. So obviously that’s a little bit up in the air as COVID progresses or changes but if there is a setting where you can meet your team in person, and you have your advocates who are gathering in one place, that can be another way to help ease the process for folks who maybe aren’t as savvy with texting and gamification in some of those more advanced steps.

Apart from email, do you have experience with WhatsApp groups seems like the go-to app for political campaigns in countries like Brazil and India?

That’s not something I’ve personally spoken to any clients or folks in the industry about and so I’m not as familiar with the technical steps that would be needed to execute a campaign with WhatsApp. You could certainly be sharing links to your campaign through text and using things like Bitly or other tools that allow you to shorten links might be a good way to be able to quickly text that through WhatsApp.

But it is important to, it’s great that you know your advocates are in WhatsApp. And so that’s the place that you should be looking to make an impact is wherever you can meet them.

So the next strategy that I want to talk about for incentivizing optimization or for bringing optimization in the decision stage is with competition. So the clip I’m going to show you is from IHRSA which represents the fitness industry. They use a dashboard in Quorum to stir up some competition among their advocates to drive more action.

So this is Jake Landry, the Public Policy Assistant at IHRSA.

Jake Landry (via 2021 webinar): We have something that we found really helpful. And it was specific to our industry where we got the idea, but it could be applied to really any industry is that gym owners are naturally competitive people because they’re obviously into sports and athleticism and really want to be the best they can possibly be and work on themselves.

So we broke down the race for co-sponsors essentially into, at different states and said, okay, New Jersey, can you get more co-sponsors more quickly than Illinois and California? Can you get more cosponsors more quickly than New York? And we were able to really use the dashboard to break it down by grassroots actions sent by state, be ready to put it on a map that was color-coded. And we were able to really show also co-sponsors by states. And that competitiveness really was the hook and got a lot of people. And a lot of people were really excited about getting involved, which is not something we’ve seen in the past.

Theresa Hebert: So the way that they did this is they created this dashboard in Quorum that had all the different stats. They wanted to know what sponsors and co-sponsors had signed on, which states were driving the most action, which states were represented by a sponsor or co-sponsor and they made this dashboard public, so it was a link that they could share with their members to consistently check back on that leaderboard sentiment that they created. The dashboards auto-updating, so when someone new signed as a co-sponsor, someone new took an action that dashboard was a live feed into where they stood on this bill. And so it was a great way for advocates to both compete against their colleagues in the industry and see that their actions were making an impact. So if you check-in and see that there are 10 sponsors on one day and a week later, there are 20 sponsors that can be motivating to continue to take action.

And Jake talks about this being you being special to the fitness industry because of that sense of competition. It’s a sentiment we’ve heard from other industries as well, especially association members where you know who your colleagues are in the association, the other organizations. And so that interest in beating your colleagues in this kind of fun competition resonates beyond just the fitness and sports industries.

At this stage, we have gotten them to finally take the action we were looking for. But as you all know campaigns are not always time-contained policy. Sometimes policies need campaigns running for a long time as a bill moves slowly. And some of you are in industries that have legislation all the time popping up that you need to react to.

So it’s not just enough to get someone to take action. So how do we retain them and get them to come back after they took that first action. The metric that we want to look at here is the average number of actions per advocate. So how can we drag that number up so that your advocates don’t take just one, but they can take 2, 3, 4, 5 actions over time?

And one of the most successful things we’ve seen here again is gamification, but with tiers and prizes. So this is from Toyota where they created this ninja tier system based on their Toyota branding. And. As you gain more points, you can move up in levels of ninja status. And so if you come and take one action, that’s great.

You’re going to be a first-level wannabe ninja. But once you’re a wannabe ninja, you really want to be a master ninja. And so it takes coming back and engaging with new content, engaging with new campaigns in order to move up those levels. And you’ll see, each of those levels is associated with prizes and in Toyota sake, not all the prizes are really expensive and flashy it’s things like stickers and t-shirts. Other organizations have taken different approaches with raffles, with the opportunity to participate in fly-ins. There are lots of different ways that you can take this to your system and this prize system across different budgets and levels of sophistication, but they found that this was really successful at bringing advocates back again and again.

And then finally the expansion stage. You have gotten those advocates who feel like they’ve built a muscle of taking action on your write-a-letter campaigns, on your call campaigns. Now you want to push them to step it up a notch and take higher-value actions like a fly-in, a site visit, an in-district meeting.

