It took me a year to reach 200 website members and only 3 months to reach 600 members. So what did I do differently?
Trial and error is all very well. But how long can this almost ad hoc approach go on for without seriously impacting on your business?
After setting up my website I tried various ways of increasing interesting content. By engaging with more members content could perpetuate. But what is the best way to engage effectively with prospective members in a bid to make this happen?
I decided on an interpersonal one on one approach. Speaking with a sample from my existing base of members. I also incorporated the Action Inquiry methodology. This sounds a bit over the top as surely simply talking to existing members in a bid to gain insight would be enough?
I was surprised to see how much clearer, coherent and centred problem areas became by adapting the Action Inquiry approach.
The Action Inquiry Difference
The cornerstone of Action Inquiry is a systematic and reflective approach. With data collection useful as evidence for making effective changes in practice.
ACTION INQUIRY CYCLE.
REVIEW current situation, objectives – PLAN what am I going to do, how am I going to measure it – ACTION carry out plan, monitor, measure, adapt if needed DESCRIBE reflect on outcomes, do they make sense, is another cycle needed, do I need to adapt it…
You can start at any point. I started at REVIEW. You may need more than one cycle to establish effective action plans. Don’t try and cover more than one ‘area’ or ‘problem’ of your business at a time as this will become too convoluted.
It’s likely that several cycles of Action Inquiry are required. As answers surface leading to further insight.
By following the above cycle and really pinning down the objectives, recording and measuring everything I was able to really see what mattered. By talking one on one to existing members using semi structured interviews I was able to see things through their eyes. Suggestions and comments were collated and implemented. The suggestions weren’t out of line with my own thoughts – yet why had I not implemented the necessary changes before?
For me hearing first hand from my audience gave me a sense of perspective and urgency. The feedback enabled me to arrange my priorities with relative ease. I fit my Action Inquiry in alongside my usual duties, totaling around 6 days work. As a result hard numbers of advertiser members tripled in 3 months from 200 to 600.
The Action Inquiry invoked discipline and structure. But most of all it actually simplified matters, eliminating and reducing guess work.
I currently have 3 further major areas for investigation. I will definitely use this methodology again because it’s so effective. What’s more because you are measuring it you’re far more in control of outcomes with fewer surprises.
What do you think? Would you try it? Or do you know something better?