When registration is not happening early enough, we panic. When we offer a new service and no one buys, we worry. When interest for a core benefit tails off, we get nervous. The panic, the worry and all this nervousness forces us to act. And what do we do? We pour on the promotions. Come to the conference! Try this new service! For years members loved this core benefit, come back and try it again.
What if the quantity of your promotions is not the problem?
It is a noisy world. We put a promotional email or tweet or post or advertisement or direct mail out there and then wonder if anyone saw it. What is the magic number? How many impressions do we need? Do you really have to hit members with a message 3 or 7 or 13 times before a small percent of them take action? On the flip side, we know there is a cost to over-promoting. Over-promote, i.e. send the same type message too many times and your members wear out. They see yet another promotion from you and in a fraction of a second it is swiped into their virtual and mental trash can. What a dilemma! When we worry about achieving the perfect balance of promotion quantity, we may be asking ourselves the wrong question.
When members don’t seem to be interested in our latest promotion we tend to think one of two things:
- They just didn’t see our promotion or hear about our offering
- Members would like to join, purchase or participate but an environmental factor is influencing them – the recession, reduced discretionary funds, timing, etc.
The outcome to these two assumptions is to increase promotional messages. They didn’t see it so a few more emails are bound to get more eyeballs. The timing is wrong? Let’s set up a schedule so we catch them when the time is right!
What if it is not the quantity of promotions that you put out there that matters but mattering that matters?
Promotions and products that matter may be your problem.
When members don’t seem to be interested in our latest promotion likely these are the real reasons:
The offering just does not matter to them. The offering does not solve a problem. Or the offering does not solve a pressing problem. Or the offering does not solve the problem in the way members need the problem to be solved.
The message does not matter to them. While the offering may be just the right solution, the message does not connect. Emotionally or logically the message doesn’t say what members need to hear. They can not quickly and easily see how the offering solves their problem.
What does mattering look like?
There are conferences that sell out every year in less than an hour like the World Domination Summit. Videos that turn a $220 donation into $1.2 million in donations like the Rachel Beckwith charity: water story. Ideas that compel action like the most recent Global Learning XPRIZE. Services that, before we know it, become a part of our lives like Amazon. And brands whose story become a rallying cry to those that follow them like Harley Davidson.
This is what mattering looks like. I love these best of the best examples because they illustrate that it can be done.
It is also good to know that not all mattering is so grandiose. Mattering is in the eye of the beholder. Mattering is the clothing boutique owner that personally picks out garments her customers never would have picked for themselves but once on, look stunning. Mattering is the airport bathroom attendant that notices and personally connects with a overly weary traveler. Mattering is the customer service interaction that takes responsibility for both the outcome and for the customer’s feelings.
An association that matters to their members is one that often celebrates their members and says we see you serving others and you matter! An association that matters says to their members, your problems matter and here’s how we are helping you solve them. An association that matters works ever harder to empathize with members, connect to members and get better on behalf of members. An association that matters doesn’t rest, they do these two things over and over again.
Almost all associations rely on fact-based marketing. Fact-based marketing produces messaging that does not connect with members. To connect with members you need storytelling and to tell great stories you need more information about your members. Amanda Kaiser conducts remarkable member research designed to get you the insights that will make your association matter. Find more articles like this on her blog.