In conversion you are not attached primarily to an order, nor to an institution, nor a movement, nor a set of beliefs, nor a code of action - you are attached primarily to a Person, and secondarily to these other things. – E. Stanley Jones
When someone is motivated by an ideal, their loyalty is attached to the person who represents it. That’s the conversion.
You Are Your Product or Service
Being the mascot of their own cause is an important concept that the website owner must master. The integrity of a product or service is directly related to the integrity of the individual who presents it. So it is impossible to maintain the momentum of conversion without being true to themselves. The audience perceives this and expects a certain amount of transparency.
Transparency means opening up, displaying personality, maybe even sharing a few private details! This creates a call to action signal in the brain. This is why Simon Sinek mentions in his TED presentation, “We are talking directly to the brain that controls behavior and then we allow people to rationalize it with the tangible things we say and do.” The more real the mascot is, the stronger the behavior elicited becomes.
This doesn’t have to be a science. For example, entertaining pictures of the website owner and their staff can be extremely powerful. When truth is maintained, very little can go wrong. Alexis Ohanian of Reddit.com states this as if it is a universal law, “It’s OK to lose control. It’s OK to take yourself less seriously. Given that it’s a very serious cause, you can ultimately achieve your final goal.”
Thinking Differently About Monetization
Monetization occurs when regular visitors start purchasing items or services from a website. Many people will also call this conversion. We would like to argue that the conversion is not to be confused with monetization. Monetization is a secondary effect.
What happens when people refer only to monetization as an asset is that their message eventually becomes impersonal and less relevant to the larger audience. People who regularly visit the website are just as important as the ones that fund it. They require the same amount of respect and attention. Without this concept the website’s contribution to the community is lost. Contribution is major motivator when business is slow and can pull it out of the depths of despair.
There is No Secret Algorithm
Monetization is a natural process, the byproduct of loyalty that can happen even when there isn’t an immediate need for a product or service. Apple is a great case study to drive this point home. It has the highest user upgrade percentage of any market. Customers chomp at the bit to buy a new version of their product despite the fact that the previous one works just fine.
There are things you can do to encourage monetization like stepping back and analysing what people expect from you. However if you are effectively listening to your audience, they ultimately dictate the frequency of which you can monetize them. Anyone who says differently is selling you the moon.
There is no secret algorithm to monetization. Just be commited to your business, receptive to the dialogue of your audience, and be inspired by it.
Alexis Ohanian relates his experience in the following video, “Redditors and the Internet community were happy to participate but they weren’t whale lovers. A few of them certainly were, but we are talking about allot of people who were just really interested, really caught up in this great meme… This wasn’t out of altruism, this was just out of interest of doing something cool.”