In late February, I posted Aiming to increase newsletter subscribers? We have a plan for that!
In response, Vicki Campbell, from Washington County Extension commented:
Isn’t this the same information collected when someone fills out “Add me to your mailing list”, like on our web page and newsletters? I have never called it RFI but it does add the customer to our newsletter database. If not the same, how is this different?
Washington County Extension
This is a great question and I want to expand on how we can expect an RFI (request for info) form to assist us in our Extension work where a newsletter opt-in (or subscription) may not.
It is important to begin by highlighting all the positive qualities of our Extension newsletters. The wide array of newsletters through which we currently serve our respective audiences are an important facet of a program’s or office’s outreach to constituents.
As a means by which to thoughtfully consider all the varied pieces of information and insight—there’s a lot, right?—you and your team can put out into the virtual world, the newsletter format allows you to curate them into a meaningful package. Nothing beats the convenience, low cost (do you recall the costs of printing and then distributing a paper version? What an ordeal!), and reliability of putting out precisely the info that your team considers the most important to provide.
A standard newsletter can (and will) continue to serve our Extension work in this way.
Yet we are also able to envision a future using other means—RFI forms being one—to begin collecting personal contact information of our constituent, then allowing us to follow up with big outreach efforts.
RFI—request for info—forms and our bright future
The main thing to consider is just as soon as we, using our shiny, new Navigator digital tools (more arriving each month!), begin to enable the collection and use of more-and-more specific personal information, then it follows how much more responsive we are able to be.
The goal is to offer constituents precisely what they really want to learn about.
The part of this discussion having to do with overall collection of information is multifaceted and nuanced, so in fact we won’t be able to cover all of it here. For the sake of beginning to talk about the future of our digital outreach, though, we will focus on RFI forms as one of the tools in our toolkit to collect increasingly detailed bits of a person’s information.
For the Navigator initiative, the shift expected of us is to consistently consider the deliverables of our respective programs from the point of view of each of our constituents, considering their needs and interests, above and beyond our perspective of what programmatic content we consider important at that time.
The important work of Extension… and getting even better!
This means our thoughtful consideration of what is/isn’t important information will remain a priority and also we will gain new ways—new tools, new techniques—to match up the breadth of what we can offer with the specific ways an individual can be served at any one point in time.
This is the personalized digital experience for which we have been planning.
Comparison: RFI forms and newsletter opt-ins
At long last… the answer to Vicki’s question about how these two techniques do differ allows us to review the unique strengths of each approach.
It’s worth reminding ourselves that each of these are valid techniques and they are useful for us to meet distinct goals we have in mind as we select between them.
As we explore this, some considerations revolve around the benefits we at Extension stand to receive (which does remain a priority), while others have considerably more to do with the user experience that constituents have as they interact with us virtually. We will evaluate our efforts as “successful” soon as we begin to hear from people how much fun they had navigating through their experience with us!
|RFI (request for info) form||Opt-in (subscribe) to newsletters|