Scripture Memory Fellowship
The history of Scripture Memory Fellowship goes back 70 years—and some of their loyal customers go back that far as well. People who grew up using SMF’s Bible memory books are now giving them to their grandchildren. That kind of loyalty—and devoted word-of-mouth advertising—is nothing to sneeze at.
But Jim Woychuck, the director of Scripture Memory Fellowship, knew their reach was too small. As a small, not-for-profit ministry that survives on donations, how could they (affordably) get their message out to people who didn’t already have a connection to SMF?
For SMF, their message—to convince people that memorizing Bible passages will transform their lives—is paramount. Jim told us that if they could convince a web reader to commit to Bible memorization, they didn’t care if they ever sold him a book.
So content strategy was of chief importance on the website.
The problem: SMF’s old website was loaded with long pages of content in tiny fonts, and was fairly difficult to navigate. Jim knew exactly what he wanted the site to say, but he wasn’t sure how to make it work for the web.
Our content strategist had the challenge of taking all of SMF’s educational content (combined with information gleaned from interviews with Jim) and rewriting it for a web audience. She had to create a content flow that guided the reader through important ideas without overwhelming him—but also not leaving anything important out.
The heart of the message—memorizing Scripture will change your life—begins with the homepage headlines. Carefully chosen calls to action then guide the reader from page to page in a logical order.
Special attention was given to the site’s top navigation to make sure major topics and product categories are immediately accessible.
SMF’s old site was dark and cluttered. The homepage failed to orient the reader to what was most important, and there were so many calls to action (Log in! Donate! Search Catalogue! Read more about this news! Check out these 6 randomly chosen products!) that the reader wasn’t sure what to do next. And actually finding and reading the “big picture” of why they should memorize Scripture was pretty unlikely.
Calls to action are kept to a strategic minimum. You’ll notice the new home page doesn’t contain any product photography, and only one product link. This is unusual for an e-commerce site, but again, SMF’s top goal is for people to understand the importance of the mission first. Once the reader gets deeper into the site, products suggestions appear as appropriate. (However, products are always accessible in the top navigation, for those who already know what they’re looking for).
The SMF site’s e-commerce functionality is powered by Magento. Our developers customized everything from the layout of the product pages to the placement of product reviews. They also spent a good deal of time getting the shopping cart experience just right and handling SMF’s fairly complex “incentive bundles” (combining three products of the shopper’s choice for a special discount).
SEO: Getting the message out
We don’t usually make a big deal about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for our client projects. Despite all the hype, good SEO isn’t sexy and doesn’t depend on secret gimmicks—it mostly depends on useful, well-written content that’s properly structured and tagged. (Those who tell you otherwise are usually trying to sell snake oil!)
One thing we should mention about the no-gimmicks, useful-content approach: it works.
Within a week of launching, SMF’s site was already ranking on the first page of Google for the fairly generic terms of “Bible memory” and “Scripture memory.” That’s gratifying, in a geeky webtech way.
But far more importantly, it means SMF’s message is reaching new people.
“The website delivered by 3Fold has instantly doubled our website orders, vaulted us to #1 on Google, and dramatically improved our ability to reach new people with a well-crafted message,” Jim told us. “Just today, a Vietnamese woman in California got on the site and was helped forward in her work getting Vietnamese youth in California memorizing Scripture. You all are instrumental in such work.”
The website delivered by 3Fold has instantly doubled our website orders, vaulted us to #1 on Google, and dramatically improved our ability to reach new people with a well-crafted message. —Jim Woychuck, Scripture Memory Fellowship
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