Using civicrm.com - request for feedback
The CiviCRM Core Team is considering leveraging “civicrm.com” as the primary informational source for CiviCRM Spark (instead of using “civicrm.org”) and are posting this issue to request community feedback.
CiviCRM Spark was created in early 2018 with the primary objective of growing the CiviCRM user base by offering a lightweight version of CiviCRM with which users could easily get started. The assumption was that Spark largely competed with the CiviCRM demos (https://civicrm.org/demo) and that, given its limitations, would expose users enough to CiviCRM that they would either determine that it would not fit with their needs or compel them to upgrade to the full version of CiviCRM, either as DIY or with an expert(1). Likewise, we assumed that the majority of potential users would be new to CRMs in general.
In a recent poll of Spark users, 79% indicated that, prior to using Spark, they were using either spreadsheets, desktop databases or nothing at all.
Since launch, Spark has been passively promoted on the primary website for the CiviCRM project, civicrm.org. Over this time, Spark has garnered 249 users, of which 80 (32%) remain current users. In the same poll of Spark users cited above, 74% “stumbled” upon Spark while reviewing the CiviCRM website.
Over the past 2+ years, the Core Team has gathered anecdotal evidence through one on one feedback with users coming off of Spark that suggests that it is achieving its objective of growing the CiviCRM user base. More recently, the Core Team undertook a poll of past users of Spark to determine if they 1) abandoned Spark and CiviCRM altogether, or 2) upgraded to the full download version on their own (DIY), or 3) upgraded to the full download version with the help of a CiviCRM expert.
Of the 20% that responded to the poll, 63% abandoned CiviCRM altogether, 26% upgraded on their own, and 11% upgraded with the help of a CiviCRM expert.
Why use civicrm.com?
The primary objective of using civicrm.com for Spark is to present it in a much more concise and streamlined manner. In a previously cited poll, approximately half of users that signed up for Spark felt that its presentation on civicrm.org was confusing and unclear. The other half of users felt that the same presentation was helpful and informative.
When it came to actually subscribing to Spark, 32% indicated that they were comfortable that Spark’s capabilities would meet their needs, 58% were uncertain either way, and 10% felt comfortable that Spark would not meet their needs but that the price was low and there was a 30 day refund option.
Most recently, the Core Team has been testing the effectiveness of Google Ads to drive traffic to Spark, resulting in 40k ad impressions and 600 clicks through to https://civicrm.org/spark
Much like civicrm.org is the primary marketing vehicle for CiviCRM, the Core Team believes that civicrm.com could serve as the marketing centerpiece for Spark and that, by focusing Spark there, we stand to improve its presentation and therefore the overall conversion rate for users visiting the site (i.e., resulting in user base growth).
What would the plan be?
The Core Team would manage civicrm.com and the promotion of Spark. Revenues generated currently are applied to CiviCRM’s infrastructure and would continue to do so. Any surplus over and above the costs of infrastructure would be earmarked for the Marketing Team for CiviCRM.
(1) We use the term “expert” to mean a CiviCRM partner or contributor.