Getting others to join

When we've got a cause, project, group or community, we will want others to join our deal. A few will already be waiting for an invitation and leap at the chance to become a participant. Some of the others are hesitating until there is enough social proof to jump on the bandwagon. These two camps can be enrolled by simply making a good offer, putting out an enticing invitation or delivering a valuable experience. The word will spread and joining our deal will catch on like wildfire.

This is a long-shot strategy because it expects people to share common interests which will remain stable for an extended period of time. This strategy relies on creating superior features and benefits that appeal to large numbers of like-minded individuals. It fails to appeal to people who are disinterested, already invested elsewhere, turned off by previous experiences or looking for variations on the commonly accepted deal. It misses any moving target that requires keeping sights on where unfolding changes are headed. As I explored previously, this strategy can also kill the viral launch.

An enrollment strategy becomes more effective by going after more diverse, special interests presumed to be in flux. It enacts a paradox of broadening the offer's appeal by going after more incompatible and evolving interests. It outgrows merely formulating an effective strategy to give strategies to others, get strategies from others and co-create strategies with others. Here are three of the opportunities to give others a viable strategy.

  1. Those who are heavily invested in other commitments may need an exit strategy. They need to feel like they are right to be where they're at, while experiencing the tension of missing out on something valuable. They need a path to move forward without "throwing the baby out with the bath water" or "killing the goose that lays the golden eggs". Abandoning ship won't work for them any better than remaining stuck onboard a sinking ship. Offering a middle way will look to them like an effective exit strategy.
  2. Those who been outcast, excluded or disregarded will need a migration strategy. They will likely be stuck in misery, feeling sorry for themselves and seeking commiseration. Nothing will look appealing, inviting or useful to them. They need to feel understood, respected and validated. Once they get back the feeling of standing on their own two feet, they can take a stand in favor of joining. They will see a way to migrate from misery to satisfaction. 
  3. Those who have been burnt by previous commitments will need a turnaround strategy. They will be facing their past, predicting more of the same old story, and blind to the changing opportunities ahead of them. They need to start where they're at, regain a sense of direction and restore their desire to make progress. An encounter with someone who's not "booking their next guilt trip" can get them off their own case of self contempt, regrets and worries. They will then make the switch from "no" to "yes" and from "backwards" to "forwards" movement. 

When we give others an strategy like these, we give more than that. We send a message that we see them much like they see themselves. We get the experience they are creating. We relate to them in a way that suggests how joining us will serve their interests. They become enrolled in ways that set them up to enroll others. We plant a seed that grows beyond what we can do personally.

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