Cultivating engagement: How can we best communicate with you?


I recently completed a major home renovation project. Each professional involved had different communication preferences:
  • The general contractor liked detailed notes in email, but you needed to text him to let him know you had sent an email if you really wanted him to read it.
  • The tile installer only responded to phone calls although he always let them roll to voicemail and then called you back.
  • The architect liked instant messaging or chat for quick questions, but you could also get him via text message most of the time.
  • The flooring installer was strictly a cellphone conversationalist.
If we want to engage people with out communications, we need to try and use their preferred communication platforms.  And in addition to preferred platforms, we also need to understand their preferred formats and frequency.

Yowsa!

It can be a lot to manage.  Fortunately the IT folks are increasingly adept with technology solutions to help us do so.  But I think we also can be a bit more inventive in the pre-packaged solutions we offer.  Mr. Porter Post is a print tabloid focusing on men's fashion and design that I recently stumbled across in a Delta Sky Club.  I love the reader-friendly flowchart (at top of post) they offer about how to engage with them.  Might your organization try something similar with members or customers?

People always change their mind about how they wish to interact with what we are sharing.  I love this message that Room and Board offers when you go to unsubscribe from their emails.  It actually got me to try taking a break instead of completely unsubscribing.

People are particular about how they want us to get their attention.  Perhaps we need to simply let them know we understand, to do so in human terms, and to invite them to help us figure out how to engage them best.  Here's introductory text for an email I would love to receive from one of my professional associations or a company whose products I value.
Don't you hate it when someone emails you something you'd rather have in a text message?  Or when news you would have enjoyed reading today doesn't hit your in-box until the weekly news roundup?  We do too.

We're going to do our best to try and get you what you want, when you want it, in the format you want it.  But we're going to need your help.  Please select which of the communications you'd like to subscribe to now.  You can modify your preferences at anytime as you discover what works best for the way you do our work.
We spend so much energy trying to get people's attention.
The people who best know how to do so ironically are the ones we rarely ask.

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Note
This post is a part of a short series of daily posts on cultivating engagement.  Your comments, reactions, and refinements are encouraged. I am not a marketing, data or information analysis, or membership specialist. I am a generalist in the trenches, sharing what makes sense based on my experiences and observations of others’ efforts. I am a deep believer in trying a lot of stuff to learn what works.  These posts are in support of that commitment.