As we interact clients across the country, we are often asked the questions:
This white paper will address these questions and outline a series of best practices you can follow to cost effectively drive registration growth post launch in your community.
Across emergency management professionals there appear to be two different philosophical viewpoints regarding how mass notification systems such as Voyent Alert! are best used to command the publics attention during critical incidents.
Both sides of the argument hold merit, and at Voyent Alert! we have taken steps to address both sides. The system is engineered to:
1. Deliver informational and critical alerts using very different visual and audible alerting cues. It is obvious when an alert pertains to an emergency vs. something more day to day.
2. The system delivers high fidelity geo-fencing, which allows for very targeted messaging. Used properly this ensures message relevance to the community user, and reduces message fatigue.
3. Quick opt-out features allow users to quickly profile those kinds of informational alerts they wish to hear about and what ones they don’t want to be bothered with.
4. Smart Delivery means that users won’t be woken up at night with a phone call delivering an informational notification that could be more appropriately delivered the next morning.
SYSTEM USAGE IS THE BEST WAY TO DRIVE ENROLLMENT
While we respect the different view points, and leave it to our clients to implement the system as they see best, we thought it might be worthwhile to examine enrollment data over an extended period of time as it relates to system usage levels. What we found was interesting.
In general, client communities, who issued alerts at a rate of one notification a month or more, experienced an organic registration rate 5-10X higher than communities that issued at a rate of 1-2 alerts per year.
Over a 6 month period, starting 3 months post launch, the higher usage rate communities averaged an enrollment growth rate of approximately 10% month over month. The lower usage rate communities, who were more dependant on static web-site promotions to drive awareness, experienced approximate 1-2% / month growth rate.
Figure 1: Community enrollment levels as a function of system usage.
Note: neither community initiated external marketing campaigns. Growth data reflects organic use only.
THE KEY TAKEAWAY IS, PEOPLE TALK
Responsible use of the system to communicate relevant day-to-day information is something that people find valuable and community awareness of the system, and in turn registration, is driven by word of mouth.
The fact that enrollment is growing indicates a positive reflection on the value of the communications being transmitted.
HAVE A COMMUNICATION STRATEGY FOR CRITICAL INCIDENTS
Critical incidents such as fire and floods have the capacity to create significant event driven registrations.
Enrollment analysis shows that consistent inclusion about Voyent Alert! and “How to register instructions” in all event related communications (i.e. press releases, media coverage, Facebook, Twitter posts etc.) can drive a 30-50% increase in registrations at a regional level and a 100%+ increase in registrations at the local level.
TIER CRITICAL EVENT COMMUNICATIONS WITH DUAL ALERTING CAPABILITIES:
Another important consideration when sending out alerts during a critical event is how widely to communicate the message. Evacuation orders and advisories are more formal notices often with legal ramifications, and targeting very specific geographic areas. As tool, the Voyent Alert! service is well suited for delivering these kinds of targeted alerts.
As a best practice, and as a method to further drive community enrollment, we strongly advocate sending out communications and updates beyond the formal evacuation order and alert zones. During a critical incident the public is often hungry for information. In monitoring system support calls during critical events, the most frequent question we receive is “Why did a neighbour or family member receive an alert and not me?”
The answer is almost universally because one resident or family member resides in an evacuation zone and the other community member may be just outside of it. The net result is that a lack of direct communication to a broader audience during a critical event can create unnecessary anxiety amongst community members who don’t receive a message and lead to questions amongst the public as to whether or not the system is working as it should. All elements that may result in negative pressure being applied to system registrations.
The good news is that the Voyent Alert! system readily allows for tiered and differentiated messaging. Thus, it is easy to compose a message that targets and delivers specific evacuation order/alerts and at the same time delivers a more general situational update to the broader public.
Below are examples of alerts sent from the same incident, but tiered based on users location.
REGULAR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS DRIVE REGISTRATION
Social media has the potential to be one of the most effective drivers of registrations and system awareness, but it needs to be nurtured. We see regular enrollment spikes following posts that remind the public about the service and how to register. These posts should be a monthly occurrence. Too often we see clients incorporate a Facebook / Twitter post as part of the launch campaign, or promote the service on a municipal home page, but not follow up with it. The web links and posts become buried and once outside of general view become much less effective registration tools. The general public can’t / won’t be able to register for the system if the message is buried. Learn more about our marketing collateral kit made for you.
In general, if you are looking to drive community registration the most effective and cost-effective techniques are:
1. Regular system usage for both emergencies and day to day communications
2. Communications strategies to leverage larger events
3. Tiered and differentiated messaging for more relevant communications
4. Regular social media posts
Community clients that consistently leverage the above are realizing organic registration growth rates significantly higher than those clients that aren’t, resulting in overall community service adoption levels of 20-30% or higher.
Want to learn more? Contact one of our solution specialists to chat.
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