1 – Not Using Online Consultations

The benefits of online community engagement are well documented.  Not only will you increase your organization’s availability to the public but you will become more cost-efficient than using strictly traditional methods. Unlike polls and surveys online consultations provide quicker results and allows more two way dialogue.  

2 – Uninteresting Topics

Choose issues that people are passionate about to evoke a wider response. This will encourage a better participation rate and encourage sharing among social media channels.

3 – Poor Layout and Navigation

Most visitors will decide within a few seconds whether they complete your engagement or move on, resulting in a high bounce rate. Make sure your layout is easy to navigate with a minimal number of mouse clicks.

Don’t lose them! Learn how to boost online completion rates.  

4 – Too Many Free Text Questions

Not all the respondents want to take the time to fill in a lot of text boxes. Keep this input optional to garner additional insight for those that want to take the time.

5 – Using Too Much Text on Web Pages

A common mistake is using the same text material for your online and offline efforts. Web page visitors rarely read pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences. So be short and to the point.

And remember to keep your online consultation as visual as possible since this is a visual medium.  

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6 – Lack of Additional Information

Online consultation is a great opportunity to educate and inform. While keeping visible text short and to the point, provide extra details via links and document attachments for those that want to dig deeper. We often see organizations accused of not providing enough details to make informed contributions.

7 – Poor User Recruitment and Engagement

Users cannot participate if they are unaware of your efforts. Use the proven retail strategy of “clicks and bricks”. By using both offline (print ads, brochures, word of mouth) as well as online (web site, email, social media) you will greatly enhance your participation rates.

Learn how to boost online completion rates.

8 – Providing Too Much Functionality

Otherwise known as feature-creep whereby features go beyond the basic functionality of the product and can result in software bloat and over-complication rather than simple design. This can confuse users and result in drop offs.

Some programs will allow you to disable unused features which is highly recommended.

9 – Not Monitoring Data Validity

User authentication helps the platform validate the user to prevent duplicate submissions as well as allow the user to return and modify their input. This is very different from traditional offline methods.

Whether this is done by gathering IP address, street address or other method, ask your provider about this to make sure it meets your organizational requirements.

10 – Not Using Common Data Sources

All the time and money you saved by using online consultation can be wasted if you have to spend hours or days consolidating data from disparate sources.

Make sure all your tools are able to import and export into a common database such as .csv for easy consolidation and analysis.