Reach Out Wisely or You’ll Fail to Engage, & May Alienate, Your Network

Reach Out Wisely or You'll Fail to Engage, & May Alienate, Your Network I received an annoying email this morning from a major nonprofit association — Subject line: Welcome to Our New Web Site. Here’s the first paragraph, which was followed by a list of new content and features:

[We invite] you to take a look at our newly designed web site. Here you will find a number of new features that we know will enhance your online experience as well as the information you’re accustomed to accessing.

Yawn. Who cares?  This announcement is 100% internally oriented. No one else cares if you have a new Web site. It’s not about what’s important to you; in this case the checklist of features your org has worked so hard to build into the new site.

What your base does care about what the site changes do for them — what the value is for them. Do the new features save users time, help build understanding of a complex issue, provide easy access to data that will help accomplish a right-now
goal and/or present new and provocative insights and opportunities for conversation on navigating these challenging times? The more specific your messaging on the features’ value, the better.

Remember, your organization gets only a limited number of opportunities to reach out to your base. If you exceed that limit or fail to engage your network on what’s important to them, you’ll fail to engage folks. Even worst, you risk alienating them.

P. S. The easiest way to ensure you’re going in the right direction, particularly when communicating on a long-term project on which you can’t be objective, is to run your approach by an informal marketing advisory committee of representatives from all audience segments that comprise your base (and prospective base). More on putting one together and what it will do for your org to come!

Photo: fofurasfelinas’

Nancy Schwartz on May 7, 2009 in Branding and Messages, Case Studies, Nonprofit Communications | 1 comment
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  • Here, here, Nancy! I’m so glad you wrote this posting. It’s hard, as a staff person, to get out of your own shoes and start wearing those of your audience. Putting something up on the wall that reminds you that you aren’t them can help- as silly as it sounds.

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