How to reach every household in your community with a plan to convert them


How to reach every household in your community with a plan to convert them

The following is a republished edition of GroundSourced, a weekly newsletter from GroundSource on listening and community engagement. It features successful community engagement efforts, highlights missed opportunities for listening, and offers strategies that help you engage and listen to your community. You can subscribe to GroundSourced here.

What we don't measure matters.

When the 10 phone lines fill up on a radio call-in show, there's nothing measuring how many people are impacted by the topic waiting in line behind those 10 callers. 

Local TV news relies on total viewership ratings, missing information about how many of their viewers are actually engaged.

Podcasts track listeners and subscribers, but how might they begin to track potential paying members?

What role do those gaps play in these organizations' engagement cycles? How could filling those gaps lead to more sustainable and effective organizations?

The first step is to figure out what you measure and why. Then figure out what's missing and how measuring that might change the way you work. 

This week's features are here to help jumpstart your thinking.

As always, let us know what you'd like to see in GroundSourced. And if you want to talk about what GroundSource can do for your organization, use this link to schedule a discovery call.

Photo by  Pope Moysuh

Photo by Pope Moysuh

The US Postal Service’s direct mailing service

If you’re in the US, the postal service’s direct mail marketing is a great way to target a geographic community for engagement. Their Every Door Direct Mail portal lets you send mail to every household on a particular postal route and provides additional demographic information about that route, including the how many properties are residences or businesses, the average income of people living on the route, and their age range. For $125, I can reach all 700 people living on my particular postal route.

I learned about this at the People Powered Publishing Conference from Michelle Ferrier, dean of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication at Florida A&M University. Michelle used EDDM to survey the needs of residents in a community in southeastern Ohio. Their work had a 5–7 percent response rate and required residents to fill out a form and return it in the mail. That’s the typical conversion rate for direct mail but there are tactics you can use to increase it, including prompting people to text you with GroundSource!

Find your community on Every Door Direct Mail here. Now how you plan to convert them is another story and that’s where funnels come in

The funnel and the news business

Funnels are outlines of a community member’s journey from passerby to evangelist for your cause. They’re a map for you to follow as you engage folks, using strategies to convert people from the top of the funnel to the bottom. From top to bottom, the typical funnel stages are awareness, interest, evaluation, action, and advocacy.

This framework allows you to build community consciously and with an eye towards sustainability. Journalism is rapidly transitioning from ad-based, scale-above-all business models to ones based on more engaged audiences that support the news directly through subscriptions and memberships and funnels play a key role in that.

Read more about funnels and the news business from GroundSource CEO Andrew Haeg here.

GroundSource is here to help you reach and engage those who matter most.