What do you do when you run an online community, but your audience base is mostly offline?
Give a postcard!
Imagine if you got this in the mail. From tias.com.
Note I said “give,” not send. There’s a reason for this, and it’s bound up in our particular niche and methodology.
Please stand by as we transfer you to the Department of Backstory
We have a train-the-trainer model, which means our staff train someone on your staff to become certified in our training*. That person is now a Certified Instructor and as such, equipped to go back to your organization and train everyone else.
An initial training class can include people from all over their respective state, from neighboring states, and from many different disciplines.
Initial training also lasts 4 days. You have a lot to keep track of!
I looked up ‘trying to keep track of everything” and got this. That makes sense.
So even though our staff always introduces our exclusive Yammer community during this 4-day span, we wanted something more permanent to remind people to join after the first flush of excitement had died down.
Our Yammer community is completely opt-in, see. We want you to be there if YOU want to be there, not because you’re being (nonviolently) shoved in.
Excerpt of raw courage from Pogo.
Here’s what we did
We designed an over-sized postcard that gets handed out in class by our staff instructors.
First, we answer that eternal question:
Side 1: What’s In it For Me?
Well, here it is:
“You now have access to a professional development network where you can exchange ideas, insights, tips, and strategies to help you deliver the most meaningful and relevant training programs possible.”
It’s all true, too!
Then, we give you something to do with what’s in it for you:
Side 2: TWO Calls to Action!
Because you’re sitting in a classroom when you get this postcard, there are some things that will definitely be on your mind.
- We provided a place to write down the first thing you want to ask or say when you get in to this community of people who do what you do.
- We also have plenty of space to write down names of classmates to reconnect with.
And of course, we include simple instructions on how to get in.
What we hope to accomplish
Our own call to action is simple, too: We want to help people remember “that Yammer thing” that got mentioned in class, and get them excited about signing up.
Maybe they won’t today, maybe they won’t tomorrow, but at some point they’ll pull out that postcard again and decide, what the heck, I’ll sign up.
Or hear about Yammer in the myriad of other ways we mention it too, ’cause we’re not dummies.
He’s not a dummy either, he just happens to be wearing a pepper on his head.
What you can do
Use this idea!
You can also actually send your postcard (people still do that!) or other eye-catching doodad through the actual mail.
It all depends on your audience base and how you want people to use your network. Even internal folks might appreciate a fun bit of mail as a desk-drop or in their mail slots.
If you’ve done something like this or are about to, let me know in the comments!
*Want to find out more about our program? Here’s our Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training, all enhanced this year.
I am also indebted to Paul Woods who, upon hearing of this idea, dubbed it “analog.”