Why building a community database matters
Having access to your community when you need their input is essential if you are going to get the feedback you need for your next consultation.
The easiest way to access the diversity of voices in your community is to establish and grow your very own community database using EngagementHQ.
With the recent release of updates to our Participant Relationship Management (PRM) tool, this article looks at some of the reasons why you should invest time growing your database and ways you can use it to improve your consultation outcomes.
Understanding demographics and interests
By collecting as much information about your community as you can, through your registration process, you will better equip yourself to understand the demographic profiles of your community.
Asking key questions such as age, gender, location as well as questions about a persons relationship to your community or project is a great way to build a profile of your community. It’s also useful to collect information about your communities interests to help you better target consultation opportunities.
When you collect this information, it can be used to understand who has participated in your consultations and help you identify missing groups or sections of your community, allowing you to then run campaigns to target these missing groups.
This information can also be used in our PRM under the Sign-up form dropdown menu to enable you to further filter through your database and create relevant groups based on this information.
These groups can be used to target communications and apply to protected consultations.
For more information about creating a good set of sign-up form questions have a look at our help article on Developing a Registration Form.
It’s also important to understand the effects of changing your sign-up form. Learn more about Changing your sign-up form here.
Instant access and reduced costs
Building a community database also enables you to quickly get access to the voices that matter. Simply put, the larger your database the easier it is to reach your participants in a shorter amount of time.
Instead of having to continually run costly campaigns through social media, news paper advertising, mail outs and other mediums, using you own established database can help to reduce the costs of your ongoing consultation activities and allow you to better allocate financial resources to larger impact projects.
The average size of a community database with EHQ is 3000 participants and we think with a little effort and some intentional campaigns we can see this number grow much larger in 2018.
We have recently written to disprove the myth that registration acts as a barrier to participation and we still believe it’s the best process for capturing participant information and ensuring the quality of your consultation data.
To help grow the size of your database we also highly recommend you run periodic campaigns solely for the purposes growing your database.
By having a single call to action such as “join our community to have your say” you can easily run an ongoing parallel registration campaign alongside your individual consultation communications.
Creating a sample of your community
With an extensive community database, you have more ability to segment your audiences into different strata to ensure you are targeting a diverse mix of voices.
Using our PRM to create groups of different demographic segments and then selecting different segments to target your project communications to allows you to ensure you can easily target the right people.
Check out our resources on using Establishing a Community Database for more information.
Track activity over time
EngagmentHQ has a built in profile for each member of your community database, which allows you to view a participants activity over time.
This can help you get a better picture of interests and connection with various projects and allows you to add notes against participant accounts.
Reduce churn and encourage participation
When you have an established community database it’s easy to use EHQ’s PRM tool to see which members of your community are actively engaged, slipping away or new to your engagement portal.
Using our set of filters makes it simple to target participants who haven’t been to your site in a while as well as those who have recently joined to allow you to actively build and maintain your online community.
If you are not actively building your database, then your capacity to keep your community engage is diminished and you will have to go to much greater lengths to drive regular participation.
Find out more about how to setup time-based filters here.
Without having an established database, your community will simply be invisible to you and you will have no clear picture of their engagement with your EHQ portal.
You promotion activities are likely to cost more each time and your ability to be able to target segments of your community will suffer.
Building a strong and current database will greatly enhance your online engagement activities, make communication with your community easier and faster and allow you to create an actively engaged and informed online community.