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Divide And Conquer Engagement

Richard Millington
Richard Millington

Founder of FeverBee

Have you ever come across this really annoying piece of advice?

Find out what motivates your audience and do that”

This is really terrible advice for three reasons:

  1. Your audience doesn’t know what motivates them.
  2. Your audience doesn’t share the same motivations.
  3. If you satiate that motivation, they go away.

Right now we spend too much time guessing what motivates our members and using a single message in our messages, activities, and content.

This is nuts.

I want to highlight an advanced method to driving high levels of engagement in communities, knowledge management, collaboration, and web apps.

Divide And Conquer Engagement

Key lesson 1: You’re not dealing with identical robots.

Every person has unique goals. Those goals are fluid too. Your priorities in life change from one year to the next (often from one week to the next).

The more you try to develop the one message to rule them all, the less engagement you’ll get.

Your audience is just too diverse to respond to a single appeal. You need to use what we call Divide And Conquer Engagement.

You need to divide your audience into smaller clusters you can tackle (or in marketing speak develop your buyer personas).

Knowing How To Divide (Less Goals, More Motivations)

Let’s imagine you’re running a health and fitness community.

You’ve got men and women, young and old. They want to want to get fit, show off a six-pack, or become hulkamaniacs. That’s immediately 12 unique groups (m/w * y/o * getfit/6pack/hulks) you can help to achieve their goals.

But, remember, these goals shift a lot. So we want to know their motivation.

Take those young men that want a six-pack. Some will want it as a personal symbol of achievement, others to impress friends, and a few (or, okay, a lot) to attract partners.

If you focus on the six-pack level, you’ll lose them once they’ve either hit their goal, changed their goal, or realised the goal is too difficult.

If we focus on the motivational level, we have something more reliable and we can use at a broader level. It’s a lot easier to help people with their need for achievement, to impress friends, and attract partners than just get a six-pack.

So now these 12 unique goal-driven groups can easily become 36+ highly-focused motivational clusters. 

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Of course 36 unique groups is far more than most of us has the resources to cater towards. So we can do one of two things:

  1. Target the biggest segments first. Sequentially tackle individual segments, moving from one to the next.
  2. Target the easiest segments first. Begin with those you have the most relationships with and build from there.
  3. Target broader segments. For example, tackle just people who share the same motivation + goal, regardless of demographics (this might drop your clusters above from 32 to 9). The more limited your resources, the better is it to target broader segments. Focus groups that share the same goal for the same reasons.

Conquering The Clusters

Now we have unique clusters, personas, or segments (whichever wording you like best) whom we can help.

We do that by creating individual promotional messages, catered activities, and unique user flows.

If you have 9 unique clusters, that might over the course of the year mean 9 unique promotional ebooks, social ad/SEO campaigns, webinars, and entry/registration pages.

These would lead into 9 unique user flows that guide them into their own sub groups with content and discussions tailored specifically to the group.

This journey should be entirely catered to the group. That means featuring people they admire, people most like them (especially in images) and content that begins with their current position.

Now here comes the motivation twist. You can also include material that will cater to their motivation of, for example, impressing friends. You might host activities which highlight how to dress to impress, walk and talk with confidence, develop leadership skills, earn more money etc…

This keeps people engaged over the long-term and goes beyond just the narrow goal people originally came for.

How Do You Uncover The Motivation

What motivates you to read this right now?

It’s not easy.

I’m guessing your answer was along the lines of:

  • I want to increase engagement.
  • I want to help my audience achieve their goals.
  • I want to get better at my job.

These answers aren’t the truth. To get to the truth we need to dig a little deeper in our interviews and surveys.

This means asking:

  1. Demographic details (age, location, profession etc..)
  2. What they want (goals)
  3. Why they want it / how it would feel to achieve it (this is the specific point where you need to push deeper)
  4. What’s stopping them right now?

Look specifically for keywords that suggest a competence, autonomy, or relatedness appeal (remember the CAR?). You should be able to build up a good list of words that arise here and deploy them liberally in your copy.

This guides your entire effort to engage your audience.

Take engagement. Why would you want to increase it?

Because it benefits your company? You want to impress your colleagues? You want to finally feel good at your work? Get paid more?

But why do you want those things?

Do you want to feel a sense of achievement at last? Increase your social standing? Or are you worried your boss or peers don’t respect you?

We have to go to deeper with questions to get the real motivations. Even then, many people struggle to be completely honest with themselves (and especially strangers).

So now we might design our engagement efforts but also include an increasingly broader array of skills to impress their boss and gain their respect.

But all of this involves going one-level deeper.

This is the kind of advanced methods we want to be able to deploy to increase engagement in every engagement routine we ever work on.

You’re Invited To Join Advanced Engagement Method

Between today and February 29, we’re accepting a maximum of 20 registrations for Advanced Engagement Methods. Our goal is to close the engagement-value gap by providing an advanced level of training that helps you escape the scramble for instant metrics.

If you’ve been struggling to increase engagement, understanding the psychology part of this, achieve your big wins, and get a lot of new ideas, I hope you will get in touch.

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