Some characteristics of the people Extension serves across Oregon—our consituents or clients—are changing. Broadly speaking, digital literacy, for one, is a big driver of some of the changes we see in people’s behavior. Perhaps we see some web traffic head to Google search that we’d like to see arrive to the Extension web site.
Naturally, our goal is to retain and enhance people’s awareness of the unique expertise and perspective brought to their questions and challenges by OSU Extension Service.
The prevailing thinking on this topic, across many areas of a client’s day-to-day activities—from banking to purchasing an item to seeking out a workshop from a local Extension office—is the degree to which it helps to receive communication messages that appear personalized to the individual. The sensation of “wow, this is just for me!” Whether it’s a postcard in the mailbox or an email message in the IN box, in those cases where it’s the right information coming to them at just the right time, we can expect that message to be well received. We would expect it to be perceived as relevant and worth their immediate attention.
Pause for a moment to think how many emails land in your own IN box and go unread? In cases where we can increase the relevancy of that subject line and the information inside the message, we can seek to change the nature of that problem.
Opportunities abound to personalize!
So, the challenge we set before us is to discover ways to begin delivering timely information in a personalized way. To achieve this goal, you devote some time to creating a strategy fitting the unique aspects of your corner of the Extension landscape. In collaboration with O&E’s digital engagement team, you’re then outfitted with the appropriate mix of CRM tools to meet your needs.
From there, the next steps are powered by your own creativity! It may help to see an example? I recently brainstormed one simple workflow that I thought would make a big impact. Let’s walk through it.
A simple example
We can imagine a face-to-face class that takes place and some hot topic emerges, organically, from the discussion. One idea we can have as the instructor/facilitator is to follow up to send relevant, topic-related resources to that cohort. The steps would look like:
- Login to the CRM immediately after end of class
- Create a custom email message; fill it with relevant links
use an email layout template for expediency
- The new email delivers out to the cohort
only the people from that specific class
- The cohort is able to continue the discussion
perhaps by linking to a discussion board where they can share ideas quickly online
And it doesn’t stop there…
There happen to be so many ways to implement personalization that they don’t all fit in a single blog post. I would even like to begin exploring “proactive customer service,” which is a strategy by which we answer people’s questions for them even before they ask them and that just seems like it will be an exciting option. Look for it in a future post!
What ideas can you dream up? I would welcome your vision of a personalized experience for your constituents, clients, and partners! Send me your ideas?
We can’t personalize what we can’t track
In the example above, we see a chance to really effectively communicate with a distinct audience. But there happens to be prep work needing to be done to achieve that success. Let’s discuss some of the ways a CRM platform will help us get there.
- create the list of names and email addresses for program participants—our Contacts
- track registration for upcoming classes
- the ability to track attendees for each class—the cohort
- use a simple filter to end up with a list of Contacts making up that specific cohort
- quickly pull from a set of beautifully designed email templates
- rely on the CRM to provide email delivery directly to each person
- then… sit back and wait to hear from satisfied clients!
About the O&E digital engagement team. In the coming months, many of you will hear from me (Mark Kindred) as I begin a phase of needs assessments, as a step toward producing a long-term CRM strategy. I look forward to talking with you and ensuring my work is in alignment with the business needs of your unit and the long-term vision of the university. The digital engagement team is looking forward to talking with you about how digital engagement is aligned with your work and can provide new benefits.
Meanwhile… Extension Website updates.
- If you missed the May 31st webinar training, you can now watch the recording. You will learn about Managing County Landing Pages and Local Focus Areas. County pages have a new description section. You are able to move information about your county farther down the page, if needed.
- We have switched the map technology used on the site. You’ll notice some difference in how it looks, but the intent was to make it function in all the same ways. One improvement worth noting: the process for entering an event location is simpler. You can type in the address—no longer need to find it on the map. Also improved: the map on the Find us page is wider.
- Our History page in the About menu is recently published. Check out the historical photos of Extension, which also serve as a great example of how programs and local programs, such as 4-H and Master Gardeners, can add and display images on their pages.