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Boost your citizen registration success rate by thinking beyond emergency alerts

Five years ago, critical communication systems for state and local communities were designed with only one primary tactic in mind – emergency alerts. Citizens would be notified if there was a fire in the area, or if a hurricane was expected to cause substantial flooding, for example. However, this simplistic and rather reactive approach to emergency notification is beginning to evolve. Now the broader concept of critical communications includes a greater focus on strategic planning, message mapping, customization and delivery, as well as many other best practices that the team at Everbridge espouses regularly.

citizen registration

Communication expert Dr. Robert Chandler has another recommendation—he believes state and local governments and organizations of all types should begin to use their systems long before a crisis occurs. This means more than just tests and drills, however. Dr. Chandler feels this early process will help work out any bugs and kinks prior to an actual emergency situation, and will also help improve citizen registration success rates. And, for state and local governments, there is no greater best practice than engaging citizens and ensuring they register promptly!

This is where self-subscription and customization come into play. As with any critical communication system, you can make emergency alerts mandatory….but citizens will still have to manually opt-in with their non-public communication modes (e.g. SMS, email, etc). In addition, the concept of emergency alerts, on its face, may not be enough to effectively register citizens and drive their behavior toward regular engagement with the system. To help answer the “what is in it for me?” question that your citizens will undoubtedly have, it is beneficial to offer different categories of alerts, beyond emergencies, to demonstrate the breadth of information that will be provided. The following are a few examples of self-subscription categories you can offer:

• Family happenings – Stuff for kids

• Fairs, festivals, and culture

• Health and nutrition information

• Public transportation need to know

If you can inform a country music fan about an upcoming concert in your area, as well as an approaching hurricane by using the same system, you’ll likely have a higher opt-in rate. If you don’t believe us, read our new whitepaper, Emergency Notification: Best Practices for Citizen Registration. You’ll learn more about how you can to help boost your citizen registration success rate.

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