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Most People Didn’t Get The Message

Richard Millington
Richard Millington

Founder of FeverBee

When we first launched our community management course back in 2011, we sent out a series of messages with advice and appeals to sign up.

I chased up many who expressed an interest but didn’t join to find out why.  Can you guess the main reason? Most people said they couldn’t afford to come to London for 12 weeks to take the program.

The program was completely online. We made this clear on the website and the brochure. Yet this message wasn’t getting through.

The next semester we made it clear the course was completely online, we updated the name, we detailed it on the landing page and in 5 to 6 emails we sent out that people could take the entire program in their spare time from home or during their working lunches.

I reached out to a group of people who clicked the link and didn’t sign up again. Same problem. People replied they liked the material but couldn’t afford to come to London for 12 weeks to take the program.

You might have experienced something similar. 4 years ago we took over the Virtual Community Summit which had been hosted for the previous 2 years in London. During the promotion, we began receiving complaints that we were charging too much for an online conference.

The venue, name, and date were all the same, but the message in the previous 2 years hadn’t gotten through.

It can feel frustrating to send out a message, follow up with the people that received it, and realise they didn’t really read it. During our recent AEM program, I reached out to a few people that clicked the signup link but didn’t complete the process to ask if they needed any support or had any questions about the program. The most common response was, what’s advanced engagement methods?

The sad truth is it’s very unlikely your message is cutting through the noise. Even if people receive it they probably don’t open it. Even if they open it, they probably don’t read all of it. Even if they read all of it, they probably don’t remember it.

In my inbox this morning I’ve got an important notification regarding Salesforce platform changes, new apartments available for viewings, and summaries from previous calls and meetings. And this is at 8am.

So what do you do?

A few thoughts

  • Despite the tantalizingly large number of members, your actual reach (as in people who will open and read your messages) is agonizingly small. This is probably up to 30% of your total audience. Focus on those people, not the rest.
  • The people most likely to perform the behavior are those who receive and open the message. I can think of only 1 person who signed up to our event/courses after realising they weren’t online/offline. The people who it appealed to made the effort to find out. The rest are looking for excuses not to do it.

Change the object to make big issues obvious. Our PillarSummit course became FeverBee’s ondemand program, the Virtual Community Summit became SPRINT London.

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