Thursday, September 18, 2008

YMCA web site video

OK, so I am meeting tomorrow with a local YMCA and one of the topics we are planning to talk about is, if you had no constraints (money, time, staff, etc) what would you want your web site to look like? Ok, so that is the funny part, of course in the real world things like money, time and staff do get in the way. But who wants to live in real world anyway, that is why I like science fiction after all (I think that is what Jim Collins writes). Ok, I made myself LOL there. ;-)

Anyway here is the short 4 minute video I created. There really isnt any humor in it and the sound quality is sketchy. BUT I made it all with FREE software - Virtual Dub, CamStudio and Impress. Plus it only took me a few hours (I already had most of the content planned out in my head.) The harder part seemed to be fixing the file size, resisting coughs and uploading to YouTube. Any hoot, I stray off topic again.

And here is the supporting ideas behind it:

What could the YMCA web site look like?

If anything was possible what would you like to see on your YMCA web site?

  1. Content – Information that is valuable enough for your audiences to crave your next update, visit on a regular basis and tell everyone they know about it.

  2. Connection – Audiences feels real connection to mission, organization and each other.

  3. Call to Action – Easily apparent what you want your audiences to do.

  4. Conversion – Audiences act immediately in a way that you expected.

But what does that really look like?

  • The web site becomes an extension of the services offered by the YMCA. Members thrive on the added benefit, information, support and tools available that expand the value of belonging.

  • Volunteers flock to the site in an ever growing rate to participate and watch for opportunities to pitch in as well as learn from the tools available to them.

  • Donors feel a real connection and understand first hand where their money is going.

  • Collaborating community organizations look to the site to see how they can increase the impact and grow the community.

That is a lot of fluff talk, but is that what your web strategy is? Or is your web strategy focused on selling more memberships, advertising the discounts, displaying the program brochure or telling people what you want to say?

What if...

  • Starter aerobic class videos to make people more comfortable in knowing that it really is for beginners, so try it at home once.

  • Blogs with stories from current members, participants, community members and volunteers telling their story.

  • Blogs from the staff that break down the barrier of title and introduce the real person.

  • Member discussion boards that allow sharing and connecting, imagine finding a workout partner, an accountability person, ride share, references and more.

  • Fitness and health planning tool that incorporates meals, exercise, spiritual and mental activities with tips, resources, etc.

  • Content that is informative related to healthy lifestyles or families that can be reused on a members blog, facebook, web site or even just an email link.

  • E-Newsletters that are more than just announcements, they tell a story and show community impact.

  • Interactive e-learning courses that teach volunteer coaches, educate members of full YMCA services, reach young audiences with health tips, etc.

  • Board members get real time access to information, conversation and resources to share with community.

  • Online games that demonstrate the need for spirit, mind and body.


Dustin Rue said...

interesting post a fine video despite the sound quality. I like what you have done here but I have some questions. The first one is, what your audience? I've always seen it has those who are members and those who are not. Each audience wants something different. Which leads me to my next question. What does each repective audience want from the website?

This something I am currently battling as I redo our site. Google analytics tells me nobody cares about our mission page, they just wantto get a schedule or the updated program guide. Or they need to know hours or what childcare site is closest to them.

How does an association then create and maintain so much content? How do you monitor message boards and blogs? Volunteers? Employees? These are other questions I've weighed as we look to enpand our site into many of the areas you mention.

Steve Heye said...

Again, fantastic comments. I think I will blog some of my answers to those questions later this week. The question of audience is the best one to start with when planning your web site, I think it goes hand in hand with understanding\communicating your mission.

One of the keys to achieving a lot of what you talk about is not just focusing on the home page, but having several landing pages. So if people search for your site, the link they get in the search takes them to a landing page specific to the info they searched for, not to your home page. Example, they search for child care, dont have the link appear with your home page, create a custom page that has a deep, content rich, explanation of what makes your child care unique!

As far as content creation, it cant come from marketing or IT. Your WHOLE association needs to be held accountable for creating it! And yes we need to turn to volunteers, members, etc.

Dustin Rue said...

How do drum up support from staff? I have been trying for years and I sometimes feel as though I'm no better off today than I was.