Have you heard of the Sunday Scaries? I’ve suffered from this phenomenon myself. If you’re not familiar with the term, it refers to the anxiety - perhaps, dread - that many people feel on Sunday, in anticipation of the work week ahead. Ironically, in the process of anticipating Monday, having the Sunday Scaries actually robs one of the enjoyment of half of their weekend.
From the perspective a software marketer in the association industry, I see a similar phenomenon related to the purchase and implementation of a new software. I’m calling it the Software Scaries. There is so much fear that associations feel, produce or allow to persist when it comes to even considering a new software.
I’ve seen directors not take a software demo, not because they aren’t interested in how it might make their job easier or benefit the association overall, but because the process of exploring the solution requires them to get buy-in from leadership. The fears in doing so include the possibility that leadership won’t understand or agree that it should be considered, or that the simple, deal-killing response will be, “We don’t have the budget.”
In addition to lack of leadership buy-in and budget constraints, one of the most significant fears on the part of association staff is their concern over time. Time to set up the platform, time to learn the system, time to use and maintain it, and the time lapse to see results. When you’re already strapped for time, exploring something new feels like more work.
However, to get bigger results, or when something isn’t working, you have to be in action to change. Otherwise, just like on Sunday, when you’re spending precious free hours dreading the week, avoiding new software robs you of the ability to see what’s possible. Hope for progress and change in your work - and as an extension, growth in your career - are lost.
I recommend reserving time semi-regularly to explore various technologies to see what might be a fit for your organization. In addition to learning something new, you’ll be able to benchmark your association against others who are using technology to improve their work and outcomes. A side effect of exploring solutions is that you demonstrate to your leadership that you are forward-thinking and invested in the success of the association.
Staff & Bandwidth to Leverage PropFuel
If you aren’t familiar with PropFuel yet, it is a SaaS platform with a host of email and text engagement capabilities. One of the questions we receive often is regarding the human capital investment involved in acquiring PropFuel, setting it up, and using it regularly. What association leaders are really saying when they ask this question is, “I’m scared. I don’t know if I/we can manage to take on another platform.”
Typically, associations experience a short learning curve to understand how PropFuel works, and to know when to use PropFuel versus your broadcast marketing system. One of the benefits of PropFuel is that it is very user-friendly; thanks to our excellent client success team, most PropFuel associations have their first campaign live and actively running within two weeks of gaining access to the platform.
On average, clients spend 1 to 2 hours per week within PropFuel, creating campaigns and/or managing existing campaigns. However, the amount of time spent in PropFuel is unique to each client; for example, more sophisticated PropFuel users will take additional time to respond back to members with individualized responses within PropFuel's Conversational Inbox. While this isn’t necessary, the one-to-one conversation can be a very effective engagement method.
Coordination of Systems
While many campaigns built in PropFuel supplement your existing communications, some of the campaigns can actually replace your existing broadcast emails. Over time, the idea is to have more relevant, customized communications going to members based on what matters to them. This shift doesn’t refer to putting members into personas; it’s about knowing so much about your member that email becomes more relevant, and therefore, more likely for members to be encouraged to interact.
During your onboarding process, your client success manager will help you uncover the points of engagement that will be better presented as a PropFuel campaign. This process allows you to replace - not add to - the number of member communications your team sends. Additionally, through our integration with your email marketing or marketing automation system, we can suppress contacts from specific PropFuel campaigns, based upon their level of engagement or other campaign they may be in.
Have No Fear
PropFuel associations regularly report back to us that they are now much more effective at driving engagement, and therefore have reduced less efficient and manual activities trying to engage your members in other ways. For example, we’ve seen that a renewal and lapsed member campaign will drive payments and renewals much faster than traditional broadcast emails. This will save you time in follow ups and chasing members down to collect payment. That is true, measurable ROI - and who is scared of that?!
When exploring any technological solution, begin with the end in mind. There is nothing scary about implementing and witnessing better outcomes for your organization, whether financial, anecdotal or some other outcome. There are easy to implement systems out there, like PropFuel, ready and willing to do just those things. Take a leap!