So the way that we think about doing that is to build almost a scorecard system to identify which advocates are best suited to these activities. All of these things on the screen, here are things you can find in your advocate database with a system like Quorum based on the steps you’ve taken in prior stages, looking at things like which advocates have taken the most actions, which advocates have earned the most points if you’re using gamification. which have the highest priority job titles if you collected that in your registration forms or which live in districts with your key legislator. If you’re an organization where your fly-ins are highly selective you might create a robust scoring system that incorporates these qualities.

If you’re less strict and you are open to inviting lots of folks to your flying, you might look at these more qualitatively to see who you should send those invitations to, but using a tool like sheets in Quorum will allow you to build out a scorecard and look at these criteria in one.

So what’s your metric for success? So of the advocates who fit the criteria we just discussed, how many of them actually take the action of signing up for a flying posting, an industry meeting or engaging on your behalf when they’re asked?

One caveat I do want to highlight overall in this process is the funnel is not always linear. Sometimes you skip steps. This was really prevalent especially during COVID when people’s jobs were impacted, when their livelihoods were changed, as a result of the pandemic, they didn’t need to be made aware of the issues or be convinced of the importance of policy because more than ever, they were acutely experiencing the impact that government can have on them.

And so in that case, we saw campaigns where folks skip straight to consideration and decision. One of the channels we see most successful at helping people skip stages and what can help you expedite the time it takes for someone to become aware of your organization and get to that stage of taking action is referrals.

I’m sure some of you who are Quorum users here today became Quorum users because you heard from a friend about their experience. Think about the restaurants you try, the products that you purchase. People are much more likely to do it when they hear from a friend. And that’s the same experience that we saw with campaigns, especially during COVID-19, as folks fought for funding and things like the CARES Act.

So this example from Independent Sector talks about how they had over 2000 people take action on social media to share with their networks they sent a letter to a member of Congress asking Congress to support nonprofits during the pandemic, we know that. Giving people the opportunity to share their action and social has an amplifier effect.

And this was something we saw with a lot of other organizations during COVID. The Airline Pilots Association had all of their pilots tweet out the campaign after they wrote a letter so that their friends and family could participate. It’s a common strategy to really quickly expand the number of folks participating in your campaigns.

So that’s all I have today, but before we move into question and answer for the last couple of minutes, I want to do a quick plug. My email is here. All of the stories that we’ve covered here today from organizations like Toyota and the Equipment Manufacturers and the YMCA and IHRSA are from opportunities that I’ve had and my team has had to talk to clients for case studies, for webinars, for blogs on our website. So if participating in any of these things is something you’d be interested in please send me an email and we would love to talk to you, whether it’s someone who’s using quorum and wants to be featured in a case study, or you want to help build your brand in the industry with a guest blog on our site, we’re open to lots of ideas so please shoot me an email.

The question we got, what campaign types are the easiest to participate in. We find that write-a-letter campaigns are probably the easiest. While I talked earlier about editable campaigns where advocates can write their own stories, that’s certainly not a requirement. And so it’s fairly easy for them to put in their information, be matched with their legislators, and click send on that letter. Something that Quorum does that make sense that action amplified without putting additional effort on the advocate is something called combined campaigns where we can match you with your representative, your Senator, your governor, your state representative, and you can send with just one click a letter to all of those people without having to go through the process four times for each particular elected official that you’d like to send it to.

And while writing to Congress is still not something that advocates may be used to. Once you teach them to do that, you can then get four or five letters out of that one click, one action. So that’s generally the easiest one that we see folks.

Do you support grassroots actions for people who aren’t in Quorum?

So if you’re not a Quorum user, you can definitely take action in our client’s campaigns. So while you need to be a user to set up a campaign and if you click through the Hubilo platform, you can learn more about the product, you do not need to be a user to take action in those campaigns that our clients set up.

So again, through the platform, we have some of our ‘clients action centers for issues related to social justice that you can actually click through straight through Hubilo and see them and take action yourself.

What are some key performance indicators I should track for the performance of blogs with an eye towards engagement?

That’s an awesome question. Traffic is obviously if you don’t have traffic then the other metrics can be skewed. But beyond that for engagement, there’s a couple that we really look at. First is bounce rate. So of people who land on your blog, how many of them click right off away from it? Or do they stay on the page and actually read it?

In Google Analytics, you can look these up. Also things like time on site. How much time are they spending on your site? Again, are they scrolling through, are they ingesting your content or are they jumping off? And then pages per visit, are they just reading the one thing that they clicked on, or is your blog leading them to other parts of your site? So those are all statistics that we look at from an analytics perspective to see how folks are engaging.