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Too much of a good thing

All Things in Moderation Despite the infamous Mae West’s protests to the contrary, too much of a good thing is NOT necessarily wonderful.  This can be said of sending notifications, too.  Despite their best intentions, people can go a little off track sometimes.  Whether it’s telling the whole town about delayed garbage pickup when only the people on one street are affected, or getting a message out to everyone about something NOT being cancelled, too much of a good thing can end up diluting your messages’ effectiveness over time. Here are some ideas to keep in mind when sending your notifications:

  1. “Everyone is not your customer.”-Seth Godin
Target your messages.  If an incident affects people in the northeast corner of your community, don’t notify the people in the southeast quadrant.  If you don’t have enough information to target messages this way now, start collecting it.  Get addresses, preferences and additional information as needed and make use of it.
  1. Keep it brief
President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address clocked in at just over two minutes.  In that brief span, he managed to deliver what is widely regarded as one of the best political speeches in American history.  Keep this in mind when creating notifications.  Include only what is necessary to convey your message.
  1. Don’t Cry Wolf
If a message is a true emergency, prioritize it.  If it isn’t, send it standard delivery.  Later, when a true emergency is identified, constituents will take notice.  How you classify your notifications is up to you, but beware of overstating its urgency; I’ve yet to have anyone convince me that trash pickup being delayed a day is a matter of life and death.
  1. “It is I, your furry pal Grover, here to help.” – Grover
Avoid using the same sender information in every message when possible.  If the Water Department is sending the message, say so.  If it’s IT, let people know.  Personalizing your communications this way can help increase recipient attention and response rates.

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