When you’re working to connect with employees – and their families – in an authentic way during a union organizing campaign, crafting your strategy can seem overwhelming. Focusing on the facts is a given, but tone and approach can make all the difference in making sure your all-important message resonates. Authenticity is vital. Otherwise, your site can seem like marketing propaganda rather than fact-based information.
When you’re discussing website strategy, you have to address the question of investment – how much does it cost to create an effective campaign-based website? The answer to this question relies on several factors, including how often the site requires updates/refreshers with the latest on the campaign.
Making sure your message is understood is what matters more than anything. But assigning a value (much less ROI) to that message is practically an art form, and only you can do it.
We can, however, guide you toward the most effective way to craft and present your message to maximize its effectiveness for your employees. So how much does a custom campaign website cost? Well, it varies.
Custom Campaign Website Cost Factor #1: The Cost of Unionization
A great campaign website doesn’t just influence employees to vote no. Your UnionFree.com website should reach beyond the campaign and help create a sense of community among employees. By weighing the cost of your site against the Cost of Unionization, you can begin to create a clear picture of the value of shared goals.
Choosing a web design provider with experience in union organizing campaigns is vital. It’s not just about coding experience or understanding navigation and user interaction with the site. The value of your website is in its connection to employees’ understanding of what it means to vote in a union. This kind of expertise may come at a slightly higher cost, but its value can be immeasurable.
Custom Campaign Website Cost Factor #2: Engagement and Interactivity of Your Custom Website
Providing tools, resources, and opportunities for employees to interact with the site can also affect cost. Consider interactive calculators that demonstrate the cost of going out on strike. Employees and members of their household can get real, concrete numbers tied to how many days they might be out on strike and how much that can cost their families.
Including an interactive feature that teaches the cost of union dues vs. the possible return on a similar investment elsewhere can also be powerful. Calculators can add anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
Another feature that can bring great authenticity to your campaign website and thus build trust with employees is a “Q &A” section. By allowing employees to submit questions, you begin the process of listening. When you then thoughtfully formulate and post answers to the site throughout the campaign, your company demonstrates a willingness to be transparent and open. The caveat here is that your campaign website developer must be available and willing to monitor the site for submissions, pass those inquiries along to you, and then assist you in formulating and post answers. Again, this ongoing and diligent maintenance can increase the cost of your campaign website.
Custom Campaign Website Cost Factor #3 Custom Campaign Website Add-Ons
Of course, your campaign site will include the union-specific information that often persuades employees that unionization is not in their best interest. But adding custom features that resonate with your audience can make a world of difference.
What can be added?
- Social media accounts and maintenance of those accounts. Costs can include set up and maintenance, linking out to those accounts from your website for easy access by employees.
- “Sister” sites for additional locations but are involved in the same organizing drive
- Multiple unions, which can occur when more than one union attempts to organize workers. (Also, later in this article, we’ll talk about creating a “dark” site, for which you may want to anticipate producing content to educate employees on multiple unions.)
- Video elements, short and to the point, can add a few thousand dollars to your costs.
- Additional language versions; prices for these include translation and reformatting the site to accommodate the text.
Custom Campaign Website Cost Factor #4: Metrics and Reporting
While a campaign situation calls for complete anonymity for your visitors, the knowledge you gain from tracking those visitors as an aggregate can be invaluable.
What pages of your site are getting the most traffic? How long do visitors spend on your site, and in what elements are they most interested? How engaged are your employees? This kind of information can inform not only updates and information on the site but provide insight into the mood and thinking of employees throughout the campaign.
One Last Tip
Your team may want to consider creating your UnionFree.com site as a “dark” site. What that means is developing your custom website off-line before organizing activity occurs. Many of our clients choose this route because it provides additional flexibility and time to consider the impact this communication will have. For a minimal hosting fee, you can have your site kept “in the dark” until it’s needed.
Creating your site in advance means you’ve carefully thought through your Company’s message, and created content that reflects the Company’s true feelings on the topic. Additionally, you’ll have provided ways for employees to ask questions and voice concerns anonymously so that you can address those concerns. Strategically crafting your dark site means your Company has drafted the most vital information your employees need early in a campaign, as well as additional facts that can be added to refresh the site and keep it engaging as the organizing drive continues.
“So, How Much Does a Custom Website Cost?”
The average price to develop a custom informational website can range from a low of $10,000 to well over $50,000. Depending on your needs, this pricing can include site structure, navigation, all programming, and content, brand-specific visuals, interactive elements, and optimization for mobile.
The keyword here is “average price.” The Projections team has produced a wide variety of custom websites, and we’ve found that these are the typical site elements most companies need to succeed. You may very well be able to accomplish what you need at the low end of the scale, but be sure you are getting everything you need.
A strong strategy is an essential part of an effective custom campaign website. To keep costs down, work with a company experienced in labor relations and, most importantly, employee communication. With the pressure of a union organizing campaign, it’s best to research this resource ahead of time, so you’re sure to get it right when it counts.