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Choose Your Words Carefully: what is your message saying to your members?

by | May 19, 2010 | Industry News & Trends

What is your message really saying about you?

Passed a restaurant this morning advertising FRESH POT ROAST TODAY.

A perfectly good message was ruined by one word. Fresh pot roast is appealing. Fresh pot roast today makes me speculate about the condition of your pot roast any other day. 

How are the messages you are sending out about your organization influencing members’ desire to join?

  • Are you giving discounts today that are making people who joined last year feel undervalued, kind of the way cell phone dealers offer great incentives for “new customers only”? Discounts may be necessary to incentivize new members but while you’re doing that, don’t forget your loyal community.
  • Are you mentioning tough times too frequently and thus drawing attention to your own concerns of solvency? Shortly after ordering a magazine subscription, the publisher sent a note telling me how desperate they were for funds and if I re-upped for another year right then, I could do so at significant savings. The deal was a great one but they spent so much time telling me how they needed money that I doubted they would be in existence long enough for me to get my two year’s worth. Don’t worry your members about finances. No one wants to give money to an organization they think is going under.
  • Are you trying to be all things to all people to the extent that new prospects are not sure what you are or who should join? Be clear about want you want from new recruits and what your mission is and what the two of you can accomplish together.
  • Are you talking too much about how things used to be? Back in the golden, old days…only seems golden because you weathered the storms that were chasing you at the time. Don’t let members or potential members be turned off by talk of yesteryear. We can get that from the History Channel.
  • Are you sounding like a combination of John Lennon and the Muppets — Imagine a Rainbow Connection? Big dreams are important but not when it impedes your ability to lead an organization through every day banalities. Keep lists of things you can do now; things you can accomplish in a few months; things that will take a few years of planning and orchestration; and a Gatsby list or your ultimate desire should your fairy godmother stop by. Healthy leadership involves a pleasant combination of all of them as well as the wisdom to know which idea falls in which category.   
  • Is your idea of value one-sided? You know how valuable members are to your organization from a financial standpoint. They not only bring in revenue but the business intelligence garnered from their interaction with your community can be invaluable. But if you’re not providing them with value, they will likely notice the one-sided relationship and reconsider. Leaving out the value is like telling them on their renewal date, “You are so important to me TODAY.”


See how that one word changes the message? 

These are a few communication pitfalls organizations fall into. Can you think of any others?


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