The helpful behavior change guide is ready to download. What’s next?

The helpful behavior change guide is ready to download. What’s next?

Welcome to the final blog in the What’s Next? series.

We have been looking at different outreach events and exploring ideas for moving projects forward to the next step – even when the event didn’t go as planned. You can read the previous posts here:

What's next? Moving projects forward one step at a time.


Your team spends months developing a downloadable guide that helps the audience adopt more sustainable behaviors. This might be a guide on reducing energy usage at home, a sustainable food guide, a pollinator-friendly garden guide, etc. The resource has been available for download on the organization’s website for a few weeks. You check the download metrics and…

SCENARIO A:  There are very few downloads.
The download data shows a dozen or so downloads when the guide was initially placed on the site and promoted online, but there have been few to no downloads since then.

SCENARIO B:  It’s flying off the virtual shelves!
Wowzers. You weren’t expecting this, but the download data shows a high rate of downloads day after day. How exciting!

Let’s explore how we can move the project forward for both scenarios.

There are very few downloads. What’s next? ⇄

The download data shows a dozen or so downloads when the guide was initially placed on the site and promoted online, but there have been few to no downloads since then.

Believe me, I know how deflating this can be! You put all that work into making something useful for the audience, and now it’s just sitting there.

Go ahead and release a few good curse words and then let’s look at how we can get this guide into more hands.


Similar to the post on collecting petition signatures, we should explore if there are glitches in the system making it difficult or annoying to download the guide.

For example, is the download button working? Are there unnecessary or cumbersome steps in the process that could be streamlined? Does the audience need to provide their email address or create a log-in before gaining access to the guide?

Hiccups or hassles in the downloading process could explain why numbers are low. The good news is that many of these things can be easy to fix for future site visitors.


There is an endless supply of things we can read, watch, and download these days. So, why should the audience take the time to click, download and read your guide?

Clarifying what the user will get out of the guide is critical to making it compelling and attractive. Lead with the pieces about how it helps them achieve goals they’ve set out for themselves.

There are language nuances here that are important to note. The pitch should focus less on what the guide contains and more on how it helps, equips, or empowers the audience.

I share more about the shift from convincing to guiding here.


I find it easy (and tempting) to fall into the “if we build it, they will come” trap. But the reality is that we won’t get traction on anything we’re providing if we don’t talk about it. And one message at one time is not enough.

A robust communications plan is needed to get the guide into more hands. Explore using one or more of these ideas.

Run a series of social media posts highlighting different aspects of the guide, such as how it helps users live more sustainably, tips on how to get the most out of the guide, what the guide includes, why the organization created it, and so on.

Share a link to download the guide in emails and newsletters to subscribers featuring your newly refined pitch. You can even create a promo box that lives at the bottom of your emails for some time.

Create a pop-up on the website promoting the new resource and redirecting the audience to the download page. Well-placed and well-timed pop-ups can help draw attention to new features and offers. The refined pitch will be important here as well.

Ask partners to help spread the word among their networks. Engaging partners in the effort can help expand our reach and add credibility to the initiative. Be sure to provide partners with resources to do this effectively, like talking points, graphics, links, social media templates, etc.

Create a share link that allows site visitors to forward the download page to others easily. This can capitalize on a moment when the site visitor is most engaged with the content and, therefore, most likely to share it.

These steps should generate more traffic to the resource and move the effort into scenario B. Check out those “what’s next?” steps below.

It’s flying off the virtual shelves! What’s next? ⇄

Wowzers. You weren’t expecting this, but the download data shows a high rate of downloads day after day. How exciting!

But…this doesn’t mean our work is done. (Sorry!) Let’s look at how we can build upon this outcome to continue helping the audience adopt sustainable behaviors.


Take a moment to celebrate the success of the team. You may have gleaned through the previous emails that this is my favorite tip for when work goes well for you. Please don’t skip it!


Downloading the guide is one thing. Actually using it is a whole other thing!

Even though the number of downloads indicates success, it’s important to remember that it’s a milestone along a longer journey of shifting behaviors.

Therefore, it’s worth running an ongoing communication plan reminding the audience how to use the guide and benefit most from it.

An effort like this will look similar to the social media and email ideas above, combined with the following step.


People love to hear how other people are using a product or service or working on adopting a new behavior. We are a herd species, after all.

Now that many people are downloading – and assumably using – the guide, you can leverage social proof to gain more traction in the movement.

Admittedly, this takes a bit of legwork to track down those willing to share their stories and experiences, but it’s 100% worth it.

Ask the audience to share examples of how they are using the guide and what they like most about it. They can share their stories directly on social media or permit the organization to share them on their behalf.


Since the resource is popular, we can explore new ways to communicate the same content.

This makes the information more accessible to those who don’t want to read a whole PDF and keeps the content fresh for those who already have read it.

Consider if the content lends itself to being delivered as a live or recorded webinar, a series of short videos, an online course or workshop, or more.

Expansion ideas can extend the shelf life of a valuable resource the team put a lot of effort into.

Lastly, if you feel this effort has achieved its goals, then consider…what’s next??? What can your audience work on next in their journey toward more sustainable, planet-friendly behaviors and how can you help them get there?

This will help turn a successful outreach event into a successful conservation movement.


That’s a wrap for the What’s Next? series. Thank you so much for reading along with me.

This series is connected to a core tool used in the Making Moves course – the behavior journey – which I talk more about in this post.

The behavior journey pushes us to break a big behavior goal into smaller, actionable steps that support the audience’s transition from their current behavior to a more planet-friendly one.

It is also helpful for planning those next steps we discuss in these posts! You don’t have to scramble to figure out what to do once an action or event ends because you have a forward-looking plan to guide you.

And it’s flexible enough to adjust when those events don’t go as planned.

Join the Making Moves course if you want guidance and support in mapping a behavior journey. You can find more details here.

Enjoy taking that next step!

→ you can revisit all four posts in this series here at any time.