In business-speak, there are leads and there is conversion. A lead is a person who has shown some sort of interest in your product. They stopped to read your ad, maybe they even visited your website to scroll through the offer.
In business, the magic (well, revenue, to be precise) happens when such leads are converted into paying customers at a high proportion. And the even bigger magic happens when the paying customers become fans, who spread the word and tells all their friends about this cool, new, empowering thing he/she discovered.
It does not matter how many leads you generate. It matters that your product is so cool that it entices people into buying and subsequently spreading the word.
Thereare different types of Leads:
Eugene Schwartz in Breakthrough Advertising back in 1966.
Five distinct phases of product awareness:
1. The Most Aware: Your prospect knows your product, and only needs to know “the deal.”
2. Product-Aware: Your prospect knows what you sell, but isn’t sure it’s right for him.
3. Solution-Aware: Your prospect knows the result he wants, but not that your product provides it.
4. Problem-Aware: Your prospect senses he has a problem, but doesn’t know there’s a solution.
5. Completely Unaware: No knowledge of anything except, perhaps, his own identity or opinion.
- cold lead
- warm lead
The main suggestion
So, if we were to follow this analogy of participation process and business, what would be the main suggestion?
“Give value first”, or “give, give, give, then ask”
So, show people that participating in your “citizen iniative”, your “thing”, gives them something.
And what is their problem?
What are the core problems we aim to solve amongst citizens?
- “I want to be heard by my city government”
- “I have this one specific thing that is super urgent to me: this parking place in fornt of my house, the way to school of my kids, this super-dangerous street crossing there”.
- “I want to get more concrete with this vague idea in my head”
And/or maybe just: (Since we are humans, we are lonely and want to belong)
- “I want to belong to a group”
- “I want to meet new people and maybe a potential partner”
- “I am campaigning for communal elections and want people to see me as pro-active”
In a way, we are therefore in a tricky situation as Participation Practioners: Not all citizens come for the same reasons. But there are still ways to make that first encounter meaningful for the citizen:
Give value first by letting them have a small and manageable chunk of success.
In case of the above, that would be by:
- Providing room for 15 minutes of small talk
- Give each person the tools (pen/paper, drag and drop software, cut outs and glue, structure and talking points to develop their 1 minute speech) to express/elaborate their idea, pain, so that they feel heard by others.
This, I think, fulfills the strongest urges/motivations, that make people stop and take a look at your flyer/invitation